This is America is the second episode of the second season and the 12th overall episode of For the People.

Short SummaryEdit

Tina faces legal consequences as she defiantly insists on protecting a young boy after his father, a witness in Leonard’s case, has a run-in with ICE agents that could lead to his deportation. Elsewhere, Kate is determined to establish her worth to Roger and takes on a significant murder case involving a prominent New York criminal defense attorney.

Full SummaryEdit

Tina arrives at the courthouse in the morning. She greets some people and then directs a father and his son to the fifth floor. "Gracias," the man says as the doors close.

Tina asks Marshal Phillips, who's late, about Evelyn. She's had a rough night. Tina's sorry to hear that. He asks if she won't tell on him. "Now what kind of person would I be if I did that?" she asks. He smiles and Tina declares her counter open.

The AUSA's are watching Robin Roberts interview Arthur Covington. His wife died in Yellowstone National Park. She slipped and fell. All lawyers but Seth think he killed her. Roger comes up and says they'll all lose to Arthur, a criminal defense lawyer, at some point. He heard Arthur's wife died. Seth tells him she slipped. Roger didn't realize he killed her. Roger hands out cases. Leonard can't take a new one because his case is going to trial. Kate volunteers, but Roger assigns the case to Seth instead.

Merced and his son Ramon arrive outside the courtroom. He has Ramon sit down and gives him his toy dinosaur to play with while he waits. He kisses Ramon's forehead and heads in.

During trial, Leonard tells Judge Alice Reed he's prepared to go to trial right now since he brought a witness, Merced, who can testify that the assault in the post office took place as alleged. The defense attorney asks for a minute.

Tina walks by Ramon and tries to guess the dinosaur species. Ramon informs her that his father is in the courtroom.

Defense council and Leonard have agreed to work this out between them, meaning the trial's off the calendar. Leonard tells Merced they won't need him and thanks him for coming in. As the courtroom clears, Leonard chases after the defense attorney. Meanwhile, Merced is stopped at the door by ICE agents. They ask for identification and if he's in the country legally. Merced asks them to talk to Leonard, but they arrest him.

Outside, Ramon keeps looking for his father. He enters the courtroom and finds it entirely empty.

Tina hears a noise and looks over her counter. Ramon looks up at her and asks if she knows where his dad is.

Ramon is seated in Tina's office. She tells him that people get lost here. She still gets lost and she has worked here a long time. She asks his name and his dad's phone number. She calls the number, but he doesn't answer. Ramon says he just has his father. Tina says they'll go take a walk and see what they can find.

She checks her desk and finds the ICE agents standing there. Agent Ron Marin inquires if she's seen a boy. They arrested his father upstairs and marshals told them that Merced came in with a boy. Tina claims she has not seen the boy. She gestures at Ramon to stay hidden. Ron asks Tina to contact them if she sees the boy. Tina picks up the phone and calls someone for help.

Kate sits down in Seth's office. She thinks Roger is icing her out because of the Sarco case. Seth says he always came by her office when the roles were reversed. Seth says talking to Roger won't help. She'll have to make her own work. She has to find her food and kill it.

On the way back to her office, the interview with Arthur Covington catches her eye.

Tina is having Ramon stamp documents as Jay enters. Tina introduces Jay. He recognizes the dinosaur. Privately, Tina tells Jay that the agents haven't come back yet but they'll figure out Ramon never left the building. She doesn't know anything about Ramon's status and she refuses to hand him over until she knows what will happen to him if they take him. Jay will talk to the lawyer handling Merced's case.

Jay briefs Leonard about what happened. Leonard is angered that ICE took a cooperating witness.

Jay and Leonard are in Roger's office telling him about the situation. Leonard begged Merced to come in. Jay lists a couple of ICE's dirty tricks. He asks what Roger's going to do. Roger says he'll try to call ICE, but he's afraid it won't help.

Kate joins Seth on the elevator. She started looking into the Covington case. Forensics don't match his story. Seth wants to go see Jason to return $5 he borrowed, but Kate knows he's not in today. It looks like Cynthia was shoved and then had her head beaten in with a rock. The motive would be a renewed and improved insurance policy. Seth says Arthur will be charged in Wyoming then, but Kate says he won't. He committed the perfect murder.

