The Good Wife: Blue Ribbon Panel

E: Who knew friendly Matthew Perry could be so loathsome?  But now we do. This week’s episode is chock full of disappointments for – and disappointing behavior from – Alicia.  The lady wants a seat at the table.  Through her, and through Will and the internecine Lockhart/Gardner fighting, we see just what that gets you. Show, how many times can you break my heart?  It turns out quite a few.

We begin in Alicia’s office, where Kalinda and Alicia sit across from each other.  “I’m not sure,” Kalinda says, resplendent in a vivid pumpkin-colored shirt. “You’re not sure?” Alicia can’t quite believe.  “I don’t know how to answer,” Kalinda explains.  “With the truth,” Alicia replies, annoyed at having to state the obvious. “I have an obligation,” Kalinda begins.  Alicia exposits for the audience that they’re working on Kalinda’s tax case, which all comes down to one check from what the IRS discovered was a dummy account: now the IRS want explanations for all Kalinda’s freelance work over the last three years. And since she’s a private investigator – since she’s not an attorney – her work isn’t protected under attorney/client privilege.

Oh, goody.  There’s nothing Kalinda likes more than explaining her actions.

“What the nature of the work was and who paid for it,” Alicia reiterates, buckling down with a notepad and pen.  Gosh, that’s invasive and creepy, somehow.  (I mean, okay, I get that if her work is all legal and above board she should be able to talk about it, but still.)  “So let’s start with this check,” Alicia continues, “$2,460, paid out by FRP incorporated for 3 days work.  What was the nature of that work and who paid for it?”  I don’t mean to be guarded here, Kalinda begins cautiously. “But you are being guarded,” Alicia counters.  Sigh.  She knows.  “Yes, but the difficulty is that I did this work for someone you know and I think it would be unfair to them to divulge it.”  She watches Alicia’s face, which has blanched. “It’s not who you think,” she adds.

“Who do I think?” Alicia replies icily; she annoyed that Kalinda thinks she knows what’s going on in Alicia’s head.  I think we all know she’s thinking about Peter.  “One second,” Kalinda says, dancing out of her seat to navigate her way through the crowded halls.  She takes that second in Diane’s office.

“I did the work for Diane,” she confesses, back with Alicia.  “Oh,” Alicia replies,  surprised. “Why wasn’t it paid for through Lockhart/Gardner?” Alicia’s wearing a beige suit in light fabric with pretty lapels and interesting pleating details moving toward the waist. “Well, it wasn’t a work matter.  I’d rather stick to generalities here.”  (Wait, it wasn’t Diane who set up that dummy corporation, obviously.  Why are we not talking about the questionable check again?  Gosh, was that one Eli?  Or Glenn Childs?  Anyway.) “Okay, so how would you define this work?”  Alicia asks, and boy, is she not expecting the explanation she gets; fire arms lessons.  Damn.  I love it when they refer back to old episodes.  Alicia looks up in disbelief; Kalinda shrugs.  “Well, that helps,” Alicia admits, rolling with the punches and making notes. “Oh, um, Diane wants to talk to you,” Kalinda adds. “Okay, thanks,” Alicia replies, promising to stick to generalities with the rest of the checks.  “Thanks,” Kalinda replies (they’re making such an effort to be polite!) “um, I’ll try to get permission.”

Among the many other things Diane has on her plate, there’s got an interesting new one – an offer to sit on the titular blue ribbon panel.  It’s funny to watch Alicia’s face as she wonders what this all has to do with her.  Although, speaking of watching Alicia, the pleating on the back of her suit jacket is so pretty (accordian pleats, I think they’re called, fanning out from the small of her back) that I’m almost not paying attention to Diane.  Which would be a mistake. “It’s a routing civilian review of an IPRA, an Independent Police Review Authority – it’s a police shooting.  They asked for a replacement, and I suggested you.” Alicia’s befuddled. “Me? Ah, wouldn’t they want someone with more experience?”  “No,” Diane smiles,”what they want is a woman.”

Okay, that’s kind of depressing.

Alicia smiles and throws her eyebrows up.  She’s smiled a lot so far; it’s unusual, and it also makes me wonder how this episode will end.  Probably not so smiley.  On the other hand, it is infinitely preferable to them starting with another snuff film.  “I mean, this happen a lot.  They go fishing at the last minute for a balance – Republican, or a woman.  Um, it’s good for your career, and the firm,” Diane continues, “You work with judges and influential lawyers.”  Sign her up for the ambition train, then!  Excellent. “And thank you for my salary bump,” Alicia adds, awkward but heartfelt. “Yes,” Diane smiles, ” I hear you’re buying the house.”  Wow.  She is?  Gosh, that’s so crazy. “Well, I’m making an offer today,” Alicia replies guardedly.  Diane thinks that’s just great; they smile at each other, pleased.  At least something’s going right.

And with that, Alicia’s walking through a gorgeous old building to a large room that looks a lot like Tenley Mutual – old fashioned elegance, dark wood paneling.  Stained glass,  a gorgeous and massive oriental carpet, curved and tufted leather chairs. Halls of old power. She’s intimidated but also excited, I think.  She hangs back watching three men in animated conversation (who has the best season tickets, it sounds like). “So, you’re the woman,” a voice proclaims, outside our view. “I guess I am,” she answers, surprised. “I’m the black,” comes the even more frank retort.  The self-proclaimed black – wow, great casting – is Charles Dutton.

“Mike, how are ya?” he calls out, and has his hand pumped vigorously by one of everyone’s favorite Friends, Chandler Bing.  Er, Matthew Perry.  “Pastor Damon, I’m so glad you could make it.  I have  a tape of one of your sermons playing in my car,” Chandler – er, Mike – smiles.  “Well that is dangerous,” Pastor Damon laughs.  Oh, Alicia’s gonna love this: sucking up and religion.  Her favorite things! Mike starts introducing Damon around – and looky here, we have two of the nefarious three judges Will was supposed to have bribed, Peter Dunaway and Harvey Winter.  Wow.  (I suppose you couldn’t have all three, or else you wouldn’t need the Pastor as the token African American.)  “Cut that out, you’re gonna be Honoring it up all day,” Winter laughs jovially at the introduction. “Gentlemen, it’s nice to meet you,” Damon gestures widely, his voice loud and rolling. “Chicago, to my mind, has the best justice money can buy.”

All the men laughs.

With that, charming Mike notices the last panel member. “Alicia Florrick.  Now this truly is an honor.  Mike Kresteva, of Sellers, Kresteva & Landry.” (This sounded familiar to me, as if maybe we’d gone up against this firm in court, until I realized it’s probably just that it’s similar to an oriental rug company that underwrites my local NPR station.) He comes over and shakes her hand. “Thank you for doing this.”  “Oh, no, no, thanks for the invite,” she shakes her head, clearly awed. “I have to admit I’m a little outclassed.”  Oh no, honey. Never that. You’re much too impressed.  “Ah, well, here’s the trick,” he shrugs, one hand still in his pocket, “without the robes, these judges are just pussy cats.”  Why does that sound patronizing to me?  Judge Winter joins in the banter. “Isn’t that so, Harve?”  Mike points at the shorter man’s face. “Whatever he’s said about me, he’s lying,” Winter brays.  Now Alicia joins in the fake laughter. (It’s like they’re on the bridge of the Enterprise, seriously.)  “You’ve been in my courtroom, haven’t you,” Judge Dunaway smiles, extending his hand.  When she says her name (and really, he doesn’t remember her?)  he turns to Mike, impressed. “Ah – a woman and a connection to the State’s Attorney’s office, nice bank shot, Mike.” Ew.  I used to like this guy – stickler for justice and the English language – but right now, not so much.  Especially since Mike has nothing to take credit for here.

And yet, he accepts the praise.

“I believe you know the incredibly handsome Harvey Winter?” he continues. “I’m a friend of your husband, Mrs. Florrick,” he tells poor awkward Alicia, ever in Peter’s shadow. “I’m glad to see he’s thriving.”  And with that, Mike’s ready to start the proceedings.

Or, almost ready.  Once they’re seated in a semi-circle, Pastor Damon leads them all in a prayer. “We ask You, Lord, to give us a strong mind and discerning spirit.  We ask that the witnesses answer honestly and completely. And as always, we ask that Your truth guide us in all things.” Everyone seems to have their eyes closed. Everyone, that is, except Alicia, who stares at her colleagues (hands clasped, eyes closed) in irritation and disbelief.  Mike peels his eyes open enough to notice this and nods at her, and she smiles impishly at him. “In Jesus’s name, Amen.”   All the men echo the “amen,” and the unnamed man next to her (slender, gray hair) crossed himself, leaving me wondering if that’s a low percentage of Catholics for Chicago.  Mike quickly introduces the case, IPRA packet log #166616 – an officer involved shooting at the Addison EL platform. Mike explains that their packets include the details, and that they’ll each get five minutes to question the witnesses.  Okay, good to know what the standard practice is.  Everyone agrees to this before Alicia can even blink.  She looks like she’d like to object, but also not sure if she wants to make waves when everyone else is taking this for granted.

“I would also propose that we confine the witness list to the four witnesses in the IPRA report.”  He calls for votes, and again, the men assent before Alicia’s done looking at the sheet of finger prints, and the photo of a black hand holding a gun.  “Good!  Then I suggest we call our first witness.  How’s it going down there, Mrs. Florrick?”  She looks up from the sheets. “I’m just trying to catch up,” she nods. “You’re doing just fine,” he nods, and she smiles back, pleased.

“We were working undercover,” a pale policeman with brown hair and hooded eyes tells the panel. “There were a series of hold ups, female passengers, north side platforms.” (Originally I assumed this meant the north side of the platform, but now I’m thinking maybe the North side of Chicago itself?  Can anyone familiar with the Chicago El explain this? My only knowledge of Chicago geography comes from Jim Croce.) “Officer Trina Coffee and myself were tasked with a decoy detail.”  Okay. “And you came across a perp?” Mike prompts him. “Yes.  Two time felon.  He tried to hold up Officer Coffee.”  Alicia glares at the witness; she looks dissatisfied. “We announced ourselves as police officers. Pulled our fire arms.” Alicia squints down at a stick figure drawing of an officer standing over a prone stick figure on the platform. “Threw him to the ground – and that’s when I saw, at the other end of the platform, a man advancing toward us with a handgun.”  We follow Alicia’s glance across the platform to a stick figure with a gun.  “This was the victim, Roland Masters,” Mike notes somberly.  On Alicia’s drawing, there’s the typewritten notation “Masters Down.”

