E: So, okay, nobody got punched, which is kind of a shame, but I can get behind this episode. Colin Sweeney pulled his usual squirm-inducing shenanigans. Kurt McVeigh was terse and manly in Marlborough Man mode, and Isobel Swift was manipulative, unapologetic-ally sexual and if nothing else, entertaining in her Pin Up Girl/Jessica Rabbit style. I wouldn’t have said it was possible, but newbie investigator Robyn has wormed her way even further into my affections. We got some excellent and underused combinations from the L&G team, which will always get kudos from me: Diane and Kalinda, Cary and Robyn. My favorite new judge from this season reappears; you guys wouldn’t misinterpret my affection as approval, would you? Because that’s not how it is with this show. Really, after last week’s emotional blow out, I simply enjoyed this week’s mostly light, zippy fun.
Oh, and so much for the knock out blow to the love triangle. Prepare yourself for a little temper tantrum.
The moment has come, after all this time, after all that groundwork, after the long nights and hard work and brilliance and all the times she was reduced to scheming and crossing lines that made her cringe. Here’s the proof of her accomplishments: a wide, square partner’s office with a gracious window behind the desk, one not appreciably smaller than Will or Diane’s, one all her own.
“This is my office?” Alicia asks in wonder, and Diane’s throaty laughter provides the answer. “You have a ten thousand dollar stipend to decorate,” she adds, glowing in draped red silk with a high neck, “and there is an art loan program for equity partners.” Alicia spins around in wonder, looking at the furniture, at all the space. “Here are your keys,” Diane finishes, handing them over before walking out the door, “and welcome.” Alicia’s thank you gushes out in one stunned breath. Her space is surrounded by cubicles and work tables, a whirlwind outside the glass walls. She keeps spinning, looking at her new domain, and in the end, all she can do is laugh.
We look down on another office, smaller than the one Alicia’s been sharing with Cary. Unlike that in Alicia’s new office, the furniture is shrink wrapped. We’ll clear out all the extra furniture that’s stored here, Diane promises Cary – folding chairs, case files, possibly even a table standing on its end – but enjoy your new private space. The contrast is annoying (and why couldn’t Cary just stay in the old office?) but it’s not a shabby space, either, like the closet he was demoted to at the State’s Attorney’s office. There’s a bookshelf lining one wall, and the leather legal folios warm me. I can’t hate a space with that big a bookshelf in it.
“You are highly valued here, Cary,” Diane says, since the room isn’t saying it for her. Well, the window’s just as big as Alicia’s, anyway, and I would personally prefer the actual door and solid walls to the aquarium feel. On the down low, Diane tells him there’s a good chance they’re losing a partner within the next six months and so he might be able to move up pretty quickly; he wants to know which partner, of course, as if she would ever tell. How surprised would he be to know that she’s talking about herself? I’m sure the possibility hasn’t even crossed his mind. “I would like to see you join our ranks,” she finishes, and he smiles back at her, and because she really means it, she gives him a task that should help him advance; he’s to prove his worth by hiring and mentoring a new associate, as Alicia did with Caitlin. She hands over some resumes. “Please look them over and keep us updated,” she says, walking off with Kalinda suddenly in tow; the investigator shoots Cary a flirty look as she sashays out his door.
When she sits down behind her desk, Diane favors Kalinda with a thoughtful expression. “I need to hire you,” she declares; Kalinda pulls a second tiny notebook out of her pocket (this one as blue as her button down) and puts it on top of the one containing Lockhart/Gardner business. The employee background checks Kalinda’s currently conducting will become Robyn’s business. Kalinda frowns at Diane, looking surprised. “I need you to do a background check on a partner,” she explains. Okay, says Kalinda. Who? “Me,” Diane answers. Diane’s current assistant steps in and is warned off – no calls, no visitors – while Kalinda’s face betrays nothing.
Once the door’s closed, Diane spills.
“Peter Florrick has offered me the vacated Illinois Supreme Court seat, if he wins the governorship,” she tells Kalinda, who rears back in pleased surprise. “I know there always attempts to smear a potential judge. So I wanna know where I’m vulnerable.” What, you mean besides being the boss who promoted Florrick’s wife suspiciously early? Or having run a bankrupt business with a partner who was accused of bribing judges? The talk show host who “outed” her as a lesbian? Seriously, what the hell could Kalinda dig up that would be worse than the stuff we already know about? Sigh. I can see why she’s doing this, though. Kalinda’s delighted, smug little smile is infectious, and passes to Diane along with her congratulations.
Never one to waste time, Kalinda’s on the phone to Robyn before she’s all the way through Diane’s office door. ‘Where are you, and what are you on?” she asks curtly. “What am I on?” Robyn giggles. “What case,” Kalinda clarifies; Sweeney, Robyn says, dropping a paper off in front of Alicia before dashing off to take over Kalinda’s background checks.
“I’m innocent,” Colin protests, lounging in his seat next to Alicia. Yes, you’ve said, she answers. “But you don’t believe me,” he grumbles melodramatically. Alicia turns toward him. “I think you like that I don’t believe you,” she intuits. “I think you like that I represent you even when I know you’re guilty.” She’s got on a gray heathered jacket over a sheer black top with what might be velvet insets. It’s striking.
“I like a lot of things about you, Mrs. Florrick,” he purrs. His tie is bright orange, and he’s covered with this awful would-be rugged stubble. Ick. “I must have had issues as a child.” Ya think? “You feed my Mary Poppins obsession.” Practically perfect in very way, that’s our girl. “Here’s the thing, Mr. Sweeney,” she cuts off his musing, “I think you threw a birthday party that got out of hand, and ended up costing the Hershorn Club $80, 000 in damage, that’s all. I think that the prosecution is overreacting. And I hate to disappoint you,” she smiles sadly, “but I think you’re innocent.” He blinks. “You’re right, it’s not as much fun when you believe me,” he pouts. “I thought so,” she declares crisply.
The clack of high heels alerts us to a new presence; Isobel Swift, bending to kiss the father of her child. “You know Alicia,” Colin waves at his lawyer. “Yes, I do,” Isobel nods, straightening after their kiss. “She questioned me in court a year ago.” Oh yes, Colin points, still holding on to his girlfriend’s hand. “That was when we were all on opposite sides. My, how the wheel turns,” he smirks. Alicia gives him a very flat look. “Mutability is our tragedy, but it’s also our hope.” Ah, moans Isobel, tossing her head back,”I love it when he talks like that.” Uh boy.
Happily, Laura Hellinger interrupts this creepy love fest by calling out a very sweet, cheery hello to her friend; Alicia returns the greeting in kind. “Oh, first name basis – should I be jealous?” Sweeney jerks his head back, his chin merging with his neck; he’s still rubbing Isobel’s knuckles with his thumb. “What, that I like her more than I like you? Sure.” Ha!
So no doubt it makes him happy to see that their friendship doesn’t prevent the shouting match she and Laura immediately engage in. Laura pleads for more time, and Alicia thunders that it’s been 6 months since Sweeney was accused of disorderly conduct, and yet the state still drags its feet over releasing evidence. Laura refuses to acknowledge that the crime is a class C misdemeanor; he fired a gun at the party, she howls, in a private club which serves alcohol, which is a class 4 felony. Why on earth would the place being a private club make the charge worse? I’m so confused – Laura gets to decide what he’s charged with, not Alicia. Judge Thomas Politi’s practically eating his hand in frustration, knuckles pressed to his lips.
“Okay, okay, I get it. You’re both angry. We like to express our anger in loud voices,” he says calmly, making a umpire’s gesture with his hands. My, that’s a very gold watch he’s wearing. “See, here’s the thing. I’m a judge. I’m unphased by loud voices.” He laughs a little, wringing his hands. And then he lays down the law. At the top of his lungs. “You plead this out! Get it out of my court! This was a party that got outta hand!” Alicia casts a rather triumphant look in Laura’s direction. “Madam ASA, no one died – and as far as I can tell, no one even got hurt!” No one did, Sweeney mutters smugly. “Oh, Mr. Sweeney,” Judge Politi shakes his head, not barking anymore but no less alaraming. “Please know that you can only hurt your cause by opening your friggin’ mouth.” Ha! Sweeney makes a theatrical beat out of zipping his lips. You two, up here for a little court mandated bargaining session, the judge snaps.
You know, I know he’s not very enlightened, but you have to enjoy his no-nonsense attitude here, and his ability to cut through the posturing.
