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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How I Met Your Mother Court Episode is Unwatchable

Now that the new TV season is up and running, I promise to post more. Summer is tough for writing about TV writing. I just watched the newest episode, Twelve Horny Women, of How I Met Your Mother. I usually enjoy the show. Anything with Neil Patrick Harris is worth watching in my opinion.

Except this episode.

I hope the writers never, ever write another courtroom show. I'll have to stop watching. The show starts with Marshall's traitorous ex-friend weaseling his way into Marshall's firm, sneaking into the conference room they're using as a war room for their new big trial, and photographing their notes on trial strategy.

In real life, the peeking lawyer would be in real trouble. If a lawyer gets an accidental copy or email of something they know is confidential, they're supposed to disclose it to opposing counsel, return it or delete it, and not use it. Period. They can't go around peeking at opposing counsel's notes during a deposition break or look through their garbage for confidential information.

I won't ruin the show for you by doing spoilers. The writers will ruin it anyhow for any lawyer who watches. I'll just say that the parade of gaffes includes:

• Ex-parte communications with a judge
• Lawyers presenting evidence to the jury with long narratives instead of a witness
• Lawyers offering their own opinions on the case
• Lawyers making themselves witnesses in the case
• A finding of guilty/not-guilty in a civil trial
• The judge determining damages with no evidence and no basis stated on the record
• Calling damages a "fine"

I'm sure there were more, but I can't think about this travesty of a show anymore. The ridiculousness of it ruined the show, and they could have made it funny and kept it more real. Instead, it was just silly.

C'mon guys. Two minutes of research would have made the show better. Heck, watching five minutes of Judge Judy would have made it more realistic than this show was.

If you won't even attempt to make the scenes somewhat like what would happen in a courtroom, why use a courtroom at all? Make it something different. Use arbitration, which has looser rules. Use mediation, which is very informal. Make it a settlement conference. Do something, anything, but what the writers did in this show.

I declare this episode officially unwatchable for lawyers.

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