E: I don’t know if you noticed this, but last year’s episode titles were almost all one word. And not just a single word, no, but more often than not a single syllable. One little onomatopoetic burst of sound like“Bang” or “Boom” or “Mock.” An early episode was originally listed as “You Can’t Go Home Again”; that episode seems now to be just called “Home.” Now, fine, there’s “Hybristophilia,” which is hardly monosyllabic, but generally, that’s how it’s been.
All this is by way of asking, have you noticed that this season we have two word titles? We’ve started with “Taking Control” and now “Double Jeopardy:” the next two episodes (the only ones for which the imdb has names) follow suit. Please tell me this is not a means of distinguishing the seasons. First season, one word. Second season, two words. Is it me, or is that just too precious and cutesy?
At any rate, “Double Jeopardy” cools the season down after the highly dramatic, emotional first episode. This week the focus hews more closely to the case of the week rather than the central love triangle. I’m lucky I actually like the cases; there were slim pickings for the fans who aren’t as interested in that aspect. Oh, there’s political intrigue, some nice interoffice and a bit of sex from some unexpected places, but I didn’t end up as a puddle on the floor.
The episode begins with whispers, and the slam of a gavel. A man standing up. His head pops into the screen, but his eyes look down, as he reads from a slip of paper. As he speaks we see the principles in a court case looking tense and frightened: Brody and Cary on the prosecutor’s side, Will and Alicia for the defense of a man perhaps in his late twenties or early thirties. An elderly man who greatly resembles Robert Guillaume (can it possibly be him? Maybe as a favor to Sports Night colleague Josh Charles?) cries. “In the matter of the People of Illinois versus Randall A. Simmons, Case number 10Cr825, on the charge of first degree murder, we find the defendent…”
Everyone holds their breath.
Randall A. Simmons huffs out a relieved breath – how long had he been holding it? Alicia looks stunned rather than happy. Simmons falls to his knees. Will grabs him by the back of the neck, forces his head up. “It’s over, do you hear? It’s finally over.” Will’s doing that really intense supportive thing we see from him sometimes. He’s very, very good at it.
“Murderer!”screams an elegant older woman in a conservative gray suit. “You killed my daughter!” She has to be restrained by a young woman, possibly another daughter. Alicia and Will look uncomfortable, like they’ve just gotten a guilty man freed. Robert Guillaume (or his younger brother) embraces Simmons fervently, crying out the word “son!”. The bereaved mother continues to wail and curse. Cary leans down into the desk with his eyes closed, looking a bit like he wants to cry from frustration and disappointment and anger. He hangs his head. Alicia and Will share one of their wonderful telepathic looks. No, she’s not happy about it, and you can see he understands. She definitely thinks that Simmons is guilty. Yuck.
Cary clips out of the courtroom, but an angel of righteous fury (Brody) stalks after him. “I want you to have that,” he says, shoving a folded piece of paper into Cary’s chest (the verdict, maybe?) and maybe shoving Cary a touch with it. No love lost here, is there? Sounds like Will and Alicia were willing to plea bargain at 8 years. “We agreed that it was the right move,” Cary bites out. How like Brody to blame someone else for his loss. Of course Cary’s not happy with himself, B, but thanks for twisting the knife. “Tell that to her,” he says, indicating the victim’s weeping mother.
Will and Alicia walk down the aisle. “That was a tough one,” Will says graciously to Cary, “I thought you had it.” “You had the jury,” replies Cary unhappily. “You had the judge,” Will counters. Cary shoots then a pained look, his head practically vibrating with distress. “He killed her, you know,” he states quietly, and walks away. “We don’t know anything,” Will tells Alicia, rolling his eyes a bit. Perhaps because they don’t ask? Alicia clearly leans toward Cary’s point of view.
“It’s not about trial,” Will expands, back in his office, where a young and pretty brunette sits, taking notes. He walks around the office as if he’s in court. “It’s about pretrial. It’s about excluding evidence.” Even a case like Randall Simmons, she asks? Especially a case like Randall Simmons, Will responds, stopping and raising up his arms emphatically. For a contained guy, Will can be a bit theatrical when he gets going. “I know it’s not sexy, but we won that case through pretrial motions.” “No,” says the brunette, who has pretty fantastic hair, “it’s definitely sexy.” Oh, God. Obvious much? Will smirks, tosses a baseball as he paces. Why are you here again, he wonders? “Chicago Law Review,” she reminds him. “One last question, Mr. Gardner,” she adds, trying to get his attention, which has suddenly focused on the back of a tall man walking down the glass hallway. The stranger turns around, and a close up shows us that it’s media personality Lou Dobbs. Will’s taken aback. “You don’t really prefer boxers to briefs, do you?” (Which, ridiculous question – and also, of course he does! Who wants their guy wearing tighty whities?) He’s taken aback, and then sort of disappointed when she waves the Bachelor issue of Chicago Magazine at him. “You don’t really care about my legal strategies, do you?” They banter. Lou Dobbs shakes hands with someone – is the second man famous, too, or semi-famous? Diane calls him Joe and steps out of her office to greet him, then stops short when she sees Dobbs. “Are you…” she says, shocked. “Looking for Derrick Bond,” he smiles. “Lou!” Derrick injects himself smoothly, shaking hands. “I liked your D.C. offices,” Dobbs says, with the air of giving a compliment, waving at the glass halls as if to imply what a nice step up it is. Derrick agrees. “This place is more – traditional.” Hmmm. I wonder how Diane feels about being called traditional? It does make it sound like Derrick has closed down the other office, doesn’t it? Derrick introduces himself to Joe, who turns out to be Joe Trippi, the Chicago political strategist. Well. The Kings did say we’d see more political guest stars this season. Diane explains about the merger.
“Are you really representing Lou Dobbs?” Trippi asks Diane in her office. “I’m… I’m as surprised as you,” Diane replies. I have to confess, I didn’t recognize Dobbs, other than in that “who’s he? I’ve seen him before – maybe he’s a politician?” way; as you could probably guess from last week, I’m more of an NPR gal. The cable news guys in general are too much about controversy and drama and putting their own spin on things for me. “Talk about strange bedfellows,” Trippi laughs uneasily.
A computer monitor fills the screen. Peter’s image shares space with that of a lightly bearded, balding blogger, via webcam. Simmons has a little beard, too, as did several of last week’s guest stars. Is facial hair generally making a comeback? “This Week in Blog: Florrick and Wright” reads the legend across the top. The pudgy vlogger is one Freddy Wright, who seems to be fictional (after the last scene, you know I’d have to check!). The interview streams live from a website called vloggerbrain.com, which also (and unsurprisingly) appears to be fictional, though it has some cute nuggets buried on it like a button to approve it on “Facebranch” and a link to “Science Thursday” which is a nod to NPR’s Science Friday. Fun to think that today’s prop departments have to include programmers, isn’t it?
Wright begins by complimenting Peter on his race so far, which seems to be gaining traction. “I love this city,” Peter responds, ever the smooth politician. What do you think of the State’s Attorney’s loss in the case of wife murderer Randall Simmons? Oh, so that’s what that case was about? Yikes. That’s not good. ‘Tragedy,” Peter says evenly, “that was winnable.” We’re suddenly in small room with Peter as he looks into a slim computer. Eli watches, head cocked. “Do you think Simmons should have gotten a stiff sentence, the stiffer the better?” “Absolutely,” growls Peter. Eli’s chin and one eyebrow go up. “If the punishment fits the crime, the stiffer the better.”