“We wanna plead this out, Your Honor, but Miss Hellinger…” Alicia begins. Politi holds up his hand and tells her to shut up. Yes, he uses those words. Yes, it’s rude. Yes, I would be offended if someone did it to me. Yes, it cracked me up. “Nobody talks until I ask.” Good to know. “Now, what will you take, counsel?” he asks Alicia. Exoneration, she says – my client didn’t do it. “Your client is a psychopath who’s lucky he didn’t get put away for killing his wife,” Politi replies seriously. Too true. He looks at Laura. “What will you take?” The maximum, she says, six years. What?
He turns to Alicia with the offer of a year in prison and two of probation; she’s not okay with the jail time but could agree to the two years probation. Politi sees this as a perfect victory for compromise. I’m a little horrified at this cavalier manner of disposing of entire years of a person’s life. Neither reaction matters, though, because Laura is still not having it. “We’re not bending,” she smiles.
“It’s been six months, and they’re still no bargaining?” Diane says in surprise. Sweeney sits at the head of the conference table, surrounded by a large team of lawyers; Isobel’s taken a chair against the wall. “It’s about the election,” Will guesses with persuasive confidence. “The State’s Attorney doesn’t want to bargain with Mr. Sweeney and look soft on crime.” Alicia flushes, casting her eyes down in irritated embarrassment. “Really?” Sweeney queries, “Your husband doesn’t like me?” Well, he is something of a celebrity criminal; that theory does hold water. “In one month the governor’s race will be over, and I bet they let Mr. Sweeney go with two months probation.” Cary bites down on his lip and a comment. I don’t think he buys the theory, but every else does. “Delay,” Sweeney mocks, “that’s always best.” Diane dismisses Cary and Alicia in order to ignore this complaint and focus on Sweeney’s business issues.
Because she gave Alicia a very particular look back in the conference room, it’s no surprise to see Isobel show up in the former’s office. Or at least, it’s no surprise to the audience, even if it does startle Alicia, who’d been laying out fabric swatches on her large new couch. Who knew it was possible to sneak up a woman whose office is a fishbowl? “I’m supposed to be in the lady’s room,” Isobel admits, leaning against the now closed door. Oh, just down the hall, Alicia waves; really, Alicia? You think she’s suggesting she mistook the fishbowl for a bathroom? When Isobel – tall, leggy, preposterously sexy, and quite possibly a little bit mad – advances toward her instead of leaving, Alicia winces.
“Colin fires lawyers once a week,” she begins. Um, really? What other lawyers does he have besides full service L&G that he can fire them so often? “But he’s kept you on.” She considers it. “You’re probably the most successful relationship in his life.” Alicia’ s quick to point out that she, at least, does not consider it a relationship, which strikes me as rather silly. Isobel must unsettle her. “He talks about you,”Isobel volunteers. “Don’t you want to know how he talks about you?” Hell no she doesn’t! I think she almost gave herself whiplash replying to that.
“Not sexually!” Isobel hastens to say, and indeed, Alicia breathes out, relieved. “Well, not all the time sexually,” she corrects. Ew. Just ew. Isobel is kind of like Barbie’s too talkative, kinky friend, always trading on the impact of her low cut tops, always wanting you to know what she’s been up to with Ken and your brother’s G.I. Joe figures. She’s almost childishly pleased with herself. “You are pristine to him,” she goes (whatever that would mean to Colin Sweeney, and really, I shudder to think). Alicia looks like she wants to hurl. “He asked if I found you desirable, but of course I find everyone desirable,” Isobel almost giggles, and this is enough to start pissing Alicia off. I guess Isobel realizes she’s gotten as much of Alicia’s attention as she can without becoming a target, because she finally divulges the purpose of her visit. “He asked me to marry him,” she confesses.
“I like him enough,” she continues, “He’s rich.” Ah yes. I like him enough, and he’s rich. Those are the words of love every man longs to hear. “But the question is,” and Alicia turns around for this, perhaps hoping to finally get rid of Oversharing Barbie, “if I marry him, will he kill me?”
Well. That was bluntly put.
Three times, Alicia blinks. “As his lawyer, I cannot speak to the rumors that he killed his first wife,” she replies carefully. Isobel stares, almost slack jawed. Alicia does know the truth here. “But I do know the supposed reason for the killing. His wife’s money. And, you have no money to speak of, so, ” she smiles brightly, “there would be no reason to kill you.”
Well, that’s reassuring. Isobel gives unsatisfied smile. “Your hair would look prettier shorter,” she smirks, and leaves Alicia fiddling with her bangs self consciously. Don’t listen, Alicia! Your hair is perfect as it is.
“Your first interview is here, you want a rundown?” Robyn opens Cary’s office door to ask. Ah, I was wrong; his door is glass too. I suppose it had to be. “Have a seat on my lovely couch,” he offers. Ha – he’s got a whole row of those metal folding chairs set up as a couch substitute. Too cute. He comes out from behind his desk and sits across from her. Gregory Steck, she says, handing over the folder, Harvard Law 2006 (“you can just say Harvard,” Cary notes), clerk for Illinois Supreme Court Justice Wallis, his Facebook page has been scrubbed squeaky clean, he expects $150k a year (as a first year associate? good grief!) and is being actively pursued by other firms. With that, Steck arrives outside the door and Robyn tries to leave. No no no, Cary pleads, quick and quiet. “It’s better with two.” “Me stay?” she wonders in surprise, but he stops her grin; pretend to be a lawyer, but do nothing but look severe. Don’t smile. Now that’s going to be challenging. The face she gives when Cary introduces her as one of their top lawyers? I want to hug her, it is so hilarious.
“I built my own canoe,” Gregory Peck – er, Steck – recalls, flushed with self-satisfaction. Tool! Dude is smug and extremely creepy; doesn’t he seem like he should be one of the odious rich kids in Better Off Dead or Animal House or One Crazy Summer? “You built your own canoe,” Cary frowns, “is that a metaphor?” Bwah! No, not at all. “When I was home for Christmas I actually built one. And I realized,” he relates, tilting his head, swaggering while sitting down (impressive), “that I like to get my fingernails dirty.” Oh good grief. This all sounds very rehearsed; the head wag even looks rehearsed, as if he thought of the smarmiest, most confident, pretentious impression he could make and went for it. This makes me want to use a word I do not use. Between Steck and Sweeney I’m afraid I’m for a lot of that that episode.
“You know, like last night,” he says, swiping at his nose with the back of his hand, “I was writing Wallis’s majority opinion on Miles, and I thought, what I am doing? If I die today, no one will no I did anything. You know, you clerk for a Supreme Court Justice long enough, you wanna see the law in action.” Well as Robyn can tell you, most associates don’t get to see the inside of a courtroom for a few years, Cary proclaims. Yeah, that’s right. Robyn makes what she hopes to be a sage frowny face; delish. I don’t care, Steck declares, I’ve written Wallis’s last four opinions and I’m done. “I need new fields, new streams.” Robyn needs a new barf bag. “Do I know you from Harvard, or someplace?” he wonders in a more natural voice, pointing at Robyn. She narrows her eyes and stares harder by way of a response; Cary claims she’s from Georgetown. Oh really, he says, again either nicer than his original pitch or realizing he needs to take a different tack with her. “How’d you like it?” “Humid,” she says, scrunching up her nose.
WHY can I not hug this girl through my television? Ugh! She. Is. So. Awesome. He laughs, awkward, not at all sure how to take that.
So what did you think of him, Cary asks as he and Robyn walk the halls together. “He is a braggart,” she replies, screwing up her face. “That’s not a bad thing,” Cary replies. Um, Cary, it is. I know interviews are awkward because you have to talk yourself up, but that was not the way to do it. Do you want a braggart, she wonders; he wouldn’t mind if the candidate really had something to brag about. “People who have something to brag about usually don’t brag,” Robyn observes. Again, interviews=forced bragging, but point taken.
City lights, sky scrapers, a siren blaring – ah, big cities at night! Cary sits alone in his new office. Really, that window’s pretty terrific, and so is his striped blue button down. He flips through paperwork – is it Gregory Peck (Steck)’s resume? – and frowns. Even more than he’s usually frowning.
