E: Oh. Good. Lord. Shut the front door. How many conflicting emotions can I feel in one 44 minute episode? Thrills, outrage, elation, sorrowful foreboding and even a bit of fury.
That did not just happen. Those twenty things did not just happen.
I mean, when Cary made the proposition, I wanted to cry for the perfection of the idea, for getting out from under the preposterous weight that L/G has become – and then how crazy out of the blue was that moment in Alicia’s office – and then Alicia gets the chance to turn a problem into an opportunity – and then Elsbeth and Eli! I am dancing a jig.
Dancing a jig, and crying.
“36.1,” David Lee lists off as we come out of darkness. “The Chum Hum retainer of 54.6 million,” he continues to cheers from an assembly of lawyers. Wait, what? He means Dina’s money, not Chum Hum’s, right? Also, holy crap. I’m almost too distracted by this, and the darkly pleased look on Diane’s face, to understand what he’s saying until he utters the words “we are now completely debt free.”
What? Wait! How the hell did that happen? How long did that take? What the what? Now the room, utterly stuffed with people, claps wildly. Will heads out before things get to crazy. “What a difference a month makes,” David gloats. I’ll say – but, wow. I guess 54 million would more than cover the 30 they still owed, but holy cow. I know I’ve been bored with the financial storyline, but they invested so much time in it, with all the humiliating twists and turns (Maddie, Louis Canning, the 27th floor, Clarke, two visits to bankruptcy court, the partnerships, settling the cases) I kind of imagined that we’d actually, you know, see a resolution. That they’d learn to better manage the firm, or something, rather than just announcing that everything’s suddenly and mysteriously perfect. Is that weird of me? I guess the resolution happened in our last episode, essentially, and I just didn’t know it? It’s like He Who Must Not Be Named ; we whine about the financial plot, so they solve it, and then we whine because the conclusion is too abrupt. But seriously. If we have to live through all that crap, we want it to mean something.
Er, anyway. Sorry. Not that I even know if you guys are whining with me. They’ve just utterly confounded me right out of the gate.
As the clapping dies down, David Lee starts adding up their prospective profits. With that 54.6, 42.6 from Lemond Bishop (yes, are we ever going to back to his story?), and 45.3 from the “strangely profitable” Colin Sweeney, they’re on track to end the year 130 million dollars in the black. Holy cow, are they serious? Diane can’t believe it either; she has to repeat the number to David, her hands on the table in front of them, steadying herself. “Yes, it was our best quarter ever,” he practically shouts so she can hear over the cheers. “We were so worried about reducing overhead we suddenly made ourselves very, very profitable.”
Diane rises to her feet. “We held together through thick and thin,” she enthuses. “Now it’s time to celebrate the thick,” she pumps her fist as if delivering a manifesto. Yay, money! The room loves it.
“What about those new guys,” Howard Lyman stands, pointing out into the hall. Oh, Howard. “What about the new partners, these five new guys.” David Lee reminds us that five offers were made, making a mournful face; he thinks that action was premature. Of course you do. It’s so offensive. Diane’s aghast. “Just to be clear,” she interjects, “those offers were already made. We talked to the five associates involved.”
“Well, that was before we had money,” Howard Lyman waves off this objection. Ouch! At least that was honest, but wow. Money sucks. You people suck. Do we have their capital contributions yet, David Lee wonders; they don’t. (Why not, after a month? That’s odd, right?) “Unfortunately, we took a vote on this already,” Diane admonishes him, not sounding sorry at all. “So let’s vote again,” Howard suggests to her horror, “I’m not about to give up five percent of my yearly nut to these guys who did nothing.” Oh good lord, Howard Lyman’s going to talk about doing nothing? Excuse me while I go smack my head against something. David Lee calls the vote: “all in favor of delaying partnership offers please raise your hands.”
Everybody except Diane raises their hands. “Yes, that’s right,” Lee continues, counting, “keep ’em up, keep ’em up.”
“You’re not hearing us,” Will explains with a touch of irritated patience to three men in a smaller conference room. “We’re not going over $800,000. Our client did nothing wrong,” he adds, gesturing to a slender bald man. “His product is perfectly safe.” Yeah, I’ll bet it is. I hate it when we’re the bad guy. “Your client misused his product.”
“Look, my client lost her 16 year old granddaughter,” a baby-faced young fellow (with a cleft in his chin rather like a baby’s bottom) declares. Ouch. “If you want to win your case by blaming her, I’d love to see you try.” Who are we blaming here, anyway – the grandmother or the granddaughter? The pronouns aren’t really lining up. Also, yuck. “See you in court,” Will shrugs are the baby-faced lawyer walks out.
“We have a good case,” he tells the spare balding man. “He has nothing but emotion. We’ll win in court.” Diane joins the conversation as the third man speaks up. “It’s the jury system. A flip of the coin.” He turns to look at Bald Boss, who grumbles that he hates flipping coins. “It’s either that or pay 14 million,” Will shrugs. “Times seven,” Diane interjects, getting everyone’s attention: there are 7 other deaths. Geez, what is this product? Baldy sighs. He wants certainty. What kind of certainty? He nods to his – what, in house counsel, perhaps? “A war game,” the frizzy haired third man suggests.
As one does, Cary’s sitting in the shared office looking at pictures of a Wainfleet yacht. Of course he is. “We’re gonna be rich, Alicia,” he grins, longing and joy in his voice. “No!” she laughs, also grinning widely. Oh my poor children. Your ship has not come in after all. “Yes we are,” he chuckles. “Profit participants and the firm just came into Chum Hum.” Damn, they said that again. There is no fricking way that that would have happened without us knowing it, right, not with how much Neil Gross hates us. Right? He must mean Dina’s money, he must… Cary pulls up the flyer and points, adorable. “Look, when you start getting yacht brochures in the mail, that’s when you know you’re coming in to money.”
Delighted, Alicia laughs. What was that in his voice – was he trying to sound a little P. Diddy, Hampton’s gangsta? “How do they even know to send that to you?” she wonders. Good question. Magical elves? “Capitalism, it just knows,” Cary grins.
And that’s when Diane and Will come in to break their little hearts – or at least, that’s what both Alicia and I assume. Cary clears off a seat for Diane as she asks if they know the Thief drink case. “The power drink? Yeah,” Cary replies, brows furrowed as someone – Will? – tosses him a tall aluminum can. Lightning crackles down its side. “They’re being sued by the grandparents of a young girl who died after drinking it,” Diane exposits. Ah. So that’s what that was about. Interesting. How do you misuse an energy drink? The grandparents want to go to court, and so do Will and Diane, but the client is, as we know, reticent. “They’ve given us a hundred thousand to run this case through a mock trial,” she finishes. Oh, fun. That’s new for us. Love it.
“So you want us to second chair it,” Cary squints. I love that they’re an us! (I know, I know, that’s how the discussion was framed, but I still love it.) No, Will leans forward, we want you to be the Red Tam. Huh? Alicia understands immediately, and her smile sings. “You want us to oppose you?” she grins. They do. They’ll represent the drink, Cary and Alicia will represent the bereaved grandparents. So, wait a minute – we get to be the good guys and the bad guys? Now that is a freaking awesome trick. Love it. “That sounds… fun,” Alicia smiles; Will and Diane laugh. “It could be,” Will says, handing over the case files. “From this moment on, we won’t discuss the case. You prepare, we prepare, and we’ll see how it goes in mock trial tomorrow.”
Cary frowns. Tomorrow? “What about our witnesses?” Diane hands over a list of expert witnesses she and Will passed on. Ha. They can hire one, and hire an actor to play the plaintiff. “So, how easy should we go on you?” Alicia wonders. Will and Diane laugh, white teeth flashing. This only works if you give it your all, they say. The client will know if you pull your punches.
That sounds like famous last words.
“Okay,” agrees Alicia pleasantly, “be prepared to lose!” Laughing as they go, Diane and Will are clearly prepared to do no such thing. Mrs. Florrick taps her fingers against the case file, still utterly charmed. Cary, not so much. “They’ve been preparing the case for three months now, and we have what, twenty four hours? How’s that fair?” Particularly given the idea that you’re working with the experts they’ve discarded, I’d say that’s not fair at all. “So that gives us the element of surprise,” Alicia smirks. Never beat your boss in tennis, Cary warns. “Whatever they say, they don’t want to lose.” Well of course they don’t, although I suppose they’d rather lose here than in actual court, right? Alicia thinks about it. “The difference is, we’re partners. They’re not our bosses anymore.” Cary smiles wickedly, charmed both with understanding and the thrill of the hunt.
“So, the Red Team,” Kalinda declares what appears to be some hours later; Cary appears to be on the floor with his jacket off. “We’re having t-shirts made,” Alicia jokes. Aw. Cary cuts right to the chase, wondering what Kalinda has on past cases against Thief that she can give them, as there’s nothing in the database. She knows. Could she look into it? No. “What do you mean, no,” Alicia snaps. What do you think, Alicia? You’re the Red Team. The firm is the Blue Team. She works for the firm. For heaven’s sake, she’s even wearing blue. They don’t believe it, but that’s it.