“Your wife was on the defense team – now isn’t that a dichotomy, your wife fighting to get a wife killer out on the streets.” What, so female lawyers should recuse themselves from cases which involve other women? Or just not have careers? Or maybe his wife just shouldn’t be a lawyer? Asshat. “No no no,” says Peter, “as a matter of fact I’m very proud of my wife. The job of the State’s Attorney is not to wish that the defense goes easier on you, it’s to work harder.” Well said, Peter! This sort of thing was bound to come up some time in the campaign, and this was the perfect answer to it (no doubt thought out in advance). Well done. Eli smirks his pleasure, and backs silently out the door. Such a fascinating character, Eli Gold – both servile and arrogant, depending on the situation.
Eli strides out into a busy campaign office. A neatly dressed woman tries to call his attention to something she’s found on a college humor website, but he’s seen something that disturbs him in a small phone bank, and he silences her with a hand. There’s a golden head at the back of the bank, and the dulcet tones of … that’s right, Dreama Walker.
Oh, dear God, Becca is back. Oh, come on! I really could have lived without this. I’m serious. Seeing her makes me want to stab my eyeballs with barbecue spears. Well, no. My first impulse is self mutilation, but really, I’d rather someone hurt her. Eli, make her go away; I can’t live with the violence within me!
Eli looks just as happy to see her as I am. He unbuttons his suit jacket as he walks over to her desk, where she’s charming someone over the phone. She holds up a finger, telling him to wait. “Mr Gold!” she smiles sunnily, once she’s hung up the phone. “Becca,” he snarks, hands on his hips. “You’re looking healthy. “I am healthy,” she replies brightly. And indeed, she’s glowing, conservatively dressed in a gold twin set. I guess I should be grateful that she’s only stalking and not what I’ve expected her to be, pregnant with Zack’s baby. (Not that we know of, anyway. Pul-eeze tell me they didn’t have sex when he couldn’t find those condoms…) They make poisonous small talk about his haircut and volunteering and the Obama generation and giving back. Then he takes the phone out of her hand. ‘What, Mr. Gold, you don’t trust me?” she says, vintage Becca – sticky sweet and daring him to call her out. “Oddly enough, no.” These two have such great chemistry as actors – much as I loathe the character, I’m impressed with the way the actress is able to hold her own with Alan Cummings.
“I haven’t tweeted,” she says, all sincere puppy dog eyes. “You asked me not to, and I didn’t tweet.” “I threatened you, and you have tweeted. You tweeted that Mr. Michaels your history teacher was gay,” Eli responds. Ugh, she makes my skin crawl, this one. “Zack said you needed volunteers, that’s why I’m here,” Becca says innocently, the vicious little rumor monger. Eli and his eyebrow indicate his surprise. He tells her they don’t need her help, and asks the well dressed woman to escort her out. Finally, however, the staffer’s able to direct his attention to something else – a video playing on a computer in which Amber (you remember, the call girl they’ve focused on the most) sings about Peter’s campaign, undulating in front of campaign posters. She’s dressed in half a choir robe with a cross, or in a stripper version of a police uniform. Whoever sang this actually has a nice voice. Hmph. “He may be down in the polls, but he’s always been good at coming up from behind.” Ew. The whole thing is full of puns like that (and honestly, after last week I was expecting that particular joke to take a different direction). He hands out stiff sentences, she trills, “the stiffer the better.” Eli blanches, and runs for the door of the tiny room where Peter’s doing his vlog interview. He sees the set up now, but the door is locked from the inside. He tears around the building, frantically calling – who? – in the hopes of shutting down the interview and getting Peter offline. “They’re cutting up his words! It’s a set up!” Yes, indeed it is. He falls, loses his phone up a moving escalator (hope your voice mail is password protected!) and abandons it to run in the other door. He bursts into the interview room and cuts off just as Peter is thanking Freddy Wright for what he thinks is a well conducted interview. “What are you doing,” Peter looks in wonder at his disheveled consigliere. “We just gave them tomorrow’s news cycle,” Eli pants.
We pick up the story at a neighborhood basketball court. It’s sunny and bright, and Cary’s just beaten a fit young woman at one on one. “Just like old times,” he gloats, “who wins? Me!” She grins. “Well?” “I still don’t like it as much as racketball!” he says. Seriously? I know you’re a prep school attending, silver spoon fed rich boy, but that’s so 1985! Oh well. It’s awfully nice to see Cary relaxed. He’s been so strained – not just with losing the Simmons case, but losing his job at Lockhart/Gardner, and trying to fit in over on the prosecutor’s side. These have been unhappy days for Cary, and I’ve grown to like the little shark. So seeming this happier and less complicated side is nice. His opponent wants to know what he’s really there for. Can’t he just check on an old pal from the Peace Corps, he wonders? I love this bit of his backstory – it’s so counter intuitive and revealing. Anyway, she gives him the eye, and he gives her a case file. “What is that? Your novel?” she snarks (and ooh, wouldn’t you love to know if he had writerly ambitions back in the day?). “Murder case,” he says between gulps of water, “Randall Simmons. Thought his wife was cheating on him and he stabbed her 38 times with a bowling knife.” He can’t have just said bowling knife, can he? Bowing knife? Not that it matters, per see. But, yikes. No one this case brings out such strong emotions. That’s gruesome. “Thought you’d take a look at it.” “Why,” she wonders. “I lost,” he says, and she cocks her head. “Take off your shoe.” I swear, the first time I heard this, I thought she said shirt, and I was weirded out but also curious what his abs would look like. But no, he sits down and unlaces his sneaker, hands it over, and she wallops him in the head with it. That is awesome. I like this girl. I like her a lot. “Just take a look at it,” he pleads, “they were willing to take 8 years!” “So you screwed up,” she says, not surprised. “We thought we could get life,” he shakes his head, chagrined. “You don’t even have to go to trial, you can get a fast date, we did all the heavy lifting…” What on earth? Who does this woman work for? They can’t try him again, that’s double jeopardy (ding ding ding! the title kicks in). “Clearly you haven’t or the guy would be in prison,” she glares, taking an unconvinced swig of her water. “We couldn’t get the evidence in, you can, just take a look at it,” he says, finally annoyed. She takes the file, makes as if it smack him one with it, and smiles. Who does she work for? Is she a fed?
Will walks though L/G &B checking his messages on his cell. He see the brunette waiting primly in the corner. His face when he sees her is a study; a little surprised, and flattered, but in a predatory, cocky way that makes her look like an obvious and easy mark. More questions, he wonders? A follow up, she responds. “Boxers or briefs?” he sneers. “No,” she says, sashaying towards him, “I just have to fact check.” Well, that was subtle. Also, ew. His phone goes off. “You don’t need to answer that,” she says coyly. “You’re right,” he smiles cockily, “I don’t.” And he brings the phone to his ear.
Dude, the guy is such a player, and this girl is such a tool. Or maybe I just don’t like the game, I don’t know, but she really didn’t have the right to ask him not to answer his call, and he took way too much pleasure in letting her know it. He’s sexy, confident, and pretty condescending. If you’re Team Peter, in an episode with almost no Peter and no Florrick interaction at all, does it help make it better to see Will be a little icky?
