E: I don’t know about you, but this past week couldn’t go fast enough for me. Breaking Up left me pretty unsatisfied; a lot happened, but so much of it was hurtful that I just didn’t want it to end that way.
So thank you, thank you thank you thank you, for Two Courts. That’s what I’m talking about! Now, okay, at first I thought, ugh, Bond, and Blake, and no Alicia, but then we got Peter, and then we did get Alicia, and then we got Diane, and well, it just got better from there.
The episode opens with the close up of a crime scene photo, a man covered in blood on a sidewalk. (I checked, in case you were wondering like I was; this is not the bloody crime scene photos from the opening of Breaking Up. Different corpse.) The photo spins, and we realize it’s lying on the L/G &B conference table atop several others. A snubbed nosed man in a dark suit jacket and gray turtleneck swirls the pictures and futzes with his water glass. When Kalinda arrives, he gives her an odd measuring look, and does not speak. There’s immediately something pretentious and irritating about him. I don’t take kindly to people who’re rude to Kalinda – and then there’s the matter of the turtleneck.
As Kalinda watches the heavily browed fellow make tiny adjustments in the placement of his water glass, Alicia arrives, resplendent in a plum silk blouse. She apologizes to the man, a Mr. Medina, for being late. She seems happier than usual, don’t you think? “The eve before trial, always a nightmare,” she adds by way of explanation, but the intense preparations actually seem to be doing her good. “You’ve met Kalinda?” Alicia nods at her associate, but strangely enough, no. Alicia stops cold, because who sits in a room with Kalinda and ignores her? “I’m Kalinda,” our favorite investigator speaks up unnecessarily. (I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on the guy, because she could have introduced herself before rather than letting him lead her with silence; the first sign of many that our girl is off her game.) The tiny Neanderthal in the turtleneck looks at her as if she were a specimen under glass, and nods. Huh – this Medina is cold, and his clothes are 70s funky.
Sorry. Totally couldn’t help it.
“Hal Peterman speaks highly of you. He says you helped him on the Michigan River killings. And our client suggested we meet.” “Yes, I’ve met Mr. Bauer,” Medina tells Alicia. ” I liked him.” She smiles. “I like him too. It’s just that we already have a jury consultant, and … we already have a jury.” Ah. So it’s a let down. But wait, Alicia! Tiny Neanderthal doesn’t do anything that plebeian. You should have know. So what does he do? “I read a jury’s micro expressions to make sure you’re persuading them – or not.” Ah, so he’s taken his living from FOX’s Lie to Me, has he? Interesting. I wonder if this is a real occupation? There can’t be a lot of practitioners, surely. (Although I’m sure you’ll be fascinated to hear you can get an app for your phone which will do this for you.) In case you’ve never seen Lie to Me, Medina helpfully explains that microexpressions are fleeting displays of emotion which reveal true emotion – facial expressions which are too quick for us to censor, in other words. Alicia and Kalinda look unconvinced. “And how much do you charge for this… service?” Kalinda asks, essentially laughing at him. “$60,000 a week. Or $250,00o for the full trial.” Kalinda’s incredulous. “Can we take a test?” Sure, he says. “What does this microexpression mean?” She brings her hand to her chin. We don’t see her face, but we do get to see Alicia shooting her the “oh my God, stop that rude behavior!” Mom-look-of-horror. Heh.
“It’s prejudicial,” Will says as he walks out of an office door. Will the prosecution try to get it admitted? Of course they will. But the judge, Will believes, now flanked by Derrick (boo), will see that the client’s job is irrelevant to the crime. “It’s just,” stammers the tall, slender man with weirdly fake looking blond hair, “people hate what I do.” He looks abashed. “Spam,” Will clarifies for Derrick. “Search Engine Optimization,” the client corrects – a comment that sends my husband running into the room, because he’s a search engine marketer and very much not a spammer. (In the biz, this is what’s called black hat SEO, as opposed to white hat; it’s the underhanded way of increasing a website’s online profile by spamming. Either way, even SEO at its worst isn’t what we traditionally think of as spamming.) “Don’t worry – the prosecution will be too busy shoring up motive to notice.” Derrick’s calm and reassuring, but that seems unlikely to me. “They need to show that you killed your father to keep him from changing his will.” “My Dad was my best friend,” Mr. Bauer tells them. “I would never… hurt him.” He looks to the left, fishing for words – I wonder what microexpression that is? Isn’t there some mumbo jumbo about how looking up or down or to the left or right can explain definitively whether you’re lying or telling the truth? I can see why Alicia and Funky Cold Medina like him, though. He seems appealing, even if he is black hat. Will tells him to go home and rest.
“It’s good to have you back,” Will tells Derrick after Bauer has walked off. “I heard a lot happened,” Derrick understates drolly, but Kalinda arrives to change the topic. “Sixty grand a week,” she relays, disgusted – which, good lord, that’s still hard to get over. (There was a jury specialist last season, do you remember, whose astronomical consulting fee – and racial profiling techniques – brought Kalinda a great deal of discontent. So this is not without precedent.) Will rolls his eyes at Derrick, who shocks us all by asking Kalinda to contract Medina for two weeks. Her mouth actually hangs open for a minute. “Stop by my office for a minute, I have a quick thing on Stantin.” Will do, Mr. Bond, sir.
“Really?” Will asks in disbelief, “the jury whisperer?” “Hey, if the client wants to pay, use him as a tool.” Well, um, okay. I’d like to think you wouldn’t pad his bill by hiring someone who you think is a crock or not worth his money, but hey, whatever the client wants. Doesn’t seem like the best way to keep clients, letting them be grossly overcharged by total quacks, but that’s just me. And hey, either way, you can only kill your father once, so perhaps Derrick’s not thinking of Bauer as repeat business. Derrick asks Will back into his office to chat.
“You need to talk to Diane,” Derrick insists softly, the moment Will’s office door closes. “I think you already know I did talk to Diane,” Will says over his shoulder, heading to the tufted leather couch to sit down. Derrick (who remains standing, making for an interesting power dynamic) shoots Will a no nonsense look. “I know you threatened to barred her from her own office, with security guards.” “Diane is going out on her own,” Will replies rather testily. “She’s poaching clients, partners – what would you do?” Calm her, Derrick answers, pushing his hands down. “We need to keep her on the reservation for two more months.” Why, wonders Will. Ah – are we finally going to find out what this vaunted big thing down his pipeline is? Derrick looks quite pleased with himself. “I’m bring in an independent expenditure-only committee.” Say what? Will knows what I don’t. “A super PAC,” Will understands, which means it’s some sort of political action committee. “One of the biggest,” Derrick confirms. “A hundred million dollars of unlimited corporate spending. ” That sounds ghastly, actually. And what, would they be administering the PAC? “But we need to stay whole for two more months. We can’t scare them off with a civil war.” Once we’ve got them, Will wonders? We push her out, Derrick says evenly. “So. Calm the waters. Keep Diane from leaving.”
“I’m leaving,” says Diane, standing outside in a leopard print trench coat. Nicely timed, writers, nicely timed. “Leaving,” says Cary, attired in running gear, “okay. Where are you leaving?” She tells him. “Do you need references,” he wonders. Oh, Cary, how I love you. She snickers. “I made a mistake, Cary, letting you go. I’ve watched you grow at the State’s Attorney’s office, and I have to admit. I’ve been awestruck.” Awestruck? Isn’t that laying it on a little thick? Not to say that he hasn’t improved radically from the guy we met initially who preferred negotiations to actual court room litigation. And he put in an excellent performance against them last week. But awestruck? Isn’t that laying it on a little thick? Also, will she tell Alicia that when she pitches for her? “I like the State’s Attorney’s Office,” Cary admits. “I know you do,” Diane agrees, “it’s a good boot camp. But at a certain point you need to get back in the game.” “You don’t think I’m in the game,” he says, his back stiffening. “I don’t think you’re paid like you’re in the game,” she replies, hitting him where she knows he lives. You can see she’s got his attention. “I’m starting a new firm with David Lee and Julius Cain, and I want to offer you a key seat at the table.” He looks hungry. How key? “Senior Associate. Two year path to equity partnership.” Damn. He seems almost angry to be so tempted. He wants to know who else is going. She lists off people we don’t know; he clarifies the question. “Kalinda?” “I don’t know. She plays it close to the vest, but she’s unhappy.” Prophetic words, Diane… Now Cary doesn’t want to ask the question; he closes his eyes on it, but he has to know. “Alicia?” “I… I asked her. My guess is she stays with Will.” “I’ll consider it,” he decides, getting his earbuds ready for his run. She needs to know in a week; that’s totally doable, he says. Slipping the earbuds in, he begins to jog. “Good luck in court tomorrow,” Diane says, her lips curled up in a very self-satisfied smile. She know she’s scored a hit.
