E: There’s a popular quote from the Roman poet Juvenal, and it goes like this: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes. It’s translated variously as “who watches the watchmen” and “who guards the guardians.” I’ve heard this phrase many times, but I’d never actually read it in context until this week’s episode, for obvious reasons, brought it to mind. So finding out that that it speaks specifically to those tasked with enforcing the morals of women and young girls adds an interesting flavor to an episode about a Double Indemnity style murder for hire, prejudiced judges, desperate risks, alcoholism, infidelity, jealousy, trackers and misunderstood boys.
In case you were wondering about the episode title like I was, it’s likely a reference to a 1968 song of the same name thought by many to be the first true rap song, a dramedy about a no nonsense magistrate. The song is famed for these words “Oh, the judge is high as a Georgia pine! Everybody’s going to jail this morning.”
“Grace, R U OK?” a text bubble asks. “Yeah. Y?” another replies. “Someone says ur dead,” comes the alarming response. At first I think that’s the report of a threat, but it isn’t – it’s news. The bubble hangs there for a long time.
Then the bubble replaced by a video conference with three of Grace’s very young looking friends, who provide a flurry of conflicting rumors and responses. A girl in their grade – another girl named Grace, someone our Grace was aware of but didn’t really know – is dead. She’s dead at her own hand, overdosed on her mother’s sleeping pills or painkillers or on aspirin, perhaps because of a boy, a boy named Connor who is rumored to have recently broken up with her, and who is so callous as to have gone to the library to do his homework. Someone texted that the other Grace was found in her underwear in the hotel where she was supposed to go for prom. Grace’s friends are by turn unnerved, salaciously fascinated, morbidly fascinated (“I can’t stop looking at her Facebook page”), bewildered by their classmate’s mortality, and judgmental, especially of the ex-boyfriend. “Maybe we should decorate her locker?” one muses. Grace sits in silent shock.
Cut to a horrific crime scene photograph of a mad lying in a bed, his blood spattered over the wall and headboard and decorative pillow shams. You know, just in case you weren’t horrified enough by the picture they just evoked with words. Laura Hellinger asks her witness who the man is – a Mr. Van Zandten – and why the witness shot the victim four times in the head. He stares at a beautiful dark haired woman with a pale face and a red slash of lipstick – the accused, Gwenneth Van Zandten. “Because she wanted me to,” he declares, his voice low, enthralled. It seems that he was her Pilates instructor and paramour, and her husband stood in the way of their love. With out him there, they would be together. “With his money,” Laura adds.
“Objection, leading,” Will calls out, looking nearly as bored as Judge Harrison Creary. The judge, unprofessionally slumped over, hand propping up his drooping face, sustains the objection. “Why did Mrs. Van Zandten want you to shoot her husband?” Laura tries, but no, that’s ambiguous (it is?) and weary Judge Creary sustains that objection too. Alicia walks in and sits in the back of the gallery as Laura rifles through her paperwork. “Did the accused offer you anything in return for this murder?” she settles on, and finally the Pilates instructor is allowed to answer; half of Mr. Van Zandten’s fortune. She couldn’t simply get a divorce because her smarty pants CEO husband had an iron-clad prenup.
And what happened after the murder, Laura wonders, and Will objects because it “calls for narrative.” Huh. That’s bad? Apparently that’s such a rookie mistake we don’t normally get to hear about it. “Miss Hellinger, you are now experiencing ASA hazing 101,” Judge Creary rumbles as only gravelly Judd Hirsch can. “Sustained.” Laura elicits from the witness that he texted “It’s done. Our problems are over. Don’t go home until 8.” to the defendant just after the murder. Oddly, the defendant smiles as the witness explains he was helping her set up an alibi by keeping her out of the house.
In the courtroom hall, Alicia gets a voicemail from the “principal” at Capstone Prep, one of those mass recordings briefly describing the tragedy which occurred the previous weekend. What, is Miss Venegas gone? Or do they have a principal in addition to a headmistress? Please discuss this with your child, the principal asks; Alicia immediately dials her phone. Hey, Laura Hellinger calls out in greeting. “A bit more rough and tumble than military court,” she sighs. I’ll say. You’ll be fine, Alicia soothes her friend, “just don’t retreat. You’re either advancing or retreating,” Alicia notes, holding up a finger as Grace picks up her cell phone; instead of waiting, Laura makes herself scarce.
Relieved to get her youngest child, Alicia asks what’s going on. Grace stands alone in the school yard (and is it me, or is she wearing too much, too tan foundation? she looks off, right?), looking out at the throng of students. “Grace Baskin o.d.’ed on pills,” she explains. “Oh my God,” Alicia gasps. “When?” The night before, Grace explains, then adds “we’re all wearing yellow today. It was her favorite color.” One of Grace’s chat friends (the thin read head, who turns out to be rather tall) is wrapping the dark haired know-it-all girl’s wrist with what I think is yellow ribbon; Grace looks down at her own, similarly wrapped wrist. I have to go to class, Grace says, putting off her mother, first noting that she’s okay. “I mean, it’s sad, but I’m good.”
“It’s his fault,” the red head proclaims, looking out into the parking lot. “I didn’t even think he’d show up today. And look, he didn’t wear yellow.” I wonder if anyone sent him the memo? The boy leans on his car, alone in the crowd, just as you might expect. Grace can’t stop looking. I heard he wanted her to get an abortion, the brunette proclaims with vicious glee. No, she wasn’t even pregnant – who told you that? “I don’t know,” the girl says, chastened. “Someone re-tweeted it.” Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. As students walk by (many wearing yellow ties like the red-headed girl), Connor continues to lean on his car and stare at his phone, and Grace continues to stare at him. Wait, what’s he doing with a car? Isn’t he a scholarship kid? Yeah, the brunette’s seen him on the bus.
“Do you think he blames himself?” Grace wonders. The cute black girl turns her head to look at Connor; she’s wearing a yellow headband. “Wouldn’t you?” she replies. “He breaks up with her, and four days later she tries to kill herself?” Grace would feel guilty; Grace absolutely would. “I know,” she breathes, still watching the boy, “can you imagine?”
“Our client has stated that she was faithful to her husband and that they were happily married,” Will asks the Pilates instructor, “yet you claim that she was having an affair with you.” He does. Do you have any proof of this, Will wonders. No memento, no love letter? Nope. I’d have asked about text and receipts, but I supposed Pilates boy could have volunteered those himself if they existed. “I see,” Will says. “So we’re to take your word for it?” Yep. She didn’t even write back to his post-murder text; they talked in person. As Laura watches, Will sums it up: Pool Boy for the New Millennium confessed and Wifey hasn’t. Laura objects: counsel is testifying.
Ha! “Yes, he is that. Sustained,” Judge Creary declares with not a small amount of schadenfreude. “After you sent this text, my client immediately called the police, didn’t she?” Will asks. Laura objects, rising; he’s still testifying. “Not only that, he’s asking for hearsay.” Will protests – he claims it’s about the defendant’s state of mind, but Laura points out Will wants Pilates Boy to speak to a conversation Barbara Stanwyck had with the police. “If that’s what he wants, he should put one of them on the stand.” Creary is delighted to sustain. “Oh, she gotcha there, Mr. Gardner. Congratulations.” Will looks foolish, and Alicia looks a little worried that perhaps she was too helpful to the competition. Laura’s a quick study; we should have hired her!
