E: You know what I totally love about this show? They never go where you expect. They assume you’re clever enough not to need the obvious scene.
You know what drives me nuts about this show? Sometimes, clever as I hope I am, I just really want to see the obvious scene.
“Counselor!” A judge firmly calls Cary to attention. He’s too focused on his notes, and particularly on a picture of a happy family on Christmas morning, to answer immediately. In the photo, little girl tosses wrapping paper in the air as her parents smile lovingly. Cary, looking haunted, covers up the picture, and rises to cross examine a witness named Rubio, who’s a prison guard. Cary uses a small clicker on the large screen between the witness box and the jury to show us a picture of a metal cage, largely the size of the TARDIS (at least on the outside). The cage sits in the middle of a prison yard; it’s an outdoor cell, used when prisoners misbehave in the yard. “And did anyone misbehave on September 14th of last year?” Yes, sir. There was a fight, and Rubio put one of the fighters in a cage.
“Is it this inmate?” Cary asks, using the clicker to raise a close up from the Christmas picture of the smiling father’s face. “Yes, sir. Jay Winston.” At this point, Mr. Rubio turned away to handle the other fighters, and when he looked back – but he falters. The jury looks on, taking notes attentively. “He was… Winston was stabbed.” Cary stalks back toward his desk, looking into the gallery at Winston’s wife and daughter, recognizable from the Christmas photo. The wife turns her head away, kissing her daughter’s hair. “Is this how you found him,” Cary questions flatly, his back still turned to Rubio and a grisly crime scene photo, gauging Mrs Winston’s reaction and not the jury’s. I hope the young daughter (perhaps 7) looks away, because the photos of her dad, stabbed in the neck, slumped down in the cage, are dreadful. The second, a close up, is particularly disturbing; a blue toothbrush protrudes out of Winston’s bloody neck.
Cary produces a baggie containing the toothbrush shiv. Who does this belong to? “To him,” Rubio nods impassively. “You’re referring to him – Joey Church, prisoner 321[“Contact!/ It’s the Reason/ Is the Moment/When everything happens”]120.” Joey Church looks up from the defense table with the fury of hell in his eyes. Seriously, it was an alarming moment of introduction. Yes sir, Rubio says again, and Cary has nothing further.
As he paces back to the prosecution’s table, we get our first look at Alicia, grim in black, ready for the defense. She clicks off the picture of the bloody toothbrush (and seriously, this makes me really glad mine’s electric), and pushes back her chair, looking grim. She manages a winning smile, however, as she begins her cross. Had Winston and Rubio had problems before? “No,” responds Rubio, “Winston had just been transferred in the week before.” “And how long did my client have left on his 18 month sentence?” Cary winces, as if he’d rather she not ask that question, and glances over at Geneva Pine, who rolls her eyes expressively. Ah, I love this team. I’m so glad we’re seeing more of Ms Pine. And why wouldn’t we? These two wiped the floor with Lockhart/Gardner in their last meeting. “Two weeks,” is the answer that Cary and Geneva didn’t want to hear. At least one jury member is visibly shocked.
“Do you find many convicts with two weeks left on their sentence performing acts like this one?” Geneva tosses her hands apart in outrage, and Cary leaps to his feet to object. “Sustained,” the judge – a stern looking woman with feathered light gray hair, the Honorable Suzanne Morris – replies tonelessly. “To clarify, Mr. Rubio,” Alicia begins again, moving out from behind the defense table, “You didn’t actually see Mr. Winston get stabbed.” No, he didn’t. She’s got a royal blue silk blouse on under her black skirt suit, which you wouldn’t think would work as stunningly as it does. “How did you know the shiv was my clients?” she wonders. “We found his DNA on it,” Rubio says, puzzled. “But it was fashioned from his toothbrush,” Alicia confirms, raising her hands in a sort of theatrical shrug to the jury, “so that would explain the DNA…” Cary, unsurprisingly, objects. “Outside Mr.Rubio’s expertise!” The judge – who so far has been impassive as a stone – tosses back her head at this absurdity. “I think it’s just common sense, don’t you? The defendant’s toothbrush would have his DNA on it, wouldn’t it? Overruled.” Cary looks as if this was an inconceivable miscarriage of justice when, indeed, it’s only common sense. Ms Pine tosses up her hands in disgust once more.
“Mr. Rubio, do inmates ever steal personal items from one another?” “All the time,” he says calmly. Ah, not so perfect a witness for the prosecution, is he? It’s perfectly plausible that someone could have stolen Angry Joey’s toothbrush, Rubio says. So Alicia’s done with him.
“Your Honor, we’d like to be heard on a motion precluding the prosecution’s next witness,” Alicia adds. Cary’s on his feet immediately – Geneva tapping his sleeve wasn’t necessary (though it is pretty cute). He doesn’t seem why they couldn’t have sorted this out during the pretrial hearing. Because we have new information, Alicia explains. “Come on,” grouses Cary, “I’m always amazed at how convenient this new information is.” Is it? You’d think they’d prefer to exclude witnesses during pretrial, so that they can get a plea or have the case dropped? “Come on, counselors,” the judge placates, “shall we take this lovely little debating society into my chambers?” She bangs her gavel and a dozen conversations buzz into life. Cary and Geneva don’t agree on what the issue’s going to be; Cary’s sure it’s the lie detector test. “They dinged us on motive, we need our eye witness,” Geneva insists, and Cary agrees. In the background, Alicia confers – of course – with Kalinda. “Uh oh,” Geneva says as she starts for the judge’s chambers. She rolls her eyes again and leans into tell her colleague “Whenever I see that bitch, I know I’m in trouble.” I’m sort of surprised and maybe even a little offended that she’d use that word (don’t you be mean to my Kalinda! how can you not just respect her brilliance?), but Cary just chuckles.
“Their eye witness denied seeing anything, your Honor,” Alicia begins as Judge Morris hangs up her robe. Despite the green earrings and scarf visible under the edge of the robe, she’s wearing a long magenta cardigan. It works, somehow. Cary explains that the witness was initially worried about being seen as a stool pigeon. “We offered no deal; Mr Ellis recanted of his own free will.” After the police gave him a lie detector test, Alicia notes. “A lie detector test he willingly agreed to,” we’re told, but Alicia adds that he was motivated to change his mind by it. Yes, says Cary, because it caught him in a lie. At this point, the judges passes around a small bowl, holding it in front of the three attorneys one by one, causing their words to drop off in distress.
“Carab chips, anyone?” Judge Morris adds pleasantly. “I’m good,” demurs Geneva, and Cary and Alicia pass in their turn.
Hee – carab! Talk about establishing personality with one small action! My parents went through a macrobiotic phase when I was a tween, so I’m sadly familiar with this chocolate substitute. Let’s call it an acquired taste and move on. Of course, it doesn’t really look odd enough to merit their reactions. I adore all the horrified faces when the judge holds out the bowl, as if she were offering them scarab beetles instead. Judge Suzanne Morris is utterly unfazed by their lack of interest.
“The bottom line, you Honor, is that we don’t intend to reference the lie detector in court. We only plan on using his testimony.” Now it’s Alicia’s turn for eye rolling. She produces a Kalinda find, an affidavit from the company that maintains the Cook County lie detectors, saying the machine in question was out of service that week. “Clearly, this was a case of the police conducting an X-detector.” “That is guesswork,” huffs Geneva, but the Judge is intrigued enough to break out her reading glasses. “An X-detector? Educate me.”
“The police attach the suspect to a fake lie detector, such as an X-Box or a Xerox machine, making him think he’s been caught lying.” The reading glasses come off at this idea. Cary cites a precedent (People vs. Lee): “the police have leeway to mislead during an interrogation.” Morris flings her glasses on to the desk and exhales. “I know your boss thinks I’m pro-defense,” she sighs wearily. “Excuse me?” “Glenn Childs, your boss. I know he thinks that because I pal around with Bill Ayers and the likes I’m pro-defense.” Cary primly refuses to believe she could be biased. “Well the problem is, when I try to be pro-prosecution, the police go and pull a stunt like this!” She leans forward, elbows on her desk, and Alicia hides a small smile. “People vs. Lee is not absolute, counselor. This was an extrinsic misrepresentation, and therefore your witness is excluded. Thank the police, not me.” She tosses back some carab chips, chomping in disatisfaction.
Cary holds the courtroom door back with his body, and first Geneva, then Alicia, and finally Kalinda walk through. “Congratulations,” he tells the tiny investigator, “I didn’t see that one coming.” It’s true – his face was a study when Alicia produced the document from the lie detector company. I’ve got to keep you on your toes, she flirts. “Anything new on Blake?” He stares at her in disbelief. “You just got my only eyewitness kicked and you want my help?” “Yeah,” she challenges him, and walks away. He does what he always does; he laughs in appreciation.
