The Good Wife: Dear God

E: Are any fans out there on board with this campaign plan?  I have yet to talk to one, so I’m wondering.

Here’s my deal with it.  The writing staff has done an excellent job convincing me that the almost ridiculously malevolent Castro should not be State’s Attorney. No one needed to convince me that having a woman or person of color in this job would be a welcome change.  But if they wanted me to want Alicia to run, they shouldn’t have given her a law firm to abandon.  She could have left Lockhart/Gardner to do this, and I’d have been a lot more sanguine about it, even though her closet fairly bursts with skeletons and I’m not sure she’d be any more content in the job.  Now it feels like she’s running away from her responsibilities, flattered by the attention, and that she’s flitting from one project to another, looking for the blue bird of happiness without any concern for the people she lets down along the way.

And I suppose I see why (because it undercuts the pigheaded desire to have Alicia run for office) but it annoys me to no end that everyone’s conveniently forgetting about the long time ASA who does fit all the criteria put out and would want the job – Geneva Pine.

But maybe that’s just me.

Let’s talk about the rest of what happened this week, shall we?

Really, the cubicle farm couldn’t be more depressing, all fluorescent light bulbs and inartistically exposed steel beams and red pipes.  “No, that’s not what he said,” the unmistakably nasal voice of Linda Levin whines into a phone.  She’s hunched over a desk, defending someone. “No it’s not,” she adds, passionately. “Because it isn’t!”  A sign on the column behind Cary’s head proclaims that he’s waiting in Section 8, as if the cubicle farm were a parking garage.  There’s a fan attached to that column and others like it around the room; between the decor and the sound of Lavin ending her phone call, we could watching Barney Miller in 1975.  Except that unfortunately I doubt we’re going to be laughing.

“You can sit,” Lavin tells Cary without turning around, hanging up her phone and collecting some paperwork. Her hair is pulled back neatly into a barrette, formal and high, and she wears a white cardigan; Cary looks sharp but pained in a typically natty suit and tie.  When asked, he confirms the correct pronunciation of his name.

“Mr. Agos, I am your pre-trial service officer, Joy Grubick,” she says, still without turning away from her desk. “You’ve been released on bond awaiting trial, and your release has come with certain conditions,” she explains, sitting back in her chair slowly, each word flat and rote. “My job is to see that you live up to those conditions and report to the court on your compliance. Do you understand?” He does.  “In my supervisory capacity, I will regularly meet with you, your lawyer, your employer, and other collateral witnesses to ascertain your fitness for continued bond release.”  Humming, she meets his eyes with an alarmingly skeptical glare, as if it were unlikely that he could meet her exacting standards.

“You are currently employed?” He is.  “I don’t see any entry here for direct supervisor,” she tuts, as if a job couldn’t exist without one.  “Yeah, I don’t really have an employer, I’m a partner at my law firm,” he replies.  Name partner!  Founding partner!  Stick up for yourself against the man, Cary! Her glare is brief but potent. “I need a name,” she insists, and he’s appalled.  What if he were, I don’t know, a house painter who worked for himself?  This can’t be that unusual. “Ahm,” he hems and haws, clearly humiliated, “Alicia Florrick.  My other partner.”  Linda dutifully writes the name down. “You need any information on drug or alcohol treatment programs while subject to release?”  Again without turning to face him, she pulls a pamphlet out of a little display shelf on her desk and holds it up toward him.  No.  Has he used any controlled substances since his release?  This time he smiles; no. She looks at him again, this time without the high wattage glare. “Have you partaken of any alcoholic beverages?”

No, he says, and then corrects, thinking about it. “A beer.”  The glare comes out again. “One beer.”  Yes.  The pamphlet goes down, the pen comes out. “And when did you consume this beer?”  God, really?  Embarrassed, he answers. “After my release, there was a celebration with a few coworkers.”  Which turns out to be a euphemism for thrusting Kalinda up against a window and making her gasp.  “Was this at a bar?”  No, his apartment. “You said this was a celebration with a few people.  And who were they?”  Snort. Ms Grubick sounds more than a little like the humorless Roz from Monsters Inc, no?   Inhaling, Cary remembers pressing into Kalinda, her palms splayed against the window glass.  Looks like he put all that pent up energy to good use; she’s not usually so noisy.  “You want their names?” he asks unhappily. She does.  “Actually, it was probably just one,” he admits, and being caught in the lie earns him another glower.