Annoyed, smirking a bit to recover his composure, Will gets Millennial Pool Boy to admit he was offered a plea bargain in exchange for his testimony against the black widow, a sentence of 20 years. When Will exclaims over this, Laura objects (argumentative) and is sustained again. Will tries again – what is the usual sentence for first degree murder? – but Laura objects because it calls for speculation. Oh Will. Turn about is fair play; I can’t say you don’t deserve this. He tries again (“a murder like this usually calls for a 45 year sentence) and gets slammed for testifying. “Sustained again!” the judge coos. “Are you having trouble getting out what you want, Mr. Gardner?” Ha. Maybe I shouldn’t be enjoying this – Alicia definitely isn’t – but I can’t help it. He was being unnecessary pompous and playing with Laura (even beyond what’s in his job description), and now she’s made him pay for it.
Will falls in just behind Laura as they file out of court. “Nicely played,” he tells her, bemused. He just can’t get over this quick reversal. “Thank you,” she smiles. “We used to represent you,” he observes. She smiles avidly in confirmation. “Thank you.”
Excellent. Will watches her walk away, his brows furrowed.
Perhaps that’s why he’s grimacing and tossing back drinks at a piano bar. Kalinda’s showed up for sympathy, glowing in draped red silk, smiling at him with something like pity. “Go well in court?” she asks, her tone bone dry. “Everybody feels bad for the underdog,” he sighs, tie loose, sounding tipsy. “What about the person who’s supposed to do well? No one talks about the pressure we’re under.” Well, then, you could have been a little nicer, Will, and she wouldn’t have wanted to zing you back quite so badly. Laughter bubbles out of Kalinda; she pulls it back in with a drink, the same crimson as her dress. “What about you? You been out of work for a while?” he asks, changing the topic. No I haven’t, she claims; he means mentally, and there’s no denying that one. “Oh, just, ah, personal stuff. Uninteresting,” she lies. (Well, hmm. I don’t know if uninteresting really covers my response to recent events in her personal life; enraging is more like it.)
Happily, we’re not staying on that topic, either; Kalinda notices that Judge Creary’s laughing at a table directly behind them. When Will turns to see what drew her gaze, he hops up immediately, straightening his tie and jacket. What’re you doing, she asks suspiciously; going to the bathroom, he lies. Kalinda doesn’t like it (“he’s too much by the book”) but Will can’t help wanting to get a sense of how they’re doing. “This single case could drag us out of bankruptcy,” he explains. Wow, really? He grabs his phone off the bar and flips it open, pretending to be on a call; Kalinda rolls her eyes.
“Oh, Will Gardner, how the hell are you?” the judge calls out. Feigning surprise, Will politely ends his fake phone call. Giada Cabrini, sitting across from the judge, smirks. “Will, hello,” she says softly as Will advances on the judge, and he’s thrown into actual confusion. He didn’t know she was in town. Surprise – she is! “Orrin Polk, second year,” she tells him. Okay, I have no idea if she’s clerking with a judge or if that’s a firm; feel free to revoke my street cred if I ought to know the name. “His Honor was just offering me some career advice.” Is that what they’re calling it these days? His Honor is surprised the young lady knows “this bastard”; Giada makes some very pointed comments about how they haven’t seen each other in a few years because Will – yes, definitely Will – stopped calling. Creary is clearly annoyed at their banter: “yeah, well, I’d stay away from him – he’s a bad influence.”
“Oh, I know that,” Giada replies knowingly. Man, she’s so insinuating. What a minefield this conversation is. “Will is a bad boy.” Disbarred bad boy, the judge growls bitterly. Will corrects him (suspended), but Creary’s on a tear. “You should have seen him in court today. He’s completely screwed,” Creary snorts, laughing into his drink. Will’s face freezes. “Really? I thought we more than held our own.” The judge waves a hand, laughing. “No, you’re completely gone. You’re cooked. Deep fried cooked.” And why is that, Will asks coldly. “Your client; she’s guilty.”
“How do you figure, Your Honor?” Will asks, unnerved. “Actus Reus. You’re trying to make her out to be a saint.” The judge leans forward, hand cupped around his face as if passing on a secret. “She was cheating on her husband,” he whispers. No, no, cries Will, never. “I can’t for the life of me figure out why you wanted a bench trial. Except you’d do worse with a jury.” He looks over at Giada, and makes a silly face to illustrate what a snooty ice queen the defendant is, how she looks down on everyone; Giada smiles her impish, “ooh, you’re so clever, you big man” smile. “You Honor, if you believe that, you should recuse yourself,” Will gasps. “Oooh, I love this one with his ethics, love the ethics. Will. Great for a disbarred lawyer. Bribed judges, stealing.” He harrumphs, clearly too far in his cups to be having this conversation. “And if it were up to me, you wouldn’t be allowed to practice law ever again.”
Yikes! Giada tries to step in and cool things off, but the damage has been done.
“He didn’t say that,” Diane asks, stunned. Oh yes he did. “Well he was drinking,” Diane tries to excuse him, but to Will, that just means his social filter was off. That’s what he really thinks. Good point. Damn it, Diane curses; if Gwen inherits, they can manage her fortune and it will pay off all their debt. (Huh? Oh, whatever.) “And it’s a good case,” Will practically pouts. “In front of another judge, we’d win.” Are you thinking the same thing, Diane asks, quiet. Yes – asking the judge recuse himself. What could it hurt, Will thinks; would it be possible for Creary to think less of him than he already does?
We’ll tick off the judicial community, Diane warns. “Creary is beloved.” “Creary was beloved,” Will disagrees, believing he’s now known to be a loose cannon. “If we win this, we get out from under the trustee.” I can see why that’s a priority, but please don’t chew off your nose to spite your face. As it were. “We could get the 27th floor back,” he presses, fervent. Ah, their bloody shirt. Tense, Diane asks for Cary to argue it; Will wants Alicia, because after seeing Creary with Giada he feels he’s ferreted out a weakness for pretty women. Where’s Caitlin when you need her? They agree that Alicia should ask for the recusal in chambers, so as not to publicly humiliate Judge Creary. But ah, what do they do if he says no?
A newly confident Laura sashays down the courtroom hall with Alicia (clad in a very pretty white jacket). “This should be interesting,” Laura says. “Probably too late to take my advice back?” Alicia asks, less excited than her friend; she knows what’s coming. “Probably,” Laura smirks.
Judge Harrison Creary stands at the bench, shuffling papers. Swallowing, more nervous than we’ve seen her in court in a very long time, Alicia asks for an issues conference in chambers. Without looking up, Creary asks what she wants. Er, to talk to you about an, er, issue, Alicia prevaricates. Why can’t we just do it here, he wonders. Oh dear. You know what they say about the best laid plans… Creary asks Will directly what’s going on. A personal matter, Will says, and this hits the crusty old judge exactly wrong. “Oh, a personal matter?” he snarks. It’s still on the record in chambers, so why does it matter? Creary asks after Alicia’s name, and immediately recognizes it. “The State’s Attorney’s wife? How fortuitous.” He’s making it all sound so slimy. Let’s hear it, he insists. Will and Alicia look at each, take a deep breath in tandem, and Will sits down. She clears her throat. “Your Honor, we move that you recuse yourself,” she states, quietly but clearly, taking no pleasure in the task. Laura blinks in surprise.
“Oh really,” he sneers as only Judd Hirsch can, “now why should I recuse myself?” You’ve demonstrated bias against the defense, Alicia replies. Creary sits and scoffs at Will. “Still licking your wounds from those objections yesterday, Mr. Gardner?” Um, no. It’s about your comments from the bar (Arena) last night. Creary just stares. “This is dangerous territory, Mrs. Florrick,” he says quietly, without the theatrics which has characterized most of his speech. She looks bleak. “You said our client was guilty, and that Mr. Gardner was a known liar, and that he should give up now because he would lose.” Laura’s shocked.