Child’s ASA wrangler announces a 10% reduction across all departments. The assembled ASAs groan. “It’s not our choice,” Number 1 insists. Does this guy have a name? He instructs the assembled yeomen to watch their overtime and “unload any dead wood.” Hmm. That’s interesting. “We’ve got a dispo dump at the end of the month, so, separate the chaff.” Again, huh? I’ve googled this to no avail. “What about investigator time?” Geneva wonders. “We just got beaten in court because the defense was one step ahead of us.” Um, don’t the prosecutors have investigators – which is to say, the police? I’m only talking about what I see on Law & Order, but they’re constantly going back to the police for info and clarification and new interviews. Kalinda versus the entire Chicago police force; that’s got to be at least close to a fair fight, right? ‘We’re all doing more with less,” Number 1 spouts profoundly unhelpful business jargon. “Not all of us are,” Cary contradicts him, getting the attention of everyone in the room. “If you’re referring to the Bishop investigation,” Number 1 says flatly, tossing a glance at a board covered with notes and pictures about our old chum LeMond Bishop, “drugs are drugs.” Oooh, well said, sir. I’m sure you’ll look back on that with satisfaction. So you’re just got to let this case slip through the cracks? If a case slips through the cracks, the problem is the ASA, Number 1 intones piously. Right, it has nothing to do with being underfunded. Cary and Geneva just aren’t being clever enough. “Be creative. Use what you know.”
This guy, seriously, is the kind of manager who nobody likes, because he clearly does not have his team’s back. Platitude of the day, however? He’s your boy.
Cary taps on a file with the picture of another prisoner, one who looks squinty and pleasant like Michael Badalucco. No, says Geneva, we already looked at him – he’s not talking. Ah, but he’s got a parole date in a week, Cary points out, and that might jog his memory of events. Hmm. They’re excited about this creative little avenue when there’s a knock on their conference room door, and a voice asks for Cary.
“Don’t mention the hair,” Geneva whispers impishly. Why – oh. Now that’s funny. Glenn Childs has darkened his hair, quite a bit. It’s Reaganesque. I’m willing to bet, actually, that Titus Welliver changed his hair color for another role, but it’s a nice nod to Childs’ insecurities.
When Cary arrives at the threshold, Childs raises his shoulders. “What’s going on?” he asks pointedly. Cary gets a bit glassy eyed. “I hate to lose,” he bites out, “and I hate to lose to someone who’s outspending me two to one.” Dude, you work for the state now. I hate to sound like cliche boy, but that comes with the territory. Ah, Childs realizes, you’re on the prison knifing, aren’t you? “That’s just a pro bono for them,” he shrugs. “They got Kalinda on it,” Cary shrugs back, implying that L/G&B certainly isn’t treating the case as if it means nothing. Well, we’ve seen them go the distance for clients who couldn’t pay before. Childs is a little surprised, and says he’ll look into it.
As his boss begins to leave, Cary makes a gamble, and haltingly confesses that Diane has offered him a job. That’ll make Childs’ ears stand up! And it does. “And?” “I don’t want to,” Cary admits. “But you’ve got student loans,” Childs says as if he’s heard it before. I’d call it unusually perceptive of him, but I’m sure he actually has heard it before. A lot of young lawyers must use the State’s Attorney’s office as a stepping stone. “Yes I do,” smiles Cary. They laugh together without actually making any noise, which is peculiar yet also kind of fantastic. In the hazy distance. Wendy Scott Carr suddenly appears, waiting. “I put you on these Lockhart/Gardner cases because you know them. So, show me you know them,” Childs instructs, nodding his head significantly. This isn’t much more impressive an instruction as Number 1 telling the minions to use what they know, but whatever. Cary knows how to swim in this water.
As the screen focuses on a grainy photo of a kiss, Wendy Scott-Carr invited Glenn Childs to read an attack pamphlet. “It says because I have a white husband, I’m not really black.” Hmm. I think we’ve heard that rhetoric before. “It says my kids are half breeds.” The camera pans out so we see more of the ad. “It says they should be embarrassed to go to school.” Damn, that’s rotten. Her sweet, precise voice is trembling with hurt and rage. “Look at it,” she commands. “It’s not us,” says Glenn Childs, sitting next to Wendy on a bench. “It’s being distributed in African American neighborhoods – in church parking lots,” she tells him, as if that last bit were too low to comprehend, and perhaps it is. I’ve seen ugly mailings distributed in urban church parking lots myself, and it’s pretty damn offensive. “It makes no sense for me to go there,” Childs explains. Why? Because he wouldn’t get any black votes even without Wendy playing spoiler? I guess they’ve speculated on that before. Mrs Scott-Carr thinks that Childs isn’t offended enough so she wants to read him more.
“Come on, Wendy,” he interrupts, “We’re all adults here. We could have chosen to go into aluminum siding, but we didn’t. We went into politics.” Oh, so if it’s business as usual, it’s okay? “I haven’t gone there with either of you,” she replies stiffly. “Well, congratulations,” he returns, “I’m telling you I didn’t do it.” He pauses. “Now tell me why you’re really here.” She reflects for a moment, long enough for me to remember that he’s worked with her for years and probably knows her very well. “I want a two way race,” she says, and her voice is quieter, more controlled. “I do too,” he agrees. She continues along a vein he’ll enjoy:”Peter Florrick is desperate. He’s almost out of cash. People are dangerous when they’re desperate.” Hmmm. Just what does she think he’s going to do? Dangerous how? “So let’s talk about it. There are certain things I can’t do,” he says. “But I can.” Yes, Wendy. Yes, I think you can too.
Off at the prison, Cary and Geneva interview chubby Mr. Howell, the Professor and Marianne no where in sight. I didn’t see what happened in the yard, but Church told me he did it, Howell informs the stunned prosecutors. Youch! “Yeh, I couldn’t believe it. Take a chance like that with two weeks left on your sentence?” Why didn’t you tell the other investigator, Cary wonders. He didn’t ask, confides Howell. Oh. Um, you didn’t think he’d be interested in knowing that? And Geneva and Cary didn’t ask, either. Cary can’t figure why Church would do something like that just two weeks away from his release date. What could have possibly put him over the edge? “Because of what Winston called him,” Howell the not-millionaire confesses, looking down at the table with a heavy heart. “What was that?” Cary and Geneva are leaning forward, breathless. Howell’s eyes flicker upward; he looks at Geneva, and looks away quickly, embarrassed, even ashamed. She kind of collapses into a mostly humorous sound, half snort, half guffaw.
“He called him the N word,” Cary muses as he and Geneva walk outside the prison, “so we have our motive.” Geneva bites her bottom lip down on a smile. “I love to see how uncomfortable it makes you white folk,” she snarks, her ponytail swinging. “What?” squeaks Cary, hilariously high voiced. “Am I not supposed to say “the N word” anymore?” They laugh gently. “No, it makes me feel all warm and post-racial fuzzy,” she smirks. Love this show. She’s totally right that he would have repeated the word in front of a white colleague. They seem to be heading toward a car. Perhaps it’s Cary’s Buick? Just to get that sponsorship nod in. It’s trouble, says Cary, which stops Geneva in her tracks. “We have a motive now, but it’s sympathetic.” “How do you figure,” she wonders sharply, no longer joking. “4 African Americans on the jury, Church just killed someone who called him … the.. N word.” Geneva looks at him quizzically. “So, how’s it going to go over with them?” She just shakes her head and walks away.
With a clicking of heels, and the throbbing soundtrack notes, Wendy Scott-Carr totes the poisonous leaflet into Lockhart/Gardner & Bond. The headline peeps out of the top of her black leather bag. She looks self-conscious. Perhaps she’s not comfortable with what she’s about to do? Alicia sees her immediately as she walks out onto the trading floor (er, sorry, the main office area). “Miss Scott-Carr?” Why Miss? “Mrs. Florrick,” Wendy smiles. And the editor cuts to the chase – Alicia holding the flyer as both women confer in her office. “I agree,” Alicia says primly, distaste dripping from her words, “it’s appalling.” She pushes the flyer across the desk to Wendy, who’s standing over her. “My daughter brought it home from school. She was crying. I held her for an hour.” Alicia looks up at Wendy, her face full of compassion and regret. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. But… I think you need to speak to my husband.” Wendy draws her chin up, as if she were being very brave, which would have meant a lot to me had I not seen her in action as a lawyer, or heard her talk to Childs about squeezing Peter out of the race. “So you’re just the wife?” “No,” replies Alicia, “but the campaign is the campaign.” It’s true. She really had as little to do with it as possible. When you think about it, she really has a little to do with Peter as possible.
