“Long Day’s Journey Into ICE” tackles a familiar hot-button issue from a unique perspective in another strong episode.
This recap of All Rise Season 1, Episode 2, “Long Day’s Journey Into ICE”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Further proving that All Rise (CBS) is not your typical legal procedural, its latest episode, “Long Day’s Journey Into ICE”, approaches the incredibly popular topic of America’s “border crisis” from a novel perspective — and without descending into the preachy moralism of its network rival. You can tell from the opening coffee run that All Rise Episode 2 is content to maintain its jovial tone even while concerning itself with the rights of undocumented immigrants, the corruption of the federal government, the exploitation of underserved communities, and the perversion of justice by the super-wealthy. Phew.
I really appreciate the All Rise morning coffee run. It’s a good way to check in on our focal characters and their various on-going personal subplots. Emily (Jessica Camacho) tells Sara (Lindsay Mendez), for instance, that she’s having trouble sleeping; Lola (Simone Missick) and Mark (Wilson Bethel) mention that despite the former’s elation at being able to call for a recess, she still hasn’t won over the “Old Guard”, who won’t hold the elevator for her. Lola isn’t going to rise in this building so easily — if you’ll forgive the tortured wordplay.
Then again, Lola isn’t going to win any friends anyway, since her courtroom quickly becomes, according to her boss Lisa Benner (Marg Helgenberger), a political minefield. The case: An undocumented immigrant named Leo is being charged with assault after “resisting arrest” in a grocery store where he and his girlfriend, Kimani (Stefanée Martin), had been applying warning labels to food that was wildly past its expiration date. On the stand, he explains the concept of a “food desert”, an area in an impoverished community that has limited access to fresh and nutritious food. Because the locals aren’t able to go anywhere else, the grocery store in question was stocking tainted meat, expired dairy and other fun items, which Leo was documenting when he was arrested.
If only things were that simple. In case the title of All Rise Season 1, Episode 2 — “Long Day’s Journey Into ICE” — didn’t give it away, Leo’s undocumented status attracts the attention of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, a representative of which, Agent Soto, just brazenly strolls into the courtroom, causing Leo to panic and flee. A chase ensues.
We learn more about the case as Emily, who is defending Leo, meets with him, and Agent Soto meets with Lola. Leo was forced to flee his native Nicaragua for protesting the dictatorial government, and he resumed his activist work in the States, drawing attention to himself because injustice is simply not something he can stand by and idly allow to happen. Soto, after initially trying to strong-arm Lola, which is never a good idea, makes a reasonable case that doing his job in court is significantly less dangerous than doing it on the streets, where he’s repeatedly stabbed and shot at. The problem with that, as Lola explains, is that it violates a defendant’s rights to a fair trial — if they know they’re just going to be deported even if they’re found innocent, they won’t turn up to court.
Nobody knows how to deal with this dilemma. The prosecution wants to drop their case and wash their hands of the matter. Emily is advised from on high that Leo’s best course of action is to plead guilty, serve four years in prison, and in the meantime attempt to find asylum in a different country — this is something he’s willing to do, but Lola, paying off her chit-chat with Mark in the opening, calls a recess. There must be another solution.
One presents itself when Kimani returns to the store where Leo was originally arrested and is detained by its flagrantly racist owner, Dwight Harris (Josh Latzer), who reveals that it was he who informed ICE about Leo. Emily returns to court with a bag full of spoiled produce, some of it years out of date, and wants to file for a mistrial since Leo’s rights have been violated so extensively that there isn’t a legal precedent for how else to proceed. But Lola has another, clever idea: Leo and Kimani affixing warning stickers to the products constitutes a non-violent misdemeanor, the sentence for which is much lower, doesn’t prohibit Leo from seeking asylum in the United States, and won’t mandate that ICE be informed of his release. Leo pleads guilty and is happily remanded into custody for three months. The long day’s journey into ICE ends in the best way it possibly could for Leo, and for everyone else except Agent Soto.
Mark’s case in All Rise Episode 2 is that of a woman, Maya, charged with stealing a car. She gets off when the key witness — a valet named Parin Kothari (Rishi Arya) — changes his testimony after having evidently been paid off by Maya’s wealthy, corrupt father Grant Lambert (Robert Curtis Brown), so Mark purses Lambert on a bribery of a witness charge. It’s hard to tell whether Mark’s passion for the case stems from his devotion to justice, his own various unresolved daddy issues, or the appeal of Lambert’s sexy rival defense attorney Amy Quinn. Either way, Maya approaches him directly and agrees to testify against her father in exchange for promised immunity, during which conversation Mark opens up about having lied for his own father under oath. He’s impressed by Maya’s bravery in refusing to become a pawn of her father, and Judge Benner, who presides over the case, is thoroughly unimpressed with Lambert’s attempts to smooth-talk his way into a reduced sentence. She gives him two years in state prison.
Court In Brief:
- Lola’s relationship with Sherri (Ruthie Ann Miles) is beginning to improve, as is Emily’s with charming bailiff Luke (J. Alex Brinson), who seems to quickly be becoming more than her confidante.
- Judge William Rogstad (John Colton), in peak Old White Dude Mode, describes Lola’s office as “exotic”.
- There’s a running gag in “Long Day’s Journey Into ICE” about Lola’s office still being in disarray. At the end of All Rise Season 1, Episode 2, Mark gets her a gift for it: A framed photograph of Nichelle Nichols as Uhura in Star Trek: The Original Series.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.