“I yelled “gun.” My partner – Officer Coffee – turned, and, ah, fired on the, ah, Mr. Masters.” Zimmerman is incredibly twitchy. Is this just because he’s sad?  “And unfortunately, Mr. Masters saw your undercover clothes and thought you were trying to mug this thief.”  Ugh.  Totally understandable mistake.  “Yes,” Zimmerman admits, his voice low.  “He was being a good Samaritan.”  He looks like he’s in shock.  How awful all around.  “But you thought he was another perp trying to rob you?”  Mike reads from his papers, and Zimmerman nods, looking ashamed.  “Thank you, officer – I’m sorry you have to go through this.”  That would be an awful position – holding a gun, having someone charge you with another gun, you can see how it would happen. I’m sorrier for Roland Masters, though.

“Any questions, Your Honor Dunaway?”  Oh, that’s an odd construction, but I guess it makes sense with two judges in the room?  Dunaway has only one, but he puts on his glasses to ask it. “You identified yourselves as police officers?”   Yes, Zimmerman replies fervently.  “So why do you think the victim kept advancing on you?”  The officer has clearly thought about this. “My guess is that he didn’t hear us.  There was an express train on the facing track – he probably didn’t hear us over the noise.”  Alicia checks her sheets again as Dunaway indicates he’s done.  “Your Honor Winter, five minutes.”  No questions, says Sam the Pickleman, biting his glasses. “Mr Adams, five minutes.”  Oh, good, we’re going to find out who the other two guys are.  Sort of.  He has no questions. “Mr. Danforth, five minutes.” He’s not nothing. “Pastor Damon, five minutes.”  Is it worth nothing that the two tokens are going last?  “I’m fine,” Damon waves. Alicia looks feverishly at the drawing of the -crime? incident? shooting?.  “Mrs. Florrick, five minutes.”  He looks back down at his paperwork. “I…” she begins, and all six heads whip in her direction. “No questions,” she says, ill at ease.

“All by a show of hands?” Diane calls out.  She counts the raised hands.  “8 votes.  The motion to remove Will Gardner from name partnership and replace him with David Lee also fails.” Hee!  Not that Diane looks amused, but I’m loving that “also.”   Will’s got a tie on; he’s bothering to show up for this vote, though he looks quite put out.  As well he might.  David Lee fumes that they’re doing this backward: “we should vote Will out and then vote for a replacement.” Yes, that would clearly be more effective.  Which is why there’s no way in hell Diane’s going to let you go there. “That’s not how we do things here,” she says. “Because you know it’ll pass,” he snarks.  Exactly, David!  Thank you for stating the obvious.  “This firm is limping without a full lawyer as a fellow name partner, Diane,” Julius says, sounding reasonable and measured in comparison to Mr. Lee. “You just wanna have an equal vote with her,” David snipes. “I want there to be a balance of power at the top,” Julius raises his voice over David’s skreeching.  Diane puts her head in her hand and Will rolls his eyes. “Excuse me, gentlemen, unless you have more business…”

“My understanding was that Mr. Gardner is still a profit participant while suspended as a lawyer,” Eli snaps, head tilting back and forth, hands laced together.  Will looks over, stonily, instead of just gazing stonily ahead. “I move that – could someone put that into motion words for me?” Eli cries, momentarily defeated.  Not the unknown woman sitting next to him – Julius will.  “I move that Will be precluded from sharing in any firm revenues during the time which he is not actively practicing law.”  David Lee seconds the motion. “Call the question.”  Will taps his fingers against the table. “Diane, can I have a word?”  “No!” squeals David in high pitched protest. “A name partner is asking for a word. You can have your vote afterward.”  Ha.  That’s shutting ’em down, Diane.

“Are they watching us?” Will wonders in Diane’s office, his back to the door. “Oh, yeah,” Diane confirms as the three mutineers peer in through the glass walls. “How’m I looking?” he asks, throwing his hands out.  She ponders. “Little more worried,” she suggests, and he buries his face in his hands, sighing.  Hee!  I love them as a team so much.  It’s touch and go for a second, but she succeeds in not laughing. “Do you think this will appease them?  Me giving up my profits?”  The light from Diane’s window blinds hits Will is slanted rows.  “They’re still coming after your seat,” she acknowledges ruefully.  In other words, no.  “As long as the three aren’t working together, I’m fine.”  Diane stands. “Pretty soon they’re gonna figure that out,” she notes, eyebrows raised.

“Ronnie, I’m sorry for your loss, but can you help us out here at all?” A black teenage boy in a collared shirt and dark sweater stares at the floor in the Hall of Old Power.  He doesn’t seem inclined to speak.  “It’s just – you were the only witness on the platform.  You saw your father being shot?”  Oh God.  He’s shaking slightly from the stress or the memory.  Mike is talking to him as if he’s a younger child; maybe he’s just trying to be sensitive?  Alicia’s getting more affected by the second. “”Did he hear the police announce themselves?” We see Ronnie’s chest rise and fall.  “My Dad, he helped everyone,” he says, his voice thick, still not looking up.  “Your Dad helped everyone, is that what you said?”  Mike Kresteva clearly doesn’t have a heart. “It didn’t matter who you were, anybody, he’d give you money, help…” Mike doesn’t know what do with such naked emotion, so he makes a face, and then finally has to explicitly ask Pastor Damon for help.  Which maybe is a “you know how to comfort people” but is maybe also “hey, you speak black.”  I don’t think I ever imagined I could actively dislike Matthew Perry.  (And yes, I’m counting his annoying, whiny man-child in Studio 60.)

“Son, I am so sorry,” Damon begins, levering his bulk forward, “but the best way to honor your father is to help us here. ”  I guess that depends on how sincere you all are about actually reviewing the case.  “Did you hear the policemen yelling “Police!”?”  Ronnie’s face tenses. “You didn’t?  It was too noisy to hear?” Damon looks at Mike.  He can’t – won’t – do more.  One by one, the members of the panel refuse their five minutes. Pete, Harvey, Eric, Russ.  “Mrs. Florrick?”  She still stares at that drawing. “Ronnie, Officer Zimmerman said that there was an express train running on the facing track, and that’s why you and your dad didn’t hear. Is that what happened?” There’s no answer. “I know it’s tough to be here. I know.” She gets a moment’s inspiration. “But this is about your dad,” she says, leaning forward. “so, tell me.  Just me.  Is that what happened?”  Slowly, slowly he raises his head and turns toward her, light the left half of his face.   “No,” his voice throbs.  “That’s not why you didn’t hear?” She’s curious, eyebrows drawn down. “Then why didn’t you?”  “Because,” he says, just done with it, “they didn’t say anything.” Mike looks at Judge Dunaway. Their faces telegraph their thoughts; well, that’s not on script. “The undercover officers didn’t say anything?” Alicia rephrases. “But you wouldn’t have heard anyway because of the passing train!”  “No, no. You could hear everything,” he insists, shaking his head. “There wasn’t any noise.”  “Except for the passing train,” she clarifies. “No,” he says again. ‘There was a train that stopped that blocked out the sound, but the cops – the cops didn’t say a thing. They just…” he struggles audibly to control himself, looking down. “My Dad,” he begins again, passionate, facing her once more, “he went over there to help.  And they killed him.  They shot him. And no.  No one wants to believe that.”

Vladmir Versailles, wow.  You might have a thin resume, but you’ve got skills.

The rest of the panel shakes hands and compliments each other on a good day’s working as if something life altering hasn’t just happened in front of them.  Anyone want to join me in throwing things?  Dunaway stops on his way out. “Ms. Florrick,” he smiles. “Yes, Your Honor?”  He smiles wider. “I’m out of the robes – I’m just Pete here,” he tells her affably. “You don’t need to impress us,” he continues, still smiling.  “I don’t?” she wonders.  “You’re here, you have a seat at the table – that’s impressing us enough.”  She smiles.  What does that mean?  Don’t work so hard to find out what happened?  “You don’t need to be clever.”  Oh, she says, I didn’t think I was.  “Questioning.  Everyone new to the panel thinks they’re gonna reinvent the wheel. ” He backs out of the room, his arms out, still chuckling,  “You don’t have to.  It’s a wheel. It works fine.”

Oh.  Does it? Didn’t look that way.  In the hall, a woman in a gray cardigan talks to Ronnie Masters.  He’s looking at Alicia instead, and with that eye contact, her shoulders square.

Yes!  I love Alicia in Perry Mason mode.

Through the darkness, Alicia drives into a driveway past a sign: Chicago Threshold Realty; Fine Homes of Highland Park For Sale, Marina Vassel, executive agent.  Ah.  She’s at her old house.  Right.  There was that offer.

Alicia hops out of the car, and brightly scarved Marina ambles toward her.  Alicia’s wearing the blue coat with the egregious fur collar again. “Sorry I’m late.  You didn’t need me in there?” Marina makes a face. “No, it went pretty fast, they said no.  They want the asking price.”  Yay? Alicia’s only momentarily depressed. ‘Did you tell them I could offer a quick closing date?”  Yep. “They wouldn’t budge,” Marina grimaces. “I can’t do higher,” Alicia acknowledges with regret. “I can’t do the down-payment.”  Damn – after all that, it still wasn’t enough?  “There’s something you can try, it sometimes works,” Marina nods, light glinting off her round gold earrings. And that is?  “Write a letter. Personal stationary.  Hand write in.  Tell her what it would mean to move back in.”  Her?  “Gilda. The wife.  I think she’s the one making the decisions,” Marina explains, and Alicia nods. ‘You have an advantage over the other buyers,” she claims.  Well, but certain disadvantages, too. “You lived here.”

Alicia drives down a dark road, grimacing to herself, thinking out loud. “What the house means to me,” she mutters to herself.  She tilts her head, noticing the EL train going by.  And she slows; it just happens to be the Addison EL platform. Is that an accident?

Judge Winter welcomes Officer Trina Coffee to the stand, the female officer used as bait in the undercover operation.  “I heard my partner yell ‘Gun!,’ I turned around, and I saw someone charging at us.”  Officer Coffee, who is white, has a long, honey brown ponytail.  “And that’s why you fired?” Yes, sir, she says.  That’s all he has, so Mike begins the routine.  Again, Pastor Damon makes the most elaborate show of saying no.  “Mrs. Florrick, five minutes?”  “Yes, thank you,” she says delicately, and Mike’s mouth twists sourly. “You remember yelling you were police officers when you threw the arrestee to the ground?”  “Yes m’am,” Officer Coffee nods. “And you remember an express train racing through the station when you yelled ‘police’?”  “Yes, m’am, that’s why the victim didn’t hear us.”  Officer Coffee’s much more fluid in her speech than her partner. “Was there a stopped train on your track?”  As Coffee establishes that it was the 11:30 Redline, Judge Dunaway sighs.  Alicia, you’re not heading his warning!  Yay.  She just keeps asking those pesky questions.  Broads.  They’re so hard to control, blast them.

“Didn’t it block out the noise of the passing train?” Coffee blinks, staring at Alicia, very deer in the headlights. “I don’t understand, m’am,” she quavers.   Oh, dear.  “Didn’t the parked train block out the noise of the passing train?”  Trina Coffee stares at Alicia, mouth open. “No,” she finally manages. “That’s odd,” Alicia replies, courtroom voice on, “because I was there last night and I could hear…”

And that’s when it all breaks loose.

