E: Going into tonight’s episode, I couldn’t imagine that the episode title would have it’s customary, multilayered relevance. Usually we have pretty simple words: Bang. Boom. Bad. They don’t get much more complicated than Threesome (which, granted, is complicated enough). But when Diane informs us that a hybristophiliac is a woman pathologically drawn to dangerous men, well, I got it. Alicia might not be pathological, but there’s nothing safe and cuddly about the men in her life. Peter, Will, Childs, Cary, Eli – even Julius proves he can turn on a dime. And when you throw in the return of Dylan Baker’s slimy sociopath Colin Sweeney? That’s a lot of danger, folks. In other news, Alicia deals with the consequences of last week’s choices, and a major plot engine chugs out of the station.
The episode opens with Diane’s smiling face offering Alicia the junior associate’s position. They’ve done this before (notably with Bang), reprising the closing scene of the previous episode, not only fleshing it out but giving it a little twist. We don’t see Cary’s interview, but we see his confidence going into Diane’s office, and his glare as he comes out. We do see out into the hall. “You’re safe,” Julius tells Kalinda, who waits impatiently for the results of the bakr off. “Pink slips are going out. There’s going to be a lot of blood in these halls in about an hour.” She looks nervous. Then Cary stalks down the hall and glares at Kalinda, too.
“They fired him,” Alicia says, looking down the hall where Cary had been. “They kept you,” Kalinda concludes. Alicia shrugs, like it’s not important. Like it wasn’t of overpowering importance. She sighs. “I got a client last minute, through Peter.” (Interesting that it wasn’t exactly through Peter, though – I mean, he doesn’t even know about it, does he?) “Smart,” smiles Kalinda. Alicia shakes her head and doesn’t quite voice the No her whole body is screaming. “Alicia, you got a client. Cary would have done the same thing if he had the chance.” Why is Kalinda the only one remembering this? Of course he would. He used his own advantages that she didn’t have, didn’t he – like having no life, etc. And he badmouthed her to most of the staff.
“Kalinda, don’t,” Alicia says, pained. She clearly wants to wallow in the guilt here, and Kalinda is having none of it. She essentially steals Alicia’s keys (which, really, is very cute) and drags her out of the building. “You won, he lost, so you’re going to turn this into some morbid thing because that’s who you are.” Ah, Kalinda, you are so right. I don’t think Alicia’s been happy since she stood up to leave Diane’s office. “So let’s go.” Alicia cracks a smile. “Let me get my bag,” she says.
Dance music blares as somebody pours a tequila shot. Tradition, says Kalinda, sucking on a lime wedge. You’re an associate now. Two shots of tequila! Alicia makes noises about how she’s got to be home at 8, but Kalinda calls the house and tells Zach Mommy’s going to have to work late. Ah, none of you know how true that’ll turn out to be.
Zach tells his father, who waves off the whole idea of his wife as irrelevant. Elspeth Tascioni is hunched over the kitchen island with a lap top, and Eli has just rung the bell. He must have other clients, right? He seems to pretty much be at Peter’s beck and call. Man, I would love to know how much he makes and just who it is that’s paying him. “You don’t look like a man who’s going to be free in a few days,” Eli tells a very intense looking Peter. “There’s been a development,” he responds, darkly. And he’s very upset to have Tacsioni, instead of Daniel Golden, there telling him about it. “Well, when the Obama White House calls, you gotta go,” Eli shrugs. Hmm. Now, I had a feeling we’d see more of Tascioni, and I like her, but does this mean that Golden is off the show? Because I like him, too. Is the implication that he was given a post within the Obama administration, or could I hope that he’s just moonlighting there? Don’t get me wrong – I’d rather know where he is (in contrast to the mysterious disappearance of Shiksa Bambi) but I hope they keep him around.
So do Peter and Eli. “Golden says she’s a better litigator, it’s just easy to underestimate her.” “Well she must be very very good,” Peter tells a smirking Eli, ” because I am greatly underestimating her.” Just as she did when we first met her, Elspeth chatters vacuously about her own incompetence. She loathes computers, it turns out, and can’t figure out how to play a video. (Hmm – Eli calls her Miss, but she’s got a son old enough to buy her new laptops. Interesting. ) Peter leans over her shoulder and clicks, and up pops an extraordinarily damaging deposition recording of Gerald Kozko, claiming Peter traded access for cash. Peter, he says, wanted a bigger house. Ouch. He’s talking about pretty large amounts of money changing hands here. You’d think they could prove that with forensic accounting even without Kozko if it were true.
It’s hearsay, Peter says, so why is it a problem? (Which is to say, since Kozko can no longer be cross examined, his testimony can’t be admitted in a court of law) Ah, Eli surmises, they want to leak the tape and spoil his re-election campaign, not prosecute him. That was my first thought, too, says Elspeth, but I’m getting the impression they’re not leaving off the prosecution. Something else is in store. Oooh, I wonder what?
