E: For the last few episodes, I’ve been complaining a touch at the lack of Alicia. Well, not anymore. She got quite a lot too do this week – be disgusted, be wrong, be sorry. And she got to do something she doesn’t do very often; she cried. If the end of this episode didn’t break your heart, I don’t know why you’re watching this show.
Oh, and? When I said that I had no idea what the writers were planning to do with Caitlin? Yeah. How true that statement was. Talk about an epic prediction fail!
“And that’s just the beginning!” a self-satisfied male voice proclaims over swelling music and a vivid sunset. Biotech is up 30%; holographic imaging is up 52%. How lovely. I think for a moment we’re talking about McDonald Douglas – what with the waving fields of grain – but no, it’s a company called Herald Equity Group, and by this account it’s doing just fantastic. The narrator instructs everyone to give a warm welcome to the board of directors – we’re at some sort of enormous stock holders meeting, it seems. Okay. That’s a more upbeat video opening than last week, at any rate.
But my relief that we’re looking at test tubes and grain fields rather than suicides is short lived, because too soon, we get to see foundation being applied to the smug mug of freed murderer Colin Sweeney. Herald Equity. Facepalm! That was a missed catch. I didn’t remember at all what his company name was – and I should have since I knew he was going to be in this episode. Anyway, it’s a nice bit of continuity.
“It’s not about morals, it’s about money,” Eli Gold sneers off-screen. What? I’m so confused. “He’ll try to make it about your backstory; he needs to go there because he can’t stand on his own record as a CEO.” How funny it is to see Eli get worked up as if he had an emotional stake in Colin Sweeney’s future. Um. Also. Do people who aren’t actors or critics use the word backstory? My computer doesn’t think it’s a real word. Am just wondering. “The bastard,” Sweeney drawls, amused, as a makeup artist drags a sponge across his chin. “But you stay calm,” Eli continues, ignoring Sweeney’s little barb, “keep your voice low. He gets you to raise your voice, or lose your cool, he wins.” Indeed. “And what if he asks about killing my wife?” Colin asks. (Can you imagine being the makeup artist? Ugh.) Wait, is this a debate? “Well, he will ask you, it’s his only play,” Eli begins, but Colin cuts him off. “I was asking my legal consultant, Mrs. Florrick.” And there’s Alicia in a white suit, standing next to Eli. They’re in a busy backstage area, clearly waiting for Sweeney to take the main stage at the meeting.
“Say you didn’t,” she says mildly, “it’s the truth, isn’t it?” Or not. He peers over at her. He’s dressed quite flamboyantly – pink and blue striped shirt, orange-y red tie under a black vest. “It is,” Sweeney smiles as the artist dusts him with her powder brush, “thank you.” Eli’s having none of the mildness. “You’re trying to take back the company that was stolen from you,” he thunders. Indeed, I remember Sweeney being quite upset about that before, more upset about that than about anything or anyone else. “This is about the 30% drop in stock prices since Gerald Drescher took over.” Oh. So much for the 52% growth, then, rosy promotional film! “And the vote is going my way?” Sweeney wonders, standing to don his jacket. “We swung Brinford Mutual your way this morning, 36,000 shares.” Apparently that’s a yes? Sweeney responds with his usual facial (and verbal) gymnastics. “Good. And your firm will have a 5% stake, Mrs. Florrick; that must look good for you, making so much money.”
“Yes, it does,” she replies without enthusiasm, “Happy days.” Ha! Nice. “You know, others may find your cynicism bracing, Mrs. Florrick. I find it charming.” He turns that sentence into a completely disgusting come-on, and she rolls her eyes. It’s the right response; he’s so ludicrous that you can’t even pay attention to it. Alicia’s clearly past caring. The fact that this character gets women to have sex with him voluntarily is really beyond my comprehension.
There’s a round of applause from the audience. “Okay, here we go,” Eli calls Colin to attention. ‘First line?” “I believe in stem cells,” Sweeney recites, mocking the phrase. “That is our future!” The audience starts to bellow. “Boos! Really? How gauche,” Sweeney snarks, and heads out on the stage, unperturbed.
Eli turns to Alicia. “He’s weird with you,” he notes. Duh! ‘Yeah,” Alicia sighs. Why, is he not that weird with other people? Instead of stem cells, Sweeney breaks immediately into talk of mismanagement. Alicia’s drawn away by her phone ringing. “”Yeah? What’s wrong,” she asks. “We’re being evicted,” comes Grace’s voice. ‘We’re not being evicted,” Zach counters. “Here,” he reaches out for the phone. “That’s what he said, he said 90 days,” Grace turns away from her brother. ‘Don’t dramatize it,” big brother insists, “he said it’s a condo conversion.”
Stammering, Alicia asks for clarification. “Mr. Petrono from the 8th floor. He’s here to inspect the apartment and tell us to get out in 90 days.” Zach actually grabs the phone at this point. “This is going on now?” Alicia’s stunned. “I can talk to her if she wants,” Mr. Petrono calls from the threshold. She wants. Eli wants her paying attention, but she gives him the (one minute) finger. “Mrs. Florrick. I didn’t want you to get the wrong impression. This is good news,” the fellow proclaims. He’s wearing a plaid shirt and a Mr. Rogers cardigan. Um, what’s good news? “We’re giving all the tenants a chance to own and not rent,” he says. “I told your husband about this a year ago,” he continues to her shock. “You told Peter about this?” She can’t believe it. “Oh yes,” comes the blithe answer, “we’ve had this in the works for a while.” Damn. If that’s true, though, why is this the first she’s heard about it? Shouldn’t there have been meetings? Mailings? How can the tenants convert if the tenants don’t know about it? (I’m not saying it couldn’t happen,it just seems suspicious.) “Your lease is up in 90 days and we’re giving you the option to purchase.”
“We’re being threatened with eviction,” she cuts throw his chatter. Because, right, how suspicious it is that she’s finding out about it 90 days exactly from the end of her lease? No, he insists cheerily, “you’re being given the chance at first refusal to purchase, as is your right as a current tenant.” Eli and Kalinda converge on Alicia, who tells Petrono she’ll call him back when she can, you know, hear herself think. “But for the moment, please delay your inspection.” “If that’s what you’d like,” he agrees dubiously, “but please get back to me soon. We’d like to know your plans.” Really? You can ask someone that in a minute long conversation? Asshat. “You’ll be the first person I’ll call,” she says, hanging up.
“Multitasking?” Kalinda asks as Alicia flips through her phone. “Like you wouldn’t believe,” the lawyer agrees. “So where are we on speakers?” While she does comment on the number of microphones set up, Kalinda’s more interesting in throwing (or discovering) a wrench in the works. As Alicia leaves a message for Peter to call her right back, Kalinda lets it go. “I just happened to overhear Drescher’s lawyer on her cell,” she begins, jerking her head toward the back of the room where – is that disgraced Judge Victoria Adler on the phone? “Just happened?,” Eli wonders. Why even ask, Eli? “More or less. She was just celebrating because they moved some late shares to Drescher’s column.” Wishful thinking, Alicia hopes, but no. “Sounded real,” Kalinda replies. “Sounded like enough to beat Sweeney. 36,800 shares.” Ah. That bests the 36,000 we picked up this morning. Eli’s flustered. “Which one is in play?” “I don’t know,” Alicia replies fitfully, “I thought everyone was firmed up.” She reaches for her phone and dials her protegee.
“Caitlin, are you in the war room?” She is. Love that they’re calling the main conference room that! Diane’s not there, and Caitlin doesn’t know off hand which mutual fund has that many votes. Neither does anyone else in the war room. Useless slugs! Except Alicia and Caitlin don’t know either, so I shouldn’t be so hard on the extras. Go find Will, Alicia demands; it was his case, he might know. “Okay, he’s in with somebody.” “Interrupt him!” Alicia insists. “We have ten minutes until the vote.”
“You’re suspended for six months, Will,” Lionel Deerfield explains. “this is serious business.” Lionel’s on the couch in Will’s office, and Will’s seated across from him in the leather chair. Will’s only sartorial concession to his new status is the lack of a tie. The open neck thing – it’s rather sexy. But Will’s trying to be serious with Lionel. “I’m not saying it’s not, I just run a business here.” That’s why we’re letting you back, Lionel agrees – but that’s all. “Then tell me the rules,” Will begs. “Tell me what I can and cannot do.” Ah – how very exposition-y of them. It’s good, though – it’ll help to have boundaries established. At this point, Caitlin bursts in. “Excuse me, Mr. Gardner, Alicia says she needs an answer right now.” ‘What’s wrong?” he asks quietly. “She’s at the proxy fight. They’re worried 36,800 shares have switched sides and they don’t know which ones.” I feel like there ought to be a list of major shareholders someone could just look at faster than this, don’t you? But okay. We need the exposition. “Well here we go, Lionel,” Will grins. “Does my suspension prevent me from answering that question?”
“Does the question have to do with the legal side of Lockhart/Gardner or the business side?” Well, surely you could make a case that all their clients are business… “Well, he’s a client we represent both criminally and financially, but right now we’ve been asked to assist with his proxy fight.” “Legally?” Lionel asks. How else? They are a law firm! “And financially. We’re his lawyers.” It sure sounds like it’s going to be hard to find a situation where Will can offer assistance. Alicia, who’s still on the phone, urges Caitlin to get the answer, which of course she can’t. “If Caitlin rephrases the question as a business question…” Will suggests. Lionel doesn’t know how she could do that, so Will starts to say. Lionel, of course, stops him. “Will, you can’t give her the question, she has to ask the question,” he laughs. “To advise a subordinate on a legal question is to offer advice.” Will throws up his hands. “Okay. Then we just sit here.”