Ah, how I missed you! It’s Eli, striding into the campaign headquarters, being disdainful on the phone, barking at his assistant. But soft! What does he hear? It’s the laughter of “the candidate!” What’s he doing here today? (Which means, woot, Peter! Yes!) Laughing uproariously with a tall blond man in a suit – Matt Letscher of Eli Stone (and, apparently, Brothers and Sisters). Eli Gold does not find this development as delightful as I do, somehow. He’s a bit like a dog who’s found someone else peeing on his favorite tree. Peter introduces Eli to Adam Borris. “Eli Gold, the terror of Michigan Avenue,” Adam enthuses, shaking hands. “Here for a visit,” Eli asks dangerously. “A visit bearing gifts,” smiles Peter. “What was her name?” Oh no. In a moment of fast rising panic, I am immediately mistrustful of any story that involves Peter, campaigning and women (I know his past, but I don’t want to hear about it, certainly not when told as a joke), but blessedly the story’s about an intern who inadvertently gave the entire staff of the 2004 campaign food poisoning. Ah. Mass vomiting. Much better.
“Adam’s got some ideas for fundraising,” Peter cuts to the chase. Eli looks stuffed. “Yeah, well, I heard you were struggling.” Eli denies it. “Yeah, but it’s the impression,” Adam contends. “You know how the impression becomes fact with big donors.” Oh, Eli does not like this. “Adam did some good work for me on my first run and I just thought he could do the same for me here.” Peter walks over and claps Eli on the back, flinging his arm across the campaign manager’s shoulders, standing across a conference table from Adam, with a giant picture of his own smiling face in between. “I mean that is if it works for you two.” Mmmmmm. “I’m just here to help, not get in your way,” Adam says with an enormous, affable smile, his hands up as if to indicate how he won’t be fighting Eli for control. Just say no if you want to, Eli. Isn’t it easier to be honest from the start?
And try to say no he does. “It’s Republican money,” Eli hisses to Peter as they stand in a corner of the lobby. “You don’t know that,” scoffs Peter. “I do know that. They want you to play spoiler. They want to damage the democrats going into the fall.” The fall? Dear God, how long is this campaign going to go on, anyway? There’s a blurry vision of Adam speaking animatedly in the background. Peter stops smiling. He scrunches up one eye, peering intently at Eli, trying to read his heart. “He’s not coming in above you, Eli.” Peter closes in. Eli throws his head back as if to laugh at the mere notion. “That’s not what this is about!” But then he casts his eyes down, and can’t look his candidate in the face. “Yes it is,” Peter says firmly. “Now I am telling you right now, I am looking you in the eye, you are the boss. Adam Borris works for you. But we need cash. Right now. Or it’s over!” “And if there are strings attached?” Eli wonders. “Then we say no thank you. And we hold our heads up high when we lose.” Man, sometimes I just really really love Peter. “Make this happen.” And off goes the candidate, leaving Eli to make nice with the blond Ken doll with Republican ties. Grrr. He chews on the insides of his cheeks in dissatisfaction.
Back at Lockhart/Gardner & Bond, Kalinda opens the door to Derrick’s small office to find – the Evil Boyscout sitting behind his boss’s desk. “Oh good,” Blake says officiously, “you’re on time.” Oh, dear. What’s he playing at? He pulls off a pair of glasses, squints, then tosses them on the desk. “Playing dress up? Kalinda wonders, but no. “We’re a little bit behind on the Stantin suit, so I’m going to need you to help the associates today.” She reaches for the glasses instead of an obvious comeback. “Did you hear me?” he huffs. “They’re real?” she wonders. Yes. Reading glasses. Ah. I love when she under-reacts. She gives him a little wink as she sets down the glasses, and tells him to have Bond call her in an hour. “Kalinda I don’t think you’re getting this. I assigned you a task: help the associates on Stantin. Get it done now.” Oh. This one is really good with manners, isn’t he? And also reading people. Shouldn’t that be a bigger component of an investigator’s job? (Also, is Stantin the new Murphy/Gomez?) She crosses her arms, narrow her eyes, and stares at him. “Look, we’ve had our fun, and games, but it’s over.” He smiles. “I’ve been made your supervisor.” She stares at him for a second. Then she smiles. Then she laughs. He’d like to think it’s good for her to get her feelings out and then just get over it. “Have a laugh – have a big laugh,” he tells her, standing up. “And then go outside, and compose yourself, and then come in, ready to work.” He is such an ass. I really could not hate him more. There’s a little bit of a freak out in her smile this time. “Thank you,” she says. “For what,” he asks, but she leaves instead of answering.
Well. That could have gone better. But then it didn’t look like it was his aim for it go well, did it? It looked like it was his aim to smash her face in some very humiliating cake.
Another crime scene photo shows the face of a man in late middle age, blood running down his round cheek, his mouth and eyes open. “Your client didn’t want to be written out of the will, so he pushed his rich father out of a 12 story window.” Our view is behind Cary’s shoulder; ASA Geneva Pine (Renee Elise Goldsberry) leans on his door frame, listening in to the phone conversation. Cary thinks the crime scene photos will sell the jury. Will thinks they’re prejudicial and the judge will throw them out. (I have to agree with Will – just because the man died an awful death doesn’t mean his son caused it.)
Cary and Geneva exchange glances. “You know what they did in Roman times to people who killed their fathers? They put them in a sack with a snake, a chicken and a dog, and they threw them in the river.” What, really? Why? I’m not even going to start on the relevance of that little piece of historical data except to say that it could be hard for Cary to go back to being a defense attorney; he enjoys being the self righteous avenging angel way too much. Will, at his lunchtime basketball game, is as puzzled as I. ” Are we really plea bargaining down from Roman times? What are you giving me – just the chicken?” Ha. That’s just awesome. Totally worth Cary opening with the nonsensical reference. Bauer confesses, and we’ll bump it down to 25 years, Cary counters with an assist from Pine. “That’s a good day’s work for Gardner/Bond.” Oh, can’t keep from taunting him, can you? Will does not appreciate the comment. You’re lucky that he already knew. “Now hold one second, Cary. Your Honor!” he yells to the (basketball) court. At least five men turn their heads. “No, His Honor Weldon.” A very young and fit looking fellow in a tight t-shirt saunters over. Huzzah – he’s played by David Oyelowo, Danny from early MI-5. Now that’s an unexpected delight. How odd to hear him speak in an American accent, though! And don’t even get me started on the beard. Oh, Cary says, now that’s what you’re doing, plea bargaining in the middle of your game. Ugh. I know this is the legal game, but this is kinda slimey of Will. It’s also dangerous, in my book. Is Judge Weldon going to relish being used in your fight with the State’s Attorney? I know it’s Chicago, but you’d think a judge would want to appear more fair than that. Will tells Weldon it’s his turn to collect the cell phones, and promises to hand his over as soon as he and his girlfriend figure out whose place to crash at. He calls Cary honey. Oh, mean, Will. He thinks that his friendship with the judge is worth manslaughter.
“We can ask for a recusal,” Geneva asserts. Will laughs richly: “Judges love to be asked to recuse themselves on the first day of trial.” Well, that would be the day to ask them, wouldn’t it? “We can take it to the Chief Judge,” Geneva says, but guess what? He’s at the basketball game too. “And don’t get all outraged. The State’s Attorney plays poker with half the judges in Cook County. And Miss Pine, you play tennis with Judge Adler, don’t you?” Cary and Geneva mouth off at each other silently; they’ve got quite the cute rapport. Will’s playing for two hours (is this an evening game, do you think, or just a really really long lunch?) and if Cary doesn’t leave a message on his cell when the game’s done, they’re going to court.
