E: I’ve been asking myself this all week: how can Cleaning House possibly live up to last week’s blockbuster episode, Breaking Fast?
I’ll tell you how. By bringing the sizzle in a way we’ve never seen.
And I thought that the swat team take down got my heart rate up.
Just to make sure we’re caught up, the episode begins with Alicia’s voice at Childs’ deposition. (By the way, they’re very clear in calling the case the Northbrook sniper. I swear that this was inconsistent in the last episode.) Her words play over the exchange of a yellow envelope. A woman whose face we don’t see (could it be Alicia? from the arm and bracelet, hard to say) brings it to an outdoor lunch counter, where it’s picked up by a dude in a gray marbled hoodie on a skateboard. Skaterboi brings it to an office. As Alicia’s voice quotes the Chicago Tribune, we realize that’s where we’ve come – to the offices of the Chicago Tribune, and to the desk of a Meryl Streep-look alike political reporter. This is intriguing; we see lots of political macanations on The Good Wife, but we’ve never gone into the enemy camp (so to speak) before.
Peter flips through one of Alicia’s filings, dressed for the day and walking toward her bedroom. She’s plumping a pillow on her gorgeously made up bed. They tailor the wording to fit the presiding judge, and he gives advice on how to approach her. We find out here that Alicia has a co-counsel in the trial, and presumably it’s not someone at her own firm, or she would have mentioned them by name. Peter compliments her writing, and she’s pleased by it. He recommends Trent vs. Paddock as a helpful addition to her arsenal of precendents.
As Alicia turns to go, late for court, Peter picks up a call from Eli. Wait, Alicia. Did you depose Glenn Childs as part of the Northbrook case? Alicia’s eyes go wide; she can neither confirm nor deny this. She stumbles to get words out. “Peter, I can’t – I’m under a gag order. I can’t say anything.” This is tricky, isn’t it? Peter turns back to Eli, who has clearly seen this morning’s newspaper. “Is it bad?”
Hello, product placement! We get a nice view of the ipad as Alicia (sitting in court) flips through the presumably relevant Trent v. Paddock case with her notes all over it. Nice. I have to say, I don’t mind product placement when it fits the plot (Cary has to drive some sort of car, so I don’t really care that it was a Buick) but this was just a touch gratuitous. Maybe if she’d used the case later, it would have felt more organic? Nice for Apple, of course, since it shows off a function I hadn’t particularly heard about, but still, little over the top. The best ads are ones you don’t notice yourself noticing.
“So I’m supposed to worry they’re asking for 8 million,” Alicia’s client wonders. So it’s a law suit this week. (And, wait, do the same judges hear civil and criminal cases both? I guess they must, because otherwise, why would Peter know this judge so well?) The client’s a young man with a small beard. I’m telling you, this show is all about the facial hair of late. Yes, Alicia says, smiling, you should worry. “Javier, you wouldn’t be happy if you didn’t have something to worry about. Look, we’ve got a good judge, a good motion, and we succeeded in combining our defenses so we can’t be used against each other.” Well, that laid out the strategy pretty neatly, even if we have no idea why, or by whom, Javier is being sued. Alicia and Javier are joined at the table by two other men; Alicia relays Peter’s advice about approaching the judge, and suggests that she present both motions. Her insider information goes up in flames when a Judge Jared Quinn – Griffin Dunne of the 80s cult classic After Hours – steps in for “good” Judge Hale, and quickly proves to be a much different beast. Folksy professor Deerfield (Edward Herrmann, the gruff yet lovable grandpa from Gilmore Girls) is far more pleased to see Judge Quinn that Alicia is. They chuckle warmly. And generally, Quinn does not come across as warm. “I found something to worry about,” a panicked Javier mutters. Alicia sucks in her lips and bites down.
Grandpa Gilmore plays a cellphone video from a rave as Alicia and Kalinda sneak a conversation. Who is Judge Quinn, and how do we work with him? Kalinda’s on it. Lights flash in purple, blue and red; it looks like a normal dance floor. The people are dancing with each other, not standing facing the stage. The video quickly turns from dancing to a more violent thrashing. The DJ (Javier) calls for medical attention. We see people get pushed down, or fall over in the crush, and then suddenly (too suddenly, really) there’s a pile of bodies on the ground.
Looks like Javier really does have something to worry about.
Grandpa Gilmore exposits that DJ Javier Berlin oversold his concert; the families of the dead are also suing the security firm who worked there that night. Hence, co-counsel. Ah. Today’s pretrial motion will determine whether or not the cell phone video is prejudicial. If nothing else, says Grandpa, the video shows an oversold dance floor. (I don’t actually agree; I don’t think you can tell that. People always crowd up to the stage/dj booth, so you could have a stampede in a largely empty room. We’d have to see the whole room to know. And given the fact that the dancers in the start of the video aren’t pressed up against each other, I wouldn’t call it over crowded at all. I’m not saying it isn’t a tragedy or that people involved might not be culpable, just that the video doesn’t give me the impression of the crowd size being untoward. Also, did you notice at a certain point, the phone seems to be pointing up at the crowd, and then it’s suddenly looking down on the corpses, with no transition? Did it all happen that fast? Horrifying. ) Alicia, unsurprisingly, disagrees as well, mostly because the video is clearly edited to enflame the jury.
“Counselor, what are you wearing? What – what are those clothes?” a squinty, incredulous Quinn interrupts. Alicia stops dead in her tracks. “Uh, I think they’re Ralph Lauren?” she guesses. Grandpa Gilmore looks stern. No, it wasn’t the brand at issue. It turns out that Quinn has a problem with women wearing pants. Which, seriously? I kind of want to laugh and throw things at the same time. Men must wear ties in his courtroom, he admonishes her, and women must wear skirts. Ah. Because wearing pants is inappropriate for women? I’ll give you inappropriate, buddy. I guess the motion isn’t going to go well, is it?
Alicia bursts out of the courtroom, justly furious. I’m right there with her. “I can’t believe it! Does he do this in every court? He can’t do this to every female lawyer!” My guess is no, agrees Kalinda. (And, if nothing else, he ought to have taken into account the fact that she was expecting Judge Hale? If he wasn’t so intent on being an ass, he could have told her nicely.) “Why me, what did I do,” moans a genuinely bewildered Alicia. Kalinda suspects she’s being taxed. Of course Kalinda knows about the wanna-be Meryl Streep’s column. In it the writer, a Ms McGowan, suggests that the tape was leaked to her by Alicia (which, huh? wouldn’t she know that was a lie? does that mean it was left anonymously?) in order to benefit Peter’s campaign. Alicia’s horrified. Boy, there’s a lot of that going around.
