18 Miles Outside of Roanoke is the third episode of the first season of For the People.

Short SummaryEdit

Sandra and Kate go head-to-head on a high-profile case involving a young woman accused of leaking classified information, but they learn to find common ground in their fight for justice and pursuit of the common good. Allison struggles to make a case for her client as the courts look to new technology to avoid bias, and Leonard seeks professional legitimacy at the cost of a personal relationship.

Full SummaryEdit

On their way to work, Kate and Sandra go through their morning routines, showing the differences between them. Kate gets tea while Sandra gets coffee. They simultaneously arrive first at their respective workplaces and turn on the lights. Kate moves her bin to its rightful place in her organized and clean office, while Sandra enters her messy office. Kate takes out a box of Legos and times herself as she starts building. As more people arrive at their offices, they both get to work.

Jill and Roger give them a file on Dani Rios, a whistleblower. The documents she allegedly leaked revealed that the NSA has been illegally accessing confidential medical databases to identify undocumented Americans. The documents have not been published yet, but there are rumors of the program's existence. Jill thinks of Dani as an idealist, while Roger calls her a punk, but they both agree she's in over her head. Jill thinks Sandra can connect with Dani and understand why she broke the rules, while Roger picked Kate because he knows she wants to crush Dani for breaking the rules. Roger notices the Legos and asks Kate if she's building the Taj Mahal, but Kate simply says no.

Allison finally arrived at work. She's nervous for her first sentencing. She looks at Sandra's case and notices she's up against Kate Littlejohn. She advises Sandra to talk to Jay.

Seth stops by Kate's office and tells her that he's on better terms with Ezra, his roommate. She doesn't have time to listen to him. Seth advises her to find out who the opposing counsel is. Kate reads that it's Sandra Bell. Seth says that advice was bad.

Kate and Sandra look each other up on the Internet and are impressed by the other's resume.

Allison and her client, Keenan Griggs, are at the courthouse. Keenan was caught with a gun, which he only took out to protect his little brother from the gang that ambushed them. Allison says he pled guilty, so they have to prepare for some jailtime. Keenan doesn't know what will happen to his mother and brother if he's sent to jail, but Allison assures him the judge will factor that into their decision. The judge is reasonable.

Judge Diane Barish has read the briefs and informs Allison that she'll be using risk-assessment software to evaluate and assist in determining the appropriate sentence. Diane explains it's an algorhythm that estimates the defendant's potential recidivism. Many courts are already using it. Allison wants to know which factors are used. Diane says the formula is proprietary, but the goal is to introduce science into the arbitrary aspect of law. Allison says having faith that the program is fair is a lot to ask. Diane clarifies she wasn't asking but merely informing. She's experienced so Allison can have faith in that. Allison wants the opportunity to address the Court about the software before the sentencing. Diane agrees to give her a week to prepare an argument.

Sandra visits Jay's office and asks him about Kate. He makes it clear how much she scares him. Kate is intense and uncompromising, though he guesses he might have taken her too personal.

Kate asks Leonard about Sandra. Leonard hates that Kate got leaker case and thinks it's Roger's way of punishing him. Kate again asks about Sandra. Leonard doesn't like what and who she represents, but he if ever got arrested, she'd probably be the first person he'd call. He offers to cancel his date so he can work on the case with Kate, but she doesn't want him to do that. He jokes he'll be thinking about her the whole time and reminds her it's a high-profile case.

Sandra is talking to Dani. The NSA claims they are accessing the databases to find terrorists who manage to stay off the grid, but they are actually using it to deport people. Dani tried to do the right thing. Sandra says it may have been the wrong time to do the right thing since the government is actively prosecuting leakers right now. Sandra thinks their best chance is to strike a deal. She might get 5 years instead of decades. Dani never thought she'd end up here after 2 tours in Iraq. She'll over the news now. Sandra says she's not, which gets her thinking.

Kate asks Roger why they never sent out a press release when the point of prosecuting a leaker is to send a message. It makes them look like they are hiding something. Roger says they are. Kate says she'd do something with that if she were on the opposite side.

Sandra catches up with Jill and brings up the fact that there's no press. Jill guesses that is because Dani is a highly sympathetic defendant. If her story gets out, people will be mad and even more interested in what she leaked. That puts pressure on the government to reveal more about what happened. Sandra thinks they can use it to make them drop or reduce the charges.

Sandra is talking to the press about Dani and tells her why Dani was arrested. She calls Dani a hero for attempting to expose the truth. Kate is watching the broadcast. She's impressed.