“Wait wait wait wait,” Alicia begs as Kalinda sails out the door. What if they paid her, as a consultant? They have a 10k budget. “Okay,” agrees Kalinda, “$400 an hour.” Cary sneers. “Okay, how much for friends?” “$400 an hour,” Kalinda repeats. Ha! “We need her,” Cary admits defeat, “we’ll go for the cheapest expert.” Okay, Alicia shrugs. “Let us know when you exceed 20 hours.” She will. “Good doing business with you,” Kalinda swans out. That’s got to be one cheap expert.
And, we have an abrupt transition to wonder. “Mr. Gold! Hi, how’re you!” Elsbeth trills. “I’m fine,” Eli replies stiffly. Sigh. Elsbeth and Eli! Joy of joys. Elsbeth guides him into the conference room. So she does belong to a law firm! I still don’t get why someone from her firm couldn’t take over for her on Anna’s case; maybe it’s just that she trust us more? (I think I want to slap myself around for using the word “us” in that context.) Anyway, it’s a nice office, though not as nice as Lockhart/Gardner. Very modern. “Two very nice men from the Department of Justice.” He’s not really interested. “I know lots of campaign managers who offer discounts for their services,” he begins, annoyed. “”Even the prosecutor, Wendy Scott-Carr did.” Elsbeth stops before a white door. “Oh, yes, she’s been replaced.” What? “She’s not on the case anymore.” Really? Damn it, the mental whiplash for this episode, I don’t even know what to do with myself anymore. Eli stands stiffly in front of two white canvases with black swirly lines. “I think they realized, unclean hands,” Elsbeth shrugs as she opens the door. I’ll say, unclean hands. I don’t know how I feel about her abrupt departure, however. Elsbeth opens the door.
And inside is a boiler room where a janitor eats his lunch. Um, okay. Elsbeth pops her hands together. “Okay, can you try the ones on that side of the corridor?”
Ha. That woman. You just have to love her.
And eventually, the right door. “Ah, I thought we’d lost you,” Kyle MacLachlan proclaims, standing. No way! Excellent. I mean, I was fine with Wendy Scott-Carr, but I do like Kyle. Also? She did lose you. Or you lost them. I’m confused. “It’s a jungle out there,” Elsbeth laughs awkwardly before introducing Eli to Josh Perotti (MacLachlan, either yawning or popping his jaw) and our wormy old friend David LaGuardia. “Of course,” Agent LaGuardia waves, “Mr. Gold and I shared our love for the ivories.” Eli cocks his head in confusion, somewhat distracted by Perotti’s gaping mouth. “The accordion,” he clarifies. “The accordion!” Elsbeth gasps, pleased. “I didn’t know that! Since when?” Perotti wonders. “Six months,” David tosses over his shoulder casually, “polka runs in the family.”
“Polka runs in the family,” Perotti repeats, considering. “That’s funny.” Then he opens his mouth wide again. Eli can’t keep his astonishment off his face.
Everyone sits. “I asked Eli not to say anything here, so he’s not being rude, he’s just following my directive,” Elsbeth explains. “Good,” Perotti agrees, hands clasped in front of him, “I’ve been sent up from D.C. for one reason. Seems I’m the only man in Chicago without bias.” Oh, so that’s what the jaw thing was – he’s just been on a plane. Elsbeth grins and giggles, color in her cheeks. Then Perotti lays out his evidence – or rather, has LaGuardia play a wiretap from September 28th of 2012.
“So how much we talkin’, Eli?” a voice asks from LaGuardia’s laptop. Eli looks alarmed. “Ah, the usual,” comes Eli’s voice, “and ah, if I’m effective, we can discuss. Did you get email?” He did. Whoever he is. Perotti watches Elsbeth, smiling mildly. “I did, I’m talking to her tomorrow. She’s really your ex-wife?” “This is Greg LeShore of Worcestergraph Industries,” Agent LaGuardia adds helpfully. Uh oh. “She just needs a bit of financial boost,” Eli suggests before Josh leans over and shuts off the recording. Oh, crap. So they really have him dead to rights.
“Unfortunately, that’s you, committing a felony, Mr. Gold. Dollars for donations.” Why would he do that? I guess he was still on her campaign at that point? Ugh. That’s distressing. I don’t think I really thought he was guilty.
“We do have an offer for you,” LaGuardia offers. “Eli wears a wire and gets Peter to admit to a recently accepted bribe.” So much for Eli staying silent – he’s sitting in front of two more black and white paintings that look like enlargements of calligraphy doodles, and he’s pissed. “Peter has never accepted a bribe!” We’d drop all charges against you, LaGuardia furthers. “Go to hell,” Eli hisses. Okay, Perotti steps in, trying to calm the proceedings. “We don’t want to go down the tough boy route. We just want to lay down our evidence and show you all our moves.” Is he chewing something? Gum? It sounds like he is, and looks like he’s twisting a wrapper in his hands.
“It’s most welcome,” Elsbeth smiles, her words coming in a typical flood, “and I’m sure you wouldn’t mind sending me a copy of the wiretap complaint application for interception of telephonic communications 18USC.2518.” Right. Perotti chews thoughtfully, turning his head with a flirty little smile, clearly all about her. “I’ll send it right over.” Whoa. His voice dropped an octave there.
In a dark courtroom, a man with a clipboard welcomes everyone. “Thank you for participating in T&R Legal Research’s mock trial.” He’s wearing a sweater, and has something like hipster glasses, strong black lines over his strong black eyebrows. “You’re our jury. Welcome.” Where did they get these people, I wonder? They’re all ages, like a real jury would be, and there are twelve of them. “The issues here are real. The lawyers are real.” Cary and Alicia smile winningly, a Thief can in front of Alicia. “The judge’s rulings are real.” Ha, and that’s a real, bored Howard Lyman playing the judge. Perfect. “Even the room is real – and of course, you are real. So, I’m sure you’ve noticed the cameras over your head, and placed strategically throughout this courtroom. Just ignore them; they are recording your responses for later analysis.” Right. Wouldn’t that make you even more aware of them? We see a panel of all the different angles – the judge, different jury members, the lawyers. This is quite a set up. There’s a control room in the back where Thief Chief Baldy waits with a posse of flunkies. We’ll be checking in with you periodically to see how everything’s going, the Master of Ceremonies explains. “So, without further ado, I won’t tell you anything about the case, I will leave that to them.” He gestures at Alicia and Cary, and walks away.
And with encouragement from Howard, Alicia is off. “This is the drink that killed our client,” Alicia proclaims. Um, the girl is not your client, but okay, it’s still damned effective. She sets it on the edge of the jury box. “It’s called Thief. It contains 240ml of caffeine. That is the equivalent of twelve cups of coffee.” The fake jurors take notes. “It also contains 200mgs of Guarana, one of the highest caffeine containing plants in the world.” Er, what? So why doesn’t that count as caffeine?
“Now, you may have seen this drink on the store shelves,” Alicia continues. “You may not have bought it, because this is how its advertised.” She clicks a remote to start a commercial, which begins with a little cartoon deer in a woodland meadow. “This is your brain on reality.” Then the picture explodes with a fireball, snowboarders doing tricks, a girl in a bikini, an old biplane driving through a building – your basic fast cut smash cut insanity. Alicia throws up her hands. “It’s advertised to kids.” She clicks the remote again. “This is the kid who Thief advertised to, Bella Ward.” The young girl has dropped her jaw in happy amazement in a candid shot, not looking at the camera. Diane leans into Will. ‘They’re in take no prisoners mode,” she notes. Well, that is what you asked for.
“16 years old,” Alicia notes, clicking to another picture of Bella laughing with a friend. “She died last year. She suffered from a massive seizure – caffeine toxicity.” Yikes. Will wonders where they got the pictures; Facebook, Diane speculates. Where else? “Now, I know the opposition here. I know Will Gardner.” Oh, snap! She did not go there. Will stiffens in his seat, trying to look nonplussed. “He’s a good lawyer.” Alicia looks at him and snickers. “Yes he is!” She turns back to the jury; Will and Diane smile, amused by her tactics. “And I know what he’s going to tell you. He is going to blame the victim.” Ooooh, they’re not laughing anymore, are they? She clicks to another picture of Bella, leaning adorably against a brick wall. “He is going to say this sixteen year old should have known better. That Bella caused her own death.” Well, there’s probably a level of truth to that, right – that’s the inherent defensive position when a consumer buys and freely consumes – and then is injured by – any kind of product. We’ve seen them fight against this, and we’ve seen them defend the producers of such goods. “Then he’s going to blame the grandparents. It’s unclear how both principles can be true, but he only has to tarnish one of them to make it work.”