Your motion is denied, he says. More witnesses? “Your Honor, you showed bias against us,” Alicia repeats, unable to believe he won’t take the accusation seriously. “I ruled on your motion, Mrs. Florrick,” he adds, instructing her again to sit. Alicia looks back at Will, who’s white as a sheet, his eyes narrowed. She inhales for courage. “You’ve given us no alternative, Your Honor,” she declares, licking her lips, “but to file a motion to substitute Your Honor for cause.” Oh, dear.
“You what?” Judge Creary blinks at her. We’re filing for a substitution hearing, she elaborates. “You sit down right now, Mrs. Florrick. I have ruled,” he yells, pointing at her with a thick finger. “It is not up to you.” It’s not up to you, sir, she fires back. He wants to go back to the trial, but she holds her ground. It’s their right. He has to transfer the issue to another judge. Good for you, Alicia. You can see she can’t quite believe he’s holding out. “You don’t know what you’ve just done,” he tells her. “We do, Your Honor,” she answers sadly, “but you’ve given us no other choice.” Everybody has a choice, he growls. Everybody! You want a mistrial, you won’t get it, and I’ll be right back here judging this case, he declares. Alicia understands the risks. “So I’ll give you one last chance to step back over that line,” he says. Bravely, she shakes her head. They want their case heard.
He bangs the gavel and stalks off. Alicia sits, deflated; Will turns to her. “Well, we’re in it now,” he sighs, and she nods her agreement.
A slender woman with curly red hair (and a great navy dress with a beautiful ballet neckline, super flattering) gives Eli some very detailed updates about traffic to the campaign website, which boils down to a 10% increase in site visits and a 20% bump in fundraising. She had Eli at the bump in fundraising. “How’d that happen?” Better management from a volunteer in IT, she explains. “Hire him,” Eli commands. “Her,” the aide corrects with a touch of asperity. Eli stops and does his typical over-dramatic arm waving double take. “Do I care?” he growls. She knows the answer is no; all he cares about are results.
“You’re hired,”Ballerina Aide says to a tiny little woman in a red sweater and short skirt. “What?” the girl cries, stunned. “Just keep doing what you’re doing,” the red head declares, sailing off. The tiny former volunteer, utterly delighted, runs over to a different cubicle. “Good job you guys!” she beams. “I’ll need you to stay a little later.” No problem, they say, except a tall black haired boy tossing a backpack over his shoulder. ‘Where’re you going, Jay?” she asks, suddenly distressed. “I have to get back home,” Zach Florrick shrugs. “Tomorrow,” IT girl begs. “If I can,” he mumbles.
Zach Florrick under an assumed name! Nice! Good for him. Just because Alicia doesn’t want him in front of the cameras doesn’t mean he doesn’t have something to offer the campaign.
I don’t know how they pick people to handle this kind of thing – is it just whoever happens to be free? – but for the motion to recuse the judge, we’ve drawn Peter Dunaway. Peter Dunaway, who happens to be one of the judges Will was accused of bribing. 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 he sees Alicia as he’s reading out the mandate, you can see her presence give him pause. He asks Laura if she agrees that Judge Creary is biased; unsurprisingly, she doesn’t. Both sides will present evidence. This will be a little trial within a trial.
And that’s when Harrison Creary walks in, a wounded lion in tweed.
You don’t need to be here, Judge Dunaway says respectfully. Are you testifying? Nope. “I don’t want to give this mini-prosecution any more attention that it needs, but I do wanna face my accusers.” Huh. I guess he thinks that he’s beyond responsibility for his comments, that his words at the bar didn’t reflect on his ability to be impartial? Everyone’s uncomfortable with this. We’re only here to deal with Creary’s bias, Dunaway wants everyone to understand. “And my ruling will be final.”
The school bell rings, welcoming students for another day at Capstone Prep. Grace Florrick, scoff-law, heads away from her classmates with their yellow armbands and toward a dark opening in a tall, dense hedge. She hesitates, checking to see if she’s being watched, and I’m overwhelmed by the symbolism of the moment – she’s crossing a boundary, crossing into something known. Rather like her mother in court, she takes a breath and crosses the line.
Inside the cool green hedge, a boy leans on a brick wall, his face shadowed. “Hi,” Grace says awkwardly. “I’m Grace,” she says, and he pins her down with a look, because of course the boy is Connor, dead Grace’s callous ex-boyfriend. “Sorry,” she looks down at her feet, “It’s my real name. Grace Florrick.” He sighs enormously, looking back down at the ground, his hair falling over his eyes. The light hits a small stud earring in his right earlobe. “I’m really sorry about the other Grace,” she offers. “Why aren’t you in class?” He shoots back a question without looking, hostile: “why aren’t you?” Because I saw you come in here, she admits, smiling a little at her own bravery.
“Look, I don’t need anything, okay?” he huffs, finally looking over at her, defensive. “We broke up, it was a while ago. She didn’t do it because of me.” Grace smiles slightly and leans against the rough wall next to him. The grout between the bricks is thick and gloopy, hanging out, and the sparse light catches its bumpy edges. “You know you really shouldn’t smoke,” she says, changing the subject. Slowly he lifts his head, tilting it up so we can see his chiseled features for the first time. “You’re the politician’s daughter,” he notes, rather on the offensive, “the one caught with the hooker?” He wasn’t caught with the hooker, Grace sighs, and I kind of love her for insisting on the distinction.
“Class is in session, who’s in there?” a woman’s voice calls out. Connor grabs Grace by the wrist and drags her through the bushes, around to another side of the building; we watch their progress through the leaves. ‘They can’t find us here,” he declares, breathing harder, still alert, searching for their pursuers. “I see you in there!” the woman’s waspish voice snaps out. Grace looks down at their suddenly linked hands, then back up at his face with a look of almost puppyish adoration.
Oh, Grace. A scholarship student at your snooty school with a dark and secret past? You are such a goner. Especially when the boy’s played by the ridiculously decorative (and unfortunately named) Luke Kleintank, who plays the delectable redneck squintern Finn on Bones. I’ll admit, it took me a moment to see the 22 year old as a high school student, but he plays brooding well enough to make me forget.
Back at Lockhart/Gardner, Cary and Kalinda giggle and poke at each other like more puppies. I want to say that Kalinda’s ease with him is unusual for her, and probably a by-product of her being less concerned with her physical affect on Cary because she’s so taken up with Nick – but try telling that to Nick, who watches them through the glass wall and seethes. Eventually, Cary returns to explain that if they can’t overturn the bid (woo! Kalinda decided against telling him about the technicality!) but if he wants they could sue Steckler Automotive for fraud. “But I have to warn you, they’re probably going to say you cheated too.” I thought you guys were going to protect me from all that crap, Nick grouses. “Yeah, unfortunately Steckler’s proven extremely litigious.” Cary waves at Kalinda, who smiles brightly as she passes the office and waves a post it, whether at Cary or Nick I’m not sure. Probably Cary; she looks too happy. Nick notices this interplay with consternation. The abrupt contrast between Kalinda’s impish grin and Nick’s frown actually made me laugh out loud.
