E: Last year, we found out that Chicago grand juries will indict a ham sandwich if so directed by the prosecutors. So when Will Gardner faced the grand jury, everyone was pretty sure what was going to happen.
A totally kick ass episode, that’s what.
Seriously. I freaking love this show. It’s not for nothing that The Good Wife is the only network drama nominated for a Golden Globe, SAG or Emmy this year. So.Very.Very.Good.
And the sly, dry humor of the show plays no small part of my pleasure in it; no, the lines on the screen aren’t inscribing another controversial cartoon (as in Boom); we’re looking at a deeply bored grand jury doodling eyes and stick figures and pirates. Excellent. What a smart little moment! “You are 16 people who’ve been given an immense responsibility,” Wendy Scott-Carr intones. Genius. Because, it’s true, it’s an immense responsibility, and look how serious and engaged they are. Although, to be fair, they must hear a lot of pontificating. I had a coworker who was stuck on a grand jury once for 18 months. Seriously. Just one day a week, but can you imagine? You will decide a man’s fate, Wendy tells them. She introduces herself, Cary and Dana (who are sitting at a bench, stage left). “Unlike a trial, there is no defense,” Wendy tells them, hands clasped. Well, that’s convenient. The jurors look down on Wendy from curved desks, sort of like the Romans looking down on the gladiators and lions in the Colosseum. Ah, how I’d love to see some lions loosed on her now. Metaphorical lions. “It’s up to us to convince you that there’s probable cause to bring William Paul Gardner to trial.”
William Paul Gardner – his full name, neat. Not particularly a fan of the combination, but that’s okay.
Lockhart/Gardner buzzes with activity, papers practically flying around the main conference room. “Thanks for waiting,” Diane tells Alicia , closing the door to her office. Alicia’s wearing a peachy cream colored jacket with that fits tightly, but flounces out at the waist – a peplum jacket, I think that’s called, and it’s a rather new look for her. It’s very sculptural and definitely flattering. Diane, on the other hand, is wearing upholstery fabric again. “Is everything alright?” Alicia wonders. I know I’m stuck on her appearance, but Alicia has little barrettes in her hair. Altogether a different look. “Ah, no. I wanted to talk to you before I broke this to the equity partners and associates.” Alicia steps towards her boss, almost breathless with distress. “Is… this about Will?”
“Yes,” Diane explains as they sit, “a grand jury has been impaneled and expectation is he will be indicted in the next two days.” If possible, Alicia looks even more horrified. “I….” she stumbles, “what’s the charge?” “Judicial bribery,” Diane explains, and Alicia’s eyes bulge. “Of course it’s not true, but the, uh…” Diane freezes for a moment. “The State’s Attorney believes Will arranged bets between judges and bookies at his Wednesday night basketball games.” Truly Alicia looks like she wants to cry. The subtext is so rich here; you can see that Diane knows Peter doesn’t really believe that. (Of course, Wendy seems to, but it’s all confusing – how is indicting Will going to further her stated goal of sending Peter to jail? Are we ever going back there?)
“I – I didn’t know it was that serious,” Alicia gasps. “It is,” Diane replies, watching Alicia’s face, “felony bribery, 3-7 years.” Alicia closes her eyes on that possibility. “I really must go,” Diane remembers, heading out of her office, but Alicia stops her with what is, for Alicia, the essential question. “Is it Wendy Scott-Carr or Peter?” “Both, I should think,” Diane answers, pausing at her door and crossing her arms. Peter put Wendy in charge, she explains further; Alicia, distressed, closes her eyes again.
“What can I do?” Alicia asks. Diane’s careful with her words. “I don’t want you to feel responsible,” she says, “or obligated to do anything. I mean, responsible’s the wrong word.” My fanny it’s the wrong word. Diane begins again, driving more spikes into Alicia’s tortured heart. “We’ve never considered you an extension of the State’s Attorney’s Office, and you’ve never acted like one, so, again, I leave it to you.” Oh dear lord. And with that damning injunction, Diane leaves the room. Still looking stricken, Alicia’s eyes flick over the chaos across the hall – and then she speeds away.
“Oh, Alicia, hi!” Caitlin calls out, struggling to keep up with her mentor, “would you like me to help Mr. Gold today?” Yes, yes she would, Caitlin. “Um, is there anything that you need help with?” Caitlin volunteers. “Um, nope,” Alicia replies briskly, clipping her way into the elevator. And almost without transition she’s pushing her way into the State’s Attorney’s office,wearing a very lovely navy coat.
This is his office, but Peter isn’t there. She takes in the pictures of their children, the Cook County seal. You can see her plans changing in her head, though what she’s hoping to do in all this (yell at Peter? beg him to back off?) I don’t know. She leaves the office as quickly as she’s come.
“Alicia! Hey!” Peter calls out from the other end of the hall, folding up his newspaper. Peter! Yay! He belongs in this episode. Excellent. “Hey,” she says, thrown, ” I was just – I have to leave.” “What’s wrong?” he asks her, clearly concerned. How can he not guess what’s wrong? How could he not know what’s happening today? It’s about Jackie, she lies, we can talk about it later. “Oh, well,” he offers, “8 tonight?” That’s fine. She runs away, leaving him looking a bit blank. “Okay,” he mutters, frozen.
A sign warns to us that a grand jury sits within. Will talks with Elsbeth in the hall (Elsbeth! I’m loving the supporting cast this week – Caitlin, Peter, Elsbeth – outstanding!), but when a breathless Alicia nearly falls into the hallway, he breaks away from his lawyer. Not to get all melodramatic on you, but he’s pulled to her as if by a magnet. She catches her breath at the sight of him – a tiny, involuntary intake – and they move toward each other, never breaking the heart stopping eye contact. It’s so very deliciously season 1.
He jerks his head to indicate the whole situation. “I’m sorry,” he says, dark eyes so serious. “No,” she cries, disbelieving, “I’m sorry.” If it’s possible, his eyes are more enormous and even darker. “I didn’t want this to become…” She tries to interrupt. “This is legal, not personal,” he claims; is he protecting her even now, or does he hope he’s telling the truth? He has to know it’s a lie. “If I told you, it would become personal.”
“Will, I’m a lawyer,” she tells him patiently. “I’m a third year associate in your firm.” She cocks her head and smiles, rather like she did when she took the key card away from him outside that first hotel room. “So use me.” As he’s digesting this information, Elsbeth joins them. Alicia greets her warmly. “Hello – again.” Elsbeth tilts her head. “We seem to meet under a lot of circumstances like these.” Indeed, Alicia’s seen more than her share of legal troubles – but I suppose that’s what happens when you have a brilliant writer’s room to throw legal challenges at you. “I wanna help,” Alicia repeats, and Elsbeth looks quickly to Will. “With what?” Ha. I love her. So much. “With what I know about the State’s Attorney,” Alicia answers Elsbeth, looking over at Will.
Man, talk about mixed signals.
Actually, maybe it’s not super mixed. Will apparently ranks above Peter, at least where Peter is in the wrong, but definitely below Grace and Zach.
“I was hired as an investigator by the State’s Attorney’s office,” Andrew Wiley explains. Damn, they’re really blowing the guest star budget tonight, aren’t they? Awesome. Cary establishes that Wiley was asked to look over Will’s cases (which seems odd – why would they need an investigator to do that part?) and was disturbed by what he found. Normal firms, he tells us, have a 60% win rate as a ceiling – Will has a 75%. I can’t help thinking that this just makes him a very good attorney, not a crooked one. But then Wiley brings up the SA’s main case; with the previously mentioned 3 judges (Winters, Park and Dunaway) Will’s win rate is 95%. Okay. Depending on how many cases he’s tried in front of those three judges, I can see where that looks bad. Certainly without clarifying information, it’s damning circumstantial evidence. And when you add their attendance to that Wednesday night basketball game – well, that’s the heart of the case right there. Wendy smiles happily to herself.