“Wait a minute,” it begins. ‘Mrs. Florrick!” Judge Dunaway calls out. “Yes?” Alicia answers innocently. “That is not your position!” Mike huffs, totally offended.  Oh.  Is she not supposed to actually check on whether any of the elements in the investigation were plausible?  Oops.  “Lets move this panel into an executive session, please,” he adds, and out goes Coffee into the hall, and there’s Alicia, wondering what she could have possibly done wrong.

And they’re sure going to tell her.

At first, though, the silence is oppressive.

“I wasn’t there to investigate,” she offers up to the disapproving panelists. “You just happened to be in that particular station last night?” Dunaway asks, walking across the room.  “Yes,” she says, which may or may not be true – unlikely, I think, because why would she have needed to get out of her car?  But surely she could have used any EL station and gotten a good idea of the acoustics.  Judge Winter twiddles his thumbs, watching his fellow judge. “Mr. Chairman, I move that the panel censure Mrs. Florrick.”  What?  Can they do that?  What does that even mean?  Eric or Russ seconds the motion. “Excuse me?  I’m not sure I know what I did wrong,” Alicia questions.”You investigated!” he snaps. “I was there, I observed,” she explains.

“Don’t interrupt,” Dunaway turns on her, pointing, coffee cup in hand. Ouch. “We are like a jury,” he continues. “A jury can’t investigate.”  Oh.  That’s an interesting thought; I wonder if it’s frustrating to be on a jury, if there’s information you want that you can’t get? I don’t always remember that. “We’re not the cops, honey,” Eric/Russ announces (whichever one isn’t the gray haired Catholic).  And I’m ready to recommence throwing things.  Dude, you did not just call a colleague honey in a professional situation. “It’s true, Mrs. Florrick.  There’s nothing in the rules exactly preventing us investigating,” Mike sighs.  Just that you’re lazy bastards who don’t care about the truth?  “but it’s traditional that our review stick to the evidence on hand.”  “I didn’t know that,” she shrugs. “As you know, I am new to this.”  She smiles slightly at him, clearly still thinking he’s less fusty than the judges.  “Good,” he says, “Well, I would advise against a censure,” and Judge Winter nods, “but now that we’re on the same page, shall we break for lunch?”

Alicia’s lunch break takes her to an ugly concrete office building.  Looks like Brutalism to me (the architectural school, that is).  Have they used this building before, maybe for when she was listening to the wiretaps, or meeting with Mr. Higgs?  “I am so sorry I’m late,” she says, hustling into a small room, “I was held up.  Sorry, Miss Sharma!”  She plants her belongings on a table next to Kalinda (who nods understandingly) and across from three nerdy looking men. “That’s quite alright, Mrs. Florrick,” Kalinda smiles, gesturing at the men, “it gave us time to get acquainted.” Still sounds pretty formal to me.

“Mr. Lesher, is it?” Alicia addresses the man in the center.  It is.  They shake. He introduces Mr. Finman (his right) and Mr. Hark (his left).  They kind of looks like they work inside a Mac commercial – a low rent version, but still. It’s blinding sci fi white everywhere.  “Welcome to the Internal Revenue Service.  We’ve been reviewing your petition for an offering compromise, and I’m afraid we need more information.”  Lesher wears black glasses, and has a little beard – he verges on nerd-hipster. “Okay, ah, well, why don’t you tell us in greater detail what you need, and we’ll be glad to supply it?”  Alicia’s very chipper. “The exact names of her employees and the nature of her work.”  Isn’t that what we gave you, Alicia wonders – but no, Lesher declares them too vague.  “Employment was listed as ‘research or background checks.’  We need more specifics.”

Alicia’s face chills.  “Why?” she asks flatly.  “Why do we need more specifics?,” Lesher asks.  Yes, she shoots back immediately.  He stares for a tiny fraction of a second. “I don’t think we need to explain that.” That almost sounds like he doesn’t know!  Interesting, interesting. Kalinda looks away in annoyance, taking a deep breath. “Miss Sharma is not being accused of breaking any laws or exploiting any loopholes.  She was the passive recipient of a check that you believe came from a dummy account, that’s all.” As Alicia goes off on a tear, Kalinda notices that the laptop on the desk behind the three stooges (er, accountants) is open, and has “No Camera” emblazoned on it.  From the sound of the background music, it’s clear she’s twigged to something here. “That does not open her up to a fishing expedition.” At the top of the screen, it says video conference.  Ah ha.  Good eye as always, Miss Sharma.

“Now we have come here in good faith to offer in compromise. We did not come in here to be shaken down for more information.” Woah, Alicia’s really giving those boys a schooling. “We are not in the business of shaking down,” Lesher insists.  But he still needs to know exactly what Kalinda was doing.

“What was that about? ” Alicia asks Kalinda in the hall.  “Why even call us in if they weren’t going to offer in compromise?” (I’d never heard that phrase before, but apparently that’s IRS speak.) “You got a little hot in there,” Kalinda notes without judgement.  “I did.  I seem to be banging my head against the bureaucratic wall today.  I don’t like my time wasted at pointless meetings.” You can hear just from her heels on the floor as they walk through the supremely narrow hallway how angry she is.  “Alicia, that wasn’t the meeting.” Alicia stops.  What?  “The laptop on the desk?  Someone was watching us.”  “Who?”  “I have no idea,” Kalinda says, “but they want something from me.”

Alicia spins around and heads back for the meeting room, where Finman, Lesher and Hark cluster around the laptop. Kalinda follows behind.  Alicia bends right down to the laptop. “If you want something from us, you call my office.  Stop playing through intermediaries,” she barks. We can see her on the camera on this side, but only as she stalks out.  She looks at Kalinda in mildly embarrassed explanation.  “I lost my house, I’m using it.” Kalinda smiles, proud of her. Or amused. Or both.

Pretty stationary with cherry blossoms proclaims itself to have come “from the desk of Alicia Florrick.”   Alicia’s sitting at her kitchen island, wondering what to say.  Dear Gilda, she begins through a voice over. “As you probably know, I lived in your house before you.  I saw my children grow up there.  I saw…” Her train of thought is interrupted by misty memories, by giggling, by piggy toes, a bubble bath, a rubber duck balanced on a tub’s edge. “I’m gonna get you!” she cries after a five year old Grace, who scampers through the halls wrapped in a towel, still giggling.  Mom scampers after her, wearing preppy casual clothes – jeans, sweater over a button down, her hair in a pony tail.  A ponytail!  She smiles fondly at the memory.  “I saw my daughter walk for the first time there.  I saw…”  Now the memories – and the look on her face – turn darker.  There’s a TV truck pulling up out front, newsreel on television, neighbors in the yard pointing, Alicia on the couch watching the scandal unfold, numb in a Jackie-like twinset and pearls.  Peter on TV, trying to escape reporters over the tag line “Florrick: Call Girl Was Not A Pay Off.” The memory makes her cry.  Finally, there’s Grace coming in the door sobbing; she looks at Alicia but won’t speak.

No, much better to think about poor, dead Samaritan Roland Masters.

“What’re you saying?” Julius grumbles to Eli. “I’m saying that was a charade yesterday.  Will knew we were going to strip him off his profit participation yesterday, and they made it look like a struggle,” Eli bites, livid. It’s Eli.  How else?  Everything’s larger than life, too emotional.  Which is such a good reason for him not to be running the business side of anything.  “To what end?” Julius wonders, denser than dense.  “To throw us a bone, so Will can stay in his seat as name partner.  This is like everything else, it’s about power.” He whispers his final line. “And we are making it easy on them.”  Sigh. Yes, terribly easy.  “Okay, I’m listening,” Julius decides.

“You want Will’s seat.  David Lee wants Will’s seat.  And I want Will’s seat,” Eli states the obvious. “One of us has to give, or they benefit from our squabble.”  Ah, there it is.  Didn’t take long at all for them – though frankly, longer than it should have, if ego hadn’t gotten in the way.   Maybe as a campaign manager Eli is better used to looking at the big picture and stepping aside, and Julius is the perfect puppet for a kingmaker.  “Then give,” Julius insists, “I already asked you to vote for me.

“We flip a coin,” Eli suggests – winner takes the other’s votes.   Julius makes a show of checking Eli’s quarter.  (Seriously?  This isn’t the Wild West, and Eli doesn’t seem like he visits joke shops.)  “Honor among thieves,” Eli quips.  Oh, they can’t.  They wouldn’t.

They do. They call.  (Heads for Julius.)  Eli flips the coin onto his forearm.

Will walks by, but he doesn’t notice, and we don’t see the results, just Eli lifting his hand. Will walks into a little kitchenette I’m not sure we’ve ever seen.  Elderly partner Howard is there, picking through the baked goods,  and Will greets him.  “Can’t understand why I can’t get the corner office,” the fellow complains, “It’s the closest to the bathroom.”  Ha.  Hilariously, he’s holding up two muffins and comparing them (which, gross, hands off, dude!)  Will calmly explains that Diane deals with office assignments. “Whatever happened to seniority?” Howard grumbles.  I don’t know, maybe they’re saving the space for people who actually have cases?  Howard asks Will if he’s on a particular case, so Will’s forced to explain about the suspension. “Just you and me,” Howard chuckles, bopping Will in the arm with a cinnamon bun. “Hey, you got any good porn sites?” Oh, mother of God, make it stop.  The look on Will’s face!

“I’m the IRPA investigator Forrest Burke,” a stern-looking man tells the panel. ‘We read your report, Mr. Burke, arguing that the allegations aren’t supported by sufficient evidence,” Judge Dunaway begins, taking off his glasses.  Wait, what report?  What allegations? Didn’t you get the impression that Ronnie hadn’t made any “allegations” until his testimony here – otherwise, why would everyone on the panel have assumed he was going to say that he hadn’t heard the police because of the noise of the train?  “There’ve been questions here about the, um, noise factor on the platform,” he continues, glaring at Alicia, who reacts with surprise and frustration.  (Wait, now I’m confused – I assumed this was a new day, because she was just at home, but she’s wearing the same dress.)  “Could you speak to that?”  “Well, I would expect some dispute.  This was an encounter that lasted less than 8 seconds.”   Like a bull ride.  Sigh.  Like his face, Burke’s voice is pitilessly matter of fact. “And, I’ve found that people experience sound and sight radically differently when there are chaotic conditions.”  Judge Dunaway nods.  That might be true, but it can hardly prove a legal case, can it?  We can just disregard this witness because sometimes people experience events differently?  Dunaway’s done. “Harvey, anything?”  Mike looks to Judge Winter on his left, who says instead: “Why don’t we just jump down to Mrs. Florrick, see if she has anything?”

Hee.