Kalinda and Alicia have a drunken, laughing fight over Alicia’s phone. “You know Will feels the same about you,” Kalinda says. Woah. Nothing like cutting to the chase. And, the same? Did Alicia say something? “No, no he doesn’t. And even if he did, it doesn’t matter.” Alicia stares, unseeing, at the bar. Oh, honey. “It does,” says Kalinda, stating the obvious, and then offers to phone Will and tell him that Alicia’s too drunk to go home and has gotten herself a hotel room upstairs. “Alicia – one night. No repercussions.” I’m fascinated that Kalinda’s so Team Will. Does she think that getting it on will make Will and Alicia’s working relationship better? Less complicated? Does she really think Alicia could have a one night stand? That’s just not me, Alicia demurs. See, there you go. “Everything you want to be you, is you,” Kalinda counters. (Somewhat reminiscent of Eli last week giving Alicia his cynical view that everyone can be bought, huh?) What Alicia could have said in response is that she doesn’t want to be the kind of person who cheats, or takes their pleasure at the expense of other people’s pain, but she’s saved by a voice chiming in “you two are so hot!” Bryan – or was it Brad? – who is the best man at the wedding they seem to be crashing (or which is coexisting at the hotel where their bar must be?) wants to buy them more drinks. They giggle hysterically. Kalinda does a spit take. He can tell they’re celebrating. The best man is a cute drunk. “Her husband is being released from house arrest tomorrow,” Kalinda says confidentially. That might just be the best response to a pick up I’ve ever heard. (Well, second to my friend telling a much less appealing drunk “you can dance near me, but you can’t dance with me.”) He slinks off, still happy.
“Are you gay?” Alicia asks, because that’s the most obvious response to the situation. No, I’m kidding. That was a bit out of left field, but then, they’re drunk, and I suppose the guy trying to pick them up and all the talk about Will has clearly focused Alicia’s thinking down one avenue. It seems Kalinda can take her liquor and still keep her head. She won’t answer, even though – as Alicia says – they’ve been discussing Alicia’s life in somewhat excruciating detail. “I.. I’m private,” she shrugs. “What does it matter?” “It doesn’t.” “Then why’d you want to know?” ” I just do.” This is a great exchange, I think, because that’s it exactly – it’s none of Alicia’s business, and she knows it, and it wouldn’t affect their friendship – but she does consider Kalinda her friend, and it’s really not crazy to want to know important things about your friends’ personal lives. The same applies out for the audience – maybe we shouldn’t need to know, but we like her, and we want to know! Alicia vainly attempts to convince Kalinda that since they’ve been stomping through Alicia’s dirty laundry, the fair thing to do would be to reciprocate. Kalinda cheerily declines. “You like to talk about your life, I don’t like to talk about mine.” (She really is quite good at putting people off without, you know, putting them off. Although I think the idea that Alicia, in general, likes to talk about her life is quite funny.) Aaaaaand Alicia’s phone rings. Oooh, that merits a little smile. Guess who!
Alicia weaves to a quieter corner of the bar. She’s trying hard not to fall over. “It’s me,” says Will. “Yes, I know. Hi,” says Alicia, cuddling her phone, with a fond, foolish smile on her face. She’s very happy, but he’s having a tough day because of the lay offs. The thought of someone else’s troubles wipes the smile off her face immediately. He hesitates about something for a few seconds too long, and she’s more than a little surprised when it turns out he wants her to stop by a client’s house to pick up a contract. Why did he hesitate? While it’s happening, she thinks that it’s got something to do with their personal drama, but it turns out he’s loathe to send her into the den of everyone’s favorite maybe killer, Colin Sweeney. I love that Will doesn’t even need to see her closed eyes and shaking head to add “I know.” He suggests a quick in and out. There’s a merger going on with Sweeney’s company (inherited from the wife he maybe murdered) and they need these documents to safe guard it. “I was going to send Brad but … we just let him go.” Will hangs his head. But you made those decisions days ago – it can’t come as a surprise that Brad is toast, surely. Oh well. Maybe he means that he was thinking of Brad, but then realized he couldn’t use him. Alicia steps into the breach immediately, to relieve the crushing weight on her poor boss’s shoulders. Even though she can’t even walk a straight line. She smacks her phone into her head a few times. This has been a fun scene. Alicia doesn’t usually get to be anywhere near this expressive.
Alicia hops out of a cab, asking the driver to wait for her. She leaves the door open; she wants to be back that quick. Colin Sweeney buzzes her in to his gorgeous, ornate stone townhouse, which makes me wonder a little in retrospect where the intercom is. She follows his voice up the spiral staircase, and – at his request – snags a camera from a table in a beautifully painted dining room. She jaunts in to find a mostly naked woman in a pool of blood on the carpet, her left wrist handcuffed to Sweeney’s right ankle. It’s naked twister gone very, very wrong. He’s wrapped in a bloody silk bathrobe.
“I can explain,” he says, as if this was actually something you could explain away, like cutting into the pie that was supposed to go to the school bake sale.
And, title sequence.
“This – this is not what it looks like,” he protests as she takes in the enormous knife and the general carnage. The woman is wearing dark (navy?) panties, and has three slashes on her arm that we can see, at least three stab wounds in her back, and blood trails from what are probably more. Alicia sets the camera on the chair and digs frantically in her bag for her phone. I already phoned 911, he says, wondering why she isn’t handing him the camera as he wanted. So instead he drags Sheila – the corpse – across the floor to get to the camera and pull out a strip of embarrassing film, exposing it. (Film? Wow, he is crazy.) Of course Alicia isn’t calling the cops, she’s calling the cavalry – Kalinda. I didn’t know it was a crime scene when I got here, she says, and my finger prints are all over everything now. Then she hears a noise, bravely follows it, and finds the glass shattered on the balcony door, a trail of blood drops, and a German shepherd lying on a beautifully patterned wood floor in another dark pool of blood.