Wendy draws a breath, composes herself. She struggles for just the right words and just the right amount of scorn. “Do you believe there are some things so… appalling… that they’re no longer ‘the campaign’?” “Yes,” Alicia concedes, “but I also think you’re in a three way race, and it’s unclear who did this.” Wendy taps her fingers almost frantically on the table, and finally sits. “We’re both mothers, first, aren’t we? Professional women, concerned about the world, but always our children come first. I would do anything for my daughters, to see them not hurt, to see them not crying.” I don’t know why, but absolute words like that make me very nervous. “You’re the same?” Her nostrils flare slightly with her intake of breath. “Yes,” Alicia concurs fervently.
And Wendy reaches into her purse of bad news again.
This time, the flyer under Alicia’s hand features a picture of Zach almost kissing Becca, leaning up against a brick wall, and is emblazoned with the words “An Abortion for Zach’s Girlfriend: Florrick Family Values?”
“It alleges that your son got his girlfriend pregnant, and that your husband paid for their abortion.” Hell to the no! Becca, you little wretch, and Zach, you idiot. I am surprised it took this long for this plot come up. We’ve all been expecting it, haven’t we? (Also, is there text on the back with the bit about payment? Didn’t look that way.) “I’m sure you join me in finding this … appalling, too” Wendy taunts gently, twisting the knife with Alicia’s own dispassionate phrasing. “I’m sure there’s no truth to this, as there was none to this,” she adds, tapping the other flyer. Well, it’s really not the same thing at all, is it? The first questions a definition – it’s ugly spin, not something that could be proved wrong or right – and the other is either a dirty secret or a dreadful slander. “I think President Obama tagged this part of the campaign as ‘the silly season,” Wendy notes. She sniffs delicately. “It’s an unfortunate characterization. Because I find nothing silly about this.” The two women stare at each other. Every muscle in Alicia’s face is contracted, tense, harsh. “Next time you come to my office,” Alicia clips out each flinty word, “you make an appointment.” Her tone roils with thinly suppressed anger; she understands that she’s been threatened and played.
Wendy leans in. “From one mother to another, if you have any sway there, you tell the campaign to stop this silliness. And I will make sure your children don’t come home crying.” They’re silent, electric. “Goodbye,” Alicia tells her. Wendy attempts to retrieve the flyers, but Alicia’s trapped Zach’s picture beneath her hand, so Wendy’s left folding her own nasty leaflet by itself. “To a better world,” Wendy finishes, and leaves.
I don’t think I picked this up the first time, because I was so caught up with the content of the leaflet and the great acting, but I’m sure that this must be part of the stuff Child’s campaign manager promised he would use on the Florrick kids, in addition to the “Peter Beat” video. He can’t use it as a threat, but Glenn can use good mother Wendy to deliver the blow.
Back at the State’s Attorney’s Office, Geneva and Cary debate strategy with a room full of colleagues, including Number 1 and the boss. “Do you know how patronizing this is?” Geneva asks, and I agree, it’s pretty patronizing to assume that all members of a racial group would find a slur worth murdering a stranger. “Yes, but is it true?” She starts to make a comparison to a white jury, but Number 1 cuts her off. “Yes, but that’s because there is no white equivalent of the N word.” “Well maybe there should be,” she snarks, getting quite shirty about it. Her coworkers titter. Take a deep breath, Geneva. “So, wait wait wait – you don’t think we’ll risk jury nullification with this move?” Childs asks, cutting through the chatter. “I think you can’t generalize,” she responds, “I think people do things for a lot of reasons. I think a generalization is being made here on the basis of …” “O.J.,” Number 1 informs us. Well, yes, there is that. It’s astounding how racially charged that case is to this day. I can see how it would be a prosecutor’s nightmare; he’s certainly used the reference as if he were invoking an evil spirit. “Based a false generalization of African American reaction to a slur,” Geneva finishes over the buzz of worried comments. “This crime happened in prison. It wasn’t a white wine garden party, it was prison. And I think we can argue pretty convincingly that the N word is tossed off with some frequency there.” Geneva and her swinging ponytail are starting to sway the crowd her way. She’s got a point, people.
“Then, let’s go with the N word, ” Childs agrees. “It explains why Church would stab someone 2 weeks before release.” But, ugh, does it? She’s walking a fine line, right? But I suppose that’s the whole issue of motive in the first place; you have to establish a reason why someone would kill, a strong enough and clear enough reason to make sense, but you can’t make it be so strong and clear that it justifies the crime. What a great conversation to show, though. Lots of nice nuance. “You do the questioning,” Glenn points to Geneva. “With relish,” she grins.
“And one more thing,” Glenn addresses the whole room. “Mr. Agos has brought it to my attention that a defense investigator has had much success against us.” Um, oops. Not sure this was the help Cary wanted. Plus, you knew Kalinda already, Mr. Childs, and have a wee bit of a grudge, I think. So interesting way to frame it. “So I’m stepping up our investigation into Kalinda Sharma.” Cary snaps to attention. No, that’s not what he wanted at all. “We believe the police have leaked to her, judges have leaked to her, even some of our own.” Okay, now that’s making me laugh. “I want you to keep track of every contact. We are going to do our best to keep this a level battle field. Okay?” Oh, dude, that’s so not okay. It strikes me as completely hilarious, though. “Good job, Cary,” Childs finishes.
“Good job, Cary!” repeats Geneva in that sing song, grade school imitation tone. “You know how long I’ve worked for him, and not a word?” Far be it from me to defend Childs, but Alicia used to beat you regularly, didn’t she, Ms Pine? On the other hand, Geneva did just convince the whole office to go with her strategy. I do sort of feel like Childs prefers to work with men than women, though I can’t even explain that (there was Wendy, after all, so maybe I just get that impression because he fawns over Cary and inappropriately blames Alicia for things outside her control). Plus, wasn’t Geneva a pro-Peter ASA? Anyway. “Good job, Geneva,” Cary placates. “Yep. It helps to have a penis,” Geneva snaps. Wow. She’s getting all the fun and controversial lines this week. Cary hangs his head; he’s got not comeback to the penis card.
“The defense attorney’s Alicia Florrick,” he tells chubby Mr. Howell, who I’m sure fervently wishes he were trapped on a tropical island instead of a chilly Midwestern prison. “She’s smart, she’ll make you like her.” Howell nods. “She”ll ask you if you’ve been offered anything in exchange for your testimony.” Geneva continues smoothly. “You need to be able to say truthfully no.” “So I’m going to tell you exactly what we can’t offer you,” Cary explains to the nodding man. “We can’t put in a good word at your next parole hearing. ” He tips his head down significantly. “We can’t trade you anything.” “Now,” Miss Pine qualifies. She looks at Cary expectantly. “Then, she’s going to ask you what I told you next, and I need you to remember something.”
But we’re going to have to wait to figure out what that is, because the dynamic duo are off to a car. Is it the Buick? Probably, but the camera is focused instead on a silver sedan – perhaps an Audi? Cary leaves Geneva to rap on the rear window. “You gonna get out?” Oh, good eye, Cary. It’s Blake the Evil Boyscout, in his purply brown leather jacket. Grrr. Why does that bad penny have to keep turning up? “You need something?” “Yeah, why’re you following me?” “You? I’m not following you,” Blake insists, as if he’s there following folk far more important and interesting than Cary could presume to be. It’s not convincing in the least. “Blake Calamar, you here for Lockhart/Gardner or MS13?” Blake looks away. “Oh, you are working with some old information there, buddy.” Is it just me or do they seem way too close to each other? It’s aggressive and wrong from the get go. Cary stays cool, however. “Yeah, well, I’ve got some advice for you, buddy. Don’t follow me.” Oh my gosh, I adore Cary’s line reading here. Really, I just adore Cary. “I’m just standing where I’m standing,” Blake retorts nonsensically. “I can make things difficult for you in both your jobs,” Cary explains. Ah, but that’s catnip; threatening Blake only makes him meaner and more interested, because he can’t just admit to his inadequacies. How I’d love to see Cary working with Kalinda to take him out!
“You don’t want to do that,” laughs Blake, like Cary’s got no idea who he’s messing with. “Actually I do want to do that,” says Cary, still far cooler than his red faced adversary, “I just don’t know if I need to.” The Evil Boyscout leans in. “You don’t carry a gun, do you, college boy?” Oh, whatever with your faux street cred, Boyscout. “I don’t need to,” Cary repeats, “you’re a long way from Baltimore.” As the two men launch into a staring contest, a phone rings. Blake – who perhaps can’t stand the tension – can’t quite control his smirking. “Go ahead, it’s not mine,” Cary offers. Blake makes a big show of talking to Diane, as if he’s totally at her whim and has nothing going on. They back away to their respective vehicles, the stand off suspended.
