E: Murder! Accusations of infidelity! Threats! Posh drug dealers! Guilt! Mountain climbing! Federal Court! Anonymous twitter accounts! Condoms! Elicit affairs! Metaphorical parasites! Ana Gasteyer on the bench! Stunning shots of the Chicago skyline! Alicia loses her touch with people and manages to offend at least one kid and half her office! Oh yes, this episode had it all. And yet, not as good as last week’s, I don’t think. That might be too hard a standard to live up to, though. And not as good as next week’s looks to be. My eyes are still smoking from the scenes from next week – oh, oh, oh, the hotness.
Okay. Will and Diane are getting a presentation on how to save money. They spend an astronomical amount of money on fresh flowers and paper cups. They have to stop validating parking. And they have expensive season tickets, which Will doesn’t want to give up. It’s got to be something, though, or they’ll have a lose 10 people instead.
Alicia’s left her cell phone at home. Peter answers it. Peter does not like Will calling Alicia. Will will not leave a message with Peter. Way to get that tension right out there, guys. Not that either one was anything other than exquisitely polite, of course. Alicia and Cary stop off at the soon-to-be glitzy downtown office of a father-daughter law firm. (Alicia mentions that they used to operate out of a store front, which confused me for a moment, because when I think storefront lawyers and this show, I think of Alicia’s flirtation with not quite lawyer Ryan Alprin from Unorthodox.) The dad blathers genially about his rock collection (souveniers from his mountain climbing adventures) and how he does business with a handshake. Will calls the office phone (not Cary’s, why is that?) to tell them to start without him. And just as they come to a decision to split the legwork on some sort of management/union dispute, the feds leap in and arrest the father for murder. They almost arrest Cary and Alicia, and they confiscate their briefcases. Youch. Cary catches it all on his iphone.
Turns out that the attorney, Dorfman, has a major drug dealer on his client roster; the zealous Fed Rivers believes Dorfman leaked the witness list for a upcoming trial to Bishop, who had her tortured and killed. Youch. Is it sour grapes on Rivers part? Dorfman thinks so. Overzealous prosecution? Will and Diane don’t want to take the case (Dorfman can only pay if the feds don’t freeze his assets, which they will) but when Rivers shows up at Will’s lunchtime basketball and tries to strong arm him into leaving the case alone, Will immediately changes his mind. We get a lot of Will this episode, the good and the bad, and what we see here is that he won’t back down from a bully (even if it might be wise). “Congratulations, Rivers. You just won Dorfman an attorney.”
Peter and Alicia have a relaxed conversation while she directs him to their tax returns. “Maybe we should talk on the phone more,” she says. Then Peter presses her about Will calling (ass! He’s her boss – why is she not allowed to talk to him?) and she shuts down. Peter finds the tax file, but while looking in her bedside table for a letter opener (wait, who opens their mail in bed?) sees a pair of condoms. That rocks his world.
Political problem of the week, brought to you by Eli Gold – Upriser 7, the handle on a twitter account, is writing about Peter and Alicia, damaging true stuff (like Peter sleeping in the maid’s room) that could end up on political blogs and interfere with Peter’s campaign. Oh, yes, heaven forbid that the truth interfere with Peter’s campaign. I am reminded once more of the fact that Peter has not discussed this campaign at all with Alicia (much as he says he wants back in her life). I don’t know – do political operatives really think they can control things like this? I get that this person is practically a mole, and must have some sort of intimate knowledge of the family, but generally, you can’t take on every rumor monger or internet gossip in Chicago! Anyway, most of it’s about “Saint” Alicia, and whether or not she’s sleeping with Will, and what her coworkers think of her. Yuck.
Will arrives in Federal Court, nervous to be out of his element, where the judge is – Ana Gasteyer, from SNL? Wow. She’s got a major chip on her shoulder. Any good point Will brings up, she shoots down, and she forces him to qualify everything he says with “in my opinion.” Rivers already knew to do this – although he doesn’t do it every time. Will gets a little testy about it (“I thought it was obvious that when I speak, it’s my opinion”), and it does not go well. Will tries to argue that the prosecution is vindictive, and the evidence flimsy, but Ana doesn’t care.