Wow. Going first really helps, huh? So far she’s being super persuasive, you have to admit, and if I were on that fake jury, I would be eating out of her hand. “So,”she sums up. “I ask one thing of you. Don’t be fooled. You wouldn’t let a crime victim be blamed.” Hell yeah they would, but okay, you’re complimenting them, that’s nice. “In many ways, Bella is a crime victim. The only difference here is the assailant, and the assailant here is Thief.” She gives a good look into the camera for emphasis.
From the room, Chief Baldy turns to the frizzy haired man in concern. “They advertised their drink to her, and then they killed her. They need to be held accountable – or they will do the same to your kids. Thank you,” she finishes. Damn! Cary gives a low whistle. “Nice work!” Thank you, she whispers.
“Well that’s an odd experience,” Will smiles, discomfited, as he buttons up his suit jacket. “Someone making me the subject of their opening argument.” Ah, now if that’s how you’re going to lead, you’ve missed half her argument, which wasn’t about you at all – which means you’re already behind. And that’s how they walk out of court – Cary and Alicia leading the way, Will and Diane behind. “Game on,” Will calls out to Alicia. She knows, Will, she knows.
Tenting his fingers, David Lee sits in wait in Cary’s office chair. “David, how are you?” Alicia greets him. “I’m good,” he chirps. “Unfortunately, we have a problem.” Diane and Will suck so badly for making him deliver this news. It would have so much better from them, there would have been sympathy and understanding. It would have made it clear that they didn’t agree with the choice and would try and rectify it. What asses. I’m so pissed at their lack of management skills from the very beginning of this partnership debacle on. Anyway, Alicia shoots David an inquiring look. “Oh no,” she replies primly, “we have an opportunity.” He’s amused. “That’s right,” he says, waggling his finger at her, “every problem is an opportunity. Well, here’s the opportunity.” He stands, and leans forward over her desk. “We need to delay your partnership for a year.”
She laughs. Oh, Alicia, honey, when will you realize they will never be done trying to screw you over? “The equity partners are not withdrawing the offer of partnership, we just have to delay it.” He stares for long enough that she believes it, turning pale. “Why? “We…need time to assess the repercussions from changes in the workplace.” Ha. That’s a terrible cover story, although I don’t suppose you need one. (Actually, he’s screwing lawyers out of money, so I guess he does need a legal fiction to cover his greed.) And how long will that take, she frowns. He’s not sure. “The equity partners will review at the next meeting. Thanks for understanding,” he declares, walking off.
“David,” she calls after him. She shakes her head. “What just happened?” Nothing, he oozes in his best oozy voice. “We’re a democratic institution, and unfortunately, democratic institutions change their minds.” As Alicia’s left with her mouth hanging open, trying to work that out, Cary steps back in. “What was that?” he asks, setting down his briefcase. She looks at him, momentarily frozen. “I think I was just mugged.”
Alicia’s still abstracted when they’ve returned to the war game, where Cary’s examining their cheap expert witness, Dr. Borgnine, and finding out how Bella died. Borgnine, with a saturnine face and enormous ears, has this to say for himself: she died, as previously stated, from a caffeine toxicity induced seizure which caused her aspirate vomit into her lungs. Lovely. And this was definitely caused by the drink. “I know it looks innocuous, but it’s not,” he tells the jury. “It killed her.” Cary thanks Dr. B, and hands him up to Diane for evisceration; immediately Cary puts his head in his hands, and worry for him breaks Alicia out of her fog.
And Diane has come to fight. Proving that she, too, knows how to use Facebook, she’s brought two pictures of Bella for comparison. Could the doctor tell everyone the difference? Cary objects for vagueness (“yeah, um, I’ll allow,” Howard mumbles, and an irritated Cary forces him to “rule” – ie, to state it properly, rather to Alicia’s consternation) but it’s clear what Diane’s aiming at; in the more recent picture Bella is quite a bit thinner. “Ah, yes,” Diane tells us, “at her death she weighed 85 pounds, five foot six.” Um, she does not look THAT thin, not even close. That’s massively unhealthy thin. “Does this suggest she was anorexic?” Dr. Borgnine concurs that it does. “Those proportions would suggest your conclusion.” With this new information, the expert cannot say for certain that Bella’s seizure was caused by the caffeine and not a “contributory cause” like anorexia.
Frowning, disturbed, Cary watches Bella’s grandmother’s deposition on video as she describes finding the girl. “Bella,” she cries, trying to control herself, “if I could just hold you one more time.”
“I can do that, no problem,” a woman in a beret announces. Ah, the actress. Funny. “Are you sure?” Alicia wonders. “We don’t want it to be too maudlin.” I don’t do maudlin, she shakes her head. “You saw my notices.” Okay then; she’s hired. Cary and Alicia stand up. “Is this under SAG or AFTRA?” the actress wonders, naming the two unions that cover film and tv. Why on earth would she think that? Although I suppose she’ll be on the monitors in the control room. “Actor’s Equity,” Cary deadpans. I love Cary’s sense of humor, it’s so damn dry that its barely funny. Taking a risk, Alicia calls Cary back into the conference room.
“Cary, did David Lee talk to you?” Cary walks toward her, tense, fierce. “Yeah,” he replies, angry. “He talk to you?” Alicia nods her head, a tiny motion, and Cary shuts the door. “He said they were delaying my partnership – he said until next year, but…” you can see she didn’t believe that. “Same with me,” Cary bites out. “And the other fourth years?” Cary’s guess is the same. “It’s because of money, isn’t it?”
“They don’t want to share the wealth,” Cary grumbles bitterly. ‘They were fine sharing the debt, but never the wealth.” Well, I guess we all knew this was too fast. It’s scummy, but it’s not terribly surprising. “What do you want to do?” Alicia asks. Cary half laughs; it doesn’t look like it occurred to him to do anything. “What do you want to do?” he wonders. She wants to get the fourth years together to “discuss their options.” What options are those? “Partners might be unhappy with that,” Cary guesses. “I know,” Alicia shrugs without the smallest bit of remorse.
Eli sits alone in the dark, thinking dark thoughts. “Eli?” Jordan knocks, sticking his head in, “There’s a weird lady here to see you.” Without even looking up, Eli calls out glumly. “Elsbeth, come on in.” Bwah! Oh, no, that was the best. I hate Jordan pretending it’s okay for him to talk like a rude 12 year old, but still, that was too funny.
“We have debate negotiations with Maddie, I better take them,” Jordan opines; predictably, Eli does not agree. The two contend about whether it’s okay to delay the meeting again. When Elsbeth bounces in, Jordan says hello in the pushy, passive aggressive way he has, as if she should have introduced herself to him rather than smiling at Eli. I’m really annoyed by that guy. In an hour, Eli says of the negotiations. Fine, says Jordan, telling Elsbeth it was nice to meet her. “And you,” she smiles, “an exciting office.” He gives her a face like she’s nuts. Oh, that wasn’t nearly as wacky as she can get. Stop with the judging, you rotten little pre-teen.
So, down to business. The application for the wiretap checked out; phooey. She had them send over the “underlying notes” used to prep the judge, but that was a dead end too. Finally she was forced to look through the evidentiary notes, and that was a little more fruitful. “The department of Justice requires three dirty calls to warrant a wiretap,” she grins. Poor Eli’s lost. “Dirty calls?” he wonders. He needs a dose of her enthusiasm, stat. “You talking on an already existing wire tap, that’s a dirty call, and, look here….” Two dirty calls, Eli realizes. “They changed it when they took it to the judge!” Elsbeth sings. Awesome.
Finally Eli begins to perk up as she physically shows him the two calls, how the number was changed to three on the actual application paper. “But this is the primary source, the one with two – it trumps all other sources.” Nodding along, Eli breaks out into a smile. “So they didn’t have enough calls to warrant the wiretap!” “Yes, which means they can get it thrown out,” Elsbeth grins. Excellent. Eli claps his hands like a toddler watching the circus. “Elsbeth! You always bring cheer to my office!” Aw, she smiles back, that’s sweet.
And from that, we go to the actress – minus her beret – wiping her eyes on the witness stand. “And Bella was your only grandchild?” “I’m sorry,” the woman apologizes, “I miss her so much.” Aw. “Yes, she’s my only one.” We see the jury, some impassive, some moved. “My – my heart is missing a piece of itself,” she tells us, putting a slender hand over her bosom. Then she gazes off into the distance. “I cry into da night, where are you, my Bella?” Cary blinks. Then she starts moaning “Oh Lord, why? Why is she gone from my arms?” I see, I see, Cary tells her soothingly, making little patting motions with his hands (perhaps trying to get her to tone her performance down). “And you were the one who found her?” The actress raises anguished eyes to his face at the (false) memory. “Yes! It was me!” Alicia scans the room covertly, horrified. “I held her close, and she was cold. Cold as the grave, cold as the night!” Diane and Will might snicker, but one of the male jury members appears to be crying.
Of course, another is weirded out, and from there it just gets more maudlin. “Please baby, please don’t go! Please God don’t take her! Ah, sweet heavenly Father!” she wails, caterwauling; Cary slumps back into his seat, too embarrassed to care, and Diane can’t contain her laughter.