“What was that about?” Geneva wonders, now off her own cell phone. “Posturing,” Cary grouses, “Lockhart/Gardner’s second investigator.” Geneva’s appalled. “They have two investigators on our pro bono?” Ha. Cary was so annoyed with Blake he hadn’t even thought about that. He nods slightly, picking up the cue. “We need help,” he agrees.
Now it’s Alicia’s turn to focus on the papers in front of her rather than the case. At least Cary’s papers had to do with the case! I shouldn’t say that, though, because I completely understand her preoccupation. “So in your opinion, Mr. Howell, there was a motive,” Geneva says unseen; what we do see is the top of the word “abortion” peeping out of Alicia’s legal pad. Tisk tisk, Alicia – Bond would not approve of the use of paper. “Uh, yeah,” Howell mumbles, low. I bet he’s looking at his lap rather than at Geneva. “He called him the N word.” Alicia looks up slowly. The Howell who is not a millionaire shakes like jelly, and yes, he’s still avoiding eye contact. Ha. That’s so great.
Alicia establishes Mr. Howell’s non-violent criminal history (check kiting). He’s so sorry, he says, blah blah blah. Young, stupid mistake, yada yada yada. “Did Mr. Agos prep you with that answer?” Alicia smiles, the smile she has which looks friendly but is in fact predatory. “Sure,” young Howell agrees guilelessly. Alica’s smile gets broader. “And what did he ask you to say,” she asks, gesturing expansively. Let me make sure I remember, Howell begins, looking for courage in his lap. “He told me to make sure I say I was offered nothing for my testimony, and I…” Alicia begins to cut him off, but Geneva softly objects. Mrs. Florrick didn’t allow the witness to answer fully. Oh, you can tell she enjoyed that a lot, just from the deceptively mild way she said it. “Is that true, Mr. Howell?” Judge Morris asks, fiddling with her earring. “Oh yeah. It’s a long answer.” Hee.
“Well, then Mr. Agos said you’d ask an open ended question, which would allow me to talk for a while about my answer.” Alicia’s turns in horror to see Cary’s triumphant smile. Mr Howell, for his part, has a lengthy tale to tell about how he is guileless and met God in prison and is remaking himself in His Image. Hats off, Cary. That was masterful.
Of course, I’d like see Alicia triumph again sometime soon. That’s been a while, now. She’s got to be hungry for it, right?
Just as Alicia’s sitting down at her desk to curse at herself, Bond skulks in, startling her fragile nerves. “I heard. The race card.”
“Yes. They have their motive. The jury ate it up. And I walked right into a trap. Never ask an open ended question.” She’s furious with herself, but it’s maybe not the best idea to slag yourself in front of your boss, especially when he turns out to be the scheming evil type. “Okay. Let me talk to Blake,” Bond says, apparently there to back her up. Weird. “Why?” Ah, Alicia, you’ve finally come down to our side; why would anyone ever want to talk to Blake? “He might have something.” “I don’t understand,” Alicia replies, which, what is there to understand at this point? “You don’t have to,” Bond dismisses her summarily, standing in her doorway, fiddling with his watchband. Well. I never. “I’m the lead attorney. Why wouldn’t I have to?” Bond looks her in the face, and then leaves without a word.
Have I mentioned lately how much I just do not like him? Not that I’m supposed to, of course, but still.
Alicia pulls out the flyer and focuses all her impotent rage on it. Then she leaves. As she walks past the Evil Boyscout and the Malevolent Partner on the way to the elevator. She leans in for a passing word. “When you decide on a strategy, tell me.”
Eli’s giving a budget pep talk to some staffers when Alicia strides into the campaign headquarters. Have we ever seen her there? I’m trying to think, and I can’t come up with an instance. He begins to greet her, and she barges past him without a word. He mugs his surprise. Alicia lets herself into the copy room (which is ironically enough, Eli’s clandestine affairs office). At first this makes no sense to me, until I see that she’s checking the different bins for paper color, to see if she can match to the flyer. (Which – huh – is the “Is She One of Us” flyer, which I distinctly saw Wendy fold up and put in her bag.) Eli pops in, obsequious as ever, and like Maggie Smith playing an aristocrat, Alicia orders him out, literally shoving him out with the door. And no, to our collective relief there’s no stack of light blue sheets amidst the colored paper. Where ever it came from, it’s not this room, at any rate. She opens the door back on Eli’s shocked face. “I want to talk to you,” she says.
“No,” Eli tells her, back in his actual office. They’re seated. “It’s Childs.” He’s quite clear. “This flyer was designed to undercut Wendy’s African American base. That’s not in Childs’ interest. It is in ours.” She closes her eyes on the mistake – ah, more invested and informed about the campaign than you want to show, are you? “Peter’s,” she restates. “Childs is looking to the endgame,” Eli postulates, “Votes are votes. He wants African Americans to sit on their hands.” Well, but how likely is that? He looks like he doesn’t believe this bill of good he’s selling. “We have supporters,” Alicia brings up painfully. “Willing to do what we won’t.” “So does Childs,” Eli intones piously, his hands folded in front of him, “so does Wendy.” I’m noticing that his hair is slicked back even more, er, slickly than usual. “And you’re in contact with them, with ours?” Her hands are clasped, too, and she’s in deadly earnest. “Some,” Eli admits, “but I don’t control them.” Alicia reaches into her bag, unfolds the abortion flyer, and lays it in front of Eli.
He blanches. “Where did you get this?” “Wendy,” Alicia says, in quietly furious staccato tones. All in all, she’s not having a good day, and Eli’s the one who gets to see it. “She visited my office.” Eli’s eyebrows shoot through the campaign office roof. “Have you shown this to Peter?” “Not yet,” she replies. He nods slowly. He understand the nature of the threat. “I will take care of this,” he says, and this time, there’s no posturing. “Do,” she commands. She snatches the flyers as she leaves. “Um, these would be helpful to me,” he sputters, but the words bounce harmlessly off her departing back.
And the next thing we see, improbably, is a crocodile, with a wide smiling mouth, and what sounds like fifty 3 year olds running and scampering over the plastic beast and through tunnels and over walls. Geneva and Cary stride into a brightly colored indoor playspace, like Gymboree or a Birth to Three center, but extra upscale. “That help we need? We’ll find it here,” Cary insists. “What, a five year old investigator?” Cute,snarkmeiser, but you’re way over estimating the age of these kids. ‘Or a six year old,” Cary returns, much more interested in looking than listening. And, ah, he’s found his quarry, just poking his head out of one of the tunnels. “Andrew!” “No no no no,” a young guy in a bright blue t-shirt and brown hoodie smiles, shaking his head. Yes yes yes! They laugh and embrace. “Clarion call of duty!” Cary shouts, thumping his friend on the shoulder.
Back in a craft nook, Cary makes his case. “The Innocence Project was a million years years ago,” laughs Andrew, toweling off the hands of an adorable three year old girl; one of his sleeves is still ruched up to his elbow and the other, pulled down to his wrist. “It was two years ago, and you were the best one there.” Is he another lawyer, then? “Well now I’m Super Dad, see” he explains, pointing to his t-shirt. “Nina’s IPO goes public next month. I don’t need the sofa change Cook County offers.” Well, ouch. You told them, buddy. “Then do it for the fun,” Cary invites out. “Come on, you’re not a stay at home dad.” Um, okay, that’s bait I’m refusing to rise to. Andrew sends his daughter off to play:”Honey, go over there, okay? Daddy needs to brush off these nice people.” Andrew invites them to look around the room, pointing out judges and executives among the many dads in attendance. He’s in good company, he wants them to know. “Dude, you’re being bred like the Matrix.” Okay, the sexism is starting to get to me here. “Well, let ’em. I’m tired of bringing home the bacon.” “Come on,” interjects Geneva with a failed attempt at humor,”we’ve got good dental!”
The three partner stand in a row, arranged for easy viewing, as Alicia walks into Diane’s office. They’re all looking at a large tv monitor. “You’ve seen this?” Diane wonders of Alicia, “What Blake found?” “I have now,” Alicia nods sharply, looking at the grainy video. She’s wearing a light colored suit, which is unusual for her and for the season, but of course it looks great. “Do you think we should use it?” Diane asks – and we still don’t see what it is. Derrick looks at Alicia. “I think I was told I should defer to the partners, so that’s what I’ll do.” Derrick sucks in his cheeks and rolls his eyes at this rank insubordination, this questioning of his absolute right to rule. “And if you weren’t deferring?” Will wonders. “I would ask if it were true,” Alicia replies. True? What we see, finally, is two men talking in what’s presumably a prison visiting room, filled with long tables. One hands something to the other. “We’re running into difficulty with the original strategy,” Derrick looks back and informs Will. “Yes,” says Alicia in clipped tones, “but if the new strategy isn’t true, it will be easy to undercut.” Diane looks at the boys, who had been looking at each other rather than Alicia. Will twitches a quick instruction to Diane. “What do you think?” she asks Derrick. He thinks they don’t have much choice.
