Pyramids on the Nile
Air date: February 15, 1999
Summary/Review by Dana Hagerty

Skip summary and go straight to Dana's "Bits and Pieces"

Richard is in the main office being interviewed by a reporter about the firm's latest case. The reporter mentions that the firm is becoming known for its work in sexual harassment law and Richard says that it would be inappropriate for him to comment on the case as he turns to the camera man and asks him to get in a little tighter. He looks into the camera and says that laws on sexual harassment in general are stupid and then says that if any of the jurors are listening, this case is their opportunity to say so. Nelle grabs his arm and pulls him away from the camera, reminding him that he isn't supposed to have direct or indirect contact with the jury. "As if I care," Richard says. "There's a lot of money at stake here." John joins them and asks Nelle if she is ready to go. The reporter tries to get John to discuss the case but he tells her "no comment." Nelle and John get in the elevator as reporters continue to try and ask them questions.

Billy and Ally are in her office getting ready to also head to the courthouse. Their client, Myra Jacobs, is meeting them there. Greg comes in with roses and heart-shaped balloons and tells Ally that he decided to stretch Valentine's Day into two days this year. The dancing baby comes in dressed as cupid and shoots arrows into Ally. She takes the roses and balloons from Greg and turns to Billy to say, "Two day Valentines." He says, "Yes, precious." She tells Billy that she will be right with him and he leaves the office. Ally tells Greg that the flowers are gorgeous and he says she is, too. She says she could really get used to this and Greg asks, "Why don't you?" They kiss, and the camera pans over to show us Billy, watching.

Richard and Ling are walking into his office. Ling is trying to get Richard to let her work for him. "I'm just not looking to take on another body right now," he says, "but if I were, it would be yours, trust me." Ling says that she enjoyed being a lawyer last week, and she feels as if she really gets along well with the people there. She adds that it would mean a lot of money for the firm and "it sure would be nice not to have to invent reasons everyday just to come by to see you. It would be nice if, just on a whim, I felt like sucking on your finger and you were just an office away." She sucks on his finger, leans close and whispers. "It sure would be great if, during the day, instead of having to close my eyes to see you, I could just keep them open."

John and Nelle enter a conference room at the courthouse, along with seven other attorneys. They all take seats around and behind a table. The lead attorney for the other side is surprised there is so much media interest in a case that he calls a 'ridiculous matter.' Nelle reminds him that their clients lost their jobs and they don't think this is funny. The attorney says they are upping their offer to 125 apiece but Nelle says that isn't enough. The attorney tells them that there is a reason Cobb Company has hired an army, and that is they are willing to spend whatever it takes to squash this case. "Fine," Nelle says, "tell them to spend 2 million and we settle." Another attorney asks if he can say something off the record. He tells them that their profile has never been higher and that if they settle, the luster will live. But if they are embarrassed by this trial, their stock will plunge. John finally speaks. "Reciprocity would perhaps allow me to share a thought in that same spirit of giving," he says. "If we lose, one could say, 'well, we were outmanned.' Fortune 500 company, seven lawyers arguing the politically correct merits du jour. The odds are certainly in your favor. A loss would hardly be a blemish to me. But, if you lose, well, imagine. And here's an inside tip, which I share with you only because I, too, care. You will lose. Miss Porter and I will beat you. And, look at my face as I tell you this because I promise when the jury reads that verdict, I will be looking at all of yours." The attorney tells them that he guesses they have a fight.

Ally is in court arguing for her client, Myra Jacobs (played by Anna Nicole Smith). The attorney for the other side tells the judge that the will is valid. It plainly read 'life estate to Myra Jacobs so long as she doesn't remarry.' The attorney says she remarried. Ally says that the restriction is against public policy. She says the law favors freedom to marry. The judge, however, says he isn't swayed by her argument. He says restrictions against remarriage aren't automatically invalid and that they are only struck down if their intent is punitive. He asks her if she has any evidence that the decedent was trying to punish her client. Ally reluctantly says no and the judge asks her, "Then, where's your case?" Ally imagines a huge electric saw coming out of nowhere and sawing off her legs right above the knees. As she imagines herself falling to her stumps, grabbing one of her legs and hitting it on the ground, she tells the judge that the restriction is de facto punitive. The judge says he doesn't care about that and he sees no motive, so he rules that the trust stands.

