‘Presumed Innocent’ Episode 1 Recap: Why Was Rusty A Suspect In Carolyn’s Murder?

Presumed Innocent, the brand-new Apple TV+ murder investigation show based on the book of the same name has been adapted previously in the year 1990. That film was headlined by Harrison Ford and was critically acclaimed. The new adaptation is a television show starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard that discusses the death of an attorney.


Spoilers Ahead

What news shocked Rusty? 

The first episode of Presumed Innocent begins with Chief Deputy Prosecutor Rozat “Rusty” Sabich receiving a phone call informing him of the murder of his friend Carolyn Polhemus, and he rushes to the scene of the crime. Rusty’s wife Barbara was equally shocked, as Carolyn was known to everyone in the district attorney’s office and Rusty’s family. She was found bludgeoned to death with her hands and legs tied together. Rusty was in shock, but he had to pick up the pieces of the tragedy and work towards forming a case as the police began looking for evidence and the suspect. 


Why was Rusty given the job of gathering evidence?

Rusty was assigned the case by his senior, DA Raymond Horgan. Rusty and Carolyn had been working cases together for many years, and it only made sense to give him the charge of being the lawyer to find out who killed her. The rival who was running for District Attorney and many others were not keen on this appointment, stating that Rusty would be too emotional to be close to this case. Nico Della Guardia was the person fighting against Raymond for the post of DA. There was also the case of Liam Reynolds, who was accused of killing a woman named Bunny Davis. The deceased Bunny Davis’ case was fought by Carolyn and Rusty. As per the details of the case, Carolyn and Bunny were killed in the same manner. There was a concern that Liam had asked someone to commit the crime as revenge for wrongfully accusing him. 

Was there a district attorney election going on?

Nico Della Guardia, along with his deputy Tommy, were making sure to politicize the murder of Carolyn and use it to their advantage for the upcoming election. The district election campaign had taken an ugly turn as Nico and Tommy were on one side while Raymond and Rusty were on the other. Since Rusty was close to Carolyn, it was appalling to him that Nico was making every element related to the investigation a part of his election campaign. This led to Rusty having to say many mean things about Nico to the television reporters covering the investigation and the election. 


What did Rusty learn from Carolyn?

On the day of Carolyn’s funeral, Rusty was shocked to know she had a past that included an ex with whom she had a son. The ex-partner got full custody of the son, and Rusty could not believe Carolyn hid so many details of her life from him. Rusty had a chat with the ex about Carolyn to understand the nature of her relationship with him and the son. Soon, it was easy to conclude that Carolyn and Rusty were more than just colleagues. 

What did Rusty reveal during his therapy?

During his therapy session, it is revealed that Rusty has been disturbed since the death of Carolyn. The reason would be the affair they had going on a while back, which they had to put an end to for the sake of his marriage. During the session, he conveyed the reason he chose to have an affair with her, including the kinds of questions she asked him when they were being intimate. It was obvious the man was in love with Carolyn, and there was no evidence to prove she loved him back. Carolyn may have wanted him only for some physical gratification. Their affair lasted for a while, and it almost cost him his marriage. This affair was a well-kept secret, as nobody in the office was aware of it, including Raymond. 


Did Barbara know of the affair?

His marriage to Barbara was now strong, but that was not the state when she was made aware of the affair. She knew Rusty loved Carolyn, and the reason for him being depressed was the time he spent with her. Barbara was strong enough to accept Rusty back into her life, as they had kids to raise together, Kyle and Jaden. The family was as close as ever, but Barbara did point out that she could have walked as she was not dependent on him anymore. This was just a talk between the married couple when discussing their difficult past. 

Who won the district attorney election?

The district election came to an end, and Nico Della Guardia was declared the winner. Raymond and Rusty were now out of office, and it was the end of a gruesome election that had gotten heated since Carolyn’s murder. Nico Della Guardia was happy to be given a chance to work for the people, while Raymond and Rusty would continue to work as public prosecutors. This also meant both would have to submit the case reports and investigation files to Tommy, Nico’s new Chief Deputy Prosecutor.

How Did Rusty Become a suspect in Carolyn’s murder?

Rusty and Raymond were in Nico’s office to discuss the handover of the documents related to Carolyn’s case. Tommy was quick to point out that the fingerprint analysis was missing from the case file. Tommy was a diligent man and very competitive as well. Since his and Nico’s win, he had taken it upon himself to find discrepancies in Rusty’s work so far. Tommy’s first find was important, and Rusty was quick to admit there were details he had been waiting for from the forensics. However, Tommy was quick to note the fingerprint analysis had come back, and that they’d found Rusty’s DNA in her room, and the autopsy showed Carolyn was pregnant as well. The fact that Rusty’s affair was out for everyone to know made him shut down for a while, as he was in no position to answer their questions. Tommy questioned if the two were having an affair, saying if he was, it was wrong of him to take up the case as it would have been a conflict of interest. Since his fingerprints were found in her apartment, his taking over the case knowing these details would mean he would have tried to mislead the case. This detail made Rusty a suspect in the murder. Rusty had not anticipated that Raymond would lose the election. Since Nico had taken over, most of Rusty’s plans to keep his affair a secret were a bust. The man was finally cornered. He may not have committed the murder, but his integrity will be questioned. 

Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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