Leonard and Hanna finish up having sex at his place. His brain is broken. Her phone rings. She has to go for work stuff. She has to get to Brooklyn. He convinces her to talk about her case since they work for different Districts. She mentions Bart McKenna, a perpetrator in a $100 million Ponzi scheme. They were building a case against him and he ran. His cruise ship stalled in the middle of the Hudson river. As soon as they can get it towed to Brooklyn, she'll be there waiting with the FBI. He congratulates her. She reminds him not to talk to anyone about it.

Back at the US Attorney's Office, Leonard briefs Roger on the Bart McKenna situation. Since Eastern doesn't have a case yet and Bart's incorporated in Manhattan, Leonard wants to get the boat to dock in Manhattan so they can prosecute Bart instead of the Eastern District. Leonard wants to get off the bench. Roger says it's win-win, because Leonard either steals a great case for the Southern District or his failure will make Roger feel less guilty for punishing Leoanrd for parading his mom around the office. So, Leonard can give it a go.

Kate is waiting for Roger in his office as she figured he would want to see her. There's press on the case now, so he thinks Kate needs to respond. Sandra made a big move outside the lines, so Kate wants to see what the consequences are before responding.

Allison has evaluated software and she's not happy at all. Keenan is now twice as likely to get a max sentence because of his skin color, where he's from, and the fact that he dropped out of high school at 15. Jill heard about these programs. Allison says the data is biased. The program has no historical context. Jill says 10 more seconds of preaching to the choir and then she has to decide. Allison has to defend Keenan as vigorous as she can, but she also needs to consider whether Judge Barish will listen to her. Her digging in might make it worse for Keenan. Allison   feels for Keenan and tells Jill about his situation. She decides she's not letting go.

Kate is still working on the Legos.

Allison finds Sandra awaiting a call from Kate to make a deal. Sandra asks about sentencing, but she receives the call before Allison can answer. Sandra tells the caller she'll be right there, but it's note Kate.

Sandra's back with Dani, who saw her on the news. Sandra explains she was trying to put some pressure on the government to bring them to the table, but she hasn't heard from them yet. Dani doesn't want a deal. Sandra's speech made her realize she's a hero. She wants to stand up for people. This feels like the real test for her. She has to be brave and she will stay in jail if that means she gets to send her message, which she can't do by pleading guilty. The government is targetting sick and terrified people. Dani has lived with people who are too afraid to stand up because they feel like they can't. She has a choice now. She can negotiate her soul away or she can stand up. She can make a difference.

Sandra tells Jill that her press conference made Dani refuse a deal. Jill says it's easy to say no to something abstract, so she should talk to Kate and see what she can get. It's surprising how quick minds can change.

Sandra enters Allison's office. She finds a Post-it that reads "bench" on Allison's chair.

Sandra finds Allison waiting for her on their bench outside the courthouse. She has a classic Italian sandwich from Zino's, the greatest sandwich in the world. Allison talks about the sentencing software. She needs the help of an expert to discredit it, namely a mathematician. Sandra tells her her brother will be flattered. Allison doubts it. She's the odd man out in her family, who are all science and data. She's the idealistic public defender. They don't get her. Sandra says that probably works both ways. Sandra is enjoying the sandwich. She tells Allison to do what she has to do to help her client.

Leonard has gathered the FBI, port authority, and coast guard. He wants the ship to be towed to Manhattan so they don't need to arrest Bart on the boat, which could result in a hostage situation. The coast guard says a storm is coming in, so he's not sending little boats out to tow. Port authority agrees to wait out the storm. Leonard stresses it needs to be towed to Manhattan and then sees a furious Hanna outside the room.

Hanna tells Leonard he can send all these people home, because she's going to her boss. Leonard says that it'll just be settled by who owes who dinner up the chain and they will just think they're idiots for not solving this themselves. Hanna stresses this is her case. Leonard says it's nobody's case now. They'll leave it up to the weather. Whosever side the boat is closest to after the storm gets the case. Hanna doesn't trust him but agrees anyway. He better make it up to her tonight in the filthiest way possible.

Allison visits her brother Eddie at work. It's the first time she's visited his office. She says she needs his help with the software Evaluated. He thinks it's amazing and states algorhythms can't ever be biased. She says Latinos and African-Americans are sentenced disproportionally to Caucasian people. He says judges do that, too. Allison says her client is facing more jailtime because of the program. She asks him to look at the software and tell her how it works. He knows she wants to discredit it. Insulting what he does isn't the way to get him to do it, but he knows she just does what she wants without answering to anyone. He brings up her relationship with their parents. They never offered him the apartment. She says they only gave it to her out of pity. He's not surprised she believes that. He has to go. She tells him he's never been to her office either. Allison says the algorhythm can't understand nuance and empathize, so she understands now why he respects it so much. He leaves.