He looks embarrassed and more serious for being caught out. “I need a name,” she insists flatly. “Kalinda,” he says, “Sharma.”

“Let me see your hand,” she commands in his memory, his arm wrapped in front of her. “Though you are not explicitly forbidden alcohol, we would advise against any triggers for abuse,” joyless Joy tells him, and he nods in agreement even though it’s so far from relevant to his case that her concern would be laughable in other circumstances. “I understand,” he says glumly. In his head, Kalinda turns his palm (free of the bandage) toward her face and kisses it tenderly.

“How’re you handling your release, Mr. Agos?” Ms. Grubeck asks, breaking Cary’s reverie. “How m’I handling it?” he repeats. “Fine, I guess. I wasn’t in that long.”  Sure. “Any disagreements at work?” She asks, huddled over her papers. Clearly bedside manner isn’t her strong suit. In his memory, Cary seems small next to the flood of new employees complaining about the size of their offices, sitting quietly as his dream slips away from him. “No, everything went well,” he lies.  “How’s your employer handling your return?”  Sigh.

“Alicia,” Cary reminds himself, and then he’s off to a fight between the two of them in his memory, rather than the beautiful hug they shared at the end of the last episode. “That is the heart and soul of Lockhart/Gardner,” she thunders. “We took their six top department heads, why are you screwing this up?”  She handled it very well, Cary nods, looking like he could sure use a hug now. “A condition of your bail is that you inform you clients of your status,” Grubick reads off a form. “Have you done so, either by letter or in person?”  She raises her eyebrows to demand an answer, still looking at the paper and not him. In person, he says. And what did you say, she wonders.

“Two weeks ago I was arrested for transporting 1.3 million dollars in heroin,” Cary confesses, and a white haired client flinches in shock. “Obviously, I didn’t do it,” he adds, his voice gravelly. “In fact, we think the State’s Attorney brought these charges because Cary is such an effective advocate,” Alicia adds earnestly. I can’t help feeling like this is the wrong line.  Shouldn’t the point be more that it’s a testament to the lengths Cary will go for his clients – the SA is applying pressure, and Cary cannot be turned?  Ah well.  Maybe I just don’t like the fact that it sounds like a line, and therefore meaningless and hollow. “I still plan to be involved in all my cases,” Cary explains to a second client – this one younger but just as grim. “We don’t want any interruption in your service,” Alicia adds to a third, clearly peeved fellow. “We want to keep you as a client.”  The third man purses his lips. “So what do you think, Mr. Clay?”  Mr. Clay twiddles his thumbs.

“And did you lose any clients after informing them of your status?” Joyless asks. “Yeah, a few,” Cary admits. “How many?” she asks like a strict teacher; no more pussyfooting around with numbers. “Four,” he frowns, the confession painful.  And who have you retained, she asks, which, damn, is so invasive.

He’s retained – in addition to Deena Lampert – John Boy Walton. “Cary,” John Boy says, sitting across from Alicia and Cary in their offices like the grim quartet before him. “Cary.  I had some issues in my youth. Stole a car,” he confides, eyebrows raised, a confession which sends my thoughts leap frogging from “that’s not really the point” to “no way, you didn’t!”.  He gives Alicia a significant look before leaning over, clasping his hands over the desk. “Went for a joy ride, crashed into some barbed wire. I was in jail for four months.  That’s where I turned my life around.”  Huh. “Forgiveness isn’t just a nicety to me, it’s my life.”  For the first time in a long time, we see Cary’s broad grin, untainted by irony, perfect teeth gleaming. “So yes. I’d like you to stay on my case.”  Cary and Alicia exchange happy glances. “Thank you,” Cary says, his heart in his words, “thank you, Ed.”

