When closing arguments are delivered, high-profile cases become even more like theater. The reviews are in in the 4-month-old Jodi Arias trial.
To use show-biz slang, prosecutor Juan Martinez killed it. That's not to say he won the case. We do have to wait for the jury verdict in the first-degree murder trial.
Yet court watchers were impressed. "Prosecutor Martinez tore the courthouse down today," Nancy Grace raved Thursday on her HLN show. "People were passing around Kleenex, boxes of Kleenex out there listening to him."
Beth Karas seconded the good review, telling Grace: "The jurors have sat up straight all day, very attentively and stoically watching Juan Martinez. He made eye contact with them. He wasn't looking down at his notes or reading his notes. He knows his case inside and out."
ABC's Dan Abrams, who has often complained that Martinez was going over the top during the trial, said Martinez had done a good job in the closing argument. On Friday's "Good Morning America," Abrams said he came away thinking that Arias has a terrible case.
Martinez proved he could mix up his styles and that he's a good actor. He had been fiery and relentless during the trial. His closing was more subdued.
Grace said that Martinez's finest hour may have been his defense of victim Travis Alexander and an explanation of premeditation.
Compared to Martinez, defense attorney Kirk Nurmi came off a bit bumbling in his closing statement. But Nurmi also had the greater challenge.
On Dr. Drew Pinsky's HLN show, attorney Mark Eiglarsh said that Nurmi did the best he could. "He's got a tough client, a tough situation," Eiglarsh said.
On HLN Friday afternoon, attorney Holly Hughes said that Nurmi had been "very effective" in answering Martinez's view that Arias is a criminal mastermind.
Karas said that Nurmi "made the points he needed to make" and that the jurors remained focused on him.
Grace, however, was astonished that Nurmi revealed that "nine days out of 10 I don't like Jodi Arias." Karas and Jean Casarez said they have heard variations of that theme in other trials, and that the jury seemed to have no reaction to the remark. (The judge told jurors to disregard the comment.)
In the end, the only review that matters is the verdict.
But the commentators' analyses give everyone something to talk about.
What next? HLN has been running commercials for its George Zimmerman coverage, starting next month.
What do you think?