The phone call has sent a newly serious Will to a dark Chicago street. “What happened?” he asks Alicia, who’s tripping down the stairs of a row house. Another murder charge is being laid on Randall Simmons. “They can’t, it’s double jeopardy,” Will puzzles, “he’s been tried, cleared. ” “Three days, Mr. Gardner, three days free, that’s all.” Randall says as he’s hustled out the door, two blue uniformed men at each arm. As he’s lead to a car, someone walks down the stairs in fatigues. Cary’s friend introduces herself as Captain Melinda Gossett (like Lou Gossett Jr, Oscar winner for his role in An Officer and A Gentleman?), U. S. Army Judge Advocate Generals Corps. JAG, Will wonders, are you kidding me? Simmons was an active reservist, she says, which means that the Army can try him, and it’s not double jeopardy at all. Really? Dun dun dun!
Aaaaand, lovely. We return from commercials to Amber’s backside. She’s in a cheerleader outfit, with pom poms and tight red shorts with Florrick written across the back. (A friend of mine calls this kind of thing assvertizing.) The video has been altered so that when she says “the stiffer the better” a bubble appears with the clip from the vlogger interview, Peter says it right along with her. Dirty tricks indeed. Eli and Peter ponder the situation as they watch from the Florrick’s kitchen island. Childs is probably financing this, Eli opines. “You can caucus me all night,” Amber sings. Again, not a bad voice, if it’s actually her. Gross, but still. I wonder if this is an oblique nod to Elliot Spitzer’s call girl aiming for a musical career? “Has it gone viral,” Peter asks, biting his thumb. “It’s growing,” Eli says. How viral does something for a local political race have to get, I wonder? I mean, what matters is what the voters of Illinois think, not the general public. (I’m quibbling. Obviously it’s not a great thing for their campaign either way.) “If she showed more skin it would grow faster,” Eli snorts. Peter leans against the kitchen cabinets, and reiterates his strategy of staying above it all. “We’re just going to have to take the high road. And you’re going to have to vet those reporters more closely.” Eli admits his culpability, but brings up the old issue of Childs’ divorce. ‘We go negative first, we’re going to be seen as going negative first,” Peter says with determination, arms folded. Good for you, Peter; nothing fuzzy about that stance at all. “Peter, he’s going to kill you with a million viral paper cuts just like this one,” Eli says grimly. Peter isn’t having it. He won’t hand Childs the excuse to go after his family; Eli repeats his conviction that Childs will go after his family anyway, probably already has. They’re both right, in a way. Peter’s right to hold back, but Eli’s right about Child’s intentions.
Our perspective shifts to the living room, where Zack and then Grace are listening to Eli bringing up the trackers. Zack notices that Grace seems unsettled, and he presses to find out what’s wrong. She says “nothing” so unconvincingly that Zack knows she’s lying. “What’d you do?” Wow, that wouldn’t have been my first response. I would have asked what happened to her. She retreats, and he follows her into her room. She confesses about the trackers at Jackie’s party. They asked me all sorts of questions about Dad, she says. What sort of questions, Zack asks. “Questions about the hooker,” she says tersely. Is everyone forgetting that Amber wasn’t the only girl in this scandal? They haven’t re-written history here and turned this into a one hooker issue, have they? I’d be really annoyed. I’m sure they’re much too smart to do that. Also, Grace stayed in the tracker conversation that long? Hearing him ask about her parent’s sleeping arrangements wasn’t unpleasant enough? All she’d have had to say was “gee, I think I hear my grandmother calling me,” especially considering she was. Not to blame the victim, of course, but it’s distressing to think of her being pressed like that. She’s been looking for it online (this is the girl who google-alerted her dad, after all), but hasn’t seen it. “What did you say?” Zack needs to know, cutting her no slack. She defended their dad, Grace says, but they just kept asking. People suck sometimes, and this is one of them. “Should we tell Dad,” Grace wonders, “maybe they’re not going to use it.” “Or they’re saving it,” Zack says darkly (how bad could it be? won’t it just make Childs look worse for having harassed and upset a kid?). He thinks it over, and you can see the wheels turning. Don’t play Harry Potter again, Zack! Tell the grown ups! It’s important! The siblings stare at each other anxiously.
Two Chicago police cruisers take Randall Simmons to a hanger filled with military vehicles, mostly jeeps. “8 years,” says Captain Melinda Gossett, who waits with three uniformed men. Huh. Why start there? You haven’t gotten them scared enough to start there. Will scoffs. You know, I thought the guys back at his house were military police, but this is the next day, so the regular police must have arrested Randall, kept him over night, and are now handing him over to the military officially. Can’t the military police arrest someone off a base? Not super relevant, I’m just curious why it’s playing out like this.
Gossett pulls out one of her big guns, metaphorically speaking. There may be a moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois, she says, but the military has no such qualms. Take the 8 years. Yikes. Two of the soldiers with her – MPs, presumably – are there to escort Randall off to the brig. Do you call it that when it’s not on a ship? Melinda stalks off. The last soldier is tall and thin and studious looking, with round glasses. “We’ll get back to you,” Alicia tells him, but no, he’s not waiting for their answer, he’s Lt. Terrence Hicks, Randall’s court appointed lawyer. Given the evidence, he says, 8 years is reasonable. You ought to consider it. Simmons, flanked by the MPs, finally speaks for himself. A year ago he came home to find his wife had been stabbed, he says, impassioned – “the wife I love. I spent the last year trying to convince people I didn’t do it, and when I finally did, when I finally slept at home again I..” he swallows back his frustration. “I will not take a plea of 8 years. I did not do this. I will not.” The speech is impassioned and pretty believable. I thought he was going to take a plea before? So, hmmm. Could he actually be innocent? We haven’t had a sign of that before. Hicks replies calmly that he can keep his outside representation, but Hicks will still stick around to help them navigate military law. Will is nervous about that. “You got me off before,” Simmons says a vote of confidence. Is that the expression of an innocent man? They’re marching him off. “I trust you!”
“I thought we were closing down the Simmons defense,” Diane says incredulously to Will’s feet, which are lifted high onto her desk, pointing at the ceiling. Things change, Will says gloomily. “We’re not going to make the same mistake as last year, are we,” she frets, pinching the skin above her nose. What’s that, Will bites. “Taking cases on a whim, not long term strategy.” Will defends his case – it’s passion and attention. “More broke clients,” Diane sniffs. Wait, has Will been taking this case on a reduced rate? That must mean he believes in Simmons. I guess I was wrong earlier. I just thought he was doing his duty, but this sounds like something different. If he’s so passionate about this case, though, how has he not even won his co-counsel over to the cause?
Diane changes the topic. She’ll let Will tilt at windmills as long as he supports her in a soon to be fight with Derrick. There’s some sort of project conflict with Trippi and Dobbs’ publishers, so the merged firm will have to drop one of the two clients. “Can I count on you?” “For a vote?” Will asks, but there’s something in his voice which hedges, parsing his promises. She nods. “Sure. That’s why we did this. Two votes to one.” He stands. “Send Lou Dobbs packin’.” “Go, follow your bliss,” she intones. “You know, I should wear a uniform. I’d look good in one,” he says, straightening his sleeves. “With tassels on the shoulders,” she indicates, smiling, “like H. M. S. Pinafore.” Cute.