Geneva considers downgrading the charge to second degree. “No,” Cary growls, “A year ago this guy killed a man. The jury will see that.” “And Judge Weldon?” Geneva wonders. Cary throws up his hands. “Will’s just playing basketball with him, that’s all. Unless he can play with the entire jury, I say we trust the evidence.” He points to the prejudicial crime scene photos for emphasis. “Okay,” agrees Geneva reluctantly.
Things on the basketball court aren’t going so smoothly. Weldon, driving for the basket, knocks Will flat on his back. “I’m sorry,” swaggers Weldon, “were you saying something about skills?” He does not give Will a hand up, which says something to me about what sort of player he is. Derrick swoops in to the rescue. “At least look like you’re trying,” he admonishes his partner. My but he does a good disappointed Mom look. Will rolls his eyes. “What, you’re afraid to ding me up?” Weldon taunts. It should be noted that Weldon, while well muscled, is considerably shorter than Will. Derrick inbounds the ball, and as soon as it lands back in Will’s hands Weldon strips it away. Derrick’s right, he isn’t even trying. We know he’s a better player than this. “You gonna guard me now, Will?” Weldon taunts. “I’ll guard you,” Will promises, and when Weldon makes a run for the basket, Will absolutely clotheslines him. He totally takes him out. Um, I don’t think Derrick meant for you to go that far, Will, even if Weldon was taunting you. There’s a collective gasp. Weldon barrels off the floor and charges at Will. “What the hell was that?” Will throws his arms out. “You said to guard you.” Oh, Will, you idiot. You complete and utter idiot. “I didn’t say mug me!” says Weldon with some justice. “You wanna call a foul, call a foul,” Will says, feeling somewhat better about himself, what with the adrenaline and the testosterone flowing so easily. It’s funny. Some people are like that, patiently taking crap until they suddenly explode. That never struck me as Will’s personality, but this episode is changing my mind. Certainly the infamous voice mail is evidence in that direction.
After the game, Will sits down next to Weldon and tries to make amends. “Hey, sorry about that back there.” Weldon is silent. “I got a little… carried away. No second gear.” Weldon zips up his hoodie and towels his head. “Are we good?” You can wish, Will. Weldon sits up and elbows Will in the shoulder. “Just messing with you,” Weldon laughs richly. “Yeah, we’re good.” Will exhales in relief. “Are you sure?” “Yes, I’m sure,” Weldon says, blowing out a breath. “You want me not to be?” There’s only one answer to that question. Still, Will is not convinced.
And here we are at the credits, and Alicia’s had what, 4 lines? Odd.
A waiter in a crisp white shirt sets down a small coffee drink and a small plate with a croissant and lovely fresh fruit. The service is white porcelain. There’s a crisp white table cloth, and warm lights, and tinkling music. Will and Diane are having a posh breakfast.
“I’m sorry,” Will says – only he says it like a question, like it was the beginning of a sentence. He doesn’t raise his eyes away from his cup. “Excuse me,” asks Diane, who is wearing a gray and orange sweater. “Don’t make this harder…” She leans forward with her chin. “No, I literally didn’t hear what you said.” Will twirls his spoon around some more. “I’m sorry that I… threatened to bar you from work.” He finally looks up, shrugging his shoulders. Well, yes, that was rather a scorched earth move, wasn’t it? “I’m sorry that I lost my cool.” She gives him a measuring look, her eyebrows raising, and he meets her gaze to show that he’s serious. Finally she smiles. “So what do we do?” “I don’t want you to leave,” he says. “I want to make things different so you don’t leave.” “You’ll stop seeing other women?” she quips, and they share a smile reminiscent of the old days. What will it take, he wonders, and her answer is transparency. She wants to share client lists, for starters, but also meetings and calls and everything that goes with it. Will’s finding hard to swallow. “Now that would worry me if you were leaving, because that would mean you’d have time to solicit my clients.” Yep, she nods. “So it’s a good thing I’m not leaving.”
It’s kind of an impressive thing when actors can telegraph that they’re lying so clearly, isn’t it?
“Your Honor, they’re highly prejudicial,” says Alicia of the crime scene photos. “And highly accurate,” says Cary. “Overruled. It’s best evidence. What else?” Will rushes in, late for these motions in Judge Weldon’s office. “Let the record reflect that Mr. Gardner has joined our little party.” Ouch, that wasn’t a friendly look. “Anything else, counselors?” Alicia asks that no references be made to Bauer’s spamming, and Cary’s cool with that. Will and Alicia (in shocking red) are shocked. “But we ask for the inclusion of evidence of the defendant’s drinking.” “He’s denied this,” Alicia replies in surprise. He denied killing his father and they’ve still brought charges, so I don’t suspect his word has much sway at the State’s Attorney’s office, Alicia. “Yes,” says Cary, “and we would argue this denial is why the victim threatened to write your client out of his will.” Ms Pine produces a photo of the defendant with an alcoholic beverage. “When was this,” wonders Will. And either way, one photo does not an alcoholic make. I’m not persuaded by this line of reasoning. The photo – found in the defendant’s apartment – is from a World War 2 recreation event in October of 2009. Mr. Bauer’s having his uniform adjusted, and holding what looks like a beer bottle in one hand.
The uniform? It’s a gray S.S. uniform. He’s not just a spammer, he’s a spamming Nazi. Oh good lord. Let’s just go home right now.
“Objection, Your Honor, you’ve got to be kidding me!” Will howls. Weldon shoots him a deadly glare. “Is that not your client holding a beer?” Cary laughs. “Yes,” agrees Will, “and we would stipulate he had the occasional beer…” Ah, but why stipulate when we have photographic proof? “Your Honor, our client is a World War 2 buff. It’s just his hobby,” pleads Alicia. “but without context…” “Then we suggest that the defense give it context,” Cary replies. Ah, but you know that the deed will already be done, don’t you Cary? Otherwise you wouldn’t want the photo. “Your Honor, this isn’t about drinking. It’s about playing on a jury’s bias.” Will bites down hard on the word. “This is about seeing our client as a Nazi.” “I think,” says Weldon, waving the photo, “that the jury is smart enough to distinguish between a World War 2 buff and a murderer. Overruled.” Cary and Geneva nod piously. Alicia looks at Will in alarm. He contracts his eyebrows.
“There was no sign of forced entry,” a voice tells the assembled courtroom, presumably a testifying detective. “There was the victim’s blood on the balcony, here…” Kalinda watches the tiny Neanderthal twitch and flick his fingers as he watches the jury. He’s wearing yet another turtleneck under a suit. Really, no one but catalog models should do that. “And the victim was discovered 12 stories below.” Cary wants to know why the detective arrested Mr. Scott Bauer. Oh. Because his dna was found under his father’s fingernails. That’s not good for the defense! Yikes. Bauer – his hair looking more fake in the courtroom light – looks at his lap, as if embarrassed. And, ugh. Now they’ve got me wondering if his hair is just a slightly strange color, or if he’s dyed it to look more Aryan.
The neighbors had complained about arguments. And in Bauer’s home there was – that’s right, an enormous blow up version of the Nazi photo. That makes such a lovely pairing with the bloody dead father, doesn’t it? And he was drinking, even though he claimed to not be a drinker! Heaven forfend! We get a quick view of the jury; the woman on the far right is giving Bauer a serious stink eye.
There are 7 universal emotions, Mr. Medina lectures our team. “Disgust. Anger. Fear.” Will wants the bottom line, not a lecture. “Four jurors were moved to brief bursts of disgust.” At the crime scene photos, Alicia wondered? “No,” Medina informs them. The crime scene photos elicited universal disgust. The photo of Scott the Nazi Fratricide produced “directed” disgust. Kalinda’s going to direct some disgust Medina’s way on her own. She just cannot handle this. “Great,” mutters Will, “they think we have Colonel Klink as a client.” I suspect they’d like Colonel Klink a little more; at least he was funny. “We still have the robbery evidence,” Alicia reminds him. Kalinda heads off, silently, to assemble the evidence. Will and Alicia both sense that something’s off with her.
