Defending Jacob season 1, episode 7, “Job” shows how easily a seemingly happy middle-class family can be torn apart from their foundations from one life event. The penultimate episode of the series is haunting and sobering.
This recap of Apple TV+ series Defending Jacob season 1, episode 7, “Job” contains significant spoilers.
How does Defending Jacob season 1, episode 7, “Job” begin?
Let’s be honest — we were all waiting for this episode. All the tension beforehand and Laurie’s apprehensiveness now makes sense after this daunting and sobering chapter. The trial was always going to be the fireworks. It begins with a flashback with Andy giving Neal advice on one of his first murder cases. Andy gives him the tricks of the trade. Neal was all about winning. In the present day, Jacob’s trial is starting and lawyer Joanna is making sure he is calm. Joanna asks the Judge if Andy can second-chair the defendant and also that any information on Billy Barber is removed from trial to prevent prejudice — the Judge accepts unless it is critical to the trial.
The opening statements
Neal gives his opening statement; he claims Ben Rifkin teased the defendant unaware of his hidden capacity and desire to kill — his statement on the desire to kill is objected and sustained. Neal then describes the murder — it’s a good statement that plants seeds. Joanna gives her opening statement; she says it’s only human for wanting someone to pay, which is understandable, but that Jacob is 100% innocent. She describes how Jacob found Ben and that he was scared — “A child is dead. Don’t destroy another child’s life to make up for it”. Two superb statements and this scene really heightened what a murder trial could be like at the start — it’s all about game playing.
Andy tells Lynn that the same man who has followed the family is outside the courthouse. She checks out the man’s ID. His name is Jamie O’Leary — he’s hired to rough people up. Laurie is wondering why Jamie is following them but Lynn offers to follow him.
The second day of trial
On the second day of trial, Neal tries to bring Andy into the questioning as an assistant attorney who was in charge in the early days of the investigation. Joanna asks the witness (one of the detectives) if there was a suspect before Jacob — Leonard Patz is discussed. Neal tries to imply that Andy was the main factor to investigate Leonard. Joanna re-examines and claims Leonard is a credible suspect based on location and the detective agrees that they were not certain he was innocent.
The third day of trial
On the third day of trial, they put a crime lab scientist on the witness stand. Neal tries to bring a similar knife to what the defendant owns to the trial but it’s objected and sustained. Joanna asks the scientist if the fingerprint of Jacob could have been found when he found Ben and the expert confirms it could have. She also brings up if it could have been 1 in 500 types of knives to debunk Neal’s questioning. They are currently winning the case but Laurie is still doubting her son and feeling guilty when looking at Ben’s parents.
Lynn is next on the stand and she details how Jacob became a suspect. Neal asks Lynn if she had found violent *********** on the laptop — she admits there was. Joanna asks Lynn questions and she admits every laptop they seize they see *********** and that Andy never suspected his son. Neal then asks Lynn if she’s seen Andy being violent — she states one time when Andy was upset and Neal brings up Andy’s father. The judge gives Neal a stark warning. Defending Jacob season 1, episode 7, “Job” paints Neal as a win-at-all-costs lawyer and you can feel the tension between him and Andy across the courtroom.
The worst day at the trial
Episode 7 takes us back to the grand jury; Neal asks if Andy and Laurie were prepared for Derek’s questioning on the witness stand…
And then to the trial and Joanna tells Andy that Matt is missing. Neal questions the witness, Derek, who says Jacob said “it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy” a few hours after the murder. Derek states that Ben would always call Jacob a f** and other homophobic names. Derek then talks about how Jacob showed off the knife as a “secret thing”.
But the big blow to episode 7, “Job” is when Derek brings up the dark website where Jacob wrote violent stories, including the story of the murder of Ben Rifkin. Andy asks Jacob what the story is about but Jacob does not respond and his legs are shaking. Joanna asks the Judge if she can confer with her client; she tells Andy, Jacob, and Laurie that the prosecution has an IP address — Jacob wrote it. Joanna confirms this is a bad scenario but they can’t avoid it. Derek reads out the story. The story is graphic, describing how Ben was stabbed and how it felt — it was a cruel, vicious, and detailed story. The story has an author named J-O-B, which are Jacob’s initials. Jacob starts crying. Andy and Laurie are in shock. The story was posted 3 days after the murder.
Andy, Laurie, and Jacob get in a car and you can feel the darkness looming over them. Jacob says it was just a story and didn’t think it would be a big deal. Andy asks Jacob if he did it. Jacob says no. The family has a meeting with Joanna — Andy wants to bring Sarah in as a witness but Jacob demands that she isn’t included. Andy is aggressive, stating Jacob doesn’t make decisions anymore. Sarah sees the story online and stops answering Jacob’s calls.
How does Defending Jacob season 1, episode 7, “Job” end?
Laurie asks Andy if he knew about the website — she doesn’t want to hear his excuses and she doesn’t believe Jacob anymore; “We’re guilty too if we protect him”. Andy tells her it’s just a made-up story about a kid that bullied him and claims it is fantasy — all the details are in the news which is how Jacob knew what to write. Laurie says Jacob was confessing and she can’t play this game anymore. Andy doesn’t believe Jacob can sustain this level of deception but once again, Laurie disagrees and implies he learned it from Andy — “Maybe he learned it from both of us”. The family has well and truly fallen apart and Defending Jacob season 1, episode 7, “Job” shows how easily a seemingly happy middle-class family can be torn apart from their foundations from one life event. The penultimate episode of the series is haunting and sobering.
The episode ends with Leonard Patz crying while writing a letter for Mr. and Mrs. Rifkin. He’s confessing to killing Ben.
- Sarah checks up on Jacob to make sure he is okay after day 1 at the trial.
- Billy rings Andy and asks what the chances are for Jacob to be freed and that prison isn’t a place for him.
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Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.