And then he’s walking through the hall toward the elevator, and he’s looking to the right and left, frowning at the office furniture. He waves a hand in front of Robyn Burdeen’s face. “I’m awake!” she declare foggily, sitting at the head of the conference table surrounded by paperwork. “The interview today with Steck, what was he saying about an opinion?” Robyn goes not her head for the answer: “I was writing Wallis’s majority opinion on Miles…” Definitely Miles, Cary wonders? Yes, definitely. “I think I know why they won’t plead on Sweeney,” Cary sits to tell Robyn, “and it has nothing to do with the election.” Do tell!
Bing, there’s Alicia’s doorbell! Grace opens the door to Cary, who apologizes for showing up late and unannounced. (Indeed, you’d think he’d have called ahead. Or called, period.) Grace knocks obligingly on Alicia’s door. “Cary Argos is here! From your work?” Argos. Ha! “Who?” Alicia calls back.
And oops, she was in the shower. She looks up at Cary, hair wet, no make up on, wrapped in a robe. The Miles case will effect Sweeney’s sentencing, Cary declares. “That’s why the State’s Attorney’s office won’t bargain.” He explains how he came to this conclusion while listening to Gregory Peck: it’s all about Wallis, “the conservative justice, he finished writing the majority opinion.” Okay. Keep going. I see that this means something about the bent of the decision. Alicia’s eyes flicker around the room. “That would make the gun firing his third strike,” she realizes with rising panic. Yep, that’s what Cary was afraid of, too. “Sweeney’s already been convicted of two other major felonies.” Wasn’t one conviction overturned? “Double enhancement,” Cary continues elliptically, “means not only will Sweeney’s firing the gun be bumped up to a felony, but it would count as his third strike.”
Horrified, Alicia looks up. “He would get life in prison,” she realizes, aghast. “That’s right,” Cary concurs. “No judicial discretion. Sweeney loses the case, he goes to jail for life.” Good grief! Not that Sweeney shouldn’t spend life in prison – I can see why the SA’s office is so eager to get him – but eek. “My God,” Alicia shakes her head. “From a possible misdemeanor to life in prison,” she gasps, disbelieving. Like Al Capone and taxes.
Another thing, Cary asks. “You were at Sweeney’s arraignment, weren’t you?” She was. What with being his lawyer and all. “You automatically asked for a speedy trial?” he wonders. Yes, she says, by rote. And then she gets it. “Are we at a hundred and sixty days?” No, he says deliberately. “Tomorrow.” If possible, she turns even more pale. “We’re not ready to go to trial,” she exhales. “I know,” agrees Cary, “but the prosecution isn’t either. They were thinking of slow-playing this until the Supreme Court verdict came down. ” So they’d be less prepared than us, Alicia realizes, which is a good thing, because they have to conduct this trial before the verdict comes down or Sweeney’s going back to the slammer for good. She shakes her head. “We have to run the fastest trial in history!” she realizes.
“Excuse me?” wonders Judge Politi. We want to exercise our client’s right to a speedy trial, Alicia repeats. We’re not remotely ready, Laura flusters, flapping her hands. “You want a speedy trial now?” Politi asks Alicia. “Well, we wanted a speedy trial 159 days ago, at Mr. Sweeney’s arraignment when we requested it,” Alicia replies. Laura points out that this is practically a formality, that everyone asks for a speedy trial. “Yes, but we meant it,” Alicia counters, “and we still do.” Is Alicia ready for trial? Yes, she lies. And ASA Hellinger? “Absolutely not!” Laura tells the truth. That’s irrelevant, Alicia points out. “The prosecution must go to trial today, or release our client.” Booyah! How do you like them apples? The judge doesn’t seem overly fond of the idea, to tell you the truth, but Alicia’s got Laura dead to rights.
And so back in the conference room, there’s a complete melee going on. “Quiet down!” Will hollers. “We have an unusual situation here, we have court in two and a half hours, and we were preparing for court in two months. So we’ll need all hands on deck!” Indeed you will. “Do we have a ballistics episode yet?” Nope. “We were planning to find out who the prosecution hired.” Alicia explains. “Who do we know who’s free?” Will asks. “Who’s the best?” Sweeney cuts in. My, his tie is so purple and asymmetrical. Come on, everybody, say it with me. “Ah, well, Kurt McVeigh is the best,” Will admits. He and Diane and Alicia all exchange looks. Uh, I think he’s working on case, Diane says. “Maybe, someone could call him and see if he could make himself available?” Will asks, and from his phrasing, Colin scents gossip and asks after it. Diane doesn’t bite (not Sweeney, anyway), but she will call.
Good, says Will. “Cary Robyn. See if you can get more information on when the opinion will be published.” I love how he kind of mashed their names into one. At this point, Sweeney announces that he would like a partner on his case. “Alicia is a partner,” replies Diane. Yeah, he means a name partner. “I want the biggest guns,” he insists. Remarkably, Alica’s unoffended by this. Diane offers up Will, who makes the most fantastically pained face.
“You take the Sweeney case, I can’t,” he says soon after, closing her office door behind them. “Why not, you’re the litigator,” she replies, mystified. “I’m involved,” he admits, waving his hand apologetically.
Diane plants her hands on her hips. “With who, Judge Politi?” Ha ha, Diane. We all know what you’re worried about. “The ASA,” he rolls his eyes, “Laura Hellinger.” Now that she knows it’s not Alicia, Diane’s all wide cheery smiles. “You’re kidding! You’re dating her?” He is. For the last week. When Kalinda sticks her head in the other doorway, Diane asks for a second, and advises Will to just ask Sweeney for a waiver that protects them from malpractice. All in all, she’s really pleased for him.
So poor Will Gardner’s off through the halls on the excruciating task of delving into his personal life with prurient creep Colin Sweeney. Just to make things more awkward, Colin’s in Alicia’s office, so Will has to ask him back out into the hall to discuss it. Someone cannot bring himself to have this discussion in front of Alicia. Seriously, I cannot stop laughing at his face. I shouldn’t laugh, it’s a genuinely hideous prospect, but I may or may have frozen it an an unfortunate moment. So. Funny. Alicia watches Sweeney go, wary.
“Are we confessing?” Sweeney wonders. No no no, Will demurs, but really, he is. How humiliating! I feel obliged to warn you, Will says, that I’m in a relationship with the prosecutor in your case. Oh, dude. So painful. “Aaaaaah,” Sweeney nods, “a sexual relationship?” Will would rather not specify. “I know you’d rather not. But I’m your client and I bring 22 million a year into your firm.” Will goes white. “And before I sign off I want to know.” Yuck yuck yuck! He lowers his chin and raises his eyebrows and asks in his most salacious voice:”Is it a sexual relationship?” Ew. Just ew. Someone throw water on him, please. Rolling his eyes, squirming, Will gives in. “Not currently,” he admits.
“But you intend it to be,” Colin Sweeney nods, his eyes bright, looking as if he’d stumbled on a mighty truth and not a fact of modern dating. Stop the presses – man hopes to eventually sleep with the woman he’s dating! Alert the archbishop! “Mr. Sweeney, it’s your prerogative to insist on another lawyer,” Will begins, but Sweeney cuts him off, reveling in the filthy delight of it. “That’s why I love this place,” he declares, eyes gleaming, “Everybody sleeps with everybody else.” Well that’s not a fair assessment at all (particularly since Laura doesn’t work here and isn’t sleeping with anyone), but before Will can counter it, Sweeney cuts him off. He’s fine with Will representing him – “as long as I get details.” He walks off wearing a wide grin.
On the other hand, Will looks like he wants to shower. Me too, Will, me too.
Just down the hall, Cary and Robyn are scheming get more information out of Gregory Steck. How about we call him back for a follow up interview, Cary suggests. “Let’s fish around for the release date of the opinion.” Robyn shrugs. ‘He’s a braggart – maybe he’ll brag about the date it’s being published.” Good thinking, guys.
Kalinda opens her blue notebook, and Diane breathes out slowly, nervous. “So, you, ah, found something?” Yeah. She did. “Look, I’ll only tell you as much as you want to know, so at any moment you can say stop.” Huh. Sounds like rules for something else. Diane nods, her eyes widening. Then she leans back to listen. “Elena knew that it was wrong to want Damon; she was about to marry Stefan, after all.” Bwah! Stop it! No, it’s too good! Diane leans forward, confused. “Yet when Damon drew her close, Elena found herself unable to resist his vampire charms.” Kalinda looks up at Diane when she reads this last bit; there’s no look of embarrassment or consciousness on Diane’s part, and clearly she has no idea what it is that Kalinda’s reading. “When his fangs dug into her neck, her whole body pulsed with desire.” I cannot stop laughing, I just can’t, it’s even funnier watching this scene the second time. “She needed him. She needed him bad.” Oh! Even Kalinda’s embarrassed! Diane just stares, perplexed, waiting for Kalinda to clue her in to what this is and what the heck it has to do with her.