“No,” Eli laughs at the smiling face of Adam Borris, who’s seated under the smiling face of Peter Florrick. (Borris, Bower – what is it with these people and similar names?) “Look, I don’t want to go over your head,” Adam smiles. Oh, that’s not a good way to start working together, gentlemen. I like that Adam’s wearing a vest, though. “Good, because there is no over my head,” Eli smirks, wagging his head like a bobble head toy. “You spent too much on push polling and now your ego won’t let you back down.” Well, there’s a frank assessment I have no way of judging. Adam isn’t smiling any more. “I brought in the cash…” Adam begins. “Which buys you a seat at the table. Welcome!” smarms Eli. Hee. He’s funny even when he’s annoying. Is this guy really doing something wrong, or is Eli jealous of anyone else who has influence over Peter? “The most I have to do is listen to you. I have listened to you and I have found you wanting.” Well. He’s got no worries about being nice, does he?
Adam smiles. Then he laughs. He pulls his phone out of his inside jacket pocket. He waves the phone at Eli. Eli raises his eyebrows, and tips his head first to one side and then the other. “Unless that’s Buddha, and Jesus, on speed dial I don’t think we have much to talk about.” Adam raises a finger a Eli – something I loathe. He waits for the person on the other side to pick up. “Jackie, how are you?” Adam chortles, and Eli raises his eyes to the heavens. Looks like there is someone over his head after all. “Do you know Peter’s mother? We became friends during the 04 campaign. She’s the one who phoned me to help.” Ouch. This is a pretty immature move from Borris, but then Eli’s anger seems as irrational and immature as Weldon’s.
“You said there were signs of a struggle, detective?” We hear Alicia’s voice, but what we see is Medina the tiny Neanderthal watching the jury. She asks if he’d found a similar scene in the neighborhood lately, but Cary doesn’t want the detective to answer. Weldon overrules, and Cary asks to approach. “You’ll have to excuse us,” Weldon smiles winningly at the jury, “we’re not being rude intentionally. Geneva Pines sums up the defense’s strategy; they’re trying to make a connection to a series of unsolved robberies in the area. This apartment fits the profile, but according to the insurance inventory, nothing was missing, so the police have discounted the possibility of a connection. Wow. I know the guy was rich, but is it really that unbelievable that he could have a possession that wasn’t accounted for? They don’t think the jury should even be allowed to consider the question. Are you kidding? That’s ridiculous. Flat out ridiculous; just ask Will. “Then let the prosecution argue that, and let the jury decide, y/our Honor.” Well, that was the argument used to include the prejudicial photos, wasn’t it? Yet somehow this time, it’s not good enough.
“I’m siding with the prosecution on this. Unless you can provide proof of a robbery, I’m sustaining the objection.” Alicia’s stunned. “What objection, asks Will, “there wasn’t one.” “Objection,” says Cary. “Sustained.” Will can’t stop looking at Weldon, who’s writing something down. “Do you have a problem, Mr. Gardner?” Weldon inquires testily, without really meeting Will’s eyes. “Should I have a problem?” Will responds, echoing their earlier conversation. “That’s up to you, isn’t it?” Weldon smizes pretty vilely. Wow. These are not comfortable friends to have, Will, not when the playground rules spill over into the courtroom.
“Could have gone either way,” Alicia tries to bring him calmly back to their table. “No. He’s deciding against us.” I don’t know how the jury could fail to have heard that, not with how close they looked. “What do you want to do?” He doesn’t answer.
“What’s going on,” Alicia asks Kalinda, back at L/G & B. Can I still call it that? “What do you mean,” Kalinda pretends ignorance, turning away from her study of Blake, who’s still seated at Derrick’s desk. “You,” says Alicia. Kalinda looks back at the Evil Boyscout. Then she sits down across from Alicia. “What’s your address?” Alicia’s justly confused. “Your old address, before you moved here.” “2266 Wayburn, why?” That ‘why’ is not spoken in a kindly tone. “I took this from Blake’s car,” Kalinda tells her friend, brandishing that manila folder, “and for some reason, it has your old address in it.” Alicia’s really confused. “What?” Kalinda opens the folder. “He also wrote down a name. Um, Marcy Reynes?” Alicia reaches for the folder. “That’s my neighbor.” Her tone is puzzled. “Someone he interviewed over a month ago.” Alicia raises her eyes in consternation and surprise. Then she storms out of the conference room.
Without question, without a second’s hesitation she rips open the door of Derrick’s office and starts spewing her contempt onto Blake as he lolls in his boss’s chair. “What are you doing?” We haven’t seen her this angry this entire season, I don’t think. I can think of just a handful of times all together. “Excuse me?” She plants her hands on the desk and leans in for the kill. “What are you doing investigating me?” He doesn’t meet her eyes. “You talked to my neighbor?” “Look,” he begins, but she’s not hearing it. “Who the hell told you you could talk to my neighbor?” She’s shouting now. “Look,” he offers again, feebly trying to calm her. Ah, these inconvenient women. They’re always in need of calming. He puts out his hand. “Alicia, it was just a simple background check,” he offers. “Don’t you dare try to calm me.” Ha. “By who. Who told you to background check?” And now, Blake looks smug. He really can’t say. “Don’t you ever look into my background again.” She spins and leaves. He’s looking more smug than I like – not that it isn’t his normal expression, but still. He comes to the door and watches her go; he and Kalinda exchange the smiles of adversaries mid game.
“Do you have a minute,” Alicia wonders of Will. Sure. She waits to unload her fury until the assistant walks out of the room with his papers, but he stalls her. “Oh right – you wanted to talk about something, when things calmed down.” Ha. That’s a riot. That stops her momentarily. “During the death row appeal, you said you wanted to talk about something.” “Oh. No. I mean, yes. At some point. But this is something else.” She leans on the chair opposite his desk. “Someone told Blake to do a background check on me?” Will’s astounded. “Some – what?” “He investigated my old neighborhood. He talked to my old neighbors. He said it was a background check. What’s going on?” Well may you ask, Alicia, but Will does not know. Kalinda, you planted your mine well. “It’s just…” “You don’t have to explain. I’ll find out. I didn’t order it. Diane didn’t order it.” “And Bond?” Alicia knows there’s only the one left. “I’ll find out,” Will repeats. She nods, playing with her fingers, and turns to go; then she turns back. “That wasn’t what I wanted to talk about, when I asked before. It…” She’s speedtalking, and then stumbling for words, which makes me think she’s screwing up her courage to ask about the voice mail right now, while her courage is up. “I know what it is,” Will says, making it easy, but he won’t look up at her. She’s taken aback. “You…” She actually staggers back a tiny bit, the change of direction has come so fast. “How do you know?” Her tone is low and completely different. He kind of rolls his eyes. “Diane told me.” What? Her eyes flicker from side to side. “Are we possibly talking about two different things?”
Will can’t think what else she might mean. “Diane asked you to join her at her new firm.” You can see the word “Oh!” in Alicia’s whole face (funny how that’s the easy thing to talk about, isn’t it?) but she doesn’t say it. Her relief is palpable. “Yes. That’s what it was.” Oh, you total coward. “I wanted to tell you, but she invoked confidentiality.” Can she really invoke it? Wasn’t that more about honor than actual legal strictures? “I get it. Don’t worry,” Will shrugs with his face. “I don’t want to go with her.” Gosh, I love this exchange, because it’s so junior high. Now it’s his turn to get all low and throaty. “Good. I’m glad.” Aaaand now they’re looking at each other and not quite smiling and it’s just like old times. “Okay, I’m going now. Maybe another time, things’ll slow down.”
Alicia, let’s face it. There’s never going to be a good time to break your marriage vows and ask another guy if he loves you, is there?
“Yes, I phoned him,” Jackie tells Eli as she bends over a display in a wine shop. “If you don’t mind my saying so, that was a mistake,” Eli snaps. “I don’t mind you saying so,” Jackie says politely, so it’s clear who’s in control of this conversation. “The money he brings us has strings attached.” Eli purses his lips, convicted of the perfection of his argument. “You see, Mr. Gold, I’ve just been so out of touch with the campaign. I wanted to help.” It’s evil genius, the way she says this, looking girlish with her turtleneck and her headband. “So I phoned an old friend, someone who always kept me in touch.” Ah, she knows exactly what she’s doing. Eli just wishes she’d get out of his way and he is very, very bad at concealing it. “I… just… haven’t wanted to trouble you, m’am.” “Yes, well I’m sure that’s it,” she agrees brightly, looking back at the wine. “Adam doesn’t mind troubling me.”