“So you have no memory,” Alicia begins her cross, “of Mr. Winston calling you the N word?” I love that it’s just a thing, the N word, and there’s no need to say it. “No,”scoffs hulking defendant Joey Church, slightly less rageful than we’ve previously seen him. “I’m not saying he didn’t, but hey, if inmates killed based on that, there’d be nobody left in prison.” Heh. Good point. Geneva and Cary look carefully to see how this is received by the jury. Did anything else unusual happen that week, Alicia asks. “Yeh,” Joey grunts. “A man visited me in prison.” “What man?” Alicia wonders. Cary narrows his eyes. “I don’t know. About mid thirties. White. Five Ten. He was wearing a baseball cap.” Church shrugs, and Alicia clicks on the video we saw in Diane’s office. Yes, that man. “Objection your Honor!” Cary rises, looking a bit operatic with a raised arm, but when Alicia explains it’s prison video, Judge Morris is fine with it. (Is it awful that I’m starting to think of her as Lovey? Not that she looks like she could be married to our not-millionaire Howell, or that she’s silly in the least. She’s that age. I don’t know. I don’t have a better reason.) Cary drops his hands to his sides with a dramatic show of outrage.
“You’d never seen this man before,” Alicia asks calmly. “No, never,” rumbles the deep voiced Mr. Church. “And who’s that in the photo he’s showing you?” Alicia wonders as the video trains in on a picture on a tiny, adorable baby girl. Her enormous eyes stare up from the table at the jury. “My daugher. Evie. She’s ten months old.” Church shows the first mellowing we’ve seen from him. Oh, no, mutters Cary, who can see where this is going. Alicia elicits the answer for the jury. “He said he’d kill her, if I didn’t do something about Jay Winston.” Now his voice throbs with emotion, and the jury collectively clutches its pearls. “Mr. Church, did you kill Jay Winston?” “Yes,” Church admits on the stand, and Cary hangs his head. “And why did you?” “I’m sorry,” Church responds. “I never hurted nobody before, ever. But…he had a photo of my little girl. It was taken from inside my house. He said he’d kill my whole family.” Alicia nods and Cary pinches the top of his nose, shaking his head to see his case go down the drain.
Well. That was quite a strategy Bond had in his back pocket. And Church was a much more convincing witness than I ever thought him capable of being. His lip actually quivered – as well it might. That’s a heart-stopping threat.
The next scene begins with the abortion flyer. Alicia and Peter sit on each side of a corner of their dining room table; Zach sits opposite them. Ah, the confrontation, so long in coming, so necessary. Son, did you follow in my footsteps and boink the little tart? No, no, they would never ask that way. Of course not.
“It’s not true,” Zach says. “Okay, tell us,” Alicia asks, inviting more detail. “What, that it’s not true?” He looks at both their faces; Alicia gives him the gimlet eye. “It’s not true!” “All of it,” Alicia prompts gently. “Yeah, all of it. Dad, they say things about your campaign all the time.” Peter struggles for a way to answer that, since a large portion of the things people say about him are true. Instead of trying, he pulls over the flyer. “And Becca, is she…” he struggles for the word, “is she your …girlfriend?” “No,” Zach answers quickly. Alicia lowers her head and glares. “She was. Not any more.” He looks down at the table. “You know, it’s just that…” Peter twiddles this thumbs. “We never really talked about it, Zach.” “Dad, don’t,” Peter forestalls his father, with the classic look of teenage horror on his face. “Please, it’s okay.” “You need to protect yourself,” Peter continues manfully, not looking up from the flyer. Alicia looks sadly at Peter. “Mom?,” pleads Zach, with a significant flick of his eyes toward his father. Poor Peter twigs to the subtext, and looks to his wife.
“Zach and I talked last year when you were… away,” she explains delicately. “I found condoms in his backpack,” she continues. “Not mine,” Zach defends himself immediately, “it was a friends.” Oh, of course it was. “And I kept them,” Alicia explains. Peter nods and looks at his hands. “And we were to talk if he ever needed them.” Zach raises his eyes to the heavens, and sighs loudly. “I know it’s hard for you to talk to us. But we’re here. We’re always here for you.” Peter looks up from his hands to give his son a deeply sincere look to signify his here-ness. “Okay,” says the teenager, and he leaves.
“Hey Dad, is it getting out?” Zach pauses to ask from the hall. “No,” says Peter emphatically. “We’re gonna stop it.” He folds up the flyer as if to show how easily he can make it go away. “Thanks,” Zach says, as if it’s no big deal, and leaves for real.
Alicia’s eyes start rolling around in her head. “Well, that was a farce!” Peter looks at her in surprise. “Why, you don’t believe him?” She shakes her head.
We got to this point, and I actually stopped the tv to complain to my husband (watching the rare episode) . How could they not ask Zach if there was any possibility that he could have fathered a child with Becca? Even if you’re assuming he’ll lie, how can you not ask? It’s not as if they’re ignoring the issue. They’ve brought it up. How can you not ask the most important question? These people are so waspy. I just don’t get that sometimes. Their reticence is a little baffling to someone with my Mediterranean background. If my parents thought my brother was in a similar situation, there is no way on God’s green earth they wouldn’t have asked him flat out whether he’d had unprotected sex, and they would have done their damnedest to impress the seriousness of the situation on him and make sure he answered honestly. Obviously Alicia has a pretty hands off parenting style, which can be really respectful and nice, but some times I really just want them to flat out ask the obvious, important question.
Okay, so. “Would you have told your parents?” Alicia asks her husband. “We didn’t tell my parents,” he replies, which pretty much proves her point, doesn’t it? She cocks her head. “Christmas vacation, you remember, we were supposed to sleep in separate rooms.” He sort of whacks her hand, and she smiles at the memory. “Yeah, but we were a heck of a lot older than Zach.” All the more reason to ask him, Alicia. “And kids are growing up a heck of a lot faster,” he shakes his head. Oh, I’m sorry, but that’s such a convenient fiction. Why do parents tell themselves these lies? Does he actually believe that 14 year olds weren’t having sex (or doing drugs, for that matter) back in the 70s and 80s? No. Sorry. Not that modern childhood isn’t different, but the sexual revolution is older than Peter and Alicia Florrick, and sex is even older than that.
Anyway. “Hey,” Peter says, slightly embarrassed. “You could have told me about the condoms, you know.” He’s referencing one of their worst fights from last season, where he finds the condoms and assumes Alicia has procured them for personal use. “Yeah, I could have,” she smiles ruefully, and head off. ‘I wanna share the bedroom again,” he calls out, not turning around. She stops, and slowly puts her hands on the door frame. “My parents slept in separate beds for twenty years.” He considers this for what feels like a long time. “I don’t want my parents marriage.” “I don’t either,” she agrees, closing her eyes and shaking her head in distress and confusion. “Because I’m not just a dad,” he declares passionately. “I’m not just a man on your arm. And I’m not a roommate.”
She nods. “I know.” “So?” he wonders. Alicia looks at Peter, and hangs in the doorway. “I need to think,” she tells him, and leaves him sitting alone.
“So who is he?” Cary wonders of the man in the baseball cap from the grainy video. He’s like the one armed man that way. “He had to sign in. We had to sign in,” Cary says, and Geneva nods. “He did sign in,” Andrew tells us – yay, Andrew! “He signed in with an assumed name. Fake license.” “How is that possible,” Geneva wonders, leaning over the prison monitor, where a guard is showing them the original tape.
And that’s when Andrew’s phone starts playing Old MacDonald.
He pats himself down frantically. He’s wearing another blue t-shirt with Baby Love written on it. And rainbows. “Ria?” “Who – who signed him in?” Cary thinks to question, but Andrew motions him to wait. “No – just – the baby carrots. Tell her the baby carrots are a train.” The singletons stare in amusement at the embarrassed parent. “Who signed him in? That’s where this gets interesting.”