“How about Mr. Gold’s?” Caitlin steps up. “Yes,” Will realizes, “part of our business is Mr. Gold’s crisis management. Can she ask me a question as to that?” Lionel’s not sure. “Sure, go ahead – take your time,” Will snarks pleasantly. Okay. “She can ask you questions,” Lionel Deerfield reluctantly concedes, “but she has to formulate the questions.” It’s like being in school. Yikes. Caitlin – looking very much on the spot – tells Alicia to hold on. Looks like a delaying tactic to me! Btu she finds the words. “Mr. Gold is concerned his client might lose the proxy fight due to the loss of 36,800 votes. Do you have any idea who they might belong to?” Will and Caitlin both look to Lionel, who nods the go ahead. “Tenley Mutual,” Will says off the top of his head. “Diane’s leaving there now, try her cell phone, you might get her.” Ah. That’s why you pay yourself the big bucks, Will, even if you apparently don’t have an adequate filing system.
“No, thank you, we’ll be in touch,” Diane smiles, shaking the hand of a balding man. She walks out french doors into hall from a very conservatively posh conference room, all cream drapes and dark wood molding. “”Hello, Caitlin,” she calls into her phone. “Yes, I had to switch off during the meeting.” As she listens, Diane lets her assistants keep walking once she hears the news. “No, we’re leaving now,” she frowns, “hold on a minute.” Diane returns through the french doors, a funny little challenging smile on her face, her voice amused and calm. “Mr. Tenley. Did you just lie to me?”
Snap! Damn, Diane, you are the coolest.
“I’m stronger for it,” Sweeney insists fiercely, “I’m tougher for it. And I’m ready to re-take the reins of the company I created!” There’s applause mixed with boos. “He said he told you a year ago,” Alicia flares into her cell phone. Peter raises his eyebrows. “He’s lying. I never met a Mr. Petrono. You know what he’s doing, don’t you?” Peter’s got an office full of minions as usual. “He’s establishing a timeline,” Alicia agrees. “That’s right. He needs to give fair warning before he can enforce an eviction.” Ugh. “Could you sign an affadavit to that effect?” He will. “But you should think about doing it. Buying,” he suggests.
She’s flustered by the thought. “Oh, I don’t know,” she says. “You like it. The kids like it,” he observes. “It’s a lot of debt to take on,” she worries. “I thought you were making the really big bucks over there,” Peter replies, and Alicia laughs happily. “Yeah, that’s me,” she grins. (Well, but isn’t she? She’s supposed to make more money than him, right, and he’s got to be making good money. Enough money to laugh at the fancy private school tuition.) “Okay, I’ll talk to you later, Peter,” she says, hanging up; Eli walks past her, phone to his own ear, and gives her a startled look.
“Ah, um, hey, it’s Eli – we have a problem,” he tells the phone. “When don’t we have a problem, Eli?” Peter wonders. “Hey, were you just on with Alicia?” He was. Why? “You just sounded good together – I was standing right next to her.”
Peter rolls his eyes. “Eli, stop scheming.” But look, he’s smiling when he says it. Interesting. “Now, what’s hurting my chances to being governor today?”
“A blog called the Cook County-ienne says that the State’s Attorney’s Office is a hot bed of sex and you approve of it.” “And when is a blog ever wrong?” Peter drawls. Ha. “Peter, it is specific – it says that two ASA had sex on your office couch three days ago.” Yikes! How would the blogger know what? I know he’s got a glass door, but it isn’t clear glass. Of course Peter looks over at his couch, and the two unlucky employees sitting on it (a woman and a man, as it happens); the fellow senses Peter’s attention and looks up rather guiltily. We can’t listen to this kind of gossip, Peter grumbles. “We can be responding to every issue involving you and sex, Peter. We’re vulnerable on sex, for reasons I hope I don’t have to spell out. You swore you were going to run a clean office.” Yeah, no thanks to you, Eli! “This is dirty.” Eli smirks at Alicia, who’s walking past him, on the phone again.
“So we can get him back on our side?” she asks. “They’ll swing the 36800 shares to Sweeney,” Diane reports from a corner of Tenley’s luxurious conference room, “if he guarantees them another seat on the board.” That shouldn’t be a problem, Alicia believes. ‘And one more thing,” Diane cautions, “no more drama. That’s why Drescher convinced them to peel away. Sweeney’s too high maintenance.” “Are you asking me to guarantee no new drama from Mr. Sweeney?” Alicia asks in a bit of justified disbelief. Diane’s reply is dry. “Can you guarantee he won’t kill anyone in the next five minutes?” Alicia feels mostly sure her client can meet this daunting threshold.
“Okay, well, Tenley will call in his vote, and he’s in our camp. How’s Sweeney doing?” Diane wonders. Alicia listens to Sweeney answer questions. “First of all, thank you for that question. Or should I thank your boss Mr. Drescher?” “He’s very good at this,” she nods. “If I had stock I might even vote for him.” That pleases Diane. “And good job, Alicia. I know how hard this Sweeney business is on you.” “Oh,” Alicia demurs, “it’s fine. But thank you. In fact, Diane, could we talk sometime? About … things?” “Well that sounds ominous,” Diane replies. Alicia’s flustered and embarrassed. “Oh, no, I, I mean,” she lowers her voice till it’s almost inaudible,”salary. I hate to talk about these things. I just thought since I was on the partner track…” And I suddenly might need to buy a home… Diane rightly notes it’s a question for another day. “Let’s just get Sweeney in as CEO, okay? Then we can talk about a raise.” That’s fine by Alicia.
Meanwhile, a beautiful woman (Morena Baccarin of Firefly, V and Homeland) introduces herself as Isabelle Swift, a corporate event planner with Herald. She stands alone at a microphone, slender in a cream dress with a coral cardigan. “Do you recognize me, Mr. Sweeney?” Sweeney squints out into the floodlights. “Um – no, I’m sorry. Who are you?” Alicia hears something in his voice which belies his words. “Uh oh,” she says from the wings, and Eli rounds on her. “Uh oh? Why uh oh?” Drama, Alicia sighs.
“I’m the woman you sexually harassed when you hired me,” she begins; Eli turns to Alicia in consternation. Drama is right. “And the woman you fired when I wouldn’t sleep with you.” Conversation breaks out everywhere; who wouldn’t believe that? The man’s a notorious hound; we just saw him behave inappropriately with Alicia. “And the woman who’s going to sue you and Herald Equity for sexual harassment.” “Young woman, you know that’s not true,” Sweeney leans over on the podium and insists. We watch the two of them in a split screen on the giant monitor on the stage. “Then how do you explain this?” She reaches down into the shadows where nothing was when we saw her standing at first – and she pulls up a little boy with big ears and a blue sweater. “Meet your son, Mr. Sweeney.”
Oh, my. That is some drama.
“The ninth floor, north facing – that’s some of our best views,” Petrono tells Alicia over the phone on the following day. “I understand, Mr. Petrono, how much are we talking?” she replies with some asperity. “For your four bedroom?” “It’s three bedrooms and a bonus,” she corrects, annoyed. (That’s tricky, right, because the room Peter was sleeping in was pretty damn tiny, but it obviously functioned as a bedroom.) “Three and a half bedrooms,” he concedes, and she rolls her eyes at the ridiculousness of his definition, “that’s 1.2 million.” Yikes! And that’s their downsizing? Damn. “But remember, you can get really great financing.” Well, interest rates are great now, anyway. I wonder how much her credit might have been damaged by Peter’s debts and all those worries from the first season? She wonders what the hidden costs are, and Petrono at first denies there could be such a thing. “I mean, I know when these tenant conversions go condo they sometimes have hidden costs,” she insists. “Well, you’ll have to purchase your parking space, and there will be a monthly charge for the association fees.” He makes her ask how much: $35,000 for the parking and 2k a month for the condo fees. Holy crap! Does that come with a butler? A mint on your pillow? A robotic dog to bring you your slippers?
Over in the war room, Caitlin is holding court. “We lost the proxy vote,” no duh! “but we’ve applied for an immediate injunction against the results. Unfortunately…” “There seems to be a narrative of unfortunatelies…” Diane sighs. Yes indeed there does. Caitlin agrees, “Unfortunately we’re up against a deadline. Mr. Sweeney lost the proxy fight. So the law requires that he liquidate his shares in 72 hours.” Damn. Wow. That’s harsh! That really makes it all or nothing – talk about a high stakes fight! “So we have 72 hours to win an injunction,” Diane surmises. Alicia looks on, somewhat dismayed, perhaps, that Caitlin suddenly looks like she’s in charge of the case. “Yes,” Caitlin agrees, ” and we need to prove two things in court. One, that Isabelle Swift’s accusations are a lie.” Which means we have to prove that Sweeney’s not the father, Diane wonders.