Blake waits on a desk, head hung. Alicia’s worried that something’s wrong, but no, he says, he’s great. “Mr. Bond thought I should help you out with Simmons?” he says, following Alicia to her office. She’d prefer to work with Kalinda, she says, but Blake claims that Kalinda’s full up with that Murphy/Gomez suit Alicia got pulled off of last week. Blake is so polite to Alicia it’s disturbing. He’s like Eddie Haskell from Leave It To Beaver; obsequious to the adults, and obnoxious to the other kids. Or maybe that comparison suggests itself because Scott Porter has a round face like a boyscout from the 50s, or a Campbell’s Soup Kid, and yet is also the spawn of Satan. Well, fine, I’m sure Scott Porter is a lovely human being. It’s not his fault Blake smirks out of his face. Do they make me like him eventually, all the more for hating him so much now? I find it hard to imagine that they’d be able to pull off that kind of radical transformation, although they did do it with Cary. Sort of. I’m daring you here, folks. Unless you don’t ever mean for us to like him?
Anyway, Evil Boyscout is on the case. He hands Alicia the CID file she needs, and clearly surprises her by knowing as much about the case as he does. “You took the liberty,” she says, puzzled, “how did you even know to take the liberty?” “I keep track of things,” he smirks. He’s such a smirker. “Can I draw your attention to one thing?” (See, overly formal – a total Eddie Haskell.) “Draw away,” says Alicia, and he pulls out some pages with notes written in the margins, which clue Alicia in to the fact that Cary has been working with Melinda and feeding her information. It’s mildly interesting despite the fact that we already know this; turns out the army investigated the scene initially (so, the army has forensics teams, that’s interesting, too – there’s enough crime on army bases to merit that?) but backed off for the SA’s office. The other thing we find out is that Eddie Haskell doesn’t normally explain how he leaps to conclusions. Alicia forces him to. (Xeroxes of xeroxes, it turns out, and a dated cover letter.)
Alicia lets Will in on this as they head into court. They’re so off-balance that they sit on the wrong side of the courtroom (Army style is flipped from civilian courts) and fail to rise when the judge enters the room. Don’t they stand up for the judge in regular court? Maybe it’s just that the judge came in from the back, instead of chambers behind her platform? “Sit,” she waves to everyone except Will, “not you!” She pours a packet into a glass of water. It hisses like an antacid. “Uh oh”, says Hicks, his eyes wide. “She’s doing another cleanse.” That’s alarming and amusing and gross at the same time. Alicia looks at the judge in horror. Judge Leora Kuhn stirs her green drink, and grills Will about his credentials for running this defense. “I have the greatest respect for the military, ” he says. The evil glare she sends him is brilliant. She’s so nonsense and deadpan, I actually like her. “Call the panel!” she barks. Nice work, Linda Emond!
Zack zips into the hall just in time to shoot onto the elevator with a departing Eli. I’d lay money, based on the way he slips, that he isn’t even wearing shoes. “I want to help,” he says, practically shaking in his earnestness. “No you don’t,” Eli snorts. “I know things,” Zack says. Eli’s eyebrow goes up, but he doesn’t look away from his phone. “You wanna help, don’t do drugs, stay in school.” “It’s my Mom, isn’t it,” Zack’s annoyed, “she won’t let me.” “It’s your Mom, it’s your Dad, it’s me, I do not need Encylcopedia Brown on my staff.” Cute, but you’re wrong, Eli. What happened to the photograph of the door being the biggest break the campaign has had? Bah. “I know things,” Zack repeats stubbornly. Why not just share the thing, stupid? Oh, I’m so annoyed. I hate plots where everything would be fine if the participants didn’t act stupid. And sure, people can be stupid – teenagers can be stupid too – but this is just unnecessary. “You want to help, don’t tell your girlfriend to volunteer.” What do you mean, Zack says, I broke up with Becca ages ago. Ah. Eli’s finally paying attention. “I’ll talk to her,” Zack says. “No, she wanted me to talk to you, so you would talk to her. I appear to be off my game today.” Actually, I think you’re quicker than last week (albeit still behind the 8 ball) but I’m really annoyed you’re not going to let Zack tell you what he knows! “Let it rest,” he tells Zack smartly. Like he will! God, this drives me crazy. Fine, you want to protect them? Me too! Ignorance isn’t going to protect them! Zack, you should have gone to your parents after this. Or Grace, you should have done it on your own. The door closes on Zack’s sweet, frustrated face.
“And what do you mean by that, corporal?” says a voice from the court-martial. It’s Will, questioning jurors, specifically one juror who admits to a personal bias against wife killers because his sister was a victim of domestic violence. Will wants to strike the juror for cause, but Judge Kuhn asks the man flat out if he could be impartial if she ordered him to, and he says yes. Interesting. He’s in. He shoots a look of smug triumph at Will. Ouch! Now we’re on to pretrial motions in her chambers – you know, the stuff Will was telling Miss Come Hither about, the ones that make or break a case? Judge Kuhn has mixed up another disgusting green glass. If I didn’t know it came from a packet I’d swear there was grass in there. Did the actress actually have to drink that? (Of course, she’s an actress. She’s probably no stranger to ghastly weight loss concoctions.) Clink clink clink goes the spoon in the glass as Kuhn looks at crime scene photos which show Simmons, looking glassy, with blood on his shirt. “Clearly, they’re more prejudicial than probative,” Will begins, and Kuhn smacks him right down. Did the police take the photos? Is it your client in them? “The jury is smart enough to separate the prejudicial from the probative.” My, aren’t we down to earth and refreshing. A judge thinking well of a jury’s intelligence? I wouldn’t have expected to like the military court, somehow, but so far I do. They have a reputation for cutting corners, but this seems very sensible.
Will is not so enchanted. He’d gotten a statement Randall made (saying what, we don’t know) thrown out of court because Randall was drunk at the time. That ruling was based on state law, however, so it’s out and the statement is in. Will tries for a continuance to replot his strategy, but nope. There are 9 active duty soldiers on that panel, and Kuhn doesn’t want to take up any more of their time than is absolutely necessary. We’ll take an hour break for dinner and begin at 1800 hours, she says. That’s six o’clock, Will practically gasps. Yes, Mr. Gardner, says Leora Kuhn with more than a touch of asperity (though not without humor) six o’clock. Welcome to military court.
And the trial begins in a darkened courtroom. First we hear from a Detective Rezic, who heard the statement that Will got excluded from the first trial. This is the bit where Rezic asks flat out if Simmons killed his wife, and he answers “I don’t know.” How don’t you know? What does that mean? Randall hides his eyes, and we see the gold glint of the wedding ring he still wears. Hmmm. Then there’s some more posturing around a search of the defendant’s car, something Will got excluded from the last trial. When the detectives asked Simmons if they could search his property, they went two blocks away and looked through his car. (Ha – I thought Will lucked out getting a space so close to Randall’s during the arrest.) Was it reasonable for him to think they’d go that far away? Will says no. The judge says it’s his property and includes it. Again, I like the practicality of this. It IS his property. In the trunk of the car, the police found a backpack with a wig, a thousand dollars in cash and his passport. Oooops. Now that truly makes Randall look guilty.
