E: Er, was anyone else expecting something completely different based on the previews from last week? I’m not complaining about what we got, per se, but I guess I missed the moment where they said that the preview contained footage from more than one episode.
Like I said, though, I’m really not complaining about it, because I like being surprised, and there were some big surprises. Like the main guest star, who is always welcome in my world. And more adventures in female friendship and mentoring. And… well, I don’t have to tell you, do I?
Wow, Lockhart Gardner is busy today. There seem to be twice the normal number of people, some markedly under-dressed (is it a Saturday?), overflowing the conference room and the halls. And there’s more than just the normal employees: paintings emerge from their bubble wrap and are hung back on the walls. Delivery men lug in new furniture, a florist sets lush, thick, expensive arrangements on the console tables, and a caterer sets out platters of finger foods. Mmmm, croissants sandwiches. Tasty. A group of roughly ten people meet in Diane’s office, sitting around her conference table; Will calls for a formal vote to make “equity partner Alicia Florrick” a member of the firm’s steering committee. What, seriously? That’s impressive. And unlikely. They clap for her, and she looks as thrilled as you’d expect. Happily, she waves her agenda at Diane.
“Can we talk about money now?” an impatient David Lee leans over to Diane. Ha. Of course. Lounging, wearing a dark gray suit that looks like a shark’s skin, Diane speaks for her pet troll. “David proposes reacquiring the 27th and 29th floors.” Gosh, I forgot they lost two entire floors – no wonder they look overcrowded. “It’s time we looked like a law firm again, and not some Burmese tent city.” Ha! David Lee, you are the funniest pet troll ever. “I would argue that we not make the same mistake we made at the beginning of the downturn,” Diane cautions; Alicia, who must surely lean toward a personal fiscal conservatism after her own recent troubles, nods her agreement. “We overspent, and we regretted it.” Quite so.
Will does not agree. That was then, this is now. We’re living in a new economy, he insists, which I’m sorry is just ridiculous. There’s just as much danger of us being too conservative, he pushes. Diane’s leaning back, finger on her cheek. “And what might be the danger of us being too conservative?” she wonders dryly. Oh, no, David Lee snarks, Mommy and Daddy are fighting. Yes, stop the presses! “Look,” Will argues, ignoring Lee completely, “we’re one of the last all service firms left standing, and if we don’t expand, our clients will leave us for someone who will.” Why? I mean, for one thing, who’s left for them to join? “They haven’t,” Diane points out reasonably, but Will thinks that’s simply because the economy has been so bad. “I’m telling you the truth, Diane,” he pleads before the conversation descends into generalize chaos.
And that just means its time to call a vote. “I propose we lease the 27th and 29th floors before they’re snatched up.” It’s been at least 7 months – why would we be worried about that now if they haven’t gone yet? Also, as much as they’ve reminded us they need the space, they did fire a third of their workforce. They can’t need the same amount of space. Why not just grab one of the floors? Then it’d fit perfectly – well, unless they’re planning on hiring everyone back, in which case I withdraw my objection. “And I propose that if this motion fails,” Diane offers deliberately, “we study the economic impact in a sub-committee.” Yes, David Lee snarks, what joy, another subcommittee! Diane calls for a vote; everyone who agrees with David should raise their hands. Will and a few others do. “Come on Debbie, stop sucking up to Diane and raise your hand,” David barks at the blonde seats at the table. Meekly, she raises her hand, which is a little annoying. When Diane asks for those opposed, Alicia quietly raises her hand. The total is six for, six against, so the motion fails, and Diane’s subcommittee is born, with Will as its head.
“So one more matter,” Diane goes on, “there seems to be some concern about our investigator.” What, that we haven’t seen enough of her since You Know Who disappeared (no doubt stuck in a tree in an Albanian forest)? Because she has been missed! But it turns out that no, there’s just not enough of her to go around, which makes all the sense in the world. “I propose we hire a new investigator,” David proposes reasonably. Yes, and about time. Alicia, however, looks panicked. “To work with Kalinda?” she asks; everyone turns and looks at her. “I don’t care,” David shrugs, “I just want it done.”
Yes, Diane explains. “Someone to work with Kalinda.” Why not someone to work for Kalinda? Didn’t Will promise her an assistant to get her to stay? “When we hired a second investigator a few years ago, it didn’t work out so well.” And that’s the understatement of the year. “Oh my God,” smiles David Lee, alert to any opportunity for mockery, “she’s right. What were we thinking?” Just because you’re too bored to care about interpersonal dynamics, David, it doesn’t mean they don’t matter. And this doesn’t have to be a problem if it’s done properly – but it will be if it isn’t. “I think we can find a better fit than Blake,” Diane smiles (augh, my ears!). She calls for a vote, and gets eleven of them; everyone but Alicia is in favor. “Yes,” Lee snarks, “be brave, lone voice in the wilderness.” Again, Alicia, the problem here is structural. Ah well. Diane’s going to form another subcommittee to look into it. “No new business, I’m outta here!” David crows.
“Diane,” Alicia approaches her – boss? Equal? “Can I be on that subcommittee?” Good thinking, Alicia, and good for putting yourself forward. “Well, I know you’re friends with Kalinda,” Diane begins. “Your loyalty has to be with the firm.” I know, Alicia nods. “You cannot tell her anything,” Diane warns. Alicia knows. Wait, what does that mean exactly? Does it mean not to tell her about individual candidates, or that she can’t even know they’re hiring someone else? How silly is that? “Confidentiality rules. But certainly, you can join the subcommittee.” Alicia smiles her thanks – but Diane reminds her that she’s due in court, and after checking her watch, Alicia hustles off.
In the courtroom hallway, Alicia runs into a smiling Audra McDonald. “Liz!” Alicia looks up in shock. “I haven’t seen you since school,” Liz/Audra grins. “Look at you, you look exactly the same!” So do you, Alicia smiles broadly, shaking her head. “And we’re on opposite sides again, just like school. Good guys, bad guys.” Still smiling, Liz gestures so we know that Alica’s the bad guy. Hmm. Maybe we’re not so pleased to see you. They hug, and Liz heads inside; Alicia’s look is definitely less pleased as she stares at Liz’s back. Having observed the hug, Cary walks up to her, puzzled. “Who’s that?” Liz Lawrence, she sighs, “my nemesis in law school.” Ohh! She had a nemesis? Who she hugs? Very interesting. “Is she good?” Cary, could she possibly have been Alicia’s nemesis if she wasn’t? Instead of pointing out the obvious, Alicia just sighs the word yes.
“Mr. Bishop’s comfort level should not be our concern, Your Honor,” Liz insists in court. This is the Bishop case and Alicia didn’t know who the prosecutor was? Isn’t that odd? Ah, but it’s not about his comfort level, Alicia protests. “This is about his 8 year old son, who he has not seen since his arrest!” What, really? That’s awful. Why not? Well, then he shouldn’t have killed one of our confidential informants, Liz snarks. “Excuse me,” Alicia barks, “Mr. Bishop did not kill anyone.” Indeed, there’s that whole innocent until proven guilty thing, right? I still don’t understand why he can’t see his son, though. “We have evidence that the confidential informant’s boyfriend Noah physically abused her on many…” Yes, and where is this boyfriend, Liz snarks, throwing back her head in weary disgust; we’ve been hearing about him for months now. (There it is, months. So why was Alicia surprised to see her?) Looking implacable as ever is Judge Claudia Friend (the here-to-for underutilized Bebe Neuwirth). Wow, the Broadway wattage of these two guest stars kind of blinds me. Why is this not a musical number?
Um, sorry. I don’t actually want it to be, that would be weird – just, can you imagine?
We’re ready to present the evidence, Alicia claims – but once again, the AUSA is attempting to punish our client! Wow. Alicia just lost control. She just turned and yelled at Liz! I’m shocked. “Mrs. Florrick is misinformed,” Liz proclaims evilly, facing Alicia in her turn, “I’m attempting to prevent their client from fleeing.” Alicia attempts to shoot Liz down with her eyes.
Judge Friend bangs her gavel and gives them a no-nonsense face, staring humorlessly until both women turn to her. “Counselors! Mr. Bishop will be remanded into the custody of a U.S. Marshall and permitted to visit his son outside of prison two hours every week.” Ah, so that’s the issue, is it? He didn’t want to bring Dylan to the prison? It’s not that I’m not sympathetic, but it does seem like preferential treatment. I’m sure no convict would prefer to have their kids walk into a prison. At any rate, Alicia and Lemond are both pleased. Liz paints on a smile and walks over to Alicia, slinging her bag over her shoulder. “Even in law school, I always let you win one.” Damn, that was bitchy. I suppose that could have sounded like friendly trash talking, except it didn’t at all. “Oh, is that what that was?” Alicia smirks.
“Kalinda found the CI’s boyfriend, Noah,” Cary reads off his phone. Good, Alicia nods. Not according to Cary’s face it’s not. “What did he say?” she wonders, assuming it has to be bad. “She found him in the morgue,” Cary explains. Oh. Now that’s really not good. “He heard the police were looking for him and shot himself in the head.” Well, shoot. Er. I mean, blast. I mean, darn it! “Did he leave a suicide note?” Kalinda’s checking.