That’s when Alicia calls Dean in; he shakes hands with Mr. Pratt. “Dean Levine-Wilkins, nice to meet you,” he says.  Dean and Alicia will be arguing the case in court, “purely under Cary’s supervision.”  Is this another condition of his bail, that he can’t argue in court?  The memory hurts.

As Ms. Grubeck continues to write notes, Cary takes the opportunity to surreptitiously check his watch. “Yes, I know you have to get back to court,” Joyless tells him dryly, like a teacher with eyes in the back of her head; Cary winces at the bad impression he’s making, and then smiles to himself sardonically because that is what Cary does when things go wrong. Finally, Joyless slams down her pencil and gives Cary her full, frightening attention. “Mr. Agos,” she declares, swiveling her chair to face him. “Let me give you some advice. I do this because I care.”  He tilts his head. “I know I don’t sound like it, but that’s just the way I talk.”  She rubs her dry fingers together. “You can’t live life the way you used to.  You can’t just have a beer.  You can’t just associate with your old friends.”  Because his old friends are all safe crackers who’ll pull him back in for one last job?  Leaving aside the frustration that this advice fails to treat him as individual, it’s just so depressing. You might as well be back in prison already, is that it? Once the system gets its fingers into you, you’re done? “You need to treat this seriously.  Or you will end up behind bars again, do you understand?”

I think I do, he answers. “Good,” she nods, turning back to her paperwork, licking her thumb so it doesn’t catch on the next sheet. “See you next week.”  You can see resignation line his face. This is my life now.  There is no waking from this nightmare. My life is not my own.

“What is this, Mr. Pratt?” Dean asks, a pitted round organic object between his fingertips. “It’s a seed,” John Boy smiles. “A seed,” Dean repeats, walking the seed around the courtroom. “A seed with a genetic protective shell,” he adds, waving it in front of a bearded judge, who’s slumped against the bench, looking unengaged. “Yeah,”  John Boy agrees. “Our scientists calls it a full metal jacket.”  In his rich, theatrical voice, Dean savors the phrase “full metal jacket” and the opposing lawyer – clearly the reedy tones of Christian Borle’s delightful Carter Schmidt, excellent – objects to the repetition of the words.

Sigh.  Alicia stands to upbraid Schmidt for nonsense objections. “So you’re objecting to my objection?”  “Everybody stop!” the judge screams over the ensuing infighting; Cary winces in the gallery, and John Boy exhales sadly on the stand. “The objection is overruled.  Let’s go, Mr. Schmidt.  I mean, Mr…. You,” Judge Thomas Glatt points to Dean.  “Thank you, Your Honor,” Dean replies coolly, without offense.

“Mr. Pratt, you’re a farmer yourself,” he continues, “aren’t you?”  He is. “My dad, too. Four generations.”  Wow.  “And that’s why you started the company?”  It was. “We wanted to create a seed that could genetically stand whatever nature threw at it.”  He looks proud.  Dean picks the full metal seed off of the judge’s bench. “So how much did it cost to develop this seed, this seed here?”  Four hundred million dollars, Mr. Pratt answers evenly.

Four hundred million dollars?  What the heck does he farm, diamonds?  How did a family farmer get that kind of money; it’s not like he’s Monsanto or DuPont.  However, Dean’s more interested in finding out why Mr. Pratt is suing Mr. Keller, who’s a fellow farmer.  “Patent infringement,” Mr. Pratt says, as  Keller stares stonily at the ground. “We got a tip he was brown bagging.”  Excuse me, what, Dean wonders, and John Boy explains that brown bagging means saving seeds from your own crops, which according to the Supreme Court and Dean is illegal when dealing with patented seeds. Not unreasonably, the idea of this offends Mr. Keller. ‘They’re my own seeds on my own property!” he grouches, an argument used unsuccessfully in Illinois before. And then everyone starts talking over themselves.  He’s talking out of turn! He’s simply stating the obvious!  He can state the obvious when he’s the one on the stand!

