How strong do you need to be to let your loved one go? Episode 15 of Accused is all about loving someone to the point of realizing that sometimes letting them go is the best thing you can do for them and accepting the consequences. But does the law take your emotions into consideration? Well, it wouldn’t be a law if it did. This is the case with Billy Carlson.
Greybeard rockstar Billy Carlson and his wife Anne arrive at a court in Lansing, Michigan. He has been convicted of manslaughter. How did it happen?
Billy and Anne have their son Leo and his daughter Jo Jo (granddaughter of Billy and Anne) living with them. Leo’s wife, Dana, is a drug addict, and she doesn’t live with them. Leo doesn’t use drugs anymore, and Billy has to do what it takes to keep his son and granddaughter away from Dana. However, he doesn’t appreciate Leo’s involvement in his music. He doesn’t really care for Leo’s input during his recordings, and it is evident to Leo, who keeps quiet about it. Meanwhile, Billy has cancer and is on medication. There is no telling when his time will come. One night, the fire alarm in the guest house goes off, and Billy and Anne find Leo passed out on the couch with the fire burning right beside him. Billy puts out the fire while Anne revives Leo with an injection. He had overdosed yet again, and thus Billy and Anne decide to send him to rehab.
An Old Familiar Feeling
The prosecution accepts Billy’s guilty plea and requests maximum sentencing for Billy, disregarding his status, for manslaughter.
Leo returns from rehab. Anne tells Billy to speak to Dana and convince her to stay away from Leo to prevent the latter from using again. Billy arrives at Dana’s place and pays her money to go away and change her phone number. Dana tells him that she loves Leo, and he reminds her that if she does love Leo, she has to understand what’s good for him. Dana takes the money reluctantly. She knows she will have a problem staying away from Leo and Jo Jo, her daughter. But she needs the money for her drugs more than anything else. That’s the thing with drug addicts.
Leo comes home with his mother, Anne, who is glad to have him back. The doctor has given him pills to prevent the cravings. His siblings will be coming over to see him. Leo meets his father (Billy), who tells him that the album they were working on has been wrapped up while Leo was in rehab. Then Leo reminds Billy of a song he made when Leo was ten and suggests that they use it as a bonus track in the album. Billy agrees. Later on, Leo’s sister Ramona, her husband Ted, and his younger brother Tommy arrive. Among them all, Tommy seems to be really angry at Leo and doesn’t waste a moment taking a dig at his addiction and trying to provoke him. Leo remains quiet because, as he tells Ramona later, Tommy has all the reasons to be angry. Leo overdosed in front of Tommy when he was 13 years old. When Tommy was 14, Leo and Dana disappeared for four months. This is proof that Leo has been using since he was a youngster.
Billy and Anne are at the clinic for his scan, and the report isn’t good. Billy’s malignancy is increasing. Anne doesn’t want Billy to undergo surgery, and Billy seems to be fine with it. The couple is taking a positive outlook, but it doesn’t take away the fact that Billy is dying and maybe has a handful of years.
A Good Gesture
Billy is recording the song Leo told him about in the studio. But this is just to satisfy Leo because, despite the song not being terrible, it isn’t worthy of Billy’s last album. Maybe Billy’s fans will love it, but Leo knows that Billy doesn’t want the song on his album. It puts him off. The next day, Billy tells Anne that maybe involving Leo in his music was a mistake. Anne asks if he can put the song on his album as a good gesture for his son. But Billy snaps back, saying that his album is not a gesture but his legacy. This heated debate about Leo is heard by Leo from the stairs. He is unable to bear it and goes to his father’s room and gulps down a handful of Billy’s pills that are part of his cancer medication. He then goes tubing with his daughter, Jo Jo and passes out while piloting the motorboat. It is Jo Jo who manages to stop the boat from crashing into a walkway. Leo comes back to his senses and finds Jo Jo scared. She asks him to take her back. Leo is worried that she might tell her grandparents about it.
Back at home, Dana arrives with a guy who is her live-in partner. She has come to ask for more money. Anne assures her that she will have more money if she keeps her promise of not contacting Leo or Jo Jo. Dana promises to return, and it sounds like a threat.