Nelle and John's clients are Callie and Steve. Steve is on the stand, explaining how he and Callie met on the job. They had been dating for about three and a half months when one of the vice presidents in personnel called them into his office. He told them he had heard they were seeing each other. They admitted it, and then he discharged them. The attorney for the company asks Steve about the company's strict policy against inter-office dating. Steve calls it a ludicrous policy. He asks Steve to give him his understanding of the policy. Steve says it's called 'date and tell.' If two employees are having a relationship, they are supposed to disclose it and sign a 'love contract.' He says that the purpose of this is to insolate the company against any possible sexual harassment claims that might arise because of the relationship. The attorney gets Steve to say that they knew about the policy, but that they chose not to disclose their relationship, and that when they did, they knew they were violating office policy. John asks him why he and Callie didn't just sign the contract. He says he found it demeaning. John asks him what his feelings are for Callie and Steve says he loves her. "Well, that must have just broken all sorts of rules," John says. The other attorney objects. "You can't go around having people loving one another," John continues. The attorney again objects. The judge calls him on it. John says that sometimes he gets overwhelmed by common sense. The attorney objects again, and when the judge again calls him on it, John says, "For the record, the other six lawyers did not object." The other six lawyers stand in unison and object in unison. "I stand corrected," John says.

Ally and Billy are riding up in the elevator together. Ally says they can appeal the judge's ruling. She gets out and walks towards her office, Billy following close behind. He asks her if she has a second and when she starts to hesitate, he says coldly, "Your office is fine." He waits for her to go in then walks in behind her and closes the door. He tells her that she was unprepared in the courtroom and "unprofessional to the point of malpractice." He yells at her, "Don 't you ever let that happen again!" He starts to walk out. "Hold on a second," Ally says. "I don't work for you, and even if I did, nobody talks to me like that." Billy tells her, "It's time somebody should." Ally says her research was current and that the judge's ruling was not a reflection of her performance. She concludes with, "and because it bears repeating, don't you ever speak to me like that again." "What will you do Ally," he asks, "complain? Gee, that's a novel course of action." Her door opens and Georgia comes in. "What's going on?" she asks. Billy tells her they are having a difference of opinion. Georgia and Billy turn to leave just as Richard and Ling come walking in. He tells them that Ling has decided to come aboard "of counsel." Georgia is shocked. "How can you hire her to work here?" she asks. Richard says, "She licked my finger. I'm human."

The vice president who fired Steve and Callie is on the stand. He explains that the company used "date and tell" as a way of keeping itself from getting sued. He says it's the law that is perverse and that the company's policy is a byproduct. Nelle asks him if the law prevents two employees from hugging hello. He says no. She asks him if their policy prevents that and he says yes. He says that is because they have no way of knowing whether the hugs are welcome. He says their policy also cuts off all sex talk. She asks him if talk about the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal would be against their policy and he says that as silly as it sounds, even under today's laws conversations about national news can amount to sexual harassment. "And, if it means being silly to safeguard against liability," Nelle says, "you'll be silly."

Nelle and John arrive back at the office. Nelle goes one direction and John starts to go another when Billy ambushes him. He, Georgia and Ally want to talk to him and they drag him into an office. Billy is surprised that Richard didn't even talk to John about hiring Ling. John says he has always deferred to Richard on hiring so he wouldn't expect Richard to talk to him first. Billy says he wants John to tell Richard that he can't hire Ling and John says he won't do that. "Come on, John," Billy says, "at some point you can stand up and assert yourself." John says, "I'm standing up now, to you." Richard comes into the office and interrupts. He tells them that Ling is 'of counsel' and she will only get paid on cases she brings in. Billy starts to talk and Richard asks him if he's going to let him finish. He goes on to tell them that Ling just wants to supervise the legal infrastructure handling her corporate ventures. He reminds them that this will bring in a lot of business and will be good for all of them. "But mostly you," Billy says. "Here's a flash, Billy," Richard says, "It's my firm."