“No,” David Lee answers for his niece, “the sexual harassment is a lie, and the only proof of harassment is paternity. I’m applying for an immediate paternity test. Go ahead, Caitlin.” Will slinks into the room, listening. “Second,” Caitlin resumes her narrative, “we have to prove her accusation was intended to throw the proxy vote. If Mr. Drescher is behind Isabelle’s lies, then Mr. Sweeney will get a re-vote and Drescher will be precluded from running.” Alrighty then! “We need to prove a connection between Isabelle and Drescher,” Diane realizes. “Yes,” says Caitlin, clasping her hands together, “I am going to court today.” Will makes his one contribution to the assembly. “Actually, Alicia, aren’t you going to court today?” All the heads in the room turn to him.
“Yes, Caitlin and I,” Alicia confirms, standing out amongst her colleagues with her red suit jacket (with its baffling inside fasteners). “And everyone knows the rules regarding Will’s suspension,” Diane chimes in. “You can’t talk to me about specific legal cases, but you can confer with me about Eli’s business.” And about strategies he developed before his suspension, right? If anyone’s in doubt, they should check with Diane first. “So what does Mr. Sweeney say about this woman?” Diane asks Caitlin, who gapes back at her, unable to answer. She looks to Alicia in a panic. I bet no one talks to Sweeney who doesn’t have to; certainly not Goldilocks. “He didn’t touch her,” Alicia repeats. “He hired her, but that’s all.” “And we believe him?” Diane wonders, because it’s not like the man’s incapable of it. “Well, the timing of Isabelle’s accusations seems suspicious, so guardedly, yes.” Um, ya think the timing is whack? Yeah.
“Good,” Diane cries, “so let’s get moving.” Everyone scurries out of the war room, collecting their things. On her way to the door, Alicia leans improperly close to Will’s exposed neck. “Thank you,” she whispers. Woah. Oh oh my. He gulps a little, turning to watch her leave.
“You’re on it, right?” Alicia asks Kalinda once she’s in the hall. And weird – what’s Kalinda doing in the doorway rather than up with Caitlin and Diane? “Finding a connection between Drescher and Isabelle? Yeah.” More coworkers walk out, clearing our view, and holy smokes, Kalinda’s dress is crazy flattering – there’s a panel of leather down the front. It’s just sick. “Alicia,” she calls out, preventing her colleague from leaving.”Yeah?” Kalinda steps closer and pitches her voice low. “Watch out for that one.” She points to Caitlin, who’s caucusing with Diane and her uncle. “I know,” Alicia sighs, “but I’m tired of being paranoid. She’s just hungry.” “Hungry like a piranha. She’s hiding something,” Kalinda notes. Yep. Alicia shrugs as she walks away.
“It’s not about having sex on my couch,” Peter addresses his subordinates. Boy, that’s a sentence I bet he never thought he’d have to say in his job. His audience titters. “It’s about perception. I want you to talk to your ASAs. Informally.” Once again, he’s looking completely embarrassed, but also steeled to do what he must. “Four days ago, who had sex in this office? Cary will coordinate. The rules are very clear, people. No fraternization between coworkers. I will not let this office devolve into a frat house!” Ouch. “Not gonna happen,” he finishes, waving a finger. They’re dismissed.
“Ironic, huh?” Geneva drawls, following Cary out of Peter’s office. “What’s that?” he asks. My. That’s quite the paisley tie. “You. Investigating fraternization in the State’s Attorney’s Office.” Why is it called fraternization, I wonder? I mean, fraternal means brotherly, and that is not what they’re talking about. Just saying. “When your relationship with ASA Dana Lodge might be interpreted as such?” He turns to face her. “Do you have something you want to say, Geneva?” She stares at him coolly. “Just said it.”
Dude. Boy is in trouble.
“Will I admit to the odd sexual dalliance now and then? Of course! I’m human. I like sex. Don’t you, Your Honor?” Colin Sweeney turns his eyes up to Bebe Neuwirth – amazing Broadway performer and also chilly Lilith from Frazier, here known as Judge Claudia Friend. Judge Friend is utterly no-nonsense. “Mr. Sweeney. You enjoy being inappropriate, saying things intended to shock. You’ll find that won’t work here. I’m not charmed.” He apologizes with exaggerated care. “I will be more circumspect.” And I’ll buy that for a dollar. “Mr. Sweeney,” Alicia attempts to redirect his attention (and ugh, what the heck must her first question have been, to elicit such a response?). “You did not have sex with Isabelle Swift, did you?” She gestures to the opposite side of the courtroom. “Nooooo,” he denies vehemently, “She’s not to my taste. Much too obvious.” Riight. Because there’s nothing obvious about you, Mr. Sweeney. Also, Morena Baccarin is preposterously beautiful.
It WAS former judge Victoria Adler! How weird it would be – maybe even humiliating – to go back to being a lawyer after you’d been a judge? She objects to that oh so charming comment, and is sustained. “But you did hire her?” Of course. “I needed someone at Herald Equity to entertain clients when I wasn’t around – a sort of Fredo, but prettier.” Was that Fredo’s role? I haven’t see The Godfather in such a long time. What happened when Drescher took over? “Well, when I went to prison, I cleaned house for his personal appointments – I thought that was the gentlemanly thing to do.” Ugh, he’s so pleased with himself. “You fired Isabelle,” Alicia confirms. “Yes, as a part of my housecleaning.” “But Isabelle was rehired by Mr. Drescher?” Former Justice Adler takes this moment to wonder why Alicia’s using honorific titles for Mr. Sweeney and Mr. Drescher, but not for Miss Swift. (Not for nothing, but if you pay attention throughout the episode, you’ll find the observation is dead on.) “Well, clearly it’s because I want to influence the judge somehow,” Alicia snarks (oh, because you don’t?). “Are you suggesting that I’m trying to influence the judge?” Adler shakes her head as if it were a preposterous notion. “Rraw!” Colin meows. You don’t even want me to describe the gesture he makes to go with the noise. Alicia shoots him a highly annoyed look, and the judge shushes him.
“Given that there was no objection, please continue, Mr. Sweeney,” the judge declares. “Yes, Mr. Drescher rehired her. I imagine he was impressed by Miss Swift’s tremendous work in soft core movies.” Former Judge Adler doesn’t fare better with her objection this time. “There’s no jury, Miss Adler. This is an emergency injunction. I know Miss Swift worked in soft core movies before she changed careers. Overruled.” Huh. I kind of like the rationality of that – no histrionics. “I myself was impressed in her tremendous skills in this area, especially in one movie…” You’re not doing a very convincing job of seeming uninterested in Miss Swift, are you, Colin? Alicia clears her throat, and it gets him back on track. “but I was surprised that Gerald hired her back – Gerald is of course Mr. Drescher over there…” Damn, Drescher is a dried up old prune. “That’s why I think she’s angry with me.” Adler rises to object yet again. “I’ll retract that. Save everybody time.”
“Two dinner receipts,” Kalinda explains, her awesome dress covered up by a bright blue coat. “one for Gerald Drescher, he’s the CEO of Herald Equity, and the other for Isabelle Swift, his employee – both for the exact amount, down to the penny.” Okay. A Caucasian waitress in a black mandarin style dress with red embroidery looks at her as if to say ‘so what?’ “They both had dinner together, split the bill in half, and then expense accounted it.” Okay, reasonable assumption, especially if the time stamps were the same. “And you want to know…” the waitress asks curiously. “How close they were, did they leave together, were they….” “Sleeping with each other?” the waitress finishes the thought in her pleasantly gravely voice. Kalinda smiles and looks away as if embarrassed. “Well, waitresses do have the best gossip.” I have incredible trouble imagining that the waitress would actually recognize two customers by their names without having to see a photo first, unless they were both regulars. “Well I’ve seen them together. They did seem pretty close. But she’s a CEO slut.”
Huh? Leaving aside my credulity that the waitress would actually know who amongst her customers was a CEO? What a gross term. “She’s always hanging out with CEOs. Like that other guy?” She leans forward to impart some of that delicious gossip. “What other guy?” “The one accused of murder,” the waitress finishes, relishing each word.
“Colin Sweeney?” The waitress smiles ferally. “Oh yeah. She was here with him before he went to jail.” Drama drama drama! The waitress can’t quite contain her grin. “And you observed them together?” Kalinda asks carefully. “If by together you mean, did I observe them slip into the men’s room together for about twenty minutes and come out half dressed? Yes,” she giggles.
Sweeney looks grave. “Okay, there was oral sex. But that was before I hired her, there was no sexual harassment.” Ew. Right, because that’s just what you do when you’re interviewing? “You perjured yourself, Mr. Sweeney,” Alicia fumes. “How do you figure?” he wonders. Um, hello? “You said you never had sex!” “There was no real sex,” he scoffs, “only oral sex. You didn’t ask me about oral sex.” Oh, good that we cleared that up, Mr. President. Alicia turns away in anger and disgust. “So there was no vaginal sex, is that right?” Kalinda steps in coolly. No, he says. “Are you sure?” Which is to say, are you lying again? “Yes! She performed oral sex on five occasions.” Well, that’s suddenly a very precise account. Alicia turns back, still appalled. “Nothing special. I found her business-like and…” “Okay,” Alicia cuts him off. “What’re you thinking?” she asks Kalinda. “The paternity test. It’ll come back negative?” Kalinda guesses. “Yes,” Sweeney agrees happily, “It’s as if I’m telling the truth!”
