E: You know what made it especially hard for me to recap Pants on Fire? The fact that I saw The Penalty Box less than 24 hours later. It was honestly hard to remember the earlier episode after some of these scenes! I’m still not sold on this season yet (beside my obvious love for the show), but this outing was at least more satisfying. Unless you’re Lara Delaney, that is.
“I was devastated,” sniffles a woman wearing a pink tweed jacket for her moment on the witness stand, “All my life savings. They were gone.” She looks down at her lap, struggling to compose herself. “Just like that. And it’s all his fault!,” she cries, pointing her finger dramatically at the author of her misery. Is it horrible that all I can think is, really? Another Madoff? I am in general sympathetic, and I hate to be mean, but she feels a little plastic to me, and the whole idea is meh. Been there. Done that. Bo-ring. That is mean, right?
The author of misery sits, embarrassed, between Diane and Alicia. He won’t look up, so we get to see how thin the hair is on the top of his middle-aged head. “The defendant?” Cary asks. “You blame him for this pyramid scheme?” Sigh. Alicia objects (calls for speculation)and the crotchety tones of David Paymer reach our ears. “Mrs. Florrick, can we save our objections for issues that really matter?” Judge Richard Cuesta asks. Actually, she’d rather pretend this one does matter. Behind her, a bailiff walks up the aisle.
“I’d just like to keep the prosecution honest, Your Honor,” she intones piously, making Cary laugh silently to himself. “Oh, sure. Why not? I’m in a good mood today, so I’ll sustain that,” he chirps, opening the manila envelope the bailiff’s handed him.” So much for the good mood; he looks suddenly grave. “I’m sorry to do this, ladies and gentlemen. I’ll need attorneys in chambers.” Um, okay. What’s that about? “And sheriff, if you would return the jury to the jury room, please?” Ugh. Should I have been calling the bailiff a sheriff? Oh, whatevs.
Cary, Alicia and Diane stand in a line across from Cuesta’s desk. “Looks like it might rain, right?” Cuesta delays with awkward, forced cheer. The lawyers are baffled. “Ah, yes, Your Honor, by this afternoon,” Diane steps in to the silence. “Yeah, I was in Mexico,” he says, hitching his pants up, “in April, not a drop.” Sounds like New England this April, actually. Cary gives a wondering look at Diane, clearly wondering whether they should call the loony bin. “Was Mexico beautiful?” he asks instead. “I liked it. I liked it a lot,” Cuesta enthuses. “I’m declaring a mistrial.”
The lawyers burst into an impossible cacophony of dissent. “Did I say that you could all talk,” Cuesta waves his hand, and magically all three fall silent. That must be nice. “This is not about you. I have been put in the penalty box,” he explains, which, huh? “You will be assigned a new judge in a month. I’ve been assigned to the thirteenth floor, and all my cases will be reassigned as of, ah, eleven am this morning, great.” He makes a show of checking his watch. Cary and Diane look at each other in shock, but Alicia only has eyes for the judge. “I’m sorry, Your Honor,” she breathes. “Yeah, a fifteen year judicial career down the drain,” he complains, “but hey, politics is politics.” We hear little sobs from off screen. “Stop crying, Judy,” he snaps; Judy’s the slumped, mousey-looking court stenographer, transcribing their conversation through noisy tears. Aw, Judy!
“So, you’re all dismissed! You can all go gossip to all your lawyer friends!” he instructs them bitterly, swirling his hand. So they head out. “Miss Lockhart, could you stay?” Cary and Alicia turn, too. “Don’t worry, it’s not ex parte. The trial is over. Get out,” he waves at Cary and Alicia again. Damn. I’ve always liked him, though I don’t quite remember him being this rude. Dry, yes. I guess because he’s so little and puppy-like, he gets away with it? As Cary and Alicia follow the wave out the door, Cuesta commands tearful Judy to follow.
Cuesta waves the baffled Diane into a chair. Subtly, their roles reverse; she looks more comfortable, and he looks less. “I need a lawyer,” he declares. She nods slightly. That follows. “Civil or criminal?” she wonders. “Possibly both,” he admits. Uh oh. “And what is the case?” she wonders. “You agree to take it?” he jumps. “Ah, no,” she smiles – good for you, Diane! – “I need to know the case first.” He huffs and shrugs a bit. “I was a prosecutor 20 years ago. I put a wife killer in prison, and now DNA testing has proved he might not be guilty.” Hmm. That’s kind of an intriguing book end to the blue ribbon panel case, isn’t it? Also, waaaaay more interesting than another pyramid scheme, even if we were on the side of the schemer this time. “And they’re looking at how I handled the prosecution, they’re saying I kept things from the defense.” Oh, not good for you, dude. “And that’s why the penalty box?” Diane realizes.
“Yes, I’m being investigated by the State’s Attorney,” Cuesta tells her, utterly outraged. “I’ve been transferred to review pauper petitions until such time as I am cleared.” Oh, how dreadful for you. Diane gives him a sharp look, her eyes narrowed. “I want you to know Mrs. Florrick has no sway over her husband,” she says. “Miss Lockhart, you don’t know me, do you?” He smiles faintly. “I’m not hiring you for your political connections. I’m hiring you because I respected the way Mr. Gardner handled his recent judicial bribery accusations. Now do you think I should be getting another lawyer?” Well. If you’re going to put it that way…
“I’m not sure it’s a good idea. We said we’re overburdened the way it is,” Diane tells a small clutch of confidants in the conference room. “No new clients until we hire a new litigator.” Will, who is bent over a chair back, disagrees. “It’s a judge. It’s a judge, you make an exception.” “Why?” Diane wonders. “If we represent Cuesta, he’ll have to recuse himself from every case we’re a part of.” Which, boo, means that we won’t get to see David Paymer again? I can’t approve of that. Will thinks it’s worth it, though. “But it’s the halo effect. Other judges will know we have their back!” Howard – in a suit, hello! – wanders in. “I saw you having a meeting of the name partners, and I thought, since I’m a name partner, I should be here.”
Hee! I still haven’t noticed them actually adding his name. Is it now Lockhart, Gardner & Lyman, or Lockhart, Lyman & Gardner, or just Lockhart/Lyman? Just wondering. Or are they not changing since it’s for a short period of time?
Diane’s mouth flops open. “Okay, we were just discussing whether to take on a new client. A judge.” What kind of judge, Howard wonders. Er, Jennifer Lopez from American Idol? No. Sorry. “Criminal judge,” Will tells him. “Oh, criminal judge,” Howard nods sagely, “sounds smart.” “Okay,” Will throws up his hands, “it’s been decided, we take on Judge Cuesta as a client, Howard approves.” Hee! Diane’s gonna to regret keeping you on, Will. “Then we’ll have to hire a new litigator,” Diane grits through her teeth. “Howard, isn’t’ that a good idea?” He thinks so. He even has a few names, should she need them. (He does? Who on earth? His old cronies? Grandchildren?) Shockingly, she declines.
“Actually, Alicia had a suggestion. Cary Agos.” And there’s Cary wandering through reception as we let this thought sink in. Alicia, former bake-off enemy, is poaching Cary from Peter? That is – on so many levels – astounding. “Who’s Alicia?” Howard wonders (and it is a little odd she’s at this meeting, right?). “I am,” she says, hand raised. They exchange hellos. “Cary’s been demoted at the State’s Attorney’s office, he’s ready to make the jump,” she nods. Indeed. “But are we ready to be jumped?” Will wonders. I guess someone’s not!
“I’ve work on a hundred and forty cases since I’ve been away,” Cary explains in the interview (holy crap!), “learned a lot about myself and the law.” Can he get away immediately, Diane wonders? Will’s still giving him the fish eye, and Howard’s curled up in his chair in a peculiar, almost fantastical position. Minus the two weeks’ notice, sure, he says. “And why’re you leaving the State’s Attorney’s office?,” Will asks; it’s a fair and even vital question, but it sounds a little pointed. “My responsibilities have been curtailed,” Cary shrugs, “and I wanted to face greater challenges.” Will asks the obvious questions: “Why curtailed?” Diane shoots Will a look. Cary says he can’t explain; it’s confidential internal business. But that’s not something that should worry us, Diane leads, trying to get the interview back on track. “No,” says Cary, eyes locked with Will’s, “Peter will give me a very strong recommendation.”
“And will you have any problem going up against your old boss?” Will asks. “I didn’t have any problem going up against you two,” Cary answers, causing Diane to chuckle happily. “Will,” Cary begins, ” I’m sorry about how all that went down the last few months.” “You mean the attempted indictment of me?” Will replies. What I said before; pointed. “Yes,” Cary answers fervently. “I want you to know I was assigned that prosecution. I never would have chosen it.” I don’t see why Will would ever believe him, because it’s such a self-serving to say, but the truth is even more in his favor – Cary thought it was a bad idea and tried to argue Peter out of prosecuting Will in the first place, and out of hiring Wendy in the second. Not that Cary’d ever admit that. Will just glares. “Who would you want to spend time with on a desert island?” Howard asks, breaking the tension. Cary can’t quite believe it, but Howard waggles his eyebrows, proud of his question and convinced of it’s power.