Because of course she does!  “Yes, thank you, just a few questions.” Winter looks down his nose at her, and Chandler (er, Mike) wrinkles his brow.  “This gun the victim had…” “A Colt Double Eagle Commander Pistol,” Burke specifies.  Alicia tells us that Burke had checked to see if that gun was involved in any other crimes. It had been.  “Yes, there was a jewelry store robbery 2 years earlier.  the culprit was never apprehending, but he or she fired off one round, and the shell matched this gun.” Okay.  “And you didn’t suspect the good Samaritan?” Alicia wonders.  “No, guns are bought and sold on the street all the time.” Right.  “So, this jewelry store robbery from 2 years earlier, did you take note of who the supervising officer was at the scene?” Dunaway and Kresteva turn to look at her, wondering where this is going.  “Did I take note?  No, why?” She is happy to enlighten him. “Officer Zimmerman, the undercover officer, was the supervising officer.”

Well, that seems rather odd.

“Mrs. Florrick, that is out of line,” Judge Dunaway – guardian of the do-nothings – explodes, tossing his glasses onto the report in his lap. “I don’t get it,” says Chandler Bing, looking around the room, his face blank. “”I just find it curious…” Alicia begins.  “You’re suggesting that the gun was a drop gun,” Dunaway insists (and what is that? at the mention, Mike’s eyebrows shoot up), “that Officer Zimmerman retrieved it from the jewelry robbery and planted it…” Woah, is she suggesting that not only did the police not yell “police” but that Masters didn’t have a gun?   “I’m merely asking a question,” Alicia talks over the judge.  “In your review, did you look …” “Mrs. Florrick, your five minutes are up.”  Oh, they’re so not. Trust me.  That hasn’t even been one minute.  She’s astounded.

“Excuse me,” she gestures at Judge Dunaway, “but I spent two of those minutes arguing.” More like 20 seconds.  But you should have said being interrupted, Alicia. “That was your choice,” Mike declares coldly.  Wow, he’s really invested in shutting her up, isn’t he?  “Let’s move on.  Harvey, you’ve got five minutes. Any questions?”  He does not. “Mr. Adams?”  “Nothing here.”  “Mr. Danforth?”  “I’m good, Mike!”  So perky.  Alicia shakes her head as they go through the typical routine. “Pastor Damon.  Any questions?”

“No thanks,” he replies. “But. I’m giving my five minutes to Mrs. Florrick.”  Yay! Tokens for justice!  Mike’s flustered. “What?  You can’t…” Alicia’s head goes up in sudden hope. “We’ve done it before,” Damon sighs. “I’m giving my five minutes to Mrs. Florrick.”  They smile at each other. “Go ahead, m’am.” She does.  All the men in the room stare at her instead of the witness.  “Have there been other times when officers have used drop guns?”

The session’s over.  Mike comes over to Alicia after everyone else goes.  If I were her, after that, I’d probably have made sure I took advantage of being the one closest to the door, and left before checking my phone. “You know how ridiculous that is, a cop would hold onto that gun for two years?” She tries to put him off.  “I’m just asking questions.” He’s not buying.  Rightly. “No, you’re not.”  Fair enough. ” Let’s not play innocent here. You’re trying to turn this into something.”  Isn’t it something already? “No, I’m trying to find out …” He doesn’t wait for her to finish. “This blows up into a race riot, and it’s on your head.”  You know, that’s very of the moment, but burying the truth is exactly what gets people mad.  “Excuse me?,” she snaps. “You heard me – white officer, black victim, come on…” She tilts her head. “That should have nothing to do with this.”  He steps on her words, won’t let her leave. “And yet it does.  Race is here.  You wanna kick that hornet’s nest?  Ask Diane what it’s like to piss off judges like this.  People like this.” It’s very clear that the “people” being pissed off are Mike Kresteva.

We’re back to another sheet of cherry blossom stationary. “Dear Gilda.  I didn’t know how to write this letter until I went to your open house. ” She stands outside the house (filled with prospective buyers) and looks down at the base of the mail box.  Under the leaves, we can see something written in the cement: G.F. 2/9/9, with a small hand print in the middle.  “Now you’re a movie star,” flashback-Peter tells the young Grace as she pulls a sticky hand out of the cement. “Grace Florrick, big Hollywood movie star!”  It’s adorable.  “Cool!’ Grace gushes.  “Look,” Peter cries from his knees, “it’s Grace Kelly!”  He points to Alicia, who’s arrived home with a bag of groceries.  She’s wearing chunky heels with the jeans and ponytail now. In her memory, house is bright blue, a really similar shade to the house I lived in when I was little.  “I should have gotten you to do this a long time ago,” she giggles, looking down at their handiwork.  “You just like me dirty and sweaty,” he laughs, grabbing at her legs.  “No!” she shrieks, running away.  Grace chases her, and then Peter lumbers to his feet, following her with monster sound effects, all Frankenstein arms and growls.

The soundtrack adds a faint touch of childish singing. In the open house, Alicia’s able to walk into the bedroom.  Slowly, but this time she can do it.  She turns back to hear another memory in the hall. “Listen, people are gonna say a lot of things about your Dad,” she tells the kids, now teens. “Are they true?” Grace asks. “It doesn’t matter if they’re true.”  Oh, Zach.  That’s such a Zach thing to say.  “It does to me.  It does to Mom.”  And that’s so Grace.  “Okay, your Dad loves you – he loves you so much,” Alicia pleads, brimming over with emotion. “Whatever you have to say about your Dad, you say it here.  No, to me.  You don’t say it to anyone else, okay?”  She’s crying, and, look – it’s the awful boxy suit she wore to the press conference in the pilot.  Nice continuity, wardrobe department.

She looks into the bedroom. “See, isn’t this better than camping?”  She and Peter are under the covers in their bed, grinning at each other. “You’re such a little girl scout,” he chuckles. “Yes, I am!” she volunteers in a high pitched girly voice, “But you’re still gonna have to protect me!  I’m sooo scared of lighting.”  “Wait, did you hear that,” he asks, holding the back of her head, their faces silhouetted against the red light through the sheets.  He howls. “Not funny – not funny!”  But she’s laughing.  In the present day, she turns away from the bedroom, a soft smile on her lips.

Her fingers write again. “I know you have no reason to chose my offer over others.  But just know that you will not find a more grateful or loving occupant for your house.”  She sighs.  Could it be enough?

“He said that?” Diane gasps. Alicia’s in Diane’s office, clearly relating her conversation of the previous day – and this time it’s clearly a different day, because she’s wearing a charcoal gray suit jacket.  “Yes. He said there would be consequences for questioning more.”  “Yeah, sounds like Mike, confusing his carrots with his sticks,” Will nods. “But you’ve been investigating on your own?” Diane’s tone makes it clear what a no no that is.  Alicia’s aghast. “Who told you?”  Diane nods. “Who told me you were investigating?  Someone on the panel.” Oh, not cool. “That’s confidential.  He broke confidentiality,” Alicia repeats, offended. “And so have you. Your relating your conversation with Mike.” Hmm, good point – but Alicia doesn’t agree. “No! That’s after the session was over.” That’s a good point too.

Will steps in with his considered advice.  Which he can give, since it’s not a L/G case.  “Look, you wanna know what to do?  You’re on the blue ribbon panel to review the investigation.  That’s what you do.  You don’t pull punches.”  Alicia nods as if she understands (it’s not the clearest thing he’s ever said), and then turns to Diane for her thoughts. “Well, it’s up to you,” Diane shrugs. “You have a seat at the table.  That means more responsibility and consequences. Can they hurt your career?  Yes.  You have to weigh that.” That’s a lot for Alicia to digest, and none of it is clear cut.  Will looks nervous for her. “Okay, thank you.  Would you like me to close the door?”  Yes.  they do.

“So they’re gonna tax us?” Will surmises.  “Yep,” Diane agrees, scrunching up her lips. ‘Judges Dunaway and Winter. We’ve got two cases in front of them.”  Will raises his hands.  “Well, you put her on the panel.  Alicia has to do her best.”  Diane smiles broadly. “It’s easy to be idealistic on the sidelines, isn’t it?” Will’s lips curl in return. “Yeah, that’s me, Peace Prize material.” Diane looks over Will’s head into his office. “And why you seem to have a new friend.” Howard’s sitting on Will’s desk, waiting for him. “Yeah, early bird special,” Will replies with a totally straight face. “He turned me on to it.  It’s quite a deal.”

Hee!

A young woman in a brilliantly hued blue jacket and a white shirt that plunges open twiddles her thumbs, waiting on Alicia’s sofa. Hmm, she looks familiar.  Should I know who that is? “Hello,” Alicia calls, puzzled as to her presence. “Hi.  Lana Delaney.” Get out of town!  Is she just wearing too much eye make up?  Because I genuinely didn’t recognize her.  “I’m with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  You suggested I contact you.”  Alicia’s puzzled – thought not by how different Lana looks.  That’s just me.  Is her hair longer? Is it that we’re looking down her rather, rather than her sneer down at us?  ” ‘Stop playing through intermediaries?'” Lana quotes back at Alicia.  “Oh, right.”  They nod at each other.  “Hi.  I thought you would call first.” Alicia heads over to her desk, weirded out. “Yes, I did too.  Then I decided against it.” Right, because a day without unsettling someone is a day wasted in Lana’s world. Do these two not remember they met before?  I mean, I guess if Judge Dunaway can forget Alicia when she spent days in his courtroom just a month ago, they might not remember the events of Running.  But I do.  I do.

“So, Kalinda,” Lana begins, standing by the doorway.  “Yes, Kalinda. What is the nature of this investigation?” Lana considers. “I don’t know.”  Excuse me? Lana gives Alicia a challenging look. “You don’t know?” Alicia reacts in understandable surprise.  “Yes.  Sometimes I just get an itch.”  And don’t we know it. “Okay, so, um – what was your name again?” It looks like Alicia really doesn’t remember Lana – it’s not that she’s doing it for effect. “Lana. Delaney.” – the agent shows her badge, walking over so she can stick it right in Alicia’s face. Then she tucks it into an inner pocket in her suit jacket. “You guys represent Lemond Bishop, don’t you?” Alicia closes her eyes, smiles to herself. Now she has a script she can work with.

“So that’s what this is about, Lemond Bishop?”  “No, I’m just asking a question.”  Right. That’s becoming the running gag of this episode. She shrugs. “Yes, we represent him.”  “And has Kalinda Sharma ever done freelance work for him?” Alicia considers this for a moment. “Do you have proof that she has?” Lana smiles in appreciation, then changes tacks.  “How long have you known Kalinda?”  ”  “Why?” Again, Alicia’s unsettled. “Just curious. You’re friends, aren’t you?” It’s clear that Lana is fishing and aiming to disquiet Alicia, who does not like being played with.  “You know, I think you should call first, the next time you want to drop by my office, and we can get everything on the record.” Lana nods, knowing the game for now’s suspended. “Okay. Tell Kalinda hi from me.” She sashays out the door, a small, satisfied smile on her face.