Kalinda and Alicia speed off to see Bishop, who lives on a gorgeous horse farm, and ask if there’s a better suspect, and what he might know about who else wanted the witness dead. It’s a minuet in a minefield, as the cliche goes, and that does not go well either. He calls them racists for even asking. He’s a smoothie, with an interesting Lord of the Manor look and vibe. He’s relaxed and confident, and he likes to control the conversation. He likes Dorfman, but he doesn’t seem to like Alicia and Kalinda. After he’s dismissed them, his white driver tells the reluctant teammates that Rivers is hiding some damaging evidence – the car that the witness was killed in – and they need to get it excluded from evidence. “Talk about a pact with the devil,” Alicia says in horror, “we’re taking trial advice from killers.’
Will tries – and of course fails – but he manages to swing momentum in his direction anyway, with an extremely ballsy and confrontational tactic. Apparently this judge had a habit of making her rulings on objections implicit, instead of stating them outright, and unless you use the proper terminology (sustained or denied) the point can’t be appealed. So Will stands his ground and insists on a ruling about the car, even under threat of contempt, and the judge is so flustered she calls a recess. Without – again – ruling. Will swaggers out of the room. “Want a map, so I can show you were you live? That, my friend, is a Chicago defense.” Alicia’s impressed and shows him that.
Gold arrives at the office to pick at Alicia about the possible identity of Upriser7. He suggests that the tweeter is out to get her, not Peter, because of the general focus of what gets posted. She’s horrified. It’s not enough that she can’t feel comfortable at home; now she can’t trust anyone at work, either? Could Courtney the assistant have gossiped? Could Cary – clearly addicted to that iphone and constantly texting or tweeting – have overheard conversations Courtney had while on her bluetooth? Alicia manages to get Courtney’s back up in no time. (And probably freak out her lunch companions, too.) That’s lousy.
Even crazier? She returns to her office to find a paper bag – the sort you might get Thai food take out in – on the chair Gold just vacated. It’s filled with $200,000 in pot-scented cash. (“Why does it smell like a frat house in here?”) Woah! We rarely see Alicia so freaked.
Turns out it was a present from our favorite drug dealer. Why Alicia’s office? Especially since this seems to be a compliment to Will’s aggressive tactic in court earlier. Bishop oozes into the office, certain he can put Stern, Gardner & Lockhart on retainer because money makes behavior predictable. He offers them dirt on some of their other cases. He smoothly insinuates they have a black lawyer in the room for the racial politics. Julius Cain, played by Michael Boatman, of Spin City and China Beach, doesn’t take kindly to that idea. I’m happy to see Boatman’s part enlarge, because I’ve always liked him, but I wonder if it’s weird for someone who was a regular on some great shows to take such small work here? I guess those shows were a long time ago. He doesn’t look any different, though. Anyway, Bishop offers them his extensive business. Will and Diane will debate the offer. As Alicia walks creepy, urbane Bishop to the elevator, we hear his driver lamenting that S, L&G won’t validate parking. Cute. Bishop leaves with a parting shot; Rivers was sleeping with the witness.
Will and Diane fight about taking him on as a client. She hates the idea. He wants the money. Is it the same as the class action lawsuit where Will defended a drug company when their asthma medication killed children? They didn’t do that on purpose, Diane says – and yes, I can see the distinction, although Will tries to make it about race and comfortable evil. And the firm does need the money. Diane can’t deny it. How can they say no to $200,000, when it could save half the acquisitions department ? This could alter a lot about the firm, though, having a drug kingpin on their roster.