Sandra and Kate sit down to make a deal. There are two counts against Dani under the Espionage Act, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years. If she pleads guilty to one, they'll recommend 78 to 97 months, taking into account the severity of the leak and Dani's prior criminal history. Sandra says she has no history, but there's a juvenile adjudication for disorderly conduct. Kate clarifies this is not a negotiation. She won't go below 63 months. She asks what Sandra has the authority to go to, but she soon figures out Sandra has no authority. Kate then retracts her offer since there's no point if Dani doesn't want to accept one. Kate thinks she wants to get up on the stand to tell the world how evil the government is. Sandra denies this. She asks Kate to be reasonable. Kate says Dani chose to disregard the law and do what she wants, so her being reasonable would make all that okay. Sandra asks if this is what Kate wanted to be a glorified hall monitor when she was growing up. She doesn't understand that Kate does not care about what those documents mean, or why the rules are more important than the people they are supposed to protect. Kate thinks they're done here.

Both Kate and Sandra are waiting for their bosses to get out of a meeting.

Jill is disappointed in Sandra. She let that woman get inside her head and she went into that meeting without the tools to get the job done. Dani is too young to understand what's at stake here. Sandra says Kate is being unreasonable. Jill says she's a prosecutor. Sandra can't let it be more than that.

Roger is hardly upset at Kate. He wants her to try to make a deal again, because a trial is bad for the United States. Kate says Sandra was unreasonable. Roger picked Kate because she's stone cold. Kate says she has feelings. Roger tells her they are in the way.

Leonard is watching the weather forecast in the conference room. Seth comes in. Leonard is frustrated because it's not looking good. He chose to be a prosecutor because they hold all the cards: when to charge, if to charge, how much to charge, what evidence to use. He hates not having control over the weather. Seth admits to being an amateur meteorologist as a teenager. Leonard guesses he was also into magic acts. Seth says that due to technology, chance has become less involved in predicting the weather. Leonard asks him to predict. He needs to know where his ship is going to land.

Sandra enters Allison and they both start venting their frustrations. Allison hates they are all being reduced to data points and numbers, which sparks an idea in Sandra. She leaves.

Sandra is meeting with Dani. She says there's a crowd of supporters outside. The crowd will only get bigger if they go to trial. The crowd will organize to stop the deportations. They will stand up, but Dani won't get to be part of the community she helped to create. She'll just be another number in the prison system. Dani wants to make a difference. Sandra asks her to authorize her to make a deal so she can get out of here and do what she's supposed to do.

Allison visits Eddie with a sandwich from Zino's. He introduced her to that place. He's grateful, but he still won't help her. She apologizes for what she said earlier, but it's crazy that he thinks their parents favor her. She's always looked up to him. She was jealous of how much they loved him following in their footsteps. Eddie says he always felt like he didn't have a choice. He's the oldest, so he had nothing to rebel against. Allison might feel like they didn't understand her, but Eddie felt like they just let her be her, free. Their parents are controlling, but he guesses she doesn't know that. Allison has come to discover that by living in the apartment. She talks about Keenan. Every day in prison is one less day with the borther he adores. Eddie says two people can see the same factual events differently, as proven by them. That's why humans are imperfect machines. Allison's mistaken in her attempt to discredit the algorhythm. She has to use the data and play the human. Machines don't have ego, but people do.

Sandra's off to see Kate. Jay congratules her on having convinced Dani to make a deal. At least she won't have to fill up the office with hundres of boxes of discovery. Jay says the government would never produce documents in a case like this. Sandra hadn't thought of that.

Kate is waiting in the conference room. She calls Sandra, who's working on her laptop. Kate says she's late. Sandra replies she's not, because she's not coming. However, she is going to court in an hour, so Kate should be there, too.

In the courtroom, Sandra tells Judge Nicholas that under the charges against Dani, there has to be proof of damage to the U.S. or advantage to a foreign government. However, that is impossible as long as the government refuses to acknowledge the existence of the program that Dani leaked. In order to prepare the defense, they'll need the government to produce all the documents related to the program. Kate says they are highly classified. If Nicholas grants the request, the government is forced to choose between revealing classified information and continuining with this prosecution. Nicholas understands, but the basis for the request is valid, so he'll grant it. Kate says they will produce the documents, then, and denies having to ask her boss. She says the documents will have to undergo a full national security review, and then be redacted prior to production. Based on the volume and sensitivity, she predicts a delay of 18 months, during which time the government strongly advocates for Dani's detention. Nicholas asks the lawyers to come to his chambers now.

