Recap: Rusty Is His Own Worst Enemy In ‘Presumed Innocent’ Episode 3

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 26, 2024
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Presumed Innocent Episode 3 Recap - Rusty Is Mad
Presumed Innocent | Image via Apple TV+




Presumed Innocent continues to use the mechanics of the crime genre to get more out of its characters, making for a riveting drama.

Rusty Sabich is his own worst enemy. This has been obvious since the beginning of Presumed Innocent, which made him look terrible in Episode 1 and even worse in Episode 2. The trend continues in Episode 3, “Discovery”. This guy lied about everything to such an extent that he could barely keep up, which it turns out is something of a detriment in an ongoing murder investigation in which he’s the prime suspect.

The second episode ended with a chilling cliffhanger in which it was revealed that someone knows Rusty was at Carolyn’s place on the night she was killed. Whether he killed Carolyn or not, this guy certainly isn’t innocent, which you can see on Barbara’s face when she has to process yet another revelation that Rusty neglected to tell her about at the time.

Rusty remains terrible and everyone knows it

You can kind of tell that Rusty’s awful by how everyone around him reacts to his predicament. His wife is clearly disgusted by him, his kids aren’t far behind, and Raymond, ostensibly his closest friend and ally, is having nightmares about him bludgeoning Carolyn to death. Now, I’m not a sleep expert, but I suspect that implies something.

I love Raymond. He’s so understandably sick of the whole situation that his zingers – like warning Rusty not to confess to killing Carolyn to whoever he’s exchanging messages with, who wants to meet and will likely be wearing a wire – don’t even feel out of place. He’s had enough of Rusty’s lies, just like Barbara.

Carolyn’s son is exposed as the messenger

Eventually Rusty decides to bite the bullet and meet with the mystery man in his DMs, and it turns out to be Carolyn’s odd son, Michael. Michael is adamant that Rusty killed his mother and has a lot of photos and videos to prove it, which he claims to have already handed over to the police.

This is bad news for Rusty, obviously, but it raises some other questions, not least of which is why Michael hangs around outside his mother’s place filming people she’s sleeping with. But the evidence certainly implicates Rusty, and it isn’t the only thing looming over him.

Rusty looks terribly guilty

What I like about Presumed Innocent is that it operates as a character drama first and a crime thriller second, so it’s inclined to use the usual genre mechanics in novel ways.

For instance, Rusty’s kids ask him to lay out how likely he is to be convicted of murdering Carolyn. Functionally, this is a way to remind the audience of where we are in the case and situate us in Rusty’s headspace, but it plays out as a way to highlight Rusty’s consistent deceptions and display how his relationships with his children are being affected.

It’s not looking good for Rusty. He was provably at Carolyn’s place on the night she was killed. His DNA is in her apartment, hers is in his car, and she was pregnant with his child. To make matters worse Carolyn was killed in a manner pertaining to a case they worked on together, certain details about which were never made public. It looks like he killed Carolyn and tried to create the illusion of a copycat killer having done it.

But the key takeaway is that Kyle suggests Rusty takes a plea deal, and Rusty is apoplectic about it. He’s a prosecutor, so he knows on some level that the suggestion is pretty smart. But he’s also a deeply arrogant narcissist, so he can’t accept the idea of admitting to anything, let alone murder.

All the clues you need to identify the killer have already been given to you

Anyone who has read the Scott Turow novel on which the show is based or seen the Harrison Ford adaptation knows who the killer is. I’m not going to tell you here, but I’d just like to point out that all the clues you need to work it out have already been given to you at this point.

Answers on a postcard in the comments, if you’re that way inclined.

Kyle was also present on the night Carolyn was killed

Presumed Innocent Episode 3 ends with the revelation that Rusty’s son Kyle was also present on the night Carolyn was killed.

This is revealed when Raymond sends Rusty some footage from the night in question. Rusty and Carolyn canoodling isn’t the half of it. There’s also someone else there, pedaling away on a bike. Rusty recognizes his son immediately. But what does this mean for his home life? Is Kyle now a suspect?

This is getting interesting now, isn’t it?

Read More: Presumed Innocent Episode 4 Recap

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