“Thank you for seeing me,” Elsbeth begins, seated across from Josh Perotti. “I just wanted to bring one small thing to your attention, if you have time?” “I always have time for you, Elsbeth,” he declares, prompting a giggle. “Would you like a biscotti?” He holds out a bakery box, and she wiggles in her seat, charmed. “Why yes I would! I love biscotti.” Hah. He’s got her number all right, though she’s at a bit of a loss for a napkin at first. So, she begins, looking through her bag, about the number of dirty calls – does he remember how many are necessary for the wire tap application? He does. Three. “And ye-et, look here. Two. On David LaGuardia’s evidentiary notes. See?” He does. Could he see her paperwork? She hands the two pages over, and he pulls the offending piece off its partner and very deliberately rips it in half.
Her jaw drops.
There it goes into his waste basket. “Mr. Perotti!” she begins, gaping. He sits back up, smiling widely. “That – you can’t do that!” “I did it,” he grins. Damn. “Its was a mistake, that’s all, I corrected it.” Oh. That’s one way to put it. “Yeah, that’s, but I – that was just a copy,” she reminds him, because she’s too smart for these shenanigans. “Yes,” he agrees seriously. “Could you bring me the other copies you have?”
She giggles. That would be a no. “Are you serious?” she wonders. “I needed three dirty calls for a wire tap, I got a wire tap, so I must have had three dirty calls.” Yeah, I’m not so sure that’s how it works, buddy. “Well, I’ll bring my copy to court, that’ll be proof enough,” she declares. “Ah, no,” he replies. “Because here is the original,” he tells her, pulling out the file and opening it, “and just changed the 2 to 3.” He scratches out the number with his pen, clicking it on and off with satisfaction. Um, would that really stand up in a court of law? At any rate, she’s completely (and rightly) outraged; she paces his office for a moment. “Wow,” she says, fanning out her hands. “I know,” he replies, inappropriately pleased with himself. Then she leans over and gives him back his untouched biscotti, picking it up by the edges of the napkin. Excellent. “I’m gonna beat you, Mr. Perotti,” she announces.
“No,” he replies coolly. “There’s no record of me doing it. I’m a lot like you, Elsbeth.” How so, turkey? Because I don’t think she would have done that. “But I’m sitting on this side of the desk. This side of the desk wins.” “Not this time,” she sings, and he breaks into shivers. “You’re great,” he coos, “I hope you’ll have dinner with me when this is over.” Don’t be flattered, Elsbeth! Anyone that immoral in his work can’t be trusted outside of it either. “Yeah, I’m gonna go, find a way to beat you” she tells him, flustered, pointing at him for effect. They don’t show it, but her big exit would no doubt be blunted by the fact that she left her briefcase and coat.
Fake judge Howard wants to know if Alicia and Cary have any more witnesses. They do, Alicia replies; they want to call Thief’s VP of marketing, the young-ish Arthur Schumacher, who looks up in shock from his perch in the control room. While he wasn’t on their witness list, he was scheduled to appear for the defense, and so can be called as a hostile witness. Is he even here, Howard wonders – and then, joy of joys, sticks his face in the nearest camera, asking Schumacher if they can move things along, please. So great.
On the stand, Schumacher’s presented with a can of Thief Light. This is your no-calory version, Alicia asks. “Well,” he shrugs, “zero carbs and zero sugar.” So it’s advertized as a diet drink, Alicia cuts in. “No,” he leans forward, hands between his knees, “as a low cal energy supplement.” Hmmm. That was some weasel-wording right there; sounds like we’re messing with dangerous territory. Alicia clicks on a layout with girls in bikinis or underwear. “Have you seen that website there, Gorgeously thin?” Schumacher squints, palms still pressed together, shoulders hunched awkwardly. “Yes, I’ve heard of it.” He has? That’s sort of odd. The girls are very young and thin, one holding out larger pants to indicate her weight loss. You can see the ribs on the girl in the middle. “It’s a pro-ana website, isn’t it?” Alicia asks, and is immediately objected to for relevance. (For the record, that is not pro-ana thin. This is. Check out the “thin commandments” here – it’s not a joke. Perhaps they decided that it was too harmful to give the true and shocking images more attention?) Yeah, I don’t get it, Judge Howard narrows his eyes. What is that? “It’s a site intended to promote anorexia.” Alright, go ahead, he waves.
“Do you see this posting,” Alicia asks the witness, reading it out. “So, I weighed myself, and I’m down 1.5 pounds. Yay! Have lots of energy too. Trying new power drink. Thief Light. Signed, GirlinJeans45.” Yeah, I can see it, Schumacher points at the screen. “Tell me what a cybershill is, Mr. Schumacher,” Alicia asks, and in the observation room, Thief Chief Baldy bows his head. “Damn it,” he exhales. “It’s perfectly legal,” Schumacher begins. Never the place to begin, dude. “I know,” Alicia placates him, “But what is a cybershill?” “A freelancer who helps sell products by posting laudatory comments on websites.” Ah. So they’re by nature freelancers, are they? (I’ve seen embarrassingly obvious examples of this while looking up how to get crayon out of clothing, but I’m sure there are examples in every field; this seems like a particular low, though.) “We were able to trace this laudatory – good word – posting through it’s IP address to your cybershill.” Will leans back into his chair, thoughtfully. “Is GirlinJeans45 one of your employees?” Just to be clear, Schumacher fails to answer, she posts on hundreds of sites. “We’re not targeting, what is it, pro-ana sites.”
“And did you know many times GirlinJeans45 posted on Gorgeously Thin?” “Well,” he grumbles, “as I just said, right, she’s a freelance worker. I don’t control her.” Yeah, nice excuse. “135 times, most of the time promoting Thief Light.” Well it’s not illegal, he reasserts. “Yes,” Alicia follows up, “but isn’t it true you’re targeting anorexics?” No, dieters, he insists. Good luck with that, buster. “And if Thief is targeting dieters, or anorexics, then it doesn’t matter that Bella was anorexic! ” Ooooh, Alicia! Great point. The jurors whisper amongst themselves; score one, Red team. “Thief is just as liable for Bella’s death!” Diane objects – “counselor is testifying!” – and Alicia announces she has nothing more to add.
“Alright,” the Master of Ceremonies addresses the faux jury. “As I promised, I’ll be checking in with you now and then. So, if I could just see by show of hands, who do we think is winning right now, the lawyers representing the girl who died…” Pretty much everyone raises their hand. “Okay,” says the Master of Ceremonies; in the observation room, Thief Chief Baldy shakes his head in disgust. “What I don’t understand is how you can be losing!” Are you kidding? Were you not watching that? They’re losing because the other side has a better case. “It was the plaintiff’s case,” Diane explains patiently. “We haven’t presented our case. This is what you should expect.”
“This is not what I expect,” he argues. “I expect you to use every second to defend me!” Well okay. Maybe that’s fair? In the faux courtroom, the Master of Ceremonies asks about an award. “What would I give the girl’s family at this point?” one of the jurors asks. Yes, that. “I don’t know, maybe 45 mil?” Baldy almost chokes. “I see a lot of heads nodding. How many of you agree with that?” At least five people raise their hands. “Are you losing this on purpose?” Baldy hisses, whipping his head away from the monitors. “Do you want me to negotiate? It’ll save you time in court?” Embarrassingly, not at all. “Sir, if you just give us a chance to present our case, and don’t judge until you hear it all…” Baldy walks out. Diane takes off her glasses as if taking off a helmet after a boxing match, finally exhaling. ‘They have the element of surprise,” Will assesses. “Now it’s our turn.”
Ha. But should surprise really have made that much difference? Will and Diane have been preparing for this long, and Cary and Alicia must be going on some of Kalinda’s opposition research, right? So it should be easier than facing an opponent in court, because you’d already know the stuff they had to use against you. Knowing the case well shouldn’t have made them less effective. But if it makes you feel better, Will, go right ahead.
Zach sits on the floor of his bedroom, one ear against his door. “Can you tell what they’re talking about?” Grace asks nervously, pacing. We can hear a conversation, but it sounds like the adults in a Peanuts cartoon. “Work,” he figures. “Is she getting fired?” Grace fears, leaping as always to the worst case scenario. No, Zach shakes his head. “Go get something from the fridge, figure it out.”
“It’s about money,” Cary correctly surmises, leaning next to Alicia’s mantel in black casual clothes. I have to tell you, I love seeing the men out of their suits. “It’s always about money with them.” I worked on Bishop for thirty hours, a long haired red-head complains from the green leather couch. “We’re the ones doing all the work.” Take that, Howard Lyman. “They’re just delaying our partnerships,” a pale, dark-haired young man (moderately Adam Levine-like) counters; he wants to wait and see. “Wait wait wait. They’re making this about class warfare,” Cary insists, getting his Les Miz on. “So whatta we do?” Strike, the red head suggests; a third woman counters with the idea of a slow down as Grace traipses through the room. “No, that would just hurt the clients,” Alicia shoots down, curled in a ball in an arm chair, her hands wrapped around a steaming mug.