In case Steckler wants to depose Nick, Cary wants them to get his dirty laundry out in the open. You were convicted on a drug charge, Cary begins. Yep. Cocaine. Intent to sell. He served 2 years. “Canadians, you know. They’ve got soft hearts,” Nick suggests; Cary laughs. “And you’re not involved now?” Cary asks. He gets a stone face from Nick. “In drugs?” he clarifies, clearly assuming Nick will say no. Nick leans forward in his seat, eyebrows drawn down as far as they can go. “What’s that suit your wearing,” he finally spits out. Huh? Uh, Calvin Klein, Cary says, checking the label in the jacket, why? “You need a lot of suits like that to work here, do ya?” Um, yeah? But on weekends, you don’t wear suits like that, right? No, Cary laughs. Good, Nick spits, because then people might think you’re gay or something. He lingers spitefully on the word.
Cary, who has no idea what Nick is testing, keeps smiling awkwardly. Oh, you’re not gay, are you? Sorry for asking, Nick adds insincerely. Cary has no idea what to make of this but knows there’s something going on; Kalinda and Alicia, it was unfair not to let him in the loop. “Is something the matter, Mr. Savarese?” Cary asks, confused. ‘What, like you being gay?” Nick’s pugnacious, right in his face. “I don’t mind gay people,” he hisses. Cary, of course, doesn’t understand that Nick wants him to be gay so he’s not a threat to his warped relationship with his secret wife, and so instead he just ends the really weird encounter, and asks Nick to come back the next day. “Why? Did I offend you?” Oh, never! Cary, sweetie, it’s not going to get any better tomorrow. He’s still going to be playing games you don’t understand.
But Cary’s hoping that Alicia being there will make it better, and swings his door open, flourishing his arm to make sure Nick knows where to go. Sure, why pay for one lawyer when you can pay for two, Nick replies. But he goes go, eventually. Could Cary be more confused?
“I was walking to the hotel restroom,” Will sort of lies on the witness stand, “when I ran into Judge Creary.” In the gallery, the judge looks down at his lap, looking embarrassed. Alicia elicits all the ugly details. Creary called out to him, told him he was losing and that his client was guilty. Actually, I think the exact ugly details would have served him better – the whole cooked goose metaphor is so much more specific. “Actus Reus,” he recalls. A guilty act, Alicia defines the Latin term, and Will agrees. “I told him he hadn’t yet seen all the evidence, and that’s when he called me a disbarred lawyer, and of bribing judges.” It costs Will a little something to repeat the last accusation. In the gallery, Judge Creary emits an odd series of animalistic growls; Alicia wants him admonished by the court.
“Excuse me,” Dunaway snaps, livid, “I think His Honor has shown great patience.” I know what you think, Your Honor, Alicia tells him. Does that mean you overrule my objection? Oh, snap! She didn’t! Wow. I just – wow. She stares, dry and implacable, and Dunaway blinks first. Laura’s impressed.
How did the conversation end, Alicia asks. With the judge telling me I should have been disbarred, Will says. Alicia makes way for Laura, who politely brings up the disbarment proceedings. I was suspended, not disbarred, Will explains. “Congratulations,” she says to Alicia’s disbelief. She takes it back. Picking up the dirty tricks fast, aren’t we, Laura?
And then – ha! – she brings up the Chum Hum search results for Will’s name. Ha! As you might recall, they say “do you want Will Gardner, disbarred lawyer?” That’s a practical joke by an opponent, he admits. You can understand how that might confuse him, Laura says. “The fact that I was arguing in his court might suggest otherwise,” Will snipes. Good point. Of course someone could say this and joke about it, but there wasn’t any indication in the testimony given that Creary was joking. He might have been laughing, but it was certainly clear that it wasn’t a joke. She brings up his suspension for stealing from a client. “Judge Creary called you a thief and a liar; can you really say those characterizations are inaccurate?”
Exasperated, Diane stands to object; the issue is whether the comments indicate bias, not whether the comments are true. Wow, that’s some defense, Laura shrugs. Our lawyer may be a sleazy liar, but the judge isn’t allowed to say so? Indeed. She’s being snarky, but Leora Kuhn certainly calls a spade a spade without hesitation, and that’s what she’s used to. Harrison Creary passes a note to her from the gallery. Yet again we’re sustained in an objection against snark, but Laura doesn’t even notice, she’s so surprised by the contents of the note. She’s got nothing more for Will, because she’s going to call Creary to the stand. Now that he’s faced his accusers, he can’t resist getting into the fray. And, now this is interesting. He’s denying any of it ever happened.
“Oh, my God, you’re lying,” Will explodes, prompting Dunaway to threaten him with contempt. Why would Mr. Gardner fabricate this story, then, Laura asks. Looking sad and completely sincere, Judge Harrison Creary can only assume that Will was upset at the number of objections that had gone against him earlier that day. “We need to find a witness from the bar,” Alicia leans over to Will. Where ever will we look for one of those?
And, what a coincidence. There’s Giada Cabrini texting away, thumbs flying, sitting alone in a posh restaurant booth. And what a surprise to see Will walk up behind her. “Hi,” she grins, “well that was nice, getting a call.” Wow, she just does not quit, does she? I don’t remember, he claims again, did I stop calling you or did you stop calling me? “No, I called you. Three times. You just didn’t return,” she laughs, pleasant but unwilling to let him off the hook. I’m sorry, he apologizes, I’m a jerk; she laughs out her forgiveness.
A waiter sets glasses of red wine in front of them. How much is this, he wonders – $80 a glass? No, $4, she says. “Things are tough in Spain.” Things are tough all over, lady. He asks after the family fortune; reduced by 70%, she says, and drinks. “Wow, things are not great all over,” he replies. See? This is what I’m telling you. “No,” she agrees. “I read about your firm. And you.” Well, that’s not so shocking, I guess. “Where’re you going after this?” she wonders aloud. Will immediately senses an opening; the playa comes out. He doesn’t have plans; does she? Well, she says, I was going to go home and read a brief. “A big long brief about farm subsidies.” A not so brief brief. Guess who wants to show you his briefs, Giada? “Light some candles, run a bath, read about the viability of ethanol as a fuel supplement…”
He stares into her eyes. “How viable is it?” “Pretty damn viable,” she answers, challenging him. “More so than you might think.” Her mouth drops opens. As one they turn to drink, smirking a little at the successful transmission of ideas. That’s not bad for $4 a glass, Will observes. “Oh, I lied,” she shrugs. “It’s Dominico Dominguez. It’s a hundred and eighty a glass.” She turns to meet his eyes. “I’ll count pennies tomorrow.”
Poor Alicia’s burning the midnight oil instead of, um, whatever else she could have burning up if she wasn’t at the office. “Why aren’t you reading your emails? I sent you three emails today,” Eli grouses. She looks up from her laptop. I am reading my emails, she says. Just not mine? “Well, I always know when it’s important you’ll seek me out, and … here you are,” she says, waving her hand at him. He has her open up one of the emails and view the attached video – which is Grace, talking to Alicia on the phone as her red headed friend wraps the brunette’s wrist with a yellow ribbon. Whoa. What’s that about? “Have you been hanging around schools, Eli?” she snarks. Not him, though. It’s a tracker from the other side. Which other side – Maddie or Mike – and how did Eli get it?
Alicia muses about trackers sounding like science fiction until the scene switches to a barely recognizable Grace sitting on a wall with Connor, which is when she realizes what’s going on. “They followed her to school?” she cries, repulsed. I can’t believe it took that long for you to see what you were looking at, Alicia. “This campaign has become about family values. Kresteva has a kid with cancer, he wants to make it seem like you have a smoker who cuts class.” She pales. “What is going on with my life,” she muses.