Eventually, Diane leans forward. “I… huh?” It’s fan fiction, Kalinda spits out. Oh my gosh, I love love love love this scene. “For the TV show Vampire Diaries.” Still nodding, Diane waits to hear the connection. “So? I …” You wrote it, Kalinda says flatly. “I wrote what?” Diane asks, her eyes wider. “That?” Oh please. If Diane wrote fan fiction – which frankly I can’t imagine – it would not be bad fan fiction. “Kalinda, I haven’t even heard of the TV show Vampire Diaries, and if even I had, I wouldn’t feel compelled to write something like… does it go on like that?” It does. “Elena and Damon have sex in the end, in a pick up truck.”
“I’m happy for them,” Diane answers with a straight face. “It came from your IP address, and your email account,” Kalinda explains. Ooops. Diane’s speechless. “Who else has access to your computer?” is the logical question; at first, Diane’s answer is that no one does, but eventually she realizes that this isn’t true. She has a housekeeper. I’ll talk to her, she says. “Diane, I don’t think you understand,” Kalinda stops writing. “You have to fire her, and I do need her name.” Oh! Now, alright, that’s not a cool thing to do while you’re working – I find it particularly vexatious that she used Diane’s email account – but firing her? “No, she is a nice lady with three kids,” Diane shakes her head. “It’s – I mean, just, she obviously doesn’t have any sense of boundaries…” No, Kalinda cuts in. “You need to create a paper trail to separate yourself from her. You want to become an Illinois State Supreme Court Justice, Diane. If your name becomes associated with vampire fan fiction, the ridicule factor’s going to be hard to beat. You need to fire her.”
Oh, that’s just crappy. I guess I can see it, even if it’s brutal to fire someone who obviously needs a job, although – how did Kalinda find this out in the first place? Trolling Diane’s emails? Would she expect reporters to do the same? Ick.
Well. There seem to be a lot of people walking around in their underwear at Colin Sweeney’s party, at least according to the cell phone video that’s playing in Judge Politi’s court. It’s a very old fashioned-looking place (rich wood paneling, ornate china) for an orgy but I suppose the whole Victorian Men’s Club thing must be the appeal. A china vase smashes on the floor, presumably shot through by the bullet, and the young naked people rush screaming from the room.
“You shot that, Mr. Catalini?” Laura asks a track suited witness. “Catalani,” he correct – but yes, it’s his cell phone footage. “I thought the party was getting out of hand.” Increasingly frustrated, Laura flips through her notes, looking for the right questions to ask him; to kill time, she asks about his clothes so that we all know he was pulled right off the treadmill at the gym in order to be here. Good to know he’s only the kind of guy who goes to orgies thrown by murderers, and not the kind who regulars wears tracksuits; that makes him a much more classy witness. He blathers, and Politi gets annoyed and presses Laura for real questions.
“I’m sorry, Your Honor,” she says, rooting through the folders all over the prosecution table, “I usually have more time to prepare.” I sympathize, he declares unsympathetically, “we’re all actors without a script.” Nice.
“So, Mr. Catalini,” she tries again, closing her eyes in frustration over the mistake. “Catalani. You saw Mr. Sweeney, the defendant over there, with a gun. This gun,” she adds, fishing in her briefcase for a photo of the gun in question. (For a second, I thought she was going to pull out the actual gun, which was a little horrifying.) Anyway, he did; he explains that it was allegedly Al Capone’s pistol – ironic – and Sweeney wanted to shoot an apple of his girlfriend’s head a la William Tell, only with the gun, like some famous author wrote about. “William Burroughs” Sweeney smiles, despite Alicia’s hissed “shut up!”; Laura thanks him for the information. Sigh. It certainly sounds like something Sweeney would say. Anyway, that’s just what Catalini heard someone say. (Um, hello, hearsay! Where’s the objection to that?)
“Do you hold a grudge, Mr. Catalani?” Will asks, getting the name right the first time. Catalani insists that he does – no, he wasn’t fired by Sweeney, he was part of a general downsizing. Why was he at this party again? That’s me asking; Will couldn’t care less, because he’s ready for the next witness. Laura isn’t it, however, because the next witness is their ballistics expert who’s currently stuck in Salt Lake City. Ah ha. Is there a lava pit there, in which the expert is stuck?
“The defense is ready,” Will cuts her off, “we can’t help the defense’s problems. Agreeing, Politi invites Will to continue with his case; Laura can present her ballistics expert as a rebuttal witness.
Of course, if that person is to have anything to rebut, Diane still needs to get Kurt McVeigh on board, and to that end she’s arrived at a different courtroom (that of one Honorable Donald Griffin, a gimlet eyed fellow with a bald, sallow head) where the man himself is testifying. We arrive at a particularly harrowing moment, when he’s describing a blood splatter pattern known as a tail splash, where tissue is hurled behind a bullet as itmoves through the body. Happily, Diane’s presence in the courtroom so distracts Kurt that he’s unable to continue this particularly disgusting bit of edification. Go, Diane! “The bullet…” he stumbles, trying desperate to regain his rhythm, “the bullet – you can see it moving through the body right here… the bullet, as it…” Finally, he’s forced to turn back. “I’m sorry what was the question again?”
He knows that she’ll be waiting for him outside the courtroom, and she is, pressed back against the wall. “Thank you,” he grumbles snidely. “You were wonderful,” she replies with an admirable lack of gloating. “I was not wonderful, I was distracted,” he growls. “You were wonderfully distracted,” she smiles, disarming him. “Sorry about Mr. Romney. I almost called you on election night.” To gloat, he wonders. “No,” she replies (perish the thought!), “to sympathize. I know how it feels. Kerry in 2004?”
“Are we really comparing Kerry to Romney?” he glowers. Um, gee, let’s think. Two ambitious patricians from Massachusetts, practitioners of minority disciplines of Christianity, who have really good hair and ran failed bids for the Presidency against vulnerable incumbents and were criticized for changing their stances, weasel-wording, and not having the common touch. No, we won’t compare them at all. Diane just laughs. “I need your help,” she admits. With? “A case. An innocent man,” she shakes her head. Oh, you know he’s going to love this! “Who?” he asks. She knows what principled Mr. McVeigh is going to say, so hesitates over the name. “Just give us a chance,” she prefaces the unpleasant news, “Colin Sweeney.”
“Kurt, just look at this,” she pleads. “Even guilty people can be innocent sometimes.” So true. “Just do it for me,” she asks, “please?” Ah, she’s got him.
Alicia’s texting down the hall when Laura stops her right before the courtroom door. “Laura,” she begins, “I’m sorry about how crazy the trial got. We just…” but Laura cuts her off. “If I ask you …” She stops and Alicia stares at her, and they stare at each other. “Do you have relationship with Will?” Whoa. Where did that come from? How does she possibly know that? Alicia leans forward, stunned, raising her eyebrows. “What?” Are you two romantically involved, Laura repeats, and again I have to wonder – how on earth has she picked up on this? I don’t see anything now, she didn’t see anything last week – no, wait, she was suspicious at the police station. But doesn’t this make you wonder what’s Will doing when they’re alone that makes her ask?
Not doing herself any favors, Alicia looks around the hall and heaves a big sigh before answering. “No,” she says. “We’re not involved.” You can tell from the way Laura cranes her head that she’s waiting for the “but” and Alicia does deliver it. “We were. Once. But it was a long time ago. ” It’s not still going on, Laura asks skeptically. “No, I swear,” Alicia pleads, perhaps reaching to touch Laura’s arm. “Look, Laura. You’re my friend, and so is Will. And I think it’s great that you two are … whatever you are.” Laura blushes. “Okay,” Laura smiles, “we’re late.” She heads into the courtroom, but Alicia chooses to chew on this idea a little more. Is she really doing the right thing?