In John's office, Nelle is trying to convince Steve and Callie to settle. She says that the other side has put the law on trial and they have been very effective. Steve says that he worked for that company for six years. He saved enough money to buy a house, which he has since lost because he couldn't make the payments. He says he hears the giggles in the courtroom about this silly little trial, but he still can't believe that he gave them six years and they prioritized a ridiculous corporate policy. John says they will keep on fighting, but he needs them to know that "we don't feel continent…uh, confident…uh, pooh, poppy, poppy field."

Ally is washing her hands in the unisex when Billy comes in. He tells her he is sorry he lost his temper and he wants her to know that it was nothing personal. "Good, nothing personal, that's just the way I want it," Ally says, sarcastically, walking away. Billy grabs her arm and she tells him to take his hand off of her. He says they need to go someplace and talk. He thinks they need to discuss the situation with Ling and she tells him to talk to Richard. He says that Ling already has Richard and John and Nelle, and it's "you, me, and…and…and.." Ally says, "Georgia." He says the balance of power is changing and that they need to go somewhere and talk about it.

Ling and Richard are in his apartment playing a board game. (The game is called 'Go' in Japan, 'Wei-Chi' in China, and 'Padok' in Korea. Each one has a minor variation in rules, so I can't tell you exactly which one they were playing. The fans in the Ally newsgroup say it was 'Go,' but I think because Ling was playing it was 'Wei-Chi.') She tells him that she is sorry if he is taking flak for hiring her. Richard says he does believe this is good for the firm or he wouldn't have hired her. "Notwithstanding the fact I'd do almost anything to introduce my penis to the inner you," he says. He says that if the others are mean to her, she should let him know and he will deal with it. Ling asks him if he has ever had a 'hair tickle.' He has never heard of it, and she is surprised that the "big-haired blond thing" never caressed him with her hair. She says she will give him a hair tickle tomorrow and he wonders why she won't do it now. Ling says she needs a candle. Richard says he has a candle, "see for yourself." She calls him a funny boy, smiles, and says, "Tomorrow."

Ally and Billy are at a restaurant. He feels that Ling will upset the current balance at the firm to the extent that her business will squeeze out old business. He says that they are about to lose everything and Ally tells him that she thinks he is overreacting. She asks him what is really wrong. He starts to say something about how he feels when he sees her with Greg. Then he says that he loves Georgia, and that he's been able to do a good job of denying the truth. "That I will never love anybody like I loved, and still love, you," he says. He finally tells her that when he saw Greg kissing her this morning, his insides just screamed and that he can't keep that from himself anymore. "I can't keep it to myself," he says. "I think you should have," Ally says. She gets up to leave. He tries to stop her, but she tells him that what he told her was "a little too much truth." She leaves the restaurant and runs home.

At home, Ally and Renee sit down in the living room to talk. Renee tells Ally that she and Billy are always telling the other one that they still love each other, but Ally says this was different. This was more. Ally says she feels like she wants to kill Billy. She says she's been alone for along time and now that she has finally found somebody Billy has to come along and say what he did. "This was a selfish thing for him to do," Ally says. Renee asks her how she feels about Greg. Ally says she loves him. Renee asks her how she feels about Billy. "Love him," Ally says.

Nelle and John are making their way through the courthouse hall as reporters try repeatedly to get them to answer questions. They finally make it into one of the courthouse conference rooms to meet with the attorneys for the other side. Nelle announces that for 75 apiece, they can all be done with this case. The attorneys don't respond. Cage asks them if they think they have beaten them. The lead attorney says that not only do they think they have made their case, they think John and Nelle have made their case for them. John says, "After they read that verdict, let's just be sure to make eye contact." He and Nelle leave.