“We didn’t win a single motion,” the still-horrified Alicia tells Derrick and Diane back in the office. Wow, Quinn really does have it in for her, then. That’s appalling. I hate the idea of judges as petty tyrants with limited fidelity to the truth, and sometimes, clearly they are. At least the fictional ones are sometimes, anyway. She’s meeting with co-counsel to rethink strategy. What’s our end game, Derrick asks Diane. Limiting the damages to the insurance limit of half a million dollars. Alicia thinks that’s going to be unlikely. Derrick offers Blake’s help in getting the settlement down, but Alicia is (of course) happy with Kalinda. Derrick shoots Diane a significant look (huh – doesn’t want to do his own dirty work, I see), and Diane brings up the leaked tape. Alicia ducks her head in embarrassment, but raises it to look Diane in the eye. “I had nothing to do with it.” Diane seems supportive, but adds that it would be “useful” if Peter didn’t “exploit” the tape. Hmm. Alicia twitches. “If you have any sway there,” Diane finishes, letting her off the hook a little, and Alicia flees, looking pretty furious in her typically contained way. “She didn’t do it?” Derrick asks, head dipped down, eyes trained on Alicia’s tense back. No, Diane declares without even considering the notion, “it’s unlike her.” Derrick nods.
Alicia heads over to the front desk to meet her co-counsel. And look at that; the person who pops up to meet her isn’t the older fellow from the morning, a Mr Baylen, but perky blonde Miss Crozier, in a grape colored dress with a square neckline. You remember her; the deceitful one whose “shucks, golly gee, I don’t know what I’m doing” exterior masks a smart and nasty streak. The one who seemed completely ignorant until it became clear she was really a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This show excels at giving us lawyers with atypical litigation styles, especially women. Crozier, Tacioni, Nyholm, Scott-Carr… It’s good stuff, this. Nancy Crozier thinks it’s really cool to be working together, especially since the last time they were on opposite sides. Crazy! I remember, says Alicia, pursing her lips a tiny bit. And with a blast of sunshine, Nancy smiles. “I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten your name.” Right. Of course you have. It turns out that Baylen’s got a last minute surgery, and bubbly Miss Crozier is just raring to take his place.
“Courtney,” says Alicia, “get Mr. Baylen on the phone.” Ah, so Courtney is still here! Cool. I’ve missed her. I know she wasn’t in every episode before, but still, she was a sort of comforting presence, because she’s a stand up girl and really does try to help Alicia. Alicia grouses about how Baylen quickly scheduled a spot of elective surgery to get out of Judge Quinn’s way. Heh. Cowardly, but I can totally see why. “Oh,” says Courtney, laying a restraining hand on Alicia’s arm, ” he said you were expecting him, so I let him into your office.” The he in question isn’t Eli, as I expected, but Cary.
“You seem to spend more time here than when you actually worked here,” Alicia comments. (That’s probably inaccurate, since he worked very late hours, but I see her point.) He asks after Courtney, and when Alicia assures him that everything is the same as in the olden days, he serves her with papers. She looks at the summons as if he dropped a live snake on her desk, something impossible and distasteful. Cary’s heading a committee on the leak. Of course he is. “I’m going to try and expedite this just so you don’t have a cloud hanging over your head,” he tells her, for which she’s about as grateful as you’d expect. “You’re welcome,” he says. “Personally, I’m sure that you would never break the law in this manner, so I’m sure it’s just a formality.” What, the inquiry itself, or serving her papers? “And if it’s not,” he finishes, heading out, “we’ll be pursuing a disbarment hearing.” Alicia shakes her head. This is not turning out to be a good day at all.
McGowan/Meryl Streep returns to her cubicle in the newsroom to find Eli at her desk. Ah, what a charming surprise. “You’re not getting anything from me, Eli” she say, looking pleased to see him anyway, “I’m not burning my source.” Hmm. She must be happy to know she’s hit a vein. “Source?” “Or sources ,” she adds, not wanting to give anything away. Ha. And, interesting; if the article implied that Alicia released the tape, and McGowan knew she didn’t, then what angle was she playing? Assuming she does in fact know her source. Eli comes out with a fascinating notion. “You know why I love politics? People make sense.” You love your job because people are predictable? At least, if you’re smart enough to see the pattern? I can see that about him. Being able to guess the way different players will jump must certain feed his ego. His point, anyway, is that releasing the tape would make Alicia look bad, and so damage Peter, and would make Childs’ office look incompetent. Neither one of them should have sent it. Eureka’s not just a show on the SyFy channel; Eli’s realized that someone out there wants to hurt both Peter and Glenn. Iiiiin-teresting. McStreep has a slight grin on her face. Does she know what’s going on and like to see Eli reason his way to the truth? Does she not know, and is intrigued by his insight? Or does she think he’s indulging in a desperate flight of fancy to distract her from Alicia’s presumed misstep? “Childs and Florrick have their hands around each other’s throats: what a perfect time for a third person to enter the race.” Ooooh! It would be! That’s totally awesome. Give me a quote, says McStreep, and I’ll see if I can get them to respond. Crap! There is a Them, and McGowan is their mouthpiece! That’s rather nasty, actually. Eli obliges. “These kind of dirty tricks, whether perpetrated by a third party or not, are despicable.” Excellent.
“She had my hand,” a young man says, water in his red eyes, “and I said, whatever you do, don’t let go.” Grandpa Gilmore leans sympathetically, and points out the “her” in question – Juliet, the man’s dead fiancee – on the video monitor. Juliet. Like the situation wasn’t heartrending enough? Parents, don’t name your children after tragic heroines, mkay? Javier looks on it horror. He’s mesmerized by the image on the screen. Worrier or not, legally culpable or not, he’s got to be wrecked by this. What decent person wouldn’t be? “It was like fighting the ocean,” Romeo moans. He’s tremendously moving. Alicia glances over at Barbie (er, Crozier) and notices she’s doodling little hearts along the edges of her legal pad. Right. “The way she was trampled… I didn’t know a person could look like that.” If I was in the jury, I would have been a puddle by this point. “I need you to be strong for a little while longer,” Grandpa says to buck Romeo up, “because the defense has to ask you some questions.” Oh, well played, sir. Alicia objects, but Quinn – riveted to the scene – thinks she’s mean. “Sustained – if you want,” he sneers.
