“Benched” Season 1 Episode 11 “Campaign Contributions” aired last Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014, at 10:00 p.m. on USA Network. In this episode, Public Defender Nina Whitley (Eliza Coupe) tried to help her colleague Public Defender Phil Quinlan (Jay Harrington) win the Public Defender of the Year Award. However, when the results came in, the entire department had the surprise of their life as to who actually won the award. Meanwhile, District Attorney Trent Barber (Carter MacIntyre) mentored a little boy named Walter, as part of the “Big Brother” program. However, as Walter thought that Trent was a superhero and that Public Defenders were the bad guys, Public Defender Carlos Gorda (Oscar Nunez) tried his best to inform Walter that Public Defenders were actually the superheroes. Later that night, Trent showed up at Nina’s place with a shocking announcement. Read on to learn more about this episode.
At the beginning of the episode, Public Defender Nina Whitely (Eliza Coupe) woke up in an extremely good mood, in which she held up the coffee line and babble happily to her client who had just robbed a church. She then realized that the only possible reason she would be so happy and so hopeful was because she was finally over her ex-fiance, District Attorney Trent Barber (Carter MacIntyre), and told him so when she ran into him in front of the office. She then noticed that he was with a boy named Walter, as Trent was his “Big Brother” for the time being as he had volunteered for the program. She then learned that Trent and his fiancée, Maria, weren’t doing a lot of wedding planning as of late, as it was currently on hold as they were currently sorting things out. Nina then proclaimed that the “new Nina” didn’t care about it.
At the office, she fell to the floor after sitting down on her chair as she did not heed the warning of her colleague, Public Defender Phil Quinlan (Jay Harrington), that the wheels on her chair were gone as his client stole them. Public Defender Carlos Gorda (Oscar Nunez) then came in and told them that Phil was on the shortlist for the Los Angeles Public Defender of the Year Award. However, Phil did not seem ecstatic as he felt that he did not have a chance against Public Defender Mitch Grady (Chris Parnell) and because he felt that the entire thing was fake since one would have to pay for the plaque and for the awards dinner. Moreover, he did not want to exert any effort in “brown nosing” judges and other lawyers. However, Nina kept on insisting that she could help him win, as she could be his campaign manager.
Meanwhile, at court, Carlos became a little bit upset with Walter, as he called him and the Public Defenders the bad guys.
During lunch, after Mitch jokingly insulted Phil in front of Nina and other councilmen, Phil decided to become serious in going against Mitch and in winning the award.
Meanwhile, Carlos watched over Walter for a while, as Trent had to go to a particular tough deposition. At the Public Defender’s office, Walter thought that they were the loser lawyers and asked Carlos and Larry (Peter Spruyt) for the point of their existence if most of the time they weren’t able to really help out those who were really in trouble, after Carlos informed him that they were the superheroes.
While this happened, Nina and Phil went through all of the profiles of the committee, which was given to them by their office intern, Micah (Jolene Purdy), in preparation for their visit to the Rutherford Club that night, where they would engage in small talk with the committee members, and other lawyers, professors and judges.
Later that night, Nina switched Phil’s “joke tie” with a tie very much like the one that Trent was currently wearing. After seeing Mitch at the club and after Nina told him that she believed that he was one of best lawyers she knew of, Phil decided to exert effort into making small talk with those that were there. The two worked as a team, with Nina sometimes starting the conversation so that Phil could jump right in.
At one point, when Nina left Phil alone for a while to go to the bar where Trent was, Trent asked if they were seeing each other as Nina had bought Trent’s favorite tie. However, Nina said that they weren’t, and they both pointedly told each other that they didn’t care about the relationships that they did or did not have at that moment.
The next day, at court, Carlos confided to Phil that the next case he was about to present to the court would change Walter’s mind about Trent being a superhero as he was defending an old lady who was selling ice creams but was unlicensed. Phil then confided to Carlos that the team work that he and Nina had the other night was nice and that it felt good, even if it was just for one day.
During Carlos’ case, Walter could not understand why Trent was going after a harmless old lady and ran out of court. Outside, Trent tried to explain to Walter that he was just doing his job, and Carlos informed him that sometimes, the law comes down hard. Walter then ran away, and labelled Trent as evil and Carlos as useless.
Nina then entered the office with some alcohol in a brown paper bag and some disposable cups so that they can all drink to celebrate Phil’s win, as she had heard that it was in the bag. Mitch then came in and congratulated Nina, as she had won the award, much to everyone’s surprise. Phil then decided to go to a bar and cut Mitch’s tie in half.
Afterwards, outside, Nina found out from Trent that he had been the one who had recommended her, as he claimed that she had done an amazing job as a public defender. Before he left, he congratulated her for the win and for getting over him. At the parking lot, Nina tried to apologize to Phil for the way that things had turned out, but Phil told her that he couldn’t believe that he had allowed himself to believe and to be convinced that he had a shot. He then insisted that she had helped him for her own purposes and told her to stop trying to turn him into Trent.
Later that evening, at the sound of the doorbell, Nina clipped on Phil’s joke tie, as she believed that it was Phil as he probably wanted his tie back. However, she was surprised to see Trent standing in her doorway. She then offered her apologies after Trent informed her that he and Maria had broken up, but he told her not to be and kissed her passionately.
The next day, Carlos ran into Walter again, who showed him his new big brother, a big brother who threatened anyone who tried to disappoint him.
And that was all for the recap of “Benched” Season 1 Episode 11 “Campaign Contributions.” For more news and updates, including spoilers and recaps, on “Benched” and other television shows, keep following Movie News Guide (MNG).
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