“SHUT UP!” Judge Glatt wails. “We’re taking a five minute recess.” His gavel comes down on this unimpressive showing.

“Alicia,” Cary leans in from the gallery, “watch it with Ed.”  Huh?  “I don’t think he likes all the fighting. ”  It’s just bluster, she shrugs, and Cary waves his gauze wrapped hand. “I know that,” he agrees, “but he doesn’t.”  Alicia nods her understanding.

“Mr. Pratt,” Carter stands, arms crossed over his chest. “Do you have a monopoly on seed distribution in Kane County, Illinois?”  Well, he doesn’t know if he’d call it a monopoly, Ed answers in his aw-shuckiest voice.  His seeds sure are popular! “Isn’t my client the only farmer in Kane who doesn’t use your seeds?”  He is. “And that makes him a target?”  Ed’s about to answer – his brow furrowed thoughtfully – when Dean objects that the line of questioning is argumentative, and Glatt sustains him.  “Move on, Mr. Schmidtt.”  Just as Cary warned, we see Ed chewing the inside of his checks.

“I have here a chart,” Carter declares, moving on as instructed, “from the National Weather Service. Can you tell me what it shows?”  I sure couldn’t. “Wind speed and wind direction,” Ed reads when Carter brings the graph right up to his face. “Now, every farm surrounding Mr. Keller’s land uses your seed, so isn’t it possible that these high winds blew your patented seeds onto my clients fields?”  Well, you really didn’t explain that there were high winds – just that there was wind – but whatever.  Carter sits on the end of the defense table, arms folded again, with a smug “gotcha” grin on his face.  Objecting, Alicia stands. “Calls for speculation. If Mr. Schmidt wants to question a meteorologist, then call in a meteorologist.” As the judge is affirming Alicia’s objection, a woman sets a slim hand on Cary’s shoulder and motions for him to leave the court with her.  We can’t see her face, but it’s clearly Diane’s hand, clearly her sort of lux nubbly suit. Looking worried, he goes.

“I have some good news,” Diane tells Cary out in the hall, and he turns up his face to drink it in like a baby bird. “And some bad news?” he finishes her sentence, making her smile at him. “No, just some good news.  You’re so tense!” He rolls his eyes at her; of course he’s tense. “The State’s Attorney lost his witness against you,” she says quietly, and Cary’s brows furrow.  Huh?  “What?”  “The confidential informant on Bishop’s crew,” she says, “the one wearing the wire?  He was the cornerstone of the case?  And they lost him.”  Err, what?  I mean, isn’t the wire the cornerstone of the case? Because at least to Diane’s face, Trey insisted Cary didn’t tell them anything. “How did they lose him?” Cary wonders, shaking his head. Diane has no idea; he just went missing.  Dear God!  Do we really need to ask? Looks like he was scared of testifying, Diane suggests, but without him, the SA has no case.  I don’t agree with that assessment at all. Cary takes a step back and sinks down onto a bench, thumping his head against the wall.

“It’s not over yet,” Diane cautions him. “The ASA is asking for a continuance at two.” She sets a reassuring hand on Cary’s shoulder. “But I do think the judge will dismiss.”  Cary’s eyes close; he looks more haunted than relieved, to be honest. “So, don’t lose hope,” Diane adds, still trying to cheer him.

“Did Bishop get to him?” Cary asks the obvious question, and looks up fearfully into Diane’s face. “The C.I., did Bishop get to him?”  Well may you ask after last week’s tragic murder of poor silver Jim. “I don’t think he knew about him,” Diane shakes her head, which seems overly hopeful; there were only two options left, after all. “Anyway, I’ll see you at two,” she tells Cary, moving off. He reaches up a hand to stop her. ‘Thank you, Diane,” he says, hollow eyes sincere, and she snort-laughs and walks off.