Alicia straighten up her suit jacket, Picard-like, and walks over to the witness stand. And of course she’s wearing a skirt. But that’s about all that’s going to make Judge Quinn happy today. Turns out that Romeo had tried to sue the venue, which went out of business, and is now turning to the DJ and security so as to have someone bear the blame. But Grandpa argues successfully that previous lawsuits have no bearing (really? that’s insane in this case!) and so Alicia has nothing to work with. The venue was going to be the true villain in her case. Now what does she have? A headache and bad day is what. “So is my skirt short enough?” she asks the judge as he tries to waive her off. “Next time, ask that in front of the court reporter, and we will discuss an appropriate fine. ” She sits in frustration; Crozier leans over and says “put me in, coach.” Her confidence is as clear as her perfect pores.
Back at the Tribune, McStreep (speaking of which, have I mentioned that Crozier is played by Streep’s real life daughter? just wondering) smirks to herself, and hands off a sealed envelope to Skaterboi. Aaaand Eli just happens to be lounging at the other end of the office, and stealthily follows him out. He’s witness to the drop off and pick up at the lunch truck counter. We see a young woman in a pony tail and cowl neck blouse, clearly not Alicia, take the package and go. Eli follows at the perfect distance, and sees her hand it off to our old friend Chief Justice Victoria Adler.
So, erm, this is a little embarrassing. Alan Cummings has played too many squirrelly villains (I’m thinking of Circle of Friends, first off, and Emma) for me to find him attractive in general, and Eli Gold is too soulless, but despite myself, I thought he looked pretty good here. He has great hair in this episode, and then there’s the tie, but really it’s the confidence in his bearing, and the lack of weaselly faces. I want to wash a little bit for just thinking that, never mind saying it, but there it is.
Alicia confesses to mentor Derrick that she’s stumped. Blaming the venue was her whole defense. Clearly the ‘event,’ as she calls it, was a true tragedy so there’s no fudging with those facts. And she can’t blame security, because they’re her co-defendants. “There’s someone else you can blame,” Derrick says, thinking it through, “the victims.” Ugh. She looks unhappy. “Do you have a problem with that?” he asks sharply. “Do you mean as a lawyer or as a person?” Heh. Derrick smiles, and says that there could certainly have been things going on at a rave that would contribute to a panic. “The jury won’t love it, but they’ll believe it.” Good point. I love how soft spoken Derrick is. He really hasn’t been given all that much to do yet, but I feel like I’m getting to know him a bit, and liking him better.
Four of the assistants huddle together in fevered conversation. Alicia pulls Courtney from the fold (Courtney! Have I mentioned how happy I am to see you? I love you sheer little butterfly shirt – it should look juvenile or unprofessional, and yet it doesn’t) looking for Kalinda, and asks what the scuttlebutt is. There’s a Gala, and someone named Ziegler wasn’t invited, which makes the assistants think he’s going to get the axe. Ah, poor Ziegler, we hardly knew ye. Alicia blinks in sudden apprehension, but Courtney tells her to relax – second year associates aren’t ever invited. Phew, she says. She hates that kind of thing. And, goody, Kalinda’s already waiting at her office! “Any problems?” Kalinda wonders. “Yes, he wants me to carry a parasol now,” Alicia snarks, with real frustration and anger under her joking words. Hee. Kalinda’s found a video to share, but before she can, Alicia notices the Evil Boyscout chatting up another employee. “What do you think of him?” she ventures. “Blake,” Kalinda says, looking up at him, “I don’t know. Why?” Just asking, Alicia claims, not really wanting to get in the middle. By now the video is cued up, and it’s clear that this is the unedited version – the voice is the same, and there’s much more to it. Perhaps there’ll be something helpful in it, and clearly it’s better evidence than the one Romeo’s putting up. Who would edit this video, anyway? Grandpa Gilmore? His assistant? Romeo? Weird.
Kalinda tries to leave, but Alicia decides to put her foot in the whole weird Boyscout mess anyway. “Blake keeps calling you Leela?” she asks, uncomfortable, questioning. “He seems to want to make some kind of point with it.” Yes, yes he does. Kalinda peeks out of Alicia’s office, over where the Boyscout stands, unsuspecting of the world of hurt he’s called down upon himself. “Okay!” she says with an uncharacteristically perky grin, and hops off to plan Spawny’s demise.
“She’s splitting the male vote, that’s what she’s doing,” Eli tells Peter as they sit outside a classroom. “She could win,” Peter agrees, shaking his head, “she’s the only female candidate.” “Darn right she could,” Eli declares, pacing, “we’ve got to bury that bitch!” Nice language in a school, Eli! “Do you think you could say that a little bit louder,” Peter says through his teeth, “I don’t think those kids heard you.” Hee. We’ve got to get to her before she declares, Eli says, because then it’s too late. “Alright,” says Peter. “Wait – the gloves are off?” Eli can’t quite believe his ears. “Are you telling me she leaked Alicia’s deposition?” Peter needs to hear the words. Yes, yes he is. Well, then, gloves are off. She came after his family, and that is not cool. Okay, that’s kind of fun. (Also, I can see where he’d be more comfortable fighting dirty when it’s not going to be in public.) Eli starts to swagger. “Thank you sir,” he says, jauntily heading out to destroy a career. As Eli moves, Peter’s faced with a small boy, who smiles innocently at him with a mouth full of missing teeth.
