AMAZON PRIME — GOLIATH — SEASON ONE — 2016
You may say “One more justice series.” In fact, it is not really a film about justice but a film about the judicial system, rotten to the core in the USA. The extreme authority of a judge, the only master of the whole procedure of a criminal case from before the trial to the verdict itself. The only interest of a criminal case is the presence of a jury. The jury is in many ways the counterbalancing actor in the trial, the actor who can keep some equilibrium between the judge, the lawyers of both sides and the witnesses. They are silent but they take the basic decisions: guilt, damages, etc.
Yet this justice system is absolutely unpredictable. Each side can call for a witness at any time provided the judge accepts to summon the said witness. Any side can bring up any piece of evidence they want provided the judge agrees. Any side can ask any question from any witness provided there is no objection from the other side and the judge does not sustain the objection. That brings up now and then a witness or a piece of evidence that the judge considers as unacceptable after it has been presented in court. The demand from the judge for the jury to forget about it and not consider it in their own deliberations is just vain and absurd. The witness or the piece of evidence has had an impact on the jury members and it cannot be erased from their memories even if they do not mention it in their deliberations that take place behind closed doors.
But all that is not about justice. It is about the judicial system.
The worst element is that both sides have to do their own research and their own investigations if they want to go to trial. It is true if the accusation comes from the District Attorney and his prosecuting service. But it is also true in the case of a plain citizen suing another plain citizen that may be a company. The suing side does not sign a complaint which is then dealt with by the police and other investigating services and then eventually the prosecuting services of the DA. In other words, a citizen who is the victim of any act that is discriminating in any way from anyone, this citizen has to sue and assume with a lawyer the fill procedure of investigating and collecting evidence. This is wrong.
In this series we are dealing with armament companies that have contracts with the Department of Defense, the Pentagon. They produce lethal weapons that have to be tested. Their normal way of testing some new weapon is to use it in a war here or there. These companies also work on forbidden substances or equipment. They have to test them but they can’t legally do so. They may use these substances or equipment in a war episode somewhere but it may bring up some backlash. So they are doing it clandestinely offshore and at night particularly. They also use lawyers who become their cover since these lawyers can invoke various clauses or rules to refuse to unveil something due to the highly classified nature of the concerned equipment. Lawyers are then opaque, if not plain obscure.
The characteristic of this series is that we know from the very start what we end will be. The only thing we do not know is how we are going to reach this end, the peripeteias of the plot. And there are plenty since the lawyer that assumes the representation of the suing minor is off-limits most of the time, off any rule you may think of. He is an alcoholic. He is hardly trustworthy and he gathers around himself people who are hardly decent for a couple of them. But then we are dealing here with social problems like prostitution and that is at times pathetic, at times shocking, at times uninteresting (we could do without some of these episodes).
What’s the final evaluation of this series? It is interesting as a social description of American society with the judicial system in the middle. As such it is worth watching but it will not bring you a lot of enlightenment on what is the next phase in American history. Just entertaining.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU