David E. Kelly is one of the most reputable names in the TV industry. Over multiple decades of his career, he has created many shows, from “Boston Legal” and “Ally McBeal” to the most recent “Big Little Lies,” “The Undoing,” and “Anatomy of a Scandal.” Now, he returns with “Presumed Innocent,” an Apple TV+ series based on Scott Turow’s novel by the same name. It is his second project this year after Netflix’s “A Man in Full.” “Presumed Innocent” episodes 1 & 2 set the stage for Jake Gyllenhall, who plays the central role of a prosecutor who becomes the prime suspect in the murder of one of his colleagues.

Spoilers Ahead

Presumed Innocent Episode 1 “Bases Loaded” Recap:

Rozat ‘Rusty’ Sabich (Jake Gyllenhaal), is a chief deputy prosecutor from Chicago who has had a reputable career. He is married to Barbara (Ruth Negga) and together, they have two children, Jaden (Chase Infiniti) and Kyle (Kingston Rumi Southwick). One day, out of the blue, he hears that one of his colleagues, Carolyn Polhemus (Renate Reinsve), has been murdered. He immediately rushes to the crime scene to see her dead body bound together. At the office, Tommy Molto (Peter Sarsgaard) suggests he should lead this case. But Rusty insists he takes this case, and Raymond Horgan (Bill Camp) admits that Rusty is the best person for this job.

Rusty returns to his office, still trying to get over the shock of Carolyn’s death. Det. Alana Rodriguez (Nana Mensah) notices that. Rusty tells her to share the lab results directly with him and not with Tommy or Nico Della Guardia (O-T Gabenle), who is running for the upcoming elections. By night, Nico takes a press conference to explain his stance on this situation to establish a responsible image. Later, at Carolyn’s wake, Rusty learns that Carolyn had a son with her ex-husband, Dalton Caldwell (Matthew Alan). Regardless, Dalton has an alternate alibi that proves him innocent in the murder case.

Rusty’s Murder Investigation

After Carolyn’s wake, Rusty and Raymond discuss possible suspects. Rusty thinks a criminal named Liam Reynolds (Mark Harelik) is behind it. With Carolyn, Rusty fought a case that led Reynolds to a life imprisonment sentence with no parole. Rusty recalls that Reynolds’ victim, Bunny Davis, was tied the same way Carolyn was. That’s why Rusty assumes that connection of revenge. Later, he goes through Carolyn’s autopsy report. It states that she died because of blunt force trauma to her head. Rusty believes that it lacks chemistry, pathology, and a toxicology report, which annoys lab tech Herbert Kumagai (James Hiroyuki Liao).

Tommy learns that Rusty suspects Reynolds to have murdered Carolyn even if Reynolds is in jail. Unlike Rusty, Alana doesn’t think Reynolds could have killed Carolyn, even if it meant with the help of someone outside. Besides, Reynolds rejects Rusty’s suspicions, although he hates Carolyn. Later, Rusty meets Dalton to speak about the case but can find nothing suspicious about him. The next day, at the office, Rusty tells his team that Carolyn’s pathology report is incomplete. When he starts sharing other details, Tommy gets highly critical. Later, Rusty publicly criticizes Nico for insinuating that he’s not doing enough to find Carolyn’s killer.

Rusty’s Past with Carolyn

In the past, Rusty had an extramarital affair with Carolyn. Barbara knows about it. So, back home, she asks if there’s any way this information will get out. She worries what it will do to her, their marriage, and their kids. In the past, even after learning about the affair, she didn’t act against him for the sake of their family. Rusty tries to put her worries to rest. He claims that he agreed to take the case, fearing Tommy won’t do enough to find the culprit. While speaking with his therapist, Dr. Liz Rush (Lily Rabe), he recalls how he didn’t want to be like his father, who had cheated on his mother.

However, Rusty couldn’t control his obsession with Carolyn. He claims that it wasn’t particularly about sex. But he hints that Carolyn offered him some things that Barbara didn’t. While that happens, Nico takes over Raymond’s position and appoints Tommy to Rusty’s position. After taking that job, Tommy asks Rusty whether he was romantically involved with Carolyn. Rusty can’t deny that he wasn’t. So, he gets enraged at Tommy. Then, Tommy reveals another crucial detail about the case: Carolyn was pregnant at the time of her murder.