Alicia brings the new video to Judge Quinn’s chambers. Grandpa, of course, argues against, and of course Judge Quinn is inclined to agree with him (we can’t say for sure it’s the same video). Our friendly lawyer next door pipes in, noting a photo from the play Before the Fall. She practically squeals. “I played Maggie in high school,” she confides happily. “That was a hard part!” Alicia tries to get the conversation back on track, but Judge Quinn is quite proud of his daughter (as well he should be), off in Yale Drama School. Nancy is impressed. She’s really quite cute. “Mister, I’ve been killed by a lot of people,” she quotes, “Some of them couldn’t spell, but it hurts just the same.” Huh? Grandpa is as stiff and baffled as Alicia. “At my high school we had to take out the dirty words,” Nancy confides, getting a belly laugh from the judge. Oh. OH. Grandpa asks for a ruling, but Judge Quinn is more inclined to continue his chat. “You know, my daughter wanted to play Maggie, but I think she was a much better Olga.” Grandpa leaves chambers grumbling. “Is it an act?,” Alicia asks Nancy. “Is what an act,” Nancy wonders back, all perky sincerity. Alicia smartly insists Nancy take the next witness, and Nancy happily assents.
That next witness is a medic or EMT, who’s worked events at the arena for many years. She’s worked a few dozen raves, but never one as crowded as this. Nancy rings out her hands, because this rave stuff is just too confusing for a sweet little girl next door like her. “It’s like a – concert, right?” Yes, says the medic. “Sounds kind of repetitive to me. What do I know? I like the Beatles,” she shrugs, beaming at the judge, at a loss to understand the depravity. Smart use of this girl, Alicia. Gramps doesn’t like it, and the judge agrees it’s overboard, but with a big old grin on his dour face. Ah, they’ve made a connection! A lovely personal connection. She withdraws her musical objections, quite adorably. Man, even when you know it’s an act (and I have seen this girl before, I know it is an act) she just seems so gosh darn nice that you really want to buy it. Genius. I wonder if you can help me, she says with the clicker in hand. What are those things around some of the dancers’ necks? Well, says the witness, those are pacifiers. Nancy flat out giggles. And snorts. Yes, like a baby’s pacifiers. When you take Ecstasy, it’s apparently helpful to have something around to stop you from grinding your teeth. Well, who knew, says Nancy. “I am constantly amazed by the things I don’t know in the world.” Alicia can’t restrain her own droll smile. It’s nice to benefit from Nancy’s schtick, eh? Since we can see from the video that some of the victims are wearing pacifier necklaces, can we conclude they were taking X? Yes, yes we can. And even though X is a calming drug, we can see from the full video that some of the ravers were brawling. Not so very calm. Also, it turns out that X is routinely laced with PCP. That one, not so calming. Quinn looks impressed. Alicia bends over to whisper “Good job!” and Sunshine Barbie, with that happy little smile and perfect posture, peeps out “Why thank you. ”
Blame the victims strategy – score one.
Mamie Gummer really does excellent work. She treads this perfect line; Nancy’s goodie-goodie and sweet, a little dorky and a lot perky, and it’s annoying because you’re 90% sure it’s a Snow White act. She’s almost too good to be real. Almost. She’s part cheerleader, part marching band. I bet her mom watched this and smiled, not just because she loves her daughter, but because her daughter has skills.
In Lockhart/Gardner &Bond’s undeground garage, Campbell Soup Spawn locks his car and heads up to the elevator. Kalinda sits in darkness in her car, intent, focused, and frankly kind of scary. She slips on a pair of killer shades. A warm DJ’s voice, a smooth woman out of the 1960s, invites us to sit back and enjoy Jane Jensen’s “Luv Song” while we’re stuck in traffic. Jensen giggles evilly as Kalinda leaves the car. Wow, I’ve never heard it before, but I love this song. It’s perfect 90s angry rocker grrl music. I love the way it crawls under your skin and up through your nervous system and sets you tingling and then explodes. I love the way the entire sequence is timed perfectly to fit the music. It’s freaking awesome.
Kalinda could have been listening to Carrie Underwood, instead, because she takes a baseball bat (louisville slugger?) to Blake’s windows. WOAH. She’s dressed in black, of course, with zippers and the high leather boots, and it’s tight, of course, and she’s got on a thick black leather watch band around her right wrist, which somehow makes her tiny hand look even more evil as it grips the bat, walking over to the car. There’s something incredibly sexy and powerful about it. And there’s also shock – seriously, I cannot believe it. Do not mess with Kalinda’s relationship with Alicia, people! She does not take kindly to being undermined at work. She’s serious and methodical, and ridiculously fierce. Wham! goes the drivers side window. Bleep bleep bleep goes the car alarm. I love the way the car alarm beeps in unison with the baseline. She unlock the car, slips around to the passenger side, and pulls a folder out of the dash, taking a yellow receipt and tucking into her bra. She finds a manila folder, into which is carved Blake’s handwriting. She finds a box of ammo in the trunk. She spins around, then leans onto the trunk like a model at a car show and dares a passing suit (standing, staring at her, comically aghast) to report her. “What are you waiting for?,” she challenges him. He runs away. Damn.
And, blam, there goes the passenger side window. Maybe the back seat, too. And the windshield, although that one doesn’t shatter. She scampers into the front seat, and leaves a lipstick kiss on the rear view mirror. And, blam, there goes the last side window. “A love song – for your new boyfriend. That’s right.” Bleep bleep, goes the car alarm with the beat, and the scene blinks out.
Wow. I should be, I don’t know, all law abiding and pacificist about this, and say that it’s the wrong way to solve a problem, but man, that was totally awesome. Intriguing, don’t you think, that she knows Blake won’t report her? She’s taken pains to make sure he knows who did it. Either way, that’s the messiest house cleaning I’ve ever seen, and I loved it.
Diane sits in her office, looking at pinwheel seating charts. Will’s making light of the impending leak investigation. We’ll all say we didn’t leak it, what can they do? Hold their breath? Cute. Very cute, Will. Derrick worries about the time suck, but Will thinks their clients will like seeing them get in the face of the State’s Attorney, and sure, I can see how that would be good for defense lawyers. “Are you a plus one?” Diane interrupts. This is baffling language to Will, but yes, obviously he will be bringing one of the many women he has on a string to this upcoming event. You don’t know the depth of his little black book, Diane! Will has dates for all occasions, new ones every day, and certainly one for the Cook County Bar Association fundraiser gala. “Just make sure she’s over twenty five this time, eh?” Diane pins him down with her mock-glare. Hee. Derrick hides a grin with his hand. Too human, laughing at a joke, Derrick? I mean really. Is he bringing a plus one? Will looks expectantly, wondering what sort of game he has. The answer is none – no date, no game. Hmm. “Oh” says Diane, like he’s confessed something slightly shameful which she’s too polite to comment on, “then that leaves two seats at our table. Which one of the equity partners do you want to drag up?” “How about the Florricks,” Derrick answers Diane, but looking straight at Will. Iiiinteresting. Diane, too, looks up at Will. “Did I say something?” Derrick wonders innocently. Will attempts to explain about second year associates not being invited, let alone sitting with the bosses, but Derrick is certain it’d look good to their clients if they sat with Peter. Do they really want to pick sides? I mean, Peter could soon be the States Attorney. I thought they wanted to be seen as adversarial? That happened like, one minute ago, right? Or are they just concerned with pissing off Glenn Childs now? Also, that’s more devilish than I gave you credit for, Derrick. And you’re so deadpan about it. He seems to be clearly testing Will’s boundaries regarding Alicia.