Nelle and John go back to the office. She tells him that they don't have a chance if he doesn't close big. Richard stops them before they get too far and asks them how the case is going. Before they can answer, he tells them to skip it, and pulls John aside. He asks him if he knows what it means to 'get hair.' He explains that Ling does a 'hair tickle' thing and he wonders if John knows what it is. John says he doesn't. Richard says, "Bugger." When Richard asks him if he thinks Billy would know what it is, John tells him that he has to prepare a very important closing and walks away. Richard again says, "Bugger."

Ally is in her office when Georgia comes in. She tells Ally that Billy told her about their little talk. Ally's face turns white and she nervously asks Georgia what Billy said. "Just that we may need to form an alliance given Ling coming to the firm," Georgia says. Ally starts laughing and says, "Yeah, I think that's something we should consider." Georgia asks her what is wrong and Ally says she doesn't know. "It's all upsetting," she says, as she trips over something and falls to the ground. "Well, some things don't change," Ally says. Greg comes in, surprising Ally. He is surprised that she is surprised. "Aren't we on for lunch?" he asks. Ally looks at her watch and asks if it is lunchtime already. Georgia leaves, and Greg tells Ally that he missed her last night. He asks her if she realizes that it was probably the first night in three weeks that they didn't see each other. Ally is distracted but after a moment she comes back to reality and says, "Yeah, it was a tough night."

Ally goes into the bathroom, gets down on all fours and looks under the stalls. Someone in the stall right behind her flushes and opens the door, hitting her in the behind and knocking her head into the stall in front of her. It's Billy. She grabs her behind and stands up, and Billy also grabs her behind, asking if she's all right. She says she's fine. "Maybe we should just," Billy starts. "Talk," Ally says, "no thanks. I don't think talk is always the best thing." Billy tries to talk to her again and she says, "No. Please." Georgia comes in and asks if they are still mad at each other. She tells Billy to come with her and leave Ally alone. They leave and Ally enters a stall, closes the door, and just stands there, tapping her toe.

John is pacing in his office, barefoot, with his pants rolled up. Nelle comes in dressed very casually, with her hair down. She is surprised that John is still on his first draft. He tells her that he will be ready. Nelle says that maybe she can get the attorney's back up to 100. When she looks up at him, she sees that he is staring at her. "What?" she asks. He tells her that she is a beautiful woman. "I know it goes without saying," he says, "but the law shouldn't require it to go unsaid." She asks him why he doesn't put that in his closing.

Ally and Renee are again at home talking about what happened with Billy. "Tomorrow," Ally says. "Tomorrow has always been my favorite day of the week, but right now, there has never been a tomorrow so scary." She says she is falling in love with Greg, but when Billy looks at her in a certain way, "I feel like we are playing this stupid game, pretending not to be what we both know we are." Renee asks her, "Which is?" "Meant for each other," says Ally. "I know, sappy, sappy, puke, sappy," she says. Ally goes on to say that she is scared that maybe it's actually true that there is one person for every person. Renee asks her if she thinks Billy wants to get back with her. Ally says she doesn't know, and one reason she doesn't know is because she won't let herself. She's terrified the answer might be yes. She's more terrified that the answer could be no. Renee reminds her of something she told her when Renee was going through her situation with Matt. "We all want love to come along," Renee quotes her as saying, "yet we apply all these restrictions as to how it should come along." She tells her that if Billy's the guy, then Billy's the guy. Ally says she couldn't do it to Georgia, but Renee says she would be doing Georgia a favor. She says if they had kids, it would be different. "I'd jump on your head," Renee says. "Right now, the mistake you two have made, it can still be corrected."

The next morning, Ally gets off the subway, her theme song ("Tell Him") running through her head. It isn't long, however, before the song starts slowing down and Ally slows down with it. It speeds up again, but only for a moment. She walks towards a newsstand and finally gets the music going in her head back at normal speed, then turns and walks to work.

When she arrives, Elaine has gotten Ling to put on her face bra. Elaine tells Ling to try and laugh. "Your face won't even move," she says. Ling tells her that she doesn't laugh on weekdays. Ally asks what is going on. Elaine says Ling is going to produce her infomercial. Ling apparently has a product line of her own and she has told Elaine she will take her on. "Great," Ally says, smiling. She turns to leave and Ling growls at her.