Isobel Swift and her grand sweeping cleavage are on the stand; Will helps her explain that of course her dear maybe-fiance Colin couldn’t have been firing the gun, because he was with her. “In the Rose Salon,” she adds, whatever that is. (A room in the suite, it turns out; Will shows us a rendering of the layout on a poster, since they didn’t have enough time to make slides.) “Yes, that’s the Rose Salon there, off of the main lounge.” Hmm. It’s kind of hard to tell which one might be the main lounge, since we’re looking at four rooms of exactly the same size, but okay. “And what were you doing there?” Will asks. “Anal,” she says, unblinking, without a trace of self-consciousness. Alicia looks up from her frantic scribbling, Will struggles to compose his face, Laura nods as if hypnotized, and the judge clears his throat. “Well, I think that’s clear,” he grunts.
Once he’s able to form sentences again, Will announces he has no further questions. Sweeney mouths “you were wonderful” at his lady love, who blows him an exuberant kiss.
“So you were having… anal intercourse with the defendant Mr. Sweeney at the time of the shooting?” Laura confirms. Yep. Love Morena Baccarin’s poker face. It’s really impressive. Laura then asks why the court should believe Isobel; as Colin’s live in girlfriend, couldn’t she be lying to protect him? She could be too biased to believe. But I’m not, she says. Aren’t you going to marry him, Laura asks. I’m not so sure, Isobel snorts. “I have my concerns.” Oh, and what might those be, wonders Laura. “He killed his first wife,” Swift declares, gesturing toward her lover, and Laura’s face goes ashen. Judge Politi wonders if the ASA has more questions; she doesn’t. Sweeney leans over to Will. “I think your girlfriend’s going to need some make up sex,” he growls.
Ew. Talk about – just ew.
“I won’t say I’m surprised to get the call,” Gregory Speck – I mean, Steck – smirks, nodding like a bobble head, “it’s just good to get the call.” He is just begging for that word; I’m so glad that we’re just using him for information instead of actually interested. “I think we just scratched the surface of Greg Steck,” Cary lays it on with a trowel. “Robyn and I, we looked each other after your interview,” he says, leaning toward the investigator (still wearing her fierce focused face) “and we realized we hadn’t asked you anything about your duties at the Supreme Court.” Do you have another three hours, Greg chuckles. Even his tie says tool. We might, Cary butters him up, but it’s Robyn and her increasingly imperious expression that Greg stares at, getting lost.
So you write all Justice Wallis’s opinions, Cary attempts to refocus Greg. “Pretty much. You know how it is,” he shrugs, “Justices do none of the work, get all of the glory.” Oh, right. It’s all about you, prat. “And the, uh … Miles? opinion, did he give you notes on that?” Cary’s looked over to Robyn, pretending not to recall the case name. No, dismisses Greg. “He’s been taking it out on his, uh…” Suddenly he stops.
Cary and Robyn frown, and their interest is increasingly plain, but Greg’s got a text which might be from his poor sick mother in the hospital. Oddly enough, it’s not. “Sorry, Cary, Robyn,” he smiles, tucking his phone back in his jacket pocket.”That was Hockney & Barnes. They just hired me.”
“Wait, what?” frowns Cary. Greg explains that he told the Hockney folks that he had a second interview with L&G, which apparently convinced them to step up to the plate. “Thanks for your interest,” he wags his chin at them, walking out. “Wait,” Cary calls out, “we might wanna hire you!” Greg just keeps walking.
“Okay,” frowns Cary, puzzled. I’m amused that Cary’s so baffled by this, because honestly, the behavior smack more than a little bit of first season Cary. Or at least the first half of the first season. Lunging to her feet, Robyn states her intention of following Greg. “It won’t make a difference, he got a job,” Cary shrugs, thinking perhaps some of his friends in Springfield might help instead. “I won’t go after him about a job,” Robyn shakes her head, smiling down at Cary as if he’s being a little slow.
The other investigator is busy in the conference room, showing Kurt McVeigh the prosecution’s computer ballistics model. This is where the bullet was found, this is where they think it was fired from, etc. Which, as luck has it, is the doorway of the Rose Salon, where Colin Sweeney was famously, er, resting. “Damn it,” Will grouses, standing next to his partner in the main conference room. So our only option is to rebut their expert testimony, Diane realizes; Kurt looks at the photograph of the gun. Is that possible in only a few hours, Diane wonders. Without a word, he gathers his things. Where are you going, she asks, and like a surly teenager, all he replies is “out.” Mom-like, she asks where. “To rebut their testimony,” he says.
“There was some debate whether to spackle it over or wear it as a badge of honor,” a man explains as he removes a still life (bowls of fruit) from the wall over Sweeney’s bullet hole. “As you might expect, inertia took over.” Diane thanks him (I swear she calls him Mr. Creep, even though that can’t possibly be right, it’s probably Crete) and dismisses him in one, and he leaves Kurt to peer at the wall with a flashlight. Er, okay. The paneling might be painted a dark gray, but still.
Diane offers to hold the light; no. Not that he answers. She checks her watch as he jams a metal rod into the bullet hole, looking for the proper angle of entry. “It’ll take as long as it takes,” he cautions, and she pretends to think that’s just fine. “So, Obamacare,” she starts, and when he glares, apologizes. That’s right, Diane – don’t distract him! “Sorry. Something about you makes me want to tease you,” she confesses. So leave the room! As he fixes a laser to the end of the metal rod, Diane fishes for information about his “protege” – the grad student she found at his house late one night. “Miranda,” she clarifies. “Last time I saw you she was spreading her Fox News pixie dust all over you.” Ha. Diane can be hilariously territorial considering she only sees the guy once every five or six months.
“She’s heading up the San Diego crime lab,” he grunts. “Oh how nice for her,” Diane replies, nose in the air. I love them. “Very warm there,” she continues. “Like Baywatch P.D.” Bwah! I adore episodes that give Diane a chance to be funny. He spears her with a glance. ‘Am I bothering you?” she wonders. No, no, it’s very funny. That’s when he turns on the laser.
It lands on a paneled door. “What room is that,” he wonders. The Rose Salon. “Isn’t that bad?” Diane asks. “Yes,” he answers. He checks his tablet for a list of guns, applies some sort of strange measurement to the wall. “Is it still bad?” she asks. Yes, he repeats. As he unscrews the laser and replaces it with some sort of odd orange appendage, she asks him to tell her when the news becomes good. Diane, who’s saying it ever will be? He can spare only the smallest dry look for this comment.
So she changes the subject, wondering if he’s staying in town, and if so, where (the Edgewater hotel). Why? “No reason,” she lies, which he sees through immediately. The orange implement appears to be a spool of thick neon string. Dinner, he asks, twirling the strange yellow spool that holds the orange string; surprising no one, she agrees. “What is this,” she asks finally, and he answers with confidence.”Where the bullet came from.”
“It’s called the rainbow effect,” he explains in court. Let’s hope he has better luck expressing himself this time. (Er, do I mean that? Do I want Sweeney out of prison? Or do I just want us to win all the time?) “To determine where a bullet came from, you need to calculate it’s trajectory. And the arc of a bullet can look like a rainbow.” Curved, how fascinating. Is that true? I always assumed they pushed forward in a very unforgiving straight line. “Do bullets create different types of rainbows?” Alicia asks. Turns out they do. Hence the unreliability of the laser? “In this case you have a 1929 pistol firing a 38 caliber bullet, made circa 1930.” It turns out that the provenance of the bullet is important because older bullets don’t have modern copper jackets, and so are pushed down by gravity faster; in other words, their rainbows have more arc. He’s amended the prosecution’s computer reconstruction to show that the bullet was fired not from the doorway of the Rose Salon, but inside (through the wall) of the Camellia Room. Diane smiles proudly from the gallery; he’s done it, poked the necessary hole in the prosecution’s case. And if McVeigh’s done it, we know it’s not sleight of hand but actually the truth.
Oh, great. Stop smiling, Diane; there’s Kalinda waiting for you in your office. She’s wearing a wine-colored dress with a tunic belted over it, creating a multi-tiered peplum effect. Different. “More skeletons in my closet?” Diane asks. One or two, Kalinda agrees, and they sit down together to face them. “Let’s, ah, start the dentist’s drill,” Diane smiles, uncomfortable.