“So, the strategy is this,” Elsbeth rushes to Will in the hallway. Diane’s arrival interrupts this conversation; Diane’s the next witness. “How did the partners take it?” Will wonders. “They were concerned,” Diane admits. “We’ll work the phones this afternoon to hand hold clients.” Elsbeth reintroduces the strategy discussion. “Mrs. Florrick!” she calls out, “you can join us!” Diane’s face as Alicia joins them! You did tell her to help, Diane. “Here’s the thing,” Elsbeth tells them. “Grand juries indict. That’s what they do. Hamburgers and all,” she says, making a sort of “you’re out” gesture. “Ham sandwiches,” Will corrects gently. Alicia rolls her eyes to Will a bit, affectionately. “So, you’re gonna get indicted unless – I like that pin,” she says, a typically quick non sequitor. The pin in question is black, and pinned to Diane’s couch-dress. “Thank you,” Diane replies, deadpan. “Unless someone pulls the plug,” Elsbeth picks up her train of thought, “someone higher.” Peter, Will realizes. He gulps, and Alicia watches him do it. Not his biggest ally, Peter.
“Yes. You have an audience of one in there, Miss Lockhart,” Elsbeth explains. And who would that be? “Cary Agos. He defers to the State’s Attorney. Wendy Scott-Carr does not.” Alicia continues to pin her eyes on Will’s face; he doesn’t look back at her. Not personal, huh, Will? “She’s…” Elsbeth stops, thinking it over; Diane glares. “No, that’s right. She’s her own person.” Hee! “So you need to keep bringing the testimony back to Peter Florrick.” Smart, Elsbeth, very smart. Not that I expected any less. “That’ll get Cary talking to Peter,” Alicia realizes. Will seems to sense Diane objecting and puts up his hand, but Elsbeth smiles at Alicia. “The only way to stop it in the grand jury is to get the State’s Attorney to stop it. And he’ll only stop it if it looks like it’ll hurt him. Do you see?”
“Yes, good,” agrees Will. A phone rings; Alicia excuses herself while Diane, Will and Elsbeth smile at each other. Well, really Elsbeth’s doing the lion’s share of the smiling, but it’s all good. Also, lions. Yay.
“Hello Eli,” Alicia says. Eli’s standing in front of an enormous, tastefully lit logo: GLAC – Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Chicago. Thanks for spelling that out for us. Literally. Caitlin’s sitting beneath the sign. “Hello, Alicia,” he sighs with theatrical weariness, “would you like to guess what’s wrong with this picture?” “I’m not there?” she guesses. “Yes. I ask for Alicia, I get Alicia-lite,” he snaps, giving Caitlin (who thankfully is looking at paperwork in her lap) a vile look. Hee. “This is GLAC, Alicia, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Chicago,” thanks, Eli, since we can’t read, “they want someone to campaign against the Defense of Marriage act; I needed YOU.” Why me, she wonders. He looks around the room before hissing out the words.
“Because you’re a gay icon.”
Well, that’s unexpected.
She smiles, laughs. “Excuse me?” “I didn’t decide it,” he tells her in a rush. “Where are you getting this?” She still can’t believe it. “The gay blogosphere,” he shrugs. Hee. She rolls her eyes. “You’re one of those spurned wives.” Alicia and Tammy Fay Baker. Too funny. “Oh Lord,” she mutters under her breath. “Your suffering has made you iconic. They have a lot of money to fight DOMA, this means a lot of money.” And what matters to Eli more? Alicia’s unmoved. “Eli, as much as I would like to sit beside you signing autographs, you are the one they want. You don’t need window dressing.”
Now it’s Eli’s turn to roll his eyes. “Oh, yes, Alicia, give me a pep talk,” he sneers. “Caitlin is capable,” she says instead, “she’s studious. And she’s David Lee’s niece; that means something to Spencer Roth.” Did Alicia just out David Lee to us? The implication is at the very least that David’s a big donor to GLAC. Elis’s stunned by this news, however, and misses its potential. As he sputters about his nemesis David Lee (and Alicia completely misses the connection, foolish woman), he’s distracted once again by high pitched laughter. “Oh no,” he moans.
And wow but their regular guest star budget is really blown, because there’s our old friend Amy Sedaris as rival crisis manager Stacie Hall. “I’ll be waiting by my phone,” she trills, tugging on a fellow’s shoulder, “don’t make me wait, don’t you dare!” We need to talk, Eli spits into the phone. She sings out his name. She’s so perky looking in that bright orange jacket. They greet each other in their usual style (which is to say, fake fake fake enthusiasm). “We’re up for all the same jobs,” she observes jovially, as if it had never occurred to her before. “We should be friends, not enemies!” Riiiight. “The best of friends,” Eli answers ironically. “So. The Defense of Marriage Act. What’s your pitch on that?”
“It’s wrong,” Eli answers.
Stacie laughs, shrugging so hard her shoulders nearly touch her ears. “I wanna learn from you, Eli, there’s so much I can learn.” They stand smiling for a moment. “I wanna have lunch,” she decides. “Let’s do,” he agrees enthusiastically and insincerely. “No – not lunch. Drinks. Hot drinks.” She gives a particularly high pitched giggle. “They’re these drinks – mulled wine with brandy?” Now she does this thing with her tongue that has me squirming a little. Soooo did not need to see that. “They’re amazing.” She’ll call him.
As she walks away, Eli fumes silently, listening to the young male receptionist take calls. And it turns out that the call he’s taking now is from Eli, saying that he’s Stacie’s assistant, who needs to get his boss a message. That Rush Limbaugh’s going to be late for their meeting.
I must say, this episode has started off well for Eli. The look on the receptionist’s face is a marvel.
“You and Mr. Gardener have known each other for how many years?” Wendy asks Diane, who’s now sitting in the witness stand. “8 years,” Diane answers. 8 years? That’s it? Wow, that’s kind of amazing. I mean, okay, I knew the firm couldn’t be old, since Will’s only in his early forties, but damn, take the 2 and a half years of the show, knock off a couple of years for them to have worked together for Stern and you get a really brief pre-Alicia history. “And you were originally partners in opposing firms?” Yes, says Diane, which confuses me slightly. Does that imply that they didn’t work together before? I’m sure we’ve heard them talk about working together with Stern at his old place. So confused. “And he told you about his troubles at his old firm in Baltimore?” Diane couldn’t possibly answer such a vague question (although I do feel like she could have gone off on a tangent about him not feeling fulfilled, or wanting to move to Chicago, or something). “I’m sorry,” Wendy smiles. “you knew that he took $45,000 from a client’s account to pay off a gambling debt?” Diane raises her eyebrows. “All I knew is what I heard from you when you questioned me in my office, Miss Scott-Carr,and that Peter Florrick, the State’s Attorney, doesn’t think there’s enough evidence to prosecute him.” Cary’s head snaps up at the mention of his boss’s name. Score one for our strategy.
“I can understand your defensiveness,” Wendy smirks. “Really. I didn’t think I was being defensive,” Diane jumps in, “I thought I was being clear.” Oh, nicely done, Diane, nicely done. “Then let’s continue to be clear,” Wendy attempts to recover. “Have you ever been to one of Mr. Gardner’s pick up games?” She hasn’t. “Why not?” “I don’t play basketball,” she replies mildly, and the jury titters. That gives Wendy pause. “Uh, has he asked you to go?” He has. “And why would he ask you to go if you didn’t play basketball?” To network, of course. “He said it was a good place to meet judges and prosecutors who matter. For example, the new State’s Attorney, Peter Florrick, often participated in the pick up games.” Even Dana notices the name drop this time, and not because of the continuity issues involved with supposing even a casual pre-scandal acquaintance between Peter and Will. Diane smiles.
“But you decided not to go to these games,” Wendy says, trying valiantly to the story back where she wants it. “Now wasn’t that because you thought there was something corrupt about these relationships?” Oh, yes. Does she genuinely think she’s going to get Diane to say that? Really, Wendy? Really? “No,” Diane answers, “oddly it was because I didn’t play basketball.” Snort. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong for judges and lawyers to unwind over sports,” wow, what really weird usage, “and my guess is the current State’s Attorney doesn’t either or he wouldn’t participate.” Ah, Diane, you’re so good. Dana doesn’t get it; “what’s she doing?,” she whispers to Cary. Dana is dumb. “Tying Peter to it,” Cary spells it out.