“We can still point to him as the most likely suspect,” Alicia attempts to reassure Lemond as they sit on a park bench watching Dylan shoot hoops. “And we have witnesses who saw him fleeing the murder.” Yes, but he’s dead, Bishop counters. Yeah, that’s not so good for them. His beige jumpsuit makes him look like a trash collector or mechanic instead of a convict, although he looks less washed out and sad than Peter did. Dylan calls for his dad’s attention to show off his shot. “Derrick Rose’s got nothing on you!” the Dad praises, warm and supportive. Then he turns to – whoa, it’s Tracie Thoms. Talk about being ready to burst into song! (Seriously. I get chills.) Er, sorry, he asks if Tracie – who is the much talked about sister Judy – can give him a moment alone with Alicia, which she does.
“Look, this isn’t over,” Alicia reminds him. “We still have the testimony backing up your alibi.” My sister’s testimony, he agrees – and they do seem to have a nice rapport, despite what he’d said before about her disapproving of him. “They think she’s lying to protect me,” he adds. Yep. “They wanna get me.” Right again. That’s what comes with your line of work, Lemond. It can’t come as a surprise. Alicia returns his gaze, not denying it. You can see the wheels in his head turning.
“There’s a lawyer I know,” he says, looking – is that regretful? “His name is Charles Lester. I want you to take him with you.” Alicia doesn’t know how to take this. “Mr. Bishop,” she begins carefully, “if you’re unhappy with your representation…”
“Stop it,” he cuts her off. This is going to sound weird, but I love that he’s not going to let her doubt herself even for an instant. Maybe it’s just that he doesn’t want to deal with drama, but it felt kind of nice. “What I want is for you to work with Charles Lester.” He meets her eyes, and after a moment she nods, agreeing. Then Dylan calls him away for some one on one. Don’t waste your precious family time talking to Alicia, Lemond! He stands, but turns back and looks ruefully at his lawyer. “Can you believe it? They might convict me for the one thing I didn’t do.” Dude. That’s – too bad? Ironic? Confusing. At least Alicia’s having a very good hair day; not everything is fraught and complicated.
Will sits down in front of Diane’s desk; his partner doesn’t even pick her head up. Finally she favors him with one of those dry teacher over-the-glasses look. “Do you need something to do?” Ha. Diane does the scary teacher voice so well. No, he replies with annoyance, it seems he has a subcommittee to head up. Thanks for volunteering, she replies, tossing off her glasses and leaning back, defeated, to concentrate on him rather than her work. “No, I think I was volunteered. What’s going on?,” he wonders. Uh, I don’t know, maybe she disagrees with you about something? She prevaricates (even vote, reasonable investigation) but he cuts to the chase. “You’re filibustering.” Hmm. Sort of. “We escaped the executioner, Will,” she tells him. “Barely. We were broke. Now that we have some reserves, why are we so eager to spend them?” Good question. Because we need to grow, he suggests – more space, more people. Nature abhors a vacuum, is that it? If we’re not moving forward, we’re dying? “And end up right back where we started?,” she asks. I might say: re-start where you (almost) ended. “No,” he replies, “you were the one who wanted to open an office in New York and go after Canning’s firm.” That’s right, New York and DC. She did want to expand and take over the world. “That’s right – I was angry.”
“Well get angry again,” Will cries, petulant. “We are responsible for three hundred employees,” she shoots him down. “We’re not rebels. We are not gamblers.” Ouch. Stunned that she went there, Will blinks for a minute, and then stands, ready to walk out. “Wait,” she calls out in a more conciliatory tone. “What?” he wondered. “Stern said that when you have a partnership disagreement, you look at your mission statement.” What mission statement, Will asks. Exactly, Diane nods.
And there’s Lemond Bishop on a grainy video, holding aloft a glass of champagne and toasting his Fine Fitness Health Club workers, including a smiling Dexter Rojas. The frame stops on a blond woman in a green polo shirt – the victim, confidential informant Christina Diaz. Kalinda points her out on her laptop, making clear to Cary (and us) that Bishop said they’d never met. Okay. It’s not great, but you can’t prove they had actually met each other just because you can show that they were in the same room at the same time. There are at least twenty people there, probably more. “Things just keep getting worse,” Cary frowns. Where did she get it? One of Christina’s coworkers, who taped the celebration they were having over membership growth. Cary wonders if the Feds have the video; not yet, says Kalinda. He gives her the fish eye.
“We can’t destroy it,” he cautions. “I know,” she huffs, a little defense, “but we don’t have to tell them…” Good luck with that. “They’ll just find it anyway, won’t they?” he wonders. “Well, sometimes they’re just not as good at their jobs,” she suggests. Hee. His phone rings, and he picks it up, chuckling. “Yeah,” he sighs, “okay.” Looks like it’s time to meet the new co-counsel.
“You heard?” he asks Alicia as they meet in the hallway. That Charles Lester is here, yes. “What does Mr. Bishop’s personal lawyer look like?” Hey, look how normal they’re being with each other – I love it! ( And why wouldn’t they know? It’s been months and months preparing for this trial – you’d think they’d have met before.) A handsome young black man in a purple shirt and striped tie stands in the waiting room. “Mr. Lester?” Alicia calls out. Purple tie looks over, but the voice squeaking “yes?” doesn’t come from him. Inconceivable! Behind the broad shouldered young man is tiny, white haired Wallace Shawn. Inconceivable! This episode cast is seriously ridiculous. “Mr. Charles Lester?” Alicia asks. Yes! And he knows who Alicia and Cary are already. “Well you’re not at all what I expected,” he laughs. No, Cary wonders. “No, you’re both much younger!” Charles Vizzini – sorry, Lester – chuckles. Crazy! “Oh, well that’s nice,” giggles Alicia, inviting him to get started on the witness interviews. “Ye-es,” he agrees. “I think first we’re going to see….” He starts to grumble, pulling sheets of paper out of his pocket, searching through them and his legal pad for the right one. “Don’t you hate it when you put something down on a piece of paper,” he grumbles.
Cary hands him one that fell on the floor, and it’s the right name, one Ike Kramer – “a trainer at one of Mr. Bishop’s gymnasiums.” Gymnasiums? My, how charmingly old fashioned. Excellent, let’s do it. He has to flip back through his paperwork to get the address, though.
At Fine Fitness, burly witness Ike Kramer looks annoyed; he already made a statement to the Feds. We know, Cary responds easily, just tell us what you told them. Charles Lester flips through his notes, crinkling them loudly; Alicia rolls her eyes at Cary. Oh, don’t be dummy, Alicia. You’d think someone who’s friends with Elsbeth Tascioni could appreciate that one can be both brilliant and absentminded. And don’t get me started on Nancy Krozier’s girl next door facade. “I don’t want to get Mr. Bishop in trouble,” Ike volunteers. Yeah, but who’s scarier, Mr. Bishop or the Feds? “I’m just trying to tell the truth. He had us in a meeting. He told us that if he caught anyone skimming, he would kill them.” Those were his exact words, Alicia ask dryly. I think she’s gotten too used to Bishop and his nice manners, because she doesn’t sound like she believes it. “Not ‘get rid of’ in the sense of fire?” No, he’s quite emphatic about it.
“Look, we all knew that Christina was skimming. Bishop didn’t know that she was a CI.” Does it seem implausible to anyone else that Ike would have known to use the term CI? “None of us did. But, I think he killed her because she was skimming.” Makes sense, except he actually didn’t kill her; crazy. “Couldn’t he have been using the word jokingly?” Cary wonders. “Well no one laughed,” Ike remembers, eyes downcast. I’ll bet. “I mean, I like Mr. Bishop a lot, but he has a … serious side.” Okay, Alicia concedes. Doesn’t Mr. Lester (taking notes feverishly) have any questions? He does, though he has to fish through his notes to find the right one. “What are the hours here?” Uh, okay; now everybody’s rolling their eyes. They’re open 8 to 10. “And that’s pretty standard?” It is, Kramer admits unwillingly. “And what’s that over there?” It’s a chart about body weight; you can see this is right where Lemond was standing in the video. “Really, and you’re interested in body weight?” Lester wonders. If I’d been drinking something when he said that, I could easily be dead now. “Yes, I am.” Okay, that’s it for Charles Lester! “No more questions?” Cary has to ask. Nope. He’s got nothing else.
But Will, talking to Kalinda in Diane’s office, definitely has something to say. “We have a problem,” he begins. “We’d rather keep this confidential,” Diane adds. What, the job search? This is all very mysterious. “You know our client Seth De Luca?” The restauranteur, Kalinda asks; yes, the very one. “He was one of Stern’s first clients – 8 years with us.” Why didn’t he leave with Stern, I wonder? Anyway. That can’t be the problem. “He paid his bill on time,” Will explains. Er, how terrible? Unlike me, Kalinda immediately grasps the significance of this. “In full?” Down to the cent, Diane nods; obviously this makes them fear that he’s leaving. “Just check and see if he’s looking at other firms. We don’t want to lose old clients while we’re pursuing new ones,” Will asks. Reasonable. “I’m on it,” she says, charging for the door. As ever, Diane stops just as she’s reaching for the handle. “You saw Tao Crown & Associates went bankrupt?” She did (and wow, it’s at least one new firm an episode these days). “Any friends there out of work?” A few, she says. “Two investigators. Why?” Oh, no reason, Diane smirks, dismissing her.