Alicia waits a beat at her desk before running out through the office, right into Forrest Burke from the blue ribbon panel, at the reception desk over by the elevators.  “Mrs. Florrick, hello, I’m sorry to come here without an appointment,” he says, shaking his head, sounding very sincerely upset.  Wow, it’s the hour for that, apparently.  Alicia’s cell phone rings, and she momentarily excuses herself.  “Oh my gosh, what an amazing letter, I was crying,” the unknown voice on the phone effuses.  “Gilda?” Alicia guesses, because, right, who else has she written a tear-inducing letter too lately?  Kalinda (wearing her classic burgundy leather jacket) stops talking to a handsome guy in the hall and comes Alicia’s way.  Eeek!  Too much!

“It had me bawling. I remember my first house, it was exactly like that.”  It is like that – and multiply it by a hundred when you’re the kid in the situation. Alicia chases Kalinda down, asking her to wait as she’s about to hit the elevator button. Kalinda does not hear her. She motions to Burke to apologize, too.  “I don’t have that much, I’m on my lunch break,” he tells her.  Uck.  “Of course we’ll consider your offer, Mrs. Florrick.”  Alicia’s jaw drops. “I have two kids too. I come from a big family, and I always told myself, listen to Mom.”  Oh dear.  Poor Alicia does not have the moment to chat.  She tries to find a way to say that without letting either Burke or Kalinda escape.  “I’m so glad,” she babbles sweetly, “because I wasn’t sure I was doing the right thing by writing the letter, and I….”  She bends over, covers the phone and hisses to Kalinda. “The FBI was here for you!”  Kalinda turns from the open elevator door in shock.  “The FBI?  Who?”  An Agent Delaney, Alicia whispers before going back to Gilda, who’s still effusing. Kalinda shrugs, tossing out her arms in exasperation.  You can see her thinking, that figures.

“It’s was definitely the right thing to do!” Gilda continues. And then the big confession comes.  They do have a better offer, one that meets the asking price.  Alicia droops, dejected. “But I’d rather you have the house,” Gilda continues. Wow, the letter worked!  Alicia’s mood shifts again abruptly. “Wha, oh, I – well I’m so thrilled to hear that,” she babbles.  “Mrs. Florrick,” Mr. Burke interjects again.  I know she was talking to you first, buddy, but wow.  “I checked the drop gun,” he says, and Alicia’s focus whips to him. “So we’re giving you a chance to top their offer,” Gilda trills, and Alicia’s joy comes crashing down yet again. “Not even by that much, just a little bit.”  “What,” Alicia gasps. “I so want you to have the house.  We just need you to top the offer we have.”  Oh my God.  Top the offer?  Is she shaking Alicia down?  That’s suddenly what it feels like. Like now that they know how much she wants it, they’re going to squeeze her for the cash. (Okay, maybe they just really need the money, and are offering Alicia final choice, no bidding war – but ugh.) “Okay,” Alicia says, deadened.  “Thank you.”  Thanks for nothing! “So, we’ll expect your call?”  Absolutely, she says, and hangs up abruptly. She composes herself, and retrieves the investigator from the elevator bank. “What did you need, Mr. Burke?”

“And with that, I think we’ve heard the lion’s share of investigation, so unless there are any more motions…” Mike Kresteva announces, tossing his folder on the arm of his chair.  “There is one,” Alicia responds (to the surprise of no one).  “Sir.  Mr. Chair.  I move that we recall investigator Forrest Burke.”  We’ve already heard from him, Kresteva snaps. “Yes,” she says, clasping her hands in imitation of Kresteva’s posture, “but it is my understanding that he has new evidence.”  “Really?  And how it become your understanding?” You can hear the scorn in Judge Dunaway’s voice.  “He came to my workplace. He said the chair rejected his request to testify again.”  Oh, dear.  This is so not good.  But it’s also definitely not pulling punches. She’s rendered them all silent.

Alas, the effect is unfortunately temporary. “First of all, Mrs. Florrick,” Mike begins once he picks his jaw up off the floor, “you are far out of line here. In fact I don’t even think there is a line.” Yes, well, then it’s tricky knowing whether you’ve crossed it, isn’t it?  “But is it true?,” she demands, unbowed. “Mr. Burke came to me and asked if we needed more from him, and I said, we did not.”  My, someone’s got his grumpy face on. “He discovered Officer Zimmerman took a gun from the jewelry store robbery into evidence but never inventoried it.”  Oh my God!  The smoking gun!  The idea that they would shoot this unarmed man, and then destroy his reputation by planting a gun on him?  Oh my God.  Why are they not all outraged?  They should be outraged.  (Why his son didn’t mention he didn’t have a gun, I’m not sure; justified mistrust of the system?) Although, does that mean he was just carrying the gun around in case he had to cover up an accidental shooting?  Did they shoot Masters just so Zimmerman could dispose of the gun?  Confusing.

“Mrs. Florrick, that is not yours to assert,” Kresteva insists. “Correct,” Alicia says, leaning forward, her voice deadly, precise. “It is Mr. Burke’s.”  “We have heard enough from Mr. Burke!” Mike thunders.  Why?  “I move that we recall,” Alicia counters, leaning back into her chair.

Again, the men are silent.

“Okay, fine,” Mike pulls on his tie. “That’s how we do things here – all those in favor of Mrs. Florrick’s motion to recall Mr. Burke, please say ‘Aye.'”  The silence hurts.  “Aye,” says Alicia.  “Aye,”says Pastor Damon Yarrow.  “Five to two.  Unfortunately you need a majority,” Mike jumps in.  “Aye,” rumbles Judge Winter quietly, drawing raised eyebrows from Mike and hope from Alicia.  “I’m here to determine the truth,” he shrugs. “I can’t do that unless I listen to everything.”  Good on you, Judge Winter!  Yes!  Sam the Pickleman for the win!  And as the swell in the music has foreshadowed, Judge Winter’s vote causes Eric and Russ to chip in with their own Ayes.  Alicia smiles at both of them, and then locks eyes with formerly affable Mike Kresteva.  Motion passes.

“I’m not bitter. Bitterness is for losers,” Howard Lyman leans on Will’s door.  Will, who’s facing away, closes his eyes in horror. Not again!  “You tell me.  Why should I give someone else a leg up, huh?”  Oh God.  I still can’t help thinking that Josh Lyman of The West Wing could age into this grumpy old man.  David Lee oozes into the doorway beside Howard. “I see you’re busy here,” David remarks mildly.  ‘No, no, ” Will cries, clearly desperate for a break. “David, what’d you need?  Howard, do you mind?”  He doesn’t.  “Oh sure,” he says, walking out of the room, hands in his pockets.  “Push me here, push me there?” “Take two steps that way,” David grumbles rudely, shutting the door and narrowly avoiding Howard’s backside with it. “Sorry to interrupt your schmoozing, but did you know that Diane’s digging this firm’s grave out of loyalty to you?”  Sigh.  Will sits at his desk, hands clasped.   “No, I didn’t know that.”  David advances on his boss.

“Will, I always liked you.  I thought you were smart.”  Why is talking to Will as if Will’s dead?  “But this firm is not owned by you or Diane and she is treating it like it is.”  Hmm.  Interesting.  Will maintains a light smile, David’s pointy finger or no.  “She’s not making smart legal or business decisions.” Will continues with his tolerant smile. “And what are the smart  decisions?”  “She needs helps with the top. She is overwhelmed. And she can’t ask for help because she’s holding the spot for you.”  Will gives him a measuring look.  “You want me to support you to replace me?”  “No.  I want you to tell Diane not to make decisions based on loyalty.” The two men stare at each other.  David, that might be the best play you’ve made yet.

Clad in yet another red coat (this one’s almost maroon and not nearly as pretty), Alicia sits at her desk in her nice quiet office and heaves a big sigh. Aaaaand, her phone rings.  Again. She gives it a a baleful look, and hesitates before picking it up.  “Hello?”  “Alicia, I’m so thrilled, but why didn’t you go through me?”  Ah, it’s Marina’s cheerily passive-aggressive voice.  And, what did she say?  “Why didn’t you do the sales contract through me?” Not she sounds more on the aggressive side.  But what on earth is she talking about?  “For what?” Alicia wonders.  “For the house. I saw it go through my desk.  But why did you use Shirley?”  Oh.  I’d be whiny too if I missed out on a sales commission for a nearly 2 million dollar house, too – they get paid 6% of the total, so that’d be roughly $114,000.  At any rate, this explanation doesn’t help Alicia. “I didn’t get the house, I couldn’t beat the offer,” she says. Marina thinks she’s evading the topic. “Well, I’m looking at the file right here.  Florrick.  How many Florricks are there?” Alicia looks at her laptop, which just happens to feature a cheery picture of Peter with the kids, and the music once again clues us in to her already obvious suspicions. “Two,” Alicia says, but I can’t help thinking immediately that this is not true.  And that we’ve seen Mary Beth Piel’s name in the credits.  “Two Florricks.”  “Oh, I see, your husband,” Marina blathers, cheerfully congratulating her sort of not client.  “That’s great!  You got the house!”  Still willing to overlook the loss of that commission, just to keep the contact?  Slowly, Alicia sets down the phone, breathing hard, staring at the photo.  “Alicia?  Hello?”

“Why’re you doing this?” Will demands of Diane, who sits at her desk in gentle confusion.  “Doing what?” Something about his posture here reminds me strongly of his character from Dead Poet’s Society.  Maybe it’s just that he’s being an idiot.  “Holding my seat for me.” She gives him a cute little almost smile. “Do you want me not to hold it?”  Hee. “I don’t want you holding my seat out of some misguided sense of loyalty.” What?  What would be misguided about being loyal to him?  Don’t be an ass, Will. “You would do the same,” she tells him.   No, I wouldn’t, he lies in a pathetic attempt at nobility.  “No, you would, because it’s smart. David Lee, Julius and Eli are children who’ve been told they can’t have a toy, which makes them want it even more.  But if they got it, they would just break it.  Which is why we have to keep it out of their reach.”  Excellent metaphor, Diane.  Will has his eyes narrowed through the whole speech, but you can see she’s passing the ‘don’t insult my manliness with a handout’ test.  “Good.  As long as you’re doing it because it’s smart.”  Oh, Will, you idiot. She smiles at him.  “Always.” Sigh.  I love them.  “I think Julius has joined forces with Eli,” Will observes correctly. “Yes, they’ve requested another partner vote.  Any ideas?” Diane – resplendent in a form fitting crimson dress – settles back in her chair. “One,” he says, and I bet I know what it is. “Really?  Well let’s hear it.”   But we don’t get to, so they can preserve the non-surprise for later.