Ally enters her office and closes the door with her foot (she has coffee in one hand and her briefcase and coat in the other). Once the door is shut, she turns and finds Billy waiting for her. (She sees him just as she takes a drink of her coffee, and ends up with whipped cream on the tip of her nose.) He tells her he is sorry and that he had no right to drop what he dropped on her. "Yeah, this kind of thing just happens when you see me happy with other guys," she says. "It always passes." He says that when Richard told them he was hiring Ling, he sat down and planned how he would leave. "That's when it hit me like a bomb," he says. "The idea of not seeing you every day." He then told himself that maybe he should get some therapy. "What am I trying to cure myself of," he says, "the best thing I've ever known?" He reaches out and wipes the whipped cream from her nose. Ally reminds him that he is married, and that even if he wasn't, she is with somebody else right now. He says he isn't trying to talk her into anything. He is just trying to explain how he said what he said the other night and how he could do what he has done to Georgia by saying it. "Georgia," Ally says. "That's a very good word for us to keep saying over and over."

In court, John is giving his closing. "It's silly," he says. "Two consenting adults not allowed to date without first signing a 'love contract'." He points out Nelle and tells the jury that they dated. He explains that it didn't work out, but that they still have to work side-by-side. He says it sometimes can get awkward. "But imagine, had I not dated her," he says, "I'd have missed out on that little flutter I felt in my stomach when I held her hand. I may have tried to repress the high I got at the first hint of flirtation. The euphoria when I kissed her. The pain when it became clear it wasn't meant to be." He says these are life moments that happen when people interact. He tells the jury that three-quarters of every waking hour is spent at the workplace, and this company's policies are trying to legislate against smiling, hugging, and complimenting someone on their attire. "They are trying to ban the possibility of finding love there," he says. "Have we all gone mad? Do you know how hard it is to find love, period?" He reminds the jury that if you take away the workplace, that leaves bars, parties, the gym -- artificial venues where people only reveal the Pina Colada sides of themselves. He says that Cobb Company is trying to make them believe that taking away the possibility of meeting someone at work is the law. But the law doesn't say that, he says. "Despite what these one, two, three, four, five, six, seven men claim, the law does not say you can't or shouldn't date people at work." He says that the law merely requires that people behave like adults. "Their policies assume you can't," he says, "they're all about avoiding liability, and I'll tell you, that's sad." He says when he dated his co-counsel, he would walk over to her sometimes and pretend he was Barry White. He says he would maybe even move his hips a little. He starts to move his hips as he hears Barry White. He admits that he risked getting rejected or laughed at. Cage says that there is real harassment and there are real victims. "But to ban the flirt, and the smile and the date, and the possibility of discovering somebody to spend the rest of your life with. Say it with me." Cage and the jury together say, "Silly." As the attorneys all make a move to object, the judge tells John that he isn't amused. John apologizes. "But those people worked hard for that company and they were fired for wanting to keep their private lives, private. They lost everything. No, none of us should be amused." John sits down.

In his closing, the attorney for the other side says that it would be nice if they could trust adults to behave like adults in the workplace. "Just like it would be good if we could trust all people to drive safely on the road," he says. "Their lives are at stake. You think they would. But they don't." He explains that to keep people safe on the road, we make rules. We put up stop signs and even when there are no other cars around, you have to stop. "How silly is that?" he asks. Lives are saved by these rules, he argues, and the same principals are at work with sexual harassment policies. He says that the plaintiffs could have chosen to work somewhere else – that they had full knowledge of the rules and they broke them. John interrupts and says that he forgot to mention in his closing that if a rule is capricious in nature, one shouldn't be expected to follow it. "I meant to say that and I just forgot," he says. The judge thanks him. The attorney continues. "If one thought a rule to be capricious, his course of action could be either not to work there or try to effect change. They did neither. They just flat out violated the policy, and got caught. And now they are asking you to assume that adults will behave like adults."

