Presumed Innocent recap, episode 4: The Burden

New evidence emerges that makes things look bad for Rusty.
Ruth Negga in Presumed Innocent episode 4, Apple TV+
Ruth Negga in Presumed Innocent episode 4, Apple TV+ /

The burden of proof in any court of law requires the prosecution to use hard evidence to convince the jury of a fact. Tommy Molto and Nico Della Guardia are still looking for their smoking gun in the case against Rusty Sabich.

Presumed Innocent episode 4 is focused on Molto and Della Guardia trying to find damning new evidence, while Rusty and Rodriguez try to track down a lead regarding the Bunny Davis case in the hopes it leads to a potential suspect they can present to cast doubt on Rusty's supposed guilt. Instead, Rusty comes out of this episode looking guiltier than ever.

Picking up in the aftermath of last week's shocking reveal that Kyle was riding his bike near Carolyn's house the night of her murder, Rusty and Barbara immediately confront their son. But Rusty slips effortlessly back into prosecutor mode, making Kyle turn defensive. He pointedly asks his father to leave the room so he can speak with Barbara alone.

Kyle claims he overheard his parents arguing about the affair months before Carolyn's death. He occasionally rode his bike by her house to suss her and the situation out. It's really not that crazy. The poor kid was going through it. Unfortunately for him, there's now hard evidence he was there that night. However, he's lucky that Molto and Della Guardia are so hellbent on nailing Rusty that they're not looking at anyone else, and Rusty's not going to throw his son under the bus to paint him as a possible suspect.

That's why tracking down the man responsible for the second semen sample at the Davis crime scene has become paramount. Rodriguez gets a hit. That sample belongs to Brian Ratzer, who happened to submit his DNA to an thing, making it surprisingly easy to connect the two.

Presumed Innocent episode 4, Apple TV+ /

Ratzer is as cagey as you'd expect a married man confronted by the police about his connection to a sex worker to be. He doesn't give Rusty or Rodriguez anything they can use. A man's semen being found at a sex worker's home is not exactly a smoking gun. I doubt this particular suspect is going to be the saving grace Rusty is hoping for.

As for Rusty himself, he can't even get his story straight about what happened on that fateful night. Questioned by Raymond's associate, Mya. Based on texts and metadata, Rusty arrived at Carolyn's house a little before 10 p.m. and returned home just before 11. He was there for approximately 51 minutes.

According to him, he and Carolyn argued the whole time, and then she kissed him goodbye. His flashbacks are fragmented, and we see a multitude of possibilities play out, establishing Rusty as an unreliable narrator. One thing is clear, Mya and Ray are in total agreement that Rusty doesn't belong anywhere near the witness stand.

Since the prosecution has only circumstantial evidence so far and no murder weapon, Raymond thinks he can get Rusty off on a plea deal regarding the obstruction charge. Rusty gets a 3-year sentencing of some sort, and Della Guardia doesn't torpedo his career by losing this case spectacularly in the public eye.

Sounds like a good deal, until he shows Raymond their latest break in the case. They found traces of Rusty's skin under Carolyn's fingernails. Raymond relays this news to Rusty via phone, though it arrives at an inopportune moment. Rusty is on the phone with Raymond right as a pissed-off Brian Ratzer starts pounding on his front door. "You messed with my family, now I'll mess yours," type deal.

Presumed Innocent episode 4, Apple TV+ /

Jaden panics. Barbara rushes in to help her. Rusty assures Raymond that it's all a set-up. He's being framed. It's total chaos that culminates in a spectacular show of violence from Rusty. This entire episode has been winding him up like a powder keg—between Kyle being at the scene of the crime, Mya questioning him about that night, and now this potential turn in the case.

Ratzer showing up is the flame that lights the fuse. Rusty blows up and jumps Ratzer, beating him down on his front porch for all the world to see. After endless speculation, dream sequences, and fractured memories, here is incontrovertible proof that Rusty is capable of violence if pushed too far.

To stay up to date on thrillers, sci-fi, and horror, bookmark 1428 Elm and follow our Facebook page and Twitter account!

Odds & Ends

  • Molto pushes to get one of Rusty's colleagues, Eugenia, on the witness stand because she's the only person in the office who knew about his affair with Carolyn. Like everyone else, she dislikes Tommy and is 100% Team Rusty, so I'm not sure how that's going to pan out, something Della Guardia makes clear since Molto can't stop being a jerk for more than two-minute intervals, and it's likely to bite them in the a** later.
  • Barbara again toys with the idea of starting an affair with the cute bartender. She ends up reconnecting with her husband after a fight. They have sex for the first time in a long time. But is it because they want to? Or only to prove that there is still something between them worth fighting for?