E: What, no five word titles for season five? I admit I was not a fan of that cutesy nomenclature in the beginning, but after four seasons of full on commitment I find it very strange of them to quit now. The five word constraint must have been really awkward.
In other news, there’s no talk of commitment ceremonies and Hawaii (what happened to time off, Peter?), but we do set up themes for the season – endings, beginnings, betrayal, temptation – as well as a bit of a timeline. Two weeks until Peter takes office, three weeks until Florrick, Agos & Associates becomes a reality, and Lockhart/Gardner comes crashing down.
As you probably expected, season five begins exactly where season four left off – with the darkness, the peep hole, the sound of knocking, Alicia opening her apartment door to Cary, standing before us in that gorgeous asymmetrical dress, and declaring that she’s in. She can’t quite contain her glee. “With Agos/Florrick?” he confirms, and she laughs. “Florrick/Agos,” she grins, prompting a snicker from him.
“Cory in litigation,” he tells her, sitting on her kitchen island as she passes him treats, “Jeremy family law, Andre acquisitions, they all wanted to join, they’re all good.” She agrees with this assessment and moves to sit. I take it those aren’t fourth year associates, then. “And what about Kalinda?” No, Cary admits, looking down at the island unhappily, it’s Robyn. Because of the money. Stupid, stupid… “You okay with that?” he asks, tossing back a shot. “Yeah,” she frowns, trying to put a label on her unease, “it’s so weird. Everything’s ending.” Beginning too, Cary observes. When Alicia’s phone rings, she sees that its Will – of course it is – and she doesn’t pick up.
“So,” she redirects the conversation, frowning at her shot glass, “how’re we going to tell ’em?” Cary doesn’t know who she means. “Will and Diane,” Alicia growls, because it’s a stupid question. “Oh,” he declares, “it’s the circle of life; they had to leave their old law firm to start Lockhart/Gardner.” Yeah, somehow I don’t think they’re going to be so blaze about this. It makes sense that he would care less than Alicia does, that he wouldn’t see it from their point of view. “I have the death row appeal on Thursday,” she declares, “I will tell them after that.” We have to get some office space anyway, Cary chuckles. “Unless you want to take the Sweeney offer.” She snorts. The answer to that would be a resounding hell no.
After a peal of laughter, Cary remembers something. “Hey, I forgot. Congratulations – Mrs. First Lady!” For a moment, she fall silent, a piece of cracker inches from her mouth. I forgot, she muses.
The next scene opens on the back of some man’s head. Is it Will? Peter? Neither, but a random stranger blocking Alicia’s view of – ugh. Tiny room, tiny bleacher full of people, windows covered with blinds. I thought they were waiting for an appeal, but this looks like they’re observing the execution so I guess the appeal must not have gone well. “What time is it?” Alicia whispers to Diane, who glowers at her watch. Much to Alicia’s shock, it’s been 2 hours and 10 minutes. And no, Diane assures her that that’s not normal. A middle aged woman in the front row shoots them a dirty look. I’ve never been to an execution, but surely even there you wouldn’t sit without a word for that long?
“Is that one of the moms?” Alicia wonders, and Diane nods. It’s Mrs. Henning. I cant help noticing that Mrs. Henning has gotten her hair done for this event. I’m kind of lost in that detail, the level of fury that must require. “God, she must hate us,” Alicia sighs.
On that thought, orderlies pull up the blinds. In the window, as I feared, a prisoner lies on a table, his arms spread wide in grotesque imitation of Christ on the cross. Three other men stand by the prisoner’s head, and raise the surgical table so that the prisoner can see those who have come to watch his death. The warden steps into view, familiar from our last visit to death row, and the reading of the warrant commences.
“Whereas Eddie Alan Fornum, on the 26th of May, 1999, murdered both Lynn Gore and Susan Henning…” On the gurney, Eddie shakes his head; an orderly pulls down a microphone in front of the warden, rather to his annoyance. “And where Eddie Alan Fornam was adjudicated guilty of two counts of murder in the first degree and sentenced to death, we will now carry out the sentence. Mr. Fornum, do you have any last words?” The orderly twists the microphone arm so Fornum can speak and be heard.
“I’m sorry to everyone here,” he gasps, his voice weary and near to breaking. “To my new lawyers, Diane and Alicia, I have a favor to ask of you both.” His breathing is labored as he fights for control. “Please,” he cries, sniffling, vainly fighting the tears,”if you could go see my mom. I was her only son, and I was a disappointment.” He breaks. “To the parents of Miss Henning and Miss Gore,” he begins again, struggling to compose himself through shuddering breaths; Diane and Alicia fight to contain their own emotions, tears threatening. “I am sorry, what happened to your daughters.” Mrs. Henning’s perfectly curled hair twitches. “But I did not do this.” Oh God.
“I wish I could say what was happening here today was just…” and at this point something thick and dark starts gushing out of his right arm. Oh my God. Is it blood? Is it the drug? I am crazy squeamish about that kind of thing, but I can’t look away. “Because that might bring you some … because that might…” The orderlies converge on Fornum and his arm, and the blinds crash down; only at the last second does Fornum even sense something is wrong with his body.
Twitching in her seat, clearly wishing she could see something through the blinds, Alicia seems unsure if she should act. “They’re having trouble finding a line,” Diane realizes. A line? Don’t you mean a vein? The name partner snaps off her glasses and stalks out; Alicia’s still uncertain whether she should follow. Diane walks to the window, where she can see through the blinds the struggle in the execution chamber.
“M’am, please sit down,” a guard walks up behind her. She doesn’t move. He repeats his order, and a second guard grabs Diane by the elbow. “I’m going to need to talk to the warden,” Diane turns, her voice urgent. The guards are having none of it; when they begin to physically drag Diane away from the window, her blond hair flying, Alicia scrambles to join her. “Warden! Warden Barkin, I need to speak to you!”
The voice of reason, Alicia meets them at the door. “We’re Eddie’s lawyers, you can’t just…” “We can and we will,” the first guard insists ominously. But luckily for us, Warden Barkin is on the other side of the door. “Wait,” he says, and Diane yanks her arm away from her captor. “Sir, this is an 8th Amendment violation,” she thunders. Lower your voice, he demands, and she does, realizing that the entire room is watching them avidly. “Miss Lockhart, I know. We’re all tense. Two medical technicians are having trouble finding a suitable vein, but that is all.” Diane’s mouth flies open. “Mr. Fornum was an intravenous drug user and many of his veins have collapsed.” Gross.
“And you have been trying for two hours and twenty minutes to find a vein?” Diane hisses; Barkin’s unhappy snort proves her theory. “Yes, but we’re now attempting to run a line in his foot,” he mumbles, knowing he’s in the wrong. This is torture, Diane insists. “This is the definition of torture.” “That’s not for you to say, m’am,” the Warden snaps, leaning into Diane’s face. “That’s right,” Alicia counters, “it’s for the court.” Broom v. Strickland, Diane quotes, leaping in with the relevant case law, her whisper fierce and uncompromising. “This execution is a direct violation of 8th Amendment protections and it should be delayed! Until you can insure it’s proper administration!” Again, we see the medical staff working feverishly over Mr. Fornum through the blinds.
And as Barkin clearly knew it would, their argument works. Looking haunted and guilty, Alicia arrives at Lockhart/Gardner, a cardboard box in her arms. Seriously, Sydney Bristow looks less obvious as a double agent. “Hi, could you open a door for me?” a cheery voice asks, and when Alicia spins, she sees a round face looking out of – is that an ipad? On top of a vacuum cleaner? At Alicia’s mumbled “sure” the cheery woman introduces herself as Monica from litigation, who’s teleconferencing from home. Wow. That’s kind of cool. Unfortunately, steering doesn’t seem to be a strong point of the teleconference-bot, because it slams repeatedly into the conference room door frame. “Just shut the door on it!” David Lee snarks, because of course he does.
“Alicia just got here,” Will says to Diane, who seems to be on speakerphone. “Good,” she says. “She has the legal aid work. They want us to take point on the appeal.” Of course they do. The execution has been rescheduled for Saturday at midnight. Everyone groans over only having 48 hours to appeal, but Will keeps the faith. ‘Look, it’s a second chance, that’s all we need.” At his prompting, Robyn reaches into the box Alicia’s brought with the case work. “Eddie Alan Fornum was arrested in July 1999 for the murder of two seventeen year old girls outside a movie theater after a botched car-jacking. Eddie had an alibi, but he was found in possession of one of the girl’s necklaces.” Which he bought at a flea market, Alicia jumps in; next to her, Monica’s head nods fervently. “And his hair was found on the bodies.”
Ah. Now that’s a serious problem. If it were me writing the story, I’d be going after the fact that hair analysis has been totally discredited as forensic science. I’m kind of surprised that the Kings wouldn’t go after the most ripped-from-the-headlines angle. Diane (standing in the court house, fingers in her ears) doesn’t bring up the problem with analysis, but she definitely wants to retest the hair. What about the snitch, Robyn wonders, looking more dressed up than usual but still in her quirky style with her black and white birdie sweater. “He’s the real reason Eddie was convicted.” Sadly, the snitch died 6 years ago. “I don’t think we’ll find much there,” Diane concludes.