Perfect, says Diane impishly, peeping up at Will from beneath her finely arched eyebrows, “there’s room right here – next to your plus one.” There’s silence. “Look, if I’m stepping on any toes…” Derrick begins, though all we see is Will, eyes locked with Diane. “No toes. Florricks. Go for it.” Oh well, Alicia. Looks like you’re not going to get to avoid the fundraiser after all. Diane smiles, enjoying her view of Derrick, stepping on Will’s toes.
Through the glass hallway, Will walks across the office and into the conference room, where Cary’s set up with Alicia, a court reporter and a video camera. Oh, poor Alicia. Cary waxes nostalgic about their interconnectedness. Sigh. Just get it over with, wouldja? That’s not his way, though. Cary likes a little cat and mouse. “…and then there’s you two,” Cary finishes, waving his hands at them,”and your thing.” “Chicago,” Will replies dryly, searching for a pen, “shall we get started?” Cary starts off with the big question – did you leak the tape, Mrs. Florrick? – and when she says no, Will’s ready to call it a day. Cary laughs, low and throaty. Uh oh. Did you tell you husband about the deposition? Did you ever leak confidential information to him? Because that would result in your disbarment, you know. Alicia’s a bit exasperated. You never discuss confidential trial information with your husband, do you? He smiles like he’s got her, and dramatically, slowly, picks up a thick file and opens it. He sips his coffee. Will fakes a snore. Because, says Cary, I’m wondering about the first case you worked on here, the pro bono carjacking/murder case. In that case, you presented evidence at the State’s Attorney “pitted” (ie, buried) evidence. How’d you find that out? Alicia doesn’t quite know what to say. We’ve been reminded, from the “previously on” scenes that Peter told her about the pitting when she visited him in prison. He only told her that something was off, but still. Will’s hackles are up. He objects (what’s the relevance? that wasn’t a confidential proceeding) and then requests a recess. So it seems like there’s something wrong with that? Or is it just that she said they didn’t talk about confidential aspects of cases? But if this isn’t confidential, is it still wrong? Peter and Alicia definitely talk strategy. I mean, he was reading her brief just two days ago. (Hey, mind out of the gutter there, guys!)
Oi. I’m just going to take them at their word. I’m not a lawyer and I don’t have the faintest idea which bits of information might be confidential and which aren’t. Either way, it’s clear from the way both Alicia and Will are reacting that it doesn’t look good. Will’s brow is all furrowed. He requires time to review the law on this matter; “oh, the law,” Cary says smoothly, “that’s what you want to review?” The Kings really excel at writing passive aggressive characters. It’s mighty impressive.
“You have to tell the truth,” Will tells Alicia, back in his office. “This isn’t just about you. It’s about the firm, too.” Why would that be a stronger motive for her than disbarment? Oh, okay. I suppose she might fall on her sword to protect Peter, but she wouldn’t do it if it meant hurting Will and Diane and rest of her coworkers. “Peter told me there was pitted evidence,” Alicia confesses, and Will hangs his head in frustration. “But I found it by myself, I found the pitted evidence.” “But you only pursued it because Peter pointed you there,” Will asks, and Alicia nods, closing her eyes in regret. Will’s brain starts clicking into gear. If Alicia didn’t ask Peter for the information, which she didn’t, then the bad is on him, not on her or the firm. It was a passive breach, he says. This is a fishing expedition, Alicia protests, and he was only trying to help me. At least you know you’re not the target, Will says as if it can comfort her. She fights for the right way to explain it; what hits Peter, hits her. “I – I can’t hurt him, he was just trying to help me.” She’s pleading, and again it’s a reminder to Will that Alicia’s life is bound up with Peter’s in a way he’d rather forget. He begs her to tell the truth again. It’s not just about you, he insists. Do you think she’s thinking about herself, Will?
In an empty diner, a man sits in a cherry red upholstered booth, the seats marked with a graphic white V, his shape reflected in the dark window. A second man joins him. It’s Peter sitting with a newspaper, and Glenn Childs arriving, and it looks like that scene in Heat where Al Pacino and Robert De Niro act together for the first time. Peter folds the crisp paper, and picks up his coffee. “Okay, what,” says an impatient Childs, not willing to make eye contact. He’s shifty that way, I’ve noticed. “There’s going to be a third candidate,” Peter says, eyebrows arched, just before drinking. Who, growls Childs, but Peter won’t answer, not until he’s gotten Childs to lay off of Alicia. Of course Childs isn’t going to, not when he knows it bothers Peter, and he’s dismissive of the entire concept. Peter raises Eli’s point (the leak hurts them both) and then he lets out the name, Victoria Adler. Peter investigated her for judicial misconduct, and he thinks that Childs has even more information with which they can bury her. Together.
“Thank you for answering a few more questions, Mr. Dylan,” Alicia says to Romeo, whose eyes are still red. He admits to dropping ecstasy the night of the rave. And did Juliet? He doesn’t want to say, which seems to mean yes. “I’m sorry, but I have to ask.” “You don’t have to ask,” the quiet, agonized man nearly cries. “You don’t have to ask anything. You’re trying to blame me.” What, you think you’re above being questioned? I mean, okay, I know he’s the victim here, but still, it’s not an inappropriate question. Is it? The court’s not just going to hand him money because he asks nicely; he’s got to prove he deserves it. Wow, what is wrong me, blaming the victims, being totally thrilled by Kalinda’s violent fury? ‘I saw her die. I… she was the best thing that ever happened to me, and I saw her crushed.” Okay, that really is dreadful. I can’t help but think of The Station nightclub fire, and how devastating that was. Sunshine Barbie sneaks a look at the jury. Alicia, frustrated, embarrassed, aware there’s no good way to rebut this, stops her questioning. Nancy stands to ask something, trembling with emotion. “I’m sorry, Paul. If my co-counsel’s efforts to protect Mr. Berlin have hurt you in any way.” Um, so not a question, honey.
