WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Defending Jacob, now streaming on Apple TV+.
Things continue to go wrong for the Barber family in Defending Jacob as Andy (Chris Evans), a district attorney in Newton, Massachusetts, tries to prove his son Jacob (Jaeden Martell) isn’t guilty of killing a classmate in a park. Evidence is mounting thanks to Jacob’s online antics and it doesn’t look good for him at all.
The mom, Laurie (Michelle Dockery) just isn’t buying her son’s alibi and is slowly pulling away from her loved ones. This leads to a sloppy mistake in the show’s latest episode that’s poised to deal them a major blow that could doom Jacob’s case.
As Andy, now removed from the case, starts breaking boundaries to build evidence for Jacob not being the killer, Laurie’s losing hope. Following a meeting with the defense lawyer Joanna (Cherry Jones), there are so many holes in Jacob’s story, Laurie doesn’t have the faith Andy does. The flummoxed housewife is cracking under pressure as she’s been asked to take leave from her administrative job, while her workers and social circle have all pulled away.
Worse yet, she’s lashing out at the family, particularly Jacob who doesn’t like how they’re trying to pretend to be normal, especially at family dinner. Laurie can’t stay home anymore, which leads her to lies about a friend inviting her for dinner, and heads out to a chain restaurant far away from their neighborhood. There, she meets a stranger in Jeanine (Audrey Wasilewski), a nice older lady who chats with her about food and life in general. As they bond over dessert, Laurie’s relieved that she has somewhat of a friend here to listen, even if temporarily.
Laurie eventually shares personal insight into her mental fragility, the breakdown in communication between her family and a lot of stuff that paints the Barbers as unstable. She eventually gets way too honest and reveals she’s the mother of the murder accused all over the news, at which point Jeanine makes a shocking revelation of her own: she’s a Boston Globe reporter. Laurie realizes Jeanine’s been tailing her and went undercover, so to speak, to extract information. And while Laurie didn’t let slip too many details to incriminate her son, Jeanine has information that could sway a juror once it gets out in the public domain. The reporter asks if Laurie wants to keep anything off the record but Laurie is too shocked to protest as she rushes out, struggling with how her trust was used against her.
To the reporter, this omission of confirmation will surely be taken as permission, bringing full-circle a thread earlier on when Joanna warned Andy to avoid reporters circling the town scrounging for details. Laurie, who’s unwittingly broken protocol, heads home knowing the case has a national spotlight and she may have added to it. Soon after, she begins to question everything, even asking Andy as they sleep apart from each other if he thinks Jacob did it. It may be guilt taking over because she just sold the family out and knows the press will demonize them, but at this point, Laurie seems to be accepting the inevitable. She might not want Jeanine to publish her piece but deep down she senses she may have indeed raised a teenage murderer.
Written by Mark Bomback and directed by Morten Tyldum, Defending Jacob stars Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery, Pablo Schreiber, Cherry Jones, Jaeden Martell, Sakina Jaffrey, Betty Gabriel and J.K. Simmons. The miniseries is now streaming on Apple TV+ with new episodes out every Friday.
Defending Jacob dealt the Barber family a major blow when Laurie makes a sloppy mistake after seeking time alone in public.