foil

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Konstantinos

Senior Member
Greek - Athens
What exactly is the meaning of foil in this sentence?

She'd been drawn to the law initially by a defense lawyer, a fictional one at that: Perry Mason.

TOTENBERG: But she liked Mason's foil too, prosecutor Hamilton Burger, because of his interest in justice, not just winning.

And at her confirmation hearing, she even sited this Burger moment.

http://esl-bits.net/advanced.listening/Media/2013-01-24/Sotomayor_2/index.html

Thanks in advance.
 
  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    Perry Mason was a defense attorney. He worked to prove the innocence of his clients. Hamilton Burger was the prosecuting attorney. He worked for the state to prove the guilt of the accused. They were on opposite sides of each case, but Mr. Burger was interested in catching the actual criminal more than he was in just winning a case.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Although that's true of their relationship in the TV series (and I presume in the books), opposite views are not a necessary part of being a 'foil'. The foil makes something else stand out. The original meaning is the thin metal foil on the back of a jewel, to make the jewel shine brighter. You can be a foil to someone else by doing things in a different way, but you don't have to oppose the other person the way the two lawyers did.
     
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