When the scene shifts, a fully dressed Sweeney is explaining himself as a gloved paramedic – or perhaps a CSI technician – dabs at his bloody hands. The poor dog never even barked. “So you’re saying she killed your dog?” Detective ‘N Sync (er, Burton) says disbelievingly. “Even though the victim has no defensive wounds on her body from a canine attack?” Alicia tells Burton that Sweeney won’t say anything more. And it’s about time you shut him up! But that unfortunately brings Burton’s attention on Alicia and her fingerprints on the doorbell and banister and wherever else. He says she’s tampered with evidence; she says she hasn’t. “Even though I smell alcohol on your breath, Mrs. Florrick?” “Tony,” Kalinda says quietly. “Tony” tells “Miss Sharma” to back the heck off. Ooooh, interesting. Does this mean that he’s testy because Kalinda didn’t follow him out of the bar last week? Or is this him setting work/relationship boundaries? If I were a betting woman, I’d say the former. Fingers crossed, anyway.
Alicia explains the sequence of events. Burton arrests Sweeney. “Back in cuffs I go,” he sighs, ever the sardonic martyr. Alicia breaks it down for him immediately. Don’t say anything – and especially don’t joke. “Irony doesn’t work here. Jokes don’t work, do you understand?” He nods. I’m not to sanguine about his ability to control himself.
Next up – Peter’s trial, with a new judge. And when I say new, I mean the youngest judge in Illinois, as Judge Derek Shickel likes to introduce himself. Childs thinks he can finagle in the hearsay video tape under the two year old Peterson law (almost as new as I am, says the fatuous Shickel) , which allows for hearsay when it’s part of a murder. Murder, asks Tascioni? Hasn’t Kozko’s death been ruled a suicide? We’re still determining, says Childs. Well, if they’re still determining, then they don’t know it’s murder, do they, and then it shouldn’t be admissable, should it? But no, Shickel will allow. Elspeth laughs out loud. “My apologies, your honor – I found that humorous.” Eli is really to pee his pants, he’s so horrified. She explains. “The prosecutor wants to prove my client is a murderer so he can prosecute him for corruption? That’s certainly novel.” And yet, Shickel will allow. He’ll hear testimony on it tomorrow.
Childs walks out of the courtroom with a really attractive young woman. At first I thought she was Stern-girl from a few weeks ago, but it turns out she’s Lana Delaney, the slinky young FBI agent who tried to suborn (and seduce) Kalinda. I’m so glad to see you, we hear him murmur, can I assume you’re in my corner? We don’t quite hear her answer. Eli and Elspeth are very worried. Are they coordinating strategy, Eli wonders? I don’t know, she says, and walks right up to Delaney and Childs. “Hi!” she says brightly (how else?). “Are you two coordinating strategy?” Delaney, looking slightly taken aback, claims that she and Childs are old friends. Yeah, because we all believe that. “What a relief!” cheers Elspeth, and off she goes. You know, I like Elspeth, but she verges on being too caricatured for this naturalistic show. Not quite over the line – and she’s saved by the other characters’ reactions to her – but she’s kissing it, for sure.
In prison, Sweeney explains to Alicia and Diane the nature of his relationship with Sheila – a kind of role play, where she’d break into his house and they’d fight and then have sex. It was a game, he says. “This time was different, though. This time she tried to kill me.” Does anyone else think it’s weird that the camera, which he made such a big deal about, never comes up again? Anyway, a woman calling herself Sheila Patten has written and stalked him, but that turns out not to be her real name. He’s got a bedside table full of letters from her. Back at the L&G conference room, Julius explains that the police already have the letters. Kalinda and Alicia argue together for a necropsy of the dog; if the dog was sedated, it could support Sweeney’s story that the stalker killed it. Diane thinks that’s a good place to start, even though Julius calls it a culdesac. I’ve never heard anyone use that to mean dead end before. Interesting.
Will pulls Alicia aside to apologize for sending her into a grizzly crime scene. (Do we think that there were actually contracts involved, or that Sweeney – as twisted as he is – called Will after killing Sheila and gave him a different reason to send a witness/assistant over? I guess you have to think Sweeney was messing with them, though I don’t entirely know why. As if they wouldn’t show up if he told them he’d killed someone?) How’re you handling it, he wants to know. She doesn’t know what there is to handle. Um, the gore? Oh. “To be honest,” she says, “I didn’t think about it.” You know, it’s funny. She was freaked out, but I guess she was entirely freaked out in the legal sense. She must have been so preoccupied with the work aspect (and trying to think the situation through while not quite sober) that she didn’t have time to be traumatized. Or maybe she’s just more moved by the emotional plight of the living. He laughs at this and the strangeness of their jobs. They smile fondly at each other.
