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In Brief: "Legalese"

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The politics of Legalese (Sunday, October 4; 8 to 10 p.m.; TNT) are so retrograde that I am ashamed of myself for having enjoyed it anyway. Gina Gershon murders her brother-in-law, with whom she's been having a torrid affair, then claims not only self-defense against rape but also virtuous revenge on behalf of a sister she says was battered. Media-savvy trial attorney James Garner, knowing her to be guilty as well as sinful, undertakes her exoneration by ventriloquism. His proxy is a callow, semi-idealistic, and rather-too-ambitious young lawyer played by Edward Kerr, who is simultaneously manipulated by Garner (in his Barbarians at the Gate mode), valorized by feminists (strident, of course) and the hearing-impaired (he has pretended at Garner's suggestion to be partially deaf), hounded by Kathleen Turner (a tabloid TV scandal-monger), and bedded by Garner's lissome associate Mary-Louise Parker (on top of Garner's own desk, which turns out to be bugged). On learning that the worst to happen to Gershon will be her own daytime TV talk show, Take Back the Night, you may want to reread Susan Faludi's Backlash. Nevertheless, there's Mary-Louise, whose performance here can only be called sublime.


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