E: Maybe it makes me a less sophisticated television viewer, but I can’t stand cases where we were don’t get a real look at the clients. I have a lot of trouble getting invested in the case when the people whose fates are at stake are just cliches, just cartoons. Usually this show excels at packing insane amounts of plot and crystalline characterizations into their 43 minutes. Heck, last week Matthew Lillard gave us his character complete in one bumbling, stammering line. This time there was too much going on, and they didn’t do service to what they had. Between the preposterous double jury, the weak and frustrating dynamics of the actual case, and the bewildering mess between the attorneys, this is my least favorite episode of the season. Oh, there was some serious movement on the direction of the show and season. Big events. But altogether, I wasn’t a fan.
And since I am ranting, I’m really annoyed that they even aired this episode this week. Up against the Golden Globes, Downton Abbey and HBO’s new True Detective? Um, CBS, you know who your audience is, right? Why the hell would you waste this episode up against competition like that? Somehow I doubt it’s because it didn’t rise up to the show’s usual level of competence. If I worked in CBS’s marketing department, and I had the single network show to be nominated for Best Drama at the Emmys and the Golden Globes and the SAG over the last several years, I would be promoting the hell out of it! I would be doing my damnedest to make sure people knew this was the best show on network television. Seriously, I don’t know why we’re not hearing about this all the time. You can’t help but feel the show doesn’t get the nurturing it deserves. For the last decade at least, these awards shows have been dominated by cable – Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Sopranos, Six Feet Under, the list goes on. The networks may still have a stake in the comedy game, but they’ve almost completely ceded drama to cable. In fact the only other show to break through with the critics has been PBS’s Downton Abbey (and guess what? That aired last night too). And I’m sorry, but the kind of people who care about that – who are already the kind of people who watch The Good Wife – are going to be watching the damn award shows.
On the other hand, the season is still amazing, Melissa George got to play something more than sexy or pregnant (even if it’s mostly just disgust), and really everybody but Diane got to have a dramatic little moment. So that’s something.
First, we see hands clasped under a table. And then we see a nerdy looking gray haired man and a blond in a low cut red dress. Then we see that Alicia’s sitting next to the man, and Will next to the woman. What on earth? According to the prosecutor – why hello there, Matan Brody! It’s been so long since we’ve seen your catty, smiling face! – Darla Riggs and Howard Lampey stand accused of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the U.S. from Rio back in July. Well. That’s not cool. “They should be tried together,” he declares in his smug, smirking way, “because they committed this crime together.”
But guess what? I know it will completely shock you to learn that Will and Alicia want to put on separate defenses. Matan – who, oh blessed day, is sitting next to Geneva Pine! – points out that all witnesses are common to both defendants, and separating them would put a ridiculous strain on the court. It would be, he claims, the height of insanity to separate the trials. After pussy-footing around the truth, and pretending it would be better for their clients (who are canoodling and ignoring the tumult around them), Will and Alicia admit to the real problem. They don’t want to work together. How much are Geneva and Matan enjoying the discord? A lot. Will thinks Alicia stole Howard from him, and he’s overall just not over being stabbed in the back.
This week’s Judge, the Honorable Loudon Spencer, is played by Victor Garber. Spy Daddy? Cue the choirs of angels! (Actually they sort of did introduce him as if by heavenly hosts.) At first his concern is for the late timing of the request, but once the two defendants ask to be split off, his instinct is for efficiency. With confidence no one else feels, Spencer announces that he’ll be separating cases, but not courtrooms. “It will be a double jury trial,” he announces. That’s even a thing? You know how I was going on last week about how my lawyer friends watch this show because it’s smart and it gets the law? Maybe I should take that back. Nobody likes the idea, but they’re all just going to have to suck it up.
Oh dear. I’m thrilled to see Matan, Geneva and of course the fantastic Garber, but this feels like a terrible gimmicky idea.
Howard and Darla make googly eyes at each other as Judge Spencer dismisses everyone until jury selection begins in the afternoon. “Are you alright?” he asks, his voice squeaky. She is – is he? Happily, yes. “I love you,” he sighs. “I love you,” she bats her eyes at him; Will and Alicia huff and roll their eyes at this gooey display of sentiment.
“I heard,” Cary says, meeting Alicia as she gets off the elevator. “So this should be interesting.” Well, if you take “interesting” to mean implausibly tortured, sure. “Which?” Alicia scoffs. “Working alongside Will, or a double jury?” What’s not to love? Immediately, Cary insists on taking first chair; at first Alicia’s surprised, but he’s so clever in his presentation that it doesn’t take her long to agree that it’s better for the client if the two firms really can act in concert. Cary smartly puts the emphasis on Will’s inability to be rational around her, so that Alicia doesn’t have to admit she’s hardly better off herself.
Eli hosts a little viewing of the ballot box loop in the governor’s office. “It was sent anonymously to Anne Stevens, the Tribune reporter,” he explains. “I’ve never seen this before in my life,” Peter declares, his voice harsh, protesting a little too much. For his part, Eli stands dramatically in front of the window behind Peter’s desk, arms apart. “The tip said, ‘here’s evidence of Peter Florrick stealing an election, happy hunting.'” Peter sits on the large couch, arms and legs wide as usual; Marilyn faces him in an arm chair, folded into herself, biting her thumbnail, her eyes turned away. It’s a telling shot.
Somehow, Eli’s bought them a two week reprieve by leaking their pension roll out. Now I know pensions are the hot discussion point in the real Illinois, but I’m a little astounded that Stevens would wait. What if the anonymous tipper gets sick of her silence and shares the scoop with another reporter? Oh well. Anyway. When she finally speaks, Marilyn wonders who it is carrying the ballot. Do we know him? No, Peter squints, denying it without a thought, but Eli knows better: it’s Jim Moody, the Florrick campaign fixer. Marilyn purses her lips in a silent O, as if breathing through labor pains. Yeah. I don’t think it’s possible to overstate how bad that is for them. “I didn’t ask him to do anything!” Eli protests.
Wearily raising a hand, Marilyn tells him to stop. “Wait. No one say anything. Governor, it’s in your best interest not to talk to Eli at this time. Everything being said now, everything that was just discussed, we’ll have to repeat at some point to federal investigators.” Peter cracks a rueful smile, hand on his forehead. “Well that was the shortest honeymoon period in history, one month as a governor.” Well, think of it this way, Peter. It could have come out on election day, and then you wouldn’t have gotten any honeymoon at all.
Marilyn urges caution – all they know is that this is from a ballot box. “No,” Eli explains, “our lawyers argued in court that it was a stuffed ballot box. Then we found out that the 30,000 votes were for Peter.” So yeah. Not good for us. Poor Marilyn practically has a cow when Peter reluctantly reveals that it was Alicia who argued the case for her him. “Your wife?” she echoes in disbelief. Lying to himself, Eli protests that its only 30,000 votes. How could that matter when Peter won by 8 percentage points? Well, leaving aside the fact that you just compared apples to oranges, you don’t even need to ask the question, Eli.
“Okay, we can’t discuss this anymore,” Marilyn declares, rises. She truly looks as if she’s going to be sick. And things don’t improve when she informs Eli she wants to question him first, and he waves her out of the room. Peter refuses to meet her eyes. “You can’t be talking,” she reminds them. “It’s not about this,” Peter lies weakly.
“We all know the maxim but it’s true,” Marilyn narrows her eyes. “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover up.” Yup. No, no, there’s no coverup, he insists, but I do have to govern, and to do that I need private time with my Chief of Staff. Oh, whatever, Peter. And don’t you give her a triumphant look, Eli. You’re about to go down in flames just like Peter is. She leaves, but she knows that they’re not going to be talking about the pension roll out.