So. Okay. Alicia’s got questions for Will in his office. “Say your client perjured himself.” Right. What to do now? “Just any client?” Will wonders. “Yes.” “Because if this were a specific client, I could not legally answer.” Any client, she lies. “And you discover after putting him on the stand, he perjured himself.” She’s pacing, talking things over with him, and I like that a lot. “Without knowing it, you suborned perjury.” Yep. “Then you can’t question him further, pursuant to the code of professional responsibility. Not without knowingly suborning more perjury.” Thanks, Will. Good to know. “Right,” she says, holding up a finger, “but now the opposing attorney intends to put another witness on the stand to contradict him.” “With the truth,” Will nods. “Or another lie – I don’t know,” Alicia counters. And it’s true, we really don’t. There seem to be plenty of lies to go around. “”Can I use this perjured testimony now in the record to question this opposing witness?”
Will rolls a baseball around in his fingers, thinking it over. “You must represent the interests of your client,” he decided, punctuating the sentence with the baseball. “You were not aware of the perjury when it happened; to not use that perjured testimony would be to not represent the interests of your client. So yes, you can use it.” Wow, that’s weird. Wouldn’t playing up the testimony (which she knows to be false) make it more like he was charged with perjury? “As if it were the truth,” she wonders. “No, as if it’s in the record as the testimony of your client.” She sits down and blows out a breath. “That’s what I thought,” she sighs. “The law is an odd thing.” You said it, sister. “It is indeed,” he agrees. “Of course, you’re getting legal advice from a suspended lawyer.” She laughs.
There’s a problem, he warns her before she can go. “If the opposing attorney wants to put your client on the stand, your hands are tied.” Bah. “I can’t elicit further testimony that I know is perjured?” she asks. Exactly. “That’ll make it one hard re-direct!”
“So you were working that night, but you didn’t go into Peter’s office?” Cary’s holding out a picture of Peter’s couch. Ha! The coworker (the super familiar Laurence Mason) looks at the picture, and quickly looks away. “No, we were working the fifth street burglaries,” he claims, but he’s not particularly believable. “And you didn’t go on the executive floor?” No, the man says. See, here’s the problem, Cary hones in in his best prosecutor interrogation voice, it turns out you’ve accessed the executive floor 3 times. He’s got a highlighted sheet and everything. Ooops. “Just tell me. Jeremy.”
Jeremy turns his sad brown eyes on Cary. “We didn’t do anything wrong,” he admits in a deep, gravely voice. “But you had sex in Peter’s office?” Jeremy’s not willing to say. “I say yes, what will happen?” “Peter just wants to know what happened,” Cary insists soothingly. “He wants to make sure it won’t happen again,” he finished with a smile. “Not on my permanent record?” Now that’s a phrase you don’t hear from adults that often. “Yes,” Cary half laughs, “I have bigger fish to fry! Just tell me what happened!” Gosh, I really hope that’s true, Cary. Is it true? Jeremy sighs and shakes his head.
“And so, Mr. Sweeney always met you in hotel rooms?” Victoria Adler asks Isabelle Swift. “To have sex, yes,” Miss Swift answers. “That was on how many occasions?” 8, before he went to jail. All when she was working at Herald Equity. “And then the last time, when you resisted him, you were fired?” Yes. Why did she resist him, I wonder? Not that I don’t find him eminently resistable – and not that it really matters, to be honest, because of course that’s her right – but why stop sleeping with once you started? Former Justice Adler’s finished; her lack of curiosity on this point bugs me.
And so Alicia begins. “So. Isabelle. Mr. Sweeney insists you never had sex.” Oooh, not only is she not using formal language (nice tip, Ms. Adler) but she’s taking quite the aggressive tone. Yikes. That’s sort of unpleasant to see, when it’s really not a tough stretch at all to believe Sweeney did harass her. “Isn’t it a fact that you’re lying to us today?” No, declares Miss Swift. “He testified on his whereabouts on all the nights you claim to have had sex – isn’t it a fact?” Will slinks into the courtroom, unbeknownst to Alicia. ” He’s lying!” Miss Swift insists. “And yet this is your only argument in response, he’s lying?” Alicia makes a show of her disdain. “Yes! He sexually harassed me.” She blinks her eyes rapidly; we can see the water in them. “Miss Swift. My client took the stand, and he swore to tell the truth. He swore he didn’t touch you. He testified in great detail on all the n…” and that’s when she sees Will, and it trips her, maybe because she’s just said Sweeney’d promised to tell the truth. “On all the nights that you claim that he was having sex with you that he was somewhere else. How is this not a classic he said/she said?” Alicia’s bombastic, exaggerated, which we rarely hear. It’s not really pleasant.
“Because it’s not,” Swift declares. “Because… I’m telling the truth.” The judge tilts her head in the background. “And that‘s all you have to say? That is why we should believe you?” Isabelle nods. Alicia throws her hands out in disgust. “Nothing further,” she shrugs. Will nods in the background. Isabelle is quivering with emotion, and I have to say, I was moved.
On the other hand, the character’s an actress.
Judge Friend dismisses her, and Adler asks to recall Sweeney. Of course she does. “We strongly object, Your Honor! Mr. Sweeney has already testified. This is not a full trial – we are merely asking for an emergency injunction.” The judge is clearly surprised by Alicia’s vehemence. “Yes, and counselor Adler is merely requesting a simple recall of your witness!” She’s using this “back down, crazy person” voice that’s pretty funny. “I see no reason to deny her. We’ll adjourn until tomorrow.” Alicia looks back at Will, who tips his head in a shrug. You win some, you lose some.
“And the square footage?” Alicia asks her old pal the real estate agent (not dressed in Pepto Bismol pink this time). “It’s not what you have now,” she admits, “but you could put up a wall and split that bed room in two for the kids.” What, it’s not even a three bedroom? This place is a loft and looks as bare as possible. “Oh, any bigger kitchens?” Alicia moans. “I told you not to pre-judge it, you’re prejudging it!” the agent trills. Um, seriously, that’s a huge space, but the kitchen is super tiny – there are two, maybe three cabinets on one wall, and those are all taped up. Seriously, this is the size of an airplane kitchen. “This is really the best I can do?” Alicia begs. “In your price range, near the private school, in a good neighborhood, yes,” the agent admits ruefully. “But, more will come on the market this summer.” Alicia nods unhappily. Summer’s too late. That’s crappy.
“You know what’s funny?” the agent asks. “What?” Alicia wonders, coming back from her worries. “I have the perfect place for you,” the agent smiles. “You do? Where?” Alicia’s excited. “I do. In fact you’ve seen it,” the agent says, and her smile’s gotten bigger and more satisfied and more mysterious. “Oh, the last time we looked?” “No,” she grins, “before that. Your house.”
Alicia can’t decide what to feel. “My?” she asks. “The people who bought your old house are upside down on it. They’re very, very motivated.”
From the look on her face, you’d think the agent just offered Alicia something illegal. “No,” our heroine declares. She’s kind of freaking out. “That’s what I thought. It’s a little out of your range anyway,” the agent acknowledges. “And weird. It would be weird,” Alicia hisses. Hee! (I totally get it, it’s just we don’t see her get to be so weirded out, and it’s kind of cute.) “You spent 15 happy years there, why would that be weird?” Alicia doesn’t see why she doesn’t get it,w hich gives her pause. “Because it would!” It would be, right? “Maybe we’re all like salmon,” the agent observes, “Just trying to swim up stream, get back to our homes again.” Huh. That’s the long way home of the time. Is Alicia going home, and what do we mean by that – is she returning to her old house in a new way, or will she make the apartment her home, or somewhere else? Is Colin going home to his company – the company that’s more home to him than a person could be? What about the rest of our gang?
A phone rings. “Oh, there’s your cell phone. Again.” Um, you’re her real estate agent, not her spouse. You don’t get to be passive aggressive about the ringing phone, lady! “Diane, hi, yes,” Alicia says.
And suddenly we’re walking out of a building – Lockhart/Gardner’s building, I think. “They recalled Sweeney to the stand, and the judge overruled my objection, so I think we need to…” “Yes,” Diane interrupts, “Caitlin already filled me in. I think her idea is right.” Diane turns to look at Alicia through her oversized Sofia Loren sunglasses. “Her idea,” Alicia repeats in disbelief. Diane nods. “Prepping Sweeney? We need to question him again on redirect. And the only way he can avoid perjuring himself again is to prep him for it,” Diane explains. Well, it’s a good way to help, I’m sure. He’s smart enough to figure it out, but will he do it? That’s the real question. “It’s a tight ethical line he has to walk.” Right. Why do I think Alicia already knew that? “Yes it is,” she says. “Good luck with it! Have Caitlin keep me posted. She has good instincts for a first year, don’t you think?” Smiling, Diane lowers herself into a waiting car. “I do,” Alicia says, but her head snicks to the side in annoyance once Diane’s door is closed.
“So, ah, as long as it’s my word against hers, I’m fine, right?” Sweeney asks from his perch on Alicia’s white couch. “”Your word is the problem here,” David Lee explains, none too delicately. “The other lawyer will ask you about things that actually happened.” Ha! I love it. “And this time, you have to tell the truth!” Alicia insists. ‘Of course,” Sweeney laughs. So not good. “We can’t advise you, for example, to dispute Miss Swift’s uncorroborated statements if you know them to be true, or attack Miss Swift’s credibility any chance you get.” “Yeeeeees,” drawls Sweeney as if imitating The Simpson‘s Mr. Burns, “I appreciate you not advising me to do those things.” Alicia’s got no patience for his little games today. “I’ll also be asking questions on redirect, Mr. Sweeney, and you have to answer me truthfully, do you understand? That is the only way I can question you.” Sweeney stands. “Scout’s honor, Mrs. Florrick.” And then he’s off to get his beauty rest. Lovely. “Telling the truth,” he muses from the door, “it’s so … tiring.”