She drags him into her office and shows him a map of Yellowstone. The entire National Park falls onder Wyoming's jurisdiction, but small parts of it are located in Idaho and Montana. According to the 6th Amendment, juries have to be drawn from the state and district where a crime is committed. In Arthur's case, the jury has to come from the Idaho section of Yellowstone, but that's impossible because nobody lives there. If you want to kill someone without punishment, this is the place to do it. Seth doesn't buy it. A paralegal comes to bring something to Kate's attention.

Lori Pak, a US Attorney from Wyoming, is on television explaining the exact thing Kate just told Seth. Seth can't believe Kate's right. He thinks Kate needs another case, but Kate says no. She can get Arthur here if she can prove that he planned the crime in New York. Seth's proud of her. She's killing her food.

Ted can't find Merced Garcia in the ICE Detainee Locator System. Without an alien registration number, it's difficult to track him. Also, he may not be processed yet. Jay wonders what happens to Ramon if they turn him over. Ted says he'll go into a refugee resettlement facility, which could be anywhere and he could be moved around. The rules don't really apply anymore, so he could be subject to all kinds of horrible stuff. If Merced is deported, Ramon might very well stay here in foster care, not allowed to leave. He would be in legal purgatory: not a citizen, not free to go home.

As night falls, Tina returns to her office with food and a dinosaur puzzle. She finds Ramon has disappeared.

She eventually finds him on the bench where he was told to wait for his father. He thinks his father came back to find him and he wasn't there. Tina says Merced really wanted to come back, but he can't. Tina won't lie to him. She tells him they are trying to find him. She knows how much his father loves him and that he won't come back any time soon. She kindly asks him to come back with her. As they start walking, the ICE agents appear at the other end of the hallway. Tina says no. She refuses to step aside. She assures him arresting her, a well-respected clerk of court in this courthouse, won't look well for him. She suggests she call the Chief Judge and the child's attorney to solve his civilly and legally. Or they can do this barbarically. Unmoved, agent Marin repeats his request to step aside. At that moment, marshal Phillips comes up asking if there's a problem. Marin places Tina under arrest and asks Phillips to help. "Now, what kind of person would I be if I did that?" he asks as he goes to stand in front of her. As the agents move closer, he reaches for his gun.

After a phone call, Douglas Delap walks to Roger's office and asks Roger and Leonard to come with him.

Jay and Jill grab their coats and leave their offices.

A clerk finds Nicholas in his chambers as he's about to head home.

The lawyers and Nicholas arrive in the hallway. Nicholas asks everyone to take a step back and asks Ramon to sit on the bench with Tina. Nicholas tells Marin to back off, but Marin says he has no jurisdiction over them. They're attempting to make a lawful arrest. Nicholas says he's responsible for the supervision of the US District Court for the Southern District of NY. Nicholas points out that three armed marshals are blocking Ramon and Nicholas won't tell them to back off until the adults here have talked this through. Ron tells Nicholas he doesn't have authority over marshals, they fall under the DOJ. This is Delap's call. Delap asks Nicholas to talk.

Privately, Delap assures Nicholas that they are on the same page. He can use the marshals to keep the ICE agents off Ramon, but once it gets to Washington, and it will soon, to the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security, they both know how this will end.

They return to others and inquire about Merced. No one knows where he is. Allison comes running up. They found Merced. He's in Arizona. He's being deported.

Arthur has come to the US Attorney's office. Kate wants to explain why she called him in, but he knows she wants to know if he did anything in furtherance of the crime here in NY so she can establish venue here. Arthur says Cynthia planned the entire trip. She made all reservations and even picked the hike. Kate found that Arthur and Cynthia e-mailed each other a lot, even while they were both in the apartment. Arthur heard about Kate. He thinks she can do better than this boring stuff. Kate says Arthur changed his family's cellphone service to a carrier with no reception in the zone of the park where Cynthia died. Arthur says he does that every six months at exactly six months. Kate says he bought an expensive GPS watch at the airport so he'd know he was in the right place to push Cynthia off the trail. Arthur says he never used it. Kate says Cynthia didn't like hiking and flying, yet she organized all this on her own? Arthur smiles. He never liked the idea of the law as a living organism, mutating and adapting to social change. It should be fixed. He likes words with precise meaning. People change, however. He guesses Cynthia did. The e-mails prove that it was all her idea. He thanks Kate for stepping up and tells her she changed, too, before walking out.