Will wastes no time breaking the extras up into teams. Tanya will take the witnesses and testimony, Cary (not our Cary, which, what?) the forensics, and Robyn the background of the experts. Monica shorts out as she tries to express – outrage? Something? Sigh. She flashes back and forth with a video and some screaming. “Thanks, Monica. Good point.” David Lee complains drily. “I am really needed here, or can I go?” He pushes off, not waiting for an answer. Why was a divorce lawyer there in the first place, other than comic relief? “We have 48 hours,” Will finishes his pep talk, “let’s make ’em count.” Yes, O Captain my Captain!
“Cary, hold on a minute,” he calls out. And no, it’s not new, dark haired Cary (seriously, it’s unlikely enough there would be one Cary that age at this firm), it’s “Cary Cary.” And he needs Alicia, too. Rutroh! He confirms with Diane that 48 hours isn’t enough time to get the hair retested. As Diane continues to work the evidentiary line, Will, Cary and Alicia will attempt to buy her more time. “How?” she wonders; he has no idea.
Kalinda has some news for Diane, though it takes a minute in the loud and crowded hall to actually hear it. It turns out that the hair was already re-tested six years ago. (Of course none of this takes into account the fact that hair testimony isn’t reliable. Come on, Kings. You’re supposed to be smarter than me, or at least more informed.) And oddly, it wasn’t retested back in Indiana during an appeal – it was retested here, in Chicago. Say what?
It turns out that Will does have an idea up his sleeve. “Your Dad knows Barry Scheck,” he confirms with Cary as they plunge through his office doors. “Yeah, he did. Why?” Turns out that Mr. Scheck, well known death penalty opponent, is in Federal Court today, right here in Chicago, on an 8th Amendment class action. Hmm. Weren’t we just talking about the 8th Amendment? “Call him,” Will demands, holding out the handset off his desk.
“Hey Cary, what’s up?” Barry Scheck – yes, the real Barry Scheck once again – says into his phone. “Barry. Mr. Scheck. We need some help on the Eddie Alan Fornum appeal.” Why do they have corded phones? Do people still have those in their offices? Cary goes on to say that the team would like to contribute to Scheck’s class action. Barry frowns; he doesn’t think the judge would be opening to adding another plaintiff this late in the game. “I know,” Cary smirks. “We don’t wanna join.” Um, alrighty then. Count Barry and I confused.
Stomping down the hall, classical music blaring behind her, Alicia’s startled as Robyn walks by. “I’m glad you’re coming with us,” the sunny investigator proclaims, utterly without discretion. Alicia’s going to have a heart attack before this is over. Other Cary leaps comically, changing directions to follow Alicia. “Hey, Cary told me. Good news! Can I tell the clients?” What, Alicia gasps, flustered. “The governor’s wife, joining our new firm. It’s a selling point.” No, Alicia hisses, highly aware of the twenty other people rushing through the hall. Amateurs. You’re surrounded by amateurs. “Please don’t.” She rushes off, leaving Second Rate Cary to be glad handed by a crowd of fellow defectors in what’s presumably his office – and David Lee narrowing his eyes in suspicion. Oh, crap.
Moments later he’s leaning on the reception desk by the elevator, still frowning, waiting for Kalinda. “Get rid of those,” he says, pointing at the cardboard box of execution-related documents she’s carting, “and let’s talk.” They stalk off in opposite directions, and predictable David runs into Machine Monica. “Get out of my way,” David growls, hands up so we all know that he’s holding back his justified fury.
The two meet again in the large conference room. David and Kalinda, that is. She slaps her little red notebook on the table, and he claps his hands together as she sits. “Here’s what I need. All the phone numbers called by the fourth year associates over the last three months.” Oh crap. Why, she wonders coolly. He leans in, elbows on the table. “I think some of the fourth years are trying to leave with our clients.” I love that he thinks he’s dropping a bombshell here; Kalinda, master of the poker face, asks what makes him think such an astounding thing. “Because I’m psychic,” he smirks.
“Well, I can’t legally access their calls.” Like that’s stopped you before? Still, these are your own people. There’s something super creepy about that. David, of course, sees no ethical line being crossed. “They’re using the company’s cell phones. They’re not their phones, they’re ours.” Nodding, Kalinda agrees. Pretty dumb not to think about that – but then again, these high-fiving co-conspirators are being pretty dumb all around. Dumb enough to make him this suspicious? I’m not sure, but definitely not as smart as they need to be. “Just get me the meta-data,” he finishes, leaving the room, “I wanna see who they’re calling.” Oh, crap crap crap.
“Eli, I’m on a death row appeal, I don’t have time!” There must be seven people at least in Alicia’s office, and she’s typing away fiercely on her laptop, phone under her ear. “But this is important,” the weaselly consultant whines. Ha ha, Eli. Alicia takes a moment to consider this attitude. “Eli, did you just hear me? I said death row appeal.” Why she can’t believe he’s this callow after all these years I don’t know, but there it is.
“Oh,” he’s taken aback, walking through a busy hallway. Is it a hotel? Some of the people ducking into rooms look like waiters in tuxedos. Did I see that wrong? “I thought that was hyperbole,” he shrugs. Heh. Anyway, what he wants is still super important; she promised to be here at 4 and she’s already delayed twice! Yes, it’s so inconvenient that saving a man’s life keeps getting in the way. Counterfeit Cary pops up looking for the hair evidence, which Alicia hands over. They quickly determine that she can do this Sunday night at 7, assuming that Fornum is executed at midnight the night before, anyway. “What is this again?” Alicia wonders. “It’s the basic ethics talk for the governor-elect’s family.” She rolls her eyes. I can only imagine how weird that one’s going to be. The Real Cary barges in with talk of a new strategy, and Alicia’s done with Eli.
That’s fine, because Eli’s reached his destination – Peter’s spacious and well appointed temporary office. So, I guess it’s not a hotel? The room is long and gorgeous with antiques and warm rugs and a beautiful wooden conference table – which, huh? Peter’s not in his office, but Melissa George is, sitting at the conference table wearing glasses that say “I’m beautiful AND smart.” Upon Eli’s confusion she stands, introducing herself as Marilyn Garbanza, executive director of the Illinois Ethics Commission. Ha ha ha. I had no idea the Alias reference was going to be so apt. From the little girl voice to the prim, proper phrasing to the low cut black dress, she’s politician kryptonite. Or maybe just Peter’s, to judge from the way Eli’s jaw hit the floor. “We have a four o’clock,” she replies patiently.
“Actually, I have a four o’clock with Mitch Garbanza,” Eli reads off his phone. “Yes. That’s me. Governor Quinn used to call me Mitch,” she waggles her head. “Why?” Eli can’t help asking. Because it’s amusingly at odds with her ultra-femme image? Or because being a blond bombshell Marilyn around politicians is too on point? She has no idea, she says. “Mrs. Florrick unfortunately has to reschedule for Sunday at 7, if that’s alright.” It is in fact alright. Was that a warning? Interesting, Eli. She walks out, polite and professional, and Eli stares grimly at Peter’s empty chair.
In the hall, Mitch has buttonholed Peter, bringing him a few concerns about things that aren’t illegal but might be unethical. Eli’s quick to join them, pouncing on their topic, which turns out to be the top candidate for Chief of Staff – Mickey Gunn. Marilyn objects to Mickey because Eli’s done work for him, and since Eli’s the head of the search committee, it might look like a favor. That’s tricky, that line. Where do you balance favoritism with hiring great people you happen to know and trust? “Again, I’m not saying you can’t hire him – I don’t have that power – I’m saying, it could look ethically compromised.” Is it me, over is she over rounding some of her vowels here to make her lips really round and pouty looking? Boy, I saw the commercials saying that Peter’d be tempted this season, but they’re really pulling out all the stops to get at him, aren’t they?
“I’ll look into it. Thanks,” Eli nods in the most patronizing and dismissive way. Okay, says Marilyn, and off she goes, demure and submissive as you please. Eli rolls his eyes at Peter; Peter leans in, admonishing his subordinate. “She’s doing her job, Eli.” Eli rolls his eyes to no one.
As the tumble down the hallway, Cary and Will talk over each other in compatible and nearly incomprehensible bursts. Indiana law! Insufficient protections! The mobile printer! Alicia rushes toward them from the other direction, and she and Will stop at the edges of the open elevator bay, unwilling to step in together. Machine Monica floats by with a cheery hello. “New innovation?” Alicia wonders, grateful for an impersonal topic. “Test program,” he shrugs, winning a smile.
“So,” he smiles back, “how does it feel to be First Lady of Illinois?” She shakes her head, bemused. “Weird. Kind of like, First Galactic Princess.” Ha. But now the small talk wanes and the awkward faces come out.