We see Alicia’s rapt face, and it takes a second for us to realize that Simmons and his team are cloistered off, discussing this unpleasant turn of events. We never had to ask before, Will says, but I’m asking now. Why were those things in your car? He hesitates. If you were afraid of being falsely prosecuted, Alicia says, we can work with that. But that’s not it. No, Randall reluctantly admits. His unit was being called up, and he was planning on going AWOL, and fleeing to Canada. Wow. I didn’t think anyone did that these days – that’s so Vietnam era. “Whatever you do,” Hicks tells Alicia and Will, who have literally closed their eyes to this mess, “you cannot tell that to a military jury.” Too right, man, too right. ‘What do we do?” Alicia asks. In answer, there’s only silence.
Kalinda watches Campbell’s Soup Spawn flip through the CID file. Alicia walks toward her office, and Kalinda pounces. ‘So. I’m free now.” Alicia’s not so quick on the uptake, so Kalinda has to tell her that she’s clear to do some digging. Alicia says that Derrick’s already put Spawn on the case (I wanted her to be more apologetic about it – was that just me? Kalinda always has her back, and what does she know about this new kid?) and it’s taken care of. Kalinda says good luck, with a bit of ill grace. She looks over at Spawny again, taken aback, and he winks at her. Oooh, I just don’t like this guy. I really don’t.
“I know that we have to drop one of them – it happens with every merger,” Diane says sadly, as the three partners meet in the conference room. It’s a far bigger space than they need, but neutral. Interesting. You can tell from her voice how sure she is she’s got it in the bag. She suggests they find new representation for Mr. Dobbs and keep the most longstanding client, whom she doesn’t actually name. Hmmm. Derrick expresses his regret at the situation. “Both our firms faced economic ruin independently,” he says, and is interrupted by a loud group of young men walking in. “We’re busy in here,” Will tells them tersely. They stop, but they don’t leave until Derrick asks for five minutes. Will looks deeply displeased by this display of fractured loyalty. Loyalty layover? Either way, he’s not pleased, and I don’t blame him. Of course, he does have the Easy Brunette hanging around to comfort him. Lovely. Derrick apologizes, and then hands over comparison sheets of the billable hours for each client; a page for Trippi, and at least 5 for Dobbs.
And like that, Will is in his office, and Diane, as upset as we’ve ever seen her, walks in. “I thought you said two votes to one, that’s why we did it this way.” The distress in her voice hurts me. She wants to be loyal to her long time clients; he needs to follow the money, the work. More work for Derrick, she says. There is no Derrick now, he says, just the firm. Hmmm. “This is a betrayal”, she says, her voice grating. “You said you’d support me.” “That’s before I saw the facts,” he says. “Now facts are important to you? In court you couldn’t give a damn.” Youch. She sounds close to tears. “It’s about money,” he says, not looking at her, “it’s about keeping our doors open. My father drove his business into the ground giving money to everyone he knew and I’m not going to make the same mistake.” Wow. That’s a nice tidbit of his past. I can’t think when Will’s ever said anything about his past unconnected to Alicia and Georgetown, and that sparingly. Also, it makes me think of that case with the corrupt judge, Will’s friend to whom he’d lent a large amount of money, remember? Interesting. “You know what you just did? You just lost your certain vote.” Diane walks out, slamming the glass door. I get it, I really do, but overall I’m really not liking Will in this episode.
And speaking of people I don’t like, guess who the next scene begins with? Becca! Oh, the overpowering joy. You know, as much as I’m not enjoying the Evil Boyscout, Becca is just so much worse. Zack’s run out of the school looking for her, as she stands at her car talking to another girl. The other girl flees. Why has she been lying, Zack wants to know. Um, because she’s breathing? “Why won’t you just let me apologize,” she asks in return. You’re not sorry, he says passionately. (Oh dear. He cares too much about this. Not good.) “I am.” She’s all wounded dignity and sincerity. “There’s nothing else I can say – I text you, you won’t text me back. I try to wait for you after school…” “You hurt my Mom,” he interrupts her, “my Dad.” “I stopped!” she pleads. Oh, whatever, chickie. You didn’t do it out of the goodness of your (alleged) heart. “I said I’d stop and I stopped.” She pauses, looking sad and thoughtful. “My parents are getting a divorce. I just…” He shakes his head, unable to believe how self serving she can be. That’s right, Zack, it’s all about Becca. You’d do well to remember that. (Although, I would absolutely believe that this girl has had an unpleasant home life; you don’t become this skilled at manipulation this young without a lot of practice playing people off each other.) “That’s funny?” “Yeah, actually it is,” he tells her. “You think it worked once and now it’ll work again.” “What’ll work,” she says, so innocent. “I was trying to show you that I was sorry.” She blathers on about what a great labor of love it was to work on his father’s boring campaign. Oh, well, now we know you’re sincere if you let yourself be bored for ten minutes, Becca. He leaves.
“I know Glenn Childs!” she calls out. He doesn’t care. “No. I know Glenn Childs Jr.” Now that’s gotten his attention.
Oh, Zack, you poor little idiot.
“I don’t understand,” says Zack’s mother, working with Hicks and the Evil Boyscout. The army did their own investigation of the scene, ran prints against their database, yet they only came up with one match? Simmons had a ton of people from his unit over at his house – how did they not leave prints? Well, says Hicks, the forensics people are obliged to hand over anything relevant to the defense. Relevant? Who decides what’s relevant, the Boyscout asks shrewdly. Ah, he’s may be the spawn of Satan, but he’s not without brains. They do, says Hicks. Dun dun dun! What do they do with the stuff that isn’t relevant, Alicia wants to know. Good question.
We get to see a gorgeous brick campus, overrun with trees, which is presumably the base where the trial is being held. I wonder what we’re actually looking at? Poor Alicia’s arguing with the guy who runs the evidence locker. He won’t give the evidence to her until the Major gets back on Monday. Not without a court order. Not, that is, until Lt. Hicks shows up, using a voice of authority unlike anything we’ve heard from him, and then the desk jockey gives it up without a peep. Now that’s odd. He even asks Hicks about his commendation from his time in Falujah. No, Hicks says, he’s not going back.
Will lies in bed, his naked torso wrapped around a pillow. He doesn’t look happy. You can practically see the wheels turning. He sees a couple across the street kiss goodnight, and he turns away, to the naked back of the brunette reporter. I suppose that was inevitable. She turns over, and smiles languorously. He fakes a grin. It’s so fake it hurts. Bah. I think I’m much too invested in fictional sex lives. I know he’s trying to move on from Alicia, but at least Giada interested him. This girl is just – nothing. His phone buzzes. “No,” says the girl,”no work, please.” Will ruthless ignores her, and call me old fashioned (I am, I know) but it makes me uncomfortable seeing him in bed with someone he has such little regard for. The writers don’t even think well enough of her to bother naming her. Not that I think he shouldn’t get the phone, it’s just the way that he did it. Anyway, of course it’s Alicia, apologizing for disturbing him. “Sorry to call so late, but there’s something you can use tomorrow,” she says. “Can’t you do this tomorrow,” whines Come Hither sleepily. Alicia, of course, hears her.
“Oh, Will, I’m sorry, I’ll call back.” No, says Will, it’s fine – what’s up? What’s up is what the CID deemed irrelevant: three sets of finger prints with matches in the military database. “Three new suspects,” says Will, walking around in a white t-shirt and – hmm, are they boxers, or boxer briefs? Boxers, I think, but closely fitted. “Thanks, Alicia,” he says. It takes her a moment to respond (“see you tomorrow”) and after she hangs up, she just stands there, looking stricken.