Yes, that’s right. These two allegedly bright people just asked Kalinda if she had any investigator friends out of work and then said “NO REASON.” Are they freaking kidding me with this Junior High b.s.? That was maybe the dumbest thing anyone has ever done on this show. Dumber than Christina Diaz skimming profits from the health club after Lemond Bishop said he would murder anyone who did, which is stupidity on a massive scale. I mean, seriously, are they asking to piss her off? That’s like waving a big sign saying ‘Hey, it’s us, over here, screwing with you!’ You wouldn’t fool a 4 year old with “no reason;” that’s what you say when you want to taunt someone. Geez, people. Why do I even need to say this: do not taunt Kalinda Sharma!
And there’s Ike Kramer, pissed off as ever, pursing his lips and frowning furiously from the witness stand. Liz and Alicia bicker on (it’s a preliminary hearing! you should dismiss! I shouldn’t have to call witnesses!) until Judge Friend has to holler over them. “Question your witness, Miss Lawrence. Show me there’s enough evidence to prosecute.” At some point, I need to look up the difference between the indictment of a grand jury and a preliminary hearing – because right now the biggest difference I can see is that one takes place before a jury and the other before a judge. Does everyone always have both? Alicia leans in to Bishop as Miss Lawrence begins questioning. “Don’t worry – we’re going to lose here, but it’ll prepare us for trial, okay?” Okay.
And yes, Ike Kramer works at a Fine Fitness Health Club. “You heard Mr. Bishop make a pronouncement about skimming in one of his meetings, didn’t you?” He did. Which was? “That he wouldn’t tolerate any skimming.” Liz Lawrence asks the damning question. “And didn’t he say he would murder anyone caught skimming?”
No, says Ike Kramer.
Alicia’s eyes flick up; Liz stumbles. “Uh – he – he didn’t,” she questions. “I’m sorry – did he say he would kill anybody caught skimming?” You can see she thought she just got the wording wrong, but no, that’s not it. Alicia looks over at her client, who has a terrifying, triumphant little smile on his face. “You told our investigators he did,” Liz insists. “No,” says Ike. “I said that Mr. Bishop said he would get rid of anyone he caught skimming.” And he meant kill, Liz suggests. “No, he meant fire,” Ike reiterates. Alicia can’t believe this turn of events and keeps looking wildly at her client and team. Cary stands slowly.
“Your Honor, we need some time to discuss this,” Liz requests. “Sure,” Cary grants, “but we immediately request a dismissal.” Good luck with that. “The witness is changing his tune!” Liz declares. Yep. Ike Kramer continues to look at the floor. “Absent that, we ask for bail,” Cary presses, and now Alicia’s on her feet and they’re all speaking at once about witness tampering and overzealous prosecutions and how it’s all too much. Judge Friend is forced once again to step in. “That’s enough!”
Cary and Alicia stares at each other across their office. “Huh,” she breaks the silence first, tapping her fingers on her desk. “So what happened there?” Cary sticks to the facts: the witness recanted. “Yeah, but why?” she wonders; of course he has no idea. “Maybe we intimidated them.” They laugh. “I mean, who else, it was just us.” Er, not exactly, love.
“Hey!” calls Charles Lester from the doorway, perky as only Wallace Shawn can be. “Can I take a gander at the other evidence against Mr. Bishop? I heard there was a videotape that could be a bit damaging.” Cary looks at Alicia; Alicia looks at Cary. Naw, it couldn’t be! Silly, silly lawyers, always judging books by their covers.
“22 years on the force, got my pension, since then I’ve been doin’ freelance investigating,” a bald man in perhaps his late fifties explains. “Thank you, Sergeant,” Diane replies, sitting across from him in the main conference room. “Please,” he says, waving his hands, “Walt. Good old Walt.” Uh huh. Yeah, because that’s gonna fly with Kalinda. “So you’re currently ready to work?” she flirts at him. Oh, come on, Diane. You can do so much better. “Am I ready to work? I’ve got my coffee thermos right here!” he replies, smiling jovially, jerking his thumb toward his thermos. “Any more questions?,” Diane wonders. From her chair against the wall, Alicia leans in with a question. “Um, Walt, do you have much experience working with women?” Oh, sure, he says. “And how do you feel about working with a female investigator?” No complaints here, he claims. “I love the ladies and the ladies love me.” Diane looks quite a bit less friendly after that. Having done her intended damage, Alicia’s all smiles.
Kalinda’s texting her way through the lobby when a voice calls out for one Sergeant Wilkins. She stops, wheels spinning. Why are they almost ready for him? There are several other burly bald dudes in sitting on the couches (as well, to be fair, as a middle aged woman).
“Am I being replaced?” she demands, striding through Will’s door. Two associates, caught between the investigator and Will’s desk, look up her in horror. I wouldn’t want to be in the middle of that either, guys. Will no more than looks at them before they silently gather their things and shoot out of the room. “No,” he answers. She’s standing with one hip cocked, her skirt particularly short. “There are three ex-cops in reception,” she declares. Yeah, and you basically told her you were looking, asshat. “Really? And how do you know they’re ex-cops?” She gives him a look that asks how stupid he thinks she is, and he relents. “You’re not being replaced,” he says in a reassuring tone.
“You’re interviewing investigators. Why would you be interviewing investigators un…” Ah, she gets it. “Unless you want a second one?” Yes, Will says. ‘We’re expanding your department.” Well, you did tell her she’d be heading a department at one point, right? “My department,” she sneers. “Yes, you’re a department now, congratulations. The office of legal investigators,” he makes up on the spot. She shoots him another dry look; I hope there’s nothing flammable near him because you could catch fire off that look. “I don’t have a desk, but I have a department?” We’ll get you a desk, he promises (if you get back the two extra floors she can practically have a wing). “And how you doin’ with our wayward restauranteur? Any reason why he paid on time?”
Good luck with the subject change, Will. “So this other investigator,” Kalinda asks, swishing over to a chair. Her clothes are puzzling me; from the elbow down, her dress appears to be a bright but sheer teal. Is this another long sleeve under short sleeve oddness like last week? “The second investigator. He’ll work under me?” No, Will answers. Ugh. You people are morons. Wouldn’t it save so much trouble? Have you no employee loyalty? “Not necessarily.” She nods, cold and icy. “So you’re expanding ‘my’ department, but I’m not the head of ‘my’ department?” Basically, he admits.
“Will, I should be in there, interviewing the second investigator.” Um, yes, hello! I feel like that would happen in a normal office. It certainly has where I’ve worked. “The first investigator should be in there, interviewing the second.” Okay, so it looks like the sleeves are all sheer; is it an ombre fabric? Otherwise I can’t account for the intensity of color from the elbow down. The sheath part seems to be leather. And yes, for the record, I am focusing on her clothes to distract myself from Will be a complete ass. “This is a partner level decision,” he insists piously. Why? Not only can’t she be on the committee, they didn’t even want her to know? What the hell! Which partners, she wonders. “Diane, Rick, Bob from Litigation,” (that name raises an eye roll) “Alicia.” He says her take note of the last name. “Yes, your back is covered.” No thanks to him, and it still would have been smarter and less patronizing to have her on the committee. “This is a good thing, Kalinda.”
I just want to smack him around. It should be a good thing, it could have been if you weren’t handling it like complete clods utterly lacking in emotional intelligence or management skills. If you weren’t treating one of the bests assets your firm has like a serf. “More work. More money. More prestige.” Sigh. She stands. “You know, somehow when people say more prestige, they usually mean less power.” Oh. Nice observation. Will squirms a little in his seat. “Check on Chef De Luca. Is he leaving us?’
Hmm. Chef and restauranteur are not the same jobs at all. But De Luca seems to be a chef, because there he is talking to Kalinda in his chef’s coat. As she explains where she’s from and why she’s there (“to make sure you’re happy”), he tastes a bowl of food. Something with a pasta sauce (maybe a vodka sauce) and – are those chunks of fresh mozzarella? Perhaps not, because he thinks it needs more cheese. You paid your bill in full, she explains, and that usually suggest that a client is leavings. I’m fine, he smiles, a tall man with a shock of white hair and round glasses. “Good,” she says, “because we’re offering clients a five percent discount in exchange for a retainer.” Ah, now he looks kind of terrified, and definitely caught in a lie.
“Lately,” he admits, waving his fork, “your firm has stopped making me feel… special.” Okay, replies Kalinda, how do we make you feel special again? “In my experience,” he says, taking off his glasses, “the larger the firm, the harder it is to change their behavior.” Well, that makes a certain amount of sense. A small firm would have to be flexible – they’d have no margin to lose clients. “It’s not about teaching an old dog new tricks, it’s about teaching a big dog.” Right. “So you’re considering using a smaller dog,” she guesses, making him laugh and blush. Might he tell her which dog he’s speaking with? Sure, he points at her. “It’s one of your lawyers, trying to convince me to jump ship with him.” Immediately Kalinda presses for the name. “No,” he wags the same finger, “you’ll only get him fired.” No, she protests. “I won’t. Don’t you think it’s fair, you tell us who we’re competing with?” “Someone who’s good on my cases. That’s all I’ll say.” Cases? How litigious is this guy? Kalinda searches for the proper name.