The first thing Peter wants to know, the very second the door closes, is if Jim Moody could be the tipster. Never, declares Eli – he’s a loyal foot soldier. And why would he even have the footage? Right, but it’s a fascinating question – who could the anonymous source possibly be? “Someone at Lockhart/Gardner?” Peter suggests, and then has to backtrack, explaining facts that Eli never knew. “Will Gardner came to my hotel suite on election day to show me a video.” Damn it, Eli curses. “I refused to look at it,” Peter adds, as self-righteous as if this somehow absolves him of all responsibility.
There’s a lot of hate for us over there right now, Eli notes. I’ll say. But Eli doesn’t think this feels like Diane’s work – I’d agree, but of course I also know that Diane didn’t know about the video at all. It was only ever Kalinda and Will, and I can’t see either of them spilling. Of course, Will’s quite the loose cannon right now; “he could be out of his mind,” Eli speculates, and I can’t but agree. Peter nods. “Keep tabs on her,” he tells his Chief, and I’m left wondering if the “her” is Diane or Marilyn or the reporter Anne Stevens.
But there’s no room for any other thoughts – or anything at all – back in Judge Spencer’s courtroom, where jury selection is in fully swing. “This is crazy,” Alicia whispers to Cary, “I’ve never seen anything like it.” Nope. Why would you have? Damned idiot judge. “Good afternoon,” Diane declares, moving up through the crowd to the defense table. Love the red suit, Diane! It seems that she had the same idea as Cary – she’s going to be the first chair instead of Will. Oh thank heaven. Maybe rational minds will prevail.
Or so we can wish, anyway. “Here we go,” Alicia sighs, and Cary smiles in anticipation.
An elegant older woman passes muster and is invited to take a seat in the jury. But as a taste of the trouble to come, Geneva takes back her acceptance as uses a peremptory challenge when she learns that the woman is to be seated on the Darla Riggs jury. No folding chair for you, old lady! Though Will and Diane protest, Geneva reminds them that she doesn’t need to explain her peremptory challenges. All four defense attorneys stand and jabber this dismay.
Diane thanks a thin dark man in advance for his service. Well, they’re always telling you that just showing up is service, but he’s surprised to be thanked so soon. She wonder whose will he thinks should hold sway in a disagreement between a man and a woman. (Hint: any answer that says suggests that gender should be the deciding factor here is wrong.) “Well,” says the guy, “it’s probably better if the guy does. Just cause someone has to.” Alicia and Cary exchange glances; we’re seeing a divergent strategy come through here. “And if the guy did decide, would you blame the woman for his decision?” Yep. Splitting off from Darla is not going to be a good strategy for Howard.
Standing, Cary objects. Me too, Cary. Geneva notes that he has no standing to object, because he’s part of the defense, and we descend into chaos once more.
Next, a redhead in a striped shirt and black blazer stares down her questioner, her defiant glare daring them to mess with her. Do you think that women can use their looks to manipulate men, Cary wonders. “Oh sure,” the girl replies. “It happens all the time at school.” Tit for tat, as it were; I thought Cary was here to be the rational, non-antagonistic one? “And should the man be responsible if he’s mislead by the woman?” Darla and Howard start to look uncomfortable; Diane stands up in protest . As the two snap at each other, Geneva tugs on Matan’s sleeve. Her eyes brighten in avid enjoyment of the show.
“They’re coming after us,” Diane tells Will as they burst through the courtroom door. Um, only after you signaled the fact that you’re coming after them! Seriously, what sort of leg does Diane have to stand on here? Not that it matters – they are indeed coming after Darla – but they wouldn’t have if you hadn’t so clearly come after Howard. “We need everything you dug up on Howard Lampey,” Will instructs Kalinda. Poor Kalinda – unusually running one step behind – doesn’t have any dirt on Howard to give. “I thought this was a collaborative defense,” she asks, surprised. She’s surely the only one not expecting this to go sour.
“We changed our minds,” Diane explains. “It’s a double jury and they’re using it against us.” Um, seriously? How is she not acknowledging that she’s the one who took it there? I’m annoyed at the senselessness of this. She started it, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise. She’s not taking responsibility for it. Also, there was no need to write Kalinda as uncharacteristically ignorant.
Cary and Alicia too confer with their investigator, but their topic is a little different. It’s come to Robyn’s attention that Will’s ditched a lot of meetings with the Paisley Group (remember, the ones David Lee slandered Alicia to so that they wouldn’t leave?) and they’re possibly loose enough to be “peeled away” from Lockhart/Gardner. Of course the Florrick/Agos team’s thrilled by the news, and ready to work up a plan to woo them away. “Oh, and get anything you can on Darla Riggs,” Alicia instructs. “Our co-defendant? Why?” Robyn asks, the wide-eyed confusion looking much more normal on her than on Kalinda. “Because they’re doing the same,” Alicia explains.
For whatever reason, Cary returns to the courtroom; when he comes out, Kalinda is stalking him. Well. Cause that’s not predictable at all. You can only come back to the same well so many times, honey. I haven’t seen you in a while, she says. I wonder why that could be? He doesn’t even want to look at her, and just keeps walking. Just give me one second, she pleads, and he, handsome in purple again, considers the request and eventually walks over, still peeved. “Second,” he declares harshly.
She’s smart, and starts by apologizing. It’s so hard to know where you stand with her; she’s such a tangle of self-interest and single-minded devotion to work, but then occasionally a real loyalty and depth of feeling. I mean, clearly she’s aiming to play this to her advantage, but it doesn’t mean it’s not true. We saw last week that it’s starting to bother her that she doesn’t have any friends. For, he wonders. ‘For this ending poorly between us.” You’re forgiven, he says. Anything else? “Yeah,” she snaps, “you’re being a douche.” Ha! That kind of amuses me. Things are kind of busy here, Kalinda, he says, walking away.
You can just tell that Judge Spencer thinks he’s the bomb; he’s ever so pleased with himself, instructing each jury to only pay attention to the information directed at them. Yeah, cause that’s gonna work out. It’s hilariously deluded thinking. “I realize these are cramped quarters, but we’re all going to have to make due.” And indeed, 12 men and women squeeze their seats in between the defense and the jury box. Graciously, Spencer asks them to raise their hands if they have any questions or concerns, and immediately a girl with curly red hair pokes the tall thin man (how the hell did he get on the jury?) in the side. “Do we have to sit in the folding chairs the entire time?” he whines.
Oh, Judge Spencer, you just did not think this through. After giving them an automatic no, he capitulates and says they can swap out stations with the other jury. “Why do we have to alternate?” a thin man in a beard stands up from the other group.”You already said we got the jury box.” Ha ha ha. Good luck with this, Judge Spencer. I can tell it’s going to work out great. Efficiency for all! And yes, everything begins to descend into cacophony and chaos. “No no no no no, everybody stop,” Spencer hollers, holding out his hands, fingers pointing out. “I’ve decided we will alternate.” He grins, a bit hysterical.
The first witness up is one Officer Sorrento, who explains to Geneva Pine that he immediately profiled the Lampey and Riggs because they seemed like too unlikely a couple. In their chairs, the inorganic pair seethes. I’m glad that they didn’t flat out call Darla a bimbo even if they made her look like one, but what’s the deal with making it an insult that Lampey looks like a professor? Geneva doesn’t pause for this gross stereotyping, but wonder if there were any other indications that the two might be smugglers. There were: Lampey was sweating profusely and Riggs stared guiltily at her feet.
But the real reason they ended up in court, of course, is that Sorrento found something – 2 pounds of cocaine.
At this point, Geneva passes the witness, and Diane begins her defense by stating that Darla and Howard had fallen in love the previous week at the Cinque Terre resort in Rio. What, seriously? Could they be nervous about taking the next step in their relationship? “Or because of the hundred thousand in drugs in his carry on.” Both juries laugh. Diane doesn’t let them see her sweat, but she knows she’s in trouble. “If the drugs were found in Mr. Lampey’s carry on, why did you arrest Miss Riggs?” Cary and Alicia look up suspiciously. “Well, a search of Miss Riggs revealed $30,000 on her person.”