“This’ll be good for a laugh.” David Lee rolls his eyes at the thought, and sashays off, giving Caitlin (working on the table outside Eli’s office) a little finger wave. “Helloooo” he calls out softly. She smiles adorably back to him.
And Alicia steps out to subdue her wayward protegee.
When Caitlin sees her coming, she hastily slams her folder shut and even starts to shut down her computer. What’s that about? Way to give out the old All About Eve feeling, chickie. But of course she can chat with Alicia. “We haven’t had, ah, much time to talk,” she stammers. “I know, begins Alicia, looming over the younger woman, “and I want you to take what I’m about to say as constructive advice from a mentor.” Alright, Caitlin dimples adorably. Damn. Alicia really is going to lower the boom; you can hear how worked up she is in her clipped tones. Carefully, she sits. “Don’t ever undercut your mentor again.”
Caitlin’s jaw drops. “Under…” The little sweetie just can’t imagine what she might have done wrong! “Your strategy was to prep Sweeney to avoid further perjury?” Yep, there it is. “Oh my God, Diane cornered me coming back from court. She wanted to know where we were, and I was just updating her.” Right. “I don’t want any explanations,” Alicia replies implacably, and Caitlin presses her lips together; the dressing down is going to stick. “I just want you to be proud of the way you conduct yourself here. Being an associate in a law firm, people judge you.” Alicia leans forward. “The point is, all you want to be judged on is your work. Your work.”
Damn. Woman knows how to deliver a lecture, doesn’t she? And she sure knows how to get her point across without yelling. “I understand,” Caitlin nods, tension visible in her jaw. “I’ll see you in court,” Alicia says quietly, rising. David Lee walks through the hall, sees Alicia walking away, and sees Caitlin’s unhappy face.
“Yes, these are from the Evanston Tavern,” Colin Sweeney smarms, leafing through a folder of receipts offered to him by Victoria Adler. “I went there often with Miss Swift in 2008.” In the gallery, Isabelle raises her chin. “For what purpose?” Adler asks. “To discuss events she was planning. Given that she was an events planner.” Nice, snark-boy. “And these were held 20 miles from your office, because you couldn’t find a single restaurant in Chicago that had a table?” Why bother with a restaurant in the first place? “Not one that can make an authentic coq au vin, you know,” Sweeney gushes about the classic French chicken in wine dish. (Which, by the way, doesn’t seem like something they’d serve in a restaurant where Caucasian waitresses wear asian-style dresses. So there are more places where this happened?) He looks up at Judge Friend, expecting solidarity. “Mr. Sweeney, isn’t it true that you and Miss Swift repaired the bathroom at the Evanston Tavern to engage in oral sex?” Alicia objects.
“Isn’t it relevant whether Miss Swift and Mr. Sweeney engaged in oral sex?” Lucky me, getting to hear more about this! The judge agrees that it is, and directs Sweeney to answer. Oh, boy. How can he answer this without perjuring himself again? What he did before sort of kissed the line, but this question’s too specific. “Did I engage in oral sex with Miss Swift? No.”
Alrighty. He perjured himself again. Alicia sighs and looks down at the table.
“Mr. Sweeney, may I remind you that you’re under oath?” Alicia objects to Adler’s repetition of the question. The Judge agrees, so it’s Alicia’s turn to question her recalcitrant witness. She stands slowly, straightening the peplum jacket of her very pretty black suit. “Just to confirm, Mr. Sweeney,” she says slowly, “prior to Miss Swift’s accusations, no one had ever accused you of having a sexual relationship with an employee?” That is correct. Gosh, he really likes his flashy ties, doesn’t he? “And at the time, no one ever accused you of having a sexual relationship with Miss Swift, did they?” No, they sure didn’t. “Good,” Alicia nods. “I want to be clear here,” Sweeney adds, and I am the only one who could see Alicia’s inner Wylie Coyote wildly waving in the vain hope that a bus won’t run her over? “”Not only did I not have oral sex with that woman [what is it with the Bill Clinton phrasing, seriously?], or any sex, but I was suffering from a skin condition at the time. I couldn’t have had oral sex!” Alicia looks like she can’t decide whether to smack her head into the wall or to smack Sweeney’s head into one instead.
Judge Friend asks if she’s finished. “Your Honor, ah, pursuant to the professional code of responsibility, I have no further questions at this time.” Victoria Adler looks on curiously. So. Not. Good.
“Their excuses?” Peter asks Cary as he on the nefarious sex-couch. “No excuses, just abject apologies.” Hmmm, says Peter. “Levitis is the head of the financial crimes unit, and Cooper’s a second year works under him.” And does something else under him, apparently. “So his direct supervisor?” Peter, seated in an arm chair next to the couch of love, hands the report back to Cary. “Yes, but…” Cary agrees provisionally, setting the paper down. “But what?” Cary laces his fingers together. “Disciplining two gay men for having gay sex is going to look bad.” Ah. Okay. “I’m not disciplining them for their sexual orientation or the kind of sex they’re having, I’m disciplining them for having sex in this office,” Peter asserts. “I’m just saying,” Cary argues eloquently.
“There are rules,” Peter insists. “One of them is zero tolerance for sexual liaisons in the work place, especially if you’re in a supervisory position.” So, okay. The problem is primarily not the sexual harassment angle – that Levitis is Cooper’s supervisor – but the location? So would it be okay if it happened at someone’s apartment? Cary looks grave. And why are they not worried about who leaked this information online, because if I were them, I totally would be. This is pretty innocuous as scandals go, but if the blogger could come out with this, then what else will they publish? Also, how do you discipline someone for getting it on in your office? All sorts of bad S&M puns are suggesting themselves.
“I found the connection between Isabelle and Drescher,” Kalinda announces exultantly as she and Alicia meet in the reception area, “he made payments to her anonymously from a shell company in the Caymans.” She wiggles her eyebrows suggestively, pleased with the information and herself. “Fantastic!” Alicia enthuses. She’s wearing a blue coat with a humungous fur collar. “Tell Diane I’m on my way.” The rich voice of David Lee resounds through the lobby. “That idiot! That bastard!” he growls. “Sweeney?” Alicia asks, surprised. “What’d he do now?” “He fathered a son,” Lee thunders. “Oh no,” Alicia gasps. “Oh yes. The paternity test came back,” David Lee explains, waving the report over his head. “It’s Sweeney’s kid.”
So I guess that means he was lying about the type of sex as well as the existence of it? Damn.
In his vain attempt to be Bill Clinton, Colin Sweeney says it again. “I did not sleep with that woman!” Diane, resplendent in red, has no patience for this. “Well unfortunately the court does not recognize the doctrine of immaculate conception.” Hee! Diane, you are so great. Alicia tries a more practical approach. “Okay, look. Taking you at your word – which we have no reason to – how could this happen?” David Lee gives Alicia a look for being so naive. “I have no idea,” Sweeney complains. “We never had vaginal sex.” We seem to be at an impasse (he obviously has to be lying) but David Lee has another possibility. “I had a client who lost a paternity suit a few years back; he claimed it was only oral sex. Turns out his girlfriend had a turkey baster.” Oh, ew.
The tone of Diane’s voice here is just so rich, and her timing is gorgeous. “And so it devolves,” she says, swanning into her chair, “from hopes, ideals, dreams, the glory of the law, to a turkey baster.” Bwa! She’s so stinking great. “Immediately after Isabelle fellated you,” oh, David Lee, REALLY? “what happened? She repaired to the bathroom, right, purse in hand, she closed the door, emerges a few minutes later, a rosy bloom on her cheeks…” “Oh dear Lord,” Diane sighs, dropping her face into her hand. “Mazel Tov, Mr. Sweeney,” David continues, “you’re the proud father of 18 years of child support.” Will the three years he’s missed be retroactive? Yeah, that suit’s probably next.
Okay, maybe this is weird to ask, but I can’t help wondering. Is the baby even hers? I mean, how do we know? Are they testing for maternity? Who other than Colin Sweeney know who he was sleeping with at that time? He seemed to get around quite a bit. Oh. And can I also say, if that woman actually created a person to screw an admitted scuzzy guy out of his company? I can’t even express how unutterably monstrous I find that.
Alicia, however, is still thinking practically. “Can we make a fraud argument?” she wonders. “Contraceptive fraud?” David Lee echoes her thought. Yes, that. “Well, it would offset the child support…” which is so not what they’re thinking about now, dude… “but Isabelle would claim that Mr. Sweeney’s sperm was a gift. She could do with it as she pleased.” Alicia’s still focused. “To get the re-vote, first we had to demonstrate fraud on Isabelle’s part. If we could demonstrate Mr. Drescher’s knowledge of contraceptive fraud, the court will order a new election and he’ll be precluded from running.” Okay then, you have a strategy, people.