“I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you the other night,” Alicia begins. Oh, don’t worry, Will excuses her as always. “You’ve been celebrating, you’ve been on death row, it’s been…” You’ve been planning to betray your bosses… “It’s been a weird few days,” she agrees. Right, and he doesn’t know the half of it as he gazes back at her adoringly. That look – that patient, understanding, forgiving look – must be killing her. “We can talk,” she says; when this is over, he agrees. Well, actually, she was hoping for before. She was? Really? How’s that going to work? “Alright I got it,” Cary puffs past them and into the elevator with the mobile printer. Grimacing, she follows him into the elevator.
Diane bursts into a busy courtroom. Wow, they paid through the roof for extras for this episode, huh? She peers around, eventually finding her quarry. “ASA Pine?” she calls out. Yay, Geneva Pine! (She looks completely beautiful with that high ponytail, but in a professional and non-Marilyn-like way. Please tell me she’s running for State’s Attorney in the special election to replace Peter: get on it, Kings!) Geneva gives Diane a surprised hello. “You worked at the South Bend prosecutor’s offices, didn’t you?” Well that’s lucky. Geneva doesn’t understand why Diane’s asking, “You were the assistant prosecutor in the Eddie Fornum homicide?” And now she knows. Geneva’s hands fall uselessly to her sides as she stands, for once without a snarky rejoinder.
“Do you know how we know that?” Diane presses. Let’s guess: because she was the one who had the hair re-tested? Ding ding ding! Geneva is so not talking about this. “They’re going to execute him,” Diane says in that low, throbbing voice we hear when something really matters to her, “they tried once, and they’re execute him in 48 hours.”
Despite being one of the people who put him in jail, Geneva refuses to take the blame. You people had ten years to get him out of prison, she thunders. Why’re you only coming to me now? (Immediately this gets my back up because Diane has clearly not had this case for ten years.) She’s furious, pointing her finger. “Don’t you come to me with 40 hours left!” Ah, she does outrage so well. You think he’s innocent, Diane insists. “I think you’re out of time,” Geneva replies, pivots and sails out of the room. “At least give us the test!” Diane cries, but there’s no relenting. Immediately the defense attorney snaps out her phone. “Will,” she says, too quick to have even speed-dialed; has he been listening in? “I have a lead. I need time.”
“That’s a very good point, Your Honor,” The Real Barry Scheck tells Judge Jeffrey Tambor. “It wasn’t a point, Mr. Scheck,” the judge grumbles, chin touching his chest, “I just wanted you to finish.” Ha! Excellent. Scheck attempts to spin out even more time (“and I’ll address that point now”), when to his relief Will, Alicia and Cary burst in the door. Halleluiah! “But before I do, let me introduce my co-counsel,” he says, and Will whispers his name into Scheck’s ear so he can make the introduction. Love it. “Your Honor, if it pleases the court, we ask that the execution of Eddie Alan Fornum be delayed…” Is his first name really just Eddie? Odd to use a nickname with the formality of his middle name, no? Okay, sorry, back to the case.
“Your Honor,” the prosecutor (Molly Price of The Bionic Woman) begins, but Judge waves her off. “No, I’m way way ahead of you, Miss Sesko,” he says, pining Will down with his dry, malevolent stare. “You know it doesn’t please the court. Not very much pleases the court.” He throws up his arms, as if challenging Will to please him. He’s the epitome of a grumpy old man; this show does that so well. “But your guy is not going to join this suit. Now…” Will cuts him off. “You misunderstand me, Your Honor,” he says. “We’re not looking for Eddie Alan Fornum to join the suit.” Um, okay. I’ll bite. “We’re looking for him to be the evidence.”
And that impressive and unexpected bit of sophistry makes crusty old Judge George Kluger smile.
“Mr. Fornum’s testimony is the most relevant as to how much pain is suffered in the subject of lethal injection, because he was the subject of lethal injection.” Quite so, Alicia. “Your Honor, I am speechless,” Miss Sesko responds as she and the judge both leaf through paperwork Alicia’s handed them. “Me too,” the judge affirms, still smiling in wry incredulity, “I am speechless. And yet, intrigued. Go on.”
Will takes up the torch. “You Honor, if Mr. Fornum is executed, the state will have destroyed crucial evidence for the plaintiff.” Ha. Sesko’s outraged. ‘Your Honor,” she calls out, “they are trying to delay an execution.” No! The horror! “Of course they are,” wily old veteran Kluger observes, chin in his hand. “How much time do you need to depose him?” The three lawyers call out “a month” “six weeks” and “three days” at the same moment. Oops. They wince in comical embarrassment. You have till Monday, the judge decides. Another 48 hours to pull another rabbit out of the hat. Another 48 hours for Alicia to pretend to be committed to Lockhart/Gardner. Another chance to miss the meeting with Mitch the Sexy Librarian.
“Your Honor!” Miss Sesko moans. Poor Molly Price. I hope she’s going to get to say more than “Your Honor” over and over. Kluger’s not having her outrage; he waves in her general direction. “Just relax, okay? The state of Indiana can execute him on Tuesday.” Lovely. What better way to start Indiana’s week could there be than poisoning one of its citizens? Delicious. Judge Kluger turns his beady glare back to our team. “I know what you three are doing, but you’re not going to save your guy with schemes. You’re going to buy him a little time, But you’re not going to save him.”
“Time is all we need, Your Honor,” optimist Will insists brightly. “Then use it well,” Kluger suggests. Bang goes the gavel! “Get on with Kalinda,” Will leans in to Alicia, who nods. “We bought her another 48 hours.”
Zach and Grace sit in the waiting room of “Governor-Elect Florrick’s office.” A cute, preppy young intern keeps asking Grace if he can help her and if she’s really truly sure that there’s nothing she needs. No, she smiles up at him, a little giggly and definitely pleased, she’s fine. Older brother Zach is not so pleased. Is this guy scamming his own sister in front of him? Ick. “I’m fine, thanks,” he calls after the boy.
Looks like Mitch Garbanza Bean got to make her presentation after all. “4 of the last 8 governors of Illinois have gone to prison.” (I don’t see how it’s not 4 of 9, but whatever, it’s still an appalling statistic.) She turns dramatically to Alicia and Eli as bars slam down on the number in her automated presentation. Oh, so impressive. “Four of the last eight.” While I agree that this is important to emphasize, the tone seems a little juvenile. Eli and Alicia play along, nodding fervently. I’m trying to decide if Peter’s record is a good thing; can we say he’s just gotten the inevitable out of the way already?
“Which is why we need to remember that the spouse and the children are an extension of the governor. Your choices become his choices.” I guess it’s true that some of the spouses have helped send the governor on the road to prison. Oh, Alicia does not like that reminder at all. “Now I’ve looked over your work at Lockhart/Gardner, Alicia, there shouldn’t be any problem there, as long as you don’t actively solicit clients who have business with the governor’s office.” So what, she can passively solicit them? “And that your relationship with the governor isn’t used a lure to clients.” Now there’s the vexing point.
“It should not look like Peter is receiving back door remuneration through your business,” she continues, and that your clients shouldn’t believe that your spousal connection…” Hopefully it goes without say that there shouldn’t BE back door remuneration? Alicia leans over to Eli and hisses that they need to talk. “About?” he asks, alarmed. “We need to talk,” she repeats firmly.
Soon enough she’s huddled in a doorway with Peter and Eli. “I’m starting my own firm,” she spits out. Peter blinks. He can’t stop blinking. Eli’s reaction of course is larger; he staggers as if she’s hit him. “When?” Next week, assuming they don’t keep prolonging Eddie Fornum’s life. “Me, Cary and ten others. Peter, I wanted to tell you yesterday, but there was just no time.” Peter looks at Eli and then lunges at his wife, gripping her by the shoulders. ‘That’s fantastic!” he squeaks. “You’ve been wanting to do this since law school!” I know, she beams back at him. “But I’m just worried it might complicate your ethical issues.” Aw, perish the thought! Peter doesn’t care; he’s just crazy proud of her. You can bet Eli cares.
“Marilyn was covering all the spousal conflict of interest issues,” he explains to Peter. “Have you told Will?” You are such a buzz kill, Eli. Hell no, she hasn’t. “And Diane?” he adds as a painful after-thought. “No,” she admits, immediately guilty, “just you two.” Someone’s phone rings as Peter can’t contain his joy. “I am damn proud of you, damn proud.” Oh, it’s her phone. Alicia excuses herself, and Eli rolls his eyes at Peter. “What?” the governor-elect hisses.