Do you recognize the name Jacob Greenberg, Kalinda asks; no. He used to work with your father, she presses, and that rings a bell, because of course she knows Jake Greenberg. They were law professor colleagues until Greenberg was brought up before the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities, where he was accused of being (of course) a communist. Greenberg lost his job and as a result, took his own life. Wow. “Uh… I mean… I’m not sure. What is this, Kalinda? My father was Jake’s best friend. He stood by him. In fact, he was one of the only people who stood by him, at great personal expense.” I know, Kalinda nods, her eyes filled with a kind of terrible pity. “So I don’t know what you…” Diane stumbles. “Diane, you don’t have to hear this,” Kalinda cautions.
But of course she does. Of course she must. You can’t start that sort of confession and not finish it. And the truth, it’s a knife, it’s barbwire. Who knows whether it would come out in a confirmation flap, but if Kalinda can find it this quickly there’s at least a chance someone else might eventually, and maybe it’s bad enough that she wouldn’t want to take the judgeship just to hide it. And it’s bad. HUAC met with “influential” professors at the law school, including Mr. Lockhart. Diane shakes her head, she can’t believe it.
“And you’re saying that he named Jake?” she asks, incredulous, leaning forward to follow the implication to its brutally logical conclusion. Kalinda is saying just that, or nodding it, anyway, because even for Kalinda, queen of bad asses, the consciousness that she is deeply wounding this woman proves too much for words. “But this is a rumor, right? They were private meetings… there’s no…” “Minutes were taken,” Kalinda ends Diane’s agony, holding out the transcript, and again, her brown eyes are enormous with empathy. Diane holds up her hand; she needs to stop. This truth is too much. “Thank you, Kalinda,” she stumbles up out of her seat. “I just… need to… Don’t stop investigating, please.” Okay. She won’t.
Diane’s fellow name partner is having a series of unpleasant surprises in court, too; Laura’s recalling Isobel Swift. You’d think this would be a good thing, but no. We reiterate that Swift and Sweeney were getting it on when the bullet was fired. “And would you say that this sex was – kind of wild?” Laura shrugs. Heck yeah she would. Sweeney, of course, is rather pathetically pleased by this assessment, but you can also see his wheels turning; he clearly is dwelling on some sort of lascivious scenario for Laura and Will, and the thought of other people through his eyes just makes me want to shower for like the fifth time this episode. And this took place in the Rose Salon, Laura asks. “I believe I was mistaken when I said that,” Isobel recants. “On further reflection, I remembered that we were actually in the Camellia Room.”
Huh. What’s her game with this blatant ploy? Will objects (asked and answered) and tries to tell the court that Laura’s badgering Isobel, but that’s clearly not true, and as Laura reminds us Isobel is entitled to change her testimony. Why anyone would believe such a blatant shenanigan I don’t know, but there it is, perfectly legal. The judge has her say it again, just to be clear; she’s positive she was in the very room the gun was fired from, according to the defense’s own witness? Yes.
Don’t you feel like there would be witness testimony out there either way? That party was crawling with people. They may have all been high or drunk or, um, busy, but they were there. Surely there was someone not too incapacitated to see what happened?
Anyway. There’s loud music and raucous laughter, but we’re not back in cell phone footage of the party, as I half expected, but with Robyn and Gregory Steck at a bar, laughing uproariously. “You were not!” he howls. “I was,” she declares, “six months in juvie.” What, no, not really! “It was involuntary manslaughter. I shot my own brother.” No, so that’s totally not possible. There’s no way anyone could so coolly canvas murdering a sibling. “Oh, in that case, if that’s all it was,” he guffaws. “It was an accident, of course, it was my Dad’s huntin’ rifle,” she says, suddenly adopting a Southern accent. “How was I supposed to know it was loaded? But the judge didn’t care.” He gives her a disbelieving, amused look. “You can look it up in the Ohio Department of Corrections,” she challenges him. “Say hello to J479361,” she finishes with a flourish.
“Wow,” he says, chin resting on his fist, slumping into the bar, “a felon.” She changes topics. “So, Mr. Fancy Supreme Court clerk, what’s it like helping shape the law?” She’s practically batting her eyelashes. “The truth,” he answers. “Intoxicating.” So why leave, you idiot? “The breadth of power those nine people have.” More clumsily, she notes how the Miles opinion could make life a lot harder for criminals with guns. “It’s going to,” he says, “soon.” She draws back as if impressed. “Really? You sound like you know what you’re talking about.” Oh. Sigh. Are men this lame? Does he want her to be dumb? “Wallis sent over his revisions for me to check out, not that he changed much.”
Wow, she coos. “Can I read it?” She gives him a remarkably fatuous look. “I’d love to,” he stares back at her, “but that’s against the rules.” Aw, shucks. At her pout, he puts his watch in front of her. “You can read it in…”
“Forty hours?” Cary asks. “That’s what he said,” she answers, back in Cary’s office. She’s twisting uncomfortably until she sees a flat box on Cary’s desk. “Pizza!” she cries, and he opens up the box in invitation. She perches on the edge of his desk, chattering. “You know, he really wasn’t such a bad guy. He was kind of sensitive.” Really? Sensitive to what? Astound me. “He was talking about Jackson Pollock. You know Jackson Pollock?” She says this while chewing the pizza. You didn’t drive here in this state, Cary worries. She shakes her head as he leaves a message for Alicia about the 40 hours. “I did not drive. I jogged. You don’t like Jackson Pollock. He was in a car accident!” That he was. Why does this remind me of the whole Georgia O’Keeffe conversation with Blake?
“Yes, I know,” Cary nods. See, there’s his art history training again. “You’re really smart,” Robyn points a pinky at him. I’m going to take you home, he says, standing and grabbing his suit jacket. C’mon, he says, time to go home – but she wants to stay for the pizza, and he relents. And immediately gets back on his phone to call Alicia. “What time is it anyway?” Robyn wonders.
It’s late enough that when the camera rushes through Alicia’s front door and into her apartment, we find her asleep in her bed, the day scrubbed off her skin. And in her sleep, she dreams of lying on her back on cream colored silk sheets. Will’s hook nose enters the frame first, and when he kisses her neck, she continues to stare at the ceiling, unresponsive. It’s not till he kisses her lips that she turns into him, giving back. There’s soft string music, and she’s wearing a black lace slip, and now she’s on top off him, kissing him, and we see only the top of her head, and when she straightens, straddling him, she transmutes into Laura, and snaps awake.
And let me just say that if they’re just prepping us for another affair, another torrid coming together that’s only about sex and nothing else, an affair which will break Alicia’s integrity because this time in her mind she’s really with Peter and so it is a clear and unambiguous betrayal, well, I will just be so fricking pissed. I will be furious. And no, it will not be out of shipper anything but because I want to see my girl do better than that, to do better than before, not worse. If this is some kind of convoluted punishment intended to make her feel sympathy for Peter because she too will know what it’s like to be a cheater undone by sexual urges, I’m sorry, but I just think that sucks. Of course that really would be a way to wreck the love triangle for good; Alicia’s going to screw both guys over! Oh, that’d be lovely.
Okay, sorry. I’m going to go breathe for a minute.
“I idolized my father,” Diane explains, sitting on a couch next to Kirt McVeigh, her legs tucked beneath her, her hand curled around a glass of liquor. There’s a despair in her voice we’ve never heard, not even in the blackest moments of the bankruptcy, a little girl’s heartbreak catching in her throat. Kurt runs his fingertips gently over her knee. “People are always more than one thing, Diane,” he sighs. “Maybe,” she agrees, far away, “but if he was a hypocrite, what does that make me?”
He drinks, looks up at her. “I patterned my life after his,” she cries. “You patterned your life on the things you admired about him – there’s no need to answer for… sins you didn’t even know about.” She digests this. “You’re good at this,” she smiles, and then after thinking about it, kisses him. “Why do we keep running away from each other?” she muses; he doesn’t know. “We should get married,” she sighs in that light, breathy voice, her gaze woozy with love.
Oh, seriously, she did not just say that.
“Did I just say that?” she asks in shock. Hee. You did, he answers. She kind of splutters about it, laughing at herself. “Okay, I’m in a transitional place right now, and I think I’m just saying this,” she chortles, a little embarrassed but I think just more surprised at herself. Okay, he says. Okay, she replies, looking away and blushing. “Now I’m embarrassed.” He moves in to kiss her, but before he can, she pulls back. “Forget I just said that,” she says. And then she kisses him back.