“Where are you? We need you over here!” enthusiastic IT lady berates Zach over the phone. “I appreciate the opportunity, I just…” he tries, but she cuts him off. The campaign needs you! “Things are falling apart here, and they’re getting angry at me.” He twitches on the couch, uncomfortable. I can’t work full time, he says. After school? Maybe. He’ll call again, he says, hanging up over her protests.
Alicia’s chatting with Grace, of course, about being followed to school. I’m not sure she has to be followed, does she? They could just show up at the school and – I guess hope one of the Florricks ditches class, and happen to show up on the day one does, and then happen to send the footage to Eli? Okay, it’s amazing that this is worth anyone’s time, but whatever. She’s got the laptop footage up. “I was sitting on a bench, talking to a friend, what’s wrong with that?” Alicia wants to know what friend. “Connor,” Grace says. “Who’s Connor?” How awesome is Grace’s answer? “A boy,” she says. So brilliant.
“Grace,” Alicia warns her daughter wearily. “I wasn’t smoking!” Grace pleads, successfully switching topics. Alicia believes her without question – but she wants to make it clear that the trackers will do anything to paint Grace in a negative light. (Can you imagine living under that scrutiny? Yikes.) “I know, Mom, is that it?” Well that was unusually testy for a Florrick. They’re generally so obedient. Zach pops into the kitchen, and when Alicia asks for a second, he immediately closes the refrigerator door and heads out. See, that’s what I’m talking about.
“The girl who… committed suicide?” Alicia begins, inelegantly. “Why did she do it?” I don’t know, Grace tells her mom. “She was cutting,” she offers. “She … she was cutting herself?” How do you not know what that is, Alicia? “It’s not that weird, a lot of girls do it,” Grace reacts defensively. “Cut themselves? Why? Why would they do that?” Oh, honey. Grace doesn’t know. Self-hatred, Alicia suggests. “I think … it feels good to heal,” Grace guesses. “You would tell me if there was anything wrong,” Alicia asks in a very small voice. Grace immediately protests – I’m not cutting! “I know. It doesn’t have to be that, I just…” she leans forward, earnest. “I love you, Grace.” I love you too, the daughter says. “I know. You’re a good girl.” Somehow, Grace doesn’t look pleased with this compliment.
Maybe she’d rather be a bad girl and have a black lacy bra for her lover to toss on the floor, like Giada Cabrini? The aforementioned underwear rests atopt the brief (ha) about gas. Cute. She’s wearing a black silk pajama top and feeding Will ice cream out of a paper container. “So whadda ya need, Will?” she asks, scraping her spoon around the bottom. He denies needing anything, badly. She can tell from just looking at him. You’re so beautiful, he says in response. Oh, good lord, Will. You know, he’s really good at getting women who already want to sleep with him into bed – rather like James Bond – but after? He is surprisingly awkward.
So of course she forces it out of him, and he admits it’s something to do with Judge Creary. I thought it was that, she says. Will needs a witness. “So that’s why you’re here?” She’s still scraping away with that spoon. No, he denies. “But it wouldn’t hurt,” she observes. Ha! She feeds him another spoonful. “This is why I’m not going to do it,” she says of testifying against the judge. “Creary was just showing off for me, and giving you a hard time because we’d dated. You’re the one who blew it out of proportion.” Did he? Maybe; she’s right about the other stuff. He said my client was guilty, Will repeats, but she’s unimpressed. “People say a lot of things. You said you’d return my phone call.”
Back to that, are we? Will wonders if she’s punishing him for that. “No, this is about not seeing the upside in crossing a judge.” I won’t go so far as so say I like the very manipulative Giada, but I definitely respect her intelligence and her political acumen. But it’s the truth, Will replies. “And that’s your real goal here? The truth?” Giada mocks him. No, of course not. It’s the money. But he also does believe it’s the truth. “We could subpoena you,” Will suggests. “Yeah, you could,” Giada replies, stuffing another spoonful in her mouth. Good luck with that!
Cary slips into a room where a bunch of guys his age are playing poker. “Cary Agos, come to tell us how the other half lives?” Ah. Someone from the SA’s office? The Innocence Project? Pulling up a chair, Cary asks if it’s still a $200 buy in. Yes, sounds like you’re a penniless bunch to me! Maybe it’s time to raise that, the other man jokes. Cary laughs.
“So, you happy to be back at your old firm?” the dealer asks. Naw, Gardner’s got it out for me, Cary complains. “Yeah? He’s got it out for everyone.” Cary shoots a rather calculating look at his friend. “Oh, yeah, your boss, he must be pissed. You still clerking with Creary?” OH. That’s why we’re here. Clever. “Yeah,” the friendly dealer says, “he is not happy. But he hasn’t been happy for a while.” The guy laughs through his nose. Is that about double shifts, Cary wonders, but no. “No, his wife. I guess his ex-wife.” Ah.
“Is it fair to consider you a reluctant witness here, Mr. Chapin?” Diane asks Judge Creary’s clerk, sitting on the witness stand with his hair slicked down. “It is fair to consider me both reluctant and really pissed,” he replies. Ouch. Because of the subpoena? “Yes. And because I thought I was talking to a friend.” Embarrassed, Cary looks down at the gallery floor. There’s a bridge burned, and for what? He apologizes to Creary for being there; “don’t worry,” his boss waves. Diane wants to know what the judge said about Will after his suspension was announced. “He called Mr. Gardner a liar and a thief.” Diane doesn’t need to remind us where we’ve heard those words before, but she does, and Laura objects before beginning her cross-examination.
“To your knowledge, Mr. Chapin, is Judge Creary the only judge in Cook County who made derogatory comments about Will during his suspension?” Will squirms in his seat. He isn’t, and when Chapin lists some names, Laura pounces on one John Ferraro. Will winces, because he’s just won a vehicular manslaughter suit in front of Ferraro. Diane doesn’t think it’s relevant, but of course it is; the point, Laura explains, is that judges are fully capable of putting personal objections aside in favor of the evidence in a case. Well, of course, but we’re not talking about general principles here, but specifics. “I quite agree,” Judge Dunaway rules. “Overruled.” This time Cary winces, because he just burned his friendship for nothing.
We need to move off the personal animus angle, Diane instructs everyone out in the hall. “The key is his prejudging our client.” Alicia wants to know about the witness at the bar, but Will explains she won’t cooperate. Cary wants to subpoena her, but Will’s pretty sure she’d lie on the stand. (Why can’t they look into other people who overheard the conversation? Creary wasn’t exactly quiet.) Did your friend say anything else useful, Diane asks Cary just as Chapin walks behind them, shooting venomous glances their way. “You mean my ex-friend?” Cary replies glumly. Yep, the very same. “Well, since Creary’s divorce he’s been struggling with alcohol.” Ah, and he seemed tipsy that night, didn’t he? “Going to AA?,” Diane wonders. It seems unlikely that Chapin would have been that specific, but Cary says yes. “You sure you want to go there?” Will worries. “I don’t know,” Diane replies, sounding like she does know. “You go nuclear, you don’t leave missiles in your silo.”
In other words, since they’ve already crossed the line, they have to keep crossing them until they win. Everything about this episode comes back to crossing those transgressive lines, doesn’t it?