“I don’t remember much about him. I guess he used a fake id, huh?” says Mr. Rubio, the unimpressive witness for the prosecution. Oh. Now that is interesting. Geneva’s dubious, and Cary watches her glare at Rubio. She looks taller than all three men. “Yeah,” Cary ponders, “it’s just…how many guards are there here?” Rubio is quite quick with the numbers: 285 total, 65 per shift. “Yet, in the matter of one week, I’ve dealt with you twice.” “I don’t understand,” Rubio the cool customer replies. “I think what he means,” Andrew begins, yet again interrupted by Old MacDonald. Cary and Geneva smirk as he asks Ria to hold. “I think what he means is, not only were you turned the wrong way during the murder, you’re also the guard who let the mystery baseball man in.” There’s a dawning on Rubio’s face which shows you he knows he’s heading for trouble. “So?” he brazens it out, arms folded, daring Cary and Geneva to step in where Andrew (now off with Ria and his phone) has tread. “Just interesting,” Cary shakes his head, “don’t you think?” “I find it so,” Geneva confirms. Awesome.
Eli walks into the copy room, carefully closing the door behind him. Jim Moody waits by a copy machine. He didn’t close the other door behind himself, so Eli shuts it now. “This is not looking good,” Moody observes testily, his hands plunged in his pockets. “I know we don’t consult. I know we don’t coordinate. But if we had a safe word, I’d be screaming it right now.” Hee! Also, wait. Jim is clearly an official part of the campaign (as well as the head of its shady dealings – the left hand, so to speak) or he wouldn’t have been running Peter’s debate prep, right? Anyway. Jim goggles for a second. “You want me to stop whipping you?” Hee. “Wendy Scott-Carr.” Jim nods in understanding. “The flyers involving her white husband? I don’t know if they’re us, but if they are, stop!” “You wanna know if they’re us?” “No, but if they are, I need them to stop.” Um, don’t you sort of have to know? Because otherwise, how will you stop them if they’re not?
Jim considers. “That would be consulting.” “Yes,” agrees Eli, “which I am not doing.” Ah. That clears everything up. “Okay,” Jim sighs, ‘here’s the problem. Do you want to know the problem?” Eli nods, painfully, silently. His eyes are closed as if in prayer. I love this conversation. “I can’t stop, because they’re not us.” “I don’t believe you,” Eli insists. “That’s your prerogative. I do know who they are, though.” “Who?” Eli demands immediately. Jim cocks his head. “Your PAC.” Eli sighs in resignation. He begins to pace. “You took the money. They’re insuring their investment.” With no helpful tips from you, Jim? We’ve heard Jim raise this idea – using Wendy’s interracial marriage to ding her in African American areas – but it’s nice to hear that the official campaign isn’t involved. “You could tell them to stop,” he offers, “but you’re gonna have to find some new money.
‘So we tell them to stop with the racist flyers,” Eli sums up, “they take away their money, and our campaign is out of business.” “Yup, that’s about it.” Jim agrees cheerily. “But who says a conscience is cheap?” Eli spears him with a knowing look.
A pen taps on a file, this time with Rubio’s picture attached to it. Ah, we’re looking at his resume. “Look at his job, two years ago,”Andrew tells Cary excitedly. “Leacrest Stables,” Cary reads, noting a security guard position. Then the shoe drops. “LeMond Bishop!” The two men high five. They are seriously cute. LeMond owns Leacrest; woohoo! “But I don’t get it,” Geneva questions. “Why would LeMond Bishop want Winston dead?” Why, indeed. But Andrew has an answer. “See – transfer notice. Winston was supposed to be transferred to a courthouse holding cell for a week.” Their conclusion? Winston was going to testify, presumably about something to do with Bishop, perhaps to the Feds. “Now, let’s say Winston has dirt on LeMond Bishop,” Andrew theorizes, tapping the photo of Bishop on the office board. That’s rather a big if, but okay. His little girl mews for him, and he bends down to her stroller, growling in a stage voice about how Bishop’d need to get rid of Winston. Heh. “So we have to prove Church wasn’t just a pawn,” Geneva realizes, her eyes lighting up, “he was part of it.” Cary waggles his pen at her. Andrew strolls his daughter out for a little research, making car noises and beeping along the way. Hee. I love how unabashed he is. This just kills me.
Lovely Becca leans against her car and chatters with friends, surveying her domain. Eli marches up and summarily dismisses the friends. Nice. “You seem… upset,” she guesses, which, wow, the people skills, Becca. Your perceptiveness is astounding. “How is it that I can manage aldermen and judges yet I still seem to have this ridiculous little mean girl thorn in my shoe?” Don’t flatter her, Eli – it’ll only encourage her. “Maybe you’re secretly in love.” “Ha ha,” laughs Eli, unamused. “I’m not gonna ask, because I know you’ll only lie. And that’s okay. It only makes things easier.” “What things, she wonders pertly. “When you’re asked, you did not sleep with Zach. You did not hook up. You did not have an abortion. You don’t have to think, just say yes.” ” Yes,” she says promptly. “And what if I did?” “Did what,” he questions. “Slept with Zach and had an abortion.” She says it, testing the waters, without a trace of personal emotion, as if it were a shoe she was trying on for size and did he think it was pretty enough? “Then we’d have to discuss what was provable.” “Lake Drive Health Center. I was there on May 18th.” She says it, clearly and easily. He purses his lips. “Whoops! Does that make your job harder?” She certainly hopes so.
“Listen,” he begins darkly. “No, Mr. Gold. I’m tired of listening. Have Zach phone me. I like Zach. I don’t want to make his life harder. I want to make it easier.” Right. And it would be so easy if you were dating again, right? That makes me feel like it’s just a ploy. “May 18th. Hmm.” Eli ignores her wishes and focuses on what’s provable. “Working back, you weren’t showing, so that means a March/April conception.” Becca start to look alarmed. “That’s when you were sleeping with Mr. Hawk, your after school college prep teacher!” Becca’s calm face freezes, and her mouth sets into the smallest pout. “Yes. Appalling, isn’t it?” Ah, there’s that word again. “I investigate my opponents. Too bad you don’t have the resources to do the same.” What, is he taunting a teenager with his financial independence, seriously? “So. Whenever anyone asks whether you slept with Zach, what do you say?” She looks away, infuriated. “It’s easy. I know, given your history, it’s probably a new word for you,” ouch! “but say no.” She doesn’t want to admit she’s beaten. “Let’s try it!” Finally, she spits out the word. “Good,” he smiles,”always lovely, Becca.”
If she could shoot laser beams out of her eyes, his back would have been ripped to shreds.
When Cary returns to his office, he finds Kalinda – resplendent in red – sitting on his desk. It’s like his mistress showed up at his kid’s birthday party. She’s kind of lounging, and his jaw drops, and he wants to hustle her away and jump her at the same time. “What’s up?” “Just saying hello,” she says, as if. He can’t even form words, for fear who might be watching. “I want to talk to you, but I’m gonna head out.” He takes his coat, and looks at her significantly. She’s baffled. He walks out to stares from his office mates.
Kalinda, of course, is not so thrown that she didn’t find and follow him. “You’re being investigated,” he tells her as they walk together outside. “Childs. You’re doomed.” “It won’t be much of an investigation, because I haven’t done anything wrong.” Um, sure, Kalinda. There’s that little crime Blake is blaming you for, for one, but there’s plenty more stuff you’ve done that’s crossed lines, if largely privacy and procedural ones. “A lot of people leak to you.” “Yeah. Friends,” she agrees. “Yeah, well – they’re going to be scarce.” She doesn’t look happy about it. Is it worth noting that the trees are once again festooned with their fall colors? Bah. “Does that mean you as well?” He doesn’t answer, but he keeps walking.
“What’re you guys doing with Bishop,” he asks. “I thought Will and Diane backed away from him.” “Yeah they did,” Kalinda agrees. ‘The Church defense? That’s not some little pro bono, is it? You don’t put two investigators on a pro bono.” Cary’s managed to stump Kalinda. “I, um, I don’t know,” she says, shaking her head as if to clear it. “You know what I think? I think you guys are auditioning for Bishop.”
Kalinda’s leaning against a wall back at the firm. We can see her reflected in one of the inevitable glass walls. She’s discontented. Blake and Bond sit in a room with LeMond Bishop. Alicia walks by with a cup of coffee, and her mouth tightens the moment Kalinda calls her attention to the drama in front of them. “I thought we were out of the drug kingpin business,” Alicia questions. “He lost his previous representation” gosh, now I’m a little scared to think what might have happened to that father and daughter team “and my guess is it’s too lucrative.” Blake notices them, and Kalinda sends him a too perky smile. “Do you ever feel like we’re on the wrong side?” Alicia asks, eyes glued on the meeting. “All the time,” purrs Kalinda.
Diane and Will watch the scene from Will’s office. “Maybe it’s not bad,” Diane ponders. “44 equity partners. We need 23 to vote Bond out,” Will informs us as he sits on his couch in front of that statue of a horse. I love that statue. “Bond has 22 certain.” “No, 28,” Will opines. Well, that’s not good. How does he figure? “His people, plus the people in litigation we pissed off.” Well, surely Lee can help pull them in line? “Before, maybe,” Diane guesses, squinting, “and they may not be so certain, knowing that Bond was making a deal with a drug kingpin.” Well, you know, that seems like it’d be par for the course for Bond’s people. No wonder he needed help securing the super PAC! But given that, why on earth is he taking on Bishop as a client now? Doesn’t that seem odd?