Nicholas says he's not getting involved. He knows neither side wants to go to trial, so they need to figure this out. He leaves the room.

Kate reveals to Sandra why she wanted to do this. When she was a kid, she loved school. She had been looking forward to their trip to the Capitol for years. She made a little notebook with information and pictures and was so excited to finally see everything in real life. On the day they were finally going, Richard Prince didn't follow the rule that forbade all electronic devices, which resulted in a loud argument between Richard and his friends and the teacher. Kate was focusing on her notebook during the argument, and then she felt the wheels of the bus turn when they were 18 miles outside of Roanoke. After 6 years of longing, she did not get to go because Richard Prince decided the rules didn't apply to him. Injustice isn't only felt by the loudest person complaining about it. Sandra proposes a deal. The government withdraws the espionage charges and Dani pleads guilty to theft of government property. Time served plus three years of supervised release. Kate agrees.

Leonard gets on the elevator with Roger, who heard the ship ended up in New Jersey. Leonard says he predicted that, so he thanked some NYPD officers that had been assisting him by sending them to a great restaurant that happened to be near New Jersey's Cape Liberty Cruise Ship Port. They were in perfect position to nab McKenna when he stepped off the ship, and now he's back in the arms of the Southern District of New York. Win-win.

Allison is making her argument to Judge Barish. She understands the appeal. It appears to be efficient and precise. It seems fair and unbiased. So, they should be fair and unbiased to see whether Evaluate actually works. Allison says 32% is the national recidivism rate. 19% is the recividism rate for defendants tried and sentenced by Barish. It's one of the lowest in the District. 34% is the recidivism rate of Evaluate. Allison reminds her Diane asked her to have faith in her experience. These numbers back up that Barish is fair. Diane recalls a computer designed to beat a world champion in chess, but it lost. However, nowadays, everybody can download software on their phone that would demolish the guy that that computer lost to. Technology isn't perfect, but it's always improving. She admits to having been premature to use Evaluate, but this is the future. She appreciates Allison's arguments.

Sandra and Dani are doing a press conference together. Dani says she stands her as a veteran, a patriot, and a proud daughter of immigrants. She's flooded with questions. She denies being a hero, rather she's just an American citizen who wanted to shine light on injustice.

Kate finally finishes her Lego structure. It's a miniature Capitol. Roger comes in and asks how long she's been working on it. She replies a long time. He asks if she's ever been. She says no.

Allison enters Sandra's office and asks her to come home with her to celebrate that Barish only gave Keenan 6 months, opposed to the 2 years the government asked. She brought an amazing bottle of wine, and she would rather not drink it alone.

Leonard enters Kate's office and tells her to come out for drinks. He told Seth he owed him a drink for his help with the cruise ship and Seth picked tonight. Leonard refuses to drink alone with Seth. He begs Kate not to make him do that.

Allison and Sandra are talking over wine when someone knocks on the door. Allison says it's the guest of honor.

At the bar, Seth is showing off a magic trick. Leonard's card is in his pocket. Kate says a rabbit would have been cooler. Leonard gets a message from Hanna, reminding him of their appointment. Leonard says one more drink.

Sandra hugs Eddie. Allison pours him a glass of wine.

Both Sandra and Kate observe their drinking buddies with a smile on their face.


  • Jill Carlan
  • Roger Gunn
  • Allison Adams
  • Kate Littlejohn
  • Jay Simmons
  • Leonard Knox
  • Seth Oliver
  • Sandra Bell
  • Nicholas Byrne
  • Diane Barish
  • Eddie Adams
  • Hanna Fane
  • Dani Rios
  • Keenan Griggs
  • Coast Guard
  • Port Authority
  • FBI (right)
  • Reporter One
  • Reporter Two
  • Reporter Three

Main CastEdit

Guest StarsEdit


Legal CasesEdit

The United States v Dani RiosEdit

Dani Rios was arrested and charged with leaking files that indicated that the NSA was accessing medical files to identify undocumented immigrants and use the information to deport people. Sandra met with Dani and told her her best option would probably be to make a deal. Sandra and Kate both figured out that Dani wasn't in the press because the prosecution wanted to bury it. So Sandra went to the press herself with the story, putting pressure on the government to drop or reduce the charges against Dani. Once Dani saw the news report, she said she didn't want a deal. She wanted to be the hero for the people who saw her as one. Kate and Sandra met and debated the deal, but Kate realized that Dani didn't want a deal. Sandra went back to Dani and told her that she wouldn't get to be part of the community of supporters she helped create because she'd be in prison. Instead of then going to make a deal with Kate, they went to the hearing. Sandra insisted that the government release the documents to prove that Dani harmed the US. Kate said they would, but they'd have to be redacted first, which would delay them 18 months. Judge Byrne called them into his chambers and left them to figure it out so it wouldn't go to trial. They made a deal for the espionage charge to be withdrawn in exchange for a guilty plea on the theft of government property charge. She wanted time served plus three years of supervised release. Kate agreed that that was fair.