Will. Oh, Will. That was hideously uncomfortable. The look on Alicia’s face, as she considers Will having moved on… She’s stunned and I think maybe jealous. Or maybe it just sucks to feel replaced. And I just feel icky about that girl. I feel like he made it pretty clear that he was just taking what was offered because it was there, without particular interest, and what’s sexy about that? Nothing, as far as I’m concerned, no matter how much skin they show. It’s not so much a “Will slept with someone else thing” as a “Will slept with someone he wasn’t interested in and didn’t respect because he’s bored and lonely and hurt” thing.
Can we backtrack, actually? Do we have any idea how involved Will was with Giada? Was it just that one dinner and a few conversations? She gave him that ridiculously expensive wine in “Running,” remember? Which was only a week before “Taking Control.” Given that we don’t know how much time is supposed to have elapsed between episodes one and two of this season, would we presume Giada is no longer pressing her case? Not that this would stop Will from sleeping with Little Miss Law Review, but I’m wondering if we’re going to see Ms Cabrini again. Of course, if Will sees Giada again, he’d kind of have to be dating her, and that’s perhaps more serious than he’s ready for now, at least with someone who isn’t Alicia? Also, it makes me wonder what Alicia thinks Will’s love life outside her has. Alicia seems so shocked, but would she really expect Will to be celibate since he can’t have her? Since, as far as she knows, he’d back off and ended things? Especially since she’d practically seen him on a date with Giada? It’s not romantic, but it’s sort of practical. Will wants her; she’s unavailable. We’d all rather think of our would be beauxs pining in solitude, but when her own husband doesn’t stay faithful, would she expect her secret crush to?
Anyway, sorry, it’s not relevant, exactly, but I am interested in what Will’s life is like outside of work, and what Alicia thinks it might be (or whether she speculates at all). And of course, it’s important what Alicia feels. I guess it’s the kind of thing where your head says “he has every right to do whatever – or whoever – he wants” but your heart just can’t agree.
Back to the show: Kalinda, stunning in square cut royal blue belted dress, walks the halls at L/G &B. Diane calls out to her, and she sticks her head in the door. “What do you know about Derrick Bond,” Diane asks. Kalinda slides in and closes the door behind her. “I did the due diligence. Everything I found, you have.” “What about Derrick Bond and Will,” Diane mumbles, looking down at her desk. “Excuse me?” asks Kalinda, ears pricked up. “As far as I knew, there was no connection between them. I was the connection.” “You’re suggesting there’s a link that you don’t know about it,” Kalinda ponders. “I’m suggesting I’d like to be disabused of that notion,” Diane replies, choosing her words carefully. “Then I’ll get to disabusing,” says Kalinda, looking even more thoughtful and serious than usual. I love the calm, serious way Kalinda says “disabusing.” It’s very reassuring.
“Three sets of finger prints we don’t know about,” Will thunders. The unit leader, Gauthier, and soldiers Suarez and Vernick. Gossett says there were dozens of prints at that house (and good grief, that’s a defense?), mostly unidentified. But these were identified, Will replies, and yet not turned over to us. They’re only in the military database, not the state one, so we’ve had no time to investigate them. Why, Vernick has a record of domestic assault! And there were dozens of calls between Vernick’s house and Simmons. The prosecution claims that Simmons killed his wife in jealousy; perhaps she had an affair with Vernick! We have the right to question him (which is to say, build him up as an alternative suspect). You can’t, says Gosset. Why not, says Will? Because he’s dead. Killed in action.
Ooops. Well, now we look like turkeys.
Well, anything he says is going to look pretty silly after that. Sheepishly Will suggests that they need to talk to Suarez and Gauthier, who turn out (of course) to be over in Afghanistan. Hicks suggests a video conference. Kuhn won’t go there, not when they don’t know what they’re going ask. Will wants a continuance until the potential suspects return from their tours, which of course he knows he won’t get. Hicks looks twitchy, and Simmons looks like he’s losing faith. Will starts to pace.
“I move that you recuse yourself from this trial immediately.”
Wah? The judge is affronted. “I don’t know if it’s because you don’t like civilian lawyers, ” and he’s gesticulating, getting worked up, “or if it’s something psychological,” “Mr Gardner!” Kuhn practically gasps, ominously. “… but I’m starting to see why all those Guantanamo prosecutors resigned. ” He dumps an open book on the table in front of Alicia. “The system is rigged against the defendant!” He points to a paragraph as he carries on with his tirade. Hicks tries to calm things down, but it’s far too late. “You’re in contempt,” Kuhn fires at Will. Any more and she’ll remove him from the trial. You’ve already silenced me for the duration of the trial, he claims, putting his feet up on the bench. Oh, dear. The bailiffs come to take him away. Alicia rises to ask for a continuance. “I said no continuance!” That’s before you threw out our lead attorney, says Alicia, using the book Will placed in front of her to quote military law on the subject. Ah. AH. You have extras, Judge Kuhn observes, but apparently the rule is very clear that only “listed” attorneys apply, and neither she nor Hicks have been listed on a motion.
“Hell of a way to get a continuance, Mr. Gardner,” Kuhn tells him, shaking her head. He waves off the compliment, looking a bit smug and pleased with himself. And I suspect feeling a bit bad ass for letting himself get tossed in military jail for his client. Way to go the distance, Will. As the Seattle Grace folks would say, hardcore. Kuhn gives them 24 hours. Alicia sinks down into her seat, and exhales, looking panic stricken.
Will and Alicia sit at a round wooden table, presumably at the base, as an MP looks on. Nice that they’ve let him out to work with her for a little while. “So Hicks has a silver star, ” Will says a bit incredulously. Wonder where they found this out? And also, wow. “Apparently he single handedly fought a convoy of insurgents in Falujah. He saved 20 men.” Alicia’s in awe. (Which, of course she is! Leaving aside that his looks and demeanor contradict the Rambo stereotype, that’s an astounding act of bravery and skill.) Will shakes his head, stammering. “I just don’t know what to say about that.” Don’t say anything, Alicia advises, because it embarrasses him. Huh. You know, that sort of explains the whole odd moment at the evidence locker. I thought this was some sort of arcane point about the military chain of command, but now I think it’s more to do with Hicks seeming nebbishy but actually being a hero who commands the respect of all who know him. “Well now he’s just making me feel inadequate,” Will says, sort of joking. Alicia cracks up. “I spring for someone’s valet parking, I brag about it for a week.” She favors him with a full smile, and wow, I don’t think we’ve seen one yet this season, have we? It’s so nice when she smiles. Will’s shirt, by the way, is impossibly snowy and white, and he looks fantastic with it unbuttoned. He passes Alicia a pen so she can sign herself in as the attorney of record. As he starts to leave – MP leading the way, when she cracks up again. “What?” he asks. “I just thought I was done visiting men in prison.” She’s really amused. He’s not quite, but he salutes her (which I’m pretty sure is offensive, when you do that right in front of a soldier, actually, though I’m sure he doesn’t mean it so) as he’s dragged back to the pokey.
“But I let my client go!” Diane complains; we see her through her door, which Derrick is holding open. “I know, but Mr. Dobbs still fired us. He apparently believes the partners don’t have his best interests at heart.” She correctly interprets “partners” to mean “Diane Lockhart.” Derrick does not deny it, and asks that they meet with Dobbs to convince him to stay with them. “Will is in the brig,” she responds, “don’t ask.” Despite this set back, she grudgingly agrees to a meeting for the following day. We get a great, throaty chuckle as she plays with the idea of having Lou Dobbs best interest at heart.