David Lee stalks out of the conference room, rage in his every step. “Okay, I’ll revise the injunction…” Alicia follows him into the hall to say. He rounds on her in a fury. “What the hell did you say to Caitlin?” he demands. “What did I?” Alicia stammers, and David Lee closes in on her. “She’s resigning. She’s quitting the firm.” Alicia’s shocked. I’m shocked. “Why?” David bulldozes over her words. “You never wanted to hire her to begin with. And I see the way you treat her, the jealousy, the mean girl act. You were supposed to mentor her, not haze her.” Ouch! “David, I have no idea,” Alicia tries to explain herself, in vain. “You don’t make enemies. That’s what you don’t do!” he thunders, his hand stabbing the air between them, before walking away.
Leaning against Cary’s doorway, Geneva’s the image of malevolence. Cary’s looking rather glum himself. “Peter fired Jeremy,” she says. What? Whatever my ideas about discipline were, that wasn’t it. His eyebrows raise. “I know,” he says, his voice weighed down annoyance. He knows she’s not trying to enlighten him. “Zero tolerance is zero tolerance,” she continues. That’s right, he agrees. “Unless you’re white.” Uh oh. Cary doesn’t follow, so Geneva spells out her case. “He fires Wendy Scott-Carr, he fires Jeremy, he demotes Dana, he promotes you over Matan. He promotes you over me. Three ASAs who had double or triple your experience, seniority – and the only difference was the color of your skin.” Okay, now don’t ruin a great point (which could clearly be made against the show’s writers and casting directors) with the “only difference” claim. Matan, for instance, is an incompetent idiot. For that matter, I don’t think you can class Wendy – who was re-hired for a temporary job – in with Jeremy. But it is quite a grouping. “Go tell him if you believe that, go tell him,” Cary replies passionately. “What, that his bias is showing?” Geneva asks. “No, that Dana and I were fraternizing, isn’t that what you want to say? Zero tolerance, right?”
No, not right. So why is it not right? “Because I don’t do that. You want him to know, you tell him.” So that’s not how you operate, huh? You’re not a tattle tale; you just blackmail people into telling on themselves? Cary huffs, and Geneva snorts with contempt. “It’s a bad economy for ideals.”
Damn, that’s a fantastic line.
Alicia and the ginormous fur collar that doubles the size of her head walk into her apartment. (Sorry, it’s just thrown me; to me, this look is very Diane – luxurious, ostentatious – and not Alicia.) Zach jaunts into the kitchen as Alicia sloughs off her bag and keys. “So we’re moving?” he asks cheerfully, waving a maroon folder. Huh? Grace walks in, beaming, hands clasped; Alicia looks at her children suspiciously, red wine bottle in hand. “Well, I don’t know what we’re doing,” she cautions. “But we do have to move, don’t we?” Grace asks. She’s taking this rather well – wasn’t she on the verge of tears with the eviction? Not that “verge of tears” isn’t her natural state, but that makes her attitude here even more baffling. I thought they liked the apartment? “We have to do something,” Alicia shrugs, pouring the wine. True that. Also, she doesn’t even have her coat off. I guess she’s given up on drinking less for Grace, the way the show’s given up on Grace intermittent religiosity and her peculiar tutor. “We’re looking at our options.” And by we, she means I.
Except it turns out the kids are looking at their options. Literally. Finally looking up from her wine (now breathing in the glass), she notices that Zach and Grace are shooting each other portentous looks. “What?” she asks, unnerved. What is this emotion I see? Is it – happiness? Never heard of it. “Your realtor friend came by and dropped this off,” Zach explains, spreading the folder open on the kitchen island. Grace bites her lip happily. They’re glowing.
It’s their old house. That sneaky, sneaky realtor. Of course the kids love their childhood home more than anything. There’s something sacred about one’s childhood home, however much one might like a new place.
“It’s not…” Alicia begins, finally shrugging, “she was just saying it’s on the market.” Grace looks fondly at the picture. “Do you see they still have the old swing there?” “You broke your leg on that swing,” Alicia counters, “that swing almost killed you.” “I know, it’s just, I remember Dad pushing me on it.” Huh. I don’t know that that’s a selling point. “They repainted it,” Zach notices (I think meaning the house, not the swing), “see? I like the old color better.” He smiles softly. “We don’t have the money,” Alicia bursts out, “I wish we did, kids, but it’s a lot.” Now I’m sure the house has appreciated a lot in the last 15-whatever years, but how did they afford it before? Haven’t we established that Alicia’s now making enough more than Peter that he could sue her for support? How could they afford the house before, then? If that’s where the kids grew up, how did they afford it before Peter became State’s Attorney the first time? Grace gives a faint, sad smile. Alicia can’t help looking into the folder, whatever their finances are.
Diane raises her hand, motioning a newly arrived Alicia into her office. Alicia’s wearing the third winter coat of this episode, a beautiful belted wool trench in her signature red. Maybe her money problem has something to do with her excess of outerwear? I know TV shows like to look aspirational, but come on. “Alicia, Caitlin has given notice,” Diane says without preamble, gesturing at the first year sitting across from her. “Yes, I’ve heard,” Alicia says quietly. “I’m surprised.” Caitlin nods, golden curls bouncing on her bright blue suit jacket. “I’ll stay as long as you want to finish all my work.” Alicia cocks her head. “But why? Caitlin, I thought you were liking it here?” “Oh, I am,” Caitlin enthuses, “so much!” Diane nods, and Alicia looks at her boss, apprehensive. Does this have something to do with that dressing down? :I just… I got the results back two weeks ago,” Caitlin admits, “I’m pregnant. I’m getting married.” She seems perhaps anxious about what Alicia might think, but also clearly thrilled, beaming.
What???? I didn’t see that one coming at all.
I guess Kalinda was right – she was hiding something – but dang. It wasn’t evil after all. Alicia’s very, very surprised.
“I…” Alicia flounders. “Yes?,” Diane prompts her. “Congratulations!” Alicia recovers. “It’s wonderful news,” Diane enthuses (which is a little hilarious because clearly Diane’s not happy about this at all). I explained how supportive the firm can be in situations like these – have generous maternity leave and child care package, and several telecommuting options.” Interesting. Is it Alicia’s choice how much time she spends at work, rather than actual necessity? “And I really am grateful, really I am, ” Caitlin lets her soon to be former-boss know, bubbling like a Disney princess. “I just… I wanna be….” “What?” Diane wonders. “A mom,” Caitlin admits with a smiling sigh, looking up at Alicia. Well. What can you say to that? She stands, straightening her blue jacket. “Thank you,” she smiles, and leaves. Diane, who’s wearing a necklace which could be used to chain Colin Sweeney to a chair should he step out of line, looks up at Alicia. “Well,” she says. “Yes,” agrees Alicia. “You should talk to her,” Diane tells Alicia. “I will,” our girl replies.
I suppose this isn’t the moment to carp about how much law school must have cost Caitlin (or her family)? Maybe she and her fiance are independently wealthy. Also, what is this, 1952? Why is she quitting the second she’s knocked up? I mean, even if she wanted to stop afterwards, why wouldn’t she work up till when the baby’s born, or at least until she gets uncomfortable? It’s not that I have any problem with her staying home, obviously; it’s just, what’s she going to do till the baby gets there? Nine months is a really loooooong time.
“Mr. Sweeney’s sperm was not a gift,” David Lee snaps, in a sidebar with Victoria Adler in front of Judge Friend. Yep, just as predicted. “Your Honor, even assuming that this turkey baster fiction is true, the sperm at issue was donated without expectation of return. Ergo, a gift.” Hee. Oh my gosh, they really are going there. The judge has a bronze polka dot shirt on under robe – we see the cuffs peeking out as she squints at the family law attorney. “Mr. Lee, you’re arguing contraceptive fraud?” He nods. “Your position is Mr. Sweeney’s ‘property’ has been … misappropriated?” It certainly is. “Your Honor, does this even merit a response?” Victoria grouses. “The concept is that if the property were not put to its proper use…” Adler cuts Lee off – she gives him the hand – as the judge covers her face with her hands. “Wait a minute, if we agree to call it property, Your Honor, then it was abandoned property, and whoever claims abandoned property has the right to put it to any use.”
“Okay, ugh, enough,” Judge Friend puts up her own hand. “I’m intrigued enough to hear arguments on contraceptive fraud. Disgusted, but intrigued.” David Lee grins victoriously. The judge stops him on his walk back, though: “With the caveat that I’ve heard no evidence to support such a claim. The burden of proof remains on Mr. Sweeney.” Then they’ll be recalling a witness, to attempt to do just that.
Okay, not to be all gross, but – how shall I say – doesn’t the particular location of his deposit imply that he specifically didn’t intend it be put to that use? That he would have a reasonably expectation that such usage was in fact impossible? You know, assuming their story is true and he’s not just lying again.
“These invoices reflect payments Mr. Drescher made to you; how do you explain them?” Caitlin asks Miss Swift. “Compensation,” Isabelle replies. She’s wearing a black cardigan over a white ruched – top? dress? – with a black spray along the opposite side from the ruching. “Gerald recognizes the value of a good employee.” She smiles over at the defendant. “But compensation from his shell company?” Alicia smiles; she thinks they have this one. “I don’t know where it came from, I just accepted it.” Well, if it was your paycheck, that’s one thing, or even a bonus that you get at work? But just giving you money? We’re expected to believe that’s normal? “And there was no quid pro quo?” Looks like Isabelle didn’t take Latin in high school; she stares blankly at Caitlin, who rephrases. “No trade off? No expectation that Mr. Drescher would receive something in return?” So this is clearly in addition to her salary, since salary is practically the definition of a quid pro quo; you work for me, I pay you for it. Isabelle Swift answers no.