The United States v Keenan GriggsEdit

Keenan was charge with illegal possession of a firearm, to which he pleaded guilty. Barish informed Allison of her intent to use an algorithm called EVALUATE to aid her in sentencing. Allison questioned its use and asked the judge about how it works. She gave Allison one week to prepare a statement about the use of the software. Allison went back to Judge Barish with her statement, saying that her own recidivism rate was lower than the national average and EVALUATE's, which was higher itself than the national average. She implored the judge to use her own judgment in the case. She gave Keenan six months instead of the recommended two years.

The United States v Bart McKennaEdit

Bart McKenna was the perpetrator in a $100 million Ponzi scheme. They were working to make a case against him when he fled, but his escaping boat stalled in the Hudson River, so they were having it towed to Brooklyn, where Hanna planned to be waiting with the FBI. However, since she shared the information with Leonard, he took the information to Roger so they could try to steal the case. They contacted port authority and the coast guard, who said there was a storm coming, so they wouldn't send out ships to tow it in until it passed. Leonard made a deal with Hanna that wherever the boat ended up after the storm, whichever side it was closest to would get the case. While watching the weather report, Leonard had Seth explain to him where the ship would end up. He then arranged for NYPD officers to be at a restaurant near the port in New Jersey just in time to arrest him and bring him back to the Southern Court.


Song Performer Scene
"There'll Come a Time" Alex Goose
  • Kate and Sandra make their way to work, the first on each side, just seconds apart.
"Tornado" 1st Vows
  • Leonard finishes having sex with Hanna.
  • She has to leave abruptly.
"Compromise" Molly Kate Kestner
  • Kate works on her lego model.
  • Allison wants Sandra to go celebrate with her, but she has work to do.
  • Leonard invites Kate out for drinks. She says she has to work, but he pushes her to come so he doesn't have to go alone with Seth.
  • Allison brings her brother home.
  • Kate, Seth, and Leonard drink.

Notes and TriviaEdit

For The People 1x03 Promo "18 Miles Outside of Roanoke" (HD)

For The People 1x03 Promo "18 Miles Outside of Roanoke" (HD)

  • The episode scored 3.50 million viewers, a series high.
  • While there are no real promotional stills available for this episode, ABC did release a couple of screenshots instead.
  • Title Drop: Kate says it to Sandra when she's telling the story of her aborted school trip to the Capitol.


Episode StillsEdit


Kate: His name was Richard Prince. You asked me why I wanted to do this? Richard Prince. He sat behind me in Ms. Stiller's history class. He talked a lot, he cheated. At the end of the first semester, he had the highest grade in the class because he cheated. I liked school. Richard didn't like school. Maybe he didn't need it. I don't know, I don't care. I needed it. I looked forward to Mondays, school. The weekends, when I was at home? We had two field trips every year in my middle school. The big one in seventh grade was across the state to the U.S. Capitol. I had been looking forward to the Capitol trip since I was five years old. I had memorized every Speaker of the House since Frederick Muhlenberg. I knew that the prize for designing the Capitol building was 500 dollars. I knew that the Dome was made of 8,909,200 pounds of cast iron. I knew this and I wrote all these things down in a little notebook. And I pasted pictures into the notebook so I could bring it with me when we went on our trip and make sure I saw everything I had ever read about. I was more excited about this trip than I have ever been about anything in my life. We were 18 miles outside of Roanoke when Richard Prince pulled out his phone on the bus. There was one strict rule on this trip: no electronic devices. None. But Richard Prince had brought his phone. Ms. Stiller told him to put it away. He refused. His friends started to defend him. It got loud. I sat in the back of the bus with my hands over my ears looking through my notebook, staring at pictures of the Dome, the Crypt, the Old Senate Chamber. But it just got louder and louder, more out of control. And then I felt the wheels of the bus turn. I didn't look up but I felt it. We were going home. I was looking forward to that Capitol trip for six years. Six years and I did not get to go because Richard Prince decided the rules didn't apply to him. 49 kids didn't get to go because of one person. Is this what I wanted to be when I was growing up? Yes. Injustice isn't only felt by the loudest person complaining about it.

See AlsoEdit

A complete overview of this episode's crew can be found here.

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