And, speaking of which, there’s the bell ringing at Capstone Prep! But who isn’t inside one of the gabled classrooms, or looking out through one of the balconies? You guessed it, Grace and Connor, leaning up against that wall. “So you gonna go to the funeral?” Grace asks, hesitant. Connor shrugs, the action sharp and awkward. “You should go to the funeral,” Grace tells him, her tone warm and wise. They’re surrounded by lacy shadows. “Why’re you so interested in her?” Connor frowns. I’m not, Grace lies. Of course you are. “All you wanna do is talk about her.” Indeed. Would you rather she talked about you? “I don’t know,” Grace admits. “I just feel bad.” I thought you didn’t know her, Connor asks, shaking his head; he’s got an old seat cushion pressed behind his back, protecting him from the uneven bricks. Why, is it so incomprehensible that she’d feel pity for a stranger? I’m not sure that speaks well of his heart. “I know, but I can still feel bad,” Grace answers. “It seems … weird, her being dead.”
“It’s not weird,” Connor sighs. (Really? How so? That’s kind of an ominous comment.) “Do you believe in God,” budding Christian Grace asks. No, he almost sneers. “Why not?” she responds, concerned, her young face tilted up toward him. He makes her look tiny. His face contorts into something approaching a laugh.
“Why is that funny to you?” she wants to know. “You’re funny,” he responds, turning to look at her straight on for the first time. “Girls don’t come here to talk about God.” You can see the information sink in, and then she smiles. “They come here to have sex.” He continues to look right into her eyes. “Is that what she did? The other Grace?” Uh huh, he nods, almost smiling. She shakes her head. “I’m not gonna have sex.” Now he does smile. “I didn’t ask you,” he says, still intensely focused on her face. No, you didn’t, she agrees. And that’s when he moves in to kiss her.
Too quickly, she leaps to her feet, and he lunges forward a bit. We can see they weren’t sharing that cushion, which surely isn’t very chivalrous of him. “So that’s it?” he asks. I’m late for class, she says. He looks up at her, large eyes suddenly pleading and vulnerable. “Tomorrow?” he asks. Oh, the breath-taking beauty of pain; what is it about a tortured boy that girls can’t resist? He looks up at her like she’s his life line, the one true thing that could save him. She looks around, considering, then leans down to kiss his mouth. He reaches for her face, but she breaks the kiss and rushes away. As she moves through the walk behind the hedge, her face lights.
The phone you hear ringing belongs to Kalinda. For Kalinda, she’s a little disheveled; her hair’s in a high tight ponytail, but there are loose bangs softly framing her face. And, damn. That’s Nick behind her, lounging naked in bed. It’s Alicia calling, standing in her office, leaning on an extra chair, asking Kalinda to look into Judge Creary’s drinking. Kalinda notices something in Alicia’s tone. “Everything okay?” Oh, sure, Alicia begins. “My daughter’s two steps away from dating Keith Moon, but everything’s fine.” Ha! Keith Moon isn’t particularly a generationally appropriate comparison for Alicia to make, or necessarily an apt one, but it’s still funny and we certainly get her point. Kalinda smiles. “Look, if you want to go out for a drink or speak, you just give me a call, okay?” Nick pricks up his ears at that invitation. “And, I’ll get on to that. Alright, take care.”
“Who was that?” Nick asks. “Work,” Kalinda replies, hopping back onto her bed and looking down fondly at her husband. Yack. “The place where I work.” Was it Cary, he asks? No, not Cary, she coos; he smiles faintly. “You need to give it a rest, the whole alpha male thing,” she admonishes him gently. Good luck with that, smarty. Then she sashays to the bathroom, her short black robe swishing as she walks. God help us all, but she gives him a cute little wave as she shuts the door. I think I need to gouge my eyes out.
Ahem. Okay. Because he’s an ass and incapable of being a real human being and because he has apparently not been unlikable enough, Nick takes this moment to steal Kalinda’s phone and reverse the last call. And of course, Alicia has stepped out of the office, and Cary swings over to answer the phone on her desk. Oh, Cary. Instead of “Lockhart/Gardner!” or “Alicia Florrick’s desk, may I help you?” he just grunts “yeah?” Oh, dude.
Guess what? Eli’s pissed off. You’re shocked, I know. The statuesque assistant (wearing another stunning dress, this time in heathered gray with a loose, draped neckline and a skinny patent leather belt) is explaining that they’ve taken a 10% dive in IT because of a reorganization. What? What does any of that even mean? Well, we know what the substance of it is. “We hit a bump,” she says. “What bump?” The newly hired IT girl, wrapped in another cutesy sweater, confesses that they lost a volunteer they can’t do without. Let me think; who could that possibly be? Someone who’s new and in school. “Are you kidding? Tell him he has to work!” When she explains that he’s in the building, Eli decides to go tell him himself.
The women scurry before and behind him. “Jay, this is Eli Gold. Jay is a new volunteer,” IT Girl introduces her formerly secret weapon. Zach packs up his bag, delaying the moment where he has to turn around. Where are you going, IT Girl asks in distress. “No, kid, you’re not going.” Um, last I heard you couldn’t compel someone to drop out of school, Eli. “Mr. Gold would like to offer you a job,” IT Girl enthuses. Do you guys not get that he’s a high school student? Sigh. Leaving aside the obvious issues of identity, of course.
Not for long, though, because that’s when Zach turns around. Seeing a ghost, Eli? The campaign manager pales. “No, let him go,” he says quietly, confusing the heck out of both women. “Damn it,” he curses.
Will’s back to throwing back drinks with a normally slick looking Kalinda. Wrong pairing! Argh. Nick’s such an incompetent stalker, too, if Kalinda can do this twice in what, 3 or 4 days and he’s on about someone else entirely. Anyway, Kalinda tosses back a shot as soon as Will’s is finished. “You pacing me?,” he asks incredulously. She wipes her mouth and takes a surreptitious look at the very pretty blond bartender as she pours them a new round. Actually, it’s not a very covert look at all; she’s staring to the point where I’m wondering if she actually sees the girl at all anymore. “Want me to get her number for you?” Will asks. Hee. Like Kalinda needs help getting women. If she needs help with anything it’s fighting them off once she’s had them.
“Do you ever get jealous,” she asks her boss, finally breaking her reverie. “Do I get jealous, why? Yeah.” Who, Kalinda wants to know, smiling slyly. “I don’t know,” he says, mouth turned down. “People I’m dating, when they meet someone else. I’m narcissistic enough to think women should give up sex altogether after me.” HA! Love it. (And let’s face it, we’re all kind of like that, right? We’d all like to be unforgettable.) When Kalinda doesn’t laugh, he picks the subject back up. “You jealous of someone?” How do you stop being jealous, she wonders. You stop caring, he offers, which is so not the answer Kalinda’s looking for. Actually, it’s really only an appropriate answer when you’re talking about being jealous that exes have moved on; otherwise it’s complete crap. “Start seeing other people. Like anything, it wears off after a while.”
She tosses back another shot. “Yeah,” she says, but he can see he hasn’t been helpful. “Or you tell the person ‘I don’t want you to see other people.'” Again, not quite her problem. Nick has already told her that. Whether she’s stopped trying to fight his sexual dominance or not, he’s seeing rivals where none exist. “But then you have to be ready to back it up,” he finishes. Thank you, she says politely. Now, in Will’s world “back it up” would mean breaking up with someone who didn’t want to be exclusive; Nick’s got other methods, liking breaking and entering. “You’re welcome,” Will says. “It’s a very genuine thank you coming from you.” She snorts, smiles, and tosses back another drink. “I have to go to an AA meeting now,” she smiles, and it’s Will’s turn to snort.