And now a very unhappy Alicia sits on death row, listening to Eddie Alan Fornum’s story of torture. “There were two nurses,” he begins, his voice low and throbbing, “a man and a woman, and they had the needles. They tried to put them into the veins of my right and my left arm.” As he speaks, he looks at his arms; it’s only when the sentence ends that he looks over at Diane. “And how many times?” Diane asks, but Miss Sesko interjects her objection to this “delaying tactic.” The three women are seated across from the prisoner. Pacing behind them, Will responds with raised hands. “What, you wanna get the judge on the line?” And delay this even more, she snarks? Okay, then why delay it by repeating your needless objection? Hush your mouth! Gently, Diane prompts Eddie to continue.
“And then another nurse came on. I had one, I guess, and he tried again on this arm, but something really hurt.” At this point we can see the bandages covering the inside of both forearms; using the same gentle tone as Diane, Alicia asks if Eddie will show them exactly where.
“Objection!” Lena Sesko snaps. “Good, let’s get the judge,” Will agrees brightly. Ha. “I’m preserving my objection for the record,” Lena replies, looking to the corner of the cell where a court reporter presumably sits. Again, Diane prompts Eddie to continue, and so we sink again into his deep voice and those eyes that hold so much pain and devastation. He struggles to remove the bandage from his right arm – his manacles make it hard for him to move – and despite his protestations, a guard steps in and gently peels back the medical tape so we can see about half of what’s covered. The lawyers peer in; even Ms Sesko looks away quickly and swallows hard when they see the enormous pockets of blood that mark his arm.
“After that, they went to your neck?” Alicia asks. “Yeah. I guess there was a lot of blood because …” he has to pause to regain his composure, “I heard the guy say ‘oops’.” Will frowns as Eddie continues. “The female nurse had to leave the room.” Why, Will wonders; Eddie doesn’t know. “But she was crying.” Perking up at this bit of information, Will has more questions. “Do you remember her name?”
And of course they’re back in Judge Kluger’s court, trying to track down Joan the crying nurse. Surely Ms Sesko can track her down! “Your Honor, the identity of nurses at Indiana State are confidential, so it doesn’t become known that they participated in an execution.” Alicia rolls her eyes. “But that doesn’t shield them from questioning,” Alicia cries in frustration. “We would assert that it does,” Sesko replies primly.
“Really? You’re asserting some kind of immunity, Miss Sesko?” Kluger breaks in, smug because he knows where it’s going. Right. “Your Honor, we need to have a hearing on this question,” Will jumps in as Lena Sesko confers with her co-counsel. “Hold on, hold on,” the judge says, hand up, “Miss Sesko? Any thoughts about walking that one back?” Yeah, I’ll say. We delay, they expedite. She apologizes; there is no such immunity. “But Mr. Gardner is merely using this deposition as a ploy.” Will makes his hilariously outraged face. Never! “And he will insist that Mr. Fornum be kept alive for his rebuttal testimony.”
And, I have to take a break here, because this woman is calmly and coolly expressing her frustration that Eddie Fornum live even a few days more – her outrage that anyone might use a delaying tactic to add even a few moments to another human being’s life. Eddie Fornum isn’t even her case; her case is the larger mechanics of the death penalty. What does it take to make a civilized person argue so passionately against preserving another human life?
“No! No!” Will cries, finger waggling, advancing on the bench. “I was merely going to insist that the AUSA is trying to destroy evidence by expediting this execution.” God, is that true? Surely she couldn’t be so cold as to want him dead because he would affect her case negatively? I mean, I can see it if she simply believes in the death penalty, thinks that he’s guilty and that murdering him will give peace to the Gore and Henning families and hates the endless appeals that go into the process, but, blech. If you were involved in that system, wouldn’t you WANT every possible appeal to make certain you were acting justly and executing the guilty party?
Anyway, the judge is having none of this. No more delays. He establishes that the nurse can be ready to testify tomorrow afternoon. “But that’ll be too late!” Alicia cries, and the judge howls at Will to shut up when he attempts to cut in. “Tomorrow afternoon, after he’s executed?” he asks Miss Sesko. “Well that’s just coincidence,” she answers.
Damn. That is cold. “Make her available this afternoon for a supervised deposition or be held in contempt.” Score another one for our team! I’m queasy at the thought that being held in contempt means more than Eddie Fornum’s life, though.
Geneva swans into the State’s Attorney’s Office, outraged. “How did you get back here?” she asks Diane and Robyn. “I had to use the bathroom,” the perky investigator chirps. Ha. She’s no Kalinda, but I love Robyn. “Security!” Geneva calls out. “You quit Indiana a month after the Fornum conviction. You know there’s something wrong with this case. You know he’s innocent.” Geneva spins around. “He’s not innocent.” Why did you have the hair re-tested, then, Diane wonders. “Why would you do that?” “Because I thought I was wrong,” Geneva admits. “I wasn’t. The test came back consistent with Fornum’s hair.” I don’t believe you, Diane shakes her head.
And that, incredibly, finally prods Geneva into producing the test. Robyn and Diane flip through to the conclusion, mouths open. “That doesn’t mean it’s his hair,” Diane asserts (which is even more true than she knows). All it means is that there’s no convincing you, Geneva sighs.
“Why did you do it six years ago?” Robyn asks. Excuse me, Geneva frowns. “Why did you check the hair evidence, six years ago?” Geneva still doesn’t understand the question. “Well, the date of this report is one week after the snitch Tommy Dyhouse died.” Ah ha. Geneva looks aghast. She swallows hard. “You thought he might be lying?” Diane realizes, but Geneva still attempts to put them off. “I don’t have time…”
“Eddie Fornum doesn’t have time. He escaped execution once, he won’t a second time. This is the moment to come forward, Miss Pine, please.” Her mouth hanging open, Geneva stares at the two women, unsure. “You called for security?” a man’s voice asks from outside our view. Well. That was speedy – not. She waves the officer off.
“I was using Dyhouse on another case,” she admits. “He snitched on a top drug dealer in exchange for his freedom,” she explains, pausing before making the last admission, “and a new identity.” Robyn and Diane stare at each other, mouths slack.
“Will!” Diane gasps into her phone as she bursts through the SA’s office doors. “The snitch is still alive! He’s using the alias…” “Robbie Walker,” Robyn spits into her own phone, giddy with hope. “Kalinda, we have a lead. I think he’s still in the Illinois area.” Forget the hair, Diane tells Will: it’s a dead end. “It’s the snitch. But we need more time to find him.”
“Robbie Walker, aka Tommy Dyhouse,” Kalinda confirms, hanging up her call with Robyn. She sighs as she sets the phone down on the conference table; she’s not happy. “What’d you find out?” David Lee wonders, throwing himself into the chair next to her. As she begins to talk about the snitch, he cuts her off. “No no no. About the fourth year phone calls.”
Bam! Mechanized Monica smashes into the conference room’s glass door. “Do you want me in this meeting?” she yells. Sigh. Really? David jumps, then shudders in anger. “God, go away!” I haven’t looked into the calls yet, Kalinda lies quietly. Sure you have, Lee frowns. “I checked with our provider. They sent you the records.” Then what do you need me for, she wonders resentfully. “Maybe I don’t.” Ah. “Here’s another question for you,” he says, leaning forward, one elbow on the table. “Why aren’t you doing your job?”
“You have a complaint, you go to Will. Or Diane,” she says coolly, taking notes, not looking up at him. “Is this about Cary?” David wonders, raising his eyebrows. “Are you thinking about leaving with him?” Now she does look up, and snorts. “David, you should leave investigating to the professionals. You might hurt yourself.” She picks up her phone and dials.
“Okay! Save that photo, because it’s the last time you’re going to see the ethics committee smiling in my presence,” Peter jokes as a group of six people move away from his desk, breaking up the straight line they stood in. “Thank you, Governor-Elect,” Marilyn smiles smoothly, “Maybe we can talk later?” Not until you call me Peter, the governor-elect schmoozes, pointing his finger at her before flopping down in what passes for a comfy chair to look through more paperwork. Oh, so cheesy. Eli looks askance at the whole thing. After Garbanza Bean has smiled and left, Eli glares at his boss. “We should replace her,” he nods, one leg slung up on Peter’s desk.
“Why?” Peter wonders. “Because the optics aren’t good,” Eli nods. “What optics?” Oh, Peter. Really? Must you feign ignorance? “Her … looks,” Eli chokes. Ha. He then has to assure Peter he’s serious. “I can’t fire someone because they’re too pretty,” Peter stammers. Well, if anyone would understand that, surely it would be the ethics consultant who’s so very aware of the distinction between wrong-doing and the appearance of it. So don’t fire her, promote her, Eli suggests. “Move her laterally. You don’t want sex to be an issue here.” It’s not an issue, Peter calmly reassures his subordinate. “Not for you! But for your enemies. They’d be delighted to crown a new bimbo.” She’s not a bimbo, Peter snaps in disgust, but that’s irrelevant to Eli’s point; it doesn’t matter who she is if what she looks like can be turned to his enemy’s advantage. Peter stands so he can say it right in Eli’s face. “And we don’t do that. We don’t fire someone because of the way they look.” Nicely said, Peter. “Okay,” Eli bites his lip, his reluctance plain.
