TV Reviews

Trial & Error Season 2 Lady, Killer Episode 7 and 8: A Family Affair & Bad Instincts Reviews

If you would like to read my review of last episodes, click here.

Synopsis: With the retrial of Jesse Ray Beaumont looming, the team digs into Lavinia’s past to gain some fresh insight into the case. (1) With Lavinia eliminated as a suspect in Chet Peck’s murder, Josh struggles with his defense for Jesse Ray Beaumont. Meanwhile, Dwayne enjoys his new life as a Peck. (2) (Rotten Tomatoes)

Writers: Craig Gerard & Matthew Zinman (1), David Booth (2)

Directors: Matt Sohn (1 & 2)

Rating: TV-PG

Running Time: 44mins (2x22mins)

Airs: Thursdays at 9:00 pm on CTV (Canada)/NBC (United States)

“A Family Affair” starts off with a new tagline reading the People v. Jesse Ray Beaumont. Josh hopes that he can find true justice by discovering Lavinia killed her brother and put her away for both murders. Everyone recaps where they were during the Jesse Ray case nine years ago showing that not much changed in the town of East Peck.

At Jesse Ray’s bail hearing, Lavinia arrives to talk with Josh. She’s upset their relationship changed and offers him some sexual favours, but he declines and she is ready to go to war. Josh is able to rouse the courtroom and get Carol Anne Keane to set bail at 100 dollars so long as Jesse Ray is released into the custody of his attorney. Josh avoids paying the bail and lets Jesse Ray go back to his cell.

In order to gain insight on the case, Josh goes to Jesse Ray’s previous attorney Dr. Rock n’ Law (Andy Thompson), a stoner lawyer who lives and works in his camper. They learn that the attorney used to smoke nine joints on his way to the courthouse every day prompting Anne and Dwayne to test out whether or not they could perform their jobs after doing the same commute. At the office, Josh explains that Jesse Ray overheard Lavinia and Chet arguing over a tree and after some research he learns that the timber rights at Peck Gardens are worth a fortune. However, Anne and Dwayne listened to Dr. Rock n’ Law’s album on the case which discusses the Peck family tree giving them a new lead.

They visit the curator of the Peck County Historical Society to look into the Peck family tree where they discover that Lavinia and Chet had a young brother named Trig who disappeared suddenly. Apparently they weren’t close because Lavinia was at North Peck school for wayward girls at the time hiding her own teenage pregnancy. Josh believes that Chet threatened to reveal Lavinia’s secret pregnancy which prompted her to kill him.

At a special hearing, Josh hopes to get a warrant to search Peck Gardens, but Judge Kamiltow declines. Lavinia arrives to reveal she is endorsing Carol for DA, putting the People in her pocket. Josh questions Carol’s morality, but she is more concerned with beating Josh than anything. Josh visits Jesse Ray in prison where he learns one of the songs about a large box is about a locked container that Chet brought to Jesse Ray before he died and that he threw it into the lake before he was arrested.

They retrieve the box which contains a VHS tape that’s labelled Memorial Day 1983. It shows Lavinia had an affair with her flag boy and that Trig was most likely their son. As Josh has the epiphany that this tape could be the key to the case, it gets destroyed sending them back to square one. At the courthouse, Lavinia endorses Carol for DA and discusses the Jesse Ray case before Carol seemingly goes into labour.

At the police station, Dwayne looks for clues as to who could be Lavinia’s baby daddy. All flag boys are registered with the DMV so he should be able to find out who it is. Josh brings Lavinia into the office to discuss the box and the VHS tape, but she won’t say anything without the name of the flag boy. As they banter, Dwayne and Anne discuss the name of the flag boy, A. Reed, which just so happens to be his father’s name. The episode ends with Dwayne realizing he is the mysterious Trig Peck while Lavinia shows proof that she was out of the country during the time of Chet’s murder.


“Bad Instincts” starts off with Josh discussing his reservations about Lavinia and revealing that he posted Jesse Ray’s bail as he is tackled by his latest client. At the office, Dwayne arrives who is much more put together with the reveal of his true lineage. Josh worries that this revelation could cause a conflict of interest for his lead investigator. At the preliminary hearing, Carol arrives bed-ridden while Dwayne approaches his maybe mother. Josh pleas that Jesse Ray’s first case be thrown out entirely, but Carol brings up Jesse Ray’s relationship with Chet and his passbook and gets the case brought to trial.

Unfortunately, Jesse Ray won’t reveal anything about the money or his relationship, so Josh and Dwayne go visit two of the first trial witnesses: Mr. Boom and Echo. They congratulate Dwayne on his makeover, but he wants to further himself from his old group of friends and live up to his new Peck name. Boom explains that Jesse Ray only trusts him so he will reveal everything to Josh after his show, but he immediately gets shot into the air by an explosion.

At the office, Dwayne shows Lavinia around where she takes photos of the Murder Board. Josh and Anne hope to prove that Jesse Ray’s passbook is a fake by going to the expert forger in town Forge Clooney, but he admits that the passbook is real. Dead end. Josh goes to Carol and asks for a plea deal, but she wants nothing to do with it. Bring her the death penalty. Jesse Ray is enraged that Josh tried to do this behind his back and fires him.

Josh sits down with Nina to rant about his recent firing, but she reassures him that Jesse Ray is not better off as he is now representing himself. Josh asks the team to help him figure this out when it’s revealed that Lavinia had come by the office and took pictures prompting Josh to chastise Dwayne for his lack of judgment. Josh learns through Boom that Jesse Ray used to give all his money to him and Echo meaning that the motive was definitely not money making the passbook a weak piece of evidence.

At the courthouse, Josh runs into Carol where they discuss the case before they lie in her bed spooning. Lavinia invites Dwayne over to give him a new tie and tie clip before exclaiming he could never be her son that leads him to storming out. Josh apologizes to Jesse Ray who wants to stay living in the prison rather than with Josh. At the office, the team prove that Lavinia’s passport is a fake making her the prime suspect once again. The episode ends as the team celebrate by dancing and chanting Murder Board! as a light starts to flash on Dwayne’s tie clip.

New Conditions for Anne:

  • Jumping Frenchmen of Maine – causes you to jump high when startled
  • Localized spontaneous human combustion – triggered by Rum
  • Hyperacusis – dog-level hearing when she has an ear infection
  • Saint Vitus’ dance – involuntarily raise hand
  • Alice in Wonderland Syndrome – size distortions that make things appear larger/smaller

Overall, these were a good set of episodes. The story continues to follow an unpredictable path which is great for a murder mystery like this. The town’s history and cooky set of  residents continues to be a strong part of the show’s charm showing just how crazy this small town really is. With only two episodes left, it will be interesting to see how many more twists and turns are thrown into this case, but it will prove to be an equally unpredictable, satisfying and hilarious end to this season.

Score: 
A Family Affair: 8/10
Bad Instincts: 8/10

What did you think of these episodes? Does it have enough mystery for this murder? Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. This show kills me! Ann’s ridiculous syndromes (Alice in Wonderland is my personal favorite), Dwayne, all of them. This show is so incredibly clever. I hope it gets renewed.