Suddenly, the situation is very real to her. “Cary Agos?” she asks. “That’s all I’ll say,” he wags his finger again. “But it is Cary Agos.” That’s all I’m saying, he repeats uselessly.
Hello, smiling face of Charles Lester! A word: wearing sunglasses inside makes you look blind. I don’t know that this is a general rule, but it certainly works in this instance. From the noise level, it’s clear we’re in a bowling alley, and Alicia’s giving the cheery little fellow a highly suspicious look. “I looked into your background, Mr. Lester,” she admits. “”That sounds dramatic,” he replies, curving his lips. “You’ve been a lawyer for 25 years but you’ve never tried a single case.”
Well. That’s different.
“Well,” he replies, holding his sunglasses, looking up reflectively, “I don’t like court.” You’ve never written one brief that I could find, she adds. “I don’t like putting things in writing,” he explains. Oh, cause that’s not ominous at all! “You don’t have a firm, and from what I can tell, you don’t have an office, either.” A model for Cary? “I like working from home,” he says mildly. He’s worked for Lemond Bishop – and only Lemond – for ten years; his entire career before that was spent working for Anthony Gratzi, before he was murdered in 2003. Guilty, Lester shrugs. “So what exactly do you do?” she asks finally, leaning in.
“I have only one client because I don’t like to work very much,” he offers. That’s a nice life if you can get it. “I like working at home because I like spending time with my wife. What I do for Mr. Bishop is, I offer dedicated service. I update him…” Yes, but on what? That’s my question; Alicia lets him go on. “… I keep an eye out for problems, and when I think things are going wrong, I tell him.” Right. “I’m a small town lawyer, with a small town practice, like Abraham Lincoln.” Why do I think that’s a bad analogy? Alicia smirks. “This case is winnable, Mr. Lester.” He didn’t say it wasn’t, he protests. “Mr. Bishop didn’t do it, he’s innocent, and I can prove it!” Good, he enthuses. “That’s all he wants!”
“Thanks for meeting me here,” a man arrives. Ah. I was wondering what was up with the bowling alley. “I get the kids once a week.” The guy is tall, with a striped shirt open and a medal around his neck, curly hair topping a meaty face lined with sorrow. “I’m gonna tell you what I told the prosecutor so I don’t know what you need to know.” Er, okay. He takes a deep breath. “I work for Mr. Bishop at a club that he owns, and I saw him getting into a tan Honda the night that the victim disappeared.” Right. Alicia hands over a photo for him to identity as the proper car (the one in which Christina Diaz’s body was found), which he does. I’m sorry, but you could identity the make, model and color, maybe, but which tan Honda? I doubt it. It’s damning, but circumstantial. “Look, like I said, I didn’t see him kill anyone. I just saw him get into that car.”
Yeah, that could have gone better.
“How old are your kids?” Charles Lester pipes in. And the music kicks in, too; Alicia almost does a double take. The witness’s daughters are five and seven. “I remember when my girls were that age,” Lester reminisces. “It’s a lot of fun until they turn thirteen, and then, watch out!” He makes a face to illustrate the stress of parenting teens. Both Alicia and the witness look in him as if he’s said something strange (which, let’s face it, if you know anything about kids, it’s the most commonplace observation in the world).
“His kids were cute,” he shrugs at Alicia, out in the street. “That’s why I asked him how old they were. Didn’t you think they were cute?” She did. “You thought I was what, implying some kind of threat?” If the shoe fits… “I don’t know,” she concedes. “Well, I didn’t get him to change his testimony, so I must not be very effective,” he nods. Didn’t change his testimony yet, you mean. Alicia smiles as he trudges into the car that’s been driven up to the curb for him.
“Lockhart/Gardner is a full service firm intent on…” Diane starts, note pad balanced on her knees, feet on an ottoman. “Intent on… sounds odd,” she concedes. “Dedicated to,” Will suggests, and she agrees. “Dedicated to offering our clients the best legal and professional services available.” She’s clearly not satisfied with this bloodless version of a mission statement. “Diane, that means nothing,” Will grouses from his couch. “Who doesn’t want to give their clients the best service?” Exactly. You run into that problem with mission statements; they all end up sounding the same. “What do you want it to say?” she replies. “Lockhart/Gardner wants it all,” he declares, pointing his finger at her. Argh with the pointing tonight, guys! “We want to be the biggest and the best.” Do you really? She takes her glasses off, weary. “What?”
She sighs deeply. “Can we just have a moment when we’re not struggling?” He looks back, uncomprehending. “Please? Just take a breath?” We did take a breath, he thinks. No, she tells him. “We didn’t.” Well then go ahead and take a vacation, and I’ll do this, he snaps. Will is being such a man, I just want to slap him upside the head. (Maybe it’s not a gender thing, but it sure feels like one. He doesn’t understand her feelings, but he doesn’t have to understand them to respect that she’s feeling them – and failing to understand that distinction is often a gender thing.) She rolls her eyes, closes her writing folder and gets up. “What?” he asks, like the frat boy ass he’s playing in this episode. I just have to make some calls, she says. Translation: if you’re not even going to try, I won’t either.
“Diane, wait,” he calls out, trying to talk himself down from the jerk ledge. “You weren’t the one paying the bills, Will,” she explains wearily. “You weren’t the one trying to delay our creditors. I can’t go back to that.” Too right.
“My guess is that I thought I saw Mr. Bishop getting into that car, but, uh…” the bowling alley witness recants. Seriously? Don’t they realize this looks crazy suspicious? “But you were under the influence of oxycodone,” Liz Lawrence confirms what the witness has apparently already said. Yes. Damn. Alicia and Cary look over at Charles Lester, who shrugs, his hands upturned. “Your Honor, this is… I am very distressed by this,” AUSA Liz confesses. “As I am,” Judge Friend agrees. “This is where I’d ask for a dismissal,” Lester whispers, pleased. Is he meeting with these witnesses separately, or his Bishop’s reputation doing the work, like the name Dread Pirate Roberts? Obediently, Alicia rises. “As you can see, Your Honor, the government does not have the testimony to support their case.” What we have, Liz suggests, is the testimony of the health club manager and the video tape Kalinda was afraid they’d find. “Your Honor, none of this is sufficient to warrant this indictment!” “Perhaps Mrs. Florrick has forgotten, but the purpose of a preliminary hearing is to determine whether probable cause exists.” Agreed, agrees the judge; she wants to hear from the very persuasive Dexter Rojas. Alicia and Charles, they are displeased.
Oddly enough, Liz Lawrence is furious. Okay, I guess it’s not odd exactly; the whole witness recanting thing is so wrong, even if the judge is still inclined to rule Liz’s way. “Mr. Bishop is using you to intimidate these witnesses,” she hisses at Alicia in the hall, “Every single time you question one, they recant.” It doesn’t look good, does it. Alicia turns the tables; maybe it was Liz who intimidated them into lying in the first place. Not that I don’t think the feds capable of that, but Alicia can’t really think that’s what’s going on here. Of course I’m sure she dislikes Liz enough to argue with her on principle. Liz blinks, stunned that Alicia could defend Bishop in any way (despite her being a defense attorney). And then she gets right in Alicia’s face.
“You know, we used to feel bad for you,” she pours out venom on her classmate. “The old gang from school. We all called each other after your press conference and said, can you believe it?” And that’s why Alicia shouldn’t care what you said; you called each other, but not her. What a mean girl. “Having your husband admit to sleeping with prostitutes.” Alicia’s turned to marble. “Now I see. You were made for each other.” Yeah, that follows.
“You know what I’ve thought of you since school?” Alicia asks calmly. Liz prepares herself for vitriol. “What?” I’m ready to crow, because I know exactly what she’s going to say even if Liz doesn’t. She says it quietly, as she’s walking away. “Nothing.”
And then she leans down to Charles Lester’s ear. “You wanna check out this video tape?” He smiles. “I think we should!”
Judy, Charles and Alicia have a meeting with Lemond at the prison. Ah, and now the prisoner’s wearing orange scrubs; I suppose the beige track suit is their dressy uniform? Next, Alicia says, we’re going to talk to Dexter Rojas, whose testimony is definitely problematic; Bishop wants to make sure Lester’s going along, which he is. “Mrs. Florrick and I are becoming quite the team,” Charles Lester coos. Or something. Anyway, the client is pleased. Then he asks Alicia to step out. “If it has to do with the case, I should really…” she begins, but when he swears it’s about “another matter” she graciously accedes.
As Alicia watches Bishop and Lester through the door’s window, Judy walks up to her. What happens, she wonders, if Dexter’s evidence isn’t enough for the prosecution to make its case? “Our hope is, either they drop the charges, or the judge grants a motion to dismiss.” A guard bursts into the hall where Alicia and Judy are talking. “M’am?” he calls out. There’s a call for you.” Are you sure, she wonders, clearly surprised. ‘Yes. Mrs. Florrick?” That’s her. She walks quickly up to the guard; next we see her opening the door into Judge Friend’s chambers, where most of the other players are assembled.