Tina asks Nicholas how long she has. The agents are gone now, but they could come back at any moment. Once the marshals are ordered to step down, there's nothing Nicholas can do for Ramon or Tina. She will lose her job if she pushes too far. Jill sent someone to Arizona. They can only hope that helps. Nicholas advises Tina to take the long view on this. Tina asks him how long you take the long view before you can't see the little things anymore.

Leonard sees a visibly distraught Kate in the conference room. He heard about Covington. Kate says he's going to get away with it. He's using the law to commit a crime. It's a puzzle to him. She should be able to catch him and she can't. This is not what the law is supposed to be. Leonard asks what it is supposed to be. Isn't it supposed to protect a seven-year-old boy. The law is powerful, but also incomplete and sometimes messed-up. He suggests she's approaching this the wrong way. Covington made a mistake somewhere and it's not because he wasn't thinking, but because he wasn't thinking like a human. She shouldn't try to outmanoeuvre him.

Sandra and Ted are speaking to Merced in a detention camp in Arizona. They tell him Ramon's okay. Sandra will represent him in his deportation hearing. She asks him a couple of questions. He came to the US two years ago. He works as a delivery driver. His wife passed away and Ramon is his only child. Merced breaks down.

Tina is making an improvised bed for Ramon. They both lie down. When her son was about his age, she used to read him a story called Amos & Boris.

Full summary to be continued


  • Jill Carlan
  • Roger Gunn
  • Allison Adams
  • Ted
  • Kate Littlejohn
  • Jay Simmons
  • Leonard Knox
  • Seth Oliver
  • Sandra Bell
  • Tina Krissman
  • Nicholas Byrne
  • Douglas Delap
  • Arthur Covington
  • Celia Chavez
  • Stephen Wolf
  • Ron Marin
  • Merced Garcia
  • Sonny Phillips
  • Robin Roberts
  • Alice Reed
  • 2x02Assistant.png Assistant
  • Kim Fowler
  • Lori Pak
  • Leslie Hammond
  • Paralegal
  • Ramon Garcia
  • Clerk
  • US Marshal

Main CastEdit

Guest StarsEdit


Legal CasesEdit

The United States v Arthur CovingtonEdit

Merced Garcia and Ramon GarciaEdit


Song Performer Scene
"Baby It's Over" Mani Hoffman feat. Matt Hartke
  • Tina walks into work. At the elevator, she sends a father and his son to the fifth floor.
  • Tina greets Officer Phillips and opens her desk.
"America" Komöller
  • Tina goes to Ramon to tell him goodbye and tell him he always has a home here and he's welcome here.
  • She then leads him out to see his father and they are reunited.

Notes and TriviaEdit

For The People 2x02 Promo "This is America" (HD)

For The People 2x02 Promo "This is America" (HD)

  • This episode scored 3.26 million viewers, a season high.
  • Title Drop: Tina says this at the beginning of her speech to Jay about what country they're living in.
  • Anna Deavere Smith cited the immigrant child storyline as the one that most got to her. Vondie Curtis Hall said everyone was in tears at the end of the table read.


Episode StillsEdit

Behind the ScenesEdit


Jay: I don't understand what's happening here. What country is this?
Tina: This is America.
Jay: This is not the America I know. When I came here with my family, we had nothing, and we struggled, but we built a life here, and we were welcome here. For years, my dad kept this little picture of Ronald Reagan above our kitchen table, with these quotes from him. About immigrants. "These families came here to work. They came to build. They brought with them courage, ambition, and the values of family." That is the America I know. I am an immigrant. I am the child of immigrants. We were welcome here.
Tina: And today you probably wouldn't be. This is America. It expands and it contracts. Advances and recedes. Opens and closes. This is a country birthed in freedom and built on slavery. Separating families? They separated black families in America for 250 years. What makes this feel so bad now is that we expect more. And that's a good thing. This pain is progress. But do not forget who we are and where we came from. I do not forget where I came from. I grew up in West Baltimore, around the corner from where Justice Marshall grew up. This Justice Marshall. He knew my father. He stood in my living room. The elementary school I went to, Mt. Royal, I went to because of him. I'm here because of him. He was the grandson of a slave, and he changed American law. He changed the very idea of the Constitution! He made a document that considered him three-fifths of a man a document of liberation. This is the America I know. A beacon and a curse. Light and darkness. Hope and despair. This is America right now. But America never ends.

See AlsoEdit

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

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