Ugh, I hate it when we represent guilty people. No, I take that back. Sometimes it’s fine – Colin Sweeney, Lemond Bishop – because there’s an interesting tension between the desire for justice and sympathy with the well-written devil, as it were. The desire to win and the desire not to see criminals set free.
So you have a circumstantial case that the defendants conspired, Diane observes. Well, yeah. So there’s no direct evidence, she goes on, that Miss Riggs participated in Mr. Lampey’s schemes. Wow, that’s such a collaborative defense! Cary objects; I thought he couldn’t do that, since they’re on the same side, but he’s sustained and Diane re-phrases. Sorrento has no direct evidence that Riggs had access to his bag. As well he might, Howard looks alarmed at the direction the questioning has taken. Okay, Cary whispers to Alicia (no doubt unnecessarily) ‘they’re coming after us.” So when she gets up, she responds in kind. Her suggestion is this: Darla had too many carry ons back in Rio; though the bag was registered to Mr. Lampey, he really was just carrying it for her. “The bag had no name tag,” Sorrento says by way of excuse. So perhaps Lampey was just an unwitting mark in Rigg’s scheme. Of course Diane objects, and again she’s sustained even though we’ve already established they aren’t supposed to object to each other.
Ha ha ha! Cary stands and says that Diane can’t object since they’re co-defendants. He sustained your objection, Diane pouts. “Yeah, which was a mistake,” Cary replies. Oh no! That’s too good. As Will wonders why the Spencer’s going to let Cary criticize him like that, the judge raises his hands to calm the court. Yet again. He’s totally like the Dad who’s taken control of the kids while Mom’s off on a girl’s weekend; he has no idea what he’s in for, and no skill set to contain the madness.
As amusing as all this is trying to be, I’ll tell you who ought to be objecting. Darla and Howard, as their lawyers slander their beloved to the jury. I sure as hell would have a problem with it.
Proffering a grainy still from the surveillance video, Marilyn asks “Mr. Gold” to identify Jim Moody as the man in it, and he does. “Did you order Mr. Moody to perform these actions?” How is it that her cream top can look so plain and so lux at the same time? “No I did not,” Eli replies. “Did you ever hint to Mr. Moody that he should do something illegal regarding the ballot boxes?”
Eli winces, and looks down at the desk; in response, Marilyn flutters her eyes in annoyance and shuts off the recording function on her phone. “What?” That’s too broad, he winces. “What part?” He sneers. “Did I ever hint?” Are you saying you did hint, she asks, sounding very much like a lawyer. “No, I’m saying that the answer to that question could lead to misunderstanding.” She rolls her eyes; she needs him to honest, not mincing words. “Marilyn, I make 800 decisions a day,” he says with more than a touch of asperity. “During a campaign it’s twice that. I cannot micromanage every person I give a direction to, there’s not enough time. I give them a direction, and then I let them use their creativity in … accomplishing that… direction.” I don’t know if she’s blinking or winking or something, but I’m watching her eye make up here as much as anything else. “And is creativity a euphemism for illegality?” He responds with a very forceful no.
So she cuts to the chase; “what direction did you give to Jim Moody that he might have exercised his creativity to do that?” I love her when she’s being so clear. She’s not mean, but she’s very firm. It’s very Mary Poppins; practically perfect in every way. Now Eli starts to squirm, because he knows he’s on shakier ground. He swallows. “I said we were short of votes in the twelfth precinct, and we needed to get out the vote.” Well that doesn’t sound so very bad! She’s ready to turn the recorder back on, but he grabs her hand. “There’s a chance I said ‘we need to do whatever we could’.” Yes. And you didn’t want to know.
She lets out a small puff of air.
But I would insist that’s my manner, he says, scrambling to put a better face on it. “I am absolutist in my …encouragement… toward my underlings.” Yeah, you’re not fooling anybody, Eli. It’s a reflex; he can’t help spinning the truth. She’s quick to cut him down to size. “If Mr. Moody believed you encouraged him to stuff that ballot box, your words are problematic.” I didn’t order him to do it, Eli declares emphatically. She nods. “Will Mr. Moody back you up on that?” It’s not really in his self-interest to take the fall, is it? “I got high hopes,” Bruce Springsteen sings too loudly in on the soundtrack, and it’s a perfect counterpoint to Eli’s desperation.
Okay. That’s at least one thing I like about this episode; unlike “Thicky Trick” that’s a song I won’t mind getting stuck in my head.
“Sorry,” a woman explains as Robyn wanders around her apartment looking at her tchotchkes, “I have to pack for a red eye tonight.” It seems that Robyn’s chatting up a flight attendant. You know, by information on Darla, I was thinking more that they’d look into her past. What does she do for a living? Does she travel a lot? Does she fall in love easily? Does she meet lots of nerdy men in foreign countries? Oh, it’ll just take a minute, Miss Barrett, Robyn replies mildly, even if you have already told the prosecution everything you know. Is it just me, or does Robyn’s jacket make her look like a teenage boy from the 1950s? The two women bond, maybe even flirt over their mutual love of gummy bears before Robyn gently suggests that Darla Riggs is way too hot to date a dorky calculus professor (wait, he’s really a professor?) and might have exhibited signs that she was using him.
And that’s when flight attendant Barrett remembers something she didn’t tell the police. “The thing in the bathroom.” Um, what? “The mile high club thing?” Before Miss Barrett can spill the dirty details, black leather clad Kalinda comes a knockin’ at the door. Ha! That’s not awkward or anything. Of course Kalinda too has a few questions.
But instead, we get to hear the dark-haired skinny juror ask why his panel has to have the small deliberation room. Though this desire inpires a debate on the relative size of the two rooms, an exasperated Papa Spencer promises that they can alternate between the deliberation rooms as well, his eyes closed in frustration.
And then we see Miss Barrett on the stand, in the same loose orange blouse she wore while being interviewed by Kalinda and Robyn. It’s very pretty. Her shocking tale: Mr. Lampey objected strongly to anyone touching the carry on in which the drugs were later found. Because the flight was full, this provoked a bit of a fuss including a loud fight with another passenger. Um, didn’t we establish that Miss Riggs had two carry ons? If so, why didn’t they just move one of hers? Anyway, this is when the real crazy starts. Matan wants Barrett to repeat what Lampey said to the passenger in 26B; Alicia calls it prejudicial and hearsay (seriously? that legal term makes no sense to me) and Will considers it possibly exculpatory. Oh dear God. And what to they do but tramp Howard’s jury out to their tiny jury room, so that Miss Barrett can repeat that Howard said “let go of my bag.” The horror!What a smoking gun! I think you’d have done better to keep your jury in the room, Alicia. Now they’re going to imagine Howard said something ridiculous.
But ridiculous is just the name of this game. Alicia wants her jury to come back in to hear if Darla participated in the argument – and in Cary’s view, this wouldn’t be hearsay because Miss Barrett would be describing an incident and not repeating words. In a truly magical moment, Matan rises to object and Geneva drags him back down. It’s so easy to see what she’s thinking; let them hang themselves.
And indeed, Will stands and castigates Alicia for “editing” testimony. “What does it matter to you?” she asks, and her personal confusion leaks into her voice. “You act like this is a zero sum game.” It’s true, and not just about this case. Poor weary Mr. Harris the bailiff brings everyone back in.
“We’re taking the gloves off. That’s what you told me,” fixer Jim Moody tells Eli, sitting across from him in a diner. “But I never authorized you to …” he stops until a waitress has passed. “I never thought you were gonna do this.” Moody clasps his hands together on the table. “Eli, I could fill a book with what you know about what you don’t know.” God, that’s a great line. And the look on Eli’s face; he knows where he stands. “So where are you taking this?” Jim takes a moment to consider it, and then gives his answer, unable to consistently meet Eli’s eyes. “I’m taking this… where you want me to take this.” What does that mean? Clearly Eli would prefer Jim take the fall for Peter and Eli both. Is he offering to do that? Eli’s eyes go crazy with suspicion. “If you’re taping this, Jim, I am not offering third party consent, so any recording will be considered inadmissible.”