“We’re driving home,” Liz recounts as Alicia slips self-consciously through the door. “and I turn to my son in the back seat, and that’s when I notice a black Escalade following us.” Oh dear. “And at home, I pointed it out to my husband. And as soon as he stepped outside, it skidded away. Now apparently,” she says with rising anger in her voice, “Mr. Bishop is no longer content with just intimidating witnesses.”
“Excuse me, Your Honor,” Alicia breaks in, “but that is an appalling accusation.” The judge nods, but holds her hand up in front of her scarlet silk blouse to silence Alicia momentarily. “Then what happened?” she asks Liz. “Then my son tells me that a man approached him at his pre-school.” Er, that’s weird as well as creepy. The kids at my pre-school would never be unattended or left in a place where they could be approached by strangers. Alicia looks pale and stricken. “And he was asking him about his Mommy.” Here Liz’s voice begins to clot with tears. “About what time she was coming to pick him up, and when his birthday was…” His birthday, the judge asks. “Yes. And then he asked him what he wanted for his birthday.” Liz breathes hard, fighting for self control. “And when my son started to walk away, the man said that maybe your Mommy was working too hard to be there for your birthday.” Oh, man. Alicia looks even more horrified.
“You offered the police a description?” Claudia Friend wonders. She did. “And you’re getting Department of Justice protection for your son and yourself?” I’d add the husband in, too. Yes, Liz nods wildly. “But that’s not the issue here.” Her voice breaks; the judge holds up her hand again. “I know,” she soothes. “Thank you.” And then she turns to Alicia.
“I…” she begins before tossing her hands up, defeated. “Mrs. Florrick, to your knowledge, has anyone from Mr. Bishop’s… organization attempted to intimidate the AUSA’s family?” No, Your Honor, she replies fervently. “Of course she doesn’t know,” Liz cries, exasperated, causing Judge Friend to put up her silencing hand again. “Mrs. Florrick, to your knowledge has anyone from Mr. Bishop’s organization intimidated witnesses?” Hesitating a fraction of a second, Alicia chooses to repeat the judge’s phrasing: “not to my knowledge.” Which is to say, she has clear suspicions, but no actual knowledge. “This is a lie!” Liz snaps. “Excuse me, Your Honor, I am appalled by what happened to Miss Lawrence,” Alicia begins. “Thanks,” Liz grumbles bitterly, wiping at her teary face. “But we have no proof that my client had anything to do with this. What other cases is Miss Lawrence pursuing?”
“Oh, come on,” Liz wails. “You’re a mother. I mean what if this happened to your kid?” The judge breaks in, and Alicia bites her lip. “Intimidating witnesses is a disbarrable offense,” Friend points out. “You know that. It’s also illegal. I’m not saying it happened, I’m not saying anything other than, if you have any knowledge of any such intimidation, or if you so much as wink at it, you are subject to arrest. Do you understand that?” Oh oh oh crap. “I do understand that,” Alicia nods calmly. “Good,” the judge nods, “then everyone can go.” Liz mutters her thanks, but has one more parting shot for Alicia on her way to the door: “when did you sell your soul,” she asks nastily before being followed out by three armed guards.
Wow, that’s a kick in the teeth. Even if it’s possible to ignore Liz’s opinion as bitter and mean (and fundamentally unfair, because the justice system doesn’t work if there are no defense lawyers even for morally reprehensible people), Alicia’s can’t really ignore the fact that Bishop is likely responsible – and that his actions are a huge threat not only to Liz and the witnesses but to Alicia and her career. Talk about a gray area.
“‘kay, um, I was supposed to come in earlier this morning,” a young girl in filthy, wrinkled sweat clothes explains to the search committee, “your Human Resources people called and they canceled, and then they called me back and said ‘come in right now!’ and I said ‘I’m not dressed!’, because I was babysitting for my sister’s kids.” She ducks her head, self-deprecating, sending her short blond hair cascading over her eyes. She points to a large green stain, blushing. “This – that’s not, ah, baby vomit, by the way.” Yeah, thanks for letting us know. Diane is not impressed by the nervous talking. Or the stain. “I usually, um, dress pretty nice. More like a college student, you know.” Instead of belaboring the issue, Diane turns to the girl’s resume. “And you were a Treasury enforcement agent?” she asks incredulously.
“Two years,” the girl nods. “Um, I liked it. The people were really nice.” Will’s taken one of the chairs against the wall, and Alicia rushes in to take another. “But hey. You know. It’s a bit stiff.” She smiles; Will has to suppress the answering smile on his own face. “The thing is, Miss Burdine,” Diane starts, “we have a particular tone here.” Ha. “I can do tone,” Miss Burdine replies, her vowels round, her hands folded on the desk. She gestures down her body, embarrassed, her smile awkward. ‘I have a, uh, much better tone.” Now I’m really starting to feel for her. “Maybe I should come back tomorrow, better dressed.” “Do you usually work alone or with someone else?” Will interrupts, causing Diane to turn in his direction. “Uh, we usually worked solo, but if you want me to work with someone, I can do that, I’m good, I’m there.” There’s something very appealing about those round eyes, isn’t there? She’s got an unfiltered sincerity that I like, even if it’s extraordinarily different from Kalinda.
Now it’s Alicia turn for a question. “A bachelor’s in criminal justice from the university of Illinois, and a minor in dance?” Ha – is the dance thing freaking Alicia out after last year’s oddness? “Yeah, ballet,” Miss Burdine replies enthusiastically. “Oh, my parents, they threw a fit. They’re reformed hippies, 8 kids in an RV, but I, um, liked the criminal justice thing anyway.” She smiles sheepishly. Wait, her parents were upset by the practical major? That’s excellent. “Like to figure out why people do bad things!” There is no way I can do justice on paper to the quirky face she made when she said that, I just can’t. But it’s clear Diane thinks she’s certifiable.
“Are you serious?” she asks Will after the girl has left. “Look at her resume,” he counters. ‘The Treasury put her on tracking terrorist financing.” Yes, Diane snaps in her lordliest, snootiest voice, “and they took her off of it.” No, she quit, Will corrects. “And that’s a good thing?” Diane can’t even believe they’re having this discussion. “Look, I know she’s a different choice. Kalinda was a different choice.” Oh yes she is – and I don’t really see that Kalinda does “tone” either. “There were five ex-cops out in that reception and one Kalinda, you remember?” Alicia looks at Will, only a little bit fawning. “I see,” Diane recognizes. “This is about Kalinda. You two are arguing for her because she won’t challenge Kalinda?” No, Will protests. “I think investigators work best when you don’t see them coming.” That’s an interesting idea, and I can buy it. Kalinda weasels her way into situations Walt never could; she doesn’t use brute force or intimidation, she uses charm and sex and smarts and her ability to read people. Miss Burdine could be disarming in a different way. “When they walk into your business and they look like a babysitter and not an ex-cop.” Exactly.
“I am,” Alicia interjects. “Arguing for her because she won’t challenge Kalinda. They’re more likely to work better together. That’s a good thing.” Well, Kalinda doesn’t suffer fools; this girl would have to earn Kalinda’s respect first. But clearly her ego would not be getting in the way. Diane gives Will and Alicia a measuring look. Let Kalinda train her, Will suggests; we’ll take a month, and if it doesn’t work, we’ll go with one of the sergeants. And who’s that wandering the halls? It’s the adorable bald head of Charles Lester. Aw, he’s so little and creepy!
Alicia finds Lester waiting for her in her office; she eyes him warily. “Did you have someone threaten Liz Lawrence?” Well, that was blunt. “Did… who’s that?” Oh please. Not that he would ever answer the question, but she knows he’s not that dumb. Liz Lawrence, Alicia repeats sharply, our opponent. The AUSA. “Did you have someone follow her kid to school, and threaten her family?” He narrows his eyes. ‘I thought you didn’t like her.” Oh, so he does know who she is! “I don’t,” Alicia admits, a bit embarrassed. “Did you have someone threaten her family?” No, he says, looking up at her with his mouth open. “I won’t stand for it, Mr. Lester,” she cautions him.
He bursts into laughter. “Well good for you!” he cries, bobbling his head. “I said no.” “We don’t need to play a tough guy’s game,” she argues. ‘There are other ways to win this.” He continues to plead his innocence. “I read up on your work with the Gratzi family,” she explains. “Death and assassinations all after you joined the defense team.” Oh, that’s just awesome. “Really?” he counters, standing. “And I’ve read up on your work with Colin Sweeney.” Well, he was actually innocent at least once – so I guess she should know when she says there’s a way out. (Although, what is that, a threat of some kind, or is he just trying to knock her off her high horse?) “Another woman dead after you joined his team.” She rolls her eyes. “Defense attorneys are in the business of being misunderstood, Mrs. Florrick, you should know that,” he smiles, which is true as far as it goes. What this argument comes down to is that she wants to talk to Dexter alone. Will that really help? He’s not intimidating them while she’s there. “I don’t think that would be wise,” he replies softly. “Mr Bishop…” “Is my client, not yours,” she replies. He’s both of their clients, right?
“He’s advised you to bring me a long,” Lester reminds her. ‘Are you saying I don’t have an option?” she asks. “I’m saying he’s advised you to bring me along, that’s all. Let’s be friends!” His smiles somehow looks like the angel of death – absurd, but evil. And there they are together at the health club.