“Just to clarify, Isabelle – Miss Swift,” Caitlin starts, heading back for another paper Alicia produces, “your testimony is that your child is the product of consensual sex between you and our client?” It is. Of course the child came from consensual sex, she says. But I thought that her position – wait, what IS her position about why it was consensual and then not? It was coercive some of the time? Did it become harassment in the middle? I’m not saying that couldn’t happen, I’m just saying no one’s put up a narrative to explain how it was and also wasn’t consensual. Would have taken a sentence during her initial testimony, maybe two. So confusing. Anyway.
“In February of 2008, did you take a class in artificial insemination at the Kenwood Learning Center?” Isabelle freezes, and former Judge Adler leans forward in her seat. Isabelle’s eyes flick over to the lawyer. Damn, no way! “Do you need a moment, Miss Swift?” Caitlin asks when there’s no reply. “No,” Miss Swift gulps, “I just needed to remember.” Riight. You just needed to figure out what to say once you’d been caught, you mean. Does that actually mean that Sweeney wasn’t lying? “Yes, I did take such a class.” “And did you ask the teacher of said class how long sperm could survive in a turkey baster?” God, I really, really don’t want to think about how she, um, stored the property before transfer into the turkey baster. I can’t even believe I’m buying this story enough to wonder about the mechanics!
Adler objects on grounds of hearsay. “Actually,” says Judge Friend, “the question was phrased properly.” Alicia nods proudly. “If Miss D’Arcy went further and asked for the teacher’s response, that would be hearsay.” Huh. Ms. Adler is displeased. “So you may answer the question.” Sweeney waits for the answer, eyebrows raised. “I don’t remember what I asked. I might have. I might not have.” Caitlin’s ready to rest. It looks like Swift has slipped through her fingers a little.
“Miss Swift, for the record, you never had any quid pro quo – or trade offs – with Mr. Drescher?” Adler asks. “No, I never did,” Isabelle replies, but before Miss Adler can ask her next question, she cuts her off. “And I wasn’t going to say this, but since I’m being called a liar, I never asked anybody about a turkey baster. Never.” Adler’s shocked and silent. “Uh,” she says, trying to formulate a response. The judge steps in. “Counsel, anything further?” Adler gulps, and Isabelle gives her a challenging stare. “Actually, Your Honor, pursuant to the code of professional responsibility, I have no further questions.” Damn! Of course Alicia knows just what that means. How fascinating that there’s an actual code you have to use to let the judge know you know your client has perjured themselves. Isabelle and Sweeney stare at each other; he smiles a particularly knowing smile.
Her golden head bent over her leather folder, Caitlin works at the office. Alicia and her gorgeous red coat walk up from behind. “You did great today, Caitlin, really great,” Alicia tells her protege, her voice low and a little emotional. Caitlin looks up briefly. “You don’t have to be nice. I’m fine,” she says, writing something. Oh my gosh, how awful that she thinks that’s a lie! “And those are…” “Invitations,” Caitlin looks up with a smile, “to the wedding. I must have looked crazy, hiding them from you yesterday. ” She goes back to writing, and Alicia sits. “I’m sorry if I came down on you hard, before. I think I may have misinterpreted a few things.” You know, you did come down on her hard, but she was taking credit for group work, and that wasn’t right. Though the emotion behind it was really tough, I don’t think Alicia said anything that was actually wrong or even mean. “Office politics around here can tend to make people paranoid.” She smiles in embarrassment; she really does like Caitlin, and I think she hates thinking she might have added to the girl’s decision to leave. But Caitlin smiles. “You didn’t come down hard, Alicia, you were great.”
“You’re a good lawyer, Caitlin. You’re smart, and clever, and you handled today’s questioning like a pro.” It’s clear Caitlin understands this as a prelude to a pitch from the slightly apprehensive way she looks over at Alicia. “You can’t give this up! Even if you give this up for someone whose important to you, there’s a chance you’ll regret it.” Does Alicia regret not working while her kids were young? That’s interesting. Does she think that life would have been different if she’d been focused on more than her family – that she might have noticed the cheating earlier, or that she might have been less dependent on Peter for her happiness? “I’m not giving it up for my fiance. I’m giving it up for myself.” Caitlin D’Arcy nods, convinced of where she stands. “I like the law, but I love my fiance.” There’s dreamy passion in her voice. “But you don’t have to choose – there’s no reason you can’t work, be a wife and a mother,” Alicia pleads. “But I want to choose,” Caitlin cries. “Maybe it’s different for my generation, but – I don’t have to prove anything.” She shrugs happily, indicating her indifference to the idea that a job should define her self-worth. “Or, if I have to, I don’t want to.” She stands, clutching her folder full of invitations. “I’m in love. Thank you.”
Alicia’s thoughtful and more than a little guilty, thinking perhaps of how resistant she was to Caitlin at first. “I’m sorry I wasn’t a great mentor, Caitlin,” she confesses without turning. Perhaps she fears that Caitlin thinks ill of her, but it’s without cause.The girl looks back steadily, sending warmth toward her superior. “You were a great mentor,” she nods firmly, fervently. “Thank you.”
“This is Daddy’s law firm, Stanton.” Oh my Lord. Colin Sweeney leads his little son by the hand through the halls of Lockhart/Gardner. In the conference room, Alicia and David Lee sit on either side of Diane, three monkeys in a row, mouths agape. (Actually, Diane just looks dumbstruck, and David Lee looks mad; it’s Alicia who’s really got her mouth hanging open.) “Oh! These are Daddy’s lawyers. Hi!” He waves through the glass wall. Wow. Has he found a new way to shock! “Mr. Sweeney, this is unexpected,” Diane deadpans.
“Yes, well, Isabelle and I have reached a sensible accommodation, haven’t we?” Sweeney oozes. Isabelle – who we didn’t even see at first – rummages through her purse, and eventually hands Colin what appears to be a folded legal document. “We have,” she smiles brightly. The document is an affadavit in which my beloved acknowledges she was impregnated by, shall we say, unconventional means?” The two cretins smile at each other. “…and further acknowledges Mr. Drescher’s involvement.” “Remarkable,” Diane snarks. Oh, Sweeney quite agrees. “Yes, I’d be quite happy to swap legal fees for a 20 million dollar stake in a company!” David Lee grouses. Wow, that’s some pay out. “So, uh, the two of you are now…” Alicia makes the most hilarious gesture, moving her palms around, trying to figure it out. “Raising a child,” Sweeney grins, as if this were the most delightful game ever. My God, that poor child. He and Isabelle kiss – a peck on the lips, but it’s enough to make your stomach turn for sure. Alicia certainly looks like its triggered her gag reflect. “Ain’t it grand?” Little Stanton’s bored with the proceedings; he rests his chin on the conference table. You poor adorable thing – between nature and nurture, you’re doomed from every possible angle.
“Mr. Sweeney?” Alicia calls out as Sweeney’s steering his little family (shudder) down the hall. “Go ahead,” he tells them. “Get the elevator, Stanton.” You know, for these five minutes when he’s actually engaged, he’s been a very attentive parent. Too bad that won’t last. Speaking of lasting, Alicia just cannot leave things as they are. “I’m happy you if two have reached an … amicable arrangement, but are you sure you’re ready for this?” You’re so diplomatic, Alicia. (And, oh my God, you’re wondering if he’s ready for it? I’d be wondering if his habit of killing, betraying and using people might be a problematic example.) But of course he’s cavalier. Stanton is an interesting new toy, something apparently unique for him to try his hand at. “What, being a dad? Oh, sure. How hard could it be? I’ll call if I need any child-rearing advice, hmm?” He clomps off, leaving Alicia standing astounded. “Come on, Stanton, Daddy knows a wonderful place…” he says, excited, ushering everyone into the elevator. (Randomly, we can see the bottom of Isabelle’s outfit, which is definitely a dress, with white blobs on black.) Just where could he be taking the little tyke? Is it a prison? Turkish baths? A brothel?
Looking gloomy and wrecked, Cary waits. When Peter walks into his own office, he lands a hand on Cary’s shoulder. “We can do this later, I’ve already looked over the department records,” he says, heading for his desk. “Actually…” Cary attempts painfully. “Sir, per your instruction to report any infraction of the anti-fraternization policy, and in the interest of full disclosure…” Peter hangs his jacket up on a hook. “Oh, you don’t have to offer me any more names.” He waves off Cary’s confession, but Cary won’t be denied, and bravely makes it anyway. “Actually, I do.” Peter stares at Cary’s down-turned face. “I dated Dana Lodge.” Cary throws his arms out, and Peter exhales in frustration. “How recently was this?” he asks. “We ended it a few weeks ago,” Cary explains. Peter rubs his face with his hand. “Was this before we demoted her or after?” “After.” More like because of. “Not good,” Peter shakes his head, walking around his desk. “I want to be clear we did not have sex in your office.”
