TV judge Pirro’s first foray into fiction follows a Westchester County Assistant District Attorney through two slam-bang years as she battles rapists, killers and fellow pillars of law enforcement.
Since it’s 1976 and she’s a woman, Dani Fox has been shunted into the appeals bureau and kept out of the courtroom. But all that changes when Detective Tommy O’Brien asks her to talk pregnant barmaid Mary Margaret Hitchins, whose common-law husband Rudy beat her within an inch of her life, into leaving town for her own safety. Instead, Dani persuades Mary Margaret to file a complaint that’ll put Rudy away, then refuses to back up the cops’ tale of resisting arrest when they cuff Rudy and knock him around. As Dani’s boss, Westchester District Attorney Carlton Whitaker III, observes, Dani clearly isn’t a team player, and it’s no surprise to anyone but her when the case against Rudy turns ugly. No matter: Her high-profile prosecution, juiced by Whitaker’s pursuit of women’s votes, propels her into heading the county’s new Domestic Violence unit and onto a state task force drafting historic legislation allowing battered wives to take their abusers into criminal court. With her career well under way, Dani can afford to take on the case of Carmen Gonzales, whose father, Carlos, a jeweler and respected community activist, has been selling cocaine for years and raping her since she was 14. Despite unhelpful rulings from a novice judge, Dani gets a conviction, but once again the case doesn’t turn out the way she expects.
As absorbing, episodic and self-congratulatory as a season of Mad Men, though with more felonies and inferior costumes and hairdos. A sequel is promised.