“So are we normal again, are we dealing with it?” he wants to know. Her cautious face goes up. “Are we talking about the crime scene now,” she wonders from beneath narrowed eyebrows. “No,” he murmurs, low, fantastically intense. “Yes, we’re dealing with it,” she replies deliberately, like she’s trying to convince herself. Diane asks for him out in the hall, and with a pat to her elbow, he’s out the door. Diane wonders if the merger is dead now. We have the luck of Job, she tells Will. (Excuse me while I weep for you and your difficulties in maintaining a luxurious lifestyle stress free. That’s just like Job.) They commiserate over the security guard who’s arrived to protect them from their former employees. It’s going to be a fun day, Diane says.
And, indeed, there’s Cary trying vainly to make his key work in his office door as the security guard looks on, impassive. He’s sporting a really buttery looking leather jacket and an oxford shirt. Cary, not the security guard. Very nice. Alicia, of course, walks right up to him. He just wants his laptop, he complains. “I just wanted to say I’m sorry,” she tells him. He leans against the glass door, still bitter, still frustrated. “Sorry you got the job or sorry for what you did to get the job?” “Sorry we both couldn’t get the job,” is her answer. ‘Alicia, here’s the thing. You like to think you’re a nice person, and maybe at one time you were, but we both know you’ll do whatever it takes. Sleeping with the boss, check.”
She rolls her eyes, not believing he could honestly think so little of her. “Cary, if it makes you feel better to think that, then think it, but …” “I don’t have a name, Alicia,” he interrupts.”I don’t have a fairy godmother I can phone up or the whole Chicago political machine. I had to work hard, I had to sweat, I had to bring in money for this firm, and that still wasn’t enough.” The security guard asks him to leave at this point. I need my laptop and personal items, he says. The guard hands him a sheet to itemize what he needs. Ouch. That is cold. I get the reasoning behind it, but it’s cold. The company will return it to him in 3 business days. He wants them now. He won’t get them. He goes to leave – but turns on Alicia instead. “This was not fair. And I was stupid, I acted like it would be.”
Should I be more sorry for him? He’s so self-righteous about it that I’m having a great deal of trouble being sympathetic. Yes, she pulled strings. It’s not “fair” that he has no strings to pull – poor, private school playboy that he is. But that’s the world he plays in. He knows it. Is he really Mr. Egality? Is he suggesting that he wouldn’t have used such an advantage if he could – because I don’t believe him. And does he really believe she slept with Will to get – or keep – the job? Now that’s just mean. He’s very good at sounding sanctimonious, but it’s not pleasant to listen to. You know what it comes down to? I’ve come to like Cary, despite his smarm at the start of the show, and I just hate that he thinks ill of Alicia. Much as Alicia feels, I’m sure.
Okay. Rant about the relative reasonableness of a fictional character’s anger done. I mean, it’s not like anger is directly related to logic, is it? And my desire for him not to be such a sore loser might not be eminently reasonable, either.
Kalinda and Alicia peruse the stalker letters in the conference room. Very twisted and stalkery, those letters. Of course Sweeney loved them. Kalinda notices that the letters are larded with legal language as well as details from the trial, as if the unidentified stalker had some part in the court proceedings. They look online at stills from the trial (which is to say, the episode Bad) and notice that the court reporter looks vaguely similar to their corpse. What’s a girl to do, but break into her apartment? Only if the girl’s Kalinda, of course. She finds that one Sheila Warburg is in possession of a scrapbook devoted to Sweeney, lets herself out as silently as she came, and calls Burton. Would he even have a career without Kalinda?
“Not to sound too melodramatic, your honor, but objection, really!” The bright red head of Elspeth Tascioni pops up into our field of view. Childs is attempting to introduce more hearsay into the trial – namely, Mrs. Kozko’s claim that her husband told her that if he turned up dead it would be at Peter Florrick’s hand . Something we all know can’t literally be true because Peter is, of course, under house arrest. Hearsay, she says. Admissable in case of a murder, Childs retorts. Tascioni finds the circular logic torturous. “So, let me get this straight. It allows for hearsay as long as a murder is established. And a murder is established here because a hearsay statement establishes it. Tell me when the snake actually devours its tail, okay?” Could she be more right? I don’t think so. I’m being completely serious when I ask why Childs can even make this case. Are there any lawyers out there who know about this? Is this is a real law? And can it really be used that way? (Oh. Very interesting. Yes and yes. )
Does she understand that she’s ridiculing established law, the young Justice Shickel wants to know? “Yes, Your Honor, gleefully.” Okay, I just love that. I love it. Can we keep her? But maybe, like Patti Nyholm and David Lee, in small doses. He brings up the whole youngest judge bit and she snaps right back with “yes, Your Honor, we’re all in awe.” Hee! Eli’s face is a study in apoplexy. Outstanding. The objection is overruled, Childs looks smug, and Agent Delaney whispers furtively with a cohort. Eli winds himself up to give Elspeth a good talking to. “Okay,” she says perkily, striding out of the court with an adorable and enormous (and very unlawyerly looking) floral bag over her shoulder, “now I get to work.” Click click clack go her heels.