Not An Impulsive Decision
Billy’s lawyer submits a motion to exclude Dana’s roommate’s testimony, stating that the guy and Dana are both drug addicts. The prosecution objects, saying that the testimony proves Billy’s impulsive and violent behavior, which is related to the case. The judge allows the testimony. But what has Billy really done that shows that he is violent and impatient?
Anne is talking to Billy about Dana when Jo Jo comes and tells them about Leo passing out in the motorboat. Billy finds Leo in a deep sleep in his room and wakes him by putting water on his face. He then charges his son with almost killing his own daughter. That’s when Leo finally accepts that he doesn’t think he will be able to come out of his situation. Billy realizes that his son is in dire straits and reassures him that he will get all the help possible. The same night, Billy visits his daughter Ramona and tells her about Leo, Dana, and her partner. However, the police won’t do anything because Dana hasn’t done anything other than threaten Anne. Be that as it may, he and Anne have decided to take full custody of Jo Jo. Leo will know about it only after Dana has signed the papers. Billy asks Ramona for Ted’s gun. Ramona tries to tell him how dangerous it can become, but Billy assures her that he will not use it. It is only for safety because he has no idea what a drug addict like Dana or her partner is capable of doing.
Did Billy Carlson Kill His Son?
Dana’s partner testifies that Billy pulled a gun on Dana after she slapped him and that Billy said he would use the gun if she didn’t sign the custody papers.
Billy and Anne show Leo the custody papers with Dana’s signature on them and tell him that he has to go back to rehab. This provokes Leo, who is already at the end of his wits, to finally open up to his parents about how he was always treated as a failure, and that is what made him take to drugs. And it was his father who reminded him of it more than anyone else. He starts walking away, and Billy tries to stop him. Leo punches his father hard in the face and walks out of the house. Sometime later, after informing Ramona, who is on her way, Billy and Anne hear a song coming from the guest house. It is the very song that Leo wanted his father to keep in his album. That’s when it dawns on Billy. He tells Anne to call emergency services and rushes to the guest house. They find Leo motionless on the couch with drugs in front of him. Anne is about to push the injection into Leo’s arm when she stops. Her voice heavy with pain, she tells Billy that maybe this is what Leo wants. He couldn’t take it anymore and wanted to escape. Billy isn’t able to register the possibility that Leo doesn’t want to live anymore and tries to take the syringe from Anne’s hands so that he can give it to Leo, but Anne breaks it on the table. As they weep, the emergency services arrive and make a last attempt to revive Leo. But it’s too late. Leo is gone. Billy tells the emergency responders that he didn’t let Anne use the antidote, although it was the other way around. Anne tries to stop him, but he tells her that it’s alright. He will be leaving soon as well, and Jo Jo needs her care.
In front of the court, Billy accepts not being able to do the needful to keep Leo from using, which was itself a result of Billy being unable to understand his own son. It happened multiple times, and his family was drained. The fact is, Billy didn’t know how to save Leo, and his whole family was suffering. Letting Leo go was Billy’s only way to bring peace to his family. The judge acknowledges what he did, but the truth is that Billy broke the law by preventing a person from saving someone’s life. Billy Carlson is thus sentenced to 4 years in prison. Billy gives his wedding ring to Anne, and he is then taken away. Accused Episode 15 ends with Anne and Jo Jo having a fun time gardening together.
Leo was gone long before he died. There wasn’t anything Billy or Anne could do to bring him back. That chance was long gone. As for Billy and his malignant condition, four years of imprisonment is a potential life sentence. But now that he knows that Leo is no longer in pain, he too can die peacefully. Accused Episode 15 tells us that it is very important to let people, especially our loved ones, know that they matter. That’s all we need to do. And it is easier than we think. If only Billy had carried out the gesture of putting Leo’s song on his album, maybe none of this would have happened. Maybe Leo would have become a composer and carried forward Billy’s legacy. After all, Billy did admit that Leo was his only kid who could carry a tune.