Cary walks out of the office (Will’s, I think) smiling, and Alicia meets him in the hall. “Hey,” he says, looking a little stunned and cautiously happy, “Thanks. They said you put in a good word for me.” How different is this moment from their exchange at the end of the first season? Amazing. “You’re getting pretty hard to be beat in court these days,” she smiles, “better to have you here.” Aw! “How’d it go?” He gives her a real smile. “Good, I think, but I don’t want to jinx it.” She beams at him. “Don’t tell Peter, by the way,” he says in passing, “I haven’t told him yet.” No problem, she smiles, and they head their separate ways after that nice piece of foreboding.
“He’s everything we need right now,” Diane protests to a doubtful, pacing Will,” he’s a go getter, knows the ins and outs of the State’s Attorney’s office!” Will snorts. “The conflicts of interest here could sink a battleship,” he proclaims, gesturing grandly. “Are we really worried now about conflicts of interest?” Diane gives her own snort. “We face fifty between here and the elevator. I say we hire him!” And Will’s hire, Alicia, is obviously the biggest walking conflict of interest there – but then there’s Eli, too. It’s all pretty incestuous. “I disagree,” Will replies. Bah. Two years ago Cary was the bitter one, and now it’s you, Will? Slowly, hilariously, the two look at the old man staring, brows drawn, at the floor. Idiot Howard can break the tie. “Howard?” Will asks for his older colleague’s opinion. And boy does he have one: “Is he gay?” In perfect synchronization, Diane and Will tilt their heads toward each other, questioning. “He only wants to take boys to a desert island. That’s why I’m asking,” Howard explains, irritated. “Thurgood Marshall and Keith Richards?” Diane replies, incredulous. “That bothered me,” Howard shakes his head.
“I see,” said Diane, turning to Will with a perfectly sincere look, “and did that, ah, bother you,too Will?” Hee.
They’re walking and talking again. “I’m glad we reached such a sensible decision,” Diane smiles as if she’s won. “If we don’t find someone better we go back and hire Cary – sounds sensible to me!” Will replies, disgruntled. He stops on his way out, turns around. Is Judge Cuesta on his way? “Yes, we discuss strategy in a half hour, why?” Diane wonders, thumbing through paperwork. “Which is when I have a sit down with Lemond Bishop.” Oh, dear. Diane stops flipping pages. ‘The city’s top meth dealer in the waiting room with it’s top judge?” Right. Speaking of conflicts of interests! (Also, is he the top judge, truly, or do the writer’s just like the symmetry of the phrasing? I don’t know that I would have picked him out as such.) “Yes, that qualifies as awkward scheduling.”
And on cue, the elevator doors open to reveal the judge and the dealer, both flipping through their phones, seemingly oblivious to each other. Cuesta’s about a foot shorter. And, oh, deliciousness, Eli hops in, chattering loudly. “I still think you can keep your stance,” he declares to his now only client. Cuesta shoots him a dirty and incredulously look for his bad phone manners. “Then why are we arguing?” Eli wonders. “We’re not arguing,” Peter insists from the Sex Couch of Infamy, “I don’t like being told what I’m doing is politically smart when I’m doing it anyway.” I get that. “Okay, Peter, you’re making an ethically courageous decision – how’s that?” Eli, I think all anyone wants from you is to shut the heck up. “When did we become an old bickering couple?” Peter laughs.
Oh, speaking of absolutely nothing that you should be broadcasting, “Did you kick out that kid? Cary what’s his name?” Oh, Eli. Please don’t tell me that Alicia’s going to get the blame for Peter finding out. “Did I what?” “That kid! I saw him here at Lockhart/Gardner, looking for a job,” Eli clarifies. You turkey, Eli. How did you even know why he was there? I’m going to bet Kalinda didn’t tell you.”Cary something…” “Cary Agos?” Peter asks, looking sucker punched. “Yeah!” Eli blithely replies. “Yeah, yeah, I saw him here, being interviewed – I didn’t know you were letting him go.” Sigh. You knew when Cary asked Alicia not to tell that it was only a matter of time.
And, wow, those are some grizzly photographs. I can’t even tell what I’m seeing other than the blood and a bathtub. It’s creepy to think of the prop people having to stage this stuff, huh? I wonder if there are specialist who provide this stuff for all the crime shows, or if each prop team does the work for themselves? “Terry Rooney, 29 years old, stabbed to death in 1992.” Ick. It’s Kalinda wielding the crime scene photos. “She was pregnant, he didn’t want a baby, so he insured her for $850,000 and he killed her,” Cuesta explains testily. Double ick. I wonder if they’re referring obliquely back to the Charles Stuart nightmare? Not that any evidence was going to be overturned on that case. Anyway. “Her husband Patrick said he returned home from the grocery store,” Kalinda continues, “to find her mutilated with a knife taken from the kitchen.” Cuesta grouses that no one could identify him at the supermarket, and he didn’t have a receipt. “It was a weak alibi,” Kalinda acknowledges. “It was a non-existent alibi!” Cuesta yells. Woah, boy. Take it easy there.
“And look,” he goes on, “he had her blood on his shirt and jacket.” Well, duh. The defense made a very natural case that he tried to revive her. “And the defensive wounds on his face?” Okay, there he has a point. “Okay, we’re not here to retry this, Your Honor,” Diane attempts to soothe the angry little judge, as Alicia’s distracted by the sight of Will shaking hands with Bishop. “Patrick Rooney’s sentence has been vacated and he’s been released, why is that?”
Looks like Alicia’s paying attention after all. “The killer’s hand thrust down on the sharp edge of the knife when he stabbed her, leaving his blood. It was never tested for DNA until his appellate lawyers petitioned it last year.” Cuesta looks at Alicia full of strange surprise. She gives Cuesta a serious, chastising look. “Turns out it was someone else’s.” Ooops. “Look, we didn’t test for DNA back then,” Cuesta justifies himself, which, sure. Although they would at least have tested for blood type… “Rooney was released last August when the DNA matched a truck driver…” Cuesta cuts her off. “I did nothing less than any prosecutor…”
In what must be a gratifying turn around, Diane cuts him off so she can make something clear. “This isn’t your court, Your Honor. This is our offices. You need to drop the entitlement.” Damn! Wow, Diane! Way to cut right through it. “Excuse me? I thought I was explaining myself,” he whines. Diane doesn’t give an ounce. “You were acting like you were the injured party.” He does indeed take on a tone of wounded dignity. “I have been barred from the bench, m’am,” he intones. “and I have done nothing wrong.” “No,” Diane snaps, “Patrick Rooney did nothing wrong, and he spent 20 years in prison for it. He had his wife snatched from him. And then he was accused of her murder.” Not just accused – unjustly convicted! She gives it a moment for this to sink in. “Your attitude, Your Honor; it will do more to convict you than the evidence. You’re on this side of the bench now. You have to show humility.”
Damn. She is good.
“Continue,” he agrees quietly.
“A court of inquiry is being convened in 2 days to review the evidence against… His Honor,” Alicia explains. “And decide if criminal charges should be brought.” Why the criminal court, wonders Richard. “My guess is do to the animosity of the players,” Alicia ventures. “Well, it still needs a judge. Your Honor know most of the judges in Cook County, they’ll have to recuse themselves. So, who?” And with that question, Alicia heads out.
Over to Will’s conversation with the always dangerous Lemond Bishop. It turns out there are only 2 months left in Will’s 6 month suspension. Already? Wow. “Still, I want you to know, Mr. Bishop; your team is intact and firing on all cylinders.” Didn’t they have this conversation already? Back when Will originally got suspended? “And how are you doing?” Bishop asks gravely. “How am I doing?” Will repeats, surprised by the courtesy. “I’m fine. I’m just worry about my clients.” “I’m fine,” Bishop smiles over at his customary flunky, “I don’t think a lawyer’s working hard enough unless they get into a little legal trouble now and then.” Well, that’s consistent, anyway.
Will introduces the team sitting in on the meeting. “Damon’s handling your tax issues, Roger your trust, Mark and Eve your criminal, and Jordan and Alicia your civil litigation.” Alicia walks in – so that’s why she’s distracted, she’s with the judge and the meth dealer. Courtly as ever, Lemond stands for Alicia. “Mrs. Florrick,” he says, and they shake hands. “And how am I doing civilly?” “Very well, sir,” she says. “No complaints.” Good, he smiles. “Actually, where is that little investigator you have?” Uh oh. Like he would ever forget someone’s name. “Kalinda? I think she’s in another meeting, but we can get her if you want.” Please, Bishop says, and his word is our command. “In fact, can I have a quick word with Mrs. Florrick and Kalinda in private.” It’s not a question.
Oh no. Because that wasn’t a set up at all. Will looks up at Alicia, very worried.
“We’ve represented judges and lawyers before, Your Honor,” Diane tells Richard Cuesta, “and they all have one trait in common; back seat driving. They all have trouble letting us drive their defense.” Judge Cuesta nods in understand. “I will, uh, endeavor to behave,” he offers. Alicia sneaks in to grab Kalinda from the table in the back of Diane’s office, whispering.
“You can give us a minute, too, Mr. Gardner,” Bishop dismisses Will genially. “You sure?” Will asks, uncertain about the wisdom of leaving two of his favorite employees alone with the firm’s most dangerous client. Naw, Bishop says lightly, legal stuff. ‘You can’t be helping on it anyway – your suspension.” Ouch. This guy is so smooth. Will’s look is deeply, profoundly mistrustful. But he goes, as requested, and Lemond Bishop – with his crisp suit and his pink striped shirt and his pink dotted tie – sits. Deliberately. Slowly.