“Hybristophiliac,” Diane informs a young ASA they’ve plea bargained with before, “women who are irresistibly attracted to dangerous men.” They’re in an odd room, institutional gray with several desks occupied by other attorneys. It looks more like a prison waiting room than an office. Whatever she thinks of the women who send their panties to Jeffrey Dahlmer, the ASA is having none of this as an excuse. 45 years, she says, folding her arms and fixing Alicia, Julius and Diane with a most no nonsense glare. Diane won’t play. See you in court, she says. I don’t care if people don’t like him, we’ve got a good defense. Ah, but the ASA – whose name seems to be Geneva Pine, played by Renee Goldsberry – has the letters. Which is to say, the letters Colin wrote back to stalker Sheila. Ick. “How’s Peter doing?” she asks Alicia, in an entirely different voice. Alicia’s taken aback. “He’s fine,” she says stiffly. How does Alicia ever know who she can trust to be Peter’s friend, and who’s trying to play her? Geneva looks a tiny bit offended that Alicia didn’t warm to the question. She tells Julius that the letters come from the vic’s house, that Sweeney taunted and provoked her (tell me, who is surprised?) and hands over copies of her diary which describe their encounters in lurid detail. And that’s about when Alicia sees Childs lurking in the doorway.
Oh! The room turns out to be in the courthouse, because we know these wood and glass paneled hallways. Odd how wrong that room is with the rest of the design, though. Alicia and Childs spar a bit strangely; she accuses him of dragging out the plea bargaining because “the wife of Peter Florrick is defending a killer.” Not that I’d put it past him, but does there have to be an agenda for the state to want Colin Sweeney off the streets? She threatens to sue him for hiring a “sick, killer obsessed court reporter for some of the state’s most high profile cases.” “Well, you got me there, Mrs. Florrick,” he responds, “so let’s try this. Why don’t we both just do our jobs?” Oooh, impressive comeback! Very witty.
“Of course I wrote her back,” Sweeney tells them in his prison browns. Like it should come as any surprise? Could anything be more in his character? The more lurid, the more he loves it. “I love a good fetish,” he says, just in case there was any doubt. Alicia tells him to cut the crap. Diane’s surprised by her vehemence, but Alicia knows the tone to take with Colin. She cuts through his posturing. Julius and Diane are impressed. They hand him the diary pages to see if it’s authentic. And that’s when he learns the victim’s real name. He’s appalled. Is Warburg really so much more prosaic than Patten? It’s uglier, sure, but does that make it boring? Does that make her boring, render their amazing sex retroactively suburban? Whatever. Turns out some of the entries are fictionalized. “I’m not opposed to it in principle… Goodness.” Diane hands him a pen to underline the lies, but he stops and uses his “honest” voice. Sure, sure, he had sex with her twice, and she did like to break into his house and wrestle and handcuff him, but this time something was different. She wouldn’t put down the knife, and they wrestled more, and “it just.. went in. That’s all.”
And maybe I’d be tempted to believe him if I hadn’t seen that her body was stabbed at least 3 times. In the back. Not to mention her sliced up arms. Our team seems more convinced than I am, though.
Diane and Will are making calls. Then they drag Julius in. Turns out that the buyers are happier with the idea of volatile Mr. Sweeney in jail, far away from his company, and they’re more eager than ever to buy it. Which means that Diane needs to step off the case, and hand it over to Julius. They need the fee from the merger more. “I’m not saying we’re changing his defense,” says Diane, her voice rich with innuendo, “but…” Julius picks right up, a conspiratorial glint in his eye. Will invokes the time honored Chinese Wall notion (which I think was first raised in Hi) ; he and Diane will separate themselves from the criminal case, which Julius and Alicia will continue. “Got it,” smiles Julius. “You dancing a jig inside?” queries a grinning Diane. “Like Rose on the Titanic,” purrs Will. Diane chuckles. Oh, how I love their banter – not less because there’s no sexual subtext to it. And Christine Baranski has a truly wicked, wondrous laugh.
Cary waits in the glass and leather foyer of a sleek law firm, surrounded by other nervous young men in dark suits, all carrying leather folders and covertly sizing up the competition. Good for you for jumping right back in the saddle, Cary. “Cary Agos!” a voice calls from the hallway. Cary manhugs a babyfaced young lawyer named Martin, who turns out to be looking for a job as well. Don’t bother to go in, says Martin (once they establish they’ve both been recently laid off) – they’re just lining up resumes for 2011. Come have a drink with me. Cary’s too canny to leave, but agrees to meet for drinks later.
Lana Delaney shakes her hair (which is quite sleek and impressive) and sashays into her less impressive office. Eli, who’s sitting in it, rubs her face in that as an opening salvo – his college dorm room was bigger. Likes to come out swinging, doesn’t he? Lana says she can’t talk about ongoing investigations – but that’s okay with Eli, because he likes to do the talking himself. He doesn’t think that the FBI should be taking sides in Glenn Childs’ political (and, I’d argue, personal) vendetta. Lana demurs. I know you’re investigating him, says Eli, and shows her Zach’s picture. I’ve seen this, she says – Kalinda shared it, right? Eli says he’s going to plaster it on the side of a bus. He’s clearly gone to the photo kiosk at the mall and ordered everything on their menu – mugs, buttons, posters, magnets and a lovely little mouse pad just for Lana. “You think this’ll scare us, Mr. Gold, the office that took down Capone? Really?” (Not to get technical, but that was nearly a century ago. Working in that building doesn’t make you Elliot Ness. Maybe you are, but I don’t think we can assume itpurely on geographical evidence.) Eli likens the feds to predators who isolate the weakest animal in a herd for their kill. “Well this is just to say that we are not bleeding. We have a lot of fight left in us yet. So go find some new game.”