Kalinda speeds to Alicia’s office. She’s found out that dead Coporal Vernick had a serious girlfriend, Daria Joyce. And, of course, Kalinda’s found Daria’s address. Take that, Campbell Soup Spawn! Hah! The allies find Daria behind a bar, setting up for the night. She’s totally dismissive of the idea that her might have cheated. It’s really a nasty thing to suggest to someone who’s had that kind of loss, so that you might get lucky and also pin a murder on their loved one. I get it, but gross. They have a crappy job, sometimes. Alicia brings up the phone record. Duh, says the girlfriend, I made those calls. “Judith and I were friends until your client killed her.” Does it strike anyone else as odd that she refers to Randall as “your client?” Maybe the actress’s just not sneering the word enough, but you have to assume that she and Randall knew each other pretty well, too. Why wouldn’t she call him by his name? I suppose it’s plausible (she could try to distance herself from the person she thought she knew), but it’s odd.
Anyway. Alicia wants to know just why Daria’s so sure Randall killed Judith (gee, it’s nice to hear her name for once) if she and Bradley Vernick weren’t having an affair.”I didn’t say she wasn’t sleeping with someone, I said she wasn’t sleeping with Brad.” Oh. Alicia and Kalinda go alert, like deer in the presence of a predator. Alicia tries to delicately ask for the name. “Why would I tell you,” Daria replies. She’s sneering now. “Because otherwise Corporal Bradley Vernick is the only name we’ll have,” Kalinda reminds her, “and it’s the name we’ll use. We’ll say he cheated on you, and he killed the girl.” Stone cold, Kalinda, stone cold. Hardcore. “Those are lies,” says an outraged Daria. The name, Kalinda demands, implacable. “She was trying to save her husband,” the outraged Daria confesses. “Save him how?” asks Alicia. Daria is silent for a moment, looking at the two women. “The C.O. of their unit? Gauthier? He said he could pull some strings, keep Randall off the deployment list, but there was a price for it.” “And Judith believed it,” Kalinda prompts. “She was so desperate to keep Randall home she’d have believed anything.” There’s a little bit of contempt in Daria’s voice. Alicia needs this testimony, but Daria flat out refuses. “No way – absolutely not.” Kalinda threatens a subpoena, and Daria says she’ll perjure herself. “And the army will let me. You think they want their dirty laundry aired in public?” (I doubt anyone would enjoy it, but you haven’t met Judge Kuhn, honey. She might change your mind.) “A man is on trial for his life,” Alicia reminds Daria. “Your client killed his wife, Mrs. Florrick,” Miss Joyce answers. There it is again, the legal language. “He was jealous of her sleeping with another man. And the sad thing is, she was just trying to keep him home.” Alicia scrutinizes Daria, and the problem.
There’s another computer screen, emblazoned with the words “Create New Profile.” We hear key strikes as the name Glenn Childs Junior is filled into a form. Becca switches places at the computer in the Florrick den, the better to fraudulently fill in the rest of the profile. Oh, Zack, you complete idiot. You did not. How do you know him, Zack wonders. “Glenn Junior? Drama Camp.” I’ll buy that. “He’s a reeeal jerk. That’s how I got these pictures.” She pops in a profile pic (presumably they’re entering him on Facebranch?) and Glenn Jr turns out to be Ryan McGinnis, who played Justin’s first boyfriend on Ugly Betty. Aw! I love him! Sorry to see you in the midst of such a dastardly plot, Austin/Ryan/Glenn Jr. Which, what on earth are they doing? “So, what, you’re hacking his account,” Zack wonders right along with me. “No,” Becca says contemptuously, “he doesn’t have one.” She favors Zack with one of her brilliant, fatuous smiles. “I’m creating one!” Yep, it’s Facebranch alright. “You can’t do that,” Zack says, unsure of his territory. “I just did,” says master mean girl Becca, like it’s no big deal. They start suggesting silly, childish things interests for him, like The Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus. “We should have him say something about his dad. Something bad,” Becca suggests. Oh, Eli, what a fool you are. You can’t take these kids out of your calculus. And for all Peter’s been upstanding, wanting to protect his kids from political attack, he’s not only failed to arm them against said attacks, he’s failed to prevent them from making them on others. The Florrick camp is going to pull the trigger after all.
Now, I know that good kids can do supremely stupid things despite knowing better. I’m not saying it’s all Peter and Alicia and Eli’s fault. I can’t help feeling that if they’d taken more care here, things could have been different. I just can’t help feeling that if Zack had a legitimate channel to vent his frustration with the situation, and a way of actually helping, this wouldn’t have happened. He’d have been too busy. Saying “look at that apple? I can’t tell you why, but don’t eat it!” doesn’t work. (Becca being the low hanging fruit in this scenario, in case you were wondering.) Pretending that Zack and Grace aren’t already involved, or are able to ignore the campaign and it’s issues, is foolish.
“We’re not really doing this,” Zack asks uneasily, proving that he at least knows what he’s doing is wrong. Of course he doesn’t realize it’s going to blow up his father’s campaign, and bring down a world of trouble on him and his family, but there you go. Kids, unattended, unfocused and unwarned. “What do you mean,” rejoins Becca, who acts puzzled. “This is all just fun, right, we’re not really doing this.” We’re not really turning into cyber bullies, right, and it won’t hurt this kid or get us in trouble. We’re just joking. Becca’s eyes flit from Zack to the screen. “Well, they did this,” she says, clicking you Amber’s video. She plays a portion where a cut out of Amber’s face is put on Alicia’s body, from last week’s press conference. Zack looks at the screen, and then at Becca’s fingers as she types.
Terence Hicks – and wow, if ever there was an unheroic name, that’s it – peers out of his owlish glasses at Alicia’s ipad. “So everybody gets one of those?” he says, uncertainly. “Oh. For the firm. Yes. We’re trying to go paperless,” she explains warmly. “At JAG we’re trying to go paper,” he jokes awkwardly, waving his yellow legal pad. They both smile. “You like the military,” she asks him. He nods with satisfaction, smiling shyly: “There’s no other life.” They both smile to themselves.
“Look at this draft witness list,” Kalinda injects into their little love fest. Alicia identifies Cary’s handwriting again. “He wrote “no” next to Daria Joyce’s initials. He knew not to call her to the stand, because he’d already interviewed her.” The three exchange significant looks. What, no Blake to help out? So much for muscling in on Kalinda’s territory, poser. “His testimony is hearsay. Daria will just refute it,” Alicia tells Kalinda, who nods in her knowing way. God, it’s good to see Kalinda’s brain in action. “Right,” she says, leaving Alicia – and us – to figure out what her strategy is.