We want Rivers off the case, Will tells the judge, and introduces an affidavit from a motel clerk (heh, nice way not to have to name their real source) about his trysts with the witness/murder victim. The judge is shocked and Rivers is thrown off his stride. Rivers stays on the case, but Will has accomplished his goal – undermining the judge’s confidence in River’s honesty. I’m kind of astounded they would keep him in. How can you be impartial in such a case? They don’t let surgeons operate on family members. Hell, I got out of jury duty once because my Dad went to high school with one of the lawyers. Will’s whole case is malicious prosecution, and here’s perfect grounds for it. The deck seems stacked against our friends here. Oh, but they do get a bone – the car is thrown out.
Course, it goes right back in again, when Rivers thinks to use the GPS to track it from Dorfman’s office to the place where the witness’s body was found. First, though, Alicia sabotages her relationship with Cary by asking him flat out if he’s Upriser7.
And, lovely. She goes home to find Gold welded to her kitchen island. The last tweet came from inside the house. She’s creeped out, and she and Peter debate whether their kids could possibly be responsible for the tweets. Could someone be pirating their wifi? Alicia says it can’t be the kids, but she’ll talk to them in the morning, but first she has to go back to work to deal with the car issue. And here comes the marquee event.
Peter brings up the condoms. Not that there was any good way to have this conversation, but this is surely not the best possible option. At first he thought she must have caught Zach with them, he says, but then he realized she’d just have given him a lecture on responsibility and let him keep them (let a fourteen year old keep them?!!!) so now he’s puzzled. But he can’t understand why she’d need condoms, because she has an IUD. (Wow, surprisingly intimate in detail for network tv.) I had it removed, she says. So condoms make sense, he wonders? Condoms make sense, she answers, daring him to go further. He obliges. “For who?” The word is bitter. Okay, I suppose it makes sense that he would be worried about her loyalty given everything he’s put her through, especially since he’s not as honorable a person as she is and for him that line would be (was) easier to cross. If she was sleeping with Will, he should at least give her credit for this. Would it be at home? No, it wouldn’t.
Anyway, he’s giving her no credit. She dumps out her purse, asks him to check the rest of her room for contraband. “What do you want from me? I said I’d never touch another woman.” “Do you want a prize? That seems to me the minimum pre-requisite.” “For both of us,” he grinds out. Is he kidding? Is this his guilt, or is he really this selfish? “Then trust me,” she says. “Don’t go to work tonight,” he asks, and she can’t believe it. She pointedly puts the condoms in her purse, and leaves. “Trust me,” she says again.
When they can’t get the GPS excluded, Alicia and Cary discuss things with Dorfman and daughter. She figures out that the daughter is the one who leaked the witness’s name, to ingratiate herself with Bishop; the father won’t tell the truth in court, and he can blackmail Bishop into leaving his daughter alone. Dorfman wants Alicia to bring a message to Bishop, which presumably contains his plan for getting out of jail free.
The next morning, Alicia confronts Grace and Zach. Grace says she doesn’t tweet immediately, but Zach resents the very question and Alicia puts her foot in it further by bringing up the previous lies. “That was different. When I lied, it was to protect you.” “It was a lie, Zach, and not just one – over and over again.” “Yeah, but it was a lie like having Jews in your basement”. Nice line, Zach, I like it. Grace thinks he did it, because he talks to Becca like that all the time. Like what? Like what the tweets sound like? Did Alicia start off by showing them the printouts? I guess so. That’s interesting that he would be so mean-spirited.
Eli confronts Becca outside school. In some ways it makes perfect sense for Becca to be the tweeter, because of course she is just that nasty and that much of a fame whore. It’s absolutely something she would do. And yet, how much could she possibly know about Alicia’s work life? How much could Zach know? Is she that good at inferring the nastiest possible meanings from circumstances? That seems possible. I don’t know. Maybe. It’s also seemed very clear from before that her obsession was with Peter – why focus so vindictively on Alicia now? Is it just that she’s the type that sees all other women as competition? Or – hmm. I suppose the point is that Zach is mad at Alicia, or more mad at Alicia than he is at Peter. And that he’s picking up on Peter’s jealousy of Will. And anyway, is Zach so dumb that he wouldn’t guess who was using their home computer?