And when he looks deeply into Kalinda’s eyes, it is not even remotely friendly.
“I was approached by an FBI agent named Lana Delaney,” he begins, and oh, crap. “She seems to think I have some tax issues due to some work you did for me.” Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap. Kalinda gulps. “When did she approach you?” Alicia asks when Kalinda fails to respond, and Lemond turns to her with such fire and authority in his gaze that she pulls back as if slapped. “I was surprised by this, of course, because I didn’t remember you having done work for me.” His tone is unfailingly polite. “And I was surprised to have an FBI agent approach me at all.” I’ll bet. “Yeah,” Kalinda makes a weak attempt at humor, “I’m surprised too.” “But you don’t pay me to be your client,” he replies, and you can just see the blood freezing in Kalinda’s veins. “I pay you. I pay you not to be surprised.”
Unsure of her reception, Alicia bravely tries again. “That’s my fault, sir,” she begins. (Um, is it? Looks like Lana’s stupid ass fault to me, though I laud Alicia for taking on blame from such an adversary.) The way Bishop slowly turns his eyes so that you gradually see the whites of them? Man, he is good. “Due to attorney/client privilege, I was limited in what I could share with you.” Slowly, but without another reprimand, Bishop looks back at Kalinda. “You’re only limited if she tells you to be limited, right?” Kalinda agrees. Oh well. Nice try, Alicia. “What’s my exposure?” he asks, implacable. Again, Alicia waits, but Kalinda is strangely silent. I’ve never known her not to be able to think on her feet; it’s a little strange. “We’re taking care of it,” Alicia says, and when Bishop slowly turns his eyes on her, she nods decisively, and he gives a tiny, jerky nod.
“Listen to me,” he says, turning the full force of his attention back on Kalinda, “I do not like the FBI coming to me. So take care of it. Fast. Are we understanding?” “We are,” Kalinda nods. He gives another series of nods, hardly more than a shiver, and then without another word, he leaves. Exhaling a shuddering breath, Kalinda turns to Alicia, her left hand braced against the table as if in need of physical support. “That wasn’t good,” she understates. “No,” Alicia agrees, drumming on the table, “Your FBI friend is gonna get you killed.” Kalinda can’t do anything but nod.
Diane clips into a room with dark wood paneling and an enormous fireplace. “Any word on a judge?” she asks Kalinda, already seated on a tufted green leather sofa and wearing her cognac colored leather jacket. Or is it a new one? Seriously, the girl has more gorgeous coats… “No,” the investigator explains, standing. “Ah, it’s still a political hot potato. The suspicion is, they’ll choose by lottery.” Okay. Some calls out Diane’s name – the prosecutor. They shake hands; he waggles his eyebrows at her, trying to convey something (regret? respect? a shared understanding? it’s odd). “Seth,” cries Judge Cuesta, coming in to also shake hands, “they put you on this?” “No,” Seth says loudly, “I volunteered.”
“Oh,” says Cuesta, resuming his habitual bitterness, “How nice. And Brutus volunteered to cover in Gaul.” He’s visibly shaken. “If nobody stepped up,” Seth tells him, loud again, “then justice would not be served. So I stepped up.” Oh, that is nice. Are you saying that they wouldn’t have pursued this if not for you? Awesome. I get it’s better to stab your friend in the front than the back. Diane shakes her head at the fervor of this earnest young man. “Always watch out for the true believers,” she whispers to Alicia.
“All stand,” a bailiff/sheriff calls out. “Special court of inquiry is now in session. The Honorable Murphy Wicks is now presiding.” Diane casts a wondering look down at Cuesta, who hasn’t heard of Wicks either. “Who the heck is…” “Oh hey there!” a cheerful voice calls, and out bursts the very cheerful and even foolish looking Stephen Root. Oh, sit on down, he tells them. “I’m new,” he declares in a folksy voice, “so things may go a little slowly at first here. I’m Judge Murphy Wicks, Murph’s fine with me, I’m from downstate, Harrisburg, gateway to the Shawnee National Forrest, population 10,790.” he explains, and the assembled all look at each other in surprise at his informality. “Yeah,” he finishes, swirling his tongue around in his cheek. Really, the difference between him and fussy, proper, waspish Cuesta couldn’t be more delicious.”Oh my gosh, he’s an idiot,” Cuesta leans over to hiss at Alicia.
“So, our defense is simple,” Alicia tells Diane as they walk out to their cars, “prosecutorial discretion is not misconduct.” Okay. “You can not convict a prosecutor for the choices he makes in a prosecution.” Well, I don’t know about that as a flat statement. Framing someone, for example, seems worthy of conviction. “Good,” Diane replies decisively, “and Kalinda’s checking on the judge?” We get a beauty shot of Alicia’s car as she leans on it and tells Diane yes, but that his story seems to check out. (Well of course it does! Really.)
Diane hesitates a moment before asking Alicia what she thinks of Callie Simko. “From our last case? Good. Cutthroat, but very smart.” Would you be so positive about her if you knew she was getting it on with Will, I wonder? “Why?” Since Will’s being resistant to Cary, Diane’s looking for an alternative. “Here? You mean in addition to Cary?” “No,” Diane replies from behind huge Sophia Lauren shades. “Well, I don’t know.” It’s not nice news, is it? Struggling for a diplomatic answer, Alicia comes up with “She’s smart. I can’t speak to how she’d fit in.” Alicia, why can’t you just say what you think? Diane thanks her for her opinion (though if she’s bothering to read Alicia’s hesitation and careful wording, she knows Alicia’s disappointed and not a fan of Callie’s ethics/attitude) and leaves.
“So Callie, tell us about your life,” Diane prompts. Well, that was quick! “Basically,” laughs Callie, resplendent in bright blue, “I have no life. I live for litigation.” “And you were suspended for a year?” She was. “I had some overbilling issues. Mostly because I had a cocaine habit.” You have to really admire her honesty; she puts it all out there, without apology. Diane and Howard share a look. Hmmm. Why are they interviewing a candidate for Will’s particular approval without Will? “I think it’s better to state that right off the top. For the last two years, I have been in recovery. If you have any doubt, you should talk to my past employer and my clients.” Wait, does she not have a job anymore? “Thank you. I will. And, uh, why are you leaving Hockley & Barnes?” Diane, thanks for asking that. It’s like you’re listening to my inner monologue. (Or it’s just the obvious question.) Maybe it’s because “Hockley” sounds like a noise you’d hear at a spitting contest? Callie makes a face. “Too big. Too corporate. Too many fiefdoms. And, one more reason. You.”
Diane looks up from Callie’s resume, surprised. “Me?” Yes. Is Callie blushing? “I’ve respected the way you shattered the glass ceiling for the rest of us, and I apologize if it sounds kiss butt-y, but I’m a fan.” Diane gives an adorable smile with a little blush and looks down modestly; One Direction would approve.
Ah. Howard makes his move. “Who would you take to a desert island?” Diane licks her lips she’s so amused, and Callie, bless her, actually laughs. “Who would I take?” She’s laughing, but she’s not rude about it; she’s good-natured. “Yeah. It’s a serious question,” Howard confirms. Well, if you say so. “Okay.” She locks eyes with him. “I guess Yo-yo Ma, with his cello, and… Brad Pitt, for a bit of eye candy.” Howard laughs in appreciation for what he clearly sees as a gender appropriate lust object. I’m with Cary on this one; if I were to actually take the question seriously for an interview, I’d go for more work-appropriate people. I mean, why would a prospective employer care if my fantasy is, I dunno, Jake Gyllenhaal as opposed to Christian Bale or Liam Hemsworth – or, for that matter, Charlize Theron? Chris Noth versus Josh Charles? What does it really tell you about a candidate (other than ferreting out the ones who were out of the closet, which is so not appropriate)?
Anyway. I know he’s supposed to be an ass for asking, so I’ll stop trying to make sense of it.
Anyway, Callie’s much better at this than I’d be. She and Howard laugh together. “I hope that’s not too superficial,” she demurs gracefully. “Oh, no,” Diane chortles, because it is exactly the appropriate amount of superficial.
“I like her,” shrugs Howard happily. Of course he does. “Good choices for a deserted island.” “Yes,” Diane agrees happily. “Let me call some of her references.” “Whatever,” Howard declares. Wow, the dude is so checked out. Do you think he’s like one of the Mad Men, only a lawyer instead of a marketer, is that the point? “She’s my choice!” He leaves, pleased, to have Eli oil up to him just outside Diane’s office door. Diane rolls her eyes at the naked politicking. Eli, don’t you ever give up?
To the strains of some lyrically appropriate sexy, twangy music, Will and Callie kiss. “What’d you think?” Callie asks him, taking her hands from the sides of his face. Will, his face striped with the shadows from a set of blinds, stammers. “I – I don’t know. I’m just – here. What’re you thinking?” She laughs. “I think I’m fine, and you don’t need to do it – I have other options.” Ah. Now that’s interesting. Will’s baffled. What doesn’t he need to do? “I – what’re we talking about?” “Work,” she says from the shadows. “I have another firm after me.” He nods. “Huh?” You can see his brain is in get it on mode and not otherwise functional – although it’s probably weird of her to bring it up mid-make out session. “You didn’t arrange the interview at your firm?”
“You had an interview at my firm?” he asks, sounding less lust-fogged already.