Ally is sitting in her office with a boom box on her desk and headphones on her head. She's listening to a song called "Georgia" and she is singing along with the music. Georgia stands in the doorway and asks Ally what she is doing. Ally says she was just listening to Boz Scaggs. "I just love him," she says, "Don't you? Boz Scaggs. Next to Ray Charles he's….love him." Georgia turns and leaves.

The jury is back with a verdict. They find in favor of the plaintiffs and they order Cobb Company to pay damages in the amount of $942,000. After John and Nelle hug, John turns to the lead attorney, makes eye contact and sticks out his hand. The attorney shakes it.

At the office, Elaine is on the phone telling someone that Nelle and John won. She says the press is calling and they want a quote. We see that she is talking to Richard and he tells her to tell them that "justice is never more sweet than when you get it on one-third contingency." A candle is waived in front of Richard's face and we hear Ling tell him that it's time. He tells Elaine that he has to go, "something's come up." He hangs up the phone as Ling takes the candle and drips wax onto the bottom of a candleholder. (Richard is in a silk robe and Ling is in a two-piece lingerie thing with black panties, a black bra with fur around the top and leopard print chiffon flowing from the bottom of the bra.) He says the candle looks dangerous and she tells him to lie back. They are on the floor and she places a pillow under his head. She is straddling him and she puts his hands under her knees. She takes the robe off his shoulders, then slides her hands slowly down his chest. Now, it's time for the candle. Richard isn't thrilled about hot wax, and Ling assures him that it will only be one ceremonial drop, "then nothing but hair." The wax lands on his chest and he gasps. Ling then puts the candle down and leans over him. She takes her hair and lays it out over her head. Then she slowly pulls her head back over his body, caressing his body all the way down with her hair. Richard looks as if he is completely enjoying it.

It's late and Ally is still at the office. She's on the phone with Greg and they are making plans to meet soon for dinner. After she hangs up, she notices Billy standing in her doorway. "Big date, huh?" he says. She tells him that she really likes Greg. "I guess that's good," says Billy. "For both of us," Ally says. She stands up, grabs her coat and puts it on, and tells Billy that she will walk him out if he promises to behave himself on the elevator. Billy smiles and says he will try. Ally asks him if he worked late hoping that she might, too. He says he doesn't think so, but that he can't deny he's there. "But going," Ally reminds him. They both smile. Ally walks towards him and he asks, "What happened?" "You tell me," Ally says. "I just never figured you could meet the person of your dreams at age eight," Billy tells her. He reaches back and closes the door. They look at each other for a moment, and then they come closer and kiss. As the kiss ends, Ally pulls back just a bit, as if she is conflicted. Billy places his hand on her hair, close to her ear, then places his other hand on the other side of her head and they kiss again. Both of their coats fall to the floor, and they continue to kiss, then slow dance together. When they finally get to the elevator, they hold hands and kiss again. Then Ally slowly walks home, alone.


Where do Ally and Billy go from here? At first, I was incredibly angry at Billy (and I still am), but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Ally was a little to blame. After all, she has continued to tell Billy how much he means to her during the past year and a half. But there is a big difference between telling someone how much they mean to you and acting on your feelings. And Renee telling Ally that there was a chance for her and Billy really bothered me. If something was going to happen between these two, I would have much rather Billy have dealt with his marriage first. However, while what happened is definitely not what I wanted to see happen, I am intrigued and looking forward to seeing how David Kelley will handle this.

I wonder why they had Anna Nicole Smith as a guest star in such a minor role? You would have thought that they would have utilized someone like her in a much better way.

I enjoyed the court case in this episode mainly because I felt that the outcome could have gone either way, and I didn't ever feel as if John and Nelle would actually win it. The fact that they did was a pleasant surprise.

John and Nelle really would make a cute couple.

I found this episode to be very...quiet. There weren't any scenes that stood out as exceptional. To me, it was a beautiful puzzle that someone took the time to put together very slowly and carefully.

Copyright © 1999 Dana Hagerty. All rights reserved.