For the People recap: Ranking the cases in Season 2, Episode 6

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For the People

1. The case of Isaiah West vs. the government.

Whew, this case was a doozy. Leonard must go head to head with Attorney Kaws, a man he has idolized for his patronage and so-called importance to the cause, i.e. being an accomplished black man in the law field. So he’s disappointed to see the showboating and self-servicing tactics Kaws orchestrates in order to keep his client, a respected billionaire named Isaiah West, from going to prison for wire fraud, racketeering, and countless other rich people charges.

The nexus of this case boils down to an attempted street fight on Kaws part. He wants the jury and the general public to believe Isaiah is being targeted by the government because he is black. Many other land developers have participated in white-collar crimes like Isaiah and not been indicted for it.

He also besmirches Leonard’s name, using loaded racial vernacular like “Uncle Tom” in his description of Knox and commenting on his upbringing as the son of a state senator. He claims Knox was only put on this particular case for optics. Unfortunately, this is true. Knox confirms it with Delap.

This is a blow to Leonard’s confidence and he talks about the internal struggle he has faced his entire life with Kate. He has always struggled to feel as if he belongs. He recounts being rejected by his community because of his privileged upbringing, he had friends tell him he wasn’t “really black” and yet has obviously faced racial discrimination all the same.

His mother never spoke about race in his household because she believed it would make a perceived handicap real. It becomes evident why Leonard is so profoundly upset by Kaws cruel generalization. It’s a complicated case made more difficult by the inner turmoil it causes in Leonard.

Regé-Jean Page is phenomenal in this episode, particularly as he stands up to Kaws and calls him out on his hypocrisy, his willingness to use this case as a purported stand against racism when in reality, he has been screwing over the little man and inner city folks for a while now.

Kaws makes his money on the backs of wealthy corporations, corporations whose crimes hurt the people he claims to care about so deeply, the most. Kaws even left his dying wife for a 26-year-old blonde. But his biggest mistake was underestimating Leonard Knox.

At trial, his closing argument steals the win as he demonstrates the fact yes, Isaiah West has likely been the victim of racial discrimination, and yes, at times crimes need to be looked at in a grander social context – i.e. when you look at someone like Rosa Parks or Nelson Mandela – but at the end of the day, Isaiah West broke the law and he did not do so for noble reasons. He did so because he wanted to line his pockets.

Next. For the People: Ranking the cases from S2E5. dark

Post-trial, Leonard understands what Kate meant when she said “we don’t celebrate sending people to jail.” It’s hard to feel triumphant in a case with a verdict that cuts like a double-edged sword. Still, it doesn’t make the closing moments of the episode any less poignant as Kate tells him: “You belong here.” And we see Leonard walking the streets of New York with his head held high.

A new episode of For the People titled, “The Boxer,” premieres April 18th on ABC.