Rolling his eyes in outrage, Jim Moody looks away and sighs. “Wow. You think that of me?” He’s clearly offended. “I think this conversation is oddly stilted,” Eli explains, chin up. “Okay,” Moody leans in, “Let me make it less stilted. I could get three years for election fraud. Why do I do that?” Yes, why do you do that? “Because you’re a good soldier,” Eli nods, unwilling to commit to anything that could (if played back) suggest a cover up.
Jim chooses his words less carefully. “I could get less if I testified,” he acknowledges. Almost certainly yes. “And you’d have no friends then,” the sharp elbowed campaign manager threatens. “Ever. Right now you have the friendship of the governor.” JIm almost smiles. “Lotta good that does me,” he observes. “Better than no one,” Eli declares briskly. Leaning back, Jim furrows his brow, purses his lips, thinks.
“Okay,” he nods.
“So it stops at you, right?” Eli asks. “And I wasn’t here.” Why’d you sit in front of a window then, Eli? JImmy slides out of the booth; Eli watches him leave the restaurant.
Wearing a plain white shirt and blue tie(boo), Cary takes point on the redirect. And of course, he goes right for the mile high club. I assumed that Miss Barrett meant that Howard and Darla had a mile high moment, but that’s not in fact the case. Helpfully, Cary clicks on a picture of Darla’s alleged paramour – a sexy photo of an unnamed woman in a bikini. Are you kidding me? You don’t know her name, but you have a picture of her looking like a swim suit model? How likely is that? Geneva object for relevance. “The relevance, Your Honor, is that Miss Riggs was faking her love for our client in order to get him to deliver drugs. That is our contention.” Beneath the defense table, Howard with draws his hand. What does this look like to the jury who’s sitting practically in the couple’s lap – jealousy, or guilt at being manipulated?
According to Miss Barrett, Darla and the mystery model took 15 minutes in the bathroom, and when they left, Darla was adjusting her skirt. “It’s not true, Howard,” Darla leans over, but her boyfriend ignores her, frowning, his arms wrapped defensively around his body. Adding insult to injury, Alicia cautions her to not to talk to her co-defendant.
And once more all six lawyers crowd the bench in a sidebar. Should Darla’s jury be brought back in to hear this? The prosecution thinks so. God, I’m so confused, because now we see Harris ushering out a jury when I swear to God they were arguing about whether to bring one in or not. And you know what? I hate to say it, but I don’t even care. They haven’t given me any reason to care about this couple. And their actions don’t make sense. How have they not noticed that their lawyers are trying to blame their darling love while they hold hands under the table? If they were informed and going along with the ploy, wouldn’t they make an effort to act less cuddley? And if they aren’t on board with the strategy, why aren’t they protesting it? Should we assume they’re guilty because of the money and the cocaine? The evidence feels pretty damning. Was Howard manipulating Darla? Was Darla manipulating Howard? Were they acting together, drawn in by the glamor of crime? I can’t remotely tell, and the writer does not seem to care.
Back on the stand, Miss Barrett confirms for Matan that when people spend fifteen minutes together in an airplane bathroom, there’s typically only one reason for it. Ugh. Matan is so slimey and insinuating, not that it takes much given the subject matter. Interestingly, Diane tries to make gossipy Miss Barrett look like a prude; does she believe in premarital sex? And if she doesn’t, might she be judging Darla as a ho? “Well my client is attractive, unmarried, she’s traveling with a single man – you’re jealous!” Darla shoots a nasty, triumphant look at the flight attendant, wiggling her head. First, they cast an extremely pretty actress as the flight attendant, and second, what the hell? That’s really your defense? I’m kind of offended that you couldn’t come up with anything better, Diane. Why aren’t we tracking down the mystery bikini babe?
Okay, so Diane does have something better to offer. It turns out that Darla asked Miss Barrett for a clip because her skirt was slipping. I’m not sure what kind of a clip that would be (hair clip? paper clip?) but Diane gets Barrett to speculate outloud that Bikini Model was just helping Darla fix a broken clasp on her skirt. Once again Geneva intercepts Matan on his way up to object – she wants the second jury back in to hear this, because she wants two convictions. If either Will or Alicia convinces their jury that their client was manipulated by their co-defendant, that’s a loss for the prosecution. According, Matan asks to redirect the question in front of both juries.
“Are you freaking kidding me?” Harris throws up his hands. I’m with you, buddy. I’m not entertained by this, I’m just exhausted. “Why is that, counselor?” the judge asks Matan, who just gives up. “I don’t know, Your Honor. Because?”
Okay, I do kind of enjoy seeing Mr. Smug Face at such a loss.
“It was just about my skirt,” Darla pats Howard on the face, upset. “I know,” Howard coos. I don’t think he looks nearly as nerdy as he sounds. Here they come, he observes, as Alicia and the others make their way towards the defendants. How is he not pissed at them for mucking with his emotions like that? Why isn’t Darla mad that they slandered her? These two make no sense.
The defense lawyers relay the message as a team. The prosecutions has offered a package deal – 6 years each if they plead to simple possession. Okay, here’s where I really would love to know about their guilt. I mean, they’re guilty, right? “Elementary game theory,” Howard observes. “We’re better off if we act together, but not as well off as we might be if we act alone.” Huh. That’s exactly right. While Alicia somehow sees this as the prosecution playing the lovers against each other (by offering them the same deal? how does that follow?), Will thinks that getting any plea offering signals that they’ve made a dent in the prosecution’s case.
“What are our chances of beating this?” Howard stammers. Alicia tries to peel him off Darla, but he insists they have the conversation together. Again, if you were going to insist on that, why are you allowing them to run this kind of defense? Either client could put a stop to it. Ridiculous. Squirming, Cary and Alicia begin.
“You cut a pretty sympathetic figure, Howard,” Cary claims. “Because my jury thinks Darla manipulated me?” Howard rightly assumes. Dude, if you had an issue with that – and you should – you could have said so at any point. Anyway, yes, he’s right. “What about my jury?” Darla asks in a small voice. “It’s better if they think you’re Howard’s pawn,” Will nods. You can hear the distress in his voice as Howard notes that their best chance at an acquital is for no one to believe they’re in love. Which implies to me that they actually are, or that he actually is, anyway. But, ugh. “It’s only for the purpose of the trial,” Diane attempts to placate him – just for appearance in court.
But Will stops paying attention, and Alicia, ever alert, follows his gaze across the hall. In a doorway we see the dark haired whining juror chatting with a slender bearded man in flannel. “That’s one of my jurors,” he observes. “Talking to one of mine,” she realizes. They stand and stare for a moment before Will briskly walks away.
Hey, we haven’t seen this bar in an age! Here’s something else we haven’t seen in a while either – Kalinda slipping onto the stool next to Cary. Gosh, I love her dress (black and silver, leather and color-blocking) but this is really not smart of Cary. Not that I don’t miss their friendship, of course, but ugh. Either of them looks particularly comfortable. He reads from his phone, ignoring her; she offers to buy him a drink (despite the fact that he’s already got one) and orders it from the bartender. “You followin’ me?” he asks. Just getting a drink, she says. “I told you I’d give you five minutes,” he growls, “don’t waste ’em.” Wait, was this meeting arranged or wasn’t it? I hate this script. Is it just me being sleep deprived, or do these details not make sense together?
Anyway. “Okay,” she says, starting the five minutes with her most sincere look. “I miss you.”