Alicia slams the courtroom doors open once more in rage. She might not be able to get back at Quinn, but Crozier she can vent on, and she does. “You don’t ever do that!” “Oh – you were turning off the jury,” Nancy says, matter of fact. No question that it’s an act anymore, is there? “You don’t ever undercut your co-counsel!” You didn’t see them, Nancy responds, certain of herself. “You know what this is. You’re know we’re going to lose and you want my client to take the brunt of the award.” “That’s silly!” Crozier smiles. “Do not pick a battle with me, lady, not with the mood I’m in,” Alicia threatens, which, hmmm. She doesn’t threaten people all that often, unless they’re on the stand or have stolen her husband’s job and made her life a living hell. “We’ll let’s see who wins,” Crozier replies, gives a little smile, and bobs off, her blond hair floating. Game is on. Alicia shakes her head in disbelief.
In that darkened garage, near the wreck of his car, Blake the Evil Boyscout waits. He’s just too fresh faced to look quite scary enough, even though he’s clearly pissed. When Kalinda arrives, he asks for the receipt from his rental car. Does it make it better or worse that it’s a rental car? I can’t decide. She pulls the slip back out of her bra. Nice. “So,” he asks, infuriated, “how do I escalate this?” “Any way you want, Scout,” she taunts, “I’m game.” Which – hee! Eeee! She called him Scout! I love it. It is not only me. That made me unreasonably happy. “I looked into your background, Kalinda,” Spawny tells her somewhat unnecessarily. Turns out there’s a whole fiction out there about her perfect childhood in Menlo Park which is just that, total fiction. (Why? Who cares where she comes from? Other than her, of course. Doesn’t the disguise invite scrutiny? Is it worth it? I wonder.) “And you seem to have a past history [Foul! I hate that! All history is past!] with Will Gardner.” Oh. Hmm. Were those pictures from last week not of them playing basketball lately? The writers can’t be intimating that Blake and Will went to school together. First of all, they’re no where near the same age. And investigator is an odd job for a Georgetown grad, especially if it was Georgetown law. Not that all people with law degrees practice, but still, interesting. (While we’re at it, why did Alicia go to a Jesuit college if she’s so contemptuous of religion?) Anyway, I digress. I just don’t get whatever their relationship is. “We’ve both been busy,” Blake says, rubbing his chin.
Kalinda starts speculating on Blake’s big messy gun, based on the bullets she found in his trunk. “You butchering deer or – you compensating for something?” He grins to himself and steps forward into her personal space. “You wanna find out?,” he questions, his lip curling up. She calls his bluff and steps closer. “What, is that too close?” she clips out her words as his eyes start to glaze over. She steps in again. “How about this?” She lifts her face right beneath his. “Or this?” “It’s a little ham fisted, don’t you think? Using sex?” Whatever, dude. You were the one who moved into her space and offered to whip it out. “I don’t know,” she says, moving in even more, but no longer bothering to make eye contact, as if she’s concentrating on something else, “let me feel it.” Oh my. He jerks up and back, but only an inch. He gulps, and swallows. She weaves back and forth on her tip toes, and now his eyes are closed and it looks like he’s biting his lips in an effort to keep from leaning forward. “Yeah, you’re right. It was very ham-fisted.” she drawls slowly. She looks at his mouth, then up at his eyes, and then wishes him good night, and leaves. As she goes, the light hits his face, and we see the lust spin instantly into fury. He lowers his head. Her car door slams the scene shut.
Last week I read hilariously opposing views about Blake and Kalinda – one insisting they’re fated to knock boots, the other certain that Kalinda will grind him into dust. I can only chuckle, wondering what both writers thought of this scene. I’m unwilling to say it supports either side – it’s so hard to know which way Kalinda will turn (which, kudos, writers and Archie!). I can absolutely buy that she’d go this far to one up a competitor, to assert her sexual power, without any actual interest in sleeping with him. On the other hand, I pretty much never think anyone is good enough for her, and I never expect her to jump. And then there’s the song title. What a twisted love letter that would be! I would never have predicted Detective Boy Band would interest her – and, speaking of which, where is the oily fellow? Or Lana, for that matter? I guess I’d rather think anything than that she’s interested in the Spawn of Satan, though. He sticks in my craw, somehow. Maybe it’s the immaturity, and the passive aggressive way he’s going around, daring Alicia to ask him about the whole Leela business. There’s nothing passive about Kalinda’s aggression, and as a justified smackdown, well, it was awesome.
After reducing the Boyscout to a puddle of goo, Kalinda’s driven out to the club in question, and is talking to a staff member. Sounds like the place was wrecked. “Weird, huh? Five kids died right here.” Yeah, that’s sure to make you feel differently about your workplace. Kalinda questions the placement of the sliding stage, and a weird patch of raised panels on the dance floor. The panels cover “skids”; slots for poles which hold the stage in place when it’s moved forward. Tour guide boy tells Kalinda that the skids weren’t covered that night, and Kalinda demonstrates how easy it would be to catch your toes in on the lip of the panel. Well, I wasn’t here, says Mr. Helpful, but I know who was. Good for Kalinda, but aren’t there people who investigate these things? The police, insurance companies? And no one wondered about that before? A month ago, immigration did a sweep, and the guy that was there, Rich, lost his job. Happily for Kalinda, however, he still has a phone.