Will walks across the basketball court to the bleachers where Weldon is lacing up his shoes. “Your Honor,” he says by way of a greeting, sitting down next to the man. “You didn’t play tonight.” Ah, okay, so it is a night game. “No, I have to prepare for trial tomorrow.” Will looks around the room. “Look, Judge, I feel like the other night you and I got into it..” “It was just a game, that’s all. I’ve already forgotten about it.” Well, that would be the normal thing an adult would do. Particularly one who cared about administering justice fairly. Were they actually friendly before? Because Weldon strikes me as a total tool. “Me too. Except, in court, it feels like…you know…” Will seems to be debating how much he can – or should – say.
“No, I don’t know,” chortles Weldon, asking for enlightenment. “You’re not going to make this easy on me, are you?” Will says for the second time this episode, shaking his head. “If you’re accusing me of something, counselor, I would just come out and say it” Weldon asks dangerously. And Will, bless his optimistic little soul, takes him at his word. “Okay. You’re mad because I fouled you and you’re taxing me in court because of it.” Weldon laughs. “You’re letting the SA’s office put any damn thing they want to into evidence.” “Maybe the SA’s office would like to know that you’re having exparte discussions with me about the case behind their back.” Oh, Will, you idiot, he suckered you into it again, just like he suckered you into fouling him. It’s one of the classic blunders. Man, he pretty much always trusts the wrong people, doesn’t he?
“You’re one to talk,” Will bites back. “Watch it, Will,” the judges demands. (It’s like messing around with a rattlesnake. Or a state trooper. Right or wrong, you know they can do whatever they want.) “No, you watch it.” Will’s had enough, and begins to walk, but like Alicia, he can’t do it. “You need to recuse yourself.” Weldon wouldn’t for the world. “Then let me withdraw, because right now I’m doing a disservice to my client.” “No,” thunders the judge. He’s not giving anyone cause for a mistrial. “You took the case, you try it. It’s called defense,” Weldon sneers, poking Will in the chest with his finger. “You should learn to play some.”
Kalinda sits in a bright sunlit cafeteria, dressed in black, even more vivid than usual when set against the bright glass and steel. There’s a long table filled with people eating what I assume must be there lunches. “That’s the one to watch, there in the middle,” Medina points out (appearing out of nowhere as if by magic). The man in question is round, bearded, with gray hair and a chocolate brown jacket. “He’s not the richest, or the best looking. He’s not the most knowledgeable. But he’s the pack leader.” Oh. Okay. “You see people are like dogs.” Kalinda’s expression here is a thing of beauty, the slight widening of her eyes making it clear just how crazy this man is, and how much she’d like to bust the windows out his car, so to speak. “The way to read them is like dogs.” You have got to be kidding me. “It’s a pack mentality.”
She shifts the subject. “How much do you make in a year?” He regards her seriously, in a way that makes me wonder if he isn’t reading this as interest rather than professional fury. “I don’t know. It varies.” “But you work. People actually hire you?” “Yes,” he confirms, “I have an 80% conviction rate.” Ah, she notes, I’ve looked into your past cases. “You’re very selective. You tend to pick cases which are easy to predict.” He smiles at her, tolerant and smug and also a little challenged. “People don’t complain.” “People want to believe in magic,” she suggests. Yes, yes they do. “There. There they go,” Medina tells her as the gray haired man leaves the table. “The pack disperses, it readjusts, it follows, some stay behind. That’s not magic, m’am.” Um, no, it was a description, you idiot, not a prediction. It means you have eyes and functioning tongue. Also, you just called Kalinda m’am! No soup for you! “People are not unique. They are as predictable as the tides. They are as trainable as pets.” He drinks his coffee. She walks away. He watches her, and I can’t help but wonder if he isn’t thinking she’s enspelled by his brilliance. Nitwit.
“Here’s what I think we should do,” Will tells Alicia back in the conference room. “Judge Weldon is biased. I think we can get his bias to work for us. I’m going to provoke him by asking for a recusal. And I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to bear the brunt of his anger. The jury will react more if they see him being biased against you.” That’s right, Will. Only a bully would hit a girl. “You’re going for jury nullification?” Hmm. Is the weight of evidence really against them? Maybe, if they can’t bring in the robbery evidence. “Yes,” Will concurs, “or a strong appeal. We can’t undo his bias, but we can push it.” “Okay,” she says, and I can’t help but think it’s not an accident that her burgundy velvet jacket matches his tie. “Whatever you need.” Ah, dependable Alicia. (Does anyone remember that Judith Viorst poem – “Who’s Who” . That’s a role Alicia knows something about.) Behind Alicia’s head, Kalinda beckons Will to his own office.
He closes the door behind him, looking a little squirrelly. “What’s going on? What’s going on with Blake?” She’s tapping a pen feverishly on her knee. “You mean my supervisor?” Will makes a sour lemon face. “What’re you talking about?” “Blake has been made my supervisor.” “No he hasn’t,” Will scoffs. Kalinda starts to go. She’s half way to the door before he calls her back. “Alicia says he’s been doing background checks on the associates.” Which Alicia knows because Kalinda told her, silly. You can tell he doesn’t want it to be true. “Yes. The partners too.” Now Will’s really annoyed. “But I’m sure it’s all innocent.” She waits a beat. “Look, I just wanted to wish you good luck.” She pats him on the upper arm, which is a really weird gesture for her. She makes for the door once more.
“Wait, Kalinda, stop.” They face each other. He pleads. “What can I do? I need you here, working.” She’s quick with her answer; it seems she’s given it some thought. “Fifty thousand dollar a year increase,” she says, and he’s stunned. I would be too. That’s a hell of a raise. “That’s… ” he shakes his head, smiling at her temerity. “Too much.” “You just paid a hundred and twenty grand for a medicine man, so don’t talk to me about too much.” I thought the client was paying for that? Not that she doesn’t have a point, but it’s far easier to play fast and loose with other people’s money.
This time she really does leave.
“His name is Adam Borris. Part of Peter’s 2004 campaign.” Oh, my. Eli seems to be chasing Alicia through the courthouse, and she is pissed, though trying not to show it. “He jokes a lot with Peter. He talks about Old Times.” Now, Eli, if I don’t want to hear about that, why doesn’t it occur to you that Alicia won’t want to either? She doesn’t want to think too closely about those Old Times. She whips around. “No.” “What,” Eli asks innocently. “This only works when you don’t try to manipulate me. You want to get rid of someone, get rid of someone.” Alicia’s interrupted by tall Scott Bauer; one of his friends has found a photo showing more of the beer label, which proves that it was a non-alcoholic beer. Great, she says. She’ll tell Will. Of course it also shows him with yet another dude dressed up as a Nazi, and that can’t be helpful. Eli almost explodes behind him, cartoon character that he is. “Thank you. I’m just – nervous. As you can imagine.” He really seems like a sweet guy.
After Bauer walks off, there’s a moment of awkward silence. “Go ahead, say it,” Alicia invites, ducking her head. “No. I wasn’t going to say anything.” He’s practically vibrating with not speaking. “Nazis need to be defended too.” Heh. That wins a smile from Alicia. “Feel better, getting that out?” “Ya vol!” Eli assents. “You’re right, this Borris thing is my problem. It’s just – I found out he was phoned by Jackie.” “That sounds about right,” Alicia agrees. “I have to talk to Peter about Jackie’s influence on the campaign. Any thoughts about that?” “No,” she tells him. “Thanks anyway,” he says civilly, and leaves. She considers for a moment, then calls out his name. He turns. “There’s only one thing Jackie loves in life. She won’t listen to me. And she won’t listen to you. She’ll only listen to Peter.” Alicia shrugs. “That’s how you handle Jackie.”