Cary just laughs. You played me, he says, pretended to be on my side and you were on Lockhart/Gardner’s. “They’re my employer, Cary!” she justifies herself. “And I was your friend.” No, he’s not having it. “Which is why I kept your secret for three months,” she replies. Well, she’s got him there. She never told Will or Diane that he was leaving – directly lied when asked to investigate who was getting ready to depart with clients, in fact. “Will was ready to fire me for that! You’re my friend, Cary, but I can’t endanger my job for you.” Wagging his head, Cary’s still grumbling. He starts to tell her to go when the bartender spills his new martini all over him.
He backs into the room, ostensibly to clean himself, leaving Kalinda at the bar with a puddle – and his phone. And at just that moment, Robyn texts him with a retread of their earlier conversation. “Urgent – RE: the Paisley Group” At first Kalinda simply turns the phone over, stares at the black case covetously, but she can’t resist it. She flips it back and presses the button. The full message reads “CEO James Paisley arrested for solicitation with H. Elliot. Lockhart/Gardner doesn’t know. Opportunity to peel another client away.” An opportunity Cary already knew about. Odd.
The following morning, the juries are fighting about leaving leftover take out (“stinky Thai food!”) in the trash. Which obviously was not emptied (yuck). Very self conscious, Alicia stands as if to make an announcement to the court, but decides against it. This wins her a speculative look from Will. Ah well.
Man, I am so sick of this case. Apparently the prosecution is quite invested in it, however, because they’ve flown a freaking bellhop from that resort in Rio to explain what the lobby surveillance video shows us – that the defendants met and exchanged money with a notorious drug dealer, one Mr. Casorla. Awesome. Darla and Howard cringe. Of course, one of his “legitimate” businesses is a scuba shop; Darla had asked the bellman to arrange a scuba lesson with Casorla for her. For sure the best part of this whole exchange is watching Cary wind his way between the jury members in order to approach the witness stand. “And that scuba lesson was for Miss Riggs alone.”
Oops. Diane picks up her head as if somehow surprised. Sigh. Exhausting. Just exhausting. As he’s attempting to establish that Darla had a previous acquaintance with the drug dealer, Will asks for yet another sidebar. Hey, he’s trying to blame Darla, Will whines. “I have an absolute right to exculpate my client,” Cary insists. “Not my implicating ours you don’t,” Diane declares. So not true, love. “We request limiting instructions,” Will asks. The judge looks at him with horror. “It’s like herding cats with you people!” Step back, he warns them, and then snaps for Harris. Sigh. Pitching her voice low, Diane suggests working together. “Tell that to Will!” Alicia protests. Because he was worse than Cary? I don’t even get what working together here would mean. Coordinating their attacks on each others clients?
Preparing herself, Diane walks over to Will, but before she can appeal to him about anything, she notices how entranced he is by his phone. Ah. Kalinda has informed him of the Paisley group’s potential departure. “We’ve been ignoring them,” Diane realizes. Will gets her permission to run off and put out the fire. Poor Judge Spencer tells Darla’s jury they should ignore Cary’s cross examination. Right, like they can forget hearing it? He tries to address Howard’s jury and gets their placement wrong. Sigh.
It’s not funny, guys. Just really annoying and wearying.
A beautiful stone block building building proclaims itself the headquarters of the Paisley Group. “I’m happy. Has someone told you I’m not happy,” Tom Skerrit asks Will and Kalinda, who’re following him out of the building. Paisley pulls on his gloves as they walk, his movements neat and precise. Does Will’s tie match his scarf? That’s a lot of pattern. Somehow this shocks me more than Kalinda’s raspberry colored coat. No, no, Will says. We’re only doing our due diligence because you’re so very important to us. Right. “Well,” he says adjusting his black leather gloves, “at first I considered Florrick/Agos.” He smacks his hands together; the sound reverberates. “But again, I’m happy. I don’t know how else to say it.” Will and Kalinda exchange glances as Paisley’s doorman closes the door behind him.
“I understand, sir,” Will says, “but we’ve identified a few areas where you might need help.” Hailey Elliot, Kalinda volunteers, and this gets Paisley’s attention alright. What about her? “Not to sound indelicate,” Kalinda answers, a bit unsure under Paisley’s intense gaze, “I know about the solicitation charge, sir.” He squints hard, lifting his chin. “You know? I – eh – what do you know?” That any decent firm can get you off, Will says (terribly expression when discussing a solicitation charge!) but Will believes he has an edge because he get the arrest expunged, so it won’t be on his public record.
“Hailey is not a prostitute, she’s my granddaughter,” he informs them, thunder and lighting in his tone, and it’s Will’s turn to stammer in confusion. HA! Cary, you sly little rat! I love you. “Is this some sort of joke?” Paisley flashes. “She’s in a wheelchair, with Hodgkins.” Dang, didn’t they do any research on this? They must have done something to get the name Hailey out of “H. Elliot.” I love seeing the cheat fail to prosper – after all, none of this would have happened if Kalinda hadn’t snooped – but it’s altogether nuts.
I know he’s had good cause to look horrified many times over the last year, but this is an entirely new level of mortification for Will. I was terribly misinformed, he gasps. “I should say you were,” Paisley barks, glaring. “Is there anything else you need from me?” No sir, Will mumbles, looking at his shoes. Kalinda’s face, too, is tight with embarrassment. “We’re … fine. I’ll call this afternoon.” He watches Paisley walk away.
He lets out a shuddering breath. “What’s that about?” Kalinda smiles to herself in sad appreciation of the move. “Cary.” What about him, Will wonders. Kalinda shakes her head.
When Will walks back into court, Cary’s taking a call from Paisley and agreeing to meet. Ha. Well played, sir. “Well exactly,” he says. “One of the reasons we left Lockhart/Gardner is that they were getting too big and losing sight of their clients.” Weaving between the chairs, he scuttles over to Alicia; she’s on her cell as well, but she’s thrilled to hear that Paisley changed their mind about meeting. How did he do it? “I paid a bartender to spill a drink on me,” he grins. Ha ha ha ha. That is amazing. I’m sure it makes no sense to Alicia, but that’s okay, because she’s busy with her own call again. “No, I’m here. We’re following all the ethical rules, Marilyn,” she attempts to placate her caller.
Oh, honey. I need to ask you a few questions as Peter’s lawyer, Marilyn says, watching the looped tape of the ballot box. After you’re done with court. Oh, love. I hate even thinking about this. The Honorable Judge Spencer returns to the courtroom, and so Alicia’s happiness is preserved for a few hours more.
In one of the high points of the episode, Will looks daggers at Cary, who smiles blithely back at him. I’m sorry Will was humiliated, but I’m proud of Cary for setting the trap. It was clever. Ah well – Will gets up to talk to ask the bellman if Casorla speaks any language other than Portuguese. “Not to my knowledge, no.” So, Will suggests, only Howard and not Darla would have been able to talk to him. Okay, that’s a good point to bring up. After a whispered consultation with Cary, Alicia asks for a sidebar.
“This is precisely the type of questioning that Mr. Gardner objected to,” she whispers angrily. “Apples and oranges,” Will shakes his head as Geneva peers over his shoulder. Oh my God. They’re so exhausting. How do you do that – impugn someone, then pretend it’s a shocking thing to impugn someone when it gets done to you, over and over and over again! I have a headache just thinking about all the lies and pretended outrage. As the two trade accusations, Cary cuts in. “If this is about the Paisley Group, why don’t you just come out and say it?” Why would it be about the Paisley Group? Like Will needed a new reason to oppose them? What about the Paisley Group, Diane snaps. Alicia wants limiting instructions, but no, the judge isn’t having it anymore, not even if it fatally injures their case.
Her jaw hangs open for a moment. “You understand that’s reversible error, don’t you?” Oh, now you’ve done it. That’s not cool. What I think Mrs. Florrick wants, Cary’s cooler head explains, is simply an answer for the record. Judge Spencer stares back at her, his own mouth open at the audacity. “Here’s my explanation,” he says, leaning forward, his palms on the bench, “I’m tired of the games and the backbiting.” You said it! Although really, I’m tired of this episode’s poorly written games. “We’re gonna finish this trial, d’you understand? No more sequestration. No more limiting instructions. If you would like to appeal at the end of it, knock yourself out.”