“Let’s talk about one particular law suit – the McDermott case,” Wendy says, bringing the testimony to the case Kalinda shared with Dana. Diane smiles pleasantly. Wendy explains that the McDermotts brought suit after losing a child to food contaminated with peanut oil. Okay. That seems like a very Judge Parks sort of case – there’s always a medical element to the stuff that he presides over. It turns out that Diane brought in the McDermotts, but Will convinced her to let him take over because he has a better rapport with Judge Parks. Diane looks distinctly uncomfortable admitting this. And yes, it’s suggestive, but it’s not proof of anything. Not that grand juries require actual proof. From the way Wendy phrases her questions, asking about things Diane has discussed with others at the firm, it’s clear to Diane that she has insider information.
The music is foreboding when Diane exits the grand jury room. “How did it go?” Will asks immediately. “Will, do you have a moment,” Diane replies. So not the words he’s longing to hear!
As they walk, she asks the tough question. “Why did we win the McDermott case?” “They asked you about the McDermott case,” he echoes uselessly. Of course they did. “They asked me almost exclusively about the McDermott case. Why did we win it?” She stops and crosses her arms. “It was a good case,” he shrugs. “It wasn’t,” she says, getting upset. “We argued it well,” he shrugs again. “You argued it well,” she replies, “I wasn’t there.” “Then I argued it well,” he shrugs again. Not helping yourself here, Will. “They asked me about my conversations with the associates,” Diane tells him, alarmed. “How would they know that?” Will exchanged charged glances with Kalinda, electric in blue down the hall. “You and I should talk,” he says.
“I don’t wanna see Alicia prosecuted either,” Dana lies to Kalinda as they sit in Kalinda’s car in what’s presumably the court house parking garage. “I need more. The McDermott file… doesn’t connect the dots.” I don’t suppose it would occur to you that the dots don’t actually connect? No, of course not. Dana turns to Kalinda, who keeps staring ahead, but rolls her eyes and shakes her head. “It’s not me, it’s Wendy,” Dana whines. Is that supposed to make a difference? “Give me more, and we’ll tear it up. The rider evidence that will hurt Alicia? We’ll tear it up.” Sure you will. Of course you will! Blackmailers are so trustworthy that way. Kalinda looks down at her lap, her jaw tightening. She nods.
David Lee, friend of Spencer Roth, plays with his cell phone in front of the pay phones in the court house hallway. David Lee! You’re breaking the bank, guys. “You gotta smile,” Elsbeth Tascioni tells him, and he looks up in wonder at her presumption. “I gotta smile?” he sneers. “Well, yes, because the grand jury will perceive your attitude as hostile if it’s … hostile.” Hee! She’s wearing this ribbed military inspired jacket, perfectly kooky. Love it. She grimaces. “Please?” “Well,” he begins as he saunters by her, “since you said please…”
Hee! Elsbeth sighs, and then moves on to Will and Kalinda, who’re plotting together. Will thinks they may need more of something.
“Well,” she says. “We were worried about the McDermott case, and here we are dealing with questions about the McDermott case.” Clearly she thinks they’re a two bit operation. We were just discussing that, Will attempts to tell her, but she talks over him. “The questions would suggest some deeper familiarity, as if someone were talking to them?” Here’s looking at you, Kalinda. Will looks back and forth between both women. “I’m gonna check into it,” Kalinda says, and leaves. “She’s great,” Elsbeth points. Oh yeah, Will agrees.
Stacie Hall chirps on her voice mail message as Caitlin brings Eli a stack of photocopies. Wonderful, he says, and then sends her off on another mission. She looks surprised, but cheerily says she’ll be right back with the necessary items from downstairs. “The sooner the better,” he tells her; she passes Alicia in the doorway. “And hello, Alicia!” he bellows. “Hello,” Alicia replies civilly. Getting close to Caitlin, are we?” Oh yes. “She’s a real go getter. Not a moment of complaint.” He’s begging her to ask about why Caitlin might want to complain. “She made these copies for you?” Alicia picks up the stack Caitlin just left on his desk. Yes indeed she did! “Very important stuff,” he nods disingenuously. “These are from last year,” Alicia notes tartly. “Yes. And who knows when I may need them again?”
She tosses them onto his desk, smiling, and sits in one of the chairs across from him. “So who are we acting out against today, Eli? David Lee? Me? The concept of first year associates?” He’s in a fury all right. “Might there be a simpler explanation?” With you, Eli? No. “Might I need someone to free me up so I can … work?” There are paralegals for that, Alicia tells him – and assistants, too, I don’t doubt. “I like Caitlin,” he bites out.
She gives up. “You wanted to talk?” she asks, getting out her tablet. “Yes. About attitudes. And let’s start with yours.” She rolls her eyes and stands, having had quite enough of this malarkey already. He’s quiet but intense, hands on his desk. “Alicia! I outrank you. I am an equity partner and you’re a third year associate. And I feel …and yes, you are making me resort to marriage counseling speak…” hee! “… I feel that you are treating me with same disregard as when I was your husband’s campaign strategist, and I think that is wrong.” Wow. Good point. Eli made a really good point! Great episode for you so far, Mr. Gold. “Not kill a puppy wrong, but wrong as in incorrect. Working off old information. And I think that we all need to reevaluate our working relationship here.” Alicia nods, and considers it. And the brick hits.
“You’re right,” she realizes, and he’s stunned that she hasn’t argued back. “What do you need?” He doesn’t have a real answer at first. “Oh. Well. I need you to help me with my pitch. Spencer Roth has asked us to pitch all of GLAC on Thursday.” “Okay,” she nods, “let’s get going!”
In the grand jury room, David Lee laughs. “I’m sorry, I think I interrupted you?,” he says to Dana. He is most certainly smiling. “You said in an interview in Chicago Magazine” and here Dana reads off a paper, “what I love about Will Gardner is that he’s as sneaky as I am.” Lee laughs and smiles again. Oh, I bet this was for the bachelor issue. Big plus for continuity there! “I think I meant sneakily charming.” Several members of the jury laugh. “So that’s why the next line reads ‘the sneaky thing is to cross that ethical line and not lose sight of your client.’ Is that what you meant by that?” One of the laughing jury members jerks up her eyebrows in surprise. “Something like that,” Lee laughs, less pleased. Dana goes on to ask about work Lee did for Judge Parks. “His wife was ill, and you helped him with the will, and his children’s trusts?” Lee laughs again. “If by help you mean that he paid me, yes.” Ha. “Yes, but he paid you less than what was usual for this type of work?” David Lee objects to the characterization; “No, he paid what was fair, considering the will and trust were simpler than most.”
Right. So, new tactic. How did Judge Parks end up as Lee’s client? Through Will, of course. Now, on it’s face isn’t that the most innocuous, perfectly legal outcome of the basketball game – networking? “And wasn’t the work a pay off for Judge Parks deciding the McDermott case for you?” Swaggering, Dana addresses this to the jury. “It’s an odd payoff to charge him for work that I did,” David replies. “Isn’t that a conflict of interest, sir?,” she presses. David shrugs. “No more than the trust work I did for…” Lee searches his memory, as if at random. “… Peter Florrick, the State’s Attorney.” HA! Peter again. I see that everyone got the memo. Cary smiles to himself, but Dana gets snippy and admonishes her witness to answer the question. “I thought I did, m’am. I was making an honest comparison to other work that I did for your boss, Peter Florrick, for which I charged even less than Judge Parks.” Hee. Wendy’s not as amused as Cary is either, but then Cary’s always had a very particular sense of humor. And he’s never approved of this prosecution. “If that’s a conflict of interest, isn’t this?” He makes a little Betty Boop oops face, which is a bit over the top – but all in all, job well done.
And either way, judges and prosecutors have to take their legal business somewhere, right?
Will looks up from his perch in the hall as David Lee exits the room. “That’s how a pro does it. You’re welcome.” Hee. What did they ask you about, Will wonders. “You and Judge Parks – it was all you and Judge Parks.” Right.
Narrowing his eyes, Will thinks for a minute and then takes off, leaving Elsbeth and Kalinda behind him. He strides into Judge Parks’ office – oh, that doesn’t seem smart. Especially since Andrew Wiley is crouched on the floor just outside Parks’ door, cooing at his baby. Crafty as always, Wiley rolls the stroller into Park’s office, where his wee bairn immediately enrapturing Parks’ assistant. He’s wondering where there’s a rest room with a changing table, or so he says. Despite the fact that he’s just advertized his daughter’s stinky state, the secretary can’t look away from the little tyke, and so Wiley’s able to take a cell phone picture over her back – of Will handing Judge Parks a manila envelope, the perfect size for great big wads of cash.