“You got a motion, counselor, before I call the jury?” Weldon queries from the bench. He looks bored. “Yes, I do,” says Will, button up his jacket (as if for a court martial). “We ask you, with all due deference, to recuse yourself.” Cary’s head perks up at this surprising move. The silents last for a second until the Honorable Edward Weldon begins to chuckle. “The motion is denied,” he says with a hearty bang of his gavel. “Your Honor, you have been using a private grudge to rule from bias.” Weldon starts shaking his head. “You’ve got a lot of nerve.” The judge is embarrassed (which he should be) and annoyed. “You’ve left me no other option.” Pride sparks up in his eyes. “Please address me as Your Honor,” Weldon insists and again I can’t help thinking of a petty tyrant in his own little fiefdom, getting to punish anyone who doesn’t kiss the hem of his robe. “Your Honor! I fouled you in basketball…” “You can sit down right now,” Weldon tells him, pointing to his seat. It’s true that Will’s not making a nice accusation here, but you have to think that anyone who’s used to telling people when to sit or stand or speak or be silent might let that get to their heads a little. “Your bias is clear to all!” Will declares. “Counselor, I have never held a lawyer in contempt but you will break that streak if you do not sit down, now.” Will sits. “Call the jury,” growls Weldon.
And so the trap is baited. Will and Alicia exchanged glances, wondering if their gamble will pay off.
“And that’s when I saw Mr. Bauer and his son, there, arguing,” a snivelly little man explains from the witness stand. Geneva asks if he could hear what they were arguing about. He could. “I’m not a snoop. It’s just – as the building manager, I hear a lot of things.” Right. You just overhear a lot of things. “Mr. Bauer was a recovering alcoholic. He expressed his disappointment that his son was still drinking.” Wait, if the father was the alcoholic, then we really don’t know if the son was an alcoholic, or if the father disapproved of alcohol in any form, or if the son was really drinking to any kind of excess or not. We know that the son does not like the building manager, though. It’s written all over his face. “Then he threatened to write him out of his will.” Ms Pine thanks Mr. Cooney for his service, but has no more questions.
You can sure bet the defense does, though. Alicia establishes that Cooney’s worked there for six years. “Where’s the time gone,” he burbles to the jury, sounding like a low rent, nerdy Christian Slater. Alicia attempts to backdoor the robberies, noting that Cooney installed new locks on his own doors. Cary and Geneva, of course, object. (I love the way she swats his arm to make sure he’s paid attention; they make a nice tag team.) “Counselor, I’ve already ruled on that,” Weldon admonishes her, taking notes as usual. “I’m sorry your honor. No harm no foul.”
Weldon snaps down his pen. “Excuse me?” “I said no harm, no foul,” she chirps. “It’s a basketball colloquialism,” she adds helpfully. Taking a page from Nancy Crozier’s book, are we? Weldon leans his arms on his desk. “Do you have a problem?” The jury’s heads snap to attention. “No, I don’t, Your Honor. My apologies. May I proceed?” The tiny Neanderthal allows himself a tiny grin. “If you have something to say, make a motion. Don’t sneak it into the record.” The jury clearly thinks the judge has lost it.
“Of course I wanted to work with Ike,” Adam tells Peter as they walk into headquarters, “but he’s got his minions.” Ike? I suppose I ought to know who that is. Peter nods sagely, and Eli appears to welcome the men to the daily status briefing, now being held at a large table in the open office. Peter starts to tout Adam’s latest great idea about fundraising when Eli steers him right to his mother’s welcoming arms. She has a kiss on the cheek for Adam, too. “What’s going on,” Peter whispers to Eli. “Jackie just wanted to come to the status meetings, to keep up with the campaign.” “And you said yes?” Peter replies, much more loudly. Oh, no, Eli just gave her the times. Ha. Peter struggles out of his coat. “Alright, well tell her she can’t – she doesn’t belong her.” “No,” declares the faithful retainer. “I’d love to, Peter. She won’t listen to me.” Nicely played, Eli, nicely played. He essentially lets Jackie – who’s the only one sitting at the table – absorb some applause, and hang herself. “Oh, is the type to small for you, Mrs. Florrick?” he wonders. No, no, not at all. (Nicely reminiscent of last week’s best conversation, isn’t it?) Eli has the staff give Jackie a round of applause; she delightedly begs them to ignore her. Peter gives Eli a look of horror.
“There’s been a shift,” Medina the tiny Neanderthal explains, his hands clasped, looking like a small child with a marvelous treat to share. A small Neanderthal child with a jacket and turtleneck. It began with microbursts of sympathy for Mrs. Florrick. Even more interesting? “That sympathy has turned into sympathy for your client.” Good job, says Will to Alicia (which, hello, prematurity! This little dude isn’t the judge or the jury.). “I thought he was gong to jump down your throat.” “It was your idea!” Alicia gives him credit. The plan is to keep up the pressure.
“One thing I’d like to point out. The pack leader, juror number 3? Still showing microbursts of contempt for Mr. Bauer.” Hmm. Not good. Will sums it up. They’ve got a biased judge and jury both. Awesome! “So we need someone for them to be biased against. Kalinda, any suspects?” “Actually, I’d have to ask my supervisor.” Well, ick! You’ve got to get right on that, Will Gardner. He’s a bit dispirited, but Alicia’s much more impressed.
“I need to talk to you for a minute,” a serious looking Will tells Bond as the latter packs up a back. But Bond is heading for the airport – he’s got to run. He’s got last minute stuff to do about the superpac and he needs to fly out to do it. “We’ll talk later?” No, actually, that is not good enough. Derrick makes a somewhat petulant show of dropping his coat, folding his arms across his chest, and leaning against his chair. “Why is Blake investigating us?” Derrick’s mouth forms an O for a minute. “Us?” he wonders, implying that Will’s disloyal. “My lawyers. My equity partners.” “I needed to know who I was joining,” he says simply. “No,” Will corrects, “Blake was investigating even after you joined.” Will mellows his determined face a bit. “What’s going on, partner?”
Derrick looks extremely put out at having to explain himself. He begins to pace. “What’s going on is information retrieval. That’s all. I need information, some of it relevant, some of it not, and I only know if it’s relevant if…” Will starts snickering, and then barks out “Stop! Slinging! The New Age speak.” Thank you! That was really annoying, Derrick. “I will ask him to stop investigating.” Derrick assents. “Good,” nods Will. Both men get ready to leave, but Will stops at the door. “And Kalinda is to be given a salary bump above Blake’s. He is not her supervisor.” Derrick shakes his head as he shrugs into his coat. “No,” he says. Will shrugs, “Then we got a problem. Because this is the deal.” Derrick walks toward his partner. “Either we bump Kalinda’s salary above Blake’s, or the waters? Won’t be calmed.” Will leaves, not breaking eye contact. Is it just me, or was that a ghost of a smile on Derrick’s face? Hmmmm.
Just as before, a white shirted waiter sets down a small cup and a lovely plate with a croissant, berries and mint leaf in front of Will and Diane. ‘This is beginning to feel like Ground Hog Day. Are you going to apologize again?” Diane, I seriously love you. Today she’s in a slim black dress, rather more formal than before. ‘We’ve been played,” Will begins. Diane quirks up an eyebrow. “We had the superior numbers. We had the votes.” Will gives her a long serious look. “Bond played us against each other. You thought I was plotting against you. I wasn’t. That’s why you’re leaving.” Well, and it’s quite true that Bond basically forced David Lee into a place where he’d be ready to go, what with that insane peer review nonsense. Turns out not to be exactly nonsense after all, but rather a brilliantly crafted evil plot. “We had this conversation already, we agreed I wasn’t leaving,” Diane says carefully. “Yes. But we were both lying,” Will admits, brings the espresso cup to his lips. Diane looks at him in wonder. He sets down the cup and looks back, seriously, and her lips begin to curve up. “I’m listening,” she accedes. Will screws up his mouth. “I don’t like being played. So I suggest we do the same to Bond.” How, she wonders. He explains about the superpac, and her mouth drops open. “At that point, Bond will vote you out. Then he’ll have the superior numbers and will isolate me. I say we convince him that we’re still on board for that plan, and in the mean time…” “We move against him,” Diane finishes softly. Will nods. Diane is really smiling now. “Okay,” she nods. “Okay,” he agrees. “Let’s not bicker anymore,” she declares, her grin feral. The air around them swirls with electricity, with the thrill of having allies and a plan. They look at each other and smile like the sharks they are.
That was awesome. As terrific as last week’s break up conversation was, this is a million times better.
The problem, Alicia explains to Kalinda, is that there’s nobody else. There’s no way to get the robbery in, there are no other suspects, no one else cut out of the will, nothing. “Well maybe he did it,” Kalinda says, peering over Alicia’s shoulder into Will’s office. “When did you stop being helpful,” Alicia replies in her astonishment. Will jerks his head at Kalinda, and without a word, she’s off.