“This is what I say we do,” Cary drains his own mug and sets it on the mantel. “This week, we meet with all our top clients. Arrange lunches, drinks, meetings.” Alicia likes it. “To do what,” one of the others asks suspiciously, but Alicia’s on to him. “To scare the partners,” she smiles. “Right,” Cary agrees. “But don’t say anything to the partners about these meetings, they’ll hear about it from our top clients anyway.” Oh, I love it. The red-head looks up at Cary curiously. “And what do we do at these meetings?” Meet, Cary says elliptically. “Don’t talk about forming a new firm, don’t talk about jumping ship – just ask them if they’re happy, huh?” He looks to Alicia for confirmation; he receives it. “We can’t be accused of doing anything wrong,” she adds. ‘We’re just – seeing if our clients are happy.” Right, he tags in. “But it will scare the hell out of the partners. It’ll make ’em think we’re jumping ship and taking all our top clients with us.” Alicia nods her agreement.
In the kitchen, Alicia stands across the island from the kids. “So, what was all that about?” Zach asks, though a mouth full of what looks like pound cake. “You guys quitting?” No, Alicia answers. “Plotting.” Why? It’s Grace who asks. “Because we want attention from our bosses.” When are we going to find out if Grace is sleeping with that boy, speaking of seeking attention. Hmm? “Why?” she asks again. “Because they’re taking us for granted, we want them not to.” They look freaked. “Just don’t get fired, okay Mom?” Zach pleads. Huh. Worried about money, little man, or are you afraid Mom is living too dangerously? She brings a tupperware container of something (cake?) out to Cary in the hall, where he’s shrugging on his excellent cognac colored leather jacket.
“We should do it, Alicia,” he declares. She just stares at him. “Start our own firm,” he smiles. Her white sweater has plaid inside the hood, interesting, and – wait, what did he say? YES! “Cary,” Alicia almost laughs. “What? You bring Bishop, I bring Chum Hum, suddenly we’re the 8th largest law firm in Chicago.” YES! I am in love with this idea. They’re the new Will and Diane! Oh, is it horribly disloyal of me to want this? Not that I don’t love Will and Diane, but it would be so surprising and exciting and fresh! Alicia just stares. “You don’t think those two would come with us?” ‘No, actually I do think they would.” Well, there you are. “Then let’s do it! We say yes tonight, next week we’re the 8th largest firm, and you’re the wife of the governor.” Well, there’s still an election to win, but yeah. But Alicia just smiles.
“And money? You need start up money, or those clients don’t even consider coming.” Oh, right. That’s a problem. Cary steps forward and pitches his voice low. “What did you have to borrow to get your capitol contribution together? Couple hundred thousand?” She doesn’t answer, perhaps since she’s getting it all from Peter’s freakishly, mysteriously deep pockets. “Put that together, that’s a million between us, that’s start up money.” He makes sense; she sees it. “Come on,” he pleads. “I’m sick of waiting on other people. Having them control our fates.” Yes! Yes! I love it! She’ll never go for it, but I just love this idea.
“It’s no better on our own. We’re still controlled by the landlord, the clients. Look at Will and Diane, they’re not free!” Indeed – it’s the difference (as one of my favorite writers put it) between control and responsibility. “They’re freer than us. Waiting to see if we have to kiss partnership butt for the next four years, come on! Florrick, Agos and Associates.” She laughs. Oh, but that sounds good. “Look at that, I just gave you first billing.” Well, that’s smart since she’s maybe the governor’s wife and so she’s got name recognition – but yes. Her laughter peals through the hall. “”I’ll think about it,” she concedes, handing over the cake. “We’d change the world,” he offers as a parting shot. With Bishop and Chum Hum as clients? I think not.
“As the general counsel of Thief, can you tell us how this beverage came to market?” the fizzy haired man declares on the stand that Thief has gone through two years of the most intensive FDA approval process. Attired today in black, Alicia gives Diane an arch look. “Do you believe that Thief is safe?” Diane asks. “Oh, it’s more than safe,” the lawyer swears, “It has adhered to the highest standards of safety.” Diane has nothing further.
Raising his hand, Cary addresses the witness. “Mr. Jaffer? You spoke of the FDA’s approval process. Was the approval of Thief as a food, or as a dietary supplement?” Why is there a difference, if you ingest both? Bah. And I guess this was a question he doesn’t think he should be asked, because Jaffer looks pissed. (Also, I know this guy. He’s not on the IMDB listing and it’s driving me nuts. Oh, so I re-watched the credits and he’s Raphael Sbarge, classic “hey, it’s that guy” of 24, Prison Break, and Dexter, currently seen as Jiminy Cricket on Once Upon A Time. I feel better now.) They considered it a supplement, he admits. “I see,” says Cary, “so there were no standards for Thief to meet.” Oh, snap.
“The FDA applies standards to food, they don’t apply it to supplements, is that correct?” Jiminy Cricket disputes the characterization. “More or less.” In what way less, Cary wonders. Oh, you have pissed him off. “Excuse me?” Diane purses her lips, trying to psychically admonish Cary. “You just said more or less,” he repeats, unchecked. “In what way was I less right?”
Oh my gosh, I’m in love. Florrick, Agos & Associates for the win!
“Um. I’m sorry. You’re actually right. Figure of speech,” Jaffer concedes. Okay, Cary accepts this apology cheerfully – and then he pulls out the big guns. It seems that Thief was submitted to the FDA more than once over these two years. “Why did you submit it twice?” It’s not unusual, Jaffer waves. Yes, Cary agrees, but why? “The first time, you submitted it as a food, is that correct?” It is. “And then you added one ingredient to the beverage?” Cary has to walk up to the stand with a list of the ingredients to get the now bespectacled Jaffer to admit that yes, that too is correct. The jury is enthralled. They added B12, which made it a supplement – “and therefore not subject to stringent FDA approval.” “I would object to that characterization…” Jaffer begins, but Cary continues over him; isn’t Thief identical to Rockstar, an energy drink recently warned by the FDA for adding ginko? “I don’t know anything about that,” Jaffer mutters. (If it’s identical, then how did it pass FDA standards when Thief failed?) “And the only reason you weren’t sent an identical warning letter,” Cary charges, finger pointed, “is because you gamed the system so that you were not considered a food.”
Will stands to object; he’s smooth, but it’s worlds too late for the jury. “Prejudicial.” “How’s that prejudicial?” Cary sneers. “Because you’re saying that Thief should be judged as a food when it’s not a food.” Because they gamed the system, Cary reiterates. “No, it’s about categories,” Will asserts. “The FDA has concluded Thief is not a food…”
Alicia stands up. “Wait a minute,” she interrupts, “The FDA didn’t conclude any such thing.” Then Diane gets in on the act, wondering who they’re supposed to be listening to, Alicia or Cary. Hold on, hold on, faux-Judge Lyman puts his hands protectively in front of his face. “Um, I’m gonna side with the defense on this.”
“What?” Cary asks blankly. “I said I’m gonna side with the defense on this because your argument is prejudicial.” It is not, Alicia bellows, and Howard asks her to sit down. “There is nothing prejudicial about pointing out the hypocrisy of an FDA manipulation,” she thunders, and Howard bangs his gavel, standing. “Quiet, you two. You keep yelling like this and you’re gonna find yourselves in contempt.” Alicia spreads out her arms. “What, and end up in mock court jail?” Will looks shocked by her aggression. Indeed, both she and Cary are playing a much riskier game here than we would normally see from either one. “I need a bathroom break,” Lyman declares, throwing his gavel on the bench. “Then we’ll settle this.”
Will walks out from behind his table, frowning at the red team. “Watch it you two.” “Or what,” Alicia snaps. “We don’t get partnership?” Diane and Will exchange glances; they know they’re in for it. Alicia clicks out of the courtroom with Will on her heels. “Wait,” he calls out. “I had nothing to do with that decision. I wasn’t even in the meeting.” “Good to know,” Alicia snaps, chin up. “Alicia! You think the name partners control everything? We’re as much subject to the equity partners as you and Cary. They can out vote us.” And they did outvote Diane, but since you didn’t come to the fourth years with this information right away, they have no reason to believe you now. Alicia turns her back and walks away.
“What did you do! What is this?” Eli flies into a rage, flapping a paper in Jordan’s face. “I have no idea, you have to be more specific,” Jordan smiles mildly, clearly thrilled to have gotten so far under Eli’s skin. Looks like Jordan went ahead and finalized that debate negotiation without him, and agreed to a Town Hall debate. We’d delayed twice already, the Boy Wonder shrugs. “I said delay again,” Eli thunders. “And I said we couldn’t,” Jordan replies without a trace of fear. (You know, I’d prefer their arguments if they had actual weight, other than just being a MacGuffin excuse for a pissing contest, but whatever. Not that a debate isn’t important; we just have no idea why the format matters or whether Eli’s right.) That goes over just as well as you’d think. You’re challenging me, Eli growls as if this were somehow a surprise. “I’m trying to run a campaign,” Jordan replies reasonably, but then he moves in for the soft, sweet kill.
