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  • jonathansircy

Season 1 Defendant Tournament Rules

Updated: Sep 23, 2022

Before we jump into our Season 1 defendant tournament, let’s get the rules straight.

I want to make it clear that I’m not comparing episodes. I’m only judging the defendant. My favorite Season 1 episode is TCOT Screaming Woman, but Leona Walsh probably won’t go far in this tournament. The episode works despite, rather than because of, her.

How will I judge defendants? By asking four questions.

  • Was the defendant memorable?

As I put together this bracket, I realized that the case name alone wasn’t enough to recall the name of certain defendants. The best defendants, however? I’ve got ‘em locked in. Gladys Doyle in TCOT Mythical Monkeys. Jeff Pike in TCOT Prudent Prosecutor. The sad sack husband from TCOT Spurious Sister? I’m sent scurrying to my credit sequence.

  • Was the defendant the most compelling non-permanent character in the case?

Perry, Paul, and Della are always compelling but is the defendant the first character who springs to mind when I think of the episode? Or is it the murder victim or the murderer or just someone adjacent to the case? Paul Drake in Paul Drake’s Dilemma. That’s almost cheating. Yes. Tic Barton in TCOT Jilted Jockey? Yes. Ed Gravin in TCOT Dubious Bridegroom? Um. No. That would be Virginia Colfax.

  • Does Perry respect the defendant?

Perry’s our main character, so he’s our leading interpreter. If he gives the defendant respect, I should too. When he meets the defendant in his office or jail, is he scolding or appreciative? Then, after the case is over, does the defendant actually in the episode’s final scene? If the defendant isn’t in the final scene, did Perry actually address the defendant’s situation? Did he care? A good test case. Take a look at TCOT Glittering Goldfish from Season 2. If you weren’t sure that Darrel Metcalf was way more compelling than Tom Wyatt, just look at how the final scene goes down. Perry gets an aquarium from Metcalf, the murderer, and spends precisely no time figuring out what’s next for young Wyatt.

  • Finally, do we have a prior history with the actor or actress?

Like it or not, ghosting is a thing. Do you know the term “ghosting?” It refers to the way an actor or actress’s previous roles haunt the role you’re currently watching them in. So what I’m asking here is whether or not we have positive or negative associations with the actor or actress from a previous appearance on the show. Because this is the first season, we won’t have a lot of instances of this, though this may give Diana Reynolds, aka Whitney Blake, a bump as she’s the season’s only two-time defendant.

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