“It was my first execution,” Nurse Joan tells us from a box. Yes, that’s right; to protect her anonymity the witness box is in this case a four-sided screen around her entire body. Did she walk into the court with a paper bag over her head? “In fact you’re not really a medically trained nurse, is that correct, Joan?” Er, okay. “Well, I have training,” she begins, but Alicia cuts her off. “Yes, but due to the Hippocratic oath, trained doctors and nurses are not allowed to participate in executions, is that right?” So wait, then what is she? An EMT? A phlobotomy tech? A nursing school drop out? “The attorney is testifying, Your Honor,” Miss Sesko complains. “Yes, at some length,” Kluger growls. Oops. “Sustained.” So Alicia moves forward. “Joan, did you leave the execution prep in tears?” Not-nurse Joan struggles with her answer. ‘Well, I was upset.”
“Eddie said you left in tears, do you disagree with that?” No, she doesn’t. “He said it was from the blood spilling from his neck from a faulty IV line?” Alicia’s suddenly suspicious. “That sounds right,” Joan declares, weirdly upbeat, as if she’s not remembering the event at all, “I left because of the blood.” Turning to take a long look at Miss Sesko and her colleague, Alicia changes tactics. “Joan, did the prosecution prepare you for this testimony by telling you to agree with everything I said?” Lena of course objects, but Kluger’s following along and wants to see where this goes.
“She didn’t say ‘agree with everything’ but she did say that you were trying to create disagreement between Fornum and me so that Fornum would have to be kept alive as a rebuttal witness.” And my God, we can’t have that, can we? Perish the thought! More like perish the prisoner. Will straightens in his seat, impressed and pleased by Alicia’s deductive skill. “You are actively deceiving with this court,” Alicia snaps. “No,” Joan insists. “I’m just not seeing any areas of disagreement.” Hmmm. Kluger looks thoughtful. So Alicia closes in with the big question: does Joan believe that Mr. Fornum was tortured? Now here’s the test. If Joan agrees, she’s making the plaintiff’s case, but if she disagrees, it might keep Fornum alive longer.
“I think the offender was in pain,” she says, and now we can hear in her voice that she’s finally back inside her memory of the experience. “He tried to keep from crying and screaming out.” Alicia looks stricken. “I think .. yes. It was torture.” Advancing, Alicia moves in for the even harder question. “And don’t you think this is a systematic problem of lethal injection.” No, she doesn’t think so, although since it was her first execution I’m not sure she has the authority to say. “It was his veins. We’ve never had this problem before.” Again, if she’s never done it before, how could she know that? Alicia’s as baffled as I am. “Eddie’s veins? What do you mean?”
Wildly, she looks over at Will. “He has what we call rolling veins,” Joan clarifies. Somehow, Sesko finds this objectionable. “Your Honor, we insist that a physical of Eddie Alan Fornum be conducted,” Will stands. Oh dear God, Sesko tosses her head. “The witness has made an assertion that Mr. Fornum is an exception due to his rolling veins.” The interplay dissolves into name calling and accusations of game playing until Kluger whistles for the interlocutors attention. He’s for the physical.
Will and Alicia burst through the courthouse doors out onto the brightly lit street. This show is ever so fond of starting scenes that way. Predictably, they whip out their phones. “That was good,” Will tells Alicia admiringly. “No, you were good,” she demurs. Oh please – just say thanks, Alicia; Will doesn’t have any trouble taking your compliment. They tell Diane and Kalinda they’ve got another few days.
And, speaking of doors, there’s the one that leads to the Florrick apartment. Hi again! “Dude, are you serious?” Zach asks a friend over the phone as he grabs a snack in the kitchen. “Dude, totally serious,” the friend laughs. “Styles said he hooked up with her after second period.” Aw, Zach. Claims of sexual conquest are gross. Gossip is gross. Zach snorts. “What’s up with your sister?” Now that gives Zach pause. ‘Whadda you mean?” “When’d she start looking so hot?” Talk about gross! Zach looks back at Grace, doing homework at the dining room table, as if trying to figure it out. “What’re you talking about?”
“Oh, you probably haven’t seen it,” the friend chortles. Seen what? “Turbochap.com. Styles sent the link.” Turbochap? Really? That is so sad. In his room, Zach uses Chumhum to find the site, and clinks on a list – “10 Hottest Politicians Daughters.” Whoa. After scrolling through the usual suspects (Meghan McCain, Bristol Palin) with the usual smart alecky profiles ( Abby Huntsman who can “huff our po any time” ) he executes the mouse equivalent of a double take, because there’s Grace. He can’t believe it. In the photo, she’s wearing her school uniform and holding a pencil, leaning forward with her lips just parted and her hair tousled just so. She looks far older than she is. And she does look hot. That explains the intern at Peter’s office. Zach’s mind, it is blown.
His reverie is only broken by Grace asking him to get the phone; it’s Alicia, asking what he’s doing. Being totally squicked out is what! Nothing! Homework is what I’m doing, he stutters. I need you to get your sister dinner, Alicia explains, walking through a dark parking garage. Oh, is that Mom, Grace asks from the doorway. Can I talk to her? Zach slams down his laptop, hiding the screen. Hee hee! “Just tell her we need more juice,” Grace grumps, and when Zach passes on the message Alicia smiles. “I love you too. I’ll be home around 11. Not too much TV?” He promises, and they hang up.
“Alicia?” the real Cary calls out to his co-conspirator the second she hangs up. Robyn sits on the hood of Cary’s car with Cary and a bunch of other lawyers. ‘What’s going on, West Side Story?” Ha! That could not be a more perfect reference. “We have a possibility on some office space,” Cary smiles. “Over by the Loop on Harrison, $20 a square foot,” Other Cary (according to the imdb is Carey Zepps, played by Ben Rappaport of that hideous outsourcing sitcom – lovely touch adding the E, guys) explains. Fantastic! Ah, but there’s one teeny tiny issue, Alicia; it’s not available for another 3 weeks. No problem, she says – we can rent temporary space. Real Cary disagrees.
‘We were wondering whether we should stick around until then,” Fake Carey adds. For three more weeks? Alicia can’t believe it. It has to be nearly a week after they said they were going to leave by now. “Chum Hum needs some work on a case,” Cary says, looking at the ground as Robyn noisily slurps a fountain drink. “So we do it from our new office,” Alicia replies, not getting it. Everyone twitches when someone unlocks their car in another corner of the garage. “Look, we can’t keep skulking around like this. We need to cut the cord sometime!” Robyn agrees fervently.
“Tell her the real reason,” New Carey demands. Yes, please. That’s always best – although I would say the actual reason since you’ve yet to give her any reason at all. Future partner Cary admits that it’s all about money; in three weeks they’re all going to get bonuses, which will help put together their stakes for the start up. Ah ha. Well, that’s certainly a valid reason. And I’d love to know where Alicia’s getting her seed money; is she going to politely ask Will and Diane for Peter’s 600k back? Strangely, Alicia dismisses this. “It’s one million dollars between us,” Other Carey states reasonably. “If we walk out before the first of the month they’ll never pay us.” That’s for damn sure.
“We can’t keep fooling the partners,” Alicia cries. And that’s the thing. None of them know how close the partners are to finding them out; waiting would be smart, but if David Lee catches up with them completely the best thing that can happen will be that they all get fired and still don’t get the money. The worst is a much uglier list. “You can’t keep fooling Will,” Carey sighs. Oh no he didn’t! Oh my God! The look on Alicia’s face is priceless. “Do we have a problem?” she stares him down.
“No,” he says, standing and swiveling his hips a little, gunslinger style. “But you had no problem waiting a week for your case to finish, but you’re not alright when it’s our issue?” Again, that would be reasonable if we the audience didn’t know what a mess of trouble your caution and greed is going to cause. “It’s a death row case,” Alicia explains quietly, and you can tell she’s appalled to have to explain why that’s more important than money. Real Cary steps in and calms them down. “The difference here is two weeks.” He’ll have the whole group vote on it.
And, smash goes a car window! We can see the form of a man pushing the glass in as the car alarm blares. He’s got the door open; they’re out on a street lit by neon. The moment he leaves the car with whatever he’s taken from inside, he runs into Kalinda and Robyn, planted in front of him, leaning on the hood of a car. “Tommy,” Kalinda nods. Who are you guys, he wonders. They introduce themselves; he prevaricates. His name isn’t Tommy. “It is,” Robyn shrugs, her arms folded across her chest, her blond hair gleaming in the low light. “Tommy Dyhouse.” “Sad,” Kalinda observes, “You had a whole new identity, but you still can’t resist being a thief.” He looks at both women , his eyes searching out the source of the sirens we hear blazing in the distance.
And here he is, in their car. “Look, I don’t know how you guys found me,” he says, watching the police investigate the break in. Surely this isn’t a wise move. “But I told the truth at Eddie’s trial. He killed those girls. He was only trying to jack their car, but they fought him and pulled off his ski mask, and that’s why he had to kill ’em.”