“Well I’m relieved to hear that,” Peter chuckles, sitting on the front of his desk. Cary – who hasn’t moved – just had to get it off his chest; “Bottom line, I thought it was wrong for me to be pointing fingers if I wasn’t going to point one at myself.” Yes, it was. “Well I appreciate your coming forward. It’s brave and it shows character,” Peter notes. “Thank you,” Cary says, and it does show character – but not as much as it would have if Geneva hadn’t had to threaten him into doing it. Standing up, Peter pitches forward. “So let’s just leave it at that.” He heads back for his desk, leaving Cary frowning. “At – what, what do you mean?”
“Cary,” Peter states, “I don’t condone what you did. But I know you. I know your heart’s in the right place. So … let’s just leave it at that.” Wow. Peter really is a wreck, isn’t he? I see why he’s doing it, no question, but the whole clean office thing went right out the window, didn’t it? (Not that I even think Cary did anything that was in and of itself wrong, but still. I probably wouldn’t have fired Jeremy either, though having sex in your boss’s office is certainly a different kind of offense.) Cary sighs. “Sir, you said the rules had to apply to everybody.”
“They do,” Peter replies. “But not to me?” Cary asks. Peter bites his lip. “Does anyone else know about you and Dana?” Oh, yes. You have no idea. Peter’s not happy about that at all; he’s going to be seen playing favorites. He paces behind his desk, hands on his hips. “I think I need to resign,” Cary grits out, upset, leaning on the desk. “Absolutely not,” Peter insists, half turning and pointing to Cary. “Then I think I need to be placed on temporary leave.” He shakes his head. “There has to be some consequence, or I’m going to lose respect around here and so are you.” So true. It’s already happening. Oh, this has got to hurt. Peter sits down, grimacing. “Let me – let me think about it, okay?” He taps his thumb against his fist, frustrated. “Thank you,” Cary breathes. Peter watches him go, shaking his head.
Caitlin bears her little box back through the halls. I guess they don’t need her to finish her work if she and her bouncing curls are packed up already. “I don’t think there’s that much to get – she’s not very conflicted,” Alicia tells Diane as they watch her go. “I’m not sure the glass ceiling was broken for this,” Diane notes ruefully; Alicia doesn’t agree. “Actually it probably was.” Diane nods. “She’ll be back in fifteen years, like you,” she guesses with a hopeful smile. “No,” Alicia shakes her head with an even bigger smile, “I don’t think so.” She rises to go, but Diane has other plans. “You wanted to talk about salary?” she remembers, smiling invitingly. “I did,” Alicia recalls, less pleased. This kind of thing is no fun. “I do.” She sits back down, nervous. “Well, let me gather with Will, and we’ll see what we can do.” Alicia nods. That wasn’t much of a talk! Nice. “It might not be everything you want,” Diane cautions. How the heck would you know? No one’s mentioned a number, or anything close to a number. I’m such an over-explainer; in her position I would have said something about the housing situation. Heck, I remember Cary talking to Will about help to buy a condo, right? “I understand,” Alicia nods pleasantly.
And here we are, looking at the Florrick’s old house, recognizable from the episode Home. It’s really beautiful; the Tudor woodwork, that wide porch. Alicia stands by the unpainted swing in her beautiful red coat; the camera swings around her slowly, ending on her sorrowful face. She steels herself, and heads for the house as a beautiful, mournful guitar begins to play.
When she slips into the house, Alicia’s realtor friend is taking another couple on a tour. Four bedrooms, four baths, she says. Very adaptable. She talks about the construction – the millwork really is lovely. Alicia takes in the entry way, the new furniture (a little more contemporary than what she favors, a lot more white), the small changes. She picks up one of those maroon folders and heads up the staircase, a hand on the beautiful railing. There’s a beautiful little girl’s room, which might have once been Grace’s; the crystal doorknob pulls off in Alicia’s hand when she tests it, just as she knew it would. Old houses are like that. The familiarity makes her smile.
She walks past more crystal doorknobs, into the bookshelf lined entry to the master bedroom. She can’t even pass the threshold before her face starts to contract. This place, where she was so happy, where her married became a lie, where like the doorknob she can rest without being tethered any longer.
Downstairs, in a kitchen set with tasty treats and flowers, Alicia fights between smiles and tears. She opens the door to what’s either a long closet or a butler’s pantry. Slowly, she pulls back a colorful apron, and yes, that’s what’s she’s looking for. They’re still there, hidden in shadow; gray marks on the white paint, lines drawn in pencil. Zach and Grace, 2007, 2008, 2009, on up the wall. Her smiling lips begin to quiver. Above, a line for Mom, and an improbable two inches above that, Dad. With a sharp intake of breath, she backs away. Shuts off the light. Closes the door.
(The music there, in case you’re curious, was the gorgeous Dustbowl III, by Other Lives.)
I love the levels on this episode – the parallel between Caitlin and Alicia and their life choices, Sweeney embarking on a sort of upside-down family journey, Peter unable to draw the line between political and personal demands yet again. I’m also amazed at the language and themes they can get away with at 9 on network TV. It’s a lot to think about, and that’s always good.
A few weeks ago on Smash, Angelica Huston’s character tries to raise money to pay for the play when all her assets are caught up in her divorce. She attempts to sell a wedding present (a Degas sketch) but can’t help looking at it longingly. “It looks like my old happiness,” she says. I don’t know why it still does, but it does.” I couldn’t help thinking of that comment when our restrained Alicia began to weep. Peter’s faithlessness leaves a shadow, but what hurts as much is knowing that that happiness did exist. The family that was; we see how desperately she still misses that, how painful it is to think of what’s been broken, and how the old joy is still there behind the pain. She looked at the wall in the pantry and I can forgive the fact that it would totally have been painted over; it was a picture of her old happiness.
It’s not possible that the show could be approaching an actual reunion, could they? I know Peter and Alicia are getting along well now, and she’s claimed she isn’t going to divorce. And then there’s Donna Brazile. But I would be pretty blown away if they did get back together (despite the fact that Eli’s been scheming all year to get it to happen) after everything that’s happened in this last year. The lies about Kalinda, the affair with Will and the resultant prosecution… I don’t know. Perhaps this was saying goodbye, saying that you can never go home again, as it were. But for her kids, I wanted this house. I wanted that element of their childhood, of their innocence. And it’s really a lovely home. Why shouldn’t they have that? But the more times I watch the final scene, the more I think that it would break her heart.
So what do you think? Will she buy the apartment instead of trying to stretch and buy the house? Could she really live there again? Would it be strange to live in it without Peter? Or is the solution to try and be there with him? For expediency, he seems to want that, and maybe in truth as well.
Peter had a struggle with a sort of home himself this week. Peter has good impulses, but that’s part of his tragic flaw; he’s not consistent. He tried to hold himself to a strict law (no favors, especially for friends) but it’s all unraveling. First we get the unwise prosecution against Will, personally motivated. Then the politically motivated hiring. And again, a politically motivated firing – but when it comes to someone he genuinely respects and cares about, he tries to bend the rules. Too strict, too lenient; where’s the just right? It’s becoming harder and harder for him to find.
And speaking of Goldilocks, damn, I was so wrong! We were all so wrong. Caitlin really turned out to be just what she seemed; a sweet, lovely well meaning girl, nothing disingenuous about her. I’m staggered. I was all set to find out what was off about her tonight, what her nefarious plan was, and oops! No plan! Just an oops and a desire to be a sweet little sporty mom.
I do find her choices interesting, although one of them was also Alicia’s; do you go to law school and take on all that debt and stress if you don’t actually want to practice law? My women friends who have law degrees have all worked (at various stages of part and full time) after their children were born. They love the work – and also, with all that debt, you need the money. So I’m kind of amazed Caitlin doesn’t care about either. But I do think it’s important to support that choice – because (not to get all cause-y on you) the point of breaking the glass ceiling was indeed to give women the choice.
I’m so curious about Alicia’s parting speech. Does Alicia regret giving up the law for those years; does she regret the time spent with her children? Is it simply that she’s so fulfilled by her job that she can’t remember how she did anything else anymore? It’s a complicated thing, working when you have kids, and it’s often a necessity rather than a choice.
It’s pretty clear what I think about Colin Sweeney dabbling in parenthood; I’m sure everyone had opinions about what Isabelle did to get that little boy, and what kind of life he might have with parents like that. Why do I let myself get annoyed, thinking about this little fictional child? One can only hope the fascination will last; I fear I’m too cynical.
On a completely trivial level, have we ever seen a coat closet in the Florrick apartment? There is no way Alicia bedroom can hold her extensive wardrobe, let alone the entire animal that made up that fur collar on winter coat number 2. But we’ve never seen a place to hang up coats. I’m pretty sure there isn’t one in the front hall with all those shelves. Maybe million dollar apartments in Chicago don’t have them; I don’t know. Maybe set designers don’t think of them. Or maybe Alicia just wanders around in her coat most of the time. Sorry, just overthinking things as usual.
You know what, though? I just decided that Peter’s parents (who you’d imagine had quite a bit of money) helped them buy that house. That’d make sense. Maybe they used wedding money as a down payment. Otherwise, two people in their twenties, just out of law school, one in government, maybe not even both working – even given that that was before the housing boom, that house was never going to be cheap enough.
So. Fan-fiction aside, what did you guys think of the episode? Where should Alicia live? Will you be sorry if she leaves her nice (if extremely dark) apartment? Is it a symbol of their painful transition, or of her new confidence? Were you shocked about Caitlin? Disappointed? Did you have to shower after so much Colin Sweeney? Let’s talk!