Alicia charges through a corridor, leaving a frantic (and furious) message for Peter. Back in the Hall of Old Power, Mike’s recalled not Mr. Burke, but the maligned Officer Zimmerman, and he’s already talking before Alicia arrives (rude!).  “I just wish, accusations of a drop gun were made, they’re made to my face,” he says, turning his formal policeman’s hat in his hands.  “I wouldn’t say they’re risen to the level of accusations, they’re just provocative questions,” Mike poo-poos the notion, talking with his hands. “Now you were questioned about a drop gun, weren’t you Officer?”  He was. “And when was that?”  “After the IPRA investigation, I was questioned by the State’s Attorney’s office.”  “By whom in the State’s Attorney’s Office?” Mike wonders, favoring Alicia with an especially significant look, his tone rich with nasty insinuations.  Mattan and Cary. Crap crap crap crap crap.  You can see where this is going.  Apply pressure to Alicia now.  (I will say, this confuses me about what Burke’s extra evidence would have been. I assumed Burke was originally unaware of the issues with the gun, and investigated further after Alicia talked to him.  But how did the SA’s office find out about it right after the IPRA came out if it wasn’t in the IPRA?)  “And they decided not to prosecute?”  Yes. “They took their findings to State’s Attorney Peter Florrick, and he decided there wasn’t enough to prosecute. ” Alicia takes a deep breath.  Not good, not good. “You can see why I’d take these charges with some sense of outrage.”  Mike nods, all the while shooting Alicia sneaky little looks.

“Of course you wanted him back!” Alicia complains once the witness has gone.  “So you could lay this at the feet of my husband and I would have to recuse myself.” Peter Dunaway leaps to his feet, annoyed, waving his finger wildly.  Not for nothing, but I don’t feel like this Judge Dunaway bears much resemblance at all to the man we saw in the courtroom.  He was persnicketty, concerned about doing everything just right, able to recognize injustice; this guy is intellectually and morally lazy.  “Oh, no, you’re not going to recuse yourself. Mrs. Florrick, this is not about you,” Mike threatens. “Your actions have just woken up this panel to our duty and we’re just following the evidence where it takes us.  And if it takes us to an inappropriate decision in the State’s Attorney’s office, so be it.”  Oh, Mike, you’re ever so reasonable. I don’t know, that sounds a lot like it being all about her to me. “I move we call the ASAs who questioned Officer Zimmerman.” When that comes from Judge Winter, Alicia knows she’s really and truly screwed.

Kalinda looks for  Lana Delaney in an gray, institutional looking FBI cafeteria, filled with gray suits and FBI windbreakers; it looks out onto a lobby through a wall of windows.  There are ghostly reflections of American flags in the windows, which is really cool.  “Here you are,” Lana notes as Kalinda joins her.  “Here I am,” Kalinda says as she crosses her arms on the table tops. ” You wanted to get my attention?”  “I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, Kalinda.  The IRS caught your little freelance problem.  I just picked up the ball.”  Riiiight.  Why would she get the wrong idea about that? “And where are you carrying this … ball?” Kalinda wonders.  Lana gives her a pointed look.  “Let’s have dinner and we can talk,” she purrs.

Kalinda looks away, annoyed. It’s back to those games. “No. Let’s talk here.” Lana looks around the cafeteria – oh.  The flags really are in the courtyard, but the reflections on the windows are distorting them.  “No.  It’s too crowded.  I know a nice intimate restaurant off Lincoln.”  What’s with the inappropriateness tonight?  Because Lana is so frigging inappropriate.  Her idea of romantic is just not.  “Why don’t we do intimate here?”  Kalinda asks, skooching her chair closer.  Genius!  That’s right, Kalinda, don’t let her get her claws into you!  Use her tricks on her instead!  Lana looks around, apprehensively. The she wiggles in her seat and starts whispering. “I asked you to join me with the FBI.  You wouldn’t be having any problems now, but you decided to stick it out with Lockhart/Gardner.”  Just as Lana starts to drink her coffee, Kalinda reaches out to brush her bangs, which makes Lana flinch (“Kalinda!”) and brings the attention of male colleagues from nearby tables.  Ha.  “You have such pretty lips,” Kalinda coos.  Awesome. “What’re you doing?” Lana hisses as more colleagues begin to whisper about them. “Why do we have to wait for dinner?  Why not here?”  Kalinda pouts, putting her hand over Lana’s.  “What’s wrong?  Kiss me!” Kalinda leans in. Now I’m just going to laugh. Lana holds up a finger. “Okay, just so you know, this is not the way your handle this meeting.”  Oh, but it is. This is just the kind of stunt you’d be pulling if you were at that intimate restaurant, turning something that ought to be about legal problems into obligatory sex. “And just so you know, if you want to talk about business we can talk about business. If you want to talk about something else” – and here Kalinda tries to take Lana’s hand, which is snatched away -“we can talk about something else.  Just don’t mix the two.”  Lana blinks, then walks away, somewhat stunned.  She gets a great covert look from an agent slouched down in the table behind Kalinda.  Kalinda smiles into the paper coffee cup.

Alrighty. That was tremendously satisfying, seeing Kalinda turn the tables on someone so predatory.  They’ve always had insane chemistry, those two, but Lana is just too into power dynamics.  I loathe seeing Kalinda under anyone’s thumb.

But that’s as satisfying as tonight might get, because true to Judge Winter’s word, there’s Cary looking martyred on the stand.  What, no Mattan?  Now that perspective would have been interesting to me, especially since we seem to be preparing a big racial charge against Peter.  (Which I still find a tiny bit hilarious because it seems to have grown out of the needs of the show – more Cary – and scheduling problems with guest actors of color, resulting in several of them getting dropped; way to use extenuating circumstances to ratchet up the drama, Kings!) “Yes, we interviewed Officers Zimmerman and Coffee two weeks ago,” he admits.  “And you asked them about the possibility of a drop gun?” Alicia nervously spins her pen.  “Yes.  We discovered that Officer Zimmerman had been present at an earlier crime scene where no gun had been recovered and inventoried.” Cary’s brow is still furrowed. “And the worry was that Officer Zimmerman had taken the gun into his own possession and never inventoried it?” Yes. “But you didn’t go any further with these accusations?”

Worried, Cary looks over at Alicia.  “No. After consulting with the State’s Attorney…”  “Peter Florrick,” Mike twists the knife (grr). “Yes, after consulting we determined this was probably an unfortunate coincidence.” Did you?  Did anyone actually believe that, because if they did, I’d love to see why.  More information! “Did the racial make up of the officers and the victim enter into this decision at all?”  “Not in my decision,” Cary replies.  Oh, that’s damning phrasing. Mike snorts. “The State’s Attorney’s decision?” he scoffs.  “I can’t answer that,” Cary shakes his head.  “Why?” Judge Winter asks pithily. “Because I don’t know, Your Honor.” Cary shrugs. “But it would not be in the interest of the State’s Attorney to  pursue a racially charge prosecution on the eve of his announcement for a run for governor?”  (Does that construction – “announcement for” instead of “announcement of” – puzzle anyone else?  It makes no sense to me.  That’s very clearly what he said, though. I suppose I ought to be more worried about how he knew that than being bogged down by syntax.)

“I can’t answer that, but I can be offended by it,” Cary replies, making me want to hug him.  Even if he’s probably wrong to defend Peter so. Suddenly he no longer looks so conflicted. “Who else was in  the meeting, Deputy ASA Agos?”  Cary’s forced into an embarrassing segue where he painfully explains that he’s no longer the Deputy.  Sigh.  Do you think that means Mattan is again?  Alicia looks grave and sympathetic. “Oh, sorry to hear that,” Mike lies, making me think he used the term on purpose to shame Cary, “Who else was in the meeting when you consulted on not pursuing the drop gun evidence?” And now Cary’s forced to answer. “Who else? Myself and the State’s Attorney.”  I’m expecting that Mattan’s name will come up again; Mike clearly knows what he’s fishing for. “Anyone else?”  It takes a little longer for Mike to beat the truth out of Cary.  “Mr. Eli Gold.”

Oh, crap. When that clean office bit when out the window, boy did it fly.  Alicia’s eyes close.

“And who is that?” Mike asks.  It’s like pulling teeth again, but the truth is inescapable; he’s a crisis manager who is also Peter’s campaign manager.

“I think she was a teacher when I was there,” Peter snorts.  He’s bent over the familiar red and white checked table cloths at the family’s favorite Italian restaurant (Abi’s?  Abby’s?).  Why had we never heard that Peter’s an alum of FancyPants Academy?  You’d think that would have counted with the headmistress; those things usually do.  “She’s what, about 90?”  “95,” Zach quips, “she just had her birthday.”  Ha.  They all snicker.  “Is that Mom?” Grace says in surprise.  It is indeed. Peter excuses himself to go over to her; he can read the warning signs from there.  And so can the kids. Hurry back or your ice cream will melt, Grace warns, scraping the sides of her own dish.  Zach knits his brows at his sister, wondering what could bring their Mom there.

“Hi,” Peter smiles. “Hi. You didn’t return my calls,” Alicia clips, infuriated. “I know,” he admits.  “That’s not fair,”she near-whines.  “I didn’t think it would be a good idea if we talked.”  What?  “Well, we’re talking now, because – Peter, this is wrong.” He leans in soothingly. “We’re fine,” he insists. Again, let me say, what?  “No we’re not!” she hisses, puzzled by his nonchalance. “They have to do what they have to do,” he shrugs.  And again I say, what the …  Her head rears back. “What’re you talking about?” she puzzles, shaking her curls. “It’s confidential; if you warn me about the panel you’d be breaking confidentiality,” he explains. OH.

“You… that’s not why I was calling.  You didn’t call me back.  Why?” She’s still mad, but he’s laughing. “Cause I didn’t want you to break confidentiality!” he reiterates. She’s thoroughly exasperated. “This is about you buying the house, that’s why I was calling!”  “What house?”  Peter’s completely clueless.  “Our old house, you put a down payment on it.” No, he didn’t.  “The sales contract has your name on it.”  Is that true, or did she just extrapolate?  He’s utterly at a loss, not trying to joke with her anymore.  “Alicia, I don’t know what you’re talking about.  Is our house for sale?”  And the brick drops.  She’s almost breathless with the revelation. “There’s another Florrick.” Duh, Alicia, duh.  For once, Peter did not deserve the mistrust. “What?” She looks around like the world has slipped its moorings – the realization of what’s happened makes her wild. “It’s not just you and me, there’s another Florrick. Jackie.  Oh my God. Jackie bought the house. I gotta go.” Now he laughs. “What’re you talking about?  Where’re you going” She snarls flatly. “To buy a gun!”  Ha! Maybe not the best thing to say to a law enforcement official who’s a mandatory reporter, though.