Kalinda takes a dim view of this oh so reasonable explanation. “Come on, Tommy, why would anyone confess to you? You have snitch written all over you.” Good point; he’s quite the weaselly sounding guy. “Yeah!” Robyn contributes from that backseat, trying to sound tough and failing miserably. Ha. “But how’d I know about the ski mask if Ed didn’t tell me, huh? The police didn’t tell anyone about that little detail.” Robyn suggests he could have heard it from the real killer. “I did hear it from the real killer. Your client.” Well, you walked into that one, Robyn. He’s quite practiced with the court lingo, though, isn’t he, referring to Eddie as their client?
As Alicia heads toward her office the next morning, Cary catches her, and catches her up to speed on Kalinda tracking down Tommy. While he’s sticking to his story (“damn!”), Kalinda’s sure he’s lying and thinks there’s another way to get at him. That’s our girl! For now, Cary wants to know if Alicia’s okay with everything after the Great Parking Garage Showdown. Sure, she says, her smile cold, we’re fine.
“Hello?” howls the Monica-bot, “Can somebody please help me? I can’t see anything!” She proceeds to smash into a wall – because, as we can see, someone’s taped a smile-y face drawing over her screen. Sigh. I love that she hollers “ow!” every time she crashes into something, even though she’s literally not crashing. (I know it’s for comic effect, but I totally do stuff like that – say “ow” when I see other people crash, while playing a video game, etc…) With a wry look, Alicia walks over and rips off the sheet, much to Monica’s relief.
“Alicia, do you have a minute?” Will steps out into the hall to call her over. Sure, she says, but exchanges a worried glance with Cary before heading in. And once she’s inside Diane’s office she faced with 25 people at least, all of whom look up from what they’re doing at her entrance as if they’ve been waiting for her. Her guilt-o-meter goes through the roof. Will gently shuts and – dear God – locks the door behind her. Crap.
“What’s wrong?” she asks. “We looked into the company’s phones,” David Lee explains. “Over the past month, the fourth year associates have called our top clients a dozen times each.” Er, that’s not normal? “We’re worried that they’re thinking of leaving with them. Do you have any insight?” Diane asks, totally straight-faced. Oh, God, what a nightmare. This has to be Alicia’s nightmare of nightmare scenarios; her bosses and colleagues trusting her not to be in on it. She looks at them, stunned. “No,” she gasps.
“We called the clients,” Will adds. “but they’re being tight lipped, saying they have no plans of leaving at the present time.” “Which is known as preserving their options,” David Lee assesses. “I say we move past metadata and access their texts.” Oh boy. “Can we do that?” Diane wonders. Will takes the metadata packet from her. “Where’s Kalinda?” David correctly assesses, yet again, that Kalinda’s too sympathetic to the fourth years to be any real help – and yell yes they can look at the texts, it’s all company phones. God, that’s so stupid. Stupid stupid stupid! Is it just me, or are the fourth years starting to look like the student revolutionaries in Les Mis – a bunch of sunny idealist who have no idea they’re about to be slaughtered?
“Alicia, you’re friends with Cary,” Will asks, “are you hearing anything at all?” Oh God. There it is again; she’s going to have to directly lie. “No,” she lies. “Not since the fourth years tried to scare us.” That’s what we’re calling it now? “It would be helpful if you could get closer to them,” Diane suggests. “Find out whether they’re happy,” Will adds, “and whether we should be worried.”
Oh, holy crap.
Sure, she nods. Maybe that’s good? It takes a ungraceful minute for her to unlock the door on her way out. David Lee glares after her: Cary watches her walk down the hall, alarmed.
“Okay, here’s my problem,” Judge Kluger tells the assembled lawyers. Why, it can’t be that the medical experts from both sides have come to opposing conclusions about Eddie’s veins, can it? It can. So of course, in this case Will argues that Eddie the Evidence be “preserved” (ie, not executed) until the varying claims are worked out. But wait! Miss Sesko wants him executed so badly that she’s willing to toss out her report and stipulate that Will’s expert is right. For real? Why even go through the trouble of getting up your own expert, then? Judge Kluger is justifiably shocked.
“So let me get this straight,” he says, “you’ve decided that it’s better to execute Mr. Fornum than to win your lawsuit?” Apparently so. She also has the Warden on the line, willing to swear that they’ve got all those pesky rolling vein issues ironed out and can proceed immediately with a humane execution. What the heck? “And I imagine, Mr. Gardner, that you would like to depose said Warden?” Ya think? “Either way,” Sesko says, ‘there’s no reason to delay this execution anymore.”
Damn. There’s nothing Kluger can do but agree.
Frowning, Diane stares at her view; Robyn stands behind her for several moments unobserved before finally having to announce her presence. Oh God. If Diane questions Robyn they’re such toast; the girl is the worst liar ever. Slowly, Diane spins around. “Eddie didn’t do it,” the girl says. “I agree,” Diane replies, wearily pushing a lock of hair off her forehead, “how do we prove it?” Well, here’s Robyn’s theory. The snitch testified about the ski mask – the perfect detail that no one would know. “But when I was at Treasury, we looked into prison brokers.” Diane’s confused, so Robyn explains that these are police insiders who sell information to would-be snitches. Can the snitches have that much money, to make it worth the insiders while? A low level low life like Tommy? Also, that is super-vile.
“You think that Dyhouse got the ski mask information from a broker?” I don’t know, Robyn grins delightedly, maybe! He’d just deny it if we went after him, Diane shrugs. “If we went after him,” Robyn agrees, thrilled with her idea. “What if we went after the broker?” We see hope dawn on Diane’s face.
And then we see an incredibly thick file get slapped on the table. “Tommy Dyhouse snitched for our office three times, ” Geneva Pine explains. How are they getting Indiana state documents here in Chicago? That strains credulity a little, right? Oh well. It’s still awesome, Geneva working with us. Hey, maybe if she’s not going to be the SA one of our teams will hire her after the split! “We wanna find someone on all three cases,” Diane notes as she and Robyn eagerly tear into the files. “Yeah,” Robyn agrees, “like a police officer, forensic investigator… “Good luck,” Geneva grumbles, stalking off. “You’re not going to help us?” Robyn wonders.
Oh, fine, she will.
Peter’s sitting at his conference table, signing documents. From there he’s got a fabulous view out into the outer office, where Marilyn Bean is perched on a desk, her shapely legs bared to his view. Yeah, this is so not good. When she’s being thoughtful, she rubs her bottom lip with her finger. She’s not even a person yet, Marilyn, she’s just the male gaze personified. This isn’t about the appearance of temptation, this is about Peter being actively tempted.
And so of course he appears at Eli’s desk, ready to admit – wait, what? “Why do you think Alicia’s leaving Lockhart/Gardner?” Peter asks. Well that’s sure not where I thought that was going. “Why do I think? Because she wants to make something of herself.” She’s not something now? Whatever. “It’s not about Will?” Peter guesses. Wow. That’s insightful. I suppose it’s foolish of me to want that to make him happy, that she’d put their marriage above anything else? It’s legitimate for him to want Alicia to choose him not out of duty but out of preference as well. Eli looks away, too stunned to respond with a quick lie. “Well, I wouldn’t presume,” he stutters.
“And, uh, you think the optics are wrong with Marilyn?” Peter leans against the wall, stroking his chin. “Yes. Photos of you with her, would give the wrong impression.” Okay, Peter nods, quietly defeated. Is his examination of Alicia’s actions prompted by his own guilt? It must be. Then do it, he says. “Promote her.”
No, no, Diane grouses on the phone. They’ve found zip, zilch, nada – no connecting law enforcement professionals at all. “The execution is on for tonight,” she sighs, weary, as she tosses away her phone. Geneva looks up with sudden insight. “Who typed up your crime report?” she asks. She points out the signature on the bottom of the page, and the other two rifle through their files. When all three documents are laid on top of each other, it’s clear she’s done it. The signatures are the same. “A typist,” Diane grins. Eureka!
“Thank you so much, Miss Munn, for coming in on such short notice,” Diane tells the young-ish blond sitting in her office. Oh, no problem, the young lady demurs, but I just don’t know how I can help you. I just type; I don’t actually catch the bad guy. “Actually, we want to help you,” Diane tells her smoothly. Excellent. “Why would you want to that,” Little Miss Innocent asks. “We want to keep you out of jail,” Diane explains. (Well, no, but that’s okay.) Miss Munn’s smile freezes. “We discovered your brother works as a prison guard and that’s how you sell information to snitches.” Ah. Makes sense, though how anyone would even think to do this I still can’t fathom. Munn literally leaps off the couch to flee.
“We are meeting next with Tommy Dyhouse,” Diane calls out, reeling the fish back in. “And one of you’s going to turn on the other.” You can see in her face as she turns back that she knows that Tommy would flip on her in a heart beat. That’s the problem with snitches, Robyn observes: “they like to snitch.” So I would start talking if I were you, Diane suggests.