“Eli,” he whispers into his rival’s ear. “You’re too distracted. I have to make decisions.” Those puppy dog brown eyes are full of pity. “You’re number two,” Eli rumbles. “No,” Jordan replies, again compassionate. “I’m not. Not anymore.” That’s when Eli bellows for Nora to get Peter on the phone. “That’s right, Eli, you call him, but…” and here Jordan pauses. “It’s going to take him ten minutes to get back to you. Then twenty. Then a day. He’s in a meeting, he’s in with the press, he’s busy… He won’t confront you. But. You will know what it means.” Is Peter that much of a coward? I’d like to think not, but I suppose it’s possible. He’s a straight shooter when he’s with you, but from a distance? Maybe not. “Peter doesn’t need you anymore more.” As Eli gapes, sucking on air looking for a comeback, Nora yells back that Peter can’t take his call.
Jordan walks out. Looking bereft and diminished, Eli dials Elsbeth. He’s neither pleased nor sure of himself. “Elsbeth, let’s talk to them about making a deal,” he sighs, his eyes closed.
“What happened?” Diane wonders as minions bring large hot cups (coffee? soup?) into her office for Will, David Lee and Howard Lyman. “I just got a call from Brewer McGower at Chum Hum saying Cary Agos asked him out to lunch,” David Lee replies, irritated. When Diane asks why, David replies with all the derision he can command; to see if Chum Hum was happy. “They’re jumping ship!” Howard guesses. “No,” Will figured, ever smarter, “they want us to think they’re jumping ship.” “Well they’re doing a good job,” David grumbles, “because I just called our other high profile clients. Alicia was out to lunch with Sweeney’s man, Beth and John with Bishop’s. What the hell!”
“It’s all the fourth years,” Will informs them, spooning up his soup. “Everyone who had their partnership delayed.” Well, duh. Treat people like crap and it comes back to haunt you. “That’s why they’re playing hardball in mock court,” Diane realizes. That’s partly true. They’re playing hardball because you asked them to; they’re making every effort to let you see how livid they are because of the partnerships. “They’re putting on a good show for Thief. They want Thief as a client, too?” No, Diane, they want you to make it right. They want you to see them and appreciate them! They want you to live up to your word! God, how can you people be so smart and yet so stupid?
“I think they’re pissed,” Will tells her, waving around his spoon. “As I would be, as any of us would be, and they’re just rubbing our faces in it.” Well at least someone here isn’t utterly without sense. “What do we do then?” Diane asks. “Give them their partnerships!” Thank you, Will – but David Lee’s not having it. “We don’t negotiate with terrorists, and this is corporate terrorism.” Ha. You know, the principles are not the same between people and countries, David. Also, aren’t they proving that you want them on your side? “Then we split them up,” Will suggests, fishing through the soup. How, the others wonder. “Offer one of them partnership. You can afford one,” he adds when cheapskate Howard starts to protest. “They’re too monolithic right now, they’re too united as fourth years.” He wants to create divisions between them, so that their unity will dissipate. Oh, smart, but awful, because I see where this is going. Okay, David shrugs, although all the equity partners need to vote on it. “Which one?” Diane wonders. “Which one do we offer partnership to?”
Oh, I have a bad, bad feeling about this.
“I feel terrible about this young girl Bella,” Colm Feore murmurs from the shadows. Somehow, Thief Chief Baldy looks different on the witness stand, his tie off, the angles of his face sharp and haunted. “If I could do anything to bring her back, I would.” Will thanks him for his testimony – and belatedly names him as one Mr. Lund, like Ilsa Lund in Casablanca. That jolts me awake. Don’t there tend to be little Casablanca references in W/A episodes? Just saying. Mr. Lund actually stands up, which is kind of hilarious. Did he really think after everything that’s happened that they’d go easy on him, just because he’s their client? They’re doing this at his insistence and for his fears, after all.
“Actually, we have a few questions, Mr. Lund,” Alicia purrs. Wow. She’s lioness scary right now, which is completely awesome. He sits, apologizing. “You did everything you could to ensure the safety of Thief, didn’t you?” Of course I did, he says. “I think any fair analysis would find that to be true.” She stands. “How many children do you have, Mr. Lund?” Will stops taking notes and objects for relevance. “Mr. Gardner asked this witness many biographical details,” Alicia plays it up, “I’m just filling out the biography.” Howard allows it. “I have one daughter,” he admits. Uh oh. Alicia advances toward him. “Her name is Karen, isn’t it? She’s thirteen years old?” Oh boy. “Yes,” he glares. “Do you let Karen drink Thief?”
“Watch yourself, lady,” he threatens, his voice lowered. “Excuse me?” she asks. “You don’t bring my daughter into this,” Baldy Lund insists dangerously, and once more Will tries to object on relevance, and everything descends into shouting and chaos. “Excuse me, this is nothing like a real court experience,” Will hollers at Alicia. Standing in front of the jury, Alicia yells back: “Because you’re not addressing me as the plaintiff.” You’re taking advantage of the fact that he’s our client to learn things like his daughter’s name, Will insists. (Guys, so unprofessional.) “That would happen in court, Mr. Gardner,” Alicia grits through her teeth. “He would be goaded into telling our client…”
Howard has had enough; he bangs his gavel. “Please,” he begs them, giving them all an admonishing look. “I have to go to the bathroom.”
And the next thing we see is the elevator pinging open, and Will lunging onto the 28th floor, still steaming mad. He heads toward his office, his face rigid with fury, but then he thinks better of it (or worse) and spins off in the opposite direction to Alicia’s. The camera conveys his quick pace and swirling emotions. “You got a problem, you bring it to me, you don’t take it to court.” You know, if you were better at managing your employees, Will, they wouldn’t be so mad at you. “What?” she cries, outrage all over her face. There’s none of the reserve, the deference we usually see in her; this is primal, too quick for thought. “I’m a lawyer, you asked us.” To be the Red Team, and to be partners both. We asked you to take this seriously, he yells; I am, she yells right back. “You’re losing us a client!” he snaps. They are full on screaming at each other, abandoned to their anger and frustration. The score vibrates with violins, the tension building.
That’s not my fault, she replies in outrage. It damn well is, he insists. “Oh yeah? Then take us off of it! Fire us! Get rid of us!” We’ve never heard her screech like this, her voice raw. There’s no control at all. “That’s what you want, huh, that’s what these meetings with clients are about?” Oh, yeah, obviously. The desk is no longer between them; they’re yelling right into each others faces. “My God, listen to yourself, Will. You are not the injured party here.” Oh, and you are, he snaps. “I am, YES!” she bellows with everything in her. His eyes flicker over her face, taking it in, both of them breathing hard.
And then he leans in and kisses her.
She wraps herself around him, moaning, kissing him back. As her left hand curls around his neck, the light hits her thin gold wedding band. “Oh!” she cries, breaking away from him. “Damn it,” she curses, closing her eyes as if she could wish the action away. “No no no no no no,” Will repeats, hand in front of his face. Alicia rushes through the hall, arms up in a position of supplication, questioning. “What’re you thinking – you don’t do that!” She shakes her head wildly. “What’s wrong with you?” She’s left her coat, her bag, everything in her need to run away from what she’s just done. “Oh, God!” She feels for the elevator button blindly, pushes it, pounds on the door, pressing against the frame. It opens and she falls in, slamming the buttons, then leaning on the back wall, palm to her face. “You idiot,” she castigates herself as the doors close.
So we’ve seen that scene in previews for at least a week. At first, I assumed we would see what we just saw, and I was kind of annoyed, because I couldn’t imagine how they would make that seem reasonable. There hasn’t been a hint of anything between Will and Alicia for what, a year? But as the episode wore on, they fooled me. I thought oh, the stupid thing that she did was quit or provoke Will into firing her, and I was prepared to be kind of happy about it. So when I actually saw what happened, I feel like not only did they manage to surprise me a little, they pulled off what they did far better than I could have imagined. It was such an unbridled moment – they were so furious in a way that neither of them would normally show – that you can almost see that blurring over into another emotion that had been buried.
And it’s just going to mess everything up.
“I will wear a wire,” Eli declares, nervous and vulnerable, “but I will not get you Peter. I can’t get you Peter.” No, growls Josh Perotti, “that’s what I need!” Ha. Elsbeth explains that Eli can get Josh Jordan Karahalios. (Oh, I’ll bet.) “Who’s that,” Josh wonders, leaning forward. Kyle MacLachlan is just so good. “The number 2? Why do I want the number 2?” He’s handling the finances, Elsbeth explains, so if you get him, you get everything. Oh, wow. Eli! How could you! I can see wanting to take out Jordan but not at the expense of Peter, and all you’ve worked for the last 3 and a half years! Josh flops back in his chair.