And, there it is, the partners meeting, and Will’s clever plan. Eli begins this round of the mutiny.”Ah, could I speak for a minute?  Now. I’ve made no secret of my interesting in stepping into a name partner role.”  No, you haven’t.  “Mostly because I believe the firm and our bottom lines are hurt…”  “Is this gonna take long?”David Lee interrupts.  “Only if it irritates you,” Eli quips, shooting David an evil smile.  Ha!  “But I decided after much reflection” or one coin toss “to support Julius Cain for name partner, because I feel he will best exemplify the things that we, uh, want.”  What, you can find words to support Colin Sweeney, but not Julius?  Classy. Julius stands up. “Thank you, Eli. And I would like to applaud you for that selfless act.” Ha ha ha ha ha ha. The juxtaposition of those two words – Eli and selfless – slay me. “Oh, come on, you flipped a coin or something.”  That David Lee, so sharp.  “So I would urge the equity partners who supported me in the last vote to ,uh, now support Julius,” Eli finishes “Point of information, Madame Chair,” Will begins.  “What does that even mean,” Eli snarks, baffled as ever by parliamentary procedure. “It means they can do whatever they want,” David Lee translates.”Granted,”  Diane nods.

“I think one person is being overlooked in this rush to replace me as name partner during my suspension,” Will begins quietly, thoughtfully, making eye contact with Diane and the partners in the audience. Eli can’t figure out what the play is. “There is one person in this room who has the most seniority, institutional memory to lead us into these difficult economic times.”  “I have the most seniority,” David Lee oozes, hand in the air. “No, David, you don’t.  Howard, do you mind standing?”  “Yep – Okay,” Howard says, slowly leveraging his body into a standing position.  “Oh, dear God, you’re kidding!” Lee cries. “You can’t be serious,” Julius wails. “Who is that?” Eli squints.  Ha.  “Howard, would you be willing to step up and help Diane during these difficult times?”  “If I get the corner office closer to the restrooms.”  Sigh. Howard’s wearing a plaid shirt and no tie.  Diane wastes no time with the bathroom issue. “Is that a motion to replace Will with Howard Lyman?”  Yes. “Do I have a second?”  She does.  All in favor?  Eli  – his head whipping back and forth, stunned at the number of hands rising – wonders why there’s no debate. “It’s too late,” Diane gloats, “we’re turning to a vote.” And it is.  She counts the hands in the air.

Does this mean we’re going to be Lockhart & Lyman for the duration?

“It’s all come down to this.” Mike closes the beautifully paneled door of the Hall of Old Power, shutting Alicia in to lecture and threaten her. “Yep,” she agrees, standing with her hands pressed together in front of the sumptuous leather chairs and arched windows. He clears his throat. “You seem distracted,” he observes. “I’m heading somewhere after this,” she says.  I bet you are.  She’s fighting wars on too many fronts today to manage any of them well, I fear. “I’ll get right to the point, then,” he declares helpfully. The light glints off her zip up suit jacket as she fidgets. “There are two reports I can write. One says there was nothing unusual about the shooting. Police behaved admirably, the victim behaved recklessly, and this was all just an unfortunate accident.”  Anger’s etched into her face. “In other words, a lie.”  “Well, let’s just say a compromise.”  With what?  Why is he so invested in the compromise, anyway?  Lazy?  Interested in preserving the status quo?  Trying to make the police look good?  Does he really fear a race riot?  What?  “Second report mentions the possibility of a drop gun, business of noise on the platform, the embarrassing detail of the State’s Attorney ignoring clear evidence of a drop gun for political ends, and the personal involvement of your husband in the event of the potential cover up, and that will not look good for him.”  Thank you, sir, that’s admirably clear.  I think we’d already established, however, that she has a functioning brain.  “And you wanna know which report I would vote for?” He sticks his hands in his pockets. “Yeah, I want it to be unanimous. I want to avoid a minority report.  Very simply, the more compromised report protects your husband.  The more, shall we say, forthcoming report hurts your husband.  Which one do you want?”

No.  He knows the answer.  He just enjoys being extravagant in rubbing it in.

“Nothing’s simple, is it?” she asks him. “Well, that’s not true,” he replies spitefully, relishing her distress, “Candy Land is simple.” That’s right, lady, he’s saying.  Go home to your kids. “I’m recusing myself,” she declares instead. “Anyway I go on this decision, I have a conflict of interest.”  How is that, exactly?  I’m really distracted by the one huge curl on her shoulder.  I guess it she considers participating in a lie a conflict of interest? “That’s too bad.  That boy pleased with you for the truth.”  Oooh, he’s really gratuitous and mean, isn’t he?  “His father’s dead and all he wanted from you is the truth.”  You have to rub it in, don’t you?  That you’ve beaten her, that you’ve forced her to abandon a helpless family.  She heads for the door. “I’ll see you again, Mrs. Florrick,” he taunts, hands boyishly in his pockets.  It’s a clear threat. She doesn’t flinch. “I doubt it.”

There’s Jackie with her gray hair tipped back into a stylist’s hands. “He could be President!” the male stylist trills, drawing out the word. The salon is old school elegant and filled with light. “Oh, please, stop,” she says, in a tone which urges him onward. “What?  He’s handsome enough.  Certainly tall enough.” Yes, those are definitely the most important qualifications!  Big eye roll to you, buddy. “Well. Peter doesn’t even know if he’ll run for governor,” Jackie tempers the stylist’s hopes. “Oh, he’ll run for governor,” the fellow says knowingly.  I tend to agree, unless someone like Wendy or Mike takes him down. (What’s the stylist doing, anyway?  Is he braiding her hair?  Brushing it? Toweling it off?) “I don’t know, he has to decide by next week.”  One week for the blackmail to work, then.

Suddenly, Jackie turns her head to see Alicia walking through the salon, black against the white walls. “Oh.  Jacques, would you just give me a second?” she asks graciously.  “Sure,” he says, trying to melt back into his station.  Alicia – quivering with fury – nods to Jacques before looking down at her mother-in-law. “Hello, Jackie,” she says.  “Alicia?” Jackie greets her in mild surprise. “Do you have a moment?” Alicia asks.  “I do,” Jackie declares, very lady of the manor.  Alicia turns, and Jackie rises from the chair to follow the younger woman, her lips pressed together in a supremely self-satisfied smile.

It’s all been very innocuous and polite, but oh my God, her face!

And, that’s it?  That’s it!  Argh!  You can’t cut us off there!  Oh, you mean, mean people!

Okay, so.  Let’s think about this.  From the look on her face, I’m willing to bet that Jackie knew Alicia was trying to buy the house.  Did she purchase it out of spite?  Or out of some desire to prepare for Peter’s run for office where he’s installed back at the old homestead with his adoring children – and his wife?  Is there going to be actual blackmail of some sort involved, or guilt, or what? Is it an attempt to freeze Alicia out, or force her in?  And if that’s what it is, would Peter go along with it?  Would Alicia?  I can’t help thinking that if they do, not only would they be perpetrating a fraud on the voters, but far worse, on their own children.

I cannot even wait to see that conversation.  (And if they don’t show it, you will hear me howling with rage.  But I’d be surprised if that happened. Which would make the howling even louder.)  That would certainly be a high stakes end to a less obvious seasonal build up.

Speaking of build up, is that all’s that going on with Kalinda – that Lana’s peeved over Kalinda turning down her job offer (and longing to get back in her pants?).  Lana’s pretty loathsome, and it was satisfying to watch Kalinda refuse to be caught in her trap, but I can’t decide if I’m comfortable with the way the show’s slapping down it’s uppity females lately.  Both Dana and Wendy (and even Lana) started out as more positive characters.  Is it a good thing the show gives us women of such complex moral dimension – formidable villains, even – or is it uncomfortable that they’ve been setting so many women up for a fall?  I don’t know, but it’s starting to make me wonder.  Are we going to learn the identity of the client behind dummy corporation check 3850, or are we done with this plot line?  I hope we get more from this; otherwise, they should have strung out the FBI behind the IRS screen a little longer, because it was pretty surprising and had the potential to be super creepy.

And from Lana, we come to the excellent and well used guest stars.  Good work!  Even Charles Dutton, who didn’t get to say all that much, lent the proceedings real gravitas with his presence. Who knew Matthew Perry could be so dastardly, huh?  Impressive.  This was an excellent guest appearance, and I can’t help wondering what he’ll be up to when he’s back.  I’d say he was out to bring down Peter, if he wasn’t so addicted to the status quo.  So I can’t wait to see.  By the way, I can’t help laughing a little over the similarity of his name to that of immensely influential feminist literary critic Julia Kristeva.  Just funny that a chauvinist would share her name;  I won’t go so far as to say this was a shout out, but the nerd in me would certainly love it if it was.

So, okay.  The big deal.  I don’t know about you, but I got all excited about Alicia doing a little Perry Mason-ing, as in the first season.  I miss that.  I love seeing her in action and I love the feel good cases, even though I appreciate that they more often go for moral complexity.  It’s just, every once in a while it’s nice to feel good, right?  And nice to Alicia succeed at something clearly worth doing.  So it pretty much made my heart sick that she abandoned that boy.  I can’t say from what we saw that the gun was definitely planted, or at least I can’t say why that was the case or why it resulted in Masters’ death, but clearly, more investigation was needed.  And it breaks my heart that she didn’t push for it.  I know, I know, she wants to protect Peter (and herself and the kids through him) but oh my God.  Oh my God.  I’m really disappointed in her. In some ways I respect the show for not giving me the easy moral victories I want, but geez.  Or maybe it’s just that I don’t want to see her as complicit in something like what happened to Trayvon Martin.  Is the similar last name a co-incidence?  Could it possibly be?  Does anyone know when this episode was shot?

So, yes, that’s it.  The idea that to protect Peter, she would let justice go unserved in this case… it turns my stomach.  How much could she have done?  I don’t know.  But more than she did.   Good timing, writers, and really bad timing too.

Or, I don’t know.   Am I taking that too far?  I value loyalty really highly, so it’s probably hypocritical of me to think that Alicia should let Mike wreck Peter’s prospects.  I can certainly see her desire not to wreck Peter’s life as laudable.  Except I wish Peter was concentrating more on doing the right thing than he was on his prospects.

Question for you guys: it looks like the remaining episodes will all air in April.  I’m going to be on vacation for the first one (April 15th) and won’t be able to recap that week.  So which would you rather I do?  Skip over that episode, do the one that airs on the 22nd, and recap it as I have time – or do them in order but much later than normal?  I’ll abide by your wishes.

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25 comments on “The Good Wife: Blue Ribbon Panel

  1. nikki says:

    I loved the recap! The flashbacks were so sad. I am hoping for the best when it comes to Peter and Alicia. They were once a such a great couple. They can get there again. I love Jackie! She is great! Alicia vs Jackie – I can’t wait!

  2. John Graydon says:

    Hi, E. To answer your last question first, I’d rather you did ALL the episodes in order, but later if necessary. It’s a shame to miss even one.

    Otherwise, so much to say — I agreed with your take on most of this episode. I was absolutely appalled at what a farce that “blue ribbon panel” was. Full of smug and complacent guys who have no interest in actually finding the truth or doing justice? They just wanted to rubber stamp a bad decision, without even asking any questions? How is that a good idea?