When the court-martial resumes, Alicia has Daria on the stand. “Did the victim ever confide in you that she was sleeping with someone other than her husband?” Daria, cool in a little black dress, answers clearly. “No, she did not.” Alicia has Daria dismissed and calls Cary. Melinda Gossett tries to object, fruitlessly. He’s being called as an impeachment witness. Judge Leora Kuhn is just a little impressed with Alicia’s knowledge of military law. Cary slumps into the chair Daris inhabited so forcefully; he’s like a kid at the principal’s office. “You persecuted – I mean prosecuted – my client in state court, did you not?” “Yes I did – you were there, you know.” Cary is bitter, and gives off that vibe of a kid caught out doing wrong. He’s kind of cute when he’s being surly. “Yes I was. And when you couldn’t convict him, you convinced Captain Melinda Gossett to try him in military court.” Melinda, of course, objects, and this time the judge backs her up. Alicia focuses in for the kill. Did Cary personally interview Daria Joyce just before this trial? Yes, he did, he admits reluctantly. It’s so interesting that this isn’t considered hearsay – and even more interesting that all the differences in the two systems which started off defeating our team are being turned to our favor. Will and Alicia are swimming with big fish and staying alive. “And did she convey to you her suspicions that the victim was sleeping with someone other than her husband?” “Miss Joyce told me that she believed that Mrs Simmons had been sleeping with the defendants commanding officer.” Gossett tries to object, and is overruled again. Alicia forces the story out of Cary – Gauthier tricked Judith Simmons into trading sex for her husband’s life. The jury and the judge look pained. Half the jury actually rears their heads back, trying to distance themselves from such dishonor. That guy who Will wanted to dismiss for cause is particularly appalled. Simmons is seething. Alicia asks to question Gauthier via teleconference, and because it’s clearly no longer a fishing expedition, Kuhn allows it.
Gauthier’s face appears, grainy and orange, over the teleconference screen as he’s sworn in. He has a mullet, and as he swears to tell the truth, we find he’s got a serious Southern, maybe even Cajun, accent. I thought that commanders in the reserves were also people who lived in that region? Not that it matters. You can certainly live in Chicago and yet be originally from the South; I was just surprised to hear it. At any rate, the members of the jury look on in disapproval, jaws tightened, brows clenched. Gauthier had been at a bar with Simmons and others in their unit the night of the murder. He drove a few soldiers home (including the aforementioned Suarez). What did you do then, asks Alicia. “I went home,” is all he can say. “You didn’t make a stop,” Alicia wonders,”at the home of the defendant?” He denies it. “Because Mrs. Simmons threatened you, didn’t she, Captain? She was going to tell her husband you’d extorted sexual favors from her.” He denies it again, getting twitchier and more guilty looking by the minute. Huh. “You told her that you could keep her husband from being deployed,” Alicia tells him as contempt drips from her tone. More denials: “I don’t have that authority.” “But she didn’t know that, did she? And when you didn’t make good on your promise, she threatened you, and you went to her home.” Shifty Gauthier stumbles over yet another denial. Alicia flat out accuses him of the murder. When he doesn’t respond, Judge Colonel Leora Kuhn steps in and reminds him he’s entitled to representation. “Counsel? I want…” Gauthier’s transmission is cut off, and all we hear is static.
The static resolves itself into the smiling face of Lou Dobbs. “So you’re saying you can set aside your personal political convictions when it comes to representing me and my interests.” Oh, poor Diane. She sighs. “Truthfully, I can never put aside my personal political convictions. What I’m saying is, they won’t be an issue. If I can represent murderers when I think they’re guilty, I can represent you.” Her response draws a big guffaw from Dobbs. “That’s damn decent of you!” he chuckles, “a real vote of confidence. Why do I get the feeling that Derrick Bond put you up to this?” He did, she confesses, “but I would have turned him down if I didn’t believe it.” She leans forward. “You come back with Derrick as your lawyer and we will not have a problem. You have my word on that.” He stands up, considering. “I’ll come back,” he says, taking her measure, “but I don’t want Derrick as my attorney. I want you.” “Me,” she snort, “no.” “You’ve been more up front with me in these twenty five minutes than any attorney I’ve dealt with, and I like the fact that you won’t betray your convictions.” She reaches out to shake his hand. “Think about it,” he says as he leaves. You can see from the cat-who-ate-the-canary smirk that she is thinking about it, even thought it might betray her personal convictions a little. It’s nice to be wanted. And if that sticks it to Will and Derrick, all the better.
Judge Kuhn bangs her gavel. The soldier whose sister had been abused stands up; of course he’s the foreman. He clears his throat. The camera flicks over to Robert Guillaume’s younger brother in the audience and Will, Alicia, Randall and Terence standing together. “In the matter of the United States v. Specialist Randall Simmons, on the charge of murder under section 118 in the uniform code of military justice, we the panel find the defendant … not guilty.” Do you think people pause like that, dramatically, at real trials? This time, Alicia gives Randall a hug and a smile. Her doubt (and so her guilt) is gone. She looks to Judge Kuhn, who nods to her approvingly. You know, I’m going to miss Judge Kuhn. I’m sorry she won’t be part of our regular stable of judges. I like her. She’s smart, tough, fair, and has common sense in spades. Cary looks defeated, and Melinda narrows her eyes at him as he slouches in the back of the courtroom. The successful defense team congratulates each other, and Simmons practically collapses into his father’s embrace. It’s really sweet, more so now that we’re pretty sure Randall actually is innocent.
As Alicia leaves the building, Cary calls out congratulations. “He didn’t do it, Cary,” she says, affirming what we’ve come to know. “Captain Gauthier went AWOL, there’s your suspect.” “You know, your client, now that he’s been found not guilty, it frees him to serve out his commitment.” Huh, says Alicia (well, in essence). “His tour of duty. They’re deploying him to Afghanistan.” Oh. What, you don’t want her to feel happy even for a couple minutes? Are you implying he would have been better off in jail? Seems mean-spirited. Let’s hope not. Alicia stands and considers Simmons’ fate before the picturesque entrance; military personnel in fatigues walk past her.
Diane sits in her office, looking through her ipad. It’s late. Kalinda knocks on the door, wearing a black vest and this amazing draped and twisted poet’s shirt. It’s totally cool, and a little bit different for her, less streamlined than her usual. “You wanted me to look into Bond and Will, see if there was any previous connection.” “Oh, yes, don’t worry about it,” Diane waves, still captivated by her computer,”it’s just the old boy network reasserting itself, that’s all. ” Kalinda looks straight at her. “So you don’t want to know what I found out,” she says evenly. Diane’s head practically whips off her shoulders. Mine, too.
There was something to find? Oh my gosh, there was something to find! Woah. I should have seen that coming more than, you know, 3 seconds in advance (why else would the writers have had Diane ask the question?) but I didn’t, I confess.
And there we stand. Solid, but let’s just say, it’s not on my top ten episodes list. I think in all, this episode was more about Will than anything out. More about Will than Alicia, even, and in a pretty complicated way. He does some good things (sacrificing himself for the case, believing in Simmons despite all appearance), some less pleasant things (the brunette), and lets us into his past a little bit. I’m fascinated to know what deep emotional underpinnings money holds for him; keeping clients is about rewriting his wronged childhood, in a way, and taking responsibility where his father failed. I wouldn’t have guessed at his need for security being so deep, somehow. You can see that from his point of view, he’s acting in Diane’s best interest, even when she’s feeling utterly betrayed. There was very little Peter, though when we see him he’s stalwart and well-meaning. Alicia was a bit cold to Kalinda, which certainly bothered me, but in general she was her smart and diligent self. I won’t even get into seeing Becca again, because I’ve already been testy enough on that topic. I liked the episode, I definitely did, but it’s hard to live up to last week’s lightning strike. I’m can’t wait to find out what it is that Kalinda knows, though, so hurrah for next week’s episode! Hopefully we’ll get all the dirt then.