Conviction1x09 Review: 'A Different Kind of Death'

You win some, you lose some. That should have been the tagline for the midseason finale of Conviction, ‘A Different Kind of Death’,  as Hayes Morrison and her team faced their toughest case yet, which prompted them to make some tough decisions, and face some truths about themselves. This was one of the most promising episodes of the seasons and proved that once Conviction got past its teething stages it had the potential to be an even better show.
This week’s case was brought to the CIU by Wallace and the murder victim was Tom Simons,  Assistant U.S. Attorney, and friend of Wallace who vehemently opposed the death penalty but the man accused for murdering him, Earl Slavitt,  was facing execution. The victim’s wife approached Wallace and asked him to find out for certain if the accused is guilty before they execute him.
The case against Earl was that he was jailed for a fraud charge and Tom was the prosecutor on the case. He spent three years in jail and he allegedly shot Tom a week after his release. The only things the court really had against Earl was that he maintained his innocence and swore he would get his revenge on Tom.

(ABC/Sven Frenzel)
(ABC/Sven Frenzel)

This case is extremely interesting as the team debate their own feelings with regards to the death penalty and whether or not it is the right thing to do. Hayes is very much against it, while Sam and Maxine believe in it as a tool of punishment. The team does what they can to solve the case before Earl is executed, with them discovering that Tom was shot by a hitman, that someone was accepting bribes to throw cases, and last minute that it was Bill Newton, the assistant U.S. attorney who had been accepting bribes and had Tom killed. However, Hayes discovered this too late.
Hayes was trying to get hold of Wallace to tell him her findings but he did not have his phone on him in the execution room so the evidence did not reach the relevant authorities in time. This meant that Earl died for a crime he did not commit and brings back to the forefront, Hayes’ views on the death penalty as she says:
“Capital punishment is immoral, unconstitutional; it is cruel, unusual punishment; it is unfairly applied; it has no deterrent value. And don’t even try to argue it’s a money thing, because it is way more expensive to execute someone than to let them rot in prison until they die.”
(ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg)
(ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg)

Most of the episodes have the team’s personal problems peppered in with whatever case they are dealing with, but this week’s case was so compelling that we almost did not miss the extra drama facing the CIU. However, the last minutes of the show brought it out in spades – firstly Sam caught Maxine pill-popping and angrily told her that he refuses to clean up her mess again.
And then there was our favorite couple – Hayes and Wallace. We learn that Wallace and Naomi are getting quite serious as she is planning to move to New York, but Hayes deeply upset at Earl having died because of something someone else did, goes to Wallace for comfort and the two end up in embracing.
I’m not quite sold on Hayes and Wallace, it’s nerve-wracking how easy it is for him to lie to her and scheme for political office with her parents. If Hayes does end up with him, what’s to say that he doesn’t become like her father and she mirrors the same unhappy relationship that her parents had?
The last scene also showed the best acting I have seen from Hayley Atwell on this show, during her run on Agent Carter there were many scenes that showed Atwell’s ability, but it seemed she was teetering on the edge in Conviction. However, when she breaks down, angry, heartbroken, in pain we truly get to see Atwell’s range and what she is capable of if she is given the right material.
Conviction is drawing closer to its end, which is a shame because each episode is better than the one before, and the cast and writers truly seem to be improving. ‘A Different Kind of Death’ was interesting, although it lacked the cliffhanger-esque punch that midseason finales usually have. I hope the show lasts long enough that we can see what will happen between Wallace and Hayes, and we get to see who they will cast as Hayes’ Bill Clinton-esque father.
Conviction airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on ABC

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