“I have one caveat,” Eli stipulates. “I only deal with you.” Er, okay. “If it gets out that I’m doing this, I’ll be murdered.” Not murder murdered, Elsbeth restates. Career murdered. Josh’s in. “You get me something real, something on bribery on Jordan Kakaraka, and I won’t make you wear a wire with Peter. But only if I get something real.” We’ll get you something real, Elsbeth promises. “Right, Eli?” Sure, he nods, looking strained.
Looking the opposite of strained, Kalinda swings into Cary and Alicia’s office. “I can’t work for you two anymore,” she sighs. Ah, Will and Diane caught up with them, I see. She’s wearing another blue dress, which can’t be an accident. “The firm won’t allow it.” She actually returns their check to Cary, who’s depressed. “I don’t know what that other stuff is in with the check,” she shrugs casually, winning a big smile from Cary. “Thief settled on another case?” he reads. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I can’t be working for the Red Team.” Yeah, and don’t you forget it, Agos. He laughs, and she pats his desk before leaving.
She passes Alicia, walking in like a zombie, still in her coat. “Hey,” calls out Cary, “you alright? You left all your stuff here last night.” Presumably not her keys; how embarrassing would it have been to have had to slink back because you had no car keys and no money? Anyway. She had to leave in a hurry, she sort-of explains. He hands her the document from Kalinda, and she starts to read it as David Lee calls out from their doorway. “Hey. I hear you two are causing a lot of problems in here.” Yep, it’s Trouble-makers R Us. “Just doing our jobs,” Cary replies defensively. That’s when David asks Cary to leave so he talk to Alicia about ‘some little thing’.
And you know what it is. Alicia looks unsettled and suspicious as she hands the paper back to Cary and watches him go.
“So, the partners had a change of heart,” David announces. “If you still want to be an equity partner, we still want you.” He sits. She’s stunned. “Thank you,” she answers delicately. “You’re welcome. We need your capitol contribution in the next 24 hours or the offer moves on to someone else.” Wow, she replies as he stands, “you really make a girl feel appreciated.” He gives her a flat look. “Were you under the mistaken impression we were here for your appreciation? Do you want it or not?” I want it, she admits. “Good,” he oozes, “24 hours.”
“Is it all the fourth years?” she asks. No, just her. “We only had one position, you got it.” Why, she asks, suspicious. Because they judged you the biggest threat, I’d say. “My guess? We think your husband’s going to be governor. How’s that? Feel appreciated now?” Damn, he is a nasty, vindictive little man. She looks across the hall to Cary, distressed, but not by Lee’s insinuations.
Just talk in your normal voice, the tech tells Eli, patting the shoulder where the wire is tucked. He nods, testing out some lines. “Did you do anything illegal? Did you bribe someone?” I hope we’re a little more subtle than that, Josh offers. You know, you’ve not be noticeably subtle, but I get your point. He should periodically offer a “testing 123” and if there’s a problem with the sound, they’ll text him. Funny. Eli nods, clearly rehearsing in his head, clearly nervous. “Okay,” he whispers, “let’s do it.”
And as he says it, Alicia seethes in court, her anger flowing out toward Will, who studiously avoids her. Too late, Will, too late.
“Did you make an earlier wrongful death settlement?” Cary asks, throwing a folder onto the table. “Resulting from your energy drink Dogfight?” Dogfight? Really? Mr. Lund looks to the partners in concern, and Diane looks at Will, shocked. Will still looks furious and absent – so in that absence, Diane rises to object, calling for all parties to approach the bench. Howard’s game, and after favoring Will with the move malevolent look imaginable, Alicia joins the others. So the suit that was settled was subject to a gag order; Cary argues it doesn’t matter here, Diane thinks it does. Howard sides with Diane. “What a surprise,” Cary mutters. “Watch it, you fourth years,” Howard snaps right back. Geez, we really need to watch our matches next to these bridges! No one looks pleased when they sit.
“What’s wrong with you?” Cary, ever intuitive, leans over to his co-counsel. What, me, Alicia asks, finally broken out of her reverie. “Nothing. Not a thing.” Which is to say, absolutely everything.
Josh Perotti produces another brown bakery box of biscotti – or the same box, who knows? Biscotti are essentially stale to begin with. This time, Elsbeth declines in advance. It makes my stomach sick just thinking about it, really. I don’t like Jordan, but jeez, this is tantamount to betraying Peter. And low, and defeated, and just, everything. Holding a grudge, Josh wonders? “No, just don’t want a biscotti anymore,” Elsbeth replies primly. “Testing 123” Eli’s voice comes over a machine, and Josh plops his head into his palm and gives the tech the go ahead. The tech texts Eli (wow, say that five times fast) that his test has gone through. We’re a go to betray out nasty little colleague.
Eli, by the way, has stepped out of a taxi onto a loud city street in front of a green and glass skyscraper. “Okay, I’m heading into work now, testing 123.” His chin still planted in his palm, Josh gives Elsbeth a rather besotted look. “Where you ever married?” he asks, with an odd, sing-songy emphasis on the sacrament. I was, she admits. “I was too,” he sighs. “Happily?” Nosy, and isn’t there a usual trajectory to this, first happily and eventually unhappily or you’d still be – well, no, I guess she could be a widow as opposed to divorced. Anyway. “I’m always happy!” she claims, a nicely simple evasion. They are so flirty! He smiles slowly.
“Okay, I’m looking for Jordan now, this will be my last testing, 123” Eli speaks surreptitiously into his coat collar. He’s hilarious.
He knocks on a door. “Hey, you have a minute?” Sure, Eli, comes the squeaky, high pitched response. Josh and Elsbeth both look appreciable more serious as we listen along with them. “You’re not too busy?” No, the voice says, though he’s not being caught with perfect clarity over the mike. There’s consternation on Elsbeth’s face. The voice speaks of expanding horizons. “Here, how about this?” And then the bright sounds of the accordion blare clearly through the mike. What?? No! Elsbeth looks over at Josh, but his furrowed brow signifies confusion, not understanding.
And then we see the only accordion player on the show – Eli’s in the office of David LaGuardia, not Jordan Karaholios. Excellent! Why those tricky little rascals! This is the time at Relatively Entertaining where E dances in her seat. “Anyway, you get the idea. What do you need, Mr. Gold?” Ah, he’s so fresh faced and ripe for plucking Eli looks almost embarrassed. “How many dirty calls did you hear me making?” What’s he doing, Josh Perotti wonders. Elsbeth points to the machine. “Getting him on the record.”
“You can’t,” he points, “you…” “What?” she smiles, victorious. “What can’t I?” “Yeah,” says Eli over in David LaGuardia’s office, “he also scratched out two and wrote in three.” Yeah, David replies flatly, where’s your proof? Eli laughs; little do you know, David LaGuardia, little do you know. “He ripped up the proof.” “Yeah. Tough break on that.” Oh, and I don’t feel sorry for you at all, you little twerp, thinking you’re above the law. Josh Perotti slowly strides across his office to pick up his phone. “Elsbeth, I am very disappointed in you,” he declares solemnly as she smiles blissfully on; the little smirk on his face belies his words. Over the wire, we hear Eli working hard to get David to admit he knows that there were only two calls. Josh calls a central number and asks to be connected to David immediately.
“I just wanna know,” Eli sighs. “It doesn’t matter either way, we don’t have proof. It was only two dirty calls.” Elsbeth hears the phone ring over the wire, hears David excuse himself to answer it – and reaches over to hang it up. “Elsbeth!” Josh admonishes her. She leaps back onto her feet. David’s left saying hello into a dead phone line. Josh dials again. “Sure!” David admits genially. “We were one short. A technicality.” Elsbeth exhales. “Yes!” ‘The law is filled with technicalities.”
And that called for dancing outside my seat, around the living room like a complete maniac. Awesome.
Somewhat to my surprise, Josh keeps calling, and David picks back up. “He’s on a wire, he’s got you on a wire,” he declares, his bottom lip in danger of covering up the top half of his face. Really, it’s quite a funny look. David scrunches his furry eyebrows down.
“I am Eli Gold,” Eli speaks directly into the microphone, “I am in the office of David LaGuardia, he has just admitted that his wire tapping application was insufficient!” Take that, you arrogant little pissant! Yes! Damn it, David says, and hangs up his phone. Elsbeth twirls in her chair over in Josh’s office. “I think you’re gonna have to exclude that previous wiretap, Mr. Perotti,” she apologizes. “Fruit of the poisonous tree!”
Yes! Yes yes yes yes yes!
“So you’ve heard both cases now,” the Master of Ceremonies asks, wearing a much nerdier sweater. “And I just want to check your temperatures again. How many of you are leaning toward the plaintiff, that’s the girl and her lawyers.” We see over the monitors, rather than the room itself, that every single jurors has raised their hand. “Oh,” says the M.C. in surprise, “that’s a lot.” At the back of the observation room, Diane congratulates Cary and Alicia. And what would the award be? “I’m thinking about 50 million,” a low voice tells us – I think the same juror as before, though we don’t see him. “I see a lot of you nodding your heads. How many of you agree?” That’s when Baldy Lund turns to his in-house counsel and concedes. “Okay, we make a deal,” he grumbles. “12 million. Enough of these morons.”
