'Bull' Demonizes Rich: 'Always Manage to Get Theirs'

September 25th, 2018 2:38 AM

On Bull, having a heart attack isn’t so bad if you’re rich.

In the season three premiere of Bull on CBS, Dr. Jason Bull (Michael Weatherly) returns to work following a heart attack, and brings along a not-so-fun case for his team. A young mother will die within a few weeks if she doesn’t get a new liver, which her health insurance company has denied the claim for. And, to the team’s shock and chagrin, they’re representing the insurance company!

In September 24’s episode, “The Ground Beneath Their Feet,” Bull introduces his new client, Mr. Marshall Hitchcock, the CEO of Equisafe Insurance, whom he met while they were both recovering from medical issues. Hitchcock is being sued by a mother of two young children, a plaintiff sympathetic even to the members of Bull’s team who are paid rather well to be working for the defendant - a $2 million a month retainer.

The issue of money and greed, then, quickly seeps in as a theme of the episode. Bull starts talking about how much the $2 million will pay for, saying, “This is a business, not a charity.” When it's noted that a liver transplant would give the young mother a prognosis of 36-42 months at a cost of $400,000-$500,000, the biggest opponent of taking the case, Marissa Morgan (Geneva Carr), tells Bull that the team “really thought it was a huge mistake to put a price tag on the woman's life.”

Marissa’s issues become personal when Bull initiates deeper conversation. “It’s about the greater good. It's about resources. It's about making sure that there's something for everyone,” Bull says about why the insurance company would reject the claim. He mentions what he went through with his heart attack, but is quickly dismissed by Marissa because he is rich:



Bull: You really hate this case, don't you?

Marissa: We all keep thinking, "What if it were us?" Three more years with the people you love. How do you put a price on that?

Bull: No. I'm sorry. You're being myopic. It's about the greater good. It's about resources. It's about making sure that there's something for everyone. And the simple fact is that everyone can't have everything. I know, 'cause I just went through...

Marissa: I knew what you went through. I cried for weeks. I prayed for weeks. But Jason, what happened to you has nothing to do with the rest of us.

Bull: How could you say that?

Marissa: 'Cause you're rich. And yes, everybody gets it, everybody can't have everything, but it sure seems like people like you, people like Mr. Hitchcock always manage to get theirs.

Sympathizing with others for their health problems is dismissed, as long as those suffering have the money to make up for it. To Marissa, and the episode overall, it’s the thing to do to demonize the wealthy. Of course, you know that any storyline about health insurance only being for the rich is part of Hollywood's campaign for universal healthcare.

Other such sham attitudes on healthcare and insurance are presented. The court erupts when the plaintiff’s lawyer screams out her views, which are met with approval from the gallery:

This isn't about entitlement. This isn't about jumping the line. If she doesn't get the operation in the next 12 weeks, she is going to die. And you know what? If she dies, these people save a lot of money. Make no mistake, this is about money. We should be identifying livers right now. We should be testing livers right now. What is insurance for if not for that?

I half expected them to include dialogue demanding the government take over since private health insurance companies are greedy and not doing their jobs.

The theme of shaming the wealthy for their success persists throughout the episode. Even Hitchcock privately admits to Bull that “that lady’s lawyer isn’t wrong.” Hitchcock admits that “sometimes [money] can even make you feel better about things you might otherwise regret.”

In the end, Bull is left with a bad taste in his mouth about the case, about successfully doing his job, and decides he doesn't want to continue with Hitchcock. He gives the young mother the $2 million retainer check he got from Equisafe to make amends and pay for her healthcare after she loses in court.

The episode overall reeks of desperation in communicating oft-repeated and tiring claims about wealth, class warfare, and healthcare. The show lives up to its name, it's all bull.