Presumed Innocent Episode 2 “People vs Rozat Sabich” Recap:

Tommy reveals that Carolyn was pregnant at the time of her death. So, he asks Rusty to take a paternity test, considering Rusty’s affair with her. Only then Raymond learns about Rusty & Carolyn’s affair. So, he blames Rusty for his loss in the election against Nico. Meanwhile, Rusty gets worried about another matter. By then, Barbara knew about Rusty’s affair only until a year ago. She believes he ended it. However, he went back to Carolyn even later. Raymond’s wife, Lorraine (Elizabeth Marvel), questions Raymond about it and worries it will impact her relationship with Barbara. She thinks Barbara will assume she & Raymond knew about the affair.

Presumed Innocent Episodes 1 & 2
A still from Presumed Innocent Episode 2 starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Bill Camp.

Rusty returns to the case documents about the Bunny Davis murder. He asks Herbert about another sample found on a day before Reynolds killed Bunny. Herbert notes that it was considered inconclusive. So, Rusty takes out his anger on Herbert. Back home, he confesses the truth about his affair to his children before they learn it any other way. He tries to convince them that he made a mistake and still loves Barbara. Meanwhile, Nico advises Tommy to follow the evidence in Carolyn’s case and not just act out of his anger toward Rusty. However, Tommy decides to take a rash step anyway.

Presumed Innocent Episode 2 “People vs Rozat Sabich” Ending Explained:

At dawn, the cops show up at Rusty’s house with a search warrant. They go through Rusty’s house and confiscate some of his personal belongings. Rusty realizes that they will find proof of his obsession with Carolyn. So, he becomes certain that he will soon get arrested. Meanwhile, Nico sends him on administrative leave for misdirecting the case. Later, in a couple’s session, Dr Liz confronts Rusty for concealing the truth about his continued affair with Carolyn. Barbara wonders whether he still loves her. Rusty finds it hard to make a case for himself.

Does Rusty get arrested for Carolyn’s murder?

Rusty asks Raymond to be his lawyer and fight for his innocence. Raymond can’t trust Rusty anymore. But he doesn’t accept or refuse Rusty’s request. Loraine thinks Raymond is indecisive because he sees hope for his own career revival in Rusty’s proven innocence. Rusty asks Alana for help in getting another meeting with Reynolds. Eventually, he meets Reynolds in the prison to speak about another DNA sample in the Bunny Davis murder case. He offers help in reducing Reynolds’ sentence if he helps with the other person’s information. Reynolds realizes that Rusty is seeking help because he is in some sort of trouble and refuses to help.

Soon after, the paternity test positively proves that Rusty is Carolyn’s child’s father. Right after Alana informs him about it, the cops show up at his doorstep to arrest him. Later on, during Rusty’s initial trial, Raymond shows up in the courtroom to represent him. Raymond doesn’t let Rusty get stuck in a pretrial conference. Instead, he requests the court to find an immediate trial date. The judge accepts the proposal. So, Rusty gets remanded and returns home for a while. Back home, his family remains hopeful that he will be proven innocent. However, Rusty receives a text. It claims that this person saw Rusty at the scene of the crime.

Presumed Innocent Final Word:

Until now, the series has held on to the suspense about Rusty’s presumed innocence. Since the beginning, Rusty has tried to keep the case in his hand to keep the narrative under his control. He suspects Reynolds to have killed Carolyn and remembers the details of his crime without much thought. It hints that Rusty may have staged Carolyn’s murder. Later, when Reynolds gets out of the equation, Rusty asks the lab tech about another DNA specimen related to Bunny’s murder. So, overall, Rusty’s impulsive actions show him trying to pin the murder on someone else.

Read More: The 10 Best Jake Gyllenhaal Movies


Presumed Innocent Episodes 1 & 2 Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia
The Cast of Presumed Innocent Episodes 1 & 2: Jake Gyllenhaal, Ruth Negga, Bill Camp, Elizabeth Marvel, Renate Reinsve, Peter Sarsgaard, O-T Fagbenle, Chase Infiniti, Lily Rabe, Nana Mensah, Matthew Alan, Kingston Rumi Southwick
Presumed Innocent Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery | Runtime: 7 Episodes
Where to watch Presumed Innocent

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