“Our intelligence is pretty good,” Alicia tells Colin Sweeney, the two of them alone in the main conference room, “the Supreme Court will hand down its decision tomorrow.” “Ah,” he says, standing, “where does that leave me?” He’s got one hand on the back of his chair now, and he’s careful not to look at Alicia. We have to finish the trial before than, she says. “In other words, I’m screwed,” he surmises. Just so. “Isobel hurt us in court yesterday,” Alicia acknowledges. “There is still time to turn her around, but in order to do that, I have to know what’s going on.” Now he does look, but he hesitates. It’s almost like he’s embarrassed.
“You flatter me, Mrs. Florrick,” he says, leaning over the table. “You assume that, like you, I’d know and understand the person that I’m romantically involved with, but, unfortunately, I’m not you.” You can say that again.
Dressed in his typical plaid shirt, Kurt McVeigh makes frantic notes from the cell phone video. More bare stomachs, the same crashing china, the same squealing and the sound of gunfire and someone saying “there’s a gun! come on!”. He rewinds to two girls kissing next to a Tiffany lamp. He freezes the frame, stares at it.
Looking unhappy and pensive, Diane sits behind her desk. Kalinda slips into her office, looking even more unhappy. “So this is how this should work,” Diane tests out a new plan. “You come to me saying I was wrong about your father, and there’s something on this computer that will prove it.” Kalinda sits down with a laptop clutched to her legs; she’s not going to say that. She’s sorry. “No, let’s do it,” Diane declares, getting on her glasses. ‘We looked at Christmas past, we looked at Christmas present, now for Christmas yet to come.” Tell me when you want me to stop it, Kalinda says (what, Diane can’t click the pause button?) and starts a video, a video in which Kurt McVeigh is features prominently ranting about the government and – oh frabjous joy – suggesting the idea that succession from the Union isn’t really out of the question. Aw, come on. He’s not that loony, is he? He couldn’t possibly be. At least the Southern states were united by geography as well as a common purpose. Gun rights may be popular in the South – where he does not live, mind you – but they’re not the basic structure of the Southern economy, not the way slavery was. Big eye roll for you, Kurt.
“Would it be too ironic to ask you to shoot me?” Diane asks Kalinda when the latter shuts off the video. No, not at all. Kalinda smiles ruefully. “Look, the problem is not with the court, the problem is with the campaign. The secession talk.” Yeah, she got that. “Whatever your relationship is with McVeigh, I would advise you put it on hold until you’ve been appointed.” Well, how hard could that be? It’s been at least six months since she talked to him the last time, right? Of course she didn’t accidentally propose to him the last time. Diane folds the lap top now. ‘Six months,” she says.
“I know you have concerns about Mr. Sweeney’s history,” Alicia tells Isobel, who’s got on a fiery red dress in a similar cut to the black one she wore to testify (which is to say draped with a plunging neckline) even if this one has padded shoulders and thicker fabric. It takes a second for Isobel to catch her meaning, and then she waves it off with an “oh, that.” Huh. “I was just kidding. I’m not worried about that. I have every intention of being Mrs. Colin Sweeney.” O-kay. So what’s going on? She smiles without showing her teeth. Alicia’s asks for an explanation, and it comes. “I don’t want a a pre-nup.” Ah ha.
“Colin’s insisting on one,” she adds. “And that’s why you…” Alicia says. “Lied in court? Yeah.” If he drops the demand for a pre-nup, she’ll change her testimony back. “I think I was wrong about your hair,” she muses as Alicia stands, pretty in a beige suit. “It looks good.”
That it does, Isobel, that it does.
And look, there’s the smiling face of the King of Tools, Gregory Steck, sitting on some lobby furniture, head tilted, smug as ever. “Greg,” Robyn greets him, trying not to show her embarrassment. “What’re you doing here?” She’s wearing a shirt in curvy peacock=colored stripes. “Well, I couldn’t get you to return my texts, so I thought I’d try you in person.” Wow. That’s, um, prompt. Or pushy. Or something. I mean, he can’t have waited more than what, 8 hours, most of which would have been spent sleeping, right? Looking mortified, she covers with a story of a hang over. “Yeah, mine’s pretty bad too,” he replies. “Look, I know what you were after last night,” he says. “What do you mean?” she covers, “I was after a good time!” Hee. Can I hug her, please?
I saw the coverage of the Sweeney case, he says. “And I looked you up, you never passed the bar.” Oops. Wait, when did he even have time to do that? You can see that she’s not sure if she should brazen it out, or come up with a plausible lie, but she just ends with a blushing, giggling smile and an apology. He shakes his head, clearly impressed with her chutzpah, not at all offended by her lies. It is a weirdly adorable moment, and I go from loathing him to wanting to hug him, too, in under a second. He didn’t look like someone who could laugh at himself or take being played with such good grace. “The Miles opinion comes out today, at five o’clock,” he smiles – and this time, his grin is genuine. That wipes the smile right off her face, though. “The Chief Justice has a wedding in Bermuda and he wants the extra day.” Uh oh, she responds. “Yeah,” he agrees, giving her an earnest look, “so I’d hurry.”
She starts to hurry, but turns back to him, her face contorting through several variations on puzzlement. “Thank you, Greg,” she says, clearly confused as to why he’s come to warn her. Oh, silly, you don’t know your own strength. “Can I see you again?” he asks, and she gives him a rueful face, head tilted, that answers him without words. “No, but – thanks!” She rushes away, and leaves him standing in reception, mouth open, and I totally can’t decide if I want him to woo her or I’m just pleased to see him taken down a peg.
Turns out that Kurt was staring at a lamp “in the classic Tiffany style” and now he and Diane are back at the club to look at it. “It was shattered in the tumult,” they’re told by Mr. Creep/Crete, but the glass has been replaced and the original frame still remains. “See,” Kurt says, showing Diane the footage on his phone,”the lamp was intact.” Yes, it got knocked over, declares Whatever His Name Really Is who showed them the bullet hole earlier. “No, it was hit,” Kurt says with authority. How can he tell? “Ricochet,” he adds, but he can’t get Diane’s attention. When the Hershorn Club flunky walks off, he speaks. “Don’t be embarrassed, Diane. I’m not rejecting it.” You foolish man, she’s not thinking about you.
“Rejecting what?” she stirs herself to say, which should be a clue to him that she’s lost in terrible musings about her dad, but I suppose she’s thrown him for a loop, too. “Marriage,” he says. “I just … need time to think.” He finds a divot in the structure of the stain glass lamp. “Point of ricochet,” he points. “Meaning?” Diane asks. “Much as I hate to admit it, your guy is still innocent,” he explains.
And then he’s on the stand, and the cell phone video is on the big screen, in a shot which features the lamp and the blond girl whose underwear makes two horizontal bands across her back. “I base part of my calculations on witness testimony,” he says, “which of course is inherently unreliable, unlike physical evidence.” Will motions to him to speed things up. He does, stumbling a little. “Here you can see that the lamp was still in tact, it was standing on the opposite side of the room from the doorway to the Camellia Room. The club thought it was broken in the melee at the party, which is why it was excluded from the crime scene evidence.” But it wasn’t, Will asks. No. “It was shot at.” Laura objects, and Will blazes right past her, handing out evidence before the judge makes him wait to so we can hear officially that Laura’s unnamed objection has no weight. She’s annoyed.
“Can you tell the court what that mark is on the lamp shade,” he asks Kurt. He does; it’s a nick, caused by being hit by a bullet, and it means that the shooter didn’t come from inside the Camellia room at all, but from the opposite side (presumably of the main lounge). You mean where the witness Michael Catalani testified he was standing? Kurt says the physics agrees with that conclusion. Laura objects; this time the judge asks on what grounds. “Something two questions ago?” she tries. “Speculation?” Ha. “Oh, okay,” sneers Politi, “overruled.”
“No more questions, Your Honor, and no more witnesses,” Will explains. “The defense rests, and we have our summation.” He sits back down. Fine. McVeigh can go, the defense can sum up their case. Alicia stands, smoothing her jacket. “The evidence proves that Mr. Colin Sweeney did not shoot the gun, Your Honor; he’s innocent.” She sits back down.
Love it! It’s like speed dating. Speed trial-ing?
Laura looks up in confusion and wonder. “Good,” declares Politi in his gravely voice, “I like this new way of conducting trials.” The members of the defense smirk at each other.