“Will. Can we talk for a minute?” Alicia asks quietly. In the empty courtroom, they stand in outside the lights. I was just offered the sole equity partnership, she informs him. He knows. Hell, I’m sure it was his idea, though it was probably more because he knew she would be the de facto leader and biggest threat than just him looking out for her interests. Right? “This didn’t have anything to do with you?” No, no, he lies. Or maybe it isn’t a lie, because her real question is whether it’s a gift or not. “Are you sure, because I…” “Alicia,” he interjects, “pat yourself on the back. You’re good. This is because you’re good.” She tries not to smile, but it’s there; she believes him. “Okay.”
And he looks at her a little too fondly, and she’s uncomfortable. “What’re we gonna do?” she asks quietly. He shakes his head; maybe it’s the lighting, but he looks like he hasn’t slept. “I don’t know. It was a weak moment.” I know, she nods. The look they exchange here is aching. “We should avoid being alone together,” he realizes. Yes, because clearly you can’t even have this conversation without getting all dewy about each other, now that you’ve gone there. She agrees. “Okay,” he says, and retreats. “I’m sorry, Will,” she calls after him, but for what? For sabotaging the case? For not wanting to be with him? What?
He wonders the same thing, for he turns and asks the question. “Oh, I don’t know,” she shrugs. Right. Too many things, probably. “What am I not sorry about?” He shrugs too. “That’s life. We’re in constant danger of running off the road.” That couldn’t be more accurate. He looks at her a moment too long, and then he leaves.
There’s a dark envelope on Alicia’s desk that she’s starting to open when Cary walks in. “I guess we won,” he tells her. “Doesn’t feel like,” Alicia replies ruefully. He sets his things down, and then plunks his backside on his desk, looking rather elated. “Hey, I’m thinking of meeting with the Thief people. Just to keep the partners scared we’re pursuing them.” I wonder if Thief is going to talk to anyone from L&G BUT Alicia and Cary! But, oh, Cary. I want to hug him and I want to cry. “That sound good?” He doesn’t wait for her answer, but sits down in his chair, smiling as she opens the sleek envelope.
It’s another pamphlet for a yacht.
“Cary,” she calls him, her voice low, unable to pretend. She winces before she speaks; he’s writing speedily. “What?” he asks without turning around. “They offered me equity partnership. Again.” He frowns. Then he sets down his pen and turns around.
“Really?” His face is now blank. “Yes,” she says calmly, her choice plain in the regret on her face. “Earlier.” Then she flutters her hands. “I’m gonna take it.” she confesses.
“That’s smart,” he nods. Oh! Oh, honey! I can’t help thinking his paleness comes from having his heart ripped out. “You think so?” she asks, guilty. “Yeah,” he encourages her, letting her off the hook. Alright, she declares, standing. “I can argue for what we want there,” she offers. No, don’t lie to yourself, Alicia. You know you won’t be able to do that. “Argue, what do you mean?” He can’t even follow. “Argue with the equity partners, for…” she sees the futility, the absurdity of the rationalization. “…things, ” she finishes lamely.
“Sure,” he soothes her, and the smile on his face is like a saint or a little child, “it’s a good idea.” Aw! He’s breaking my heart! She’s breaking my heart!
“I know that some of us have taken the Florrick name in vain,” David Lee tells the assembled equity partners, “those of us who have gone up against her husband.” He looks over at Will and Diane; everyone’s laughing. “But now we have a Florrick in our ranks; now we have a Florrick sitting with us. Ladies and gentlemen of Lockhart/Gardner, I ask you to welcome our newest equity partner, Alicia Florrick!” Alicia stands to the applause of the partners, who stand with her. It’s just nice, or it would be if she hadn’t just left Cary scribbling in their office like Bob Crachit. Diane is the first to close in for a hug. “We’re peers now. Welcome.” They smile at each other, and it’s much nicer than the halting attempt of a few episodes ago; this time, Alicia clearly feels like she’s earned it, like she’s been given it for the right reasons. (Er, instigation and threats?) She shakes Will’s hand, and continues to shake hands and smile sincerely.
Or at least she does until she notices Cary watching her from out in the hall. They nod at each other. Kalinda walks up to him; they speak briefly as Alicia shakes more hands, and then walk away together. As they walk, she pats his shoulder.
Holy Mother of God, what was that episode? Damn! I just can’t even handle how much just happened. Do you believe that they just magically made the bankruptcy go away? And somehow taking the fourth year’s money wasn’t a part of that windfall? I’m stunned. Do you think they actually got all of Chum Hum’s money? They couldn’t have, right, no matter how many time they said so, because Neil Gross loathes them – it has to be Dina’s money, whatever that is. I just wouldn’t have expected Dina’s money to be quite so much. I know I’ve been complaining ad nauseum about the bankruptcy plot, but like I said, I wanted to see it actually resolved. I also think there’s no way they waited an entire month without taking the money from the fourth years, not even with the new six month extension. And do the new profits include the re-acquisition of the longed for 27th floor? Wouldn’t we do that rather than just take that money as pure profit?
So, okay. What’s the next crazy? Josh Perotti. Now, I’ve liked Kyle MacLachlan since Twin Peaks (I know, I know, I’m old) and I definitely enjoyed him here. I would think he was a perfect dating prospect for Elsbeth except for his little trick making evidence disappear. I know they’re all lawyers, but if he’s that fundamentally dishonest, he’s a bad relationship prospect. That crossed a line for me. Oh, I like their flirtation, the whole plot was fun, but still.
Actually, the plot was more than fun. I adored watching Eli and Elsbeth catch the Feds in their lie, not least because I was utterly taken in by Eli’s despair. I shouldn’t have been, maybe, but I was.
Then wow, that case! I love the whole idea of a war game, and as I said above, I love love love the idea of Alicia getting to be the good guy even when our client is clearly bad. And I loved seeing Alicia and Cary kick Thief butt. As a structure to hang the plot on this is genius all the way around; I’m really in awe. For Cary, for Alicia, for Will, it all works.
Then of course we get to the painful stuff. The partnership move was dastardly, just incredibly low. In some ways, though, I thought it was interesting that the fourth years had gotten accustomed enough to the idea to see equity partnership as their due and no longer as an enormous honor being conferred. I loved to see them freaking out the partners, though. And, I don’t know. I’ve always been certain Alicia would never go work for Canning or Viola Walsh, but I’m starting to wonder if she’s not too loyal for her own good here. In fact, I keep thinking of Veronica telling Peter that Alicia will never leave him and that he’s got to do the leaving; it’s like Alicia treats Lockhart/Gardner the same way. She and Cary should have left. What a revolutionary, thrilling idea that would have been! Oh, I know. That’s not the story they’re telling. If she can avoid Will and only face him in court, then where’s the drama? The story is her working her way through this firm. But the vision of Florrick, Agos & Associates seduced me utterly.
It was so clever, and yet so cruel, of Will to suggest that they break up the fourth year’s solidarity by picking just one to make partner. Ugh. I starting discussing it with my husband, who doesn’t watch the show regularly, because this episode just has me tied up in knots. The good, the bad, the insanity! Out of everything, that’s what bothered him the most and caused him to utter this little piece of wisdom: “I’m not saying that’s not the right thing to do from a scummy perspective, I’m just saying it’s scummy.” Hee.
I feel so desperately awful about Alicia taking the partnership. Was it the right thing to do? Can she live with herself? I can’t help thinking it means more to her now, knowing the partners preferred her to the others; she’s competitive, she wants to be the best, she’d want to be the only one. And now instead of being a grunt in the trenches with Cary and Kalinda, she’s on the inside, and they’re looking in. They’re moving on without each other, perhaps, which I hate. Would Cary have taken it in her stead? Maybe? Yes? It kills me. That boy needs something good to happen to him; he’s been beaten up metaphorically and emotionally and literally this season, and I say, it’s time for him to get his piece of the pie. Or of something.
And to give credit where it’s due, what a beautifully acted moment that was, Cary and Alicia’s final conversation. So impressive. Matt Czuchry’s Emmy reel!
Which brings us to, yeah, that moment. So much in Alicia’s life is going right or on the verge of it, and yet she loses control. She’s reuniting with Peter, his campaign is going so well, her career is on an intermittently brilliant trajectory. Do we just take Will’s dark view, that we’re all only one step away from wrecking ourselves at any moment? Was it just a passing weakness, high emotion? Somehow, they made it plausible or at least far more plausible than I would ever have thought considering how long it’s been since they’ve touched this plot line. But, oh. Wow. Will they succeed in ignoring each other? Is this going to effect how she is with Peter? What is this going to mean?
Lay it on me, Good Wife fans. What did you think? Anyone else suffering from whiplash? Were you as blown away as I was? Was it (the money stuff, the love stuff) consistent? Is this a good direction for the future?