The 4th Hottest Politician’s daughter in America sits in her room doing homework in her window seat, surrounded by fluffy and adorable pillows. “Did Styles talk to you yesterday at school?” her older brother asks through the door. “Drew Styles? Yeah, why?” Zach walks in. “What did he say?” “Nothing,” she says, looking back at his homework, “he’s disgusting.” I know, Zach agrees, but what did he say?
“Did you say something to your friends?” Grace sneers. No, why, Zach wonders, even more suspicious. Grace caps her pen. “They’re all trying to talk to me now,” she grunts in disgust. Zach grimaces; you can see he didn’t want to do this, but he’s going to. Grimly, he calls up the article, and then walks out of the room. (God, that hands off style’s so not my family.) “What is this?” she asks, sitting down, and I was perhaps quick to judge him because he’s covertly watching her read it from his room. (Wow, she’s wearing a ton of making up these days. It might be television actress appropriate, but it is so not what I’d have thought Alicia would find appropriate for her freshman daughter.) She sees the list. She scrolls down. She sits back in shock as she sees her own face. The photo, again, is really good, but it makes her look far older than the girl we see read the article. The way her hair is fluffed, the way she’s playing with a piece of it – it definitely ages her. She’s stunned – and, you can see, flattered.
The text, in case you were wondering, is as follows:
“This Chitown sweetheart has made us, er, sit up and take notice lately. Let’s hope she’s as liberal about threesomes as her father is. The age of consent in Illinois is 17, putting its new First Daughter just 15 months away. Consider our countdown calendar started.”
And now please excuse me, because I need to go vomit.
“Can we talk?” Cary asks, as he appears at Alicia’s door. “I have to get to work,” she says evasively. “You were in with the partners yesterday, what did they say?” he demands, following her into her kitchen. Nothing, she lies, and he immediately calls her on it. “We need to leave by the end of the week,” she tells him. And even that’s probably going to be too late, don’t you think? “Did they say that,” Cary wonders. ‘No, I’m saying it,” she says, beyond frustrated. “I’m a partner here. I’m stuck in the middle. I have a fiduciary responsibility to Lockhart/Gardner, and I am opening myself up to a lawsuit by even talking to you about this. We need to leave.”
Cary sighs. “One of the things we said we didn’t like about Lockhart/Gardner how decisions were made, by fiat, by Will and Diane.” Right, which is so ironic considering the one you disliked the most – losing out on the partnerships – wasn’t made by fiat but by vote. As were lots of other bad choices. “We said we would run things democratically. And we voted to wait three weeks.” Dude. Why do you not understand what she’s saying to you, that she has specific information she’s legally not allowed to tell you? She’s trying so hard to tell him without telling him. If you’re going to be the new Will and Diane, you really need to work on your telepathy, kids.
“Would we take this case?” she switches topics abruptly, perhaps because at least she can talk about this. “This death row case?” I don’t know, he shrugs, rueful. Probably? Which means probably not. “Fifty partner hours. We would be afraid of going broke.” Cary points out that it took Lockhart/Gardner six or seven years to do death penalty cases. You have to build first. “Are you having second thoughts?” he asks, which is surely what every viewer is wondering. She doesn’t know. “I like watching Will and Diane work,” she admits, turning away from him, shaking head this way and that before . “They care.”
“We are the new Will and Diane,” Cary tells her, belief lighting up his face. Well, that mixture of pragmatism and cheer make him the new Will for sure. Alicia looks at him, sighs, and makes her choice. “Don’t use the company phones, they’re accessing the data,” she tells him with a dark look. “I have a deposition.” She speeds past him as he frowns, stunned.
“Very simply, the medical team thought they could put an IV in the offender’s arm, and they were wrong, ” Warden Barkin tells AUSA Sesko. “And how will tonight’s execution be different,” she asks as Alicia sits down next to Will. “We’ll do a better job hydrating Mr. Fornum, and using warm compresses to raise his veins….” Such strangely tender care for such a cold action. Why does it look like they’re conducting the deposition in the execution chamber? There’s the window and bleachers behind Alicia and Will; what an ominous image that is, like we’re inside the death of their relationship, too. “…and we will place the IV in his foot.” Oh, you didn’t do that the last time? “We would have,” he grumbles bitterly, “but the execution was stopped.” Yes, yes, all these spoilsport defense attorneys mucking up your lovely executions. It must be so difficult.
“I didn’t supervise it,” he adds. So you weren’t present during the last attempt? “Not all the time. We had a late arrival of potassium chloride. We’ve had difficulties with the supply of this drug in the past.” We remember. Will frowns fiercely at the Warden, but he’s sitting facing Lena Sesko and continues blithely. “So I supervised and witnessed its removal from an overnight pouch and placement in the intravenous tubing.” Alicia notices Will’s extreme concentration. “What?” she asks. He shakes his head. “However we will have greater control over all future …” The Warden goes on, but we’re no longer listening.
Somebody’s waiting in Judge Kluger’s courtroom, a fact that doesn’t particularly please him. So it seems his life is now to be all Eddie Alan Fornum? “Yes,” Diane agrees, rising, “His Honor Manfredi referred this death row appeal to your court, Your Honor, given that you are already hearing the 8th Amendment appeal.” Lucky me, Kluger grumps as Diane casts longing looks at the door. Who’re we waiting for? Kalinda? I don’t think this is a good choice for us, considering how world weary he is, but I can see the economy of it.
“So you’re ten hours away from an execution; what do you have for me?” Diane looks, and yes, it’s Kalinda. “We’d like to call a witness,” she says.
The witness, of course, is Robbie Walker/Tommy Dyhouse, looking like a weasel trussed up in a tie; sitting in the courtroom is a very glum Miss Munn, her expression at odds with her pretty teal blazer and kicky hair. You testified at Eddie Fornum’s trial, didn’t you, Diane begins. He did. “And you testified that he confessed to the double murder?” Yes. “And you would like to now withdraw that testimony?” It takes a raised eyebrow from Kalinda in the gallery to make him grind out another “yeah.” As far as he knows, Eddie Fornum is innocent. Diane walks him through an explanation of the prison brokering scheme.
Diane stands in front of the judge in all his majesty, gold seal behind his head. “You know I wasn’t planning on judging this appeal, but you bring me that snitch, who changes his testimony after almost a decade?” He shakes his head, pulls his arms down. Yes, because he was caught in a criminal conspiracy after getting away with it for a decade! “Now, now, I’m sorry, Miss Lockhart, but an appeal of actual innocence after years of appeals and decisions, has to stand on much stronger ground than an indecisive snitch.” Oh my God, are you kidding me? I hate our legal system. That is so fricking wrong. So it’s Diane’s fault she hasn’t had the case from the beginning? How can you possibly say it’s too late? You moan about trickery, but refuse to listen to actual evidence? Besides, it’s not just the snitch’s word – you can call Leslie Munn and her brother and have them admit to their fraud. There must have been money changing hands. The snitch was clearly extra motivated to lie to cover his own crime! Ugh!
Diane tries to make a last stand, but Kluger’s not having it. “No,” he says. “At a certain point it has to be over. Judgements must stand. God forgive me…” I hope he does, because I don’t. “I find for the state. Execution will proceed.”
We focus on Eddie Alan Fornum’s grief stricken, miserable face. “Eddie, I need you to stand,” a low voice asks. Three guards wait at the entrance of Eddie’s cell, open door behind them. “Eddie, please.” After a moment, Eddie runs his bandaged arms down his knees and stands; now instead of two large bandages, there are small bloody ones marking each attempted IV. “Place your hands out in front of you,” the guard asks, and Eddie raises his bloodied arms in compliance. He’s manacled hand to slipper foot. “You know the way, Eddie,” the guard reminds him. Eddie takes a breath, nods on the exhale.
“You wanted to see me, Mr. Gold?’ Marilyn Bean coos, striding into Peter’s outer office. Yes, he does. “I think we’re off to a great start, don’t you?” she enthuses. There’s something cultured about her voice, a posh honey in her tone. Yes, yes, of course he agrees. “And I have some good news. Peter wants to promote you to the Transit Authority. Board.” The Transit Authority? Really? “I’m sorry, what?” she asks, her polished tone a little rougher. “An opening has … opened up on the … Transit Authority Board, and, uh, where you will have authority… over transit.” His beaming face doesn’t make up for the stuttering delivery. Did I say he was good at lying, because wow, that was awful. “It’s a step up. Congratulations.”