In the plush conference rooms of L/G & B, Cary makes a show of recalling just where he was in his previous questioning of Alicia. How did you find out about that buried evidence, he asks, finally. Alicia looks determined and sick to her stomach. Will she throw herself under the bus, or throw Peter instead? My money’s on self-sacrifice. “I got the information from the original discovery.” Cary smirks. “I found a page missing in the defense’s xerox.” “Do you know you’re under oath,” Cary reminds her, and she does, of course. He asks specifically if someone had pointed her towards the pitted evidence. Will slams down his pen. He looks daggers at Cary. Alicia swivels her butt around in her seat, her mouth open, not sure what to say, not wanting to say it. Her lips are finally forming a word when Will puts his hand down in front of her, shutting her down. “No. I’m afraid I object to that.” Cary thinks his line of questioning is clear – proving Alicia does exchange confidential information with Peter, even if it has nothing to do with the newspaper leak – but Will’s response is nice try, Ken Starr. We see Alicia through the video camera, breathing hard, exhaling. Cary’s vote is to call the judge. “He’ll side with me,” he says, sure of his ground. He probably will, Mr. Gardiner answers, but he’ll also allow me to haul Mr. Childs in for questioning, and you don’t want to know what I’d ask him. Cary’s head sinks back into his shoulders. He’s boiling, shaking back and forth. He turns off the video camera.
“And what matter is that?” Cary asks, folding his hands and leaning forward. “A matter that will hurt him,” Will claims,”a hell of a lot more than this will hurt Peter.” He tosses his chin toward Alicia when he mentions her husband. Alicia’s gaze flickers back and forth between the two men. Cary’s bemused: “I wish when people threatened, they actually used words.” Oooh, great line. I love that. “I guarantee you this, Cary,” Will replies, leaning into the center of the table, speaking quietly, measuring his words precisely, “that when you go back to your boss, and report what we just discussed, he’ll be relieved we didn’t use words.” The camera moves closer and closer to Will’s face. Cary hunches forward, knowing he’s beat. He looks at Alicia, who looks guilty. Cary leaves in defeat, Will having ridden in as a champion to save Alicia and her husband. It was noble, and yet also so, I don’t know, unethical? Ah, nothing says love like blackmail and intimidation! Alicia grips the edges of the table. “Thank you,” she tells him, low and fervid. “Hey,” he says, like it’s not big deal, when of course it is. I’m sure he could have used that threat for a case, or something more personal; whatever it is, I doubt it’s a card he can play very often. He won’t raise his eyes from his folder. Paperless office, Will – where’s your ipad? “I just hated how he was doing that. That’s all.” He gestures emphatically with his pen. Her heart did whisper that he did it for her… So of course she changes the subject. Sort of. “We’re invited to the Gala tomorrow night?” He knows. “Would you like me not to go?” “No,” he says, making an effort to be cheerful, “it’ll be fun!” Okay. Sure it will. Alicia’s surprised, moved.
And out of the corner of her eye, she sees Diane walking Eli into her office.
“I need you to talk to someone for me,” Eli asks. Diane sits, not at her desk as usual, but on a gorgeous cream colored sofa. “Victoria Adler.” Diane’s eyebrows rise. “I was made to understand that you two are friends,” Eli explains. “Well, we were,” Diane tells him, wryly. “First she asked me to run for a judgeship. Then she asked me not to.” Well, in that case, Diane, you’re going to love this. Perhaps that’s why Eli came to you? If he’s as smart as he thinks he is, that’s sure to be why. We believe she’s going to use her position as keynote speaker at the Gala to announce her candidacy for State’s Attorney, Eli informs Diane. “So please excuse the irony, but we want you to tell her not to run.” Diane’s head rolls back onto the top of the couch, as she lets her laugh peel out.
Victoria Adler practice her speech in a mostly empty ballroom. The walls are cream with gilt panels, the ceilings are high, the stage is curved and lovely, and there’s a cart full of lush red flower arrangements. It’s a bit like an Oscar speech – thank yous all around. “Vicky,” Diane calls out, summoning her frenemy for the take down. Diane hands over a thick yellow envelope, the same kind that was passed around with so much trouble before. These are the reasons not to run, she says. Turns out Lockhart/Gardner really is carrying water for the Florrick campaign. “You and I want a woman candidate, Vicky, but – you’re not it. Let’s find someone in four years.” Kate Burton (the former Ellis Burke) narrows her eyes. “So this is dirt on me,” she says harshly. “You’ll set us back ten years,” Diane presses. “They’ll say it’s because you’re a woman and not because…” Victoria raises her chin and finishes the sentence: “…I’m corrupt?” Diane smiles that cat and canary smile. Not very politic, honey, to let her see how much you’re enjoying it. So how does this work, Victoria wonders. If I tell you I won’t run, this all disappears? Yep, that’s about the size of it. Judge Adler calls Diane on enjoying her pain; Diane denies it with a smile on her face. Liar! “Okay,” says Victoria, with a huge grin on her face, and she raises her right hand. “I promise not to run.”
Kalinda shuts a man into Alicia’s office. “I found him,” she points out as Alicia walks over. “I know that’s supposed to mean something to me?” Alicia replies, inviting more information. The guy is one Rich Salazar, who moved the stage the night of the deadly stampede. He’s willing to testify that the holes weren’t covered because they thought no one would go near that particular entrance; when everything went wrong, security went in and covered up the holes before the cops arrived. Woah. Smoking gun, meet Alicia Florrick. It’s not quite that easy, though, because of the joint defense agreement. Crozier’s not going to let Salazar anywhere near the stand. Ah, says Kalinda, but why do we need Crozier? And then, by God, Alicia and Kalinda sneak into Baylen’s hospital room, and get his drugged, compromised approval (such as it is) as the attorney of record. That’s hilarious, and also completely evil. Good thing you have truth and justice on your side, ladies.
When Alicia brings Rich into the courtroom, Nancy of course objects. I love her crisp little vowels. And Alicia, of course, reminds the judge that her joint defense agreement is with Baylen, not Crozier, and just like that, Rich is in. Javier looks panicked, again, but Alicia calms him down. “New strategy,” she whispers. Crozier smiles brightly at Judge Quinn when he approves the request, and shoots Alicia a look of death. Alicia’s face is a study in feral triumph. That smile is really rather scary. Truly, she looks like a vampire, as if she’s about to take a bite out of poor little Nancy’s white throat. I dunno, maybe it’s the blood red lipstick.