A tall red headed woman wearing a terrible sweater vest (the better to distinguish her from Eli’s colleague?) shakes hands outside a beautiful old church with stone archways and a wrought iron gate. This your first time, she smiles, holding Kalinda’s proffered hand in both of hers. “At this meeting,” Kalinda says. “I usually go to the one across town.” Right, because there are only two meetings in all of Chicago? Insufficiently Suspicious Red Head welcomes her anyway. I’m looking for a friend of mine, actually, Kalinda claims. “Harrison? Is he coming tonight?” I don’t know, Red Head grimaces, he’s usually here by now.
And quick cut to Diane welcoming yet another hostile witness to the stand. Of course it’s the red head, one Mrs. Vaughn. The teal cardigan she’s wearing today is much nicer. Do you attend AA with Judge Harrison Creary, Diane wonders. Vaughn looks at her lap, horrified. Clearly, she doesn’t want to break the anonymous bit of Alcoholics Anonymous but doesn’t really know what she can do about it. “I do,” she finally answers. Harrison looks on from the gallery, no long irascible but steadily, implacably furious. Laura objects, appalled at the disrespect being paid to AA’s policy of confidentiality. Unfortunately that’s not a legal protection, Judge Dunaway overrules her. “I don’t agree with this,” he admits, looking out at Judge Creary, an apology in his eyes, “but the law is the law.”
Diane repeats her question. Oh, man, this is so transgressive. I hate us for doing this. “He recently returned to addiction when his wife left him,” she admits, staring down at her hands. Creary wheezes something (it might have been “this is cruel”) and stumbles out of the room. “And did he say what happened when he drank?” Diane forces the issue. “He blacked out,” Mrs. Vaughn admits, the words almost torn out of her. “Then, if indeed Judge Creary had pre-judged Mrs. Van Zandten for, what did he call it, her Actus Reus, and if he said as much to Mr. Gardner at the bar, due to his blackouts, he might not remember it now?” Suddenly Laura seems lost in thought; the judge has to prompt her to object. Er, sure, she says. “Sustained, leading,” Dunaway pronounces. Diane has no further questions.
“I’ll keep this short and sweet,” Eli announces, standing in Alicia’s living room. “You wanna work for your Dad’s campaign, I won’t stop you.” Especially not when he revolutionizes your online fundraising! Zach blinks. “But I can’t speak for your mother. Now, if you want some advice on how to present it to your mother, I would offer it.” At that point a certain handsome Capstone student waltzes by, saluting Eli saucily. “Who’s that?” he wonders. “Connor.” “Who’s Conner?” “Grace’s friend,” Zach explains. Her friend. Right. It’ll be interesting to see if Zach ends up in big brother mode over this little romance. “Grace,” Eli repeats, and hopefully at least he recognizes that Connor’s the smoker from the tracking video.
Zach has to call his attention back to strategy. “Yes. Yes. The best way to present it to your Mom is that you’re becoming a part of the campaign anyway.” Hopefully not like the abortion drama from the SA’s race! “You don’t want to hate yourself for making your Dad lose when there’s a chance you could help your Dad win.” Zach nods, taking it in. Okay, he says, and Eli smiles in some disbelief that any one of the Florricks would be so suggestible. “Best not to say I was here,” he cautions. “You weren’t here,” Zach repeats obediently, and Eli gives him a pleased wag of his head.
“I’m ready to rule,” Peter Dunaway announces. He looks mad enough to bite through his lip. “This trial has been, above all, angering.” He glares at Alicia, Will and Diane. He believes they’ve resorted to rank character assassination; the three hang their heads. “They have inflicted on Judge Harrison Creary a personal examination that none of us could survive.” His momentum is thrown when Judge Creary ambles into the room. “They’ve dug through his confessions. They’ve subpoena-ed innocent by-standers and forced them to testify. I am, to be frank, disgusted.” Diane can stand it no longer and shoots to her feet. “No. Sit down!” he barks. It’s only then that he looks to his left.
“Unfortunately, I think the defense has proven their case. I have doubts about the Judge’s memory of the night in question.” Sigh. Laura hangs her head. “To be factually correct is not to be right.” He grants the motion to substitute; the case will be assigned to a new judge. Turning, Alicia watching Judge Creary lumber out of the courtroom without a word. Are we to feel sorry for him? They humiliated him, it’s true, but they were right. Weren’t they?
“Next time, in front of jury,” Will sighs. Indeed. Perhaps instead of a next time, you should take a plea, Laura Hellinger suggests. Perhaps something in the order of 25 years. Why would we do that, Will wonders? “Because your client was cheating on her husband,” Laura proclaims with certainty. “No,” Will argues, just as certain. “Actus Reus? It’s not just Latin for guilty act,” Laura explains. “It’s an online forum for cheating spouses, that’s why Judge Creary said Actus Reus.” Huh. Will squirms. “Before his divorce, he visited the forum. That’s where he saw your client’s profile.” Well, crap. So it looks like both the judge and the accused had something more to hide. (Also, good grief, who is the target audience of an infidelity forum with a Latin name?) Still doesn’t make her guilty, Will shakes his head. No, says Laura, but I bet we’re going to find an instance in the forum’s logs where she solicited someone else to commit the murder for her. Well, I don’t know, she was pretty good with not leaving a trail with the Pilates Boy. “Or you could take the 25 years,” Laura smiles sweetly. Alicia ruefully watches her friend leave, too.
When she returns to her office after traveling through stormy, nighttime Chicago, there’s Eli swiveling around in Cary’s chair. You know that’s someone else’s desk, right, she asks. Oh, like Eli cares? “I’ve just gotten word that the trackers are following Zach, too.” Well we knew that, she says. Yeah. Hopefully he’ll give them less salacious material this time. “Yes. I just wanted to let you know that they’re involving your children in the campaign.” Clearly he’s setting this up to get her to agree to Zach helping with IT. I knew that too, she replies. “I thought you might consider allowing them to be interviewed,” he offers. Nope! Again, he wouldn’t be wasting his time with this non-news conversation if he didn’t need Zach. “If Peter loses, you don’t want your kids to blame themselves,” Eli says, shaking his head and raising his eyebrows, planting the proper suggestons. Poor Alicia is done. “I’m tired,” she replies quietly. “Please just go.” Oh, fine. “Can’t say I didn’t try,” he shrugs, rising. “I won’t,” she tells him. Well played, Eli.
By some piece of bad luck, Cary’s parked on the top of a parking garage, and so has to run through the pouring rain. (Weird, right, because we’ve always seen the underground garage before.) As he runs between the cars, his coat ineffectually flung over his head, a door slams open into his body, knocking him nearly to the ground. “Oh, sorry, buddy, I didn’t see you,” comes the affable voice of Henchman Bill, popping out of the car and pulling Cary to his feet. “I hope I didn’t ruin your suit!” Hmm. So Nick talks when he gives orders, does he? Interesting. Bill throws Cary against the closest car, pushes him to the ground and kicks him. “Oh, sorry, buddy!” What’s with that act? Perhaps he’s trying to disorient Cary? Bill punches him once, twice. “Hey, sorry about that,” Bill says, throwing his arms up by his head. “Hey, let me help you up.” At this point, Cary’s oriented enough to punch back. Good for you, Cary. Nice swing.
But it doesn’t help.
Cary can’t get to his feet, so when Bill pulls himself up off the car, he knocks Cary down again, kicking him once, twice, more times than we can see. Under the car, Cary writhes in rain water. “What is that, Calvin Klein?” Bill taunts him. Oh, Cary.