They sit down in his office. “Fifty thousand dollar a year bump.” Man, that is a hell of a bump. Kalinda looks thrilled, in her contained Kalinda way, and maybe a teeny bit like she didn’t expect it to happen. “And as a reward for your years of continued service, membership to St. Andrews Country club.” Huh? That’s an odd perk. It makes her break in into an adorable, almost child-like, totally genuine smile, though, which is maybe it’s own reward. “Just what I wanted,” she says softly. Will’s pleased. “You’ll fit right in,” he chuckles, shaking his head. She looks more serious for a moment, and begins to open her mouth. “I’ve got your back, Kalinda. Just make sure you’ve got mine.” She nods. “I always have. I always will.” Wow. This is an unusually emotional moment for her. They smile at each other. “Oh, um, tell Alicia to target the manager,” she adds, standing in the doorway with a tiny skirt in a large red and black check pattern, kind of like half a hunting shirt. “The manager, Cooney, why?” She smiles. “His religion. Like you said, we need to give the jury someone else to be biased against.”
I would feel more satisfied by this otherwise awesome moment if I had the whole Blake/Will connection figured out, and the extent of Will’s knowledge about the whole horrible beating incident, the one for which he promised to keep Kalinda out of Blake’s hair. But with this show, you can’t have everything.
Jackie sits at the conference table in the middle of the Florrick campaign headquarters, pouring over paperwork. Peter breaks her concentration by sitting down next to her. “Oh my goodness, you startled me,” she laughs. “Eli said you were out. What are you doing here?” Ah, Peter, she’s left you the perfect opening – because the question is, what’s she doing here? “I want to talk to you,” Peter begins. “Why,” she wonders, immediately concerned. He sighs. “Mom. You know I love you.” Aw. She pats his cheek, and gives it a little squeeze, right there in public. “You’re a good son,” she smiles, touched. “But I need you to stop coming to the status meetings.” She’s taken aback. “I need to do this on my own,” he says with a wink. Man, he really does know how to handle her. She goes down without a fight, without even a squeak. “Oh – I’m sorry.” Don’t apologize, he tells her. “I just want you to understand that I – I need to do this on my own.” It’s very gracious of him to approach things this way, even if it’s a little odd coming from a powerful man his age. She agrees. “Is it alright if I still phone for updates?” she inquires hopefully. “Only if it’s alright with Eli,” he says, and her face falls. But she still nods: of course. “Good, ” Peter purrs. “Thank you.” And with the kiss to the forehead and a pat on the hands, he’s gone. Jackie nods sadly, her loneliness reflected in the highly polished table. God help me, I actually feel sorry for her.
Question. If Peter’s not in the campaign office most of the time (and it seems like he’s not), where is he? Giving speeches? Talking to donors? Kissing babies?
Diane’s back in the park with Cary. Oh. Ooops. He’s leaning against the same stone wall, attired in similar black sweats. “I’m in, but I need assurances about the partner track, I don’t want to be summarily fired again.” Um, you weren’t remotely summarily fired, Cary, but I can see it’s in your self-interest to maintain that fiction. Diane’s wearing the same black dress she had on at breakfast with Will, so I guess that accounts for her not calling off the meeting or warning him. We can see yellowing leaves behind her. What the hell season is this supposed to be, anyway? The election is in the fall, it was finals time, the primary race is finishing up, what on earth? I would love to know if the show has an actual time line for when this is all happening. “The situation has changed, Cary,” Diane declares ruefully, sitting down next to him on the wall. “Oh,” he laughs painfully (and wow, but he does that well), “what’s changed, my agreeing to join you?” Matt C is really genius here. “No, it’s just … we’re a bit more in flux.” She’s not ready to say she’s committed to staying, then. Interesting. “Wow. Yes, flux. That’s one of those great words that covers a whole boat load of sins.” I love that he looks her right in the face, after she’s really messed with his life and I’m sure put him through an emotional ringer trying to come to this apparently useless decision. He shakes his head and sighs, closing his eyes.
“Come back to us,” she says, and he turns to look. “Cary, come back to us. We made a mistake.” In firing him or in picking him over Alicia? “We need you.” He leans over for an answer. “At Lockhart/Gardner?” “Yes,” she says, giving him the puppy dog eyes. “I don’t think so, I’m having too much fun where I am.” I’m not sure you can expect her to believe that, not after you were ready to leave with her. “You sure?” she questions, and his tiny gulp tells her he’s not. He looks up, flutters his eyelids a bit in thought. “What’s Alicia’s salary?” “I don’t know exactly,” Diane replies, “but I’m sure you can imagine.” Imagine because it’s similar to what his was, or because they’d have to pay her more? Cary stands and considers. “Double it and put me in above her, and then I’ll come back.”
Ugh. That sounds Blake-like to me. You know, I like Cary, some of the time, and he’s lost a lot of his petulance lately. But do I really want him back at the firm, from a fan’s standpoint? He’s been kind of fantastic where he is. “You’ve grown up,” Diane tells him. “Oh, yeah, I’m a big boy,” Cary agrees snarkily, and slips in his earbuds. “It’s been good to talk to you,” he nods, and runs away. Diane, standing in front of a bright orange tree, watches him go.
At the courthouse, the jury files into their box. “Good morning,” Judge Weldon greets them, flashing his brilliant smile, ” I hope everybody had a good evening.” They don’t even look at him. Ouch. Weldon’s discomfited. Alicia, on the other hand, is please. “Uh, counselor,” Weldon tries to recover, “are you ready for cross?” “Yes, your Honor,” she chirps, standing and tugging at her royal blue jacket, “all laced up and ready to go!” She smiles brightly at him. He stares back at her, inhaling to calm himself, flaring his nostrils.
“Mr. Cooney, you talked about discussing many things with the victim. What were they?” “Eh, what did I discuss? I don’t know, what do managers discuss with their tenants.” Man, he really is a low rent Christian Slater. He’s got the nasal tone, the disrespect, everything. “I don’t know,” questions Alicia, “your religion?” Cary leaps to his feet with an objection. “I’m just trying to establish Mr. Cooney’s familiarity with the victim.” Weldon will allow it (and thank God for small favors). “Did you argue about your religion with Mr. Bauer?” Mr. Cooney wouldn’t say argue – they had, “uh, spirited discussions.” “About your Scientology?” Juror #3’s head flips up from his notepad. Ha. I totally thought he was Jewish and they were going to tie it in with the Nazi dress up thing. “Yes,” says Mr. Cooney. Funky Cold Medina looks on avidly. “Yes. He thought I was proselytizing the close mindedness of countries such as France and Germany who refuse to recognize Scientology as a religion.” Cary’s looks like he’s about to choke. Ah, Weldon. I bet you would have sustain that objection if you had any idea what was coming.
“And during these spirited discussions, did you discuss Scientology’s ambivalence toward psychiatry?” Cary objects again, seeing that the older Mr. Bauer was a psychiatrist and this might even give Cooney motive. This time Weldon corrects his error, and sustains the objection. “When the two of you argued – excuse me, I mean discussed these issues – did you do it (according to your neighbors) with raised voices?” Cary objects again. He is sustained again. “You have keys to Mr. Bauer’s apartment don’t you Mr. Cooney?” Alicia’s cross is suddenly direct and sinister. He does. He’s also the only person who’s claimed to see the two Bauer’s fighting. Cary objects again. He is sustained again. “No further questions, your Honor,” smiles Alicia, not losing her cool. She shoots an eyebrow at Medina, who bites his lips and nods. She’s hit her mark, he thinks.
Back in his brown three piece suit, Adam Borris snickers into a phone. “How you doin?” Eli asks him, before ripping the phone cord out of the wall. Well. That’s new and different. Grabbing a box, Eli begins dumping Adam’s things into it, starting with papers and graduating to his lap top. Eek. Adam stumbles after his possessions. “Get out,” Eli demands. “You are making one big mistake,” Adam replies, and Eli has a large guard throw him out. When the box lands on the sidewalk, the laptop bounces out of it. Oh, not cool. Eli follows with his chair, which seems a little melodramatic since the chair must belong to the campaign. Adam, somewhat childishly, is appealing to his higher authority over the phone. But Peter is Jackie’s highest authority, and since he ordered her to respect Eli, she’s not going to lift a finger. “Oh, that’s horrible. Oh, you better do what he says, Adam.” Adam’s stunned to lose his protector.