Dun dun dun!
As a tinkly piano plays “Isn’t it Romantic?,” Stacie Hall’s voice plinks too. “I have a sweet tooth,” she giggles. “I can see that,” Eli says over his hot drink. “Does it taste better with whip cream?” She guffaws. “Is there anything that doesn’t taste better with whip cream?” At first, I assumed she brought the silver canister herself, but that can’t be right, can it? She inserts the canister into his glass, and presses the lever down. “Tell me when,” she coos. “When! When!” he cries immediately. Somehow I can’t even type that without laughing. She fills her glass mug, picks it up, and smiles cheerily at him. “To Eli and Stacie – new friends!” They clink mugs.
She starts licking off the whip cream, practically moaning. “It’s very very sweet,” he grimaces after a tiny sip, setting the glass down. “Wait till you get to the bottom,” she enthuses, still tonguing the whip cream. “So,” she chirps, “Rush Limbaugh, huh?” He laughs and blushes a little bit. “How did you explain that one?” But she had a ready answer – she was meeting him to argue against DOMA. Very smooth, Stacie, very smooth. “Nice. And they believed?” “Well, I’m convincing when I have to be,” she giggles, and there are more unpleasant slurping sound effects. And then Stacie almost chokes.
“Fish! It’s hot down there!” “Fish?” Eli can’t help repeating. “I’m trying not to swear. Everybody swears these days, have you noticed?” She’s leaning over, confidential. “Old ladies, you girls, really everybody.” Sugar is my favorite substitute curse word. “I have to tell you something,” she switches subjects, looking away. ‘Okay,” he says, sneering slightly. “But I have to steel myself first,” she gulps. Um, okay. “I desire you.” He bursts out laughing (and I burst out laughing), and she looks annoyed. “I’m serious. I desire you, Eli.” Who says that? “Every part of you. Your eyes, your hair – I want to take you right now on the floor of this bar.” That is just too rich. Eli’s face is a study; his hair? his eyes? Really? She’s going to go there? “Well go ahead,” he offers. “I’m serious,” she growls. “I know you are,” he responds. And she does in fact look serious, but, seriously? “So go ahead. Make the first movie. I’m ready.” “You,” she pouts. “No. You’re the one who desires me. I’m pliable. So. Ply me.”
Oh my lord, I could listen to this all day. The idea is so horrendous that I can’t stop laughing.
She gives a tiny smile, and does nothing. He laughs silently. “It’s Sun Zu, isn’t it? Destabilizing your enemy? You know the only problem with Sun Zu? He never fought the Jews.” (HA! Now this is the Eli I love!) “We’re Masada, baby. We don’t mess around with mind games, we use knives.” Hee. I haven’t enjoyed Eli like this for ages. “You’re Jewish?” she asks, deadpan, and it punctures his self-righteousness. He laughs. “You’re a nice girl,” he patronizes her, “with your sweet little drinks and your giggle. But you’re not playing in the Little Leagues anymore.” Oh, right, that’s where she beat you from before, the Little League? I don’t think you thought that insult through.
“Put out your hand,” she demands. He’s reticent. “Put it out,” she insists, and when he does, she puts whip cream on the tips of his fingers. “And this is supposed to – what?” he wonders. She pins him with her gaze before bending down to suck the whip cream off his fingers. Ew ew ew ew! Ew! “Okay,” he stammers, “this is … lacking in subtlety.” You can say that again. “No, tell me about Masada,” she moans, which is hilariously awful. “960 dead. All those big strong Jewish lawyers…” He can’t help smirking in appreciation. Heh. Clever. Creepy and totally unprofessional and undignified, but funny.
There’s a knock on the door – Alicia’s apartment door. Now that’s a relief. She straightens her spine a little before opening the door. It must be 8 o’clock, because there’s Peter.
In the kitchen, she’s brought out red wine. “I’ll take care of Jackie,” Peter declares as he quaffs his wine. Don’t you love that Alicia can pretty much always use Jackie as an excuse and there really will be something off with her? It’s perfect. She’s grateful. “I just don’t want things turning sour,” she adds. “They won’t,” Peter insists (ha). “How are things here?” Good, she says. And then since he hasn’t come out with it, she does. “Work is hard, of course, because of this grand jury investigation,” she offers. Um, yes. He looks at her, conscious. He drinks instead of replying, and she looks at him, implacable. “What’s going on, Peter?”
He knits his brows for a second. “I don’t think we can have this conversation,” he claims. “Actually, we have to have this conversation,” she replies, leaning over on the kitchen island. “This has nothing to do with us,” he lies. “Peter, how can it not?” she practically begs. Which is a damn good question. “Because I won’t let it,” he claims. “That’s why I chose Wendy Scott-Carr, so that it wouldn’t…” “She’s making it worse,” Alicia pleads, and Peter turns away. “No she isn’t. She’s not me. I don’t control her.”
“But Peter, that’s the problem,” Alicia cries, “it keeps your hands clean at the expense of…” She freezes, and stares at him. “At the expense of who?” he bites back. She looks away. “Will?” he suggests. “No, my boss,” she clarifies. “The boss who you’re sleeping with,” he adds – calm but deadly. “Peter, if that’s the issue here, then let’s talk about that.” “Of course that’s the issue,” he bellows. Oh my God. Oh, his face. Her face. My heart stops.
So much for it not affecting them and not being personal.
She looks ready to cry, and he looks a little ashamed of his outburst, as well he might. “There’s nothing between us,” she confesses. Peter turns his face, observing her, canny. “My God, you’ve changed. I used to be able to tell when you’re lying.” His voice is just so mean, so contemptuous. I’m amazed at his spite, all things considered. “You think I’m lying,” she realizes, hurt. “I think you’re manipulating the truth like a pro.” Wow. She can’t resist the cheap shot: “Well you would know about pros.” He bites his lip. “Well, you got me there,” he shrugs. “What do you want, Alicia?,” he wonders more quietly. She doesn’t have to think twice. “I want you to stop this grand jury.”
“No,” he says. “That’s what I used to do. Things that worked but were wrong” No she looks guilty, but I don’t think it’s a fair comparison, since the prosecution itself is a wrong – personally motivated, on spurious charges I don’t think he even believes. “I’m not doing that anymore.” She’s really upset. “Peter, your problem wasn’t that you did things that were wrong. Your problem was that you did things that were wrong against your family.” Um, those are two problems, not one – his infidelities and his underhand dealings at work. His hands are splayed against the island. “That may be so, but that has nothing to do with this. Will Gardner is not my family. Good night.” He makes a dignified walk to the door.
Let’s disregard the fact that sinking your wife’s place of work DOES impact your family. For me, that was really one of the best scenes the show has ever done. I mean really incredible. The pain and betrayal – really just incredible acting all around. The anguish on her face! The inflection in his voice when he talks about Will! Don’t get me wrong, it’s dastardly, and abuse of power and incredibly cold to attack his wife’s livelihood in that way – like a chemo drug, which attacks the tumor (Will) but kills healthy cells too. And so petty to use his power to go after her (former) lover. But wow, they just did that so well.
“Please state your name for the record,” Cary asks. “Robert Parks. I am a presiding judge in Cook County’s third municipal district.” “Thank you sir,” Cary says. “Your Honor,” Judge Parks insists from the witness stand, claws out. “Thank you, Your Honor,” Cary smiles, “would it be fair to say that you are a reluctant witness here, Your Honor?” “It is fair to say I believe that this is a witch hunt, and I think you’re trying to criminalize behavior that is far from criminal.” Quite so, Judge Parks, quite so. “And what behavior is that?” Cary wonders. Friendships and out of work socializing between judges and lawyers, of course. “Did the attorney Will Gardner every offer you a bribe, Your Honor?” Well, nothing like getting right to it, Cary. Who needs foreplay? Other than Eli?
Judge Parks takes a moment before reciting, “On the advice of counsel, I am here to assert my right under the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination.” Damn! He’s pleading the Fifth! I was so not expecting that. “Did you place illegal bets through Will Gardner with the bookie Jonathan Meade?” And again, he pleads the Fifth. Man, nothing makes you (and your friends) look guilty like pleading the Fifth. “My answer to this question and all your questions will be to assert my right under the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination.” “I understand, Your Honor,” Cary starts, but is interrupted. “You don’t understand a thing,” Parks cuts him off with all his magisterial authority in his tone. Wendy looks up in shock. “You’re attempting to suggest that there’s something nefarious going on here, when you know for a fact that any judge you haul in here will plead the fifth.”
