In episode 4, Joanna interviewed Jacob, getting his details of the day Ben Rifkin was murdered and Andy tried to get information about Leonard Patz out of his previous victim Matt McGrath. Matt was unwilling to cooperate, and Andy got the bombshell that he needed to visit his father in prison in order to get him to cooperate with the DNA test for Jacob’s defense.
Episode 5, “Visitors,” begins with Andy taking off early in the morning, the same day of the Archer Middle School graduation ceremony that Jacob now has to miss. Ben’s mother gives a heartfelt and grieving speech at the ceremony, telling parents to cherish their children.
Andy arrives at the Connecticut prison his father (J.K. Simmons) is serving his life sentence at. His father sits across from him in the phone booth. Andy sits in stunned silence, his father’s first words, “You gonna say something?” They speak about Andy’s mother, his father’s disappointment in Andy’s lack of contact, and then the conversation turns to Jacob. His father tries to bargain, asking if Andy can help him reduce his sentence in return for help with Jacob, to which Andy replies, “absolutely not.” Billy refuses to give the swab.
Joanna and Andy are out for coffee later that day, and Joanna tells him it’s likely that his father is trying to bait him into a second visit, reassuring him that this wasn’t over yet, before showing him the article written about Jacob’s case from Laurie’s run-in with the writer at the diner. Laurie had never told him about it. That night, he confronts Laurie about the article, and as they’re arguing, Sarah arrives to see Jacob.
During one of Laurie’s early morning grocery runs, she gets a glimmer of happiness as she stocks up for a Fourth of July party for the three of them, before running into Ben’s mother in an aisle, who looks disgustedly at her cart full of treats before spitting in her face. Laurie leaves the store empty-handed.
Andy goes to see Duffy at her gym, drilling her on whether Derek is a suspect now. She tells him Derek had an alibi, his mother drove him to school that day. Andy refutes it, his mother isn’t reliable, but Duffy gives him nothing.
Jacob’s friend Sarah gets a social media alert from Jacob’s account. She sees a photo of his face photoshopped over Patrick Bateman’s iconic axe scene in American Psycho, along with the caption “What people think of me.”
Andy is outside of Derek’s house as he gets into the car with his mother. He follows them to Derek’s summer lacrosse clinic and then to his mother’s lunch get-together with her friends, using a glass bottle to flatten her tire, undoubtedly to delay her arrival to pick him up on time. Andy gets Derek alone at the school. He brings up the interview with Duffy, and Derek responds he can’t talk to him about this stuff. Then, Andy asks why he was so quick to point blame at Jacob, making it seem as if Derek is now a suspect by bringing up their lawyer and Duffy — that they think he may have done it, and it was an attempt to draw attention away from himself. He tells Andy, “I know you think you know Jacob, but you don’t. Jake’s got this dark side…” before detailing the websites Jacob had been visiting — sites about watching others harm people called “cutter porn.”
While Andy was with Derek, Laurie shows up unexpectedly at Dr. Vogel’s, and Laurie tells her about the time she caught 5-year-old Jacob about to hit another child in the head with a bowling ball, and the vacant expression that followed — “no fear, no shame, just nothing.” She tells Dr. Vogel she doesn’t think Jacob wanted to harm this other boy, but what if he did? She blames herself for possibly missing signs of something — of Jacob being a murderer.
On a break from her work at the ice cream parlor, Andy speaks to Sarah about the anonymous email he received with the Facebook post from Derek the night he’d interviewed her at the school, if it was her. She tells him it was her that contacted Duffy about Derek and that Derek had Ben’s missing cell phone. She detailed the harassment she experienced from Ben, that he was going to send a private photo she’d sent him to the entire school if she didn’t agree to perform oral sex on him, and Derek knew about it. Derek had said he’d deal with it. The next day Derek had Ben’s phone; he’d stolen it. Two days later Ben was dead.
Laurie, Jacob, and Joanna tell Jacob the news later that night, that the phone may be the key to proving his innocence, and they think Derek gave it to Duffy. Laurie expects him to be happy, but instead he’s upset that Sarah was only spending time with him out of guilt, that she wasn’t really his friend.
The next morning, Andy and Jacob head out to fish for the day, where Jacob asks Andy about his father before confessing that he’s scared of what the future holds. Andy promises his son he won’t end up in jail, they’re going to fight.
Joanna calls, and tells Andy that the police have Derek’s phone and they’ll be getting all the records from it, and that Andy’s father has had a change of heart, he’s giving the DNA sample. Finally, some good news.
Andy confronts Laurie after their family movie night and Jacob’s gone to bed, she went to see his father. She convinced him to give the sample. An unknown number calls Andy in the middle of the night. It’s Matt McGrath, Leonard Patz’s victim.
What’s on Derek’s phone? How does Andy feel about Laurie going to see his father behind his back? Episode 6 of Defending Jacob will be out exclusively on Apple TV+ next Friday, May 15.