In her warm and cozy apartment, Alicia wearily sets down her keys only to find Zach waiting for her in the living room. He stands at attention, and of course she knows something’s up. “Hello,” she greets him warily. “I want to help with Dad’s campaign,” he spits out, waving his arms out from his sides. She exhales largely (this? again?) and drops her pocketbook. Okay, she says, let’s talk. She lurches forward, bone tired, and folds herself down onto their tiny, uncomfortable looking sofa. “I can help,” he pleads. “Grace and I are already part of the campaign, whether we want to be or not.” Truer words…. Alicia’s sits up straight. “I don’t want to be part of the problem,” he declares earnestly,”I want to be part of the solution.” Oooh, good cliche, Zach, and nicely applied.
And how will you be part of the solution, she wonders. By helping at the campaign office? “I’d work on their computers after school. It’s only a thirty minute drive, and I’d go straight there.” How long are their days, anyway? That’s an hour each day. “And you’d only work in the campaign office,” she affirms. Yep. Where no trackers could follow him! “And I’d still do my homework afterwards and things, I promise.” I should think so! Good Girl Grace takes this moment to appear, wearing a pretty blue sweater, her hair curled. Should I come back, she asks. They’re so respectful of privacy in this family! Not at all, Alicia replies, and so Grace plunks herself down between her mother and brother and turns on the TV, which is a little weird (just because the conversation wasn’t private doesn’t mean it was over), but family can be like that, so fine.
Okay, I’ll think about it, Alicia says. “Okay,” Zach agrees, and then he realizes what she’s said. “You will?” “I will,” she says, and he lays back, a bit baffled, to watch the TV. Easier than you thought, huh, Zach. What was that about, Grace wonders. Alicia responds by kissing her forehead. And then she sniffs.
“You smell like cigarette smoke,” she cries supiciously. “It’s not me,” Grace shrugs, looking at the TV. “It’s him?” Alicia asks. “Yeah,” Grace confirms, unusually unconcerned with this show of parental disapproval. Alicia looks at her children, whose attention never wavers from the screen. She looks from one to the other, blowing out her lips as gunfire and sirens blare through the speakers. You can hear her thinking it: what is this new world she’s living in?
Alrighty then. Let’s see, because that’s a lot to get through, what with watching out favorite people do all that crappy, hurtful and ill-conceived stuff. Really, Bill kicking Cary when he was down was the perfect screen cap for this episode in some ways. If you’re inclined to feel sorry for Judge Creary, anyway; I feel really sorry for him, although I also think he should have recused himself as soon as he saw who the defendant was. If he saw her on a cheater’s website, and he knew her fidelity was a central point in the defense, he can hardly be swayed by that argument, can he? Of course, that’s simply because he knew better. But still.
We start the episode with Alicia coaching Laura, even though Laura’s playing for the other side. The coaching goes too well; Alicia just wanted to make sure Laura wasn’t humiliated, not lose the case. Though really, Laura wins the case herself, not through courtroom prowess; like season 1 Alicia, she does it through the power of observation and detective work. And she does it without Kalinda, so more power to her.
Any one else find it interesting, by the way, that we didn’t hear the client speak? Not once? Though the case was mounted in her defense, and the desperate gamble made for her money, her voice was never the one heard. Just curious, and in a way especially so since she turned out to be the ultimate in transgressive and immoral women, an adulteress and murderess.
Then Will, playing his little game, gets more truth than he was looking for from Judge Creary. Was it wrong of him to try in the first place? Did the judge’s remarks cross the line? It’s clear they did demonstrate a bias that the defense would never have been able to overcome – although this “bias” was created by a knowledge of the facts, not by the judge’s opinion of Will as a liar and a thief. Either way, this isn’t going to look good for us in the general community. And we lost Mr. Van Zandten’s enormous fortune. Not that I even understand how big it must have been for us to “get” the 48 million dollars they need.
So if this all wasn’t ugly enough – and as part of a losing gamble at the end – you have Will prostituting himself and Diane forcing an AA group leader to testify. Okay, okay, I’m sure Will was happy to sleep with Giada and enjoyed it very much, but still, it’s interesting that he specifically used sex to influence her behavior. He cracks me up. What he doesn’t know about women could fill a book. Giada specifically isn’t like that; she’s far too straightforward and clear thinking to be swayed by sex, and she’d never act against her long game, no matter what she says about pinching pennies tomorrow.
Poor Cary. Not only does he sacrifice a friendship for the firm, but he gets beaten up because his client is a sociopath and his two closest work buddies have failed to let him on the fact. I feel incredibly sorry for him – not just because of the beating, but because he has no idea what’s going on. I’m very curious about Bill’s loquacious style. I take it Cary’s supposed to know that Nick was behind the beating? Because otherwise, Bill made a grave mistake in repeatedly bringing up the suit. It’s like it was a warning – but again, Cary has no idea what he’s being warned away from! An ineffective message, if a memorable one. Also, does Nick think that Cary can’t get him in trouble? Because he absolutely can and I look forward to seeing him do it. I look forward to Kalinda and Alicia’s regret at not keeping him in the loop, too, especially Kalinda. It’s not fair to send your team into battle with insufficient intel, and that’s just what they did.
Finally, the good girl who rankles at the term, and the mildly dangerous bad boy. I’m not thinking Keith Moon (even if it was funny); I’m thinking more Jordan Catalano. Only poshed up in a fancy uniform. A little bit of a rebel, but he can’t be too much of one if, with all his class cutting, he still maintains the rumored scholarship. Oh, but Grace will understand him! She’ll see the real him where no one else can! It’s so romantic. I’m being snide, but I kind of love this plotline, actually. It’s so in character for Grace, who likes to try out small ways of crossing the line, looking for salvation and meaning in outside herself, looking for the thing that makes her feel adult, makes her feel different, makes her feel real. It was only a matter of time before something like this happened, I think. Will Alicia care more when Grace starts having sex than she did when Zack took up with the much reviled Becca? She never confronted Zach directly about the nature of that relationship; at first it was about disliking Becca, and later it was about the question of an abortion. I’ll be very curious to see if there’s a double standard there.
And then there’s Eli, directly manipulating Alicia – and deftly, too – to get Zach working for the campaign. Wow. It’s only taken him 3.5 years to figure out how to do it, but he did it well. Is this a sign of things to come, do you think, or was it a one shot deal? Will he step back over the line?
Questions, questions. So. Tell me. Who does watch the watchmen? Judge Dunaway (and by the way, I really miss English Professor Dunaway from his first episode; why did we lose his voice?) holds court over the lawyer’s actions and over his fellow judge, so he’s the obvious answer. Or perhaps it’s the system that watches itself; it’s interesting so see this little rarely used corner of the law. In his own way, Will was a watcher here too. Were Will and Diane right to go all out against Judge Creary? Are they owed a judge who has no thoughts and experiences about them or their case? Would Judge Creary have ruled justly? Of course, ruling justly means they would have lost, for reasons they didn’t know. I love that this episode brought us back to the knowledge that our team isn’t operating in a vacuum. The judges watch the lawyers, who watch each other, who watch the clerks, and the politicians use trackers to watch their opponents and then we can all watch the videos on the internet. Our sins are not forgotten or forgiven. No matter how much Alicia has grown, she’s still in the world of the first season; judging eyes are out there, ready not only to observe but to bring their own version of justice down on you.
And with that, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and good night. I know it’s corny, but dear readers, I am very thankful for you!