Looking drawn rather than jubilant, unable to believe his ordeal is over, Cary leans against the wall, remembering.  “You said they had a C.I. with a wire,” he asks Kalinda the night of his release (what a euphemism!), his torso – you know, I kind of feel like a romance novelist writing about the way the light hits him here.  It’s a little vampire sparkly. Clearly somebody makes good use of a gym and a trainer. “Yeah,” Kalinda agrees, the edges of her face barely visible behind his ear, “I think that’s gonna take care of itself.”  He blinks, in memory and in the present.  I love that he’s uncomfortable with this, the idea that his casual conversation with these three men could wreck not only his life but theirs.  I’m not sure a lot of other people on this show, at least, would spare a thought for the drug dealers.

Chaos reigns back in the court, where the lawyers are accusing each other of forgetting the proper rules of questioning.  There’s a pert, very Midwestern looking blond woman on the stand who own a feed store where stiff plaid Mr. Keller is a customer. “He bought our non-GMO seeds.  It’s not that he’s anti-GMO or anything, he just … said he didn’t want to pay big prices.”  And did he stop buying these seeds in 2012?  “Ya-ah,” she replies, very Fargo. Is it awful that I keep expecting her to say “you betcha”?  “He told my husband that…” And obviously Carter Schmidt objects to this for being hearsay; Dean’s contention is that the husband died, so the work product conversation should be admissible. As this goes on, Ed Platt shoves back his chair and makes eye contact with Keller. “Mrs. Toms, did Mr. Keller ever discuss with you directly why he stopped buying seeds?” No.  Only Cary notices the nonverbal communication that results in both Platt and Keller leaving the courtroom, which seems like a stretch. The lawyers can’t stop fighting as Cary watches quietly from the back; frowning, he follows the two men out into the hall, and catches up to them just as Keller’s muttering something about a foregone conclusion.

“What foregone conclusion?” he wonders, walking up to them with his hands in his pockets. “Cary,” Ed begins, “this isn’t working for us.”  What isn’t, Cary wonders, baffled. “The trial,” Keller explains.  Er, okay. When did they become an us? “Sir, you should be talking to your own lawyer,” Cary respectfully suggests. “That’s the problem,” Ed shrugs, “it’s about the lawyers.”  The lawyers, or the law as its practiced, I wonder?  “Not about us.  Wendell is my neighbor,” Ed affirms, his voice warm; his beef is “not with you all.”  Cary nods, understanding. “My wife just called an arbitrator, he can start with us immediately,” Wendell Keller adds.  Cary doesn’t see the benefit; arbitration is exactly as adversarial and binding as court. “This is different,” Ed cuts him off.

“Welcome to binding Christian arbitration,” a be-sweatered Robert Sean Leonard announces, and Alicia turns to Cary and rolls her eyes; they seem to be sitting in a large, formal theater. “My name is Dell Paul. Mr. Pratt and Mr. Keller have requested this forum because they believe that there is a better way than the adversarial approach of blame and denial.”  Huh.  They’re seated on a stage with tiered seating and two large crosses on the wall.  “It’s called the Matthew process.  And yes, lawyers, that is a real thing.”  I love (and hate) how the episode seems to be going on a safari, or an anthropological expedition here (as does this article, which might have provided the genesis for it). “Jesus tells us, if your brother sins, go and point out his fault just between the two of you,” Dell continues, drawing another dramatic eye roll from Alicia.  Does she think he can’t see her?  I understand that this is for our benefit, but if she’d done that in real life it would have been incredibly disrespectful and unprofessional and could have prejudiced the arbiter against her client. “If he doesn’t listen, take one or two others along so that every matter may be established by the testimony of one or two witnesses.” Carter smirks a little, too, but he’s far better at controlling himself.

“So, why don’t we begin?” Dell concludes.  Okay. “So, let us pray.”  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.  He just asked Alicia to pray.  “Lord, we thank you for this day,” he begins, “and we thank you for these professionals, who just want to see justice done.”  As is his wont, Cary smiles.