Either way, I was super excited to see Becca get a smack down, but I have to say, I don’t think that Eli would really have made her back down just because he happened to know the random cop passing by. I’m disappointed. She looks cowed, but I don’t think its earned, even if he did foil one obvious strategy. (Which was to scream and try to get the passing policeman to arrest Gold as a pervert.) “I have a lot of friends. I’m sure you do too, but my friends are not in home room.” Should I dislike her this much? I loathe that entitled Mean Girl type so much, and I hate that Zach is so utterly in her clutches. Gold succeeded at being patronizing, but not as scary as I wanted. Is that bad? Maybe the writers pulled their punches because it was, after all, an exchange between a young girl and a fully grown man.
Ah. Bishop’s driver confesses to killing the witness, presumably in response to Dorfman’s blackmail. Rivers comes to collect him, but wants to know what sort of deal Will made (silly man) to get the confession. Isn’t Rivers the one making the deal, the actual killer in exchange for dropping the prosecution of Dorfman? Will accuses Rivers of seeking his own sanctimony, rather than the truth. Rivers has one thing right. No matter how pretty the offices are, if they accept Bishop as a client, they’re definitely going to wake up with fleas.
Will, Alicia and Cain show up at Bishop’s farm, where they get fired in favor of Dorfman. Will kind of begs Bishop to change his mind. He laughs at himself with Diane later, for begging a drug dealer for his business and getting turned down. They consider splitting up to save the firm – or shopping for another drug dealer. Or they can bring in a third partner, Diane suggests, someone with their own client lists, who can act as a buffer between them. A neutral party they can both agree on. They clink glasses. “And optimism fills the void” Will opines. “I think that’s alcohol,” Diane snickers. “Just as good,” Will smiles.
And speaking of fleas, we have Zach, kissing Becca, and then asking her if she’s really sure. She is. (Surprise.) Oh, that’s never good. She wants him to ride off in the elevator with her, but he says wait, he’s got to get something. Which is, ouch, the condoms which used to be in Alicia’s bedroom drawer. Ha! They were Zach’s, after all, and she did confiscate them, which was the reasonable thing to do. Oh, but wait a minute! Don’t do it, Zach! Even if you were old enough – which you are so not – she’s not interested in you for you. You’re being manipulated by a grasping sleazy ho! There will be disease! And emotional grossness! She might even get knocked up on purpose, just for the notoriety! Don’t do it!
And, yet, he gets in the elevator anyway. Damn it, Jackie, this is all your fault for having that heart attack and letting her save you. Where the hell is Peter and his freaking ankle tether now? Alicia must have figured it out and told Eli who the tweeter was, right? Peter must know too. And wouldn’t they then tell Zach? Have they just not told him yet? Were they waiting for him to come home after school, but then didn’t watch for him? Or again – since he didn’t deny it – does he know? Is he really so mad at Alicia for suspecting him that he wouldn’t care about the way Becca has used their private conversations, or is he just so horny that he has no sense of honor or respect or love left in him? I wasn’t a teenage boy, obviously, but I feel like he’d be upset if he hadn’t known, and it would be Peter’s first job to tell him, if only to dry up the gossip well. Maybe I’m wrong, and he’s in on it? Either way, they needed to get on it. Poorly handled parenting here, which is a bit surprising. Yuck.
All in all, not as good as last week, but not without it’s impressive moments. Certainly the big argument was well done, and the case was creepy and interesting, and on some levels the plot has been advanced. I’m not sold on the twitter-plot, though. Maybe I’m just upset about the idea that Zach could be so mean to Alicia, though. A minor quibble, either way, in the scheme of things. It’s still the best show on tv.
Next week: Peter looks to get back with Alicia using God as an intermediary. (How does that jib again with letting his 14 year old son sleep with a sexually predatory older girl, again?) Unfortunately for him, Will has a serious smolder on his side. We see Alicia, comforting a distraught looking Will – and then Will, with both his hands on Alicia’s face. Oh! Fanning myself. Isn’t it too soon to bring out guns that big? Swoon! Swoon! Medic!