I dunno, but to me, that sounded like protesting too much. Prove you’ve got the fight. Don’t just tell me, show me. Because from where I’m sitting, Peter is definitely a wounded gazelle. Lana looks thoughtful.
“We need to talk,” Kalinda snags Alicia in the assistant’s workroom. “That doesn’t sound good.” “It’s Sweeney, when is it ever good?” The results of the dog necropsy are in, and they’re not good. It’s not just that there are no drugs it it’s system. The victim’s blood is on the dog. So is Sweeney’s. And there are hesitation marks. What does it mean? Sweeney killed his own damn dog.
The man is disturbed.
That baffles me. How could he have done that? Clearly, Sheila was killed where we originally saw her – or, that is to say, in my non-expert opinion, the blood has pooled around her body, which doesn’t suggest that she was killed anywhere else. And he’s handcuffed to her body. The dog was in another room. So – I guess the only plausible scenario here is that Sweeney killed Sheila, killed his dog, went back and then handcuffed himself to her body so that it would look like he was stuck there the whole time and couldn’t have been the one to hurt the dog. It would be obvious if he had dragged her to the kitchen and back. (Which makes me wonder again about the camera – why didn’t he just take care of that himself? Especially if it’s not important enough for us to ever hear about it again.)
“Hardest thing I’ve ever done,” moans Sweeney, “he was so innocent.” Alicia cannot believe he did it. You know, it’s a funny thing. She believes he killed his wife – even though she got him exonerated of it – but she can’t believe he’d kill a dog? That’s human nature, though; we can’t stand seeing cruelty to animals, but can somehow turn off our horror at cruelty against people. “Who’s going to believe me? You don’t believe me… I thought, if the police saw she killed my dog…” Julius cuts him off to talk about a plea. You might luck out and get thirty years. “I didn’t do this,” pleads Sweeney, aghast.
Um, except, you did. You claim to be justified, but there isn’t any question that you did it.
Alicia’s as fed up as I am. “Stop it, Mr. Sweeney, stop it. You killed your dog.” Her emphasis implies that there’s nothing so low. He babbles about self defense and freaks out. “We’ll try to make the best deal we can,” Julius says as he stands, implying that their best isn’t going to be very good.
On to a swank lounge. Chicago seems to be full of such lounges. Cary and his old classmates sit on yellow couches, where Martin complains that dropping the “H bomb” won’t even get your resume shifted to the top of the pile these days. A Harvard degree just doesn’t command the respect it used to. (Cue the sound of tiny violins.) One of the other dudes points out a prominent justice, but his companions lament that he’s fully staffed. “So you guys just drink here trying to get a job?” Cary wanted to know. “You make it sound so sad,” says the dude. Only because it is, man. Only because it is.
Next, Dude spots Glenn Childs. “Ha,” says Martin. “When I want to make a first year teacher’s salary…” “Doesn’t matter, they’re not hiring.” Martin gets Cary, as the last one working, to pick up the tab. When Cary takes the bill up to the bar to pay, Childs slides in next to him. “Have you read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell?” Now there’s a pick up line I haven’t heard. Kalinda’d get a good laugh out of that one. Cary’s a bit baffled, and Childs repeats himself. The answer is no. (Gladwell, by the way, writes about science, sociology and psychology for The New Yorker, and has written several best selling books based at least in part on those essays. His most recent success is called Outliers, and it’s about what makes individuals successful.)
“It says the Beatles are the Beatles because they spent 10,000 hours playing in a German strip club. It says Bill Gates is Bill Gates because he worked 10,000 hours in an after school computer lab.” “What do you want, Mr. Childs?” “To give you the chance to work 10,000 hours prosecuting the worst scum in Chicago.” Ah. You’re offering him a chance to become great through lots and lots of (underpaid) practice. I suspect – though I haven’t read the book – that the Beatles and Bill Gates are what they are because they worked those 10,000 hours refining their craft, but didn’t become jaded or bored with their subject matter. I suspect that a lot of prosecutors (among most other professions) get bored rather than great. On the other hand, that part’s up to Cary.
“I know who you are, Cary. I know you’re responsible for some of our worst defeats.” Oh, nice flattery there. “And I also know you are under-appreciated and undervalued at Lockhart Gardner. ” Does he know he no longer works at Lockhart Gardner? That he was under-appreciated, and now he’s underemployed? “I want you to join us. I want you to…” “Yes,” says Cary. “I’ll need your help with Alicia Florrick. She and her husband…” “Yes,” says Cary. They shake on it. “Good. See you tomorrow.”
I’d like the record to reflect that Cary is taking a job based on his connections – based on his relationship to powerful people. It’s not about his brains or his work ethic, though those will come into play. It’s about how he can hurt Alicia. And this is all right with him, because he’s mad, but I wonder if it will ever occur to him that it’s no different from what she did.