“I would like to request conference in chambers,” she says, hesitating. Again, he smiles at her gall. “You’re on thin ice, Mrs. Florrick.” She knows. She wants to meet anyway. “There’s a matter I’ve been remiss in bring to the court’s attention.”
And why is that? So that she can bring up the chatting jurors, of course. (Well. Chatting’s probably the wrong word – that discussion looked fairly intense. The cross jury pollination, let’s call it.) She sits, prim, hesitant, in Louden Spencer’s office. Why didn’t she bring it up earlier? Well, inititially she though it was an “innocent exchange,” she says. No, that’s not cool. She has no way of knowing now or them whether or not they were talking about the case.
So that’s when the judge asks Will if he saw it too, and he lies. What on earth? Why is he lying? Obviously he thinks it must be of some benefit to his client – and Alicia, what, wants a mistrial? – but we established that things were going better for Howard than Darla, so why does Alicia want the mistrial and Will not? Or is it just that he’s still mortified by Cary’s trick? Ugh. This is just exhausting. And of course, she’s shocked that he would lie, and takes it back rather than pushing the issue, which is just weird. What happened to all that piss and vinegar? The look on her face right now is the one he wanted her to make during The Decision Tree. Of course, if I’d been her, I’d have gotten my cell phone out the second I noticed the two talking and recorded it so that it wouldn’t be a question of one person’s word against another’s. “Perhaps I was mistaken as to what Mr. Gardner observed,” she stammers, and the viciousness of look he turns on her stuns me.
Speaking of things people have or haven’t observed, poor Alicia heads from court to Marilyn’s office, where she gets to see the ballot box in all its looped glory. You’re never seen this before, Marilyn asks. No. And she doesn’t know anything about the activity depicted in it, either. Oh, this poor woman. “But these were the ballots you went to court to dispute, correct?” She has no way of knowing that from the video, although I’m sure that can be proved conclusively. “And just to be specific, I went to court to de-legitimize those votes.” Why bother? You changed your tune quick enough when they turned out to be for Peter. Although to your credit, I know you assumed that if they were for Peter, that meant they couldn’t possibly be fraudulent. Scribbling furiously, Marilyn thanks her for the clarification. Unfortunately, she’s back to wearing black again. Not that black isn’t a great color for her (and pregnancy in general) but seriously, she looks like she’s on her way to a funeral almost every time we see her.
I’m so horrified for Alicia, finding this out – just one more blow after so many – but I also love seeing this moment between these two women. They’re both meticulous, both precise. They’ve both buried emotion deep underneath the surface. I hear hints of sarcasm, of frustration and pain, but they’re so restrained. The subtlty of it all draws me in.
They establish that Alicia knows who Jim Moody is, but doesn’t know him personally. “You never had a conversation with Jim Moody?” Marilyn presses, and that’s the moment you can see Alicia remembering that Marilyn isn’t there to be her friend or to help her in any way. “Marilyn. I have answered all your questions as candidly as I can. I had no idea about this video, period.” She asks to leave, and so the ever proper Marilyn thanks her for her time. Practically leaping from her seat, Alicia bursts out of the room; Marilyn merely waits, tapping her pen.
“Won’t take much to kill a loving smile,” Bruce Springsteen growls as Alicia strides down the hall, her gait purposeful, angry. “Every mother with a baby crying in her arms, saying give me strength. Give me love! Give me peace! Don’t you know these days you pay for everything. I got high hopes!”
Peter’s office bustles with staff; the regal First Lady quietly asks them all to leave. Her husband recognizes this is trouble, and quickly ends his phone call. The loud blare of horns shuts off abruptly as she walks toward his desk, numb.
She stands a storm cloud before a rain, the Illinois seal on the wall between them. “I was here to see Marilyn Garbanza,” she begins, and he winces, immediately apologizing. He didn’t know it was all moving so fast. Yeah. A warning would have been nice (though not ethically appropriate, I’m sure). “That video. Did you know anything about it?” she asks, her eyes level, her tone almost perfectly smooth. “I wasn’t even aware of its existence until yesterday,” he lies. Damn it! Do not lie to her, Peter! That adage that Marilyn quoted about the coverup being worse than the sin, that’s true of marriage as well as politics. She can never be your true partner if you don’t trust her with the truth!
I don’t mean the video, I mean what it depicts, she clarifies, pitiless. He scoffs, though his outrage doesn’t ring quite true. “Alicia, if I had know what Jim Moody was up to, why would I have asked you to disqualify those ballots?” You didn’t ask me, she remembers. Eli did. Oh. So from her point of view, Eli’s the one who looks innocent. “Because he didn’t know anything about what Moody was up to!” So yes, Eli is innocent, sort of, even if he turned a blind eye to Jim’s activities. And Peter’s completely innocent of ordering the thing done; he’s guilty of collaboration after the fact, of complicity, because when Will came to him with the video, he chose not to have the ballots disqualified. He knew it had happened and decided not to stop it. “And neither did I,” he adds, hand to his heart.
Alicia’s shoulders rise and fall, her anger beginning to erupt. Yep, the shock’s wearing off. “Zach. Our son. Testified in court about those ballots.” I know, Peter agrees, hanging his head. “And he will have to testify again.” She swallows. “This time in front of the Feds.” Still he doesn’t raise his head to meet her gaze. “I hope not,” he shakes his head.
That’s done it. “No!” she yells, and he does look up, shocked. “My son will not get caught up in the middle of this hurricane. You need to fix this!” Um, okay. How’s he going to do that? Alicia, Peter murmurs, attempting to placate her. “Just. Tell me. That. You. Will. Fix. It. Just tell me that!” Her voice shakes with emotion. He nods slightly. “I’m going to fix it,” he says quietly, and though she holds her head high as she turns and stalks out of the room, her posture upright and impeccable, angry tears rush down her face where her husband can’t see them.
It’s Kalinda’s turn to play both the penitent and the agrrieved party ; she’s standing outside Cary’s door, her customary jewel tones a brilliant contrast to all the black and gray. After they’ve stared at each other for moment, she begins. “Well played, Cary.” He laughs, bites down a little on his lower lip. “When did you find out Hailey Elliot was his granddaughter?” After we accused him of solicitation, she admits, laughter burst through that last word. They’re both cracked up. “You paid the bartender to spill the drinks and then you texted your own phone?” Yep. Ha. I figured he had Robyn send the text at the right moment, but I can see how that would be easier. He decided to try the plot just before she showed up.
She giggles, and he sighs, giving one long look before backng away from the door. “Take care, Kalinda,” he says, rueful. Of course she’s not going to stand for that; she steps in the way of the closing door. “So we even now?” He swings forward to look her in the face. Yeah, he agrees, far less jovial, but why? So we can get a drink, she suggests. Right, cause that would be SUCH a good idea. “So you can get one up on me?” No, she declares, her eyes extra wide, her voice soft, “because I want a drink.” Why do I feel like drink is suddenly a euphemism for something else?
He shakes his head in a way that makes it very clear that he’s tempted. “This isn’t a good idea, Kalinda.” I know, she agrees softly, and then I swear to God she bats her eyes at him. “So?” He smiles, squeezing his eyes shut and wrinkling his nose, and you can see how tempted he is by the way he swallows. And then he shuts the door in her face.
And then he opens it and stalks past her down the hall, his coat in his hand.
I desperately want to be at the bar with Cary and Kalinda rather than back in court. Please, please don’t make me! But no, we have to listen to the head of security for the Cinque Terre Resort. Wow, they’ve just flown everyone in! Why are we bothering with a couple of one time couriers? Why not go after the whole operation at this point? Matan has Bald Security Dude walk him through a video of Howard and Darla talking to, and eventually handing a large envelope over, to the drug dealer Casorla from the door of one of their rooms. If this guy is such a bad dude, why is no one afraid of disrupting his organization? Anyway. Robyn’s paying close attention from the back row and seems very interested in the bright t-shirt Casorla wears, Miami Vice style, under his suit. Matan also wants the juries to know that Casorla would have needed a key card to take the elevator to the 6th floor, although I’m honestly sure how that bit proves anything.