“Maybe more certain. It’s a new economy,” theorizes Will. Again, there’s nothing new about drugs, or lawyers who defend the people who sell them, even powerful lawyers. “That’s what the Church defense was about?” Diane gestures at the conference room. “We represent Church to gain favor with Bishop.” “Yep,” agrees Will, presumably theorizing. “We successfully defend a Bishop lieutenant, he swings more work our way, it’s a smart move, brings a fast influx.” “We need to start lining up votes now,” Diane mutters. Will rises to his feet as Bishop moves to go. Derrick nods to Will as the three men walk the hall. “We can’t be seen together so much,” Will bites through his smile, “he’ll get suspicious.” “Yep,” Diane agrees, “I’ll talk to you later.”
“It’s money,” Will postures loudly to her retreating back. “Hand over fist, what were you thinking?” “You can do better,” she shoots back. Nice. The faux-argument draws the attention of Lord Bishop and Bond. “Do it,” Diane tosses over her shoulder, and slams her office door with a secret smile. “Don’t worry,” Bond tells Bishop, “internecine war creates healthy competition.” “Hey, I know it from my business,” LeMond agrees, “show me results and I’m happy.”
“Okay, Andrew, we’re freezing our asses off out here,” Cary speaks for himself and Geneva as the trio walk down the street. “Hey, hey hey hey hey!” Andrew cuts him off, gesturing at the stroller. Cary apologizes. “What did you find?” Andrew pulls a card out of the bag he’s got draped over the stroller. It’s Joey Church’s mug shot. “Joey Church, good respectable dad, good respectable meth habit. No apparent connection to Mr. Bishop; never worked for him, never bought from him. They move in completely different circles.” “I’m not seeing much good here,” Geneva questions, but at that point, some idiot peels down the street and Andrew practically gets medieval on him, screaming at him to slow down and chasing the car into the street. Um, okay, crazy pants. The car stops, slows down, but just when I’m anticipating a fist fight (with no small alarm) the guy declines to listen to a lecture on family friendly neighborhoods and takes off. I’m willing to bet this is another commercial for Buick. I could be wrong, but something like that doesn’t happen for no reason. There’s really no reason for them to be outside otherwise.
“Ever hear of Northport Youth Soccer?” Andrew asks, writing frantically on his hand – presumably the license plate number. Cary’s feeling a bit of whiplash; yes, the question was pointed at him. “I hadn’t heard of it, but I imagine it exists.” Andrew pulls out a photo and starts rattling off the stats for the Treefrogs from back in 2006. He also starts dialing his phone. “Look at the coaches,” he instructs the dynamic duo. And, yes, that’s Joey Church, whose son was one of the players. As Andrew relays the license plate to a friend – and, oh, it’s a gray Lexus, 2009, sorry – claiming the car is behind on tickets, he multitasks (or should I say mommytasks?) by explaining that the Treefrogs were sponsored by Fast & Elegant dry cleaners. “No, the guy needs a wheel lock,” Andrew grins nastily, sending doom down upon his foe. “I never want you as an enemy,” Cary chuckles. Apparently not. Oh, and by the way? Fast & Elegant cleaners is one of Bishop’s legitimate businesses.
“Are you sure,” Childs asks Cary. They think so, yes. (Which is to say, they’re not sure, but the guesses feel solid.) Childs and his Number 1 look into each other’s eyes. “We could turn him,” Number one postulates. “We could get him to testify against Bishop,” Childs agrees, excited. “Or get him to turn against a lieutenant and work up the pyramid.” Cary and Geneva exchange alarmed looks. “Just so we’re clear, we built a very strong case against Church,” Geneva steps in. “Yes, but Church is a small fish, and Bishop is the whopper.” You with the cliches, Number 1! “A whopper you spent the last five years trying to land.” “Yes, and now we have new life.” She can’t stand it. “By decimating our case?” “No, by turning it,” Number 1 spins the actions, but Ms Pine is not buying. “You’ve already turned a half dozen cases and where are you?”
“Okay,” Childs says placatingly, “let us discuss this.” Cary closes in, passionately. “Sir, you have the dispo dump coming up, we can nail Church, you can’t nail Bishop.” I wish they’d just say what this dispo dump is, because that would render Cary’s reasoning a lot more comprehensible. Oh well. “Give me a minute,” Childs says to Number 1. Number 1 gulps. “You too,” he nods to Geneva. “It’ll only be a minute.” Ah, it’s just Glenn and his boy.
“I need you to talk to the investigators about Kalinda,” Childs tells Cary. Well, that’s not what I was expecting. “Why?” Cary’s hostile; he wasn’t expecting this now either. ‘Just confirmation on a few things – we’ve been slipped some anonymous information about her.” Gee, I wonder where that could have come from? Let me think. What information, Cary wonders. “That she’s been lying under oath, testifying under an assumed name.” Cary shrugs. “Well I don’t know anything about that.” “But you can offer background,” Childs insists, and Cary, sighing, agrees. “Good,” says Childs. “I’ve been working on some budgetary maneuvers. I should know very quickly if I can improve your position.”
Back at L/G &B, Eli sits in the extra chair in Alicia’s office. She joins him. “I just wanted to drop by and say,” he begins, and she cuts him off. “What?” She won’t even look at him. She’s such an anger ball right now, to borrow a phrase from a Jon Stewart flick. Alicia settles her folders and turns to look at Eli. “There was no abortion,” he informs her. She peers down at him, serious and engaged. “Not with Zach.” “How do you know?” she wonders, and I wonder the same thing. He can’t say that definitively, can he? “She was with somebody else.” Well. I guess he can say that definitively. Alicia inhales deeply, and then collapses her face into her hands. “I am so sorry to have brought all this into your life,” Eli apologizes. Although, really, Peter and Zach brought the mess in without any help from Eli – Peter by being notorious enough to draw Becca’s attention to Zach, and Zach for being young and stupid and hormonal enough to fall for her. Eli gets up to go. He momentarily obscures Alicia’s face. We hear a sharp intake of breath, and then when we can see her again, she removed her hands, showing us her teary face. “Eli, thank you,” she says simply. “Hey,” he replies, at a loss for words. “And we had nothing to do with the Wendy flyer. It was our PAC.” She looks up, intrigued. “And we don’t have any control over them.” Alicia considers. “So…is Wendy still putting out the Zach flyer? If our PAC goes forward, then Wendy does too?”
“No,” Eli replies softly, shaking his head. “Peter told the PAC to get lost.” “He – what?” Alicia looks stricken. Eli nods. “Tonight.” A microexpression flits across her face that looks an awful lot like joy. “So that means…” Eli nods and laughs ruefully. “We’re bankrupt.” He smiles sadly and leaves, hands in his pockets. Alicia smiles, for real.
Dear, funny, angel of destruction Andrew futzes with his pockets in the courtroom hall. Over his shoulder, we can see LeMond Bishop chatting on the phone. “He’s here on a grand jury subpoena, different case.” “Does he know anything?” Cary wonders. “No.” With a quick fist bump on his friend’s shoulder, Cary’s off. LeMond, sensing the approach, ends his call. Cary’s being very cloak and dagger, pretending not to look at Bishop, which surely catches the kingpin’s attention. “You want something?” “Nope,” replies Cary, letting the word pop in his mouth, “but you might.” “I always want something,” Bishop grins richly. True that, Mr. Bishop, true that.
“And who is that, Mr. Bishop,” Cary inquires. They’re in court, and LeMond Bishop has consented to take the stand. “That man in the baseball cap? One of my associates from California. A Mr. Harden.” “Again, objection, your Honor,” Alicia pops to her feet. “You’ll have a chance to cross examine, Ms Florrick, and the jury will have a chance to question the veracity of Mr. Bishop.” Bishop growls in appreciation of this. “Can’t wait,” he tells Judge Morris, who laughs. Okay, the thawing of her cool persona is not good. “And that photo your associate is carrying,” Cary says, clicking on a close up of little Evie. “That is Mr. Church’s daughter?” “Yes,” agrees Bishop. “I sent him there.” Number 1 bursts into the courtroom; he and Cary lock eyes, circling like predators. “Mr. Church was worried about how his family was being taken care of while he was in prison. I wanted my associate to assure him they were.” Really? Is the jury seriously going to believe that? “And when you say taken care of,” Cary begins, and Bishop laughs jovially. “Oh – my God, no,” he replies, blushing. “Not “taken care of”. Supported.” He turns to the judge, laughing, and she gives a big old hearty laugh right with him. Yikes. Alicia – you guessed it – rolls her eyes.