“Yeah, yesterday. They asked if I’d come in again,” she confesses. I can see why she’d assume he knew – even why he wasn’t at the interview, even, since they’re dating. He pulls himself up, most of the way off of her. “You didn’t have anything to do with that?” He shakes his head. “No, nothing.” Now his voice is completely passionless. “Well that’s weird,” she notes. “Lockhart must have been impressed by our last case together.” Weird. Have we ever heard anyone call Diane “Lockhart”? It sounds weird. “I guess so,” Will says, getting up. “Are you leaving?” Callie asks in surprise. Yep, getting late, Will mutters, not looking at her, pulling on the pants we didn’t know he wasn’t wearing.
“So you’re weirded out by this? This weirded you out?” Callie (in matching bra and panties) observes astutely, mocking him a little. Will, of course, refuses to acknowledge it. And I suppose he doesn’t need to get into why Diane doing this without asking him is weird. “No, I’m just getting dressed,” he shrugs as he pulls up his zipper. Callie’s far to smart to buy this, or to call him on the lie. She throws her hands up, not pressing the matter.
“Lynn Cuesta,” says the dark haired woman on the stand. “I’m the daughter of – him.” Well. Looks like bitter runs in the family. “You just nodded to the defendant, Richard Cuesta?” Is he a defendant yet? What is a court of inquiry, anyway? Does this process strike anyone else as a slightly odd thing? (Okay, it seems mostly to be a military thing, bu Illinois does use them to investigate judges.) “Yes. I saw where she nodded,” Murph Wicks observes. Nice! Alicia and Seth are weirded out. Everyone’s weirded out these days. “Thank you, Your Honor,” Seth says. “And do you remember the events of July 1992, when your father prosecuted Patrick Rooney?” (Random, but did you know Rooney Mara’s real name is Patricia Rooney Mara? Patrick Rooney, Patricia Rooney? Sorry.) Lynne remembers. “He was pretty passionate back then. He missed my graduation, preparing.”
Oh, the bitterness in her voice, and the wrecked look on his face! He sighs and swallows.
“And did you strike up a relationship with one of the jurors in that case?” Alicia objects (no foundation) but Judge Wicks thinks that’s ridiculous. “Yeah, but just let her tell her story. No more objections here, for a minute.” Nice. Even nicer; as true believer Seth gets started on his pitch, Wicks speaks over him. “What does the prosecutor want you to say?” he asks Lynn directly. Hee! Love it! If this is the way the hicks do it, sign me up. “I dated Larry Gibbs, one of the jurors.” Seth deflates. “And was this a very serious relationship?” How did that happen, anyway? She hardly seems like the type to hang out with her Dad at work. I mean, clearly it would be frowned upon. It seems unlikely to be an accident, and more the kind of the thing a really annoyed young high school or college grad would do to piss off her neglectful dad.
“We were together about a year,” she allows. So, serious. “I thought we were going to get married, but you know,” she smiles, “men.” “Yes!” the judge and his crazy eyes agrees, “men! I’m sorry for our gender.” Seth looks like he’s just about swallowing his tongue. “And did you and Mr. Gibbs discuss any of this case he was on?” “Yeah,” she nods, “he loved talking about it.” Right. You’d think she’d know that wasn’t cool. We establish that he talked about deliberations, and that she, too, talked about what she heard at home. Wicks asks Seth Kleinberg if he has more questions; he doesn’t.
“Just a few questions,” Alicia stands to say. Judge Cuesta reaches out to stop her, but Diane blocks him and reminds him to back the heck off the back seat driving. “Lynn, do you talk often with your father?” Seth wishes to object to the question just as much as Judge Cuesta does. “No, no, Mr. Kleinburg,” Wicks smiles his crazy smile, “you got what you wanted, now it’s their turn.” Alicia nods, pleased for the moment. “We were never very close,” Lynn admits. Well, duh. We can see that.
“In fact, didn’t you try to change your last name in 1993?” Ha. Well. Lynn looks down in her lap. “So given the difficulties of your relationship with your father, did you ever tell him about what you learned from this juror?” Lynn still looks down. “No,” she admits. I’m still not sure how any of this is supposed to expose illegal acts on Cuesta’s behalf. We’ve learned his daughter hated him then and pretty much hates him still. That he was a workaholic, that he feels bad about it now when there’s nothing he can do to change it. It might have gotten Gibbs thrown off the jury if they’d been found out, but I don’t get what Seth’s game here is. We haven’t heard that any information was passed on that would have changed a vote. Unless the idea is just to demoralize Cuesta, and in that case, pay dirt. “And did he ever ask you what you talked about?” Lynn practically spits out her “no”, the idea is so absurd. “And did he even know you were dating?”
“He never game a damn who I was dating,” Lynn snaps. Right, which is why you landed on someone who could maybe muck up your dad’s oh so important case if you were found out, isn’t it? (That’s my snark and instant-psychoanalysis, not Alicia’s.) “The day of my wedding, he didn’t even send a present.” Damn. I guess I’d want to hurt my Dad too if he was that hands-off. “No further questions,” Alicia says quietly. “Lynn,” Richard says, reaching out as his daughter (dismissed from the witness stand) walks by. She turns to him a face of blistering scorn. “Too late, Dad,” she bites, and he withdraws the hand. Alicia watches him, pity on her face.
Kalinda bangs on a blue-gray door in a blue-gray hallway. The door opens; it’s Lana Delaney, in a very pretty blue-gray heathered wrap around bathrobe. “Are you crazy?” the latter hisses, “I have a gun.” And yeah, that’s probably a gun in her right hand. Geez. Do you normally answer the door with a gun? I take it you don’t get many visitors. Kalinda pushes her way in. “Just seeing how you’re doing, Special Agent Delaney.” Woah with the contempt! (Not that I don’t agree, but hostility isn’t usually Kalinda’s play.) “How did you even find me?” Lana wonders, still annoyed. Kalinda ignores her. “Nice place,” she says. All we can really see is a very large print that looks like a pulp fiction book cover from the 50s, very film noir. “Thanks,” Lana remembers her manners, if briefly. “I’m getting ready for bed.”
Kalinda turns her full attention on Lana. “Yeah, I can see that,” she says. “Come on, I have to get up early,” Lana tries again to get rid of Kalinda (odd role reversal there, huh?). She crosses to stand, facing Kalinda, who stares at her for a moment. And then Kalinda’s posture totally changes; she sticks her pelvis out, extends her right hand, and walks a step closer. The camera tightens so we can only see above their waists, but it’s clear the bathrobe is looser, and that the action (so to speak) is taking place off screen. Kalinda gives a sexy, challenging stare, and Lana can meet it only for so long. Suddenly, Kalinda’s backing Lana into a glass block wall, and her left hand is now the one we can’t see, and her right is curled around the outside of Lana’s bathrobe.
And then her hand is inside the bathrobe, and they’re crushed together against the wall. Kalinda’s focused, steely. Dominant. “I chase you for two years, and nothing,” Lana breathes, twisting. “What? Now you’re into me?” Lana tries to challenge Kalinda back, but it’s no use; her eyes close, and the two move up and down in unison. We’re seeing less and less of their bodies, not even Kalinda’s rhythmically jerking shoulders anymore. Light shimmers against the glass blocks. Kalinda moves in for a passionate kiss; when it’s over, she looks at Lana, and something shifts. Her eyes become huge, and vulnerable, and she freezes, and it’s as if – I don’t know. Is she showing Lana something she thinks Lana needs to see, or is she being real? Does she not want to play the game anymore? Because I have to tell you, as sexy as that was, if Kalinda doesn’t just want to use sex as a weapon anymore? That’s what it looks like, and that’d be amazing.
She rests her forehead against Lana’s, her body still. Lana runs her hands up to Kalinda’s shoulders. “You’re gonna get me killed,” Kalinda says in a small, even childish voice. She’s throwing herself on Lana’s mercy (whatever that is). Lana pushes her back. “Get you what?” “You talked to Lemond Bishop,” Kalinda complains. “So that’s what this is about,” Lana snaps. Well, wasn’t that the point? You created this whole investigation so you could get back into Kalinda’s pants (or get her in yours); are you complaining that it worked? “You talk to Lemond Bishop, you get me killed,” Kalinda puts the sentences together.
“No,” Lana insists like a complete idiot, “I talk to Lemond Bishop and it turns up the heat.” That’s right. ON KALINDA. “He’s gonna kill me, Lana,” Kalinda begs, her voice heart-rending. “Stop it.” The light reflects of the furrows in Lana’s brows. “I can’t. I can’t. It’s my job.” Kalinda leaves, and Lana brings her hand to her forehead, breathing hard.
Well. That was quite the scene, wasn’t it?
The lights come up in Peter’s office – 3 art deco glass shade lamps, glowing beautifully around the man himself. Cary bursts into the office without knocking. ‘We haven’t gotten a new judge yet on the ponzi scheme, but that gives us time to recalibrate our attack,” he says, punctuating his words with his manila folder. Peter takes the folder and walks around with it. “Okay. And that’s what you were doing, recalibrating?” Yes sir, Cary replies crisply. Uh oh. Peter tosses down the folder. “This case could take a couple of months. You up to it?” He walks by Cary on the way to the door. Oh, Cary. Speak now. “Yeah, it’s a good case,” Cary says, looking conscious. Sigh. You just failed, Cary. “You’ll see it through?” Now Cary’s worried. “I hope to. Why?” He turns toward Peter, who’s still walking toward the door, hands in his pockets.