Um, I’m sure that was satisfying for Eli, but shouldn’t he have waited until Adam actually did something wrong? Oh well. I liked the Peter/Jackie aspects of this plotline, but it was otherwise generally kind of useless. Maybe it’s setting something up? Otherwise, I’d have preferred them to spend a little more time fleshing out this case. It feels like they’re only paying perfunctory attention to the mechanics of it, while spending much more time on the bells and whistles.
Derrick lounges at the conference table, uttering profundities about the third quarter earning. Which would set this when, in October? That squares with the trees but not with the semesters and Cook County College. Clean it up, people. It can’t be that hard, can it, picking a season? As Derrick lectures Will and a few flunkies on the belt tightening that’s still necessary despite improved earnings, Diane arrives. They greet each other. Derrick shoots a look to Will as Diane sits down. “It’s good to have you back, Diane,” Will says gravely. “It’s good to be back,” Diane returns coldly. And when Derrick returns to his paperwork (hey, what happened to the paperless office?), Diane and Will exchange conspiratorial glances, and tiny, almost imperceptible nods. It’s so on.
You know, it’s belatedly occurred to me that Derrick might have pushed the paperless office so that he – via the Evil Boyscout’s well established electronic snooping skills – can monitor everyone else. Best be careful, conspirators.
Kalinda strolls toward Alicia, who’s sitting on a bench in the courthouse hallway. She looks, for the record, just like brother Owen pretending to be her, marvelous posture and all. “You look happy,” she observes. “Yeah, I guess I am,” agrees Kalinda. A 50K raise can do that. “Made peace with yourself?” Kalinda nods cheerily. Cary interrupts the love fest with the news that the jury’s in, after only twenty minutes. Woah. Yikes. “Should be interesting,” Cary says, a bit grimly. Scott Bauer fidgets, smiling hopefully. He’s nervous, but not on the level you’d imagine. I mean, shouldn’t he be taking this more seriously? Stress can make people react in nonstandard way, I suppose. Cary pulls the door open for them, though he doesn’t hold it. Definitely less bitter than formerly.
The entire defense team watches the jury file in, heads down. Some of them bite their lips. “It’s not guilty,” proclaims the tiny Neanderthal. “Are you sure,” Will asks seriously. Oh please. You’re going to know in a minute. Plus, aren’t juries supposed to make eye contact with the defendant if they believe he’s innocent? These people are making eye contact with anyone. But Medina sees microbursts of calm for Mr. Bauer. Hmmm. (Also, didn’t he say the full trial would be a quarter mil? But he’s stayed for the whole thing within the two week limit, so how does that work? Perhaps the quarter mil’s his limit, even for a long running trial.) “Good job,” Will congratulates Alicia. Well, you hope so – although I suppose she did the best she could however it turns out.
And yes, the congratulations are premature, and the job isn’t quite as good as they might have hoped, because Juror #3 proclaims Scott Bauer to be guilty. Will grabs his client’s arm. “We’ll appeal,” he assures him. Normally that wouldn’t be much comfort, I’d think, but I imagine they have fantastic grounds for appeal here. Cary gives Geneva a faux punch in the arm, and Mr. Medina closes his eyes on his prediction percentage. He sighs dramatically.
In a cold stone lobby, Alicia waits. Medina rides up an escalator, hands in his pockets. She opens her mouth to call to him, but he walks right by her without a word. She shakes her head, bemused. Moments later, Juror #3 heads up the same escalator, and my mind wildly fancies their might be some obscure conspiracy between the two men. But not so. “Sir, excuse me. I was with the defense.” Yes, he knows, he tells her, smiling warmly. How could he not, having listened to her for days? “You don’t have to answer any of my questions, but it helps us learn for the future.” He listens, considering. “No, I’ll answer your questions,” as if he couldn’t think of any reason why he wouldn’t.” “It was just such a quick verdict,” she observes, glancing at him as they walk side by side. “Yes, there were, ah, no disagreements,” he explains, meeting her eyes frankly. “I see,” she says, clearly puzzled, “and what decided it for you?” “What did?” He replies, squinching up his eyes. He doesn’t understand her, either. “Yes, I mean, obviously you didn’t take the manager’s testimony seriously.” He shakes his head slightly – no. “And the judge, did you believe he was biased?” This time Juror #3 nods, vigorously. “Oh, sure.” “You did, but that didn’t enter into your decision,” Alicia questions. “No,” #3 says calmly, unhesitating. “Why not?” Her face contorts with her confusion. “I don’t know,” he says, struggling to be more clear, “it didn’t seem to matter.” “What did matter?” she asks softly.
“He did it. I hope that helps.”
She nods slightly, and it releases him from the conversation.
What an ending! I think I really loved about two thirds of this episodes, but not the whole thing, and it’s a shame to have two weak cases two weeks in a row, especially since the cases have the same weakness. The robbery idea was plausible. The building manager was a good suspect. But the jury just thought the client was guilty. We didn’t get a strong feeling for him, we didn’t hear substantive conversations with him, we didn’t get to hear him testify, but Will and Alicia liked him, and their judgment stood in for ours. He seemed affable enough, likable enough. So why was the jury so very sure? Intriguing. I mean, it’s kind of refreshing to see a jury able to leave aside the judges bias and chicanery with false suspects and questionable ‘religious’ practices, but it’s always uncomfortable to see someone convicted when you, the viewer, aren’t convinced of their guilt.
I can’t help but think the Nazi uniform had something to do with it. As soon as I’d seen it, his unnaturally blond hair and his straight posture began to seem sinister to me. I can’t lie. It made me mistrustful. The obvious reading of the title is the basketball and the legal courts, but surely there are other levels to it as well; the jurors experienced a completely different trial than the defense lawyers, not to mention their microexpression consultant.
This is the second week in a row we’ve had a case where the presentation of the clients were somewhat lacking. I understand that the writers are focusing largely on the internal drama, and we love that. But perhaps the drama with the judge could have been toned down – or the microburst expert not made quite so prevalent – so that the case could have made a little more sense. I get it – I see how it all fits together. Medina motivates Kalinda, who prompts Alicia, who calls Will to action, and the whole thing exposes Derrick and brings about a reconciliation. I don’t want the show to be less complex, but the proportion seems a little off lately. The sheer amount of stuff they got done here is staggering when you really think about it. I just would hate it if casual fans were turned off by too much internecine drama and not enough case of the week.
Two weeks in a row of losses – that’s impressive. It’s gutsy of the writers to do something that unsatisfying twice. Speaking of winning, however, I am so thrilled that the writers didn’t make us suffer even an entire episode with Blake as Kalinda’s boss. That was maddening. I take umbrage with that. I can’t help it. Co-creator Michelle King recently touted the show’s gray lines. No one is completely a villain, or completely a hero; they strive to make the characters more complex. And that’s generally true. (We got black hat Will last week, for example, but the white hat in this episode. The way Cary toggles between the two is a marvel.) But honestly, the only decent thing we have ever seen Blake do was carry a package for someone. He’s vile and self serving and utterly with merit. Where are his ‘redeeming’ qualities? How does he justify himself? When do we get a look into his motives or interior life? I thought I was going to enjoy him, but seriously, cartoon characters are a lot less fun.
But I’ll tell you what is fun. I couldn’t see how Diane and Will were going to get back together, and I am hopping up and down delighted with the way the writers pulled that together. How could we have lived without the magic chemistry those two share? Who wants a soulless automaton running the show? Oh no. I like them as scrappy underdogs. And I like them being on the same side, oh yes I do. Beneath his gracious exterior, Derrick seems to be a total Machiavellian beast. We can see a purpose behind so much of the nutty stuff he’s been doing; the peer review, driving Lee and Diane to leave, siccing Blake on Kalinda. He shot his wad too soon by promoting Blake over her, though. I’m not quite sure what the point of totally gutting L&G was, though. Get rid of Will and Diane, sure, and David Lee if he rubs you the wrong way. Get rid of Kalinda if you think she’s going to see through you (because, guess what? She can, and she can take you down.) But who’ll be left? What’s the worth in L&G minus that much of the staff? I’m intrigued to see how Bond’s end game plays out.