Alice again confronts the demons of urban etiquette, this time in a convenience store. She has an altercation while waiting for an ABM with a woman who accuses her of standing too close. Alice then notices a man in a wheelchair trying to get an item off a shelf. When she rushes to help, he chastises her for presuming he can’t do things himself. As he strains to reach another item off an even higher shelf, Alice decides she better hang back. This time, she gets grief from the man for not helping.
On her way to Old City Hall, Alice meets her client Barbara Spevak and her husband, Ben. Retirees in their fifties, they’re both burnt out from a career of teaching in Parkdale, a high-needs area of Toronto. Barbara is in court for assaulting one of her high school students in a case with racial undertones – Barbara is white and the student is a black. For the moment, however, both Barbara and Ben seem more interested in setting up Alice with an eligible man.
Elliot meets his client Sandy Fisher and her two children at the office before heading off to plea court. Sandy has been charged with fraud because she didn't declare $300 a month she was receiving from her ex-husband in child support and now she’s been kicked off welfare. Sandy’s furious at the notion of paying the money back and frustrated by a welfare system that traps people in perpetual poverty. Elliot, meanwhile, is extremely disconcerted to learn that Sandy’s kids both have lice, since he has had a few bouts with lice himself.
Alice’s other case is with Mr. Jackson, making yet another appearance at Old City Hall, this time on mischief and uttering threat charges. He led a rebellion at his rooming house, gluing pennies to the locks and threatening to burn the place down in protest over the slum-like conditions. Alice visits him in the cells, where he implores her to go see the disgusting conditions for herself, offering out the carrot of eternal salvation in return for her efforts.
James has just endured an uncomfortable conversation with Judge Fraser about erectile dysfunction, among other things, when he is accosted by Bucky Puck, last seen in Season One. When we first met them, Bucky had just tracked down his father Stan, a man he never knew, and---much to their mutual delight---found they shared the same vocation: car thievery. Now Bucky has come to James in a panic, claiming that Stan, while in jail, has been brainwashed by Christians obsessed with the notion of restitution. Bucky has now somehow concluded that his newfound father is being held captive at a Chinese restaurant and is in mortal danger. James, dubiously, goes off to see what he can do.
In Alice’s assault trial, we learn that Barbara had been trying to keep Darnell Hughes, a 16-year-old black student, in her classroom by blocking the doorway. As he went to go past her, she pushed him to the ground and he struck his head on a desk. On the stand, Darnell describes Barbara’s constant putdowns and abuse and that he’d simply been trying to flee her most recent assault. Darnell’s mother testifies that Barbara has it in for black students and for her family in particular. Alice responds by pointing out Mrs. Hughes’ deficiencies as a mother – her children keep getting in trouble and, while Darnell has potential, it’s been left to teachers like Barbara to introduce discipline into his life. On the stand, Barbara says that her students came from a “culture of violence” and you can only push them so far until something snaps. She’d thought Darnell had reached that point and he was about to attack her. Barbara’s case doesn’t go particularly well and she’s given a suspended sentence and ordered to undergo anger management counseling.
In the case of Sandy, the welfare mom, Elliot negotiates with the Crown, Anna-Lynn, in her office. Much to Elliot’s distraction, Anna-Lynn insists upon changing into her jogging gear while they talk. They settle on restitution of $4,000 and a suspended sentence but when Elliot takes the deal back to Sandy, she despairs at ever being able to pay it. Fortunately, Sandy’s ex-husband Peter appears and, feeling guilty over Sandy’s predicament, he offers to help. Judge Fraser agrees to the deal but isn’t in the mood to hear Elliot’s passionate denunciation of the welfare system.
Meanwhile, Elliot overhears Anil objecting as one of his clients, a Vietnamese worm-picker named Mr. Phan, tries to give him a tip for a job well done. Elliot intervenes, telling Anil with a wink that it’s culturally sensitive to accept the money because it’s “their way.” Anil later comes to Elliot very worried and carrying an envelope stuffed with money. He says Mr. Phan told him to deposit the money in a bank account and bring it back, keeping some for himself. They realize that Mr. Phan is using Anil to launder money and is probably a drug dealer. Anil tries to give the envelope back to Mr. Phan but they play hot potato, pushing it back and forth, until all the money spills onto the floor. With a judge walking by, Elliot pulls Anil from the scene, leaving Mr. Phan to fend off criminal types who are circling the spilled cash.
Much to her chagrin, Nancy has been sent off on another errand by Alice – to Mr. Jackson’s rooming house to get photographs of rats, feces, and pestilence in general. Once there, Nancy is given the grand tour by one of Mr. Jackson’s acolytes, who describes Mr. Jackson's messianic status within the rooming house. Back in Mental Health court, Alice uses Nancy’s photos to great effect, demonstrating the appalling conditions in which the residents were forced to live. Things go against Mr. Shreiber, the landlord, as Judge Malone tells him to fix things up. He also allows Mr. Jackson to continue living in the home, while providing a mild rebuke for going too far, as usual. A group of residents crowd around Mr. Jackson at this victory, further confirming his saviour status within the rooming house.
James has found Stan, Bucky’s father, hard at work washing dishes in the Chinese restaurant. It seems Bucky got it all wrong – Stan is not being held captive but has actually infiltrated the business of Mr. Ho, a man against whom he is plotting revenge for turning him into police. Moreover, rather than “Christians” and “restitution,” Stan has actually been influenced in jail by a group called the “Gibsons” preaching “retribution.” Stan has decided to enact their teachings by carrying out a mysterious plan that will make him a lot of money at Mr. Ho’s expense. He’s stymied, however, by the arrival of Bucky who, still thinking his father has been kidnapped, shows up with a stolen car to offer as restitution for his dad. Stan’s intentions toward Mr. Ho are forced into the open and accusations fly. As the conversation turns to Stan's former illegal activities---information James definitely doesn't want to hear---he slips away, leaving Bucky, Stan, and Mr. Ho arguing over the stolen car's new and rightful owner.