“You know what I prize more than anything, Cary?” He turns to face his subordinate. “Loyalty.”
And, there it is. Cary knows his secret’s out now. “I had to learn that the hard way,” Peter continues. “I thought I could handle going to prison. I thought I knew the people I could count on. Turns out there’s only a handful that stuck by me.” Cary’s face pales around his pink lips. “I got a call,” Peter continues. “Somebody saw you being interviewed at Lockhart/Gardner. “Sir,” Cary starts to explain himself. “I wasn’t…” “You weren’t being interviewed?” Peter interrupts coldly. “No. I was. I was intending to tell you.” And that’s why he just gave you the chance, Cary. I mean, I can see why you didn’t take it – it’s awkward, and you haven’t gotten an offer yet – but still. “And it just slipped your mind,” Peter snarks.
“No,” Cary cries, “I didn’t know if I wanted to leave.” Smiling his big, curving smile, Peter goes in for the kill. “You wanted to know there was a nice soft landing before you jumped?” Well, is that so evil? “No,” Cary insists again. “I have lost respect here ever since I took a step down.” There’s real emotion in his voice, and he doesn’t reiterate – which he maybe should – that he took that step down to protect Peter from the inconsistencies of his own behavior. “I know,” Peter bites, walking in toward the smaller man. “Do you respect me, Cary?’ Of course he does. “Not enough to confide in me?”
Cary’s face falls. Well, that’s hard, though, because Peter is Cary’s boss first and friend/mentor second. It’d be hard to know how to play that. And obviously, Cary picked wrong. “You’re right,” Cary says, “my mistake.” “Well,” Peter replies, “I want you to hand off your cases to Geneva Pine.” Damn. “We’ll still offer a month’s severance.” Cary’s face goes completely white. “Thank you,” he says, none of the tension in his jaw coming out in his voice. “I’m sorry it happened like this.” Finally Peter meets his eyes. “You gotta do what you gotta do,” Peter nods.
Wow. I can’t decide who was in the right here. I guess I see both their positions, but I can’t help thinking it feels like a really emotional response from Peter. Poor Cary; what a meteoric rise and fall.
Next up we meet Frank Peel, a convict from the Parnell Correctional Facility in Michigan. Don’t you feel like they go out of state for jails all the time? Don’t they have penitentiaries in Illinois? Anyway, Peel was a witness for Rooney’s prosecution. “Hey, Dick!” he calls out to Cuesta, shooting at him with a finger gun in a way that’s clearly supposed to be charming. Oh, yeah, you’re such a slick one. “Okay, let me step in here,” Judge Wicks interrupts the flow again. Oh my lord, can we have him all the time, please? Love watching him cut through the BS. “What’d you want to say, Mr. Peel?” Well, the fellow considers, it’s not what he wants to say so much as he was Rooney’s prison roommate back in the day. “It’s just that Dick over there paid me to say he confessed.” He paid you, Murph repeats. “With money?” “No,” says Peel, who reminds me of Eliza Doolittle’s happy wastrel of a father from My Fair Lady, “He gave me a conjugal visit with my girlfriend.” Peel chuckles slowly. “And it was worth it.” Worth it for you, obviously; how difficult could it have been to tell the lie that would doom another man’s life?
Murph is so not interested in Peel’s gloating remembrances. “Anything more from you Mr. Kleinenburg?” That would be a no. (For the record, the imdb calls him Kleinburg, and I think that’s what Wicks said the first time, but it definitely wasn’t this time.) Alicia’s up and ready. She restates his testimony. ‘That’s right, what I said,” he agrees. “And what was promised you in order to testify against Judge Cuesta?” His lips nearly form a smile, but one finger starts twitching and tapping. “What’d you mean?” he stalls. “You’re still in prison, aren’t you?” He is. “Did the prosecutor do what they often do when they want damaging testimony…” Kleinburg/Kleinenburg tries to object, to a big old “Noooooo” from Judge Wicks. “Go ahead, m’am,” he says with a feral grin. “Did they offer you leniency in exchange for your testimony?”
“Well they offered to speak at my parole meeting, if that’s what you mean,” Peel says, hand out toward the prosecutor. True believer Kleinenburg twitches in his seat. Hee. “But I wouldn’t call that paying, you know. It’s just what friends do for friends.” Yeah, I think Seth would rather they think he paid you with money than considered you a friend, actually. “Okay!” Wicks proclaims. I love him. “Thank you Mr. Peel. We don’t need anything more from you,” he says, twiddling his thumbs. He gives Alicia a smile and nod.
Excellent. Cuesta smiles at her. “That was nicely done,” he observes, respect on his face. “Thank you, Your Honor,” she smiles.
That’s not respect on Diane’s face as she sits in her office. “You what?” she says, disbelieving. “I’m dating her,” Will says, giving an extra look which clearly proclaims “what part of that didn’t you understand?” “You’re dating Callie Simko?” Diane repeats, still stunned. Looking slightly embarrassed, Will nods. “Yes. Just recently.” I don’t see what he has to be embarrassed about. Is he not allowed to date other lawyers? “Will, I, uh, I don’t mean to intrude, but,” she collapses her head in her hand, “could you please keep your pants zipped?” Hee. “I didn’t know you were bringing her in for an interview. If you’d invited me in for the interview,” he begins, coming closer. “Oh, I’m the problem?” she snaps. Well, it wouldn’t be an issue if you’d asked, you know. Yes, it’s a pain, but come on.
“Look, the only reason we’re interviewing anyone at all is because you vetoed Cary!” Will looks away. Now he feels bad, like he’s standing in the way of both Callie and the firm. “She’s good, isn’t she? Callie?” “Yes,” Diane says, then adds with a perfectly neutral tone, “Howard liked her.” Ha! “She wanted men on her deserted island.” Ha again. “Okay,” Will sighs, hands out, “let me figure something out.” Does that mean he’ll dump her so she can take the job?
“See?” Eli whispers in Howard’s ear outside the door. He’s such a little Iago. Seriously, Eli, there are two months to Will’s suspension and you’re starting a campaign for governor. Will you just give up this idea already? You don’t even want to run the firm. “They really don’t include you in the group.” Hmph, says Howard. “They’re using you,” Eli pushes. “So, ah, what do I do?” Howard wonders. It just so happens that Julius and Eli have a handy conspiracy you can join to vote Will out, how excellent is that?
“I’m embarrassed to say, I used to be a heavy smoker,” a pretty, perky woman with short blond hair confesses. “I’m embarrassed to say, I still am,” confesses Judges Wicks, who seems to be facing the wrong direction. “You’re kidding!” she asks, “you’re killing yourself!” Ah, he’s standing, leaning on the judge’s bench. “Yeah, my wife says she’s kicking me out if I don’t stop,” he agrees serenely. Cuesta’s incensed at the lack of focus. “Tried the patch?” No, but he will. Seth, I’m afraid you’re going to chew right through your cheek if you keep doing that. “Anyway, you were the jury foreman,” Wicks finally gets back to business. She was. Gosh, she doesn’t look any older than Lynn Cuesta, does she? Pretty young to have been the foreman 20 years ago.
“And I was one of the last hold outs for not-guilty,” she admits. “But you changed your vote to guilty,” Seth Klein-maybe-en-burg charges in, so desperate to actually speak and present his own case that he’s much too loud. It wins him a fierce look from Wicks. ‘I’m sorry, Your Honor. Do you mind if I take over?” Sure, Wicks waves, and sits down. He doesn’t mind. Hee. So, yes, the jury became unanimous when she changed her vote; Seth wants to know why she changed her vote. ‘There was a smoking area, a little courtyard, over by the jury room,” she begins, “and I saw some evidence there during our last lunch break. First I thought it was left there accidentally.” She’s wearing a very pretty navy dress with a plunging neckline. “And what was that evidence?” Seth wants to know. Alicia looks over at her client.
“Photos of the husband, Mr. Rooney, the accused, covered with blood.” Turns out this was suppressed during the trial because it was too prejudicial. “Yes. I guess we weren’t supposed to see that.” And what makes you think now that it wasn’t an accident, Seth wonders. “Because I saw that man, the prosecutor over there, leaving the evidence in the courtyard.”
Alicia shoots Cuesta dirty, thoroughly pissed off look.
“Well I didn’t do that, I would never do that,” Cuesta declares back in the office. Dude, it is not looking good! What the heck! “We could play off faulty vision,” Kalinda suggests, “the foreman used to wear glasses.” Hmm. “It’ll be hard to undercut her. Judge Wicks believed her,” Alicia notes, and Diane, nodding, agrees. “You had a co-counsel on the case, Your Honor,” Diane asks. “Yes, an ASA I supervised, why?” Cuesta asks. Why the heck do you think, dumb ass? (I’m sorry but come on.) “I saw a photo of him in the file somewhere?” Diane says, and Kalinda pulls it out. The man has a shiny bald head. “Yes, that was Lloyd Bullock,” he says (and oh, what an unfortunate name!) “but he had nothing to do with the crime scene evidence. He was a good man.” Um, okay. “And you were balding, too, in 1992?”
Cuesta finally, finally sees where this is heading, and he doesn’t like it one bit. And they start to debate whether Cuesta or Bullock was in charge of the evidence in question. Look, dude, you’re not getting it. If you honestly didn’t do it, you have to believe that either she’s lying (and why would she be lying?) or that someone else put it out there. “Your Honor, they’re saying that you leaked excluded evidence in order to win a guilty verdict against an innocent man,” Diane says, laying down the law. “Which you did not do?” “That’s correct,” he replies, so slow and patronizing I want to smack him in the head. “We need to point our finger at someone else,” she explains, just as slow.