“So there was no threat to Mr. Church, like the defense is claiming?” “Not at all,” Bishop agrees, “we really calmed his fears about his family’s security.” Number 1 looks daggers at this perfidious turn of events. “And so there was no pressure on Mr. Church to commit a crime to which he’s already admitted.” “That’s right,” beams Bishop. Oh, how neatly we tied all that up! “Do you have anything else, counselor?” Judge Morris asks. “No m’am, I think that’d be enough,” Cary asserts. Yes, I suspect you are right. I have no idea what Alicia could do here; is she even supposed to try and take down Bishop on the cross? Clearly Cary offered Bishop the choice between Church and himself, and we know what path he’d take – but where does this leave Lockhart/Gardner? Supposing Alicia could trip him up if she tried, that is. Does he seem like a credible witness? Is it a credible story? Good questions, these.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Number 1 chases Cary down furiously. Getting a conviction, Cary replies, walking through the courtroom halls. “You sandbagged me!” Number 1 snarls. “Your case was on the docket for years,” Cary replies contemptuously. “I cleared mine in a week.” “By overstepping your authority,” Number 1 thunders. I suspect that might be the end of your raise, Cary. ‘We were gong to use Church to get to Bishop!” Cary just walks away. “Good luck!” Number 1 growls as Cary heads into Childs’ office.
Cary sits down to receive his punishment. “I don’t want you to go anywhere,” Glenn says, surprising me. I guess he likes initiative. And balls. Cary huffs. “Well, I don’t want to go anywhere.” Childs nods, sitting with a rather large eagle behind his head. It’s wings are spread, which makes me think of the Nazis, somehow. “I’d like to make you an offer.” “I would like that,” nods Cary.
Oh well. Cary’s doing great as a prosecutor. Much as I’d like to see him working with the old team, he’s doing pretty great where he is.
Speaking of greatness – or not – and the old team, there’s our unwelcome addition, Blake, sitting by himself in a conference room. I don’t suppose Bishop could arrange a permanent vacation for him? That might be nice. (Wow. Do I really dislike him that much? Yes. Yes I do.) Kalinda walks by, and he calls to her. She stalks into the room. “So Canada,” he says by way of introduction. It doesn’t get a rise out of her. “I was so silly- I was looking on the West Coast, don’t ask me why.” “Excuse me, what?” she wonders. “Leela Tahiri.” Kalinda inhales. “Died in a Toronto house fire 8 years ago. It seems she was in some trouble with the cops, I don’t know, I’m still trying to work out all the details.” He shakes from side to side, then opens his hands expectantly and smiles, as if waiting for his gold star. “So that’s me,” she says. “That’s my surmise. Am I wrong?” (Wait, Blake mocked Cary for going to college and then uses words like surmise? Riiiight.) “I think you need to find that out for yourself,” she tells him, and leaves. He leans back in his chair, and loudly whistles – ha – O Canada.
Okay. I hate you with the fire of a thousand suns, but that was funny.
At the Florrick apartment, Peter pours himself quite a healthy glass of red wine. There are sirens in the background. Alicia arrives home from work, and sets down her bag. She looks like an old fashioned movie star in this light, though I suppose she always does. He walks over to her. “How are you?” “Good,” she tells him. Is she? Maybe. I could see the news about Zach and the campaign outweighing her frustration over the case. He’s handed her another glass, though we can’t see it. They clink, and drink. He swallows loudly. “I love you,” he tells her. She smiles. “I know,” she replies, taking Ilsa Lund’s classic rejoinder to the politician husband she admires but doesn’t love from Casablanca. Of course, there’s also Han Solo and Princess Leia, so the references aren’t all gloom and doom. They nod at each other. She turns, not sure of herself, and he starts to speak, only to swallow the words. She turns her back on him and walks into her bedroom.
She leaves the door open.
I like this episode more and more when I think about it, because the pieces fit better the more I think about it. We go from the race card to conspiracies, from the N word to abortion and blackmail. We get some fascinating movement in the love triangle. And some interesting background information. So, okay. Christmas break. Did Alicia and Peter meet in college, or while they were both in law school? I didn’t really get the feeling that Alicia was already with Peter when she met Will, but maybe I’m wrong about that. Certainly nothing’s lead us to think that Peter went to Georgetown with Alicia and Will. So, when did they meet? Some time after Alicia’s first year in law school, and not in class. The writers know, clearly, and chances are Chris Noth and Julianna Margulies do. Sigh. Some day, I would love it if they told us.
Also, what a fascinating thing to learn about Peter’s parents. In some ways, it makes all the sense in the world, but in others, it indicates that Jackie wasn’t quite as immune to her late husband’s messing around as I’d have expected. And that’s intriguing. Perhaps that’s the point where she began to pin all her hopes and her wiles on Peter, rather than working for her husband.
We got a new recurring character in Andrew Wiley. Blast you, Kings! There goes my idea for a pilot about a stay at home mom solving crimes. I kind of adore this guy with his inappropriate ring tones, though. Maybe it’s because he’s so different from Blake. Do you think the implication is that the SA’s not paying him? That they don’t need to pay him, because he’s just desperate to do something that uses his non-parenting skills? Well, I guess I can understand that one, even if I don’t share his excess of funds. And I like the opposition to Alicia’s situation; he’s a stay at home parent with a very young child. He’s not forced back into the rat race, as Alicia was, but the both just love the work. Andrew’s played by Tim Guinee, who has a list of guest star spots longer than your arm; most notable to me are old school oddities Strange World and Wiseguys, but like last week’s campaign lightning rod, he’s been on Eli Stone, and then there’s The Practice and 24 and a gajillion other things.
So, wait. How funny to think that part of Derrick’s audition for Bishop’s business was a blame Bishop strategy; risky, because even though they didn’t name him, it got the SA’s office to start looking into who might have leverage on Church, which lead them right to Bishop. And why would Derrick assign Alicia this case in the first place? She’s not his pet, even if he does consider himself her mentor. I suppose it was to bury the case, to make it seem less important? Yet you have to wonder if Childs would have put Cary on the case if Derrick had used another lawyer, and it was Cary – and his contact, the stay at home detective – that won the case.
And now for Zach. Do you believe Eli? We had the implication last year that Becca and Zach were about to have unprotected sex. So even if Becca was sleeping with her tutor – which I would totally buy – that’s no guarantee she wasn’t also sleeping with Zach, and so no way to know who the baby’s father was. If there was even a baby, and it sort of didn’t sound like Eli checked into that clinic appointment, which is weirdly un-Eli like. Anyway, I can’t be as relieved as Alicia is. I’m surprised Alicia’s as relieved as she was. From the evidence he’s given us, Eli doesn’t have clear enough knowledge of the event to say definitely what was (or wasn’t) going on. And the show certainly gave us reason to believe that this could be – reason enough for us all to be expecting Becca to turn up pregnant all season. Is the issue now laid to rest? I’m not sure.
This is the third episode in a row where Lockhart/Gardner has lost. I’m a bit baffled by that. I don’t have a problem with them losing – they’ve certainly backed off the whole Alicia as Perry Mason vibe of the first season! – but I wonder why so many right in a row? It’s starting to turn into The Good Prosecutor show. What does this give us, other than the notion of Cary as super-prosecutor? How does it advance the over all plot of the season? I actually was really pleased with the case. I enjoyed seeing the prosecution up their game when it appeared that the defense had a slam dunk case; usually it’s been the other way around. We haven’t had an episode lately where all the different elements of the show added up perfectly, and it’s been the cases which have suffered most, but this week, I think it’s worked out rather nicely. The SA’s office politics worked beautifully, and the intersection of Peter’s campaign with the Florrick family life was pretty satisfying.
Months ago, I asked a question in the comments section. What can Peter do to get Alicia back? It’s clear what he can do to lose her (cheat again), but not whether there anything he could do that would make his marriage whole again. We couldn’t come up with an answer, but the writers have. He could place the interests of his family over his campaign. He could offer up his political ambitions on the altar of faithfulness. He can, in short, be the anti-Sarah Palin. And he did it. And it worked.
I think in retrospect, I love the silent ending. For a woman who makes her living using precise words, Alicia’s not consistently articulate in her personal life. I admit, I wanted to hear her thank him. I wanted to see the relief in her face. I was a little frustrated at first that Alicia didn’t come right out and tell Peter how much his sacrifice meant to her, but her action was more eloquent than words. Of course, of course it was too hard. She’s still conflicted – too conflicted to use the words – but she’s leaving the door open. Think of the bravery that one little action took!