Rush to Judgement - Recap

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MacGyver is on the jury of a trial going into its fourteenth day as protestors gather outside the courthouse. Lisa Robbins, wife of former Gold Medallist Wyatt Robbins, was the victim of street violence. She was brutally murdered and left to die on a street corner in the arms of her wounded husband. Wyatt has identified Curtis Danby, a black man and ex-convict, as the man who killed his wife. The protestors are divided along racial lines and Reverend Roy Thatcher, leader of the Committee for African-American Justice, is more than willing to insist that if Danby was white, there wouldn't be a trial. Thatcher also insists that black crime is the fault of the white community keeping African-Americans down. Reporter Jake Baron is among the news people covering the story, and is primarily interested in getting ratings.

In the courtroom, the defense attorney, Mr. Monroe asks Wyatt why he and his wife were in the neighborhood. Wyatt explains that they got a call from Sandra Masters, Lisa's best friend. She invited them to a charity dinner at a halfway house she sponsors. Monroe uses a diagram to demonstrate the street and how the killer approached the car's open window and shot Lisa. Wyatt says that he got hit in the arm trying to hit Lisa and blacked out. Monroe demonstrates that the nearest streetlight was broken and that he couldn't have positively identified Danby. Wyatt stands by his testimony and Mrs. Bigelow, the prosecuting attorney, re-establishes that there was a working streetlight nearby. She has him positively identify Danby and the judge dismisses the jury for the day. He admonishes the jury to remain in the hotel, to avoid being influenced by the media, and to not discuss the case among themselves.

As the jurors are taken by bus to the hotel, one juror insists that Danby is guilty and his mind is made up. Another juror notes that they weren't allowed to see the crime scene or view photos of the location. MacGyver, who has been doing sketches based on the courtroom descriptions, agrees. That night, he decides to slip out of the hotel and check the crime scene himself. He goes out into the hallway and chats with the marshal, and notices a nearby fire exit door. MacGyver goes to the soda machine and fakes losing his money. He then opens the case with his Swiss Army knife while the marshal looks on, amused. MacGyver offers him a can of pop and puts a dollar in the machine, and then covertly activates the timing device. MacGyver returns to his room as the pop machine starts dumping cans out. When the marshal goes to investigate, MacGyver slips by him and goes out.

MacGyver goes to the street corner and confirms Wyatt's testimony concerning the streetlights. As he walks by a building, a woman accidentally knocks a flowerpot down on him. She asks MacGyver to bring up the plant while she tends to her bird. He notices that the woman, Mrs. Jones, has a good view of the street corner. She claims that her bird saw the entire thing and gave her the details. According to Mrs. Jones, her bird saw a bald African-American man run away after the shot was fired, but not before he tossed something shiny into the sewer grate across the street. She admits that the police asked around but weren't interested in what her bird had to say. He borrows a flashlight from her and checks out the storm drain, discovering the murder weapon.

Pete is housesitting MacGyver's houseboat and watching an interview with Sandra Masters, an heiress to a department store fortune. He's surprised to see MacGyver come in. MacGyver asks his friend to call Monroe and have him search the sewer grate and talk to Mrs. Jones. Pete objects to the fact that MacGyver ignored the sequestering order and MacGyver admits he didn't know he was going to find critical evidence. However, he insists that the system wasn't getting at the truth. He takes Pete to the crime scene and demonstrates that Wyatt could have only seen a silhouette of the killer with the streetlight behind the murderer. Pete reluctantly agrees to go to Monroe and tell him what MacGyver has told him.

The next day at the trial, Monroe calls Mrs. Jones to the stand. It becomes clear that she's eccentric but Monroe insists that she feels threatened and believes she'll be safer testifying through the bird. The judge allows it and Mrs. Jones repeats her testimony. Monroe then presents the gun that the police discovered in the storm drain, and confirms that the caliber of the gun matches that of the murder weapon. She then testifies that Danby isn't the man she saw because he has too much hair. Monroe calls for a dismissal of charges but Bigelow asks for a continuance to investigate the assertions. She also asks the judge to ask Monroe to explain how he found the witness. Monroe says that he learned about Mrs. Jones from Pete Thornton. Pete refuses to divulge his source and the judge prepares to rule him in contempt of court. MacGyver speaks up and admits that he went to the crime scene and asked Pete to relay the information. Once he confirms that MacGyver didn't relay the information to the other jurors, he has MacGyver replaced by an alternate juror and orders him imprisoned to stand trial on contempt charges in three days.