“Yes,” he agrees,”but not at someone who’s innocent!” Well, then, who do you think leaked the photos? (Honestly, I don’t know that I’d buy this whole theory – the jury would have seen both prosecutors daily for the length of the trial, which makes them less likely to mix the two up, don’t you think? I suppose it depends on how blind she was without her glasses – but what choice do they have?) Because it seems pretty damn clear that you didn’t make your case, and you railroaded an innocent man into serving 20 years in prison. “How do you know he’s innocent?” Diane picks up a photo in her tomato red hand; you two were the only ones with access, right? “He was with me during deliberations, that’s how I know he didn’t do it.” Alicia’s unconvinced: “The whole deliberations?” Yes. “And you know that for a fact?” Kalinda joins in. Was anyone else expecting Cuesta to confess they were secret lovers? It would go toward explaining his clearly bungled family life and his determination not to implicate Bullock.
“I do,” Cuesta says (know it for a fact). “He didn’t leave you once? Not even to go to the rest room?” It’s Alicia again. “Oh, come on, what’re we, in the third grade?” The one lagging behind here is you, not them, dude. “I’m not naive, I know what you’re doing here. You’re defense lawyers, you poke holes in the prosecution’s case, which is everything I’ve been disgusted by my entire life – playing games with the truth.” Yes, that’s right. And you are telling them that you’re innocent. But if you are, someone else must be guilty! This isn’t a question of whether he was right in charging Rooney, but whether he used illegal tricks to convict him. Someone else must have left those photos out if he didn’t do it. So if they’re guessing wrong about who could be to blame, give them another suspect! Gosh, he is annoying me so much right now. I get his point, but still. Diane snaps (albeit politely):”When you’re back on the bench, you can be disgusted again, but for the moment, we need to defend you. Or you won’t get back on the bench.” Ha! Good for you! Cuesta looks terribly depressed – but then again, he always does.
Back at his office, Will’s lying to Callie. He’s too busy! He can’t meet up! What a loon. Why do the people on this show always assume no one else can handle the truth? Callie’s a big girl. She’s faced down a cocaine addiction; do you genuinely think she can’t handle being told you’re uncomfortable sleeping with her while your firm is deciding whether or not to hire her? “Yeah. Family stuff. Yeah.” Eli’s gladhanding Howard outside Will’s door. Jeez. Can he be a little more obvious? Why doesn’t he skulk in corners like a normal conspirator? “Yeah, I’ll talk to you,” he says, hanging up. Diane walks in and notices the new duo. “What’d you think?” she asks. “Don’t touch it,” Will says, still robotic, “it’ll handle itself.”
“My name is Lloyd Bullock. I was an ASA and His Honor Cuesta’s co-counsel in 1992,” he smiles without showing his teeth. Didn’t they show us a photo of a mostly bald guy? He’s played by Michael Park, a long time soap actor who is definitely not bald. Or even balding. Who also looks way to tall to ever be mistaken for David Paymer, even without hair. “Hey, Richie,” he calls out to his old boss. Wow, we’re all with the nicknames here, huh? “Lloyd,” Cuesta replies in greeting. Alicia begins the stoning: “And you looked nothing like you do now back then.” Bullock laughs, startled. ‘Well, we’ve all gotten older,” he chortles. “Not all of us,” she replies, eyes narrowed. “I’m sorry to be delving into this, sir, but your… hair…?” She raises her hand, held flat, and circles it around the top of her head. Seth objects, but Wicks is interested. “No, I see where Mrs. Florrick is going with this.” So does Mr. Klein-perhaps-en-burg. That’s why he’s objecting. “You used to be bald, sir?”
What a thing to have to discuss on the stand, huh? “Bald-ing. Yes, this is a hair weave.” Okay. Good to know. Wicks find it impressive. “Thank you. I’m in real estate now. It’s almost an occupational necessity.” Lloyd smiles again, this time showing his teeth. It’s creepy. “So you used to look a bit like Judge Cuesta in 1992?” Alicia refocuses the questioning, and it clearly makes Cuesta uncomfortable. “Yeah, buh, I guess. With glasses. My hairline…” he begins, but Alicia cuts him off. “And you were a smoker back then, in 1992?” Not a heavy one, but he was. And he had access to the smoking area near the jury room. “Well, yeah, it was the one smoking area.” And he was in charge of all the evidence while the jury was deliberating, Alicia asks. His mouth falls open; he sees he’s being railroaded. “No,” he finally says. “You weren’t in charge of the prosecutorial evidence?” she asks, surprised. “No,” he says again, quietly. Alicia looks at Diane, who nods; her smile back is vociferous.
“My mistake,” she begins, “but you did have access to it and you were to keep track of the admissible and inadmissible evidence.” Seth starts chewing on the inside of his cheek again. Wicks steps in. “I think they’re trying to suggest that you left some inadmissible evidence in the smoking area to be seen by a juror, is that what happened?” No, Bullocks cries. Alicia’s ready to let things rest. “Yup, well, I have a few,” Wicks declares. I love him! This is so great, even if it’s working against us this time. “Did you go out into that courtyard during deliberations?” “No, Your Honor!” Bullock affirms. And where was he? “With Mr. Cuesta. We were together the whole time.” I can’t help thinking it’s unlikely that the deliberations were so short neither of them had to use the rest room or take a smoke or something! “Your Honor, is that true?” Wicks asks. Diane, of course, objects that Cuesta isn’t on the stand. (Diane’s pin looks like a Harry Potter style lighting bolt from a distance, doesn’t it? It’s totally not, but from a distance and especially on a small screen you can’t see the cross pieces.) Wicks wants to know anyway. “Yes, and if this was a trial and not a court of inquiry, I wouldn’t be doing this,” he says, standing up and moving around the bench, “but I am doing this!” You tell ’em! “Your Honor. As one judge to another, was Mr. Bullocks with you during deliberations and there for unable to leave this excluded evidence for a juror?”
Diane bites her lip. Cuesta weighs his options for a moment.
“Yes, Your Honor, he was with me.”
“For the whole deliberations?” Yes, for the whole deliberations. Damn. That seems so unlikely. Wicks blows out a breath, a little annoyed. With Alicia and Diane, and with having his time wasted, no doubt. “Thank you. I think we can excuse this witness.” Seth would rather not. “Quit while you’re ahead, Mr. Kleinenburg,” he growls.
“These are the checks in question, from Mr. Bishops corporation,” Alicia says, setting down photocopies of checks on a desk. She smiles down at Lana Delaney, who is somewhat more formally attired than the last time we saw her. “But this is an email from Will Gardner. You will note that it is dated three weeks prior to the first check.” Lana reads. “Kalinda. The client asked me to have you look into the things we discussed at the meeting. Please keep me posted. Thanks, Will.” Hmm. Not very explicit, is it? Lana sets down the paper. “Seriously?” I hate to admit it, but I’m with you, Lana.
“It was work that was done for Lockhart/Gardner, and as such, it is covered by attorney client privilege.” Sigh. Okay. That makes sense. So why pay Kalinda directly, Lana asks. Again, reasonable. “That was an accounting error,” Alicia says, pointing her pen at Lana. “Oh, come on,” Lana interrupts (what? because meth kingpins’ accountants never mess up?) . “Mr. Bishops accountant incorrectly cut the checks to Miss Sharma directly.” Well, if he really did that, can he blame Kalinda for it? He should kill the accountant, not her! Not that I would argue for that, obviously. (So maybe you can count on drug kingpin’s accountants not to make mistakes after all…) “Having done so, the firm didn’t want to double bill their client, so they let it stand.”
You know, sometimes these things happen. It seems clear from all sources available to the audience that Kalinda did not in fact do private work for Bishop. So Alicia’s explanation is probably accurate.
But it sounds like a lie. It really does.
“You do realize, I don’t believe a word of this, don’t you?” Alicia spreads out her hands. Maybe we’ll just have to hope that Lana’s the one who ends up dead here instead of Kalinda or the unknown accountant. (No, I haven’t watched the finale yet – I needed to get this recap out of the way first – so if I’ve hit on something here, don’t tell me! Because more and more I’m thinking that’s going to happen.) “Whatever.” As Lana stands, we can see that her dress is a deep, glowing blue rather than the black it looked like while she sat. “You tell Kalinda this isn’t over.” Damn it, what is wrong with this woman? What the hell is she really after? Does she even know?
Hilariously, Howard is leaning in the hall over Eli. He’s leaning.”You know what I think we should do? We should push Diane out, also” he says, raises his eyebrows to show that he’s found a really exciting play. Eli begins to turn red. Like a sausage. “I mean, the question is, value added, who adds, who doesn’t, am I right?” “Yeah, yeah, you’re right,” Eli says, suddenly very eager to get away. He wants to make a phone call.”Hey, you,” Howard barks at a startled young employee, “coffee lid on the coffee cup, okay?” The poor guy rushes off for a lid, the better to not burn anyone on his walk through the office. Now Eli tries to flee in earnest, but Howard chases him down. They should make their move before the summer, when things slow down, you know? “No. No. I don’t know,” Eli’s lost his patience utterly, “Can we just go back to the way things were? Can we just back to not talking?” He fusses away.