“Bishop is my boy,” proclaims Dexter Rojas, even though clearly the more apt wording is that Rojas is Bishop’s boy. “I don’t want to testify against him, but I don’t have a choice.” There’s worry on his face, and with good reason. Lester and Alicia look at each other suspiciously. “So the AUSA’s pressuring you to testify?” Lester asks, his hands full of notes. “They found my DNA on Christina’s body – under her fingernails.” Alicia frowns. “Strange that they’re not going after you for the murder,” Lester observes, and I have to agree. “They agreed in exchange for my testimony that they wouldn’t prosecute.” Really? That’s so odd. “They said that they found your DNA under her fingernails?” Alicia repeats. “And I don’t know how it happened,” Dexter puzzles. “We were sleepin’ together; I didn’t kill her.” Well, it could definitely get there from sex, although it would depend on when they’d last had sex, right? Alicia looks very, very thoughtful, as if none of this adds up.
“It’s true,” Kalinda explains, “Seth De Luca is thinking of leaving us, that’s why he paid his bill in full.” They make a very striking grouping, sitting in Diane’s office – Diane in crimson, Kalinda in a saturated teal blue, the flowers, the bright orange chairs. Did he say who else is in the mix for his business, Diane wants to know; Will watches Kalinda closely as she pretends he didn’t. “He didn’t say, but you can guess?” Will asks. No, she lies. “And you asked?” She did. “And what did he say?” He didn’t say, she shrugs. Will tosses up a hand. “Kalinda, what am I missing here?” She takes a deep breath. “Well, he’s looking into small start up firms. One man firms. That’s all.” Whoa, will they wear her down? Diane is relentless. ‘What firms? John Michael’s closed shop, who else is out there?”
Will hits closer to the mark. ‘Is it one of our lawyers? Someone from our staff?” No, Kalinda lies unconvincingly. This might be a good time to repeat his line about the big dogs and throw them off the scent. Also, understanding his problems with the firm could help fix them. Instead she stands, ending the discussion. “Okay,” Will lets her off the hook, “we’ll give him a call.” And that’s what’s important, doing your best to woo him back.
“Oh, one more thing, Kalinda,” Diane calls out. “We have some good news. I know you’ve been stretched a little thin lately. We though adding an investigator could help.” Seriously, do Will and Diane never talk to each other anymore? First there was the mess with Bishop’s bill, and now this? Clearly he didn’t tell her that Kalinda figured it out, which is dumb. Will picks up the thread. “Her name is Robin Burdine. She’s from the Treasury. She’s very young, very green.” “She’s never worked at a law firm before,” Diane adds. “We’d like you to train her.” Stop laying it on so thick, Diane, you don’t want her to think the girl’s an idiot. “Train her?” Kalinda repeats. Yes. “In what?” Kalinda replies stupidly. “What you do,” Will offers, his voice warm. “If you’re up for it,” Diane adds. “And if I’m not?” Kalinda makes a face. Jeez, girl! Why are we all behaving like complete idiots? Diane sticks to her guns. “Well, unfortunately the firm is growing.” That’s unfortunate? “We need more hands on deck, so we’re asking you. As a favor.” Kalinda smirks, says okay, and walks away.
Diane sighs. “Why does everything feel like we’re pulling teeth here?” Yes, well, if you’d said she was going to be working under Kalinda that might have helped. If you can’t get your management skills together, maybe she’ll jump ship with Cary, and then where would you be? “Family’s growing,” Will observes.
And then he starts to sing.
“As long as we’ve got each other,” he croons. He’s terrible. Diane looks up from her notes. “We got the world spinnin’ right in our hand!” He cups his hand to demonstrate. Wait – is that an 80s theme song? Damn. “Oh dear God,” Diane huffs. “Growing Pains!” Will enthuses, and I cannot stop laughing. “The luckiest dreamers who never quit dreaming!” he sings, crouching in front of the coffee table – but he starts backing up immediately as Diane advances on him threateningly.
Okay, that is awesome.
The young would-be investigator hustles to her feet at Kalinda’s approach, dressed (as advertised) in jeans, a striped shirt, and a maroon blazer. In other words, like a nicely dressed college student. Ah well, I suppose there’s no point in her trying to look like a lawyer. She offers her hand, smiles an open smile, and introduces herself. Kalinda looks her over disdainfully. “I know, I can’t believe they hired me either,” the girl guffaws. “You were a Treasury agent?” Kalinda asks in disbelief. “Yes,” comes the quick answer. “People here must have a lot of money for clothes,” she observes, and I almost choke. I love that little puncture in the third wall; people on TV shows could never actually afford their designer duds. “I’ve never seen clothes like this.” Ha!
Kalinda gives her a strange look, and then spins off into Cary and Alicia’s office to talk to the male half of that dynamic duo. “Hey,” she says, leaning on his desk. “Hey,” he calls back without turning as the young blond lurks in the doorway. “So the AUSA is claiming Dexter’s skin cells were found… Hello!” he adds softly, wondering who the heck this girl is and what she’s doing there. “Hi,” the girl replies, leaning her entire body around Kalinda and over his desk to shake his hand, barely moving her feet if at all. It’s remarkably awkward looking. “Robyn Burdine. I’m the other investigator.” Really, he answers, his eyes going immediately to Kalinda. “The other investigator?” What do you need, Cary, Kalinda asks, trying not to crack up.
“Uh,” he says, “what was I saying?” “Ah, the AUSA is saying that Dexter’s skin cells were…” Robyn repeats verbatim. Nice. Yes, Cary agrees, the skin would found under the victims nails and Lawrence is using that fact to force Rojas to testify. “So, we’re looking for a way to knock it out.” Okay, Kalinda says, and walks around Robyn (again, awkward) to go out the door. And in a genius little bit of comedy, the moment Robyn’s followed her out the door, Kalinda circles back, heads in, and as Robyn moves puppy-like to follow her again, Kalinda shuts the door in her face. I laugh, but someone needs to teach these people how to use their words.
Cary looks up at her, utterly bemused. “You have a side kick now, Batman.” I swear, it wasn’t until the middle of the night on Sunday that I actually got this. I mean the girl is so obviously a side kick that I didn’t even pick up on the name thing: Robin, Batman, ha ha. Kalinda ignores his joke ruthlessly. “You need to cool it,” she tells him. I need to cool what? Kalinda brings him up to speed on Seth De Luca. He turns pale. “I didn’t go out of my way to solicit him, he was complaining about over-billing.” “Yeah,” Kalinda snaps, “but you mentioned you were going out on your own.” “Might be going out on my own,” he clarifies, like it matters. “Cary,” Kalinda declares impatiently, “if they find out, they’ll fire you.” She leans over, passionate. “Did you tell them?” he asks, fearful. “No.” “You didn’t?” “No, I didn’t,” she repeats, defensive. He thanks her sincerely. “Don’t do it again. I’m serious.” Indeed, he knows better.
Robyn smiles hopefully at Kalinda, seated across the table from her new mentor. After a moment of silence, she offers her assistance;”tell me what you’re looking for, and I’ll help.” Kalinda doesn’t lower her gaze from the document she’s got in her hands, so Robyn reaches out for a folder. Kalinda slams her hand down on that, so Robyn backs off. Real mature, love. But proving even when she’s grumpy, she’s still smarter about people than her bosses, Kalinda pushes another folder in front of Robyn, asking only silence. Quickly, Robyn flips through the pages. “Huh,” she says, frowning. Huh what? “Just huh,” Robyn answers, abashed. “Let’s just keep our huhs to ourselves, okay?” Fine, Miss Snotty.
“Denantonium,” Robyn asks, frowning at the autopsy report. “What about it,” Kalinda wonders. “It’s in her system, it’s a bittering agent. Was she poisoned?” Nope. Shot. Ah well, Robyn observes, there’s not enough to have killed her here anyway. But that sets Kalinda thinking, and she rifles through the autopsy photos. “What?” Robyn wonders. “Nail biting,” Kalinda replies. Robyn’s only confused for a moment. “Nail biting, that makes sense. Lots of women put denantonium on their nails to keep from biting.” Oh, I think I see where this is going. Nice.
“Your Honor, this is coercion, pure and simple,” Alicia proclaims, and Liz mutters under her breath about the insanity of that claim. Cary approaches the bench. “The medical examiner confirmed that skin cells were never collected from underneath the victim’s fingernails, because there were no fingernails.” The judge exclaims over this odd physical quirk, so Cary explains he means they were bitten too quick. “Your Honor, this report is the height of irrelevancy,” Liz claims. (Huh. That is not a word you hear a lot of, irrelevancy.) No it’s not, Alicia of course disagrees. “This report means the AUSA threatened the witness.” No, not exactly. Over Liz’s objections, Alicia fleshes out her statement. “She threatened Dexter Rojas with information she knew to be false in order to coerce him into testifying.” Okay, now that’s it exactly.