“Excuse me, Your Honor,” Wendy calls out, poised and fresh in baby pink. “You either take the Fifth or you leave yourself open to questions.” Cary does not let up. “Did you meet with Will Gardner yesterday?” Judge Parks looks livid. He continues to assert his Fifth Amendment right, and then he looks at his watch. “Is this a photo of you meeting with Will Gardner yesterday?” Damn. There’s a nice big blown up picture of Will handing over than envelope. Gosh, that just looks awful. Judge Parks pleads the Fifth yet again.
And now he’s barreling through the jury room door. Will’s across the hall, plotting with Kalinda; Parks get right in his face. “You setting me up?” he asks, livid. Well, you can’t blame him for thinking so. “Excuse me, Your Honor?” From yesterday, Parks say, they have a picture from yesterday. “You brought them to me. Yup. You go down, you’re not taking me.”
Elsbeth walks over to them, rather nervous. “Okay, I can see that there’s some sort of strategy going on here,” she begins. Will looks over to Kalinda, and then makes the greatest face – like my two year old pretending she hasn’t just torn up a roll of toilet paper or brushed her hair with Vaseline. It’s completely unconvincing. “I can’t say,” he claims. Unsurprisingly, Kalinda has a far superior poker face. Actually, that should be surprising since he’s a gambling addict. “I just want to know one thing,” she asks. “Is it illegal?” No, Kalinda says. Alrighty then. “You two behave!” she smiles, and leaves them to it.
Will’s phone rings, and he waves Kalinda off. It’s Alicia, her voice low and husky. She want to know how he’s doing, and her heart is in her throat. “I’m good. Up next, probably another 30 minutes. “Are you…” “I’m fine,” he insists. “No, are you taking the Fifth?” Her voice get so, so low when she’s talking to him seriously. “I don’t know. Elsbeth thinks I should,” he notes. “It’s the smart move,” Alicia insists, and immediately you know he won’t. First, because it’s not dramatic enough, and second because he just can’t resist the temptation to prove that he’s smarter than Cary and Wendy and Dana, smarter than everyone promoting that as a strategy. “Will,” she practically moans, “I’m sorry.” Don’t be, he says. “I am,” she moans again. “Then be sorry because it’s happening, don’t be sorry about anything else.” Good line. “Okay,” she smiles faintly, “do good.” “Always,” he says, and even though he means that he’ll always be smart, I can’t help thinking of it as a Snape-like romantic declaration. Not that Severus Snape is my romantic idol, or anything, but it’s a seriously great line.
They hang, both looking thoughtful. Alicia watches someone walk over to Eli’s.
“Well, if it isn’t family law, darkening my hall,” Eli sneers as his nemesis walks in . David Lee knocks a box and an enormous stack of paper off Eli’s desk so he can sit on the corner. Primly, Eli gets on the phone and calls for – you guessed it – Caitlin to join them. Although of course he calls his assistant and not Caitlin, because that would be too personal. “So,” Lee finally speaks. “So,” Eli mimics. “Caitlin’s not cleaning this up,” the doting uncle asserts. “Oh yes she is. Funny how the double edged sword – nepotism gets you the job, but then you have to clean all the poop your Uncle should.” Poop, wonders David. “I’m trying not to swear so much,” Eli says, making me laugh again.
“How’s the campaign going for Peter Florrick?” David Lee wonders. You know, I don’t get why they haven’t brought Eli into Will’s fight more – he could have been a helpful ally. Unless this is all part of his promise to Donna Brazil to save the Florrick marriage. At any rate, David doesn’t wait for an answer. “I hope well. Because his wife and I have been chatting. As her divorce lawyer, of course it’s attorney client privilege and I can’t share anything, but – I hope the campaign is going well.” Right. Well, the party faithful always saying Alicia is Peter’s ace in the hole, so it’s a home point.
And at this point, dear Caitlin appears at the door, wondering what she can do for Mr. Gold. “Oh, hi!” she smiles. It’s very Snow White, like she could have had Amy Adams’ part in Enchanted. (Speaking of which, congrats to Anna Camp and the rest of the SAG winning cast of The Help , even if her name wasn’t on the official list.) After exchanging pleasantries, David Lee informs his niece that Mr. Gold does not in fact need her. She can see that there’s weird subtext here. “Okay… well, call if you need anything,” she smiles, slightly nervous, “and I have your xeroxes.” “Okay, Caitlin,” Lee smiles. Her golden hair bounces as she walks out the door.
“There’s not much I love in life,” David Lee muses, “I like money, I don’t love money…” Eli rolls his eyes and throws up his hands. “Is this gonna take long?” Lee finishes over him. “But I love my niece. She’s all that is good in the world. And I think you ought to clean that up.” David Lee hops out of the room, jauntily rebuttoning his jacket.
Will sits beneath a carved panel, and somehow details are clear I hadn’t noticed when the other witnesses testified – there are legs, and a toga, and a walking stick. Somebody’s bottom half, in other words. “Good afternoon, Mr. Gardner,” Wendy begins, and he nods and says her name. “Shall we start from the beginning?” Well, it is a very good place to start. “Did you meet with Judge Parks yesterday?” Yesterday hardly seems like the beginning, does it? You can see Will thinking about it, narrowing his eyes. Which way will he jump? Oooh, don’t plead the Fifth! Nothing makes you look guiltier than pleading the Fifth! He chooses; yes, I was, he says, looking right at Cary. “I see,” Wendy says, looking over at Dana and a very concerned looking Cary, “and thank you for not pleading the Fifth.” You’re welcome, he replies. She then has him identify himself in the cell phone picture. “And what is in this envelope you handed to Judge Parks?” “Money,” he says.
Um, hello? It was what? He said what? What in the Sam heck is he doing?
Wendy doesn’t know either, but she can’t believe her luck. I suspect she shouldn’t. “Was there an agreement between you and Judge Parks based on this cash exchange?” There was. “And what was that?” Will stares at Wendy for a moment. “That he would give it to UNICEF for their immunization drive in Uganda.”
Ha. Ah ha ha ha ha ha.
Wendy stammers, and Cary smiles to himself again. “And, ah, how much money did you give him?” Two thousand dollars. “Two thousand for UNICEF,” Wendy cries in disbelief. (Yep, the private sector sure does pay better. Dana must want to spit.) “I mean, isn’t that a lot of money to be giving to UNICEF?” I love hearing her trip over her words, when she’s usually so supremely self-possessed. “It is,” he agrees. ‘Then why did you give him that?” she stammers again. “Because I think kids in Uganda should be immunized,” he answers with just the right touch of passion in his voice.
Wendy gives an uncomfortable smile. You can recover from this, you know, Wendy. Giving money to a politician’s pet charity is one of the oldest ways to buy influence there is. Just ask Tom De Lay. “And isn’t this just a little bit suspicious that you gave this money on the eve of your testifying here?” She gestures broadly to the jury members. Of course it is! It’s purposefully suspicious – or, should I say, set up to demonstrate that things which look suspicious often aren’t. “I don’t know,” he lies, shrugging, “I hadn’t thought of that.” Ha. “And why should we trust you, that this money was for UNICEF?”
“Because I have a receipt,” he says, pulling a folded sheet of paper out of his pocket. I could go into all the ways that this is ridiculous (a receipt? from whom? the judge? for cash?) but really, it just shuts Wendy down completely, and I can’t help but cheer that. Wendy, time to change the subject, quick!
“Well, let’s see, I have some notes here,” she stumbles. Dana hands over the relevant documents. “This is a copy of an email from you to Judge Parks, exchanging information about which settlement would be agreeable to your client.” Really, asks Will, disbelieving. “Where’d you get it?” She laughs, swaggering across the floor, and if I were that jury, I would just hate her. “When I am the subject of a grand jury investigation, you may ask me that, Mr. Gardner.” Well, this is her smoking gun, and she clearly doesn’t think she needs to justify them in anyway. This is a ham sandwich, after all. “Is this email from you to Judge Parks?” Will squints at the paper, and then sets it down. “No,” he says. Dana looks up quickly – what’s he up to? Wendy makes Will read the address, and he agrees, it’s Judge Parks. “But I never sent this to him,” he repeats. “Someone must have typed over the real addressee.”