And there’s Will – calm, patient Will, who’s seen the whole thing, which happened just as he said.
Inside of Lincoln Park Wine & Spirits, which features classy displays above a Persian carpeted floor, Kalinda’s looking for one Mara Stokes. (Ha – first Rooney, now Mara!) “You prosecution or defense?” Mara asks from atop a ladder. Ha. “Excuse me?” Oh, don’t be coy, Kalinda. Of all things, there’s a poinsettia on the table behind Kalinda. Looks pretty, but where do you possibly find those when it’s not Christmas? “When I heard Cuesta’s head was on the chopping block,” the woman smiles, her light accent Southern, “I figured one of you would come looking his investigator up.” Hmm. She’s like an older Kalinda or – what with the blond hair – Sophia Russo. Which is to say, very sexy and self-assured. “Plus, this place doesn’t get too many customers like you.” What does that even mean? Is that an insult or a compliment? Mara flashes her cleavage on the way down the ladder.
Kalinda just smiles. “Then maybe you could help me,” she replies. “Did Cuesta bend the rules to get a conviction on Patrick Rooney?” Would it help or hurt, I wonder, if she said she was his defense? You’d like to think it would help. “Straight shooter. I like your m.o…..” Mara waits for Kalinda to introduce herself, peering into her face. Miss Sharma obediently supplies her first name. “Well, Kalinda, Richard Cuesta fancied himself a true public servant, and he was going to nail Patrick Rooney come hell or high water.” So another true believer like Seth Klein-occasionally-en-burg, eh? That follows, I guess. You’d have to think more prosecutors would be. “And did hell or high water ever come?” Kalinda wonders.
“Maybe,” Mara says, grabbing a notebook. “If you’re like me, you have access to the State’s Attorney’s Office evidence locker, right?” Kalinda admits it with a smile. “Well there’s something that never quite sat right with me,” she says, scribbling furiously with a tiny pencil. “What is it?” Kalinda asks. Mara tears off the sheet of paper from her notebook, and hands it to Kalinda. You’ll find out, Mara shrugs. After frowning at the slip of paper, Kalinda offers her thanks for the gift. “Can I offer you a little life advice, Kalinda?” Mara says, bottle in hand. Kalinda steps up with a smile. “Sure.” “Get out while you can.” Hmph. “Just don’t go into retail.”
So guess what never sat right? In the case evidence there are credit card receipts for purchases made with Terry Rooney’s card the day after she died. Which is to say, someone at the SA’s office knew Patrick (who would have been in custody) wasn’t the killer. Damn, that is the kind of crap I don’t even see how people could pull, even true believers like Cuesta. Actually, especially the true believers. How do you live with that? “You never saw these?” Diane asks her client.
Cuesta, sadly, responds with an attack, not the outrage he ought to be feeling. “Do you have any idea how much evidence I had to sift through?” Enough to miss your daughter’s graduation – so we’d like to think you traded that for doing a good job, sir. (Again, that’s me, not them.) “Plus, I was carrying a dozen other cases…” Diane cuts him off, and thank God. “Your Honor, that is not an answer.” Damn straight. “It was 20 years ago, okay, I don’t remember,” he grouses. Seriously? You don’t remember seeing evidence that would have exonerated your suspect? That wouldn’t make an impression? “I do not recall seeing this evidence.”
Alicia has an idea. “You used to carry a big caseload. Would you review each piece of evidence on every case?” Good question. “That depended on how busy I was,” he replies. “So what would you do with the evidence you couldn’t review?” Let’s guess. It’s Lloyd, Lloyd, all null and void! “No,” declares Judge Cuesta, “I have to draw a line somewhere.” His voice quavers. “Really?” Diane snarks, and her perfect tone makes me want to just kiss her feet. “And this is where you choose to draw it?” Yes, he grumbles. “You had prosecutorial blinders on. You saw these photos of a mutilated wife and you wanted to put someone away.” Alicia looks away, embarrassed for him. Well, it’s not just his fault; the police clearly had the same blinders on. But yes. “That made you focus on the evidence that helped, and ignore the evidence that hurt.”
Sigh. Cuesta looks as it he wants to protest, but also like he can’t. Which is a little painful. “Well then I’m guilty,” he declares. Yep. “Your Honor, if you farmed out the review of this evidence to Lloyd Bullock, and he didn’t tell you, then this really is his fault. Not yours.” Yes. So which is it. Cuesta gives a drowning look to Diane, who nods, encouraging him. Are they being guilty of the same sort of blinders here, I wonder? Even if they are, he’s got to acknowledge that the prosecution isn’t so lofty and as far above the defense as he’d obviously prefer to believe.
“Do you think there’s a hell?” he asks. “No,” Diane answers clearly. “I don’t either,” he says, “but then I meet lawyers. And I change my mind.”
I guess he’s not acknowledging it. With all due respect to the position you’re in, Judge Cuesta, and the dreadful choice you’re facing (to imply a friend is guilty to save yourself), you better hope there’s not a hell for fictional characters, because you’re still not admitting that putting that man in prison for 20 years despite the evidence against his guilt! That was lawyerly work as bad as anything Alicia and Diane have just done. Worse, because it’s looking more and more like they might be right, that Bullocks is at least as guilty if not more so. Also? That was just rude.
(I don’t mean that in a religiously condemning way, like I could – or would – send him anywhere. I’m having real trouble with his attitude, though, and his refusal to see who the true victim is in all this.)
A doorbell rings. A door opens. “Callie!” Ah, it’s Will’s door. She’s leaning against his door frame. She waves. “I thought we were gonna…” he begins. Oh, relax, Will, she’s too smart for this crap. “I didn’t take the job. I just called Diane and told her.” She walks into his apartment. “You didn’t take the job?” he echoes her words in surprise. Nope. “Look, I feel like I need to be clear here. I never asked her not to…” “Oh, Will,” she interrupts with a playfully tolerant smile, “just be quiet.” Thank you! “You think it’s about you? Men always think it’s about them. I got a better offer. Bonny, Abrams & O’Connor? They’re gonna make me junior partner. Plus it’s closer to my apartment.”
So then they do the sensible thing; they start to make out. Then he pulls back a little. “I have baggage,” he says. She laughs. Who doesn’t? “Well let’s see it,” she demands, smiling. “Come on!” You’ve already seen it (her), Callie. “You’ll see it soon enough,” Will promises. “Promises, promises,” she laughs.
Wow. Did that just become serious? Interesting.
“This is – very generous,” Cary notes, flipping through what must be a formal job offer. “We think the salary is befitting our first choice,” Diane sort of lies. Will’s a little appalled. Well, he was truly Diane’s first choice, although he might not have been the first person she made the offer to. Ah, lawyerly weasel-wording. “This is where you grew up, Cary. We’d love to have you come home,” she finishes. He finally looks up from the beloved paper. “I’d be honored,” Cary beams. Wow, it’ll be so weird having him back! Good weird, but weird. They set it up nicely – I like that they took time, let him and Alicia mend their fences (er, assuming he understands she didn’t rat him out to Peter, which he ought to), then gave him a plausible reason for leaving. “We need you to hit the ground sprinting. We’re stretched pretty thin right now,” Diane tells him. “Load me up,” he offers, and Diane laughs. That’s nice, because Will isn’t giving him a very friendly look.
Her phone rings, and she leans back to take it. She’s needed in court. “Welcome back, Cary,” she says, shaking his hand, clasping his shoulder. “Thank you,” he chuckles.
And then he’s left alone with Will. Awkward!
“So,” Cary said. “Yeah,” says Will, sounding incredibly pissed. Very unimpressive. “Look, the only way this works is if we start with a clean slate.” Cary agrees. Please tell me you’re not going to challenge him to a bare knuckle fight… “So I hereby proclaim any unresolved issues between us officially resolved,” Will declares. Well. Oh. That’s not where that looked like it was going. Excellent. Sorry I insulted you there, Will. “Thank you,” Cary says.
“I’ll try to get you an office lined up. And given your experience at the SA’s office, we have some managerial duties for you. Personnel issues, if you’re game.” Oh. That’s interesting. Is that a good thing or not? Tell me they’re not going to set him up over Alicia. Plus I totally thought they needed him to, you know, litigate. Still, Cary’s happy to take on the challenges. “Yeah, sure, what is it?”
Oh my Lord. It’s Howard. Ha ha ha ha ha. That’s so great. “We need a slush fund,” the great Mr. Lyman tells him. “Slush fund?” Cary asks, unamused. So was Will for real about the clean slate, or is this a little bit of payback? “For expenses. You know,” he says, knitting his gnarled fingers together. He smiles, but eventually he’s forced to explain himself. “Getting clients laid. This isn’t my first lousy economy, you know.” Oh God. He really is one of the Mad Men. “That’s a sure fire way of keeping business from walking out that door.” And passing by the door is Kalinda. ‘Hey, hey,” Cary calls out to her, but she doesn’t here, and so he excuses himself.
“Hey,” he says, rushing after her. She’s talking on the phone, clad in her red leather jacket, but she sets the phone aside without further word. “Hey,” she answers. “You’re back.” “I am,” he grins, buttoning his suit jacket. “It’s gonna be okay for you?” “Why wouldn’t it?” she wonders. He looks around before posing the next question. “Um, we’re going for a drink later, some of the third years. You wanna meet us?” She’s hesitant. “I don’t know,” she demurs, “I have a lot on my…” “At the Branose,” he tries to tempt her – I think that’s the name of their old bar? “Thanks, um, maybe next time.” Yeah, everything’s fine between you. Right.