Diane’s reading in her office, resplendent in crimson, when Kurt knocks on her door. Oh, the reckoning. This makes me sad, this thought of them slipping away from each other yet again, and why it should – considering that they’re such an unlikely pair – I don’t know. It does, though. He lets himself in with a quiet greeting, which she returns with a pleasant smile. “Dropping off your invoice?” she asks; he looks quietly hurt at the suggestion, and she apologizes. “It’s been an odd series of days,” she admits, wringing her hands. There’s no word from the judge, who’s still deliberating. “I wish I could say good luck on that,” he throws up his hands, and she snorts. We can see her prize photo with Hilary very clearly behind her shoulder. “Sweeney’s a hard man to cheer for,” she agrees, rubbing her knuckles. They lapse into silence.
He shakes his head, considering something, and it’s clearly a bad sign. “I think we should wait, and, think about marriage,” he says gravely. Ah, there it is. Well, that’s just what Kalinda wanted, isn’t it? The right move for her career? All she has to do is agree, and he won’t even need to know that she had reasons to reject him, that being with him’s not expedient. She nods, smiling faintly, but as she keeps nodding, her agreement turns into a frown. “I don’t know,” she puzzles. “I’m afraid we’ll always be waiting.” Well, instead of jumping into marriage I suppose you could try dating for more than a week at a time. A happy medium? A place to start? Surely there’s isn’t a normal way of waiting.
He gives her a calculating look. “Maybe that’s fine,” he says, almost challenging. Ouch. She smiles and nods again. I think I’d have been crushed by that. “I’ll talk to you,” he says, backing out, and she looks away, still worrying at her knuckles and twisting a large gold ring. She looks unhappy. “Wait! ” she asks, pushing off her desk to stand. “I don’t wanna wait. Please. I don’t wanna wait! I don’t.” She crosses the room to stand with him, chin up, challenging, excited, pleased. He looks at the floor, mouth open, considering. “And then what?” She straightens her shoulders, inhales, opens her mouth to answer.
I’ve come to a decision, declares Judge Politi. Oh, you people suck, seriously. That was just mean. “And unfortunately Miss Hellinger I’ve arrived at the conclusion that there’s not enough evidence to prove the gun charge against Mr. Sweeney. According, I must find him not guilty on this charge.” He slumps in relief, and Will pats his shoulder. (Note that Alicia does not touch him.) “However, Mr. Sweeney,” the judge continues, “you’re pretty much a scumbag.” Yep, that’s accurate. Sweeney looks down at the floor. Wow, is he actually hurt? “I know I’ll probably get censured for that, but I really don’t care.” I’m not a fan of all Politi’s opinions, but you have to admire the gusto with which he lives them. “I do find you guilty of disorderly conduct, and sentence you to a 1,500 dollar fine and 30 days incarceration, to be served immediately. We’re done here, thank God,” he finishes, banging his gavel.
Colin reaches out to shake Will’s hand, which annoys me a little since it’s Alicia who’s his lawyer, but whatever. “Thank you, again,” he says. “You still have to serve thirty days,” Will replies in regret. “I know, but, ah, at least I have something to look forward to on my release,” Colin replies, looking back at Isobel, in case we were wondering. At least you’re going to get released! That’s what I’m talking about. I think he’ll have to work really hard to toe the line from now on, though, because those two strikes will always be out there.
“So you decided no pre-nup,” Alicia confronts Colin, and how funny is it that she’s protective of him after all this? He looks toward his girl, his face sappy. “I love her too much,” he declares, his words even sappier than his expression. Who knew! “She’s going to cheat you,” Alicia warns, and again, that’s so funny. Don’t cheat the nasty vile murderer! “I know,” he grumbles. “It’s okay. I’ll just kill her.” Will and Alicia absolutely turn to stone in front of him. Then Alicia’s eyes rolls up in her head, and he walks away, smiling.
“I’ll wait for you!” Isobel calls out, rushing toward him. He knows. For that long, lonely month. Ha. “Can he have these?” she asks, thrusting a hand toward him, clutching black lace panties in her fist. Will and Alicia turn like fans at a tennis match, but the bailiff shakes his head no. I should say not! A fifties style tune plays as Sweeney asks her to hold them for him. Ah, romance! Alicia and Will shrug at each other and then leave separately.
At home, in her bed, her face once more scrubbed of makeup, Alicia sits and sips her wine. “Oh, my love is unrequited,” the singer croons. She stares at her phone (I half expect her to play his old voice mail) and eventually dials, biting her lip. “Hello?” the voice over the phone answers. ‘Will, are you busy?” she asks, and he hesitates a fraction of a second before saying no and asking what she wants. “Nothing,” she lies, “just, um, something with work.” And then she hears Laura’s voice, low and laughing in the background. “I will call you back, I’m fine,” she says, and she pushes the button and tosses the phone forward so it shoots out of her hand, appalled and disgusted with herself.
“Who was that, Alicia?” Laura asks, sitting next to Will on his office couch. She has on a very pretty silk blouse in a kind of muddled pink. Yeah, he murmurs, and then leans forward to kiss her. She responds, but breaks away almost immediately, flashing a hand up in front of her face. “I’m not being honest,” she says. “You’re not?” You can see he’s still hoping this might be some sort of sexy game, his arm still draped over her shoulders; it isn’t. “No, and I should be.” She clears her throat. “There was a guy I dated in the military,” she says, shaking her head, “who’s recently come back into my life.” What? “Oh?” he asks, and then she balls up into apologies and shoots to her feet. “No, no, hey,” he downplays it, trying to put her at her ease. He stretches to a standing position. “I get it.”
“Congratulations,” she spins to say, her long, long ponytail whipping around her neck. “For?” he wonders. The case, she answers, as if to say what else could I have meant? Oh, he closes his mouth, and raises his glass (somehow, there is always a glass) in salute. She speeds out of the office, and it’s not until she’s beyond his view that we see the tears on her face, and understand the lie. “Oh, my love is unrequited,” Lykke Li wails, and we see Laura rush to the elevators, and Will drink from his highball glass, and Alicia swallowing her wine and leaning her head back onto her headboard. “Oh, my love is unrequited. Oh, my love is unrequited!”
So. Okay. Hmmm.
Now, mostly I loved that episode. Yes, there was a lot of dwelling on what I didn’t like, but 80% off it at least I thought was great. I don’t really get how Laura knew there was so much unresolved between Will and Alicia, but I guess I like her enough that I’m really relieved she isn’t going to be more hurt than she already has been. I don’t feel like we’re seeing a lot of longing looks or anything that would give them away, other than that phone call, but whatever. Maybe she just has excellent intuition.
And, yeah, the ranting. It is definitely not a shipping issue but a character consistency one: I hate the thought of Alicia falling into something that’s going to hurt her. If she chooses Will, she chooses him – but to choose Peter and then be with Will because the sex is too good? Isn’t that the worst of all possible worlds? I mean, it was disappointing enough before from a romantic angle, but at least at that point she considered herself sundered from Peter. This is something else entirely, and it upsets me. I don’t feel like it does service as a plot to either the A/W shippers or (obviously) the A/P shippers. Blech.
Okay. So I’m not going to dwell on it. And I don’t want to dwell too close on the very squicky but also very entertaining Sweeney and Swift show. Man is my brother going to complain about the search terms that her testimony will bring us… Anyway, they’re enjoyable. And Politi, too, is brash and fun and grumpy and I enjoyed him immensely. Helps that he didn’t say anything sexist this time.
What I really loved, though, was Diane. Is she going to come back to the next episode married? That’s really delightful. Personally I don’t think I could marry someone whose political opinions were so wildly opposed to my own, but on the other hand I know couples like that, and of course my brother and I are really close and we fight constantly about politics. But either way, Diane and Kurt are cute and I love that she won’t let the judgeship stop her from claiming something for herself. (I hope she didn’t fire the housekeeper, either. Damon and Elena in a truck, I died. Too hilarious.) My heart broke for her in the conversations about her father; I can’t even imagine that kind of crushing disappointment. She and Kalinda had some beautiful, beautiful scenes together, they really did.
And of course, there’s Cary and Robyn. She’s so adorable that she turn super-tool Gregory Steck into a puppy dog! She is just the Queen of Awesome. Maybe Cary should get together with her.
So, what do you guys think? An apology, before the fact (or is that confession?): I’m heading out on vacation on the 15th, so my recap of 4.20 is going to be quite late. I can give you a super quick write up before I go if you want, but for the real thing, there will be serious time delay. I can still give you a full on recap, though, assuming that’s what you want. And in the meantime, let’s talk about this episode!