“Your Honor, this defense is based on smears,” Liz whines. Her belted cream jacket is beautiful, anyway, maybe even prettier than the one button tweed one she wore to the Judge’s chambers. “Dexter Rojas is one of Mr. Bishop’s lieutenants.” “Health club managers,” Cary corrects loudly. “His testimony is vital to our case.” “Yes,” Charles Lester (yes, really!) stands to say, “but Miss, Miss Lawrence has accused us of intimidating witnesses. Shouldn’t she be held to the same standards?” Er, except no one proved that you did anything wrong or did anything about it, but sure, we get the point. Bishop smiles at him, and Alicia (who just cannot help herself) nods like a proud mother. “Yes she should,” Judge Friend agrees. It’s not okay to lie to a witness and blackmail them. (Funny that it would be okay for Liz to threaten the witness if her accusations were true, isn’t it? Because it would still be using a threat to force his testimony. Oh, I know it’s different, I’m just saying.) His testimony is now useless. “Unless you have any other witnesses, I am going to be forced to dismiss.”
Can this be it? Will he walk, even without a trial? Liz stands. “Your Honor, the government disagrees with your characterization of our actions,” she begins, “but we do have one more witness that we would like to call.” Bishop and his team look at each other in puzzlement. “A witness who will question Mr. Bishop’s alibi.” What on earth? “We would like to amend the witness list to include Judy Bishop, the sister of the accused.” Slowly, Bishop turns his malevolent gaze on his betrayer. Even as Cary and Alicia turn, Judy keeps her eyes steadily on her lap, a rabbit in the cross hairs. “Judy?” Lemond asks, stunned. “Please don’t talk to our witness,” Liz demands, striding out of court. “Judy, this is wrong!” Lemond cries; we’ve never seen his reserve punctured like this. “What do we do now,” Cary asks Alicia, turning to her; she stares ahead, seeing nothing. “I have no idea,” she says.
“My brother asked me to babysit Dylan. He said he would only be out for a few hours. Lawrence confirms that this was on October 24th, the night that Christina Diaz was killed. Bishop claimed to have come home at 9; now Judy’s saying that he didn’t make it back till around midnight. The defense looks might uncomfortable. “And what was Mr. Bishop’s temperament when he got home?” Agitated, Judy says. It’s weird that everything hangs on her testimony; I seem to recall him saying that they weren’t close, that she disapproved of him strongly, so it’s odd that she’d be casually babysitting. “He took a shower right away.” And then you left, Liz asks. “He asked me how to use the washer first. Guess he never learned how. Guess he never had to.”
Bishop leans over, whispering to Alicia, “she’s lying. She wants custody of Dylan.” Ah. So this puts into a new light her question to Alicia about what would happen if Dexter’s testimony fell through; she didn’t want to oppose her brother publicly unless absolutely necessary. Is he right in saying she’s lying? “What did he need to wash so urgently,” Liz wonders. ‘The clothes he was wearing,” Judy answers. ‘Trying to get rid of evidence?” Liz suggests, and of course Cary objects and is sustained. That’s all Liz has.
It’s Cary who takes the cross examination. Turns out that during her brother’s divorce, she wrote a character reference letter for him; Cary holds the letter aloft. “In which you called him honorable, and a wonderful father.” Weirdly, I think those things are probably true, at the same time that he’s a ruthless man in charge of a villainous enterprise. “That was before I knew everything he was involved in. I didn’t want to believe the rumors.” Sigh. Her brother looks away, pained. “I see. And what made you believe the rumors?” With tears in her eyes, Judy says that if her brother had a hand in Christina Diaz’s murder, he needs to be punished.
Cary steps toward the witness stand, finger pointing at Judy. “You love your nephew very much, don’t you?” Like he was my own child, she swears. “And as his guardian, you would be petitioning for full custody is Mr. Bishop were found guilty,” Cary goes on, raising an objection from Liz. His contention is that Judy is inherently unreliable; she will say anything to gain that custody. She has too much at stake. “I want what’s best for Dylan, that’s all,” Judy literally cries. “You are hurting Dylan! Don’t you see that?” she calls out to her brother.
Liz sums up that this has destroyed Bishop’s alibi for the time of Christina’s death (which lividity puts between 9:30-11pm). “She’s gonna decide against us,” Lester observes to Alicia. Promptly, Alicia asks for some extra time to figure out their response to the surprise witness, and is granted the recess.
Which brings us to Robyn and Batman (er, Kalinda) standing in the stable yard. Robyn’s wearing a red and black checked coat. “So how you wanna handle this?” she asks. Kalinda doesn’t even look her way. “You want me to just watch?” she assesses. A very horsey looking gentleman walks their way, asking if he can help. Seriously, he’s got mutton chops from the 19th century; what’s up with that? Just because he works with horses doesn’t mean he actually hales from Victorian Britain. Not that I don’t love the look and the newsie cap. Anyway, Kalinda explains that they’re from his boss’s defense team. “Ya? Is he gonna get out?” He cracks his hands together in their massive leather gloves. We’re working on it, she says. “Look, Mr. Bishop claims that he was here around 9 pm on the night of the murder, October 24th. Is there a chance anyone might have seen him?” Naw, they’re all out by 6. Probably because they’re all there by 5 am. So, strike one for our side.
She notices that there are security cameras. Too bad they weren’t on the night of the 24th. “Feds already tried to confiscate them.” Strike two. Huh. “Someone manually turned them off?” He has no way of knowing. Could be the weather. Meanwhile, Robyn has made an observation. “Uh, that gate, does it open and close every time someone enters the property.” It does – and wow, that didn’t sound dumb when she said it, but looking at it in print? Really obvious. She confirms that there’s no other way in. The point is, the gate is electronic.
“We asked our investigators to look into your alibi,” Cary informs Bishop at the jailhouse visitor’s room. Charles Lester looks at the two Lockhart/Gardner reps across the table. “You said you were alone at the horse farm at the time of the murder,” Alicia confirms. Yes, Bishop nods. “The electronic log at the farm? It shows that someone was buzzed in from inside the corral at 8:32pm.” Okay, Bishop blinks, surprised. “You let someone in?” Alicia wonders. Bishop stares at her coldly. “If you did, you need to tell us. Whoever you let in can alibi you.” Uh oh. “Mr. Bishop, please. We need to use this person.” I can think of myriad reasons he doesn’t want to give up a name and they all make me queasy. Maybe it was a drug deal. Maybe it was a torrid love affair. Maybe it was an orgy! Maybe he was killing someone else! Bishop looks to Charles Lester for advice, but he only shrugs, opening his hands as if to say “what can you do?”
“I had a meeting,” Bishop admits. One you didn’t want anyone to know about, so you shut off the security cameras, Alicia surmises. “Some associates. From another… organization.” Right. Yeah, that’s another worst case scenario. “Will they corroborate your alibi?” Cary asks. “It doesn’t matter,” Bishop explains (and lets not play dumb here), “I can’t admit on the stand I was meeting with them.” Right, because then the Feds will really have him. “You have to refute your sister’s testimony,” Cary insists. “I’ll lose Dylan,” Bishop fears, and no doubt that matters more than anything. “You’ll have the best family law attorney in all of Chicago,” Alicia replies – presumably David Lee. “And what, supervised visits every other Saturday?” We can go to trial, she says, but your sister’s testimony will be damaging.
“What do you think?” he asks Charles Lester. “I think you know what you have to do,” he observes. First Alicia and then Cary narrow their eyes. What does that mean? Admit to his meeting, or threaten his sister? Or worse?
Threading through a busy throng, Cary finally reaches the bar where Kalinda’s waiting for him. Yeah, you would really need a drink after a day like that. They exchange “heys” as he shrugs off his coat. “Good work on that horse farm – I think it might turn things around,” he says, sitting and looking for the barkeep. You do? For real? Um, okay. “And, uh, I talked to Seth De Luca, he’s not going to say anything to Will and Diane, so…” he waves his hands in an all clear. “Good,” Kalinda says, and drinks. (That should be a drinking game, only it hasn’t happened often enough lately to really work as a drinking game.) The women in the room are dressed in jewel tones; deep blues, bright fuchsias. Cary’s tie blends right in. “Thanks for that,” he says, staring at the bar. “For warning me.” She finishes another swallow and flutters her hands. “Ah, it’s all in a days work,” she downplays the moment.
The look on his face is glowing, almost passionate, touched. “No, it wasn’t. It wasn’t in a days work.” Okay, she replies, unsure of what to do with this open emotion. He cocks his head, waiting for her to get it; she’s not playing. She half laughs his name, asks it as a question. “What do you want?” That’s when he leans in for a kiss. She smiles to herself, pulls back. People are so predictable. “No,” she smiles, ducking her head. “Why?” he asks, still smiling through his embarrassment. “Because you want more, and I can’t give you more,” she explains. “Because of women?” he wonders; no. “Because we work together?” Yep, that’s it. Wait, that’s why she can’t give him more, or that’s why they can’t have casual sex? It’s not that she just doesn’t do “more”? “Well, I’m thinkin’ of leaving, so…” he shrugs and takes a drink.
Kalinda laughs in the way that a girl laughs when she’s ready to show someone she thinking of sleeping with them. Holy crap.
She drinks. He smiles at her in a fond but challenging way. He sees his opening. (Er, I do not mean that in a dirty way. Crap. Now that’s all I can think.) “Well then say something nice,” she flirts. Holy crap – it’s on! Unbelievable. He looks her up and down (“pick a feature!“) and comes up with “you look nice.” Oh, that’s some impressive game you got there, Cary. Then he starts to stare at her face. “The way your hair hangs…” he says, reaching out to touch it. “Alright,” she laughs, putting a hand up, stopping the charade. He turns away, laughing – but then he looks back, and the look he gives her is so, so serious. Her mouth hangs open, considering, and then she bites her bottom lip.