Ha ha ha ha ha. That’s my girl!
“And why would someone do that?” Wendy wonders. Gee, I wonder. I bet every member of that jury can guess why YOU would want to do that, honey. “I have no idea – you just handed them to me – but the original emails are here.” He presents them with a flourish, neat crisp copies in a folder clearly prepared for just this occasion. Wendy spins in place. “Let’s turn now to Judge Parks,” she says, flustered. “But don’t you want to know who they were originally addressed to?” Turns out she doesn’t. Cary turns to Dana, surprised, and Dana’s face goes stormy, her lips quivering slightly. She’s starting to realize she’s been had. “They were addressed to my partner, Diane Lockhart.” Wendy turns on him. “Excuse me, Mr Gardner!” she snaps, a school teacher reprimanding a wayward child. “It seemed only natural to discuss that with my partner…” “Mr. Gardner, that was not my question. Please strike that from the record!” Will folds his hands and shrugs.
That kicked ASS. (Sorry, but I’m trying to swear more.) So very clever to give them this little poisoned pill – evidence that seems incontrovertible, so they’re sure to use it, but turns out to be false, and so sinks the case against the defendant. The prosecutorial mishap obscures whatever he might actually have done wrong.
Quietly, Dana closes the jury chambers door behind her. And there’s the author of her failure – the source she foolishly thought she could turn. But we knew better, didn’t we? Hee. Kalinda, I love you, girl! They walk forward, staring at one another, very High Noon. Dana’s ponytail is on the side away from us, which makes it look even sillier. “You fooled me?” she asks, disbelieving. “Yeah,” Kalinda states the obvious. Dana nods. Really, you thought it was okay for you to blackmail her on the basis of the emotional connection you don’t have, but it’s not okay for her to use you, too? Go ahead. “What?” Dana growls. “Go ahead and hit me – it’ll make you feel better.” Dana’s eyes flick wide at the invitation. She’s practically vibrating with fury. And then she DOES! That little bitch baby. Like I said before, I’m trying to swear more .
Much as I’m enjoying this, we can pretty much guarantee that they’re going to pass the rider of doom on to the Bar Association now.
Will walk into the busy hallway, and flashes a thumbs up at his Girl Friday. He half embraces her. “I owe you,” he says into the side of her neck. “No you don’t,” she demurs, smiling. “Okay, you two, it’s not over yet,” Elsbeth breaks into their love fest. “She promises a new subpoena. What I’m worried is, she…” Her eyes go wide as she tries to work it out. “It’s not Kalinda,” right, because that would have been too smart. “She’s angry now, so she goes where? The whole firm? ” Then she realizes. “Personal. You’re vulnerable somewhere, right?” Gee, let’s guess. You gave her the McDermott case as some big fat juicy bait, right, so she wouldn’t go after your real vulnerability?” That’s right, Will confirms. “So who would she go after now?”
Let us guess. Perhaps it’s the woman sitting next to Caitlin in the glitzy GLAC lobby? Caitlin’s red suit matches the tasteful patterned cushions on the sofa-back. “Any word on Mr. Gardiner?,” the girl wonders. “Not yet,” Alicia shakes her head; she thumbs through her phone, dark against the bright backdrop. Caitlin begins impulsively. “Did I do something wrong?” Alicia can’t digest the idea. ” D’you know why Mr. Gold’s being so cold to me now?” she pleads. “Oh,” Alicia replies, “I didn’t think he was. I thought he was overworking you.” Clearly he is, but that doesn’t matter to her. “No – he’s not even talking to me now. Did I do something wrong?” You mean other than not being Alicia, and being David Lee’s niece? Frankly I’m surprised he was civil to her in the first place; he never has much courtesy for his own minions, let alone someone else’s. Still, if his behavior has changed…
“No,” Alicia smiles, “I wouldn’t worry. He seems distracted.” And so he is, pacing through the lobby, thumbing through his own phone. “I wanted to tell him something about the meeting, but he wouldn’t listen.” Alicia, of course, will.
“Yeah, what’d you need?” Eli barks. See what I mean about him not being nice? “Well, I’m in bed thinking of you, ” Stacie Hall chirps. Ew. He snorts. “No you’re not. You know my meeting is in five minutes and you wanted to throw me off my guard.” Then why pick up the phone, Eli? Just to show her that she can’t throw you? “Well, that’s true,” she laughs, “but I really am thinking of you.” Oh my gosh, she really is in bed. What on earth? In bed, in striped silk button down pajamas. “Of course you are,” he hisses. “Do you hear my voice? I am not thrown.” Heh. “Well, you shouldn’t have wimped out last night, you be right here with me.” Um, you’d like to think you could keep him away from that meeting, honey. “I gotta go now, Miss Hall, and kick your ass. It’s been nice talking to you.” He snaps the phone shut. What happened to not swearing? How quickly they fall off the wagon.
Ah, that’s why he ended the call so abruptly – there’s Spencer Roth, walking over to greet them. They shake hands and exchange greetings. “You remember Mrs. Florrick, I promised I’d drag her along.” Alicia grins, and wrinkles her nose to indicate her willingness to be dragged. Or perhaps herfond memories of the family dinner from hell in Breaking Fast. “Yes, hello, Alicia. It’s a beautiful suit,” he observes warmly. Such a smoothie, this one. Eli could take lessons. Not very gracefully, she asks for a second before they begin, and Spencer leaves them with a smile.
“What the heck?” Eli asks in shock. “Tell him, Caitlin,” Alicia commands. “I’m sorry, I wanted to get to you earlier,” she begins fretfully. “This is not about the Defense of Marriage Act, Eli,” Alicia interjects. “I’ve been studying up on this meeting, and the one thing that didn’t make sense is why GLAC needed a crisis manager to fight against the Defense of Marriage Act when in fact the National Committee was handling it.” Oooh, interesting, Caitlin – good thinking. I love the way she says GLAC – maybe something about the A, or the hard C, but it’s really cute. “And then I was reading some gay blogs…”
“Can we talk about this after the meeting?” Eli spits out, impatient. “Eli, this is the meeting,” Alicia reiterates. Caitlin picks up her story – it seems that Spencer Roth has been promoting a proposed AT&T and T Mobile merger when he’s also been given a $60,000 grant from AT&T. Alicia smiles, and Eli’s facial muscles go slack. “When was this?” Last week, Caitlin tells him. Alicia reinforces her protege’s information. “This isn’t about the Defense of Marriage Act – this is about damage control.” Well, that would make sense. Eli’s spine straightens. “The GLAC board doesn’t want to be criticized for it’s involvement in this merger,” Alicia whispers. “Why say it’s about DOMA?” Eli wonders. “Because they don’t want to make it public that they’re shopping for crisis managers,” Caitlin guesses, with a perky little shoulder flip that bounces her flirty flirty hair.
Eli nods fervently. “We have to change the pitch right now,” he realizes. Well, duh, Eli, that’s why they told you! Interesting strategy – do they let on that they know? Is this some sort of test, being able to figure it out? “Attacking the GLAC board is attacking gays!” Eli thunders. The two women look at him like he’s transformed into a fighting robot or some other wildly improbable thing. “Too cynical?” he asks, assessing his performance.
Alicia flicks her gaze to her right. He doesn’t get it. “Thank Caitlin,” she instructs firmly. He smiles painfully, then clears his throat. “Thank you,” he manages stiffly, just as Alicia’s phone rings. “Uh oh,” she says, “this is about Will. I’ll catch up.”
But who knows whether she made any of the meeting; here she is instead in the court house hallway. “I don’t understand,” she tells Elsbeth Tascioni. “I know,” Elsbeth agrees. “I thought Wendy Scott-Carr was targeting the McDermott case; I never worked on that,” she flounders. Elsbeth agrees again. “I know.” “So, why?” Alicia wonders. “Well, she’ll probably push you on things Mr. Gardner did that should paint as legally questionable.” I don’t know about you, but my mind goes right to that case on the first season where Alicia broke into the love nest and Will talked her through taking stuff, do you remember that? Or am I confusing Hi with something else? There was that possibly gang related one. Anyway. Alicia’s clearly searching her memory. “The prosecutor can ask anything in a grand jury hearing, so, what’d you know that can hurt him?” Alicia’s face goes pale.