“Mr. Belfor, you don’t have any idea what was in that envelope, do you?” Will asks casually from his chair. “No, but I can guess,” Belfor answers. Of course Will doesn’t want him to guess. That’s when Robyn very loudly whispers to Alicia that she’s noticed something in the video.
Out in the hall, the two confer. Alonzo Casorla’s t-shirt was from the HoneyBar (another of his legitimate businesses); our favorite flight attendant had a hat from the same place in her apartment, and Robyn has Facebook pictures to prove it. “We could argue that the flight attendant and the coke king knew each other,” Alicia realizes. So, okay. First Diane suggests she’s a jealous bitch and now Alicia’s going to call her a smuggler? It’s plausible that she could be one, I guess, but this latest bit of footage seems so damning I don’t know if the distraction will matter.
Well, Cary wonders, do we tell Will and Diane about this or not? “It helps us both if we work in sync,” Cary notes. How? Yeah, Alicia agrees, “Or maybe they’ll try to screw us.” Only if they want us to lose more than they want to win, Cary thinks. At this point? I can see why Alicia’s hesitating.
I’m sure we’re not really intended to be able to read everything that passes between Will and Alicia in that one look before he stands to cross examine Christina Barrett. It seems that back in 2006, she was in rehab for an addiction to painkillers. Of course Geneva objects to this line of questioning, but the judge allows it, and so she admits to her struggle. “I’m cured now,” she tells the jury. Um, yeah. I don’t know any recovering addict ever who considers themselves “cured.” That’s not recovery vernacular at all. I do feel bad for her, though. And I feel even worse when Will brings up her 45k in credit card debt. This time, Judge Spencer decides Will IS pushing it too far.
But of course they’re far from done with her. Alicia wants to know if she has to go through airport security. She’s generally expedited, and at Galeao Airport , flight attendants aren’t checked at all. “So, to summarize,” Alicia explains, “You have a history of drug use, you’re carrying a huge debt load, you can bypass airport security…” You can imagine how much Geneva likes that. Though her objection is sustained, Alicia asks the question anyway: did Barrett plant drugs in her clients bag with the intention of then recovering it after the flight? Louden Spencer is pissed. There’s no foundation for anything she just said, he insists, and the jury will disregard all of it. Why? I don’t really understand that. Isn’t that what defense lawyers do, disparage other people to try and get their clients off? Why is this so egregiously different? Will and Alicia exchange looks, and she gives him a very small, very self-conscious smile.
Alicia brings two tall coffees out to Howard and Darla. The latter tells Diane that she’s terrified. Waiting sucks. “I have a good feeling about this,” she smiles, and Alicia adds a peppy “me too.” Wait, that was the end of the trial? I suppose if the defendants are really guilty then they wouldn’t want to take the stand; somehow I always assume guilt when someone won’t testify on their own behalf. Cary heads out of the courtroom to tell them that the jury’s already back – Darla’s jury. Alicia pats Howard on the back as he watches Darla walk away from him.
He’s seated in the courtroom when the jury files in, however. Painfully, Judge Spencer asks for the foreman to read the verdict for Howard. With Darla standing up right in front of him I have no freaking idea how that slip is possible. It feels like they did it just to annoy us, frankly, and if that was their aim they certainly succeeded at it. Anyway, he mispeaks and the Tall Thin Juror has to correct him. “Oh,” Judge Spencer says, weary past caring, “What say you?” They say that Darla is not guilty.
Are we supposed to be happy about that? I guess? Darla embraces Diane, and then sits down to kiss Howard as Cary looks on, disapproving. Ah, but we’re not done; Howard’s jury wants some testimony read back to them. Why, he asks his lawyers. Becase they need more information. ‘Well that’s bad, isn’t it?” Yeah. Alicia doesn’t’ want to say, but that’s bad.
Speaking of things that are bad, Marilyn’s now interviewing Will. Oh God. “Mr. Gardner, you were the Florrick campaign’s attorney at the time of his election, correct?” Oh God. “No, no,” he shakes his head immediately. He was one of many – but definitely one who participated in the attempt to invalidate the ballot box which was initially believed to have been compromised. “And at some point did you become aware of a video that suggested a Florrick campaign operative tampered with that ballot box?” Narrowing his eyes, Will stares at the ethicist. Does she need to repeat the question? “Marilyn, what’s going on here?” he asks. Somehow, he thinks that an ethics investigation should be less – what? Truthful? – than a grand jury investigation. Sweet little Marilyn’s eyes are boring through him. I thought Eli asked you to cooperate, she demands, glaring. Reluctantly, he confesses that he did become aware of the video.
And that’s when things get tricky, because of course her next question is whether he told Peter about the video. No, he says. You didn’t, she wonders, but that’s not it; reasonably he refuses to answer because doing so would violate Peter’s attorney/client privilege. It takes so long for Marilyn’s jaw to drop it’s as if it’s happening in slow motion. And then she asks him to come with her. He is very slow to stand.
I’m enjoying watching them walk down the hall toward Peter’s office, though; her focus is almost predatory, superficially similar to Alicia’s trek down the same lane. Will, on the other, attempts a cavalier attitude. Nothing to see here, folks!
Peter’s standing in his sitting area, reading a newspaper when Marilyn arrives. It’s all very dramatic, the way Will steps out of the shadows as Marilyn asks Peter to waive privilege, like the Beast showing himself to Belle for the first time. Blinking, Peter’s face takes on a cagey look. “And… what is the scope of the waver you’re seeking?” Yet again Marilyn seems to be devastated that he even asked the question instead of just granting Will permission to speak. She wants to hear anything that relates to her inquiry, of course.
After what feels like an age-long staring contest, Peter begins to nod – but instead of saying yes as that lead to me to expect, he asks for a moment alone with Will. “Certainly,” Marilyn bites back. I’m not sure if she could sound more venomously disgusted with him. “Why?” Because I want to talk to him, the Governor says plainly. Though Marilyn pleads for their discussion to be on the record, Peter’s not having it, and reluctantly Marilyn agrees to wait outside the door. She’ll go, but she’s no dummy; all of this is making her incredibly – and rightly – suspicious.
Walking over to shut the door himself, Peter spares Will a brief looks. If he were to waive privilege, what would Will say? “That I visited you in your hotel suite on election day. That I had acquired a video that I wanted you to see.” The video I refused to see, Peter confirms. Yes. “Okay. And, uh, that would be it?”
“No,” says Will. “I told you that the video proved 30,000 of your votes were fraudulent.” Peter looks at him in surprise, draws down his eyebrows. “No, you told me you had video proof that I would lose the election.” Yes, agrees Will, that too. “Then I said the 30,000 votes were fraudulent.” That’s not how I remember it, Peter shakes his head. He doesn’t look like he’s lying, but Will clearly takes it that way, as intimidation. “And how do you remember taking back Diane’s judgeship?”
Holy crap, what the hell was that? Did he just threaten to blackmail Peter? Or – I freaking don’t know what just happened.
That short burst of laughter from Peter says it all. “Wow. So we’re headed that way, are we?” No, replies Will, I’m just making a point. “Politicians have a way of misremembering things to their liking.” He walks closer to Peter. “Yeah, tell me about the ethics of that, counselor,” Peter sneers, walking towards Will. “What could I tell the most ethical governor in Illinois history?” Oh dear God, what the hell are they doing? “Do you even hear yourself,” Peter growls. “Suspended lawyer, man who cheats with other men’s wives…” I really can’t believe the philanderer who did prison time for corruption is throwing stones here.