I’m sure that put a little swagger in his walk back to those yellow couches, though.
Elspeth Tascioni sits at Eli Gold’s desk and wrestles with her laptop. We see them at first through glass doors bearing the label “gwk strategy.” That office is truly spectacular. How on earth did they find a space like it that no one was using? It’s almost all glass, with giant crisscrossed white beams in the corner. Eli has little patience for Elspeth, and tries to boot her out, but she’s having none of it. She weaves a tale for him of the Kozkos’ three children, Anthony (that would be the married one whom Peter threatened), Lisa and Arthur. Turns out that the Kozkos set aside $45,000 for each child to spend in or after college. (Which, wow.) Turns out that Arthur’s hasn’t been touched until two weeks ago – and that’s funny, because Arthur was a still birth in 1992. (I wonder what it would be like to have so much money to spare that you could just forget about $45,000 for nearly 20 years?) Ah. Now she’s finally got Eli’s attention. The money’s being withdrawn from a bank in the Cayman Islands. (I love her delight in explaining to Eli that the bank is in Savannah – but no, not the one you’d expect in Georgia!) How are you ahead of the police on this, he puzzles. Because they’re not looking, she says.
No. Of course they’re not. And not just because their detectives have more hair gel than little gray cells.
Geneva Pine comments on Diane’s absence when Julius and Alicia show up from another plea bargain agreement. He’s hoping for manslaughter. She thinks he’s crazed. She’s offering 15 years. Why? Why go down from 40? Hmm, did Alicia’s lawsuit threat work that well? That must be it, because the only real new evidence (from the necropsy) hardly helps Sweeney’s case. Alicia brings up stalking laws, and wonders what sort of message prosecuting a stalking victim will send? Are you really going to play a blame the victim game with Colin Sweeney as your defendant, Pine wonders incredulously. Alicia says if they can go down to ten years, she won’t have to try. Geneva heads off to discuss the idea with the higher ups, and Alicia asks Julius about Diane’s disappearance. Chinese Wall, baby. Julius fills her in. Does Sweeney know we’d like him removed for the sake of the merger, Alicia wants to know? Julius basically responds that he ought to be able to figure it out – and so he’s considering that he knows. Alicia is not a fan of that, much as she hates Sweeney.
Kalinda – brilliant as ever – figures out that the fictionalized diary entries were taken from the another murder trial that Warbug worked. Alicia heads off to tell Julius, in the hopes of knocking the plea bargain down even further than the already proffered ten years. Julius is meeting with Will, which Alicia clearly thinks is setting the Chinese wall too low. She doesn’t have any reason to believe they’re talking about Sweeney’s case, but she’s still taken aback. She asks him about it, with quite the tone, and he dresses her right down. “Much as I like keeping our relationship collegial, you’re a junior associate, and I’m an equity partner. Watch your tone.” She agrees to do so, and then fills him in. “Do you think he’s innocent?” Julius can’t quite believe she wants to get him an even better deal. “No,” she says slowly, “I think he’s innocent of this.” (And again, he can’t be innocent, exactly, can he? I mean, he did. The question is whether it was justifiable or not.)
Baby Judge Shickel is ready to hear Mrs Kozko’s hearsay testimony. Miss Tascioni, of course, has one last objection. “The Peterson law, atrocious as it might be” – ah, that wasn’t a popular phrase – “requires that Mr. Florrick not only profit from the murder but be the instrument of that murder, correct?” “Are you asking me, Miss Tascioni?” “Um, no, but you can answer if you want to.” Aw, she’s so cute when she’s playing all wide eyed and innocent. Eli smiles like the proverbial cat with the mouthful of canary. “The point is that for someone to be murdered there’s one key thing that we overlooked. ” Which is? “That he be dead.” Boing! Up goes an atm photo of Gerald Kozko, looking very much alive, wearing a hat and t-shirt in the Cayman Islands. Childs and Delany both look a little grim. “It’s done,” says the ever theatrical Eli into his cell phone, “you’re free.”
Peter throws down his phone. It takes a few seconds for the smile to come, and then the laugh. He looks a tiny bit evil. Sexy, powerful evil, but still, evil.
Lana Delany strides out into the courtroom hallway, calling to Kalinda. “So, your boy’s free.” “My boy?” “Florrick, he just won.” “Really,” Kalinda says, actually surprised. She looks a bit shell shocked, and is clearly thinking through quite a few tricky ramifications. Wouldn’t I love to know what! Lana brings up the idea of tapes – mutually assured destruction tapes, tapes that implicate both of them so badly neither will use them. Ah. Sounds like Miss Delaney would like to get her hands on those. “Sounds like a fairy tale,” says Kalinda. “Funny how fairy tales turn out to be true,” counters Delaney. “Here’s the thing, Kalinda. This isn’t about Childs or Florrick – this is about Childs and Florrick. We’re investigating them both.” Delaney tries to play buddy buddy, but Kalinda clearly (and politely) is having none of it. The game is on.
