Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Lethal Lesson

So in The Lethal Lesson, we finally meet Ken for the first time. And like the much-hated David Gideon, Ken is a law student accused of murder. I was a bit surprised by this, as I hadn’t realized Perry met Ken by defending him, but I like it. I wonder if they intended at this point to make Ken a steady character or if that was only something they decided a little later?

I’ve always liked Ken better than Paul Jr., and even in this first entry, he seems to be overall more competent than Paul Jr. He’s certainly bewildered by all of a sudden having two girls interested in him, but that would be pretty overwhelming for anyone and he seems to handle things quite well.

I’m generally the type who prefers quieter, sensible characters, so I gravitated more to Kimberly. Throughout the first part of the movie, I was never quite sure if Amy really cared about Ken. I agreed with Perry about how she was sending him mixed signals and thought she was being very annoying to proclaim herself his fiancĂ©e. I think it was only about the time she went to that bar and was determined to even go undercover working there for a few hours that I realized she really did care. The tale she was telling the bartender certainly indicated that, as well as the fact that she would stoop to making food in a bar when she was rich enough to buy the place out several times over and then some. Once I realized she really did care, I found her quirkiness more amusing than I had.

Late in the movie, I had to question things again when Perry expressed doubt over Ken and Amy being a cute couple. Suddenly I wondered if it would turn out that either Amy or Kimberly was the guilty party. I imagined up ideas of Amy killing the guy with the thought that then Ken would have to rely on her to get him out of the mess. She seemed off-the-wall enough that it seemed possible.

I was kind of glad that did not end up being the case in the end. I was surprised by the revelation of two people being involved in the killing, but not by the identity of one of the two.

I’m left wondering what happened with Amy after the movie, though. I don’t remember her being in any of the other entries . . . I don’t think. Yet I have this vague memory that maybe she was in one more? When Ken’s reason for breaking things off with her was that he didn’t like her planning his life, I wonder how things could really work out between them long-term. One of Ken’s defining characteristics in all movies is that he likes to work alone, sometimes to the point of it being exasperating. And there was no indication that Amy realized Ken would prefer to plan his own life (as most people would), so it seems like that would likely still be a stumbling block between them.

Perry also ended up with a very interesting and sad dilemma, as the father of the murder victim was an old friend and became very angry and hurt when Perry decided Ken was innocent and he would defend him after all, after previously thinking he wouldn’t because of their friendship. The father even hired Ken’s roommate to lie about him and make him look more guilty, which was disgusting on both their parts. It was heartbreaking for the father to lose his beloved son, and naturally he was thoroughly convinced Ken was guilty or he wouldn’t have done it otherwise, but it was still a terrible thing to do. And I’m repulsed by the roommate agreeing. One of my favorite scenes in the movie was where Perry tore down his story.

I wonder what happened to Ken and his roommate after the movie. I can’t imagine either of them would want to continue being roommates. I wonder if the creep even felt sorry at all for what he did.

It was a little cruel for Perry to make the father believe he had proof of the man’s payment to the roommate to try to blackmail him into testifying. But on the other hand, I had to agree with Perry when the guy snarled, “What a trick to play on a friend!” and Perry repeated “Friend?” The man certainly hadn’t been acting like a friend. And while that doesn’t make it right for Perry to pull a trick in return, he probably felt a lot more like it had to be done when he saw the lengths the father was willing to go to in order to convict Ken.

I wonder what happened to them after the movie as well. I thought there might be some kind of reconciliation scene. The most there was, was seeing the father’s expression as the real killers were exposed. He clearly seemed to be thinking that he had been wrong about Ken and he had done wrong because of it. I wish they had shown a scene of him and Perry talking afterwards.

It didn’t seem like Della was in this movie very much. But she had an amusing scene when she first came in, talking about the lovely cruise she had been on and saying how bored she was after four days. After so many years of Perry keeping her on her toes all the time with cases, apparently he’d turned her into almost as much of a workaholic as he himself. She couldn’t relax for very long without being bored by it.

I really loved the gorgeous sapphire blue suit she was wearing in that scene. I wish she would have worn that more in the film!

There were a few shippery comments, as is usual for many of these films, including a cute exchange at the end where Della asked Perry if she should drive around the block three times (as Amy did while waiting for Ken, hoping he would come) and Perry smiled and said, “Like always, I’ll catch you on the first time around.”

I found it interesting that both the prosecutor and the judge were women in this entry. That was cool, and I liked this prosecutor a lot more than the female prosecutor in the very first movie. The one in the first movie seemed more interested in getting conviction above all else, even facepalming when the real killer is exposed and Perry asks for a dismissal of charges against his client. But she does congratulate him on the case, so it’s possible she was facepalming because of chagrin over prosecuting the wrong person. But anyway, I liked this other prosecutor better.

There was no mention of Paul Jr. in this entry. I wonder if this was the first one without him or if there was one other that explained why he wasn’t there. I think I’ll assume, however, that Paul Jr. just plain wanted to stay in L.A. and didn’t move to Denver with Perry and Della. I’m still not even sure that they moved there, since all the films I’ve seen where they are there seem to involve them either coming for a case or coming on vacation and getting into a case. As I recall, a lot of the later movies have them traveling all over, so it doesn’t seem like they really put down roots in Denver. Albeit this movie has Perry teaching a law seminar, so I guess they must have bunked down in Denver for at least a little while.

I really like the idea of Perry teaching the class, too. It totally makes sense for him to pass on his legal knowledge in that way, training a new generation of lawyers. And it reminds me of how he is occasionally shown giving lectures or seminars in the series proper, such as in a late season 8 episode.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable movie too. I could have done without the scene of what I assume was a topless dancer on a table when the good guys have to corner a gang in a club, but that was thankfully about the worst thing in it. The other scene that could have been eyebrow-raising, the scene where Kimberly comes over when Amy is in Ken’s shower, was handled quite tastefully well in the end.

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