Saturday Night Live Transcripts


  Season 15: Episode 17







89q: Corbin Bernsen / The Smithereens

TV Lawyers

Judge.....Nora Dunn
Prosecutor.....Kevin Nealon
.....Corbin Bernsen
Susan Dey.....Jan Hooks Raymond Burr.....Jon Lovitz

[ open on exterior, Municipal Court of Los Angeles ]

[ dissolve to interior, courtroom, as the Judge pounds her gavel ]

Judge: The next case is number 15702: The State of California vs. Corbin Bernsen. Does the prosecution have any opening remarks?

Prosecutor: Yes, Your Honor. [ stands ] These are the facts: Mr. Bernsen has constructed a three-story addition to his house that variants with public building codes, which limits structures in his zone to two stories. The State is asking him to dismantle the top story of his, uh, addition, and pay $1,500 in fines.

Judge: Alright, now, Mr. Bernsen.. where is your counsel?

Corbin Bernsen: Your Honor -- [ stands, smoothes the creases from his jacket ] it is my intention to represent myself.

Judge: Now, Mr. Bernen, this is a complicated matter. I strongly urge you to retain a lawyer.

Corbin Bernsen: Your Honor, I don't think you understand -- for the last four years, I have portrayed a lawyer on a television program. And, in that time, I have grown very familiar with legal procedure.

Judge: [ sighs ] Alright, Mr. Bernsen. Why don't you present your case?

Corbin Bernsen: Thank you, Your Honor. [ stands before the courtroom ] If it please the court, throughout the course of this trial, I intend to get an injunction and file several motions. [ paces the courtroom ] Affadavits will be signed. And submitted. and, of course, my case will include deposition. That's right -- [ stares directly at the Prosecutor ] lots of depositions.

[ the Prosecutor shakes his head ]

Judge: Mr. Bernsen, will you please get to your point?

Corbin Bernsen: Very well, Your Honor. We can litigate on that later. But, first, I'd like to make several legal points, which have a relevance to this case. A case which is now.. in a court of law. And, with your permission, I would like to lead the witness with torts, writs, and, if necessary -- [ stares once again at the Prosecutor ] more depositions.

Judge: [ sternly ] Mr. Bernsen, we have many cases to hear today. Will you please be succinct?

Corbin Bernsen: Your Honor, I move that a mistrial be declared immediately in your chambers, to issue subpeonas and exchange legal briefs.

Prosecutor: Ob-jec-tion! [ rises ] Mr. Bernsen clearly does not understand the concept of this trial.

Judge: Objection sustained.

Prosecutor: Thank you. [ sits ]

Corbin Bernsen: Yuor Honor, this trial is, without question, the greatest injunction I have ever witnessed! This room is FULL of heresay and suspicious persons, and I must ask that ALL remarks be STRICKEN from the record, and be put on fle with the Court Clerk! [ to the Court Clerk ] Could you read that back to me, please?

Judge: Mr. Bernsen, it is the opinion of the Court that you are a boob. And I feel it is only in your best interest that I appoint you an attorney.

Corbin Bernsen: Oh -- alright -- wait, wait, wait. I-I foresaw this as a possibility, and I have, uh, I have legal counsel right outside.

Judge: Please.

Corbin Bernsen: I ask the Court.. to welcome Miss Susan Dey.

[ Susan Dey saunters into the courtroom in the same smooth demeanor of her character, Grace Van Owen ]

Susan Dey: Your Honor, I'm sorry about Corbin - he obviously did not prepare very well.

Judge: Well, there's been no harm done, if you'll just please advise him to pay his fines.

Susan Dey: [ steps closer to the Judge ] Your Honor, this case is not about building codes.. or zoning laws.. or any abstract ideas. [ turns to face the courtroom ] THIS.. case.. is about a real.. house. With a real.. addition. With real walls.. made of real sheetrock -- oh, yes. [ nods her head ] And real moldings.. that have been really.. painted. With.. real paint.

Judge: I think we've heard enough, Miss Dey. Please sit down.

[ Susan Dey rolls her eyes, then takes a seat ]

Corbin Bernsen: S-sorry, Your Honor. Susan's character has been going through some rough times on the show. But waiting outside is a much older, much more experienced lawyer who has agreede to represent me. Allow me to introduce Mr. Andy Griffith -- TV's "Matlock."

[ Andy Griffith enters the courtroom, smiling and waving at everyone in the room ]

Andy Griffith: Your Honor, I don't know SPIT about lawyerin'! But, ever since I was a little shaver, I used to love to sit by Crackleberry Creek! Fish for large-mouthed bass, just fryin' them up! Mmm-mmm!!

Judge: Get out! Get out, get out! All of you, get out!

Andy Griffith: Nooow, hold yer horses! I won't be handlin' this case alone. I brought my good friend, Raymond Burrr along with me, to help me.

[ a heavily-padded and heavily-beared Raymond Burr swaggers into the courtroom ]

Raymond Burr: Your Honorrrr -- [ takes a deep breath ] I intend to prove that my client, Corbin Bernsen, is INCAPABLE of the murder of Dr. Ainsley Bainbridge. [ takes another deep breath ] If you'll indulge me in a little demonstration -- [ clears his throat ] Paul?

[ a gentlemen enters the courtoom wheeling a volcano science project toward the Judge's desk ]

Judge: [ banging her gavel ] Alright!! Now, Mr. Bernsen, I fine you guilty, and I assess the maximum fine against you! Now, before you go, I want you to know that I think the way you people have -- have conducted yourselves here today is DISGUSTING! Now, I expect that kind of behavior from you people from "L.A. Law" -- and from you, Matlock -- but, not from you, TV's Perry Mason! YOU'RE the reason I got into Law!! And I feel SORRY for you! Now, that is ALL I have to say!

Corbin Bernsen: Hold on! Before you go, there's something I want to say to you. [ violin music pots up ] Maybe the four of us don't know about this business -- the specific details of the Law, or what it's intended to do, or even how to find somebody who knows this stuff. But we do know one thing: that's how to make a dramatic exit. [ to his colleagues ] Let's go.

[ the four TV lawyer/actors make their dramatic exits from the courtroom as the crowd applauds their performance ]

[ fade ]


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