You think I should take this, Sweeney wonders of the latest plea deal. He can’t quite believe it. 8 years, says Julius, “after we started with what I would have considered an adamant 45.” That’s certainly a far better result. Julius is all sleek salesman, but Alicia is guarded. Sweeney can see there’s hesitation in her. Why not trial, he asks? Because you’re notorious. Everywhere. “They like me here in prison. I’m like the king of kings.” We know how much he likes being notorious. And honestly, don’t you think Mr. Sweeney’d rather enjoy prison? No, of course not the indignities, or the lack of fine amenities, but the constant struggle for survival, the gamesmanship? He’s all about that crap. Feeling he can outsmart and manipulate those around him? Catnip.
Anyhoo. Julius tries to push the plea again, and Colin asks him to leave. He’d like to pass on some gossip to Mrs. Florrick alone, thank you. Julius goes. I don’t think I’d have felt so comfortable alone with him, if I were her. I was uncomfortable enough watching them on screen! Still, she stays. “It’s about the merger?” “Yes,” she says. See, I suppose Julius was right. It was easy enough for him to figure out. “The company means more with me out of the picture?” “Yes.” “Can I get better than 8 years?” “No.” “If we go to trial?” ” I don’t know,” says Alicia, searching for an answer. “Sheila Warburg has stalked other killers, but I don’t know if that’s enough to overcome your… your baggage.” He reluctantly agrees.
“Well,” he says, thinking hard, “I did kill my wife, so I guess the universe is having it’s little joke at my expense.” You can practically see the hairs stand up on the back of Alicia’s neck. She suspected as much – that he planted the evidence Kalinda found which implicated someone else – but she didn’t know. “You killed her?” He laughs. “Your face!” Then he’s a little more serious. “Thank you. Thank you for being honest.” “You’re welcome,” she says coldly, as the guards come to take him away. She’s serious – revolted, taken aback.
Joe Cocker sings “Feeling All Right” as Peter’s ankle monitor is removed. Talk about emotional whiplash! The apartment fills with cheers. There’s applause, and liquor. Alicia picks up some empty glasses and brings them back to the kitchen. She stands at the island with Zach; Grace joins them. “It’s over, isn’t it?” “Looks like it,” says Alicia, even though frankly, it’s not. They watch Peter laugh heartily and shake hands all round. None of them really know these people. Of course the kids are uncomfortable at an adult politicking party, but Alicia clearly feels invaded as well. “So what are we going to do,” Grace wonders. “Clean up,” says Alicia. That’s adorable, but she actually meant long term. Oh. “What do you want to do?” Alicia wants to know. “Buy a big house?” Oh, honey. On the one hand, Kozko claimed it was the need for bigger houses that brought Peter down. On the other, I can see that it’d be appealing to have the space left to get away from that kind of party. “Go to Europe,” Zach suggests. Now that’s what I’m talking about – get away entirely. That’s something they could have used – time away as a family to heal.
Jackie saunters in, and Grace sprints right out. Zach follows suit. “He couldn’t have done it without you,” smiles Jackie, launching into some pre-feminist rant about the strong woman behind every great man. “We women, we stay in the shadows, we smile, we comfort, we nurse – but we’re always there.” Alicia looks like she swallowed a toad. “You’re a good woman, Alicia.” Ugh. Praise from Jackie is the last thing Alicia wants. That is designed to make her feel like she made the wrong choices. If you wanted her to leave your son, woman, you couldn’t have said anything better calculated to do it. Peter calls, and while you know she’s dying to escape Jackie, you can tell she’s also freaked out and doesn’t want to dirty her hands even by schmoozing. “He needs you,” Jackie reminds her. “Alicia!” Peter barks. She strides purposefully towards him, taking deep breathes. Jackie looks displeased at her lack of alacrity.
“I’m not the lawyer, ” he says to a pugnacious looking white haired gentleman, “you need to speak to my wife. Hon, this is Michael from the AFL-CIO, and he’s looking for a very good Chicago based law firm. Alicia works for Lockhart & Gardner. She’s one of their best lawyers.” He laughs silently, “If I do says so myself.” She shakes her head slightly. “Why don’t you two talk?” There’s actually another guy in their conversational grouping, but apparently no one is talking to him. Alicia watches Peter leave, then smiles, straightens her shoulders, and shakes Michael’s hand.
Sorry, but you’re asking me to believe that big labor doesn’t have legal representation in Chicago? You couldn’t come up with something better than that? I could even buy that they were looking for a new firm, maybe, but that they didn’t have one? Isn’t Chicago the union city? Not buying it, not even a little bit. The emotional tone of the episode was perfect, but that little bit of information makes me laugh. Unless maybe I just think of Chicago that way because of The Jungle. No, I’m pretty sure that’s just true. There’s no way.
This was an excellent transition. There’s so much in play, and we don’t know what anything is becoming. Well, first of all, aside from a few quibbles, it was a pretty terrific episode. Even the Cary thing – while it bothers me, I don’t think it’s a misstep by the writers. But I am nervous about how things will go on the campaign trail. I’m afraid Alicia is going to be swallowed up in the bigness that is her husband and his political campaign. That makes me afraid not simply for her, but for the show. What if it becomes unbalanced? I don’t like seeing her choices narrowed like this. And I can see why she’d rebel. And I’m definitely afraid of what might happen to her soul if she doesn’t.