    (Also, I hated Friends and almost everybody in it, so I wasn’t shocked at all to see Matthew Perry playing such a sneering, arrogant, and loathsome individual. I never liked him anyway.)

    I loved to see Kalinda turning the tables on that insufferable Lana and her obnoxious, teasy little games. I chuckled with glee to see her flee in panic!

    I loved to see Diane and Will at it again. They have such a wonderful, caring relationship. They do an amazingly good job of riding herd on that freak show they have at partner’s meetings. 🙂

    I was truly disgusted with Alicia recusing herself, though. That poor bereaved son was looking to her as his one last chance for justice, and she throws him over in order to protect PETER?? Excuse me? If the truth takes him down, then that’s just what should happen. I wanted to slap some sense into her. Somebody sure needs to.

    A nice catfight between Alicia and Jackie would be fun to see — but seriously, Alicia is not someone who is entitled to take the high road any longer. Not by a long shot.

    • E says:

      Hey, John! I’m definitely not going to miss any episodes; it would just be a question of doing them out of order if people preferred that. I can see I didn’t explain myself well. But it looks like all the votes so far are with you, for doing them in order. Fine by me!

      The whole panel thing made me want to cry. I know it’s realistic, it’s just awful. And clearly the best she could have hoped for was a minority report, but still, I can’t help feeling worked up (and let down) about it. I even feel like Peter was telling her not to worry about him, just do what she needed to do. Of course, he’s probably wrong to assume that it wasn’t a big deal. He’s oddly optimistic for a politician, especially one who’s gone through scandal and prison.

      The thing about Jackie and the house, right – Alicia’s tossed Peter out, which means she doesn’t have a say in what Jackie does any more. Jackie has the money, and I assume she wants the house for Peter and the kids. What can Alicia possibly say that will make Jackie even feel bad, let alone change the situation?

  3. Kiki says:

    Thanks for the recap E!!!!
    Oh man those flashbacks broke my heart, they were so good! I am still not over how adorable they were!

    Next episode has to start with J/A because its going to be the showdown of the century LOL

    I think I would like it if you still did the recaps but just at a later day, unless its too much work. But I enjoy your recaps!

    • E says:

      Hey Kiki! I’m definitely going to recap all of the remaining episodes – it’s just a question of whether I should do them in order but late, or if I do 21 and 22 ontime and just sneak 20 in as soon as I can get it done. So if you guys want them in order, that’s totally cool.

  4. 4Florrick says:

    I became a fan of this show because the characters are all grey, including Alicia, which makes it realistic. So I APPLAUD HER PROTECTING PETER, because it is a realistic human reaction, and I thank the writers for remembering that.

    I understand that many people watch TV to tune out of reality, so they want to see the good guys be good all the time, the bad guys be bad blah blah blah. But that’s boring. And no ‘fan’ should ask that of The Good WIfe.

    Love your detailed reviews.

    • E says:

      Hey there, 4Florrick.

      Generally I’m with you – I love the shades of gray. But it’s nice to see Alicia do well every once in a while; and it certainly would have been gray to have her pick justice over personal ties, too – there wouldn’t be anything uncomplicated about that! It is pretty consistent that she can’t help taking care of Peter even if she doesn’t know how much she cares for him anymore, though. I don’t even think Peter would have been offended by her doing it; it seems to me that’s what he was saying at the restaurant, that he’d be fine, that she should just do what she needed to do. Of course, he was probably wrong that it wouldn’t be a good deal; Peter’s fascinating because he’s so sharp about some political things and so blind to others.

      And really, the best she might have been able to hope for was a minority report if she’d held on (the worst case being what’s really also a “compromised” report focusing on a cover up rather than on the actions of Officers Zimmerman and Coffee). You could see that Damon wasn’t going to stick his neck out and that Winter was pretty capricious. Still, I just find the whole thing upsetting. I love seeing her outsmart people. I hope she eventually gets to shove something in Kresteva’s face. 🙂

      Anyway, I’m just saying, I don’t need to see her always win. Her victories are never uncomplicated. It would just have been nice in this instance (especially given the political climate of the moment) to see her be able to push through the bureaucratic wall.

  5. BONNIE says:

    hi just wondering who the designer is that alicia wore?? I AM SPEAKING ABOUT THE BEIGE PLEATED JACKET ON LAST WEEKS EPISODE…..I LOVE IT..CAN YOUHELP DYING TO KNOW??? thanks

    • E says:

      It was gorgeous, wasn’t it? Just spectacular. I do not know who it is, though; TGW stylist/costume designer Dennis Lawson used to have a blog where you could ask these things, but he hasn’t updated it this entire season. The IMDB still lists him as the designer, but the link to contact him is broken. 😦 Maybe you could do some digging and find an alternate address for him, though.

      Here’s the link to the blog, which was really nicely detailed back when he kept it up:

      http://www.cbs.com/primetime/the_good_wife/community/blogs/blog.php?key=3

    • E says:

      PS – Thanks for writing in, Bonnie – I wish I had the answer!

  6. Janet says:

    I greatly enjoy reading your recaps. Thank you
    I just found out about another recap blog: THE CAPSLOCK WIFE. It’s the exact opposite of yours. And it cracks me up so much that the show could generate those two different styles.
    Creativity generating more creativity

    • E says:

      Yep, that’s about as different from this as possible! 🙂 Thanks for writing and for that link, it was fun. 🙂

  7. Maxine says:

    I was so disappointed with Alicia’s behaviour. Why give false hope to that boy and give it all up for Peter!

    Alicia has a strange sense of ethics, she challenges Peter’s actions only when he goes against the family. She seems oddly comfortable about every sleazy thing that Peter does as long as her family is safe.

    As for the flashback, I didn’t like them at all, given that Peter was a lying sleaze-ball during all those “happy” days. Also, Zach seems to be another Peter in the making.

    Matthew Perry was impressive, I didn’t think he was capable of acting so un-Chandler-ly.

    Thank you, E. Fantastic review as always.

    • E says:

      Hi Maxine!

      Gosh, I’m so upset at Alicia. I realize she was in a bind, but I can’t help thinking about that poor boy. You’re definitely right that Alicia’s weirdly tolerant of wrongs that don’t impact her family directly.

      I don’t think that Peter was lying during the flashbacks. I went on about this below, but it doesn’t seem to me that he’s dishonest about loving his family; he just can’t always remember that when faced with a temptation. I don’t think that’s any kind of excuse; I just think that for the most part, that happiness was real. Certainly he also presented a simplified version of his work life to his family; I don’t think Alicia had any idea how compromised he was, and I do think she really would have cared. I think maybe she was hit with so much awful from him at once that she compartmentalized it into levels of betrayal – she just couldn’t take all of it in. And now we see that in how she lets him off the hook for anything that doesn’t directly impact her and the kids.

      I agree about Matthew Perry, and I think the Kings used that very well; we’re used to thinking of him as Chandler, so we feel like he can’t be quite as hideous as he turns out to be.

  8. nikki says:

    Great recap! This episode made it clear to me how much I love Peter and Alicia together. They just work. They look beautiful together and they are both so smart. I really hope the writers explore their relationship more. It would be something new to television viewers. For office romances there is Grey’s Anatomy, House, Fringe…….This relationship is special and deserves to be explored.

    • E says:

      Hi Nikki! I think TGW is really unique on American television in both its portrait of a marriage, and also its close up look at the work place. Mad Men goes there, but most people who work on tv don’t actually WORK, if you know what I mean. It’s not like you actually learn stuff about surgery from watching Grey’s. 😉

  9. Tvdramafan says:

    I think that Peter was not necessarily a liar during those flashback times…

    One reviewer made an excellent point about Alicia ‘s recusing herself. It was not just for Peter. At the beginning of the epi, Diane made it clear that being on the panel was good both for the firm and her career. And it was interesting to hear how Will and Diane talked cynically about panel. And Alicia heard Diane …so I think that influenced her as well.

    • E says:

      Hey there! I don’t think Peter was lying back then either – I see I’ve been remiss in answering the last few posts, I thought I was caught up. 😉

      Peter strikes me as someone who lives very much in the moment. He has ideas, and ideals, but he can lose sight of those when he’s put in a different situation. You can see that in the way Jackie was able to talk him into running for SA in the first season; he knows Alicia doesn’t want it (although she won’t say so) and that Father Isaiah doesn’t think he’s strong enough yet, but she’s able to overpower those thing by offering him a different vision (one more flattering, more in line with his confidence and desire for power and influence). I think in his mind, he is true to both things. He thinks he can have it all. But that in no way makes his love for his family a lie. It’s just – it doesn’t operate as a brake in the way it needs to.

      I’m not saying that makes him a good husband; just a really well drawn character.

  10. Tvdramafan says:

    ThKs…like you comments. But I still agree with reviewer who thought Alicia was not just protecting Peter..and I think Diane wanted her on the panel because she wanted Alicia to learn in order to become a partner…but Alicia has and always will have issues with both her own ambition and fairness.
    I suspect we will see more of ambitious Alicia in the future.
    I liked your comment about the female characters. I have been cranky bec I think they have been heavy handed withPeter..he struggles, but screws up. They have beaten us over the head..he is not for Alicia…too selfish and power hungry..I wanted to see more redemption for him. But I liked Dana at first ,then ugh, Wendy …really self satisfied. So the writers seem to be hard on a lot of the characters , they have been very inconsistent with Cary too. Sometimes I think they chg where they are goingbjust for plot purposes…which is not great. Will and Diane have been pretty consistent… But then theybare regulars.

    • E says:

      I think you’re right – they’ll make you like a character, then push the limits, then maybe draw back; Cary’s been a total yoyo. Although I suppose they’re not going to rehabilitate Dana and Wendy, are they? This show excels at making you like and hate characters at the same time; Eli, David Lee, Patti Nylholm, Jackie. And Cary, obviously.

      I definitely think we’ll see more of Alicia struggling with her ambitions. It’s funny; in many ways, I think she’s still the good girl, trying to fulfill the roles given to her. And when the role is your career – especially the one she’s chosen – there’s a clear difficulty in that doing what’s expected comes at a moral price. How much is she willing to pay? I love the show for asking these questions. I can’t help but think that if she was protecting her ambitions, she wouldn’t have recused herself. She’d just have gone along with the lie.

  11. […] You think that would be a good thing (he knows he wasn’t bribed) but he was also on that Blue Ribbon Panel with Alicia, where she managed to alienate pretty much everyone involved.  Ugh.  And truly, when […]

  12. […] we’ve seen him?  (Roughly.  Looks like his last appearance was in season 3′s “Blue Ribbon Panel“.)  I have to go, Diane confesses, and we see that Julius’s calling her to a […]

  13. […] with a bunch of older men (one black, token just like Alicia) I have flashbacks to her time on the blue ribbon panel, but it turns out that we’re seeing Alicia’s first session at the elections board.  […]

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