That did not just happen. Seriously!
But it did, because when Cary gets off the elevator at reception the next morning, there’s a special spring in his step, and when he runs into Kalinda in the hallway, the two of them are practically vibrating (damn, another dirty metaphor) with each other’s closeness. “Hey,” he says, and she swivels, as if to remind him of where they are. ‘What? I just said hey,” he replies, denying the obvious. And oh my gosh, they’re cute. They’re cute! They walk down the hall trying too hard not smile, their shoulders almost touching. “Any word on Bishop?” he asks. No – Alicia’s supposed to be headed to court. “Well that’s that, then,” he smiles; she swaggers off, and he watches her, giddy.
Charles Lester walks through a city neighborhood, dodging children who’re running through the streets. The brownstones are nice and the children look happy and well cared for; it has a friendly feel. Or maybe I just think that because I love the wrought iron banister on the steps of the house Lester walks up – it’s artistic and modern without being cold. Those might even be butterfly wings. He knocks right next to the house number (81); the door itself is beautifully carved with a strip of dental – can you call it molding when it’s part of a door? This is what I’m thinking when Judy Bishop opens the door. Damn. “Hello Judy,” he says mildly, “Mind if I come in?” I’d call him a little devil, but that just sounds cute.
But instead of whatever happens in that house, we get to see Will carrying a bottle across the office. “Please, no more mission statements,” Diane groans, not looking up from the work spread across her conference table. He sets down two glasses and the bottle, which is tall and green, as well as a long thin package. What’s this, she wonders. “We never celebrated,” he replies, echoing her complaint from earlier in the day. “When things go right, you need to celebrate.” You know, it’s true. Marking life transitions is important. ‘What’re we celebrating,” Diane asks – playing dumb as he pours. “We came back from the dead,” her partner smiles, raising his glass. Her face is radiant. “To beating bankruptcy,” she toasts, knocking her glass against his. “To beating bankruptcy,” he repeats, and they drink.
“We were wound up for so long we never unwound. We breezed right through winning,” he observes like she told him to. (Good, right? He can be taught.) She notices something else he’s set down on the table, a wrapped package which looks like a long gold brick or paddle. But oh, I totally know what this is, don’t I? Diane wants to know – she’s practically purring – and he tells her to open it. Gleefully she does, giving him the most delicious look, her lips pursed with pleasure; it’s the Lockhart & Gardner sign he rescued from the trash in the beginning of the season. (Why can I not find the scene where he did this? I swear we saw him do it, didn’t we? Am I making this up? I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere in here.) She’s not disappointed.
“So close, wasn’t it?” she acknowledges, shaking her head. And that’s why they need to mark the moment; they spent so long in crisis mode, forging ahead, revving themselves up to win, they hadn’t allowed themselves to think what could happen if it all came crashing down. In a way I think they need to come to terms with the existence of the bankruptcy as much as the triumph of overcoming it. She smiles, her expression belying her words. “The end,” she says. “Our careers in ruin. ” Yes, he agrees. “I don’t want that to happen again.” I know, he says, it won’t. But how do you know, Will? “We’re smarter now, we’re better at it.” I don’t know if that’s true. “I don’t if that matters,” Diane muses, surprising me, though I can see where she’s coming from. “It does,” he believes. She tilts her head, and tilts the sign. “Okay, I’ll change my vote,” she concedes, her tone mock weary as if he’d been lobbying her aggressively the whole time. And maybe he has. “Good!” She gives him another “dumb man” look. “You’re supposed to say ‘you don’t have to’.” “You don’t have to,” he repeats, raising his glass, “but I’m glad you did.”
And there it is. The 27th and 29th floors are back. (One wonders if Maddie regretted not re-negotiating their lease, what with the floors being empty for so long.) Good decision? Bad decision? Well, one thing’s for sure; Alicia and Cary should get their own offices now. Boo.
Speaking of the dynamic duo (who’ve been much friendlier this week, no?) Alicia rushes through the courthouse, glowing in her red winter coat. So many primary colors this week; the women were all in reds and blues. Interesting for an apolitical episode. Charles Lester, who’s been writing on his notepad in the hall, walks over to greet her. “Well! Mrs. Florrick! How do you manage to look so refreshed after an all nighter?” She beams delightedly at him. “I knew if I dug deep enough, I’d find precedence to get Judy’s testimony kicked.” And she did that by herself? She’s earned that pride she’s showing, then. Ah, poor Alicia. Here comes the fall. “And did you?” Lester asks. “USA v. East,” she says. “When a prosecutor offers aid to a witness in a civil trial as a quid pro quo for testifying…” It’s okay, he says, holding up his hand to stop her, you sold me. Which is to say, he just don’t care. “Time to knock Liz’s teeth out,” she declares.
But hmm. Where is Liz? There’s no one at the prosecution table at all. All rise for Judge Friend! “Your Honor, I know the AUSA has not yet arrive,” Alicia begins, “but I have prepared a brief in support of my motion to exclude Judy Bishop’s testimony.” That won’t be necessary, Mrs. Florrick, Judge Friend says, holding up her hand again. “Ah, but Your Honor,” Alicia tries again – poor sweet kid, all her hard work gone to waste. It’s like the Spelling Bee was canceled. Here it is: “Judy Bishop has withdrawn her testimony.” Alicia’s crestfallen, which is probably good, because now it’s clear to everyone in this courtroom that she had nothing to do with some very obviously nefarious goings on. I think later she’s going to be livid, but right now she’s desperately disappointed that she can’t bash Liz one in the intellectual kisser.
Glancing over, Alicia can see Charles Lester’s face carved into a clown’s smile. A guitar begins to wail. “And given the government’s lack of evidence and witnesses, I am releasing you, Mr. Bishop,” Judge Friend concludes. Bishop’s teeth flash a brilliant, jubilant white. “Yes!” he cries, pumping his fist, leaping to his feet. Lester stands, too, and the two are thick in conversation as Alicia sinks back into her seat, looking as if she’s just received a blow to the head. “I’m blue, blue, blue, without you,” wails the same singer who started the episode. Casting bitter looks in their direction, Alicia makes no contact with the two men who snatched victory from her hands.
FYI, the song is apparently “Lucy, Suzy, Cindy” by The Tonebenders according to Facebook. I can’t find a video (it dates from ’97, from a small band), but it is on Itunes.
So, the bad. Lemond Bishop doesn’t trust Alicia enough to let her win his case, so he gets out of prison in the most spectacularly unsubtle manner possible. You can’t help but think this is only going to make the Feds work harder to get him on something else, and make everyone’s lives harder in general, but on the other hand, they wouldn’t have given up either way. I hope Judy’s okay, but I’m afraid – I don’t know. I think mostly I’m afraid she’s cut herself out of Dylan’s life entirely by pulling this stunt. I mean, she lied about a drug lord to get him sent to prison. Fredo didn’t do so well with betraying his family, and he told the truth. It’s a good enough storyline, don’t get me wrong, but I felt terrible for Alicia that she didn’t get to spring her star surprise, and that she didn’t get to prove she could win it the legal way. None of this is bad for the show, as far as it goes, though.
I continue to be baffled that the show wastes Bebe Neuwirth in such a nothing role. Tracie Thoms was good, though I’m not sure it was necessary to cast a name actor in that role either.
And you know what really annoys me. Why do Will and Diane have to act like such imbeciles when it comes to personnel decisions? With a minimum of tact, they could smooth these situations over. I hate it when the drama in a show comes from characters suddenly turning in to morons. Although at this point it’s hardly sudden; they’ve been acting stupid about their employees since the partnership offers at the least. It’s just lazy writing. Will and Diane are too good at playing people in general to just not try at the office.
Now for the stuff that I like. Wallace Shawn was fun playing against body type. He’s really entertaining. Despite what I said about Bebe and Tracy, I think Audra McDonald was a great choice for Alicia’s nemesis. That’s a role that really needed a presence, needed some heft. And who knew Alicia had a nemesis! I can see it, though. Smart, confident, self-righteous… They’re natural antagonists. Also, Cary doesn’t get fired, which is great. And something nice and unexpected happens to him, which just stunned me. I still can’t believe it.
And it is nice, right? At least, for now. It’s infinitely preferable to Detective 98 Degrees, and we saw her give in to his pursuit back in Season 1. Was this a one time thing, do you think, or are they actually going to date, and which is worse for their friendship and work relationship? I have no idea, but I’m determined to enjoy it. They were awful cute, being so conscious of each other.
What do you want to bet that we’re going to find Nick’s body on the 27th floor? I mean, there has to be a reason to get Kalinda and Cary together after 4 years of him begging after her. It’s clear they’re setting something up. Since we’re not going to end the season with Bishop’s murder trial as I was mostly expecting, it seems likely we’re going to end it with someone else’s. Either that or the unlamented Ex-Husband’s going to come back from the dead and try to kill everyone. Now that’s a situation fraught with actual, organic drama.
So tell me. What did you think? Did “Running With the Devil” keep up 2013’s high level of execution?