A strong blend of humor and tenderness propels the latest episode of “Parks and Recreation”, which puts Leslie and Ben’s relationship in the spotlight – of an ethics trial! Even in small doses the cast shines in “The Trial of Leslie Knope,” an episode that maintains one central story line, but succeeds mightily throughout.

Check below for the complete review…

The Players:

  • Director: Dean Holland
  • Writers: Dan Goor, Michael Schur
  • Cast: Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Nick Offerman, Adam Scott, Aziz Ansari, Jim O’Heir, Retta, Aubrey Plaza, Rob Lowe, and Chris Pratt

Episode: “The Trial of Leslie Knope”

Leslie’s ethics trial pits her against Chris, and forces Ben to make a major admission.

The Good:

  • Chris/Leslie: It was definitely a Leslie/Chris kind of episode, even though the entire cast was utilized in the only story of the episode – the ethics trial. Whether it was Ron or Andy or Tom or Jerry, everyone was top shelf, even if their air time was minor. Even Tammy 2 dropped by the courtroom to take part in the show’s homage to “Law & Order.”
  • Cold Open: One of the better openers of the season – maybe ever! You get Ron Swanson using phrases like, “Don’t sass me,” and responding swiftly to the horrors of Google Earth – that is going to be good any old time.
  • Chris: I’m a big Chris Traeger fan, so the episode delighted me because I thought Rob Lowe did strong work. The herbal remedies in the courtroom were awesome! Just his overall reaction to what is an uncomfortable situation was funny – the man taps into so much joy to cover his misery. And jumping jacks also help.
  • Gary/Jerry: This was at the end, but it was hilarious. We have learned so much about Jerry (sexy daughter!), but the name – the real name – is classic.
  • Leslie: Poehler had a great episode and delivered some fine dialogue. Also, I want to know what Leslie listens to on her iPod to get pumped up for an ethics trial.
  • Tom: The Tom Ford/House of Gucci line was great. It was nice to dial down Tom and his kooky antics for an episode, but I am already eager for more hi-jinks in his post-Entertainment 720 life and times.
  • The End: The final scenes with Ben, Leslie and the flashbacks with Chris to close the episode are as good as it gets for tenderness and sweetness and whatever other ‘ness’ type words you want to toss in. Who the hell knows what happens next, but the episode closed on a pure high note.

The Bad (but not that bad):

  • Leslie/Ben: I have made it known my annoyance at times with the Ben and Leslie narrative. And here we have an entire episode dedicated to such things! So, I am faced with an episode that hit all the right notes, and yet the subject matter irritates me. But the end scene – too good not to love even if the relationship was making me ill! Ill!


First rate episode wraps up the Leslie-Ben story just about perfectly – although a new path for the cute twosome has begun. The entire cast pitches in on the only story line of the night, and there were definitely some lines of dialogue that are keepers.

The episode ramped up the sweetness but made sure the courtroom antics supplied plenty of laughs.

When the cold open and the tag scene are also both kick-ass funny, along with an  entire episode of hilarity, you know you have a TV show that is doing something special.

Rating: 9/10

“Parks and Recreation” airs on NBC at 8:30 pm (ET/PT) on Thursday nights.

What did you think of last night’s episode?