A afro-wearing young woman in an African looking dress with beads does an fine Nikki Giovanni impression, performing a poem about woushing trucks and children’s songs. I think it’s really about Chicago; that would fit. Will, looking splendid in his tuxedo, sits with Elizabeth Reaser (dark blue with a bejeweled collar) at the partner’s table at the Gala. Huh. When I heard she was going to be on the show, I expected her love interest character wouldn’t be just another member of his regular harem, but someone new and intriguing who could really rival Alicia for his affections. She seems nice, however (she notices he’s on edge) and she banters about seducing him with sports talk in a way that’s not slimey at all. She’s a huge, huge improvement over Boxer or Briefs girl from two weeks ago. She notices, and remarks on Peter talking to someone. (Wait, really, she doesn’t know who Peter is? Does she not watch tv or read the papers or the internet?) One of those two men, Will says, bringing her up to speed, is going to be the next State’s Attorney. (Erm, one of them IS the current State’s Attorney. Not that I don’t like his succinct way of putting it best.) She thinks they look like friends. That’s only because you can’t see Childs’ face, Elizabeth. (And I’d bet that was a stand in;why have Titus Welliver in a scene if you’re not even going to show us his face?) “I hate politics,” she sniffs. “I love that about you,” Will smiles, and she repeats it cutely to make him laugh, growling the words in a fake sexy way that succeeds in cracking him up. And hey, she’s over 25! Diane will be pleased. Who are the other two people sitting at their table? Goofy.
The camera follows Alicia’s back as she walks through by a row of stone columns. She’s wearing crimson, an off the shoulder full length gown that sets off her pure white skin in this amazing way; her dark hair is styled to vaguely suggest marcel waves. She’s stunning. She’s got amazing muscles, too. I’m so envious. It’s a ‘top of the stairs’ moment for sure. She looks down, though, so as not to catch Will’s eye. “Well,” she says, “we’re really up front.” “Table three,” says Will, smiling at her. “You look great.” She returns the compliment (“grown up clothes!” – what, like the suits they wear all day aren’t grown up?), but looks a bit awkwardly at his date, whom he belatedly introduces as Tamara. She looks at him as if he’s a bit nuts, and nods in greeting, saying it’s just Tammy. “Did you get the verdict?” Will wonders. “We did,” Alicia says, pleased. “Three million dollars.” Ouch, says Will, and indeed, that’s rather higher than the 500,000 that was covered by insurance. “We pay two, and the codefendant pays the rest.” “Two million,” Will asks in puzzled horror. “No,” says Alicia, smiling,”two dollars. The price of the filing.” Hee hee! They high five. It’s cute. Not to Tammy, but it still is. “I don’t get lawyers. They always seem to want to trick people.” Will helpfully explains that’s she’s a sports writer (ah, this is why she was offering to seduce Will with talk of athletes I haven’t heard of) and so knows nothing about trickery. Because sports is such an upstanding field, and anyway, reporters are all about the good in people.
“Hush, hush, here it comes.” Faux-Nikki Giovanni finishes, and Diane (looking lovely in a metallic draped gown) takes the stage to introduce former mentor and friend, Victoria Adler. Why, that’s rather amusing, that Diane is set to perform the introduction that Victoria was glowing over. Peter sits down and immediately clinks glasses with his wife, asking about her day in court. Peter’s feeling expansive and happy, since Eli (and Diane) were able to chase the third candidate out of the race. Victoria goes through the motions she’d been practicing. She starts discussing the state of Chicago politics. “Always we hear the same thing – four more years! Four more years.” Uh oh. If I were Peter and Glenn, I would stop congratulating myself right about now. She does not sound defeated in any way.”But it is not the ‘four more years’ of re-election – it is the four more years of just wait. Then it will be your turn.” Oh, no, says Peter, turning to look at Eli, who of course lurks in the shadows. “And so tonight,” she continues, “I’m pleased to announce a new candidate in the race for State’s Attorney. I mean no disrespect to the two other current candidates, both here, both capable. But every now and then, you need a woman to clean house.” Peter’s not pleased. “And that woman is – Wendy Scott-Carr!”
Wow! I totally did not see that coming, and neither, from the look on his face, did Eli. I did wonder, though, why her name was in the credits, yet she hadn’t appeared in the episode. Yet even with that tip off, I was caught completely off guard. It’s not that I didn’t see that Adler gave in to Diane too easily, but that I just didn’t put the name together. I actually thought for a moment Adler was going to tell everyone the candidate was Diane.
“Time to clean house,” Adler finishes as Wendy ascends to the podium, resplendent in royal blue (which, frankly, looks a little like my prom dress). Alicia leans over the table. “She was at the deposition. She leaked it!” Well, great, problem solved. Have Cary get her disbarred, then. Will nods. Peter scratches his jaw nervously.
“Thank you,” Wendy responds graciously. “My mother and my grandmother were house cleaners, so I guess I can continue the tradition.” Now that’s a story the two rich boys are going to have trouble beating.
“Who’s Wendy Scott-Carr?,” Eli barks into his phone. And with that explosion, this sizzling sparkler of an episode ends.
Wow, what a twist that is! Scott-Carr could be a great candidate; she’s personable, she’s good at her job, she’s young and lovely and fresh and smart. Childs and Florrick look like nasty, dirt throwing members of the old boy network in comparison. I bet she’s not going to have a fun morning at work tomorrow, though. Although Childs is at the Gala, too, isn’t he? I wonder if he’d make his displeasure known here, or wait until she’s back in his domain? Also, do you think you can fire someone for seeking your job? If it’s legal, if he thought he could get away with it, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Childs do it. The man is already paranoid; just think how he must be feeling to have one of his most trusted lieutenants stab him in the back. This is an outstanding, outstanding turn of events. Scott-Carr really can clean house; if nothing else, she’s breathed life into a campaign. The Good Wife does it better in threes.
Would it be wrong of me to observe that Eli screwed the pooch here? You know, for a high priced consultant, he hasn’t done very well by Peter of late. He vetted the vlogger and dropped the ball on Amber’s musical tribute. He mishandled Jackie. And he stage-managed the worst dinner party ever. If I was looking to hire a political consultant, I wouldn’t be that impressed. It’s tough, because he spends his time mostly reacting, but he makes a lot of quick choices which are turning out very wrong lately. I think it might be time for him to show his competence, don’t you?
All in all, it was quite the episode. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Will rode in like a white knight, unable to help himself. Kalinda was her own white knight. Dark Knight? She’s definitely got that Batman, vigilante vibe going on. Gummer glowed. The case was fine, we met a fun new judge, the guest stars were all appealling, and the show’s political calculus was blown to smithereens. Now that’s what I call a good night.