And then she’s on the stand, stating her name clearly for the record. “F-L-O-R-R-I-C-K, the same spelling as my husband Peter, the State’s Attorney.” Cary does not look pleased. This would be very, very worrying even if we hadn’t seen the previews from last week. “For the sake of disclosure, have we met before?” Wendy asks. “Yes,” says Alicia, “last year, during the State’s Attorney election. I believe you lost to my husband.” Alicia smiles. Zing! Wendy smiles and nods; touche. “How long have you worked at Lockhart/Gardner, Mrs. Florrick?” Two and a half years. “Who hired you?” Will. “You were friends in college?” Yes, Alicia says, at Georgetown. In college? Why don’t they say law school? It’s not the same thing, and they’ve been pretty specific about that in the past (their work on moot court, etc). Of course this isn’t the first time they’ve conflated the two, either. “How long had it been since you last practiced law?” Wendy wonders. Ugh. Alicia confesses that it was 13 years. She looks self conscious. “I took time off to… raise my children.”
“A 13 year lay off! That was quite generous of Mr. Gardner,” Wendy insinuates, glancing back at the jury with a knowing look. But why raise this at all? “Have you ever seen Mr. Gardner do anything that you’d consider illegal?” “Not that I recall,” Alicia answers. Just what is Wendy getting at? Is there actually something specific she thinks Alicia knows? “Since joining his firm, at any time, have you been engaged in a sexual relationship with Mr. Gardner?”
Alicia’s shocked. “I don’t see how that’s relevant,” she gasps. Relevant to what? There hasn’t been anything to be relevant to yet! “The jury is entitled to know the true nature of your relationship with him,” Wendy insists primly. Suddenly Cary’s on his feet, whispering in Wendy’s ear. “This line of questioning is inappropriate,” he hisses. Damn straight! “”The jury needs to know she has an incentive to protect him,” Wendy believes. Yes, but protect him from what? If Alicia won’t betray Will, why is she even there? At the most, you might prove that she would lie for him if she needed to – but not that she has anything specific to cover up. Surely Wendy’s going at this testimony backwards. “You asked me what I thought about their relationship, and I told you. In confidence,” Cary tells Wendy, upset. “If you’re not comfortable, Mr. Agos, you are free to step out.” Ouch! Wendy really wants to know this. But how can it be worth it to her case? Cary frowns, looks over at Alicia grimly, and sits back down.
Wendy takes up the reigns once more, patronizingly slow. You could tell she was fishing before, but now she’s certain she’s on to something she’s even more tenacious. “Mrs. Florrick. One more time. While working at his firm, at any time, have you and Will Gardner engaged in a sexual relationship?” Cary looks pained. He and Alicia look at each other. He shakes his head.
“Yes,” she says.
Oh my gosh, I even can’t believe she answered.
“Is this sexual relationship still active?” Wendy probes. No. “When did this relationship begin?” Wendy keeps after Alicia. “In the spring,” she says. “And when did it end?” A few months ago. “During the course of this relationship with Mr. Gardner, was your office moved to the 28th floor? The same floor as the senior partners?” Wendy looks back at the jury again, conspiratorial. Alicia frowns. She hates the suggestion that her promotion was a gift. Of course in some ways it was about who she knew, but certainly not about who she was sleeping with. Kind of the reverse; it was about Eli wanting to keep her close so he could preserve her marriage. “And in that time, had you been advised you were on a track to make partner?” The implication is clear; sex for advancement. Though I still don’t know how it would contribute to his prosecution. Cary gives her a pained, apologetic look, then shakes his head at his notes. How did Wendy know that? Alicia stares at Wendy.
And then she stands.
“Mrs. Florrick, would you please take your seat?” No, Alicia replies coolly. “I need to ask you to sit,” Wendy insists. “No, thank you,” Alicia replies. “The witness has not been excused!” Wendy calls out, her voice rising. “You are out of control,” Alicia tells her opponent. “Mrs. Florrick, if you do not sit down I will have you held in contempt.” “Fine,” Alicia snarls fiercely, “Arrest me.”
And then she walks out the door.
Breathing hard, looking wind-blown and shocked, Alicia stops for a breath out on the street. And that’s when Elsbeth catches up with her. “Mrs. Florrick! You zipped out of there so fast, I didn’t get a chance to do a postmortem.” Alicia stares off in the distance. “The transcript of the hearing,” she wonders, “it’ll be released to the public?” “Only if Mr. Gardner’s indicted,” Elsbeth clarifies. “Otherwise it stays sealed. What happened in there?” “I’ve got to talk to my kids!” Alicia realizes. She hops into her car and leaves Elsbeth standing on the sidewalk, utterly baffled.
Tinkling piano and clinking drinks let us know that we’re back at Stacie’s stuffy bar. Eli’s waiting for her with those hot drinks and a canister of whip cream. Her laughter trills out into the room. “You’re so funny – you’re so spontaneous!” She hops onto a bar stool and beams up at him. “Like a youth in May.” Ha. “Say when,” he adds, squirting the cream into her drink. “Keep going – that’s perfect,” she giggles when the whipped cream overflows the glass. He adds a generous dollop to his own. “So,” she grins, “what’s the surprise? You called saying you had a surprise?” She’s like a kid at Christmas. “The surprise is…” he composes himself, “I desire you too.”
She compresses her lips. “Oh, now you’re just trying to throw me off my game.” “I am,” he nods, “but I still desire you.” “Okay, ” she says, ‘well then let’s go do somethin’ about it.” Yeah, right. This is the weirdest, most uncomfortable game of sexual chicken I’ve seen on TV since Phoebe decided to force Chandler and Monica’s relationship out of the closet. (Or bathtub.) He leans over awkwardly. “My apartment’s fifteen minutes away,” he offers. “Mine’s ten,” she smiles. Why did I assume she wasn’t local? Maybe her bedroom just looks like a hotel. Maybe it was because they met her in DC. “You’re playing chicken.” Yes, he says, staring at her, “I’m good at it.” “You don’t see me swerving off the road,” she grins. “You’re going to crash!” she warns as they lean in. “Unless you swerve,” he says, and kisses her.
They smile at each other. “I got the GLAC account,” he whispers. Her smile goes cold. Slowly, they move apart. “I don’t believe you,” she cries. “Where’s that desire now?” he tsktsks her. “You were expecting a call from GLAC an hour ago. You didn’t get it. I did.” “Oh, fish,” she spits out. “I still desire you, Stacie,” he smiles nastily, “the way a victor desires his spoils.” Ew. Don’t gloat, Eli. Well, okay, I take that back. You can gloat – she’s pretty insufferable. At least he’s honest about his scheming.
“That’s right,” he says. “Get those tiny little wheels turning in your head. ‘Which way should I play this?’ ” She looks up at him in a cold fury. “Contrite and compliant, or tough and brash?” That’s decided it for her. “Okay,” she snaps, calling his bluff. “Let’s go. Let’s have intercourse.” Hee! She stomps out of the bar. Somewhat embarrassed, Eli throws down cash for their untouched drinks.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” Wendy addresses the panel directly, no coy glances now. Dana and Cary stand off by their bench. “If there are no more questions, the people of Illinois ask that you vote a true bill to indict Mr. Gardner on the charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, and interfering with a judicial officer, class 2 and 3 felonies. Please signify by raising your hands.”
“I’ve got a question,” a quiet voice quavers. The jury members look to the back row, where a young Asian woman sits. “Excuse me?” Wendy asks. “You said if there were no further questions. I have a question.” Hee. Clearly that was a formality, was supposed to be rhetorical. Oh well. “Of course, yes, please,” Wendy waves the young woman on. “Who is this Peter everyone keeps talking about?” Wendy looks awkward (though not nearly as awkward as Eli and Stacie looked at that bar) and Cary explains. “That would be Peter Florrick, the State’s Attorney. He hired Miss Scott-Carr to conduct this investigation.” “Uh huh, okay,” the juror says, “so then isn’t it weird to bring in his wife?” Hell yes it is! Everyone on the jury turns to Wendy for her response. It was quite an odd misstep, calling Alicia – what did it prove? Nothing to do with judicial bribery, that’s for sure.