The police have tracked the gun to a department store owned by Sandra Masters. The authorities have yet to release Danby. A motel clerk has come forward to testify that he saw Sandra Masters as a woman who checked in at his hotel regularly with a man she claimed was her husband. The clerk finally realized that her "husband" was Wyatt Robbins. Danby, being kept with MacGyver, thanks him for his help and insists that whatever the truth is, it won't lead to him. MacGyver is released on bail and sent to see Bigelow.

Wyatt meets with Sandra and worries that their affair was a mistake and will make them look guilty. Sandra insists they have nothing to worry about and they shouldn't care what anyone else thinks. She asks to see him that night but Wyatt insists that he meant it when he said they were through. Sandra says that once everything is over, they can forget everything but Wyatt says he can't forget what happened to his wife. Sandra goes to see one of her workers, Lawrence Groden, a black African-American man, and tells him to dispose of Mrs. Jones.

As he's released, the judge confronts MacGyver and admits that off-the-record he's grateful for the results. He goes to see Bigelow, who is preparing to issue a warrant to arrest Wyatt. She tells MacGyver that she's filed a restraining order against him to stay away from the case. She insists that he didn't follow the rules but MacGyver notes that she's letting public opinion influence who she prosecutes. He insists that her going after Wyatt is just as much a mistake as her prosecuting Danby in the first place. Bigelow doesn't believe the jury will believe Jones but MacGyver says that's for the jury to decide. They're interrupted when Bigelow gets a call that Jones is dead.

Baron is at Jones' tenement, playing up the news. When he asks Bigelow for a statement, she has nothing to say. She informs MacGyver and Pete that they're still planning to arrest Wyatt. After she leaves, Pete wonders who is responsible. MacGyver insists that they need to check the bald man. He figures that if they check the records of the halfway house against the department store records, they might come up with something. Upon checking the records, they discover that Groden is the only ex-convict that works at a Masters department store. His MO matches the Robbins murder and his description is close to the one Wyatt gave. MacGyver figures that Wyatt is their best witness.

MacGyver goes to see Wyatt, who is less than thrilled to see him. He tells Wyatt that Jones was murdered and that Bigelow is preparing to arrest him. MacGyver believes that he isn't a murderer and asks why he picked out Danby. Wyatt insists that he was sure but MacGyver points out that Danby's picture was in the news and he might have been influenced by the coverage. Wyatt admits it's possible and the police were sure they had the right man so he just went along. MacGyver suggests that Sandra set him up and Wyatt realizes that she's desperate to be with him. MacGyver figures they can use Wyatt to convince Groden that he can identify him.

MacGyver and Wyatt go to the department store while Sandra secretly watches them enter. The two men go to the loading dock and Groden, noticing them and figuring Wyatt can implicate him, makes a run for it. He goes down to the basement where the security dogs are kept and grabs a length of pipe. When MacGyver and Wyatt enter, Groden attacks them. MacGyver manages to knock Groden out but Sandra arrives and holds them both at gunpoint. She says that she loved Wyatt and wanted him for herself. When Groden recovers consciousness, he distracts Sandra long enough for MacGyver to shove a wheeled bin into her. She drops the gun but Groden grabs it and they're forced to run. Groden releases the guard dogs and then he and Sandra follow.

MacGyver uses perfume bottles to distract the dogs long enough for he and Wyatt to get to a storage cage full of mannequins. He then puts the perfume on their coats and puts the coats on the mannequins. When the dogs come running, they attack the mannequins. Groden sees the dogs attacking the human figures and enters the cage, where MacGyver swings down and disarms him. He gets out and locks the cage, trapping the dogs, while Wyatt emerges from hiding and captures Sandra.

Later, Danby and Wyatt are both released. Baron approaches MacGyver and asks him how the judicial system went out of control. MacGyver refuses to let him focus on the fact a black man was involved. Instead he blames Baron and the news in general for rushing to judgment and making snap accusations. He accuses Baron of abusing the freedom of the press and walks away, warning that there may be more American who agree with him than Baron thinks.