‘Bull’ Recap: Has Dr. Bull Met His Match in Another Familiar Trial Scientist?

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'Bull' Recap: Has Dr. Bull Met His Match in Another Familiar Trial Scientist?

CBS all-star and Emmy Award-winner Archie Panjabi returns to her home network to face off against Bull and the TAC team in this episode of Bull, titled “The Devil, the Detail.” It’s a case of the dueling trial scientists, and Panjabi plays Arti Cander, an expert for a drug company that Bull and Co. is suing. A former employee’s parents seek Bull’s help after their son commits suicide during an experimental drug trial.

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The Crime

Although it’s murky in the opening scenes, the crime is the possible suicide of a former employee of TAC, Simon. When we meet Simon, he’s been gone from TAC for a while. He disappeared without much of a trace after four months there and is currently working as a bike messenger. While he was on the team, he strikes up a relationship with Cable during his short tenure, and when he left, he ghosted her in a pretty brutal way.

She rightfully gives him the serious rage lecture he deserves. She sends him down in the elevator and on to his next delivery, having said some pretty harsh things in retaliation. When he arrives at his next stop, he hands off the package of a bunch of yellow balloons, to the birthday girl, and then promptly throws himself off the building.

Bull to the Rescue

Cable, riddled with guilt, goes to the funeral and promises his parents that she’ll enlist Bull’s help. After some anemic protests, Bull sets a meeting with the pharmaceutical company that Simon’s parents want to sue. It seems Simon has been participating in an experimental drug trial with a new antidepressant, and his moods and behavior have changed drastically since he’s been taking it. They want to sue for answers, naturally, but money wouldn’t be so bad either.

During the meeting, Bull and Benny meet the glossy Arti Cander, played by Good Wife alum Archie Panjabi. She’s slick and composed, and she immediately ruffles Bull’s feathers. Of course their exchange becomes adversarial, and the tension heightens when she reveals that she is also a trial scientist. We can all imagine how unsettling this is for Bull. He likes to be the brightest star in the sky, and this Cander lady is going to give him a run for his money.

Bull feels compelled to up his game and gets a little fancy with his strategy in jury selection. He delights in confusing her and might as well dip her pigtails in the ink. Of course, this will get in his way because Bull is nothing if not a self-saboteur, but I admire Panjabi’s willingness to let Michael Weatherly suck up all the air in the room.

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The Complications

Leave it to the grieving mother to muck up a perfectly good case, and that’s just what Simon’s mom does on the stand. Claiming to be so close to her son, her testimony is shot down when she is forced to admit all the things she didn’t know about her son, including his participation in the drug trial.

Bull also lets his preoccupation with beating Cander get in everybody’s way. They exchange a few looks, and I expect, at any moment, he’s going to stick his tongue out at her and exclaim, “Nah, nanny, boo boo.” It’s tough to watch.

Even when Danny rounds up another trial participant, Kevin, who also took the drug and had suicidal thoughts, the team can’t seem to bring the case out of the toilet. Cander and her team dig up some pretty damning evidence about this trial getting contaminated with another drug trial, even though both Simon and Kevin suffered the same symptoms. The smugness between these two trial scientists when they respectively one-up each other is pretty gross, especially since the dead kid’s parents are totally sitting within eyeline.

Bull is rattled at this new revelation and scrambles to try to course correct. It’s looking pretty bleak as their strategies dry up and their witnesses list is nonexistent. Bull pitches a giant fit, coming down pretty hard on the victim, blaming the chip on his shoulder on his hatred of losing. Benny tries to call him on it, but Bull doubles down on the pissiness. He doesn’t like to be accused of doing all the things he’s actually doing, and he dismisses Benny outright.

The pharmaceutical company calls up a long-lost friend of Simon’s, the same friend that Bull and the team couldn’t locate at all. This Tom Griever testifies that Simon overdosed on heroin when they were in college, but all of Cable’s all-nighters and hard work pays off. She realizes this Tom changed his name, and he’s a really bad guy — or at least a really dishonest guy. He has a history of drugs and petty criminality, and Benny completely eviscerates his testimony.

The Result

The uphill battle that Bull and the team have been facing during the whole trial seems to be getting a little easier. Bull can’t help himself and confronts Cander on the street, mostly to gloat and try to engage in a measuring contest. She doesn’t give in to it, and I find her character completely endearing.

Meanwhile, Chunk tries to hunt up more participants and discovers that the pharmaceutical company’s CEO has been taking care of one of the participants — coincidentally, one who committed suicide himself. When she takes the stand, Bull notices Cander signalling the witness, and Bull is impressed at the complicated nature of the strategy. But the witness is on the ropes, nonetheless. The CEO is no match for Benny, however, and he drags the truth out of her. She hid the suicides and is, in turn, responsible for the wrongful death.

The last scene between Cander and Bull implies there might be something between the two. What did you think about the chemistry between the trial scientists? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Bull season 2 airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Bull Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

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