Because she can’t defend it, Wendy insists instead that she’s only able to answer questions about the facts of the case. Well, then, you shouldn’t have called a witness with no facts pertaining to the so called case! “I mean, who cares who she sleeps with?” Well, other than legions of fans of the show… “If she’s getting some, great.” Hee. That speaks for a lot of fans, too. The other jurors laugh. “Here’s what I don’t get,” a white man in his 30s or 40s asks. “When even go after Will Gardner? Why not go after that judge guy?” Wendy’s getting really nervous. “Well, again, by law, we are not permitted…”
“At least Will Gardner answered the questions,” he notes. “The judge kept taking the Fifth!” See, there it is. It really doesn’t mean you’re guilty, but it sure makes it look like it. “I know,” the woman in front of him drawls, “I didn’t get that either.” The young Asian woman isn’t done. “Maybe this judge knows Peter Florrick.” Uh oh. “Maybe they should both be arrested.” Wendy stammers, attempting vainly to control the situation. “Here’s what I think happened,” the thin white guy breaks in. “Peter Florrick and the judge are in it together!” In what? Cary looks pained. Again. And the jurors can’t stop talking – this statement sets loose a wild torrent of speculation.
And, oh my heavens, that is a naked Stacie Hall sitting up in bed. EW! No! Oh my gosh, they didn’t! I’m not alone in being squicked out by this, am I? It’s horrifying and funny and uncomfortable all at once. Shudder. “Well. That was some good fishing.” Yuck yuck yuck! She giggles, and Eli – who’s tucking his shirt back into his pants – laughs with her. His hair is enormous and wild, while hers still keeps its perfect helmet-like shape. “Could you grab my robe for me, please?” On the arm chair where her robe is (and I swear this has to be a hotel room, it’s so impersonal looking) Eli finds a campaign pamphlet for Vanessa Gold.
Vanessa hired her! Oh my gosh. (I don’t know whether to be proud of Vanessa for going ahead despite the whole Bin Laden debacle or not.) “Hey what do you think of that?” she asks as he picks it up. “It’s just a mock up. I told Vanessa a deep blue border would really make it pop.” Oh, wow. That was mean. You can see rage in the lines of Eli’s tense body. “You’re working on my ex-wife’s campaign.” “Only because she asked me,” Stacie shrugs, as if that makes a difference. “She threw me a lot of business in DC.” With his hair fluffy and his lavender shirt wide open, its quite a different picture of Eli than we’re used to. “Is that what I’m doing here, so I could see this?” Hmm. Does that mean she’d already realized she wasn’t getting the GLAC account and wanted to get back at him, or would this have worked either way? He stamps around her bed, “Eli!” she complains, “I desire you!”
In her kitchen, Alicia’s huddled in a comfy sweater, and her hands are wrapped around a warm mug. It’s a very defensive looking posture. She’s clearly worried, steeling herself to make the unpleasant confession. Zach and Grace walk in the door, chattering happily. “You’re home early!” Zach smiles at his mom, who steps forward to greet them. “What’s wrong?” Grace always thinks something’s wrong. (Probably because something so often is.) “Nothing,” Alicia claims, “I just want to talk to you.” Grace looks up at Zach, but Zach’s carefully watching Alicia’s face. “What did we do?” Grace is just relentlessly gloomy! “You didn’t do anything,” her mother says, but before she can figure out how to proceed, her phone buzzes. “Hi, it’s Kalinda,” the voice comes over the phone. “I know,” Alicia replies as her children leave the hall, “what’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” smiles Kalinda, standing outside the very chaotic and loud conference room, “No bill.” Alicia doesn’t understand. “They didn’t indict the ham sandwich,” Kalinda clarifies. Yay! Yay jury! Alicia stands, stunned. “You’re kidding,” she says. “No. Will’s free,” Kalinda smiles. “How is that possible?” Alicia wonders. “I don’t know, we’re still trying to figure it out. And – you should come down here, we’re having a party.” Divested of their coats, Zach and Grace walk into the dining room in their matching Capstone uniforms. No, says Alicia, but thanks so much for calling. Damn straight she’s going to thank you; how much did she not want to tell her kids that she had a relationship after she kicked out their dad?
As Kalinda hangs up, we see Will asking Elsbeth for a dance. “No, no, I don’t dance,” she cries. “I have to drink a lot to dance, and I don’t like to drink a lot.” Hee! She’s kind of frantic. “Let this be the exception!” he smiles, good-natured, but she’s too freaked out. “No, no, seriously – you do it.” He backs off graciously, but as he raises a highball glass to his lips, and the stereo blasts out the words “Here I am against on my own” he catches sight of Diane walking down the hall toward him, smiling, slow. He walks past a slow dancing couple. “Like a grifter I was born to walk alone,” the female singer growls. “That was a close one,” he tells Diane, both of them smiling fondly at each other. “Yes. Let’s try to reduce the excitement level around here from now on, shall we?” Her laughter ripples out as the singer moans “I ain’t wasting no more time.” And then they dance, smoothly, laughing.
They are so damn cute, grooving to the music.
“What is it, Mom,” Zach asks, and Alicia turns to face her children. “Nothing – just something at work.” She sets down her phone and walks over to them. “Was it good?” Zach wonders. “Yes!” she says, still shocked. “It is, oddly. Her face here is a wonder; she’s lost in contemplation. “You wanted to talk to us?” Grace reminds her. “I did, didn’t I?” Hee. Alicia opens her mouth, but nothing comes out. Zach waits patiently, but as is her wont, Grace looks worried. “I haven’t been the best of moms,” she begins, and both kids immediately protest that ridiculous idea. They’re outraged, even. Seriously, they are the most loyal kids. She clearly knew what she was doing when she raised them. “Mom,” Zach begins, as Grace wonders how. She looks for a moment as if she’s going to tell them anyway – clearly thinking that her affair with Will has made her a bad parent. “I wanna change all that. I, um… I think I should take a week off work and we should go on vacation.” What, in the middle of school? Not that it’s not a nice idea she’s just pulled out of her hat, of course. Oooh – maybe somewhere tropical? How fun would it be to see them jet skiing or something? She smiles.
“Miss Scott-Carr,” Peter says, scribbling furiously, “thank you for your service.” Is it weird that they all call her Miss, not Ms or Mrs? Are you a Miss forever when you hyphenate your married name? Seems weird. “You’re excused.” A young man sets more papers down on his desk and heads out. “Peter, we can still indict Will Gardner, at the next grand jury. I’ll take…” No, says Peter firmly, slipping his suit jacket over his shoulders, “No, we’re done.” She’s not pleased. “There are other ways.” He looks up at her. “Like calling my wife?” Oh, dear. Heard about that, did you? “It was a strategic move,” she stammers. It was an all around useless and stupid move, you mean. He just glares – he is the lion in the Colosseum – and she squirms even more. “Thank you for your service. My assistant will validate your parking.” Oooh, cold! A clear dismissal if ever there was one.
She begins a dignified exit, but can’t leave it like that. “I’m sending these infractions of Mr. Gardner’s to the Bar Association,” she declares, chin up, daring him to stop her. He won’t. “If you won’t pursue him, they will.” He stares at her. “Do what you gotta do. Now get out of my office.”
Wow! I’m not even sure how much I have left to say – I’ve said a lot during the general recapping. I was truly blown away by the acting, by those marvelously expressive faces. I mean, wow. Sure, I can see lots of issues for the characters on the horizon – Alicia and the rider, Will and the Bar Association, Wendy never actually trying to turn Will on Peter like she said wanted to do – but for now, it feels really good. Dana got spanked! Will and Diane danced! The whole sex as a dare thing with Stacie and Eli was incredibly squicky but also totally hilarious; I said it before, but I can’t think when I’ve enjoyed Eli this much. I thought it was fun to see that totally different aspect of the law – the grand jury. Wasn’t it odd to see so much testifying without a judge to referee? It’s not two sides opposed, it’s – well, a ham sandwich. Or – well, not to sound like Elsbeth, but what’s the opposite of the ham sandwich in this scenario?
So, what do you think? Is Alicia just going to pick up and take that vacation? Is she more of a mountain type or a beach type? Did anyone else wonder if Alicia would be served by Diane’s handsome Australian friend? I’ll admit, I was totally expecting it. I have a lot of trouble imagining they’re going to air a new episode against the Super Bowl, of all things, but who knows? Either way, I’m sure I’ll be back chatting with you soon.