“Nope,” Lloyd declares, “never seen those credit card receipts before in my life.” He sounds pissed. “There are four credit card receipts, all from after when Mr. Rooney was in custody. I can understand missing one,” Alicia snarks. “but four?” Seth objects to her tormenting the witness, and she withdraws. “Was one of the tasks given to you by my client the compiling of all financial information in this case?” Ha. There it is. “Yes.” Does that mean Bullock is definitely guilty? “So all the credit card statements would cross your desk first, and then it was your responsibility to alert ASA Cuesta.” Yes. “If,” Bullock adds, “they had been discovered, and if they had, yes, I would have turned them over to Richard.” So, what, since he never saw them, is he says they weren’t discovered? What does that mean? Because it sounds like he’s at least saying he didn’t pass them on.
“You were injured in a car accident earlier in the year? New Year’s?” He was. “In May of that year, two months before that case, did you register yourself at the CLR clinic for an addiction to hydrocodone that you developed after that accident?” Seth rises to object. The credit card receipts incriminate Cuesta! (No more than Bullock, and probably less.) Yes, but he’s not the painkiller addict! Who cares? Anyway, we were the ones who brought up the credit cards. “Which you’re only doing to reassign blame!” Alicia pretends to be offended by this. Sigh. I can’t believe Wicks has let this go on this long.
“Excuse me? Why would we do that? Why would we bring forward evidence that would incriminate us?” Because you knew I’d find it, Seth insists, although I’m not sure he would have. “Your Honor, I’m not sure whether to be flattered or outraged at the prosecutor’s regard for our malevolence and our…” Alicia cries. I hate it when she does this really florid, really fake pretending to be offended thing. “Okay, okay,” Wicks throws his hands up. Dude, you lasted way longer than I would have. “Both said your piece. Good. Let’s just sit on down, stop posturing. Let’s just talk. Okay?” Good idea.
Wicks walks around the bench so he can face Lloyd. “Mr Bullock!” I love his enthusiastic speech patterns. You know, if we can’t have more Cuesta after this, I really hope we get Wicks again. And Romano too. She was promising. “Were you addicted to painkillers in 1992?” He was. “I had a dependency problem, but it never…” Wicks cuts him off. “Did you mention this dependency to your co-counsel at work?” No. “Okay.” Now Wicks changes direction.
“Judge Cuesta. Did you ever see any of these credit card receipts?” Well, here’s his moment. Cuesta looks up. “No,” he says softly. ‘And who had the responsibility for this evidence?” Lloyd tries to interrupt, but Wicks gives him the hand. “Wait your turn, sir. I’m asking His Honor. ” He turns back. “Judge.” Cuesta looks up for a moment, but answers loudly: “My co-counsel had the responsibility, Your Honor.” Well, it’s the truth, much as he didn’t want to say it. Isn’t it? Lloyd flings out his hands. “That is not true,” he claims – but didn’t he just say he was responsible for all the financials? Hmm. “Thank you, Mr. Bullock,” Wicks says, his back still turned on the witness. Cuesta shakes his head, looking little and hang-dog.
“Okay,” smiles Wicks in his mad eyed cheerful way. “You can step down, sir.” He and Cuesta look into each other’s eyes. “I have no more questions.”
A joyous, raucous noise ensues. ‘A one, two, three, four,” a Celtic influenced band sings, strumming wildly. Alicia raises her glass in a toast. “To Cary Agos: welcome back to the dark side,” she smiles. 4 other lawyers clink glasses with them and roar “to the dark side!” with enthusiasm. “And to Alicia Florrick,” Cary toasts back, “who got a judge off today.” Alicia looks askance at that one. Their colleagues snicker happily. “Ah, correction,” he says, gesturing with his pint glass, “you got a judge out of the penalty box today.” Congratulations, scream the other third years. Alicia sets her beer down on the bar and smiles.
“You’re running with the pack these day,” he observes. “What?” she asks, leaning in exaggeratedly. Either she faked it to hear the compliment again, or she’s tipsy. “You’re doing well,” he reiterates. “You’re liked.” Now it’s two nice compliments. “Oh, I don’t know, Cary,” she muses. “Sometimes, I get it. I get the law, I know what I’m doing here. And there are moments where I think what the… what am I doing?” Perhaps Cary’s clarity now extends to the defense. “Um, you’re helping people?” he guesses. “A judge, like today?” What, judges don’t need helping sometimes? Or are they just not sure who was really helped?
“Wasn’t he innocent?” Cary asks. “Does it matter?” she shrugs. Uh, yes! You have to be thankful when you can say that he was innocent, don’t you? Or maybe you just don’t know what to believe. He said he was innocent and had himself convinced of it; we saw how correct other of his convictions were. So I guess I see the doubt. She drinks.
“Alicia,” he says, “I went away for two years, and now I’m back. And I haven’t learned a thing.” Again, I understand feeling that way, but it’s so not true. He’s a far more mature person, and confident in a more real way. He’s not so cocky, and he’s become a true litigator. I suspect he just thinks he should know it all, but that’s not what adulthood or experience mean, Cary. I think most people don’t feel like they’re real grown ups. He laughs, running his finger along the top of his glass. “Two years of my life gone, and I’m just as stupid as I was when I left law school.” He continues to laugh to himself. “Oh, that’s okay,” Alicia sighs, crossing her arms and resting on the bar, “what is there to learn?” Damn, they are existential, maudlin drunks, aren’t they? “That people lie,” he says in a sudden burst of emotion, “and the people who judge, they lie the most.” Who was that directed at? Will? Peter?
His phone rings – and it’s Peter. He chuckles silently. “What?” she asks. “I’m here cheating with you,” he grins, and she looks intrigued. He excuses himself to take the call, and she sits at the bar, most of the others dispersed or immersed in their own invisible conversations. And that’s when Kalinda walks into view.
A shudder runs through Alicia. Kalinda sees but pretends not to notice it, or the empty bar stool next to Alicia. She peers around the bar, looking for Cary (perhaps afraid to look at Alicia). Alicia turns and watches her former friend until Kalinda’s forced into eye contact. Then Alicia thrills me; she grabs the stool, turns the seat around around to indicate that Kalinda should sit in it, and pats the back in perfect timing with the music. The screen goes black.
Now that was an ending a year in the making. Ah, I’m so happy. Kalinda and Alicia, together again! Maybe it wasn’t tension filled, but it was pretty satisfying. I don’t even actually have much to say about it, except yaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So. What else? For what it’s worth, I like Callie. She’s not as fun as Tammy, but on the other hand, she’s not as whiny, either. She’s certainly preferable to much too young Giada. Of course, she’s also way too mature for him; overarching plot issues aside, she’s not going to put up with his foolishness and horrible communication skills for long. I’ll try not to get too fond of her.
Kalinda’s paramours are a slightly different beast. They pop up, they go away, they come back years later, pretty much in exactly the same place of eager chemistry or bitter longing. And no, I really haven’t seen the finale – I had such a hard time recapping Pants on Fire after watching The Penalty Box that I decided I couldn’t do that to myself again and forced myself to wait. Anyway, that all changes today, but while I’m in ignorance I can’t help thinking that this might be the first time this show kills off a recurring character. I think that’s true – it is, right, that no one has been killed off before? Being that Peter’s frenemy Kozko turned out to not actually be dead back in the first season. It intrigues me now that I think about it; sure, the show deals with death on a regular basis, but it’s never gone there in a way that truly impacts our characters, has it? I wish I could go three years without someone I care about in some capacity dying. Perhaps that used to be the norm (no one dying on TV) but it isn’t anymore. Will the show go through it’s run without ever having done so? Or will Lana be the first casualty? Am I paranoid to be nervous about her life? We know they can’t kill off Kalinda. (Although that would be very Joss Whedon of the Kings, to have Alicia make peace with Kalinda just in time to see her die.)
Obviously we had a pretty steamy Kalinda/Lana scene. I’m curious if anyone else had a feeling that Kalinda was tired of playing people – or was it just stone cold using, her attempt to get Lana soften up (so to speak) before begging her to end the investigation? And what the hell is Lana thinking, anyway? What’s her end game? Does she even know?
Anyway. What else. I sort of enjoyed the trip into Judge Cuesta’s psyche. I mean, he and his entitlement obviously annoyed the snot out of me, but having an emotional reaction to a character’s not a bad thing. I’m sorry that they’ll no longer be able to hear cases in front of him, but I hope we can pull in either Joanna Gleason or Stephen Root for more guest appearances. I enjoyed both of them very much, even if Wicks might be less entertaining in a regular trial. I adored Diane getting to put Cuesta in his place; she had a really good episode even if it wasn’t focused on her. I think all the turn about – judge as dictator, judge as prosecutor, judge/prosecutor as defendant, judge as red tape cutting informal guy – was wonderful.
So, how did you react? Do lawyers confirm your belief in hell? For the record, some of the best people I know are lawyers, so I can’t endorse the generalization. Although technically none of them are defense lawyers. I’d like to think Cuesta learned something instead of just letting himself down – that prosecutorial blindness is as bad as any defensive chicanery – but he never showed the proper degree of remorse for my taste. I don’t know; maybe even now he can’t believe Rooney is really innocent. Maybe his blinders are still on.