Poor Marilyn looks like the proverbial kicked puppy. “Did I do something wrong?” she asks, and I swear she batted her eyelashes at him. “No, you did something right! It’s a promotion!” Good luck with that, Eli. She gives him a look, and then ducks her head down to push past him. “No, Marilyn, ” and this he finally says with conviction. “Peter promoted you. If he’d wanted to tell you himself, he would have.” I still half wish that they’d told her they were afraid the optics were bad – part of me thinks that as an ethics consultant so concerned not simply with probity but with the appearance of it, she’d understand – but I suppose it would be too risky. She could sue, go to the press… Couldn’t he just say Peter wants his own team? Surely that’s allowable. She backs away, a rabbit in front of a fox. “You guys are making a mistake,” she mutters. What does that mean? Why is it a mistake? Maybe, Eli agrees cheerfully. “Have a good evening!” he calls after her. Surely it’s not necessary to be that happy over dismissing her – it’s not as if she’s done anything wrong – but I guess I can see him enjoying eliminating a threat.
Slowly, he opens the door to Peter’s office; Peter walks out from behind his desk and they meet in the middle. “How’d it go?” She took it like a pro, Eli says. Um, sort of. “She’s right, you know. We need a new chief of staff.” Both men have their hands in their pockets, their torsos swaying with their words. “She’s not right, she’s … anal.” “Anal’s what we need right now,” Peter muses. Then his lips quirk. “Did I just say that?” Yes, Eli snickers. “Our new state motto?” This wins a full laugh from Peter. Eli turns to leave, saying that he’ll make up a list. “Why don’t you do it?” Peter suggests.
Eli stops, turns. “What?” You can tell from his tone that he knows what. “Be chief of staff?” He laughs, but Peter’s implacable expression forces him to a more serious response. “But I’m working on your next campaign, sir.” “The next campaign is here, in this office,” Peter says, pointing to the floor. (Erm, this literally can’t be the governor’s office yet, no matter how nice it looks.) “I screw that up, there’s no where to go but down.” Indeed. You can see from Eli’s face that the point hits home.
Should I even bother to ask what happens to Eli’s business and employees while he’s off doing stuff like this?
In his darkened office, chief cheerleader Will sits in fierce contemplation. “You going tonight?” Diane asks, walking in. No, he isn’t. Diane takes a few steps closer, enough to see even without lights on that her partner is torturing himself. “We did everything we could,” she soothes him. “Not everything,” he shakes his head. She walks closer, rests her left hand on his shoulder. Finally he nods, and she leaves him to his tormented reflections. And that’s when he pulls out his phone and makes a call.
At the prison, Eddie Alan Fornum is strapped to the gurney again, blinking up at a tiled ceiling, blinking back a terrible dread. Warden Barkin leans over his head, trying to be quiet and gentle. “We want to put an IV in early, Eddie. So there isn’t the same … confusion… at midnight.” Right. Confusion: that’s what that was. At the end of the gurney, a medical technician preps Eddie’s feet for the IV that will carry the toxins that will stop his heart, tying a rubber tourniquet around his ankle. “Tell us if you feel any pain. You should feel a small pinprick as we attempt to place the IV.” The Not Nurse puts a small box with a red light over Eddie’s foot; Barkin explains that this is an imager which will help them locate his veins. Eddie tries to look, straining the seat-belt like straps across his chest; then he lays his head back. He lifts it again, wincing, as the IV needle goes in. “Okay, the pain should be over in a minute, Eddie,” the Warden comforts him.
As Warden Barkin straightens up, one of the guards steps into the room; there’s someone outside the door for him. Eddie can’t help but look toward the door with terrible hope. Barkin sighs. “I’ll be right back, Eddie,” he says. Outside the door wait at least five uniformed DEA agents, who don’t look very pleased to be there. Sweet, patient Barkin immediately lays into them; how dare they interrupt him now! Can’t they see there’s a “protocol” on? Yeah, they’re sorry about that. But Lionel Franklin from the South Bend office of the Drug Enforcement Agency has a problem. “It’s come to our attention that you transported toxic chemicals through the U.S. Postal Service.” Warden Barkin just stares.
“Are you serious?” he frowns. Deadly. As Franklin starts quoting the law that Barkin broke, Fornum watches from the gurney, his bloodshot eyes going wide. “Have you transported any such chemical?” Yes. Potassium Cloride NRL. Well, then Franklin’s going to have to confiscate it.
Alicia and Diane wait as the guards slowly walk Eddie Alan Fornum back to death row. He frowns at them, eyes narrowed; Diane’s fighting a smile. “The governor has put the execution on hold, Eddie. They don’t want to try a third time.” After a frozen moment, he takes a shuddering breath in. Alicia rushes forward to gently fold her arms around him. “It’s over, Eddie,” Diane finishes. “Thank you,” Eddie breaths into Alicia’s shoulder. “Thank you!”
Diane and Will laugh inside her office, gripping each other’s elbows to keep from falling over in their glee, a peppy little ukelele ditty about memories begins. From the shared space in between, Alicia watches the two embrace. When Will heads back into his own office, he grins delightedly at his former lover. “Good work!” he tells her. “Thanks,” she smiles back. “Were you the one who called the DEA?” “Now what would make you think that?” he wonders as he chooses a bottle from his bar, then heads back to Diane. “That was a smart move,” she laughs in appreciation.
“Have some?” he gestures with the bottle as he walks past her again. “I remember your face,” the song chirps. Alicia catches sight of Cary in his office, and calls after Will, guilty. Is she going to confess? Switch teams? He turns. Her gaze flickers between him and Cary. “I need to tell you something,” she says, emotional.
No you don’t, he stops her. “Look, I know why you didn’t call, and it’s okay,” he says. He’s giving her a out, because that what he does. Will and Alicia and these aborted conversations! One day, he’s going to learn that the right thing to do is to let her speak. “We were on a merry-go-round and you needed to get off, so you got off. That’s all.” Um, yes, but it’s a bigger leap than you know, Will. She’s not just getting off the merry-go-round, she’s leaving the park. Her gaze falls. She can’t do it.
“Don’t end up hating me, Will,” she murmurs as starts to walk away. But he hasn’t caught the soft words, and when he asks, she denies saying anything, shaking her head to clear the tears. “Are you sure you don’t want any?” he asks, holding up the bottle again to lighten the mood. She laughs. No, she’s good. She exchanges a look with Cary before tormenting herself once more, watching Will and Diane celebrate without knowing the ruin soon to be wrought upon them.
So, oh my goodness. This wasn’t the volcanic eruption that some season openers have been, but I dug the sense of doom to the whole thing, from the horrors of a death row appeal to the cat and mouse office politics. Instead of shock and awe, we had a slow burning fuse: fear of the future, crippling doubt, shame, excitement, dread, terror. Will David Lee catch the conspirators before they’ve had the chance to decamp? I have a bad feeling that this might have been our last view of Lockhart/Gardner at its best – everyone united to do something unambiguously just, one last happy win. What is more harrowing – and what could be more morally satisfying – than saving an innocent man from execution? And who wouldn’t want to help Malik Yoba’s Eddie Fornum? His acting was excellent; every flutter of his eyelids showed a battle between hope and fear, every swallow opened a window to his desperation.
The season itself looks to be volcanic, even if the episode wasn’t exactly, and tonight’s offering at least set up the vision for much of it – Peter actively fighting temptation and potentially hurting himself by pushing it away, Alicia and Cary struggling to run their own rodeo with fairness and dignity, even Grace discovering the power of her sexuality. That poor kid. Can you even imagine growing up in that kind of media scrutiny. Just don’t let other people define you, Grace! You’re smart and thoughtful – people will respond to more of you than just your appearance. (And, let’s face it, that picture aside, she’s much too young-looking for this not to feel creepy.)
And speaking of responding to people based on how they look, Melissa George. She’s pretty perfect for this role, huh? And like I said, it’s not just that she’s gorgeous, but the way she acts and dresses. That’s actually a little creepy, too, just how much a fantasy she is rather than a character. Clearly we haven’t see the last of her. Will she pose a real problem to Peter and Alicia’s recommitted marriage? Is Peter going to blame Alicia for putting herself out of temptation’s reach – will he give up on them if he thinks she wants Will more, or is he going to assume she’s being pressured and try to take Will down? That’d be a sad irony. Back to our newer characters, what about Carey Zepps? What’s the point of having him around, other than saying “not you, the other Cary?” And being a voice of un-reason. But most importantly, do we think Alicia and Cary can get their conspiracy out in one piece? And if they do, will they do a good job? Despite their manifest faults as bosses, Will and Diane are pretty damn good at being Will and Diane. Can the new duo really do any better?
So what did you think? Did you love this episode for itself, or are you more interested in the sizzle to come? Do you want to talk ethics of the death penalty? I can quote Illinois Governor Quinn – yes, their real current governor – on why he put a moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois:
“It is impossible to create a perfect system, one that is free of all mistakes, free of all discrimination with respect to race or economic circumstance or geography. To have a consistent, perfect death penalty system, I have concluded, after looking at everything I’ve been given, that that’s impossible in our state. I think it’s the right and just thing to abolish the death penalty.”
You know, in case I haven’t beaten you over the head enough with my politics. Or maybe should we just trade bad IV stories instead?