“What do you want me to do, Peter?” Will asks. “Hmm? As your lawyer, what do you want me to do?” They stare at each other, and it’s Peter who blinks first. Then he opens the door and tells Marilyn that he is not waiving his attorney/client privilege. “Are you sure, sir?” she pleads. He barks out a yes, refusing to look at Marilyn or Will as they stand together, and she closes her eyes, letting out a shaky breath.
‘The SA is panicking,” Alicia tells Howard in some sort of conference room over at the courthouse. “She’s afraid of walking away with nothing. So they’ve sweetened the offer.” Alicia and Cary are seated across from each other, with Howard at the head of the table, flexing his long fingers, playing with them. 4 years, eligible for parole after 2, Cary explains. Hmm. “Well do you think I can win?” he asks in his quiet, gravelly voice, and Alicia shoots a terrified look at Cary. That’s a no, then. I don’t know, she says.
“My life is probabilities,” he tells them, still quiet, hunched over, scared. I wonder why we’ve never seen him so twitchy, and then I realize he’s been holding on to Darla the whole time; it’s the nicest moment of character we’ve seen in him. “The odds of me meeting Darla,” he chuckles in a sort of happy disbelief, “two million to one.” Cary smiles appreciatively. Not to be insensitive, but it’s statistics that deals with odds, not calculus, right? “The odds of our falling in love? Sixty million to one.” This wins a brief sad smile from Alicia. “What are the odds of an acquittal?” She shrugs. “It’s a coin toss… but the downside?” She shrugs eloquently. “If you were me, what would you do, Alicia?” Ugh. They’re always asking her that. Maybe that’s the most important question. She looks at Cary first, but her mouth turns down.
Out in the hall, the Tall Thin foreman from the Darla Riggs jury – you know, the one who thought the man should decide issues in a relationship – smiles at the bearded guy from Howard’s jury. You know, the one Alicia and Will saw him talking animatedly with. And they’re beaming at each other, bumping shoulders affectionately. Are they dating? They’re not quite holding hands, but their fingers dangle very close to each other. That might just be the only thing I’ve liked about this whole case.
“Two years,” Howard worries; Darla has his long fingers wrapped up in her own. “It’s a lifetime.” So much for mathematical precision! I know what he means, though. They haven’t been dating that long. “I’ll wait for you, Howard,” she cries. “Yeah?” he asks hopefully. “As long as it takes,” she whispers through her tears. She presses her lips fervently to his, and then he’s pulled back by the court bailiffs, his feet dragging against the ground. As they turn him, we see that he’d already been cuffed. The four lawyers have been watching from a respectful distance, but now Diane tips her head in pity and walks forward so she can wrap her arm around Darla, patting her back, saying that it’s going to be alright.
“Accordingly, I am unable to take a position regarding the propriety of the Florrick administration’s conduct in this matter,” Eli reads from what must be Marilyn’s report, his tone bitter, angry. “Oh come!” he yells at Marilyn, who glares back at him, arms crossed defensively over her chest. “Your conclusion is that you can’t draw a conclusion?” Yes, she replies smoothly. “Because I didn’t finish my investigation.” So why write the report at all? We made everyone available, Eli howls. Does he somehow not know what went on? If anything, wasn’t that in the report? “The most important witness refused to answer my questions because the Governor won’t waive attorney/client privilege.” Nope, Eli didn’t know about it. How did he not know? Did he just skip to the last sentence of the report?
“What witness,” he asks, paling. “Will Gardner, the witness who discovered the video…” well, not exactly… “and tried to show the governor.” Eli rolls his eyes. “There are other reasons that Peter won’t waive. This guy has got it out for him.” I can’t decide if that’s a fair assessment or not. It’s not that it’s inaccurate, but the implications seem to be that Will would lie to hurt Peter? Or what, not lie to protect him? “He fired his wife!” Which had less than nothing to do with Peter. “Eli, my report will remain inconclusive until I have the Governor’s full and unconditional cooperation.” I like that she gets right into his face, but doesn’t shout. And that’s all she has to say.
Eli, however, is not finished. “You’re throwing this into the laps of the Feds?” Ha. The Feds have tapped all your phones, Eli. No doubt’s there already. “No, but it might end up there because you don’t trust me,” she snaps. You know, delicately. “He did nothing wrong!” Eli yells. “We won by 8 points!” Oh, Eli. “It doesn’t matter. Peter’s in real trouble, Eli. He’s in trouble for one reason. Will Gardner.” That’s an incredibly unfair and even stupid misstatement of the facts. Marilyn follows her enormous-seeming belly out the door; Eli screams “Damn it!” and throws her report with all his strength. The unstapled pages flip and flutter toward the door.
Let the record show: I quote from my own recap of What’s in the Box, the election episode:
“It shows your 30,000 votes are fraudulent,” Will snaps, and Peter frowns again. “If it goes to the judge, you’ll lose.”
So yeah, that happened. Will said it plainly. Those were his exact, unambiguous words. Looking back, a puzzling element from that conversation finally makes sense to me. Peter’s wondering why Will has come to him with this information instead of someone else, and he says it’s because he didn’t want to hurt Alicia. “You’ve handled this poorly,” Peter replies. It’s clear to me now that Peter would have wanted Will to take the information to a subordinate, so he could deny knowing about it. Let it go to Eli, so he can take the fall instead. Insulate the man at the top. Now, Peter might genuinely recall the conversation differently (it happens); maybe he re-writes the past mentally to serve his ego and his desired narrative. Or he might have been hoping that Will would tow the party line if pressed and/or bullied into it. I really don’t know. But Will is not Peter’s problem: what Will knows is. That’s not at all the same thing, and I’m annoyed with Marilyn – which is to say the writers – for feeding into the Will/Peter feud binary. She’s not that dumb.
And while I’m on the subject of the writers, that case. Shall I count for you the many reasons that I hated it? 1) Not knowing for sure if Howard and Darla were guilty, and if so, why they’d spontaneously decided to smuggle cocaine into America. Did Howard calculate the odds of that one? 2) Howard and Darla not apparently caring about their case. 3) the over the top stereotypes that were Howard and Darla, right down to their names. 4)The damned double jury nonsense. 5) The lawyers all pretending that the other guy shot first. You’re all guilty, each one of you! 6) Flying the hotel staff to Chicago so they can testify? Seriously? Are Darla and Howard part of a ring of smugglers? Were they going back for more? Does Darla pick up cocaine and men at the same time? What is the context, the back story? None of it hangs together.
And, okay. I could go on and on, but I don’t want to talk about it anymore. I’ve already wasted enough of my life with this.
Who thinks that Kalinda really missed Cary? I want to believe that she did, especially after last week’s musings on friendship with Damian and Jenna. But Kalinda doesn’t seem to know how to be just friends with someone. Is anyone else starting to wonder if Alicia was the only friend Kalinda never bought with sexual favors? Sex stands in for trust with her; she doesn’t let herself trust, doesn’t let herself rely on them, and so she can’t expect them to trust her without some kind of payment, either. Well, actually, I don’t think she’s slept with Will and they have a sort of friendship, but he’s her boss. It’s different.
The big question has to be who sent the video. The only choices we have right now are Kalinda and Will, and neither seems likely to me. We know Kalinda has leaked material before, and we know she has no love for Peter, but that felt different. If anything, both Kalinda and Will seem likely to store that information up to use at an advantageous time. If Will wasn’t going to use it to save Diane’s judgeship, why would he do it now rather than saving it for a rainy day? Baffling.
What else is there to say before I can put this damned episode to bed? That I respect Marilyn more, minus that ridiculous closing line? That I’m so pissed off at Alicia for telling Peter to fix it? I mean, I get where she’s going; it’s his mess, he needs to clean it up. But she cannot walk away and just expect he can do that. Over and over again, it’s like Ilsa going to Rick and saying “you’ll have to think for both of us.” Not all messes can be cleaned up. And frankly, I don’t see how this one can be.