Arbitration is conducted at an oval table.  I like it.  The participants, unfortunately, repeat their previous testimony and arguments down to the well rehearsed words and intonations. Does Mr. Pratt have a monopoly on seed distribution in Kane County?  He wouldn’t call it a monopoly, no.  His seeds are just well liked.  Without breaking a sweat, Dean calls Carter on being argumentative when the latter claims the near monopoly would lead Pratt to target Keller. “You can answer,” Dell prompts Ed, much to everyone’s shock.

“Uh, sorry, sir, but the question was inflammatory,” Alicia tells Dell as if he just can’t have been listening the first time. “No!  I think he can handle it.  Go ahead,” he prompts Ed again; Carter conceals a smirk. “Wendell is only a target in the sense that if people take my seed without paying, I would go after their business.” Seems like he answered that well enough to me; nothing to be afraid of there.

“I have here a chart,” Carter pulls out his little weather chart again, going through exactly the same exchange with Ed.  Why is the background black?  It’s very striking, but not what you normally see. Alicia really rolls her eyes now; Dell just takes it in.  “Objection!  Calls for speculation.  If you want to question a meteorologist, call a meteorologist.”  Well, huffs Carter, clearly twigging to their new surroundings, “Dell. I’m feeling a little attacked here.”  Ha.  Well played, sir, if patronizing. “Look, every answer will just get us closer to the truth,” Dell asserts, “so let’s just answer honestly. ” This wins him blank looks from Dean, Alicia and Cary (who is apparently allowed to attend because unlike the law, the Matthew process doesn’t exclude accused felons.

“Your Honor,” Dean replies in controlled disapproval. “Dell. It is an improper question.”  It’s clear that impropriety offends Dean. “It seems proper to me,” Dell shrugs. “Not for a layman. Or a non-meteorologist,” Alicia spells out. “Ed must have an opinion. We all do.  So, let’s just hear his.”  Smirking, victorious, Carter leans back in his seat. I suppose Ed could simply answer that he wouldn’t be able to guess, not being a meteorologist.

That’s not what he says, though. “Well, sure, that’s possible,” Ed answers brightly, and Carter confirms it; high winds could have blown the seed onto Mr. Keller’s land. “Isn’t it possible that this is just part of God’s plan?”  Okay, that’s cynical to the point of being offensive, Carter. Alicia moans.

In bond court, the words “In God We Trust” are writ in large letters on the wall. “Without their confidential informant, Your Honor, the prosecution has no case.” Finn’s not buying this theory. “We have a recording of the defendant perpetrating this crime,” he says. “Allegedly perpetrating,” Diane reminds the judge.  You know, I guess I’m curious.  If I were Alicia, at what point do I say to my friend Finn “hey, your boss manufactured this evidence to get back at me for defending you – oh, and also to force a lawyer to turn on their client, which is every kind of illegal.”  Maybe she doesn’t say this because Finn needs something to do on the show, but it’s getting old, his zealous pursuit of this crummy case. “And my client has a 6th amendment right to face his accuser.”

“Which presupposes that Trey Wagner is our only witness,” Finn argues.  Huh.  Is he not? Honestly, though, if you have Trey, I’ve no idea why you need Cary; Trey would know way more about Bishop’s inner workings than anyone else. “Is he?” the judge grumbles. “No,” Finn smiles.

Huh.

“Ah, there’s the accused now,” Judge Ilya Petrov calls our as Cary walks into the room. What happened to Judge Karpman?  Off recording a trailer?  “Come join us in the lovely bond court.”  Er, yes, very lovely.  Cary apologizes for his lateness; he was in court on another case. Diane pushes on. “You Honor, the fact that defense has requested a delay in preliminary suggests that he has no one than this one witness.”  But what’s this? “I’m afraid Miss Lockhart has been misinformed,” Finn smiles, which makes me very curious about where she got the information she gave Cary earlier. “We’re not asking for a delay in preliminary. We’re asking for revocation of bail.”

Oh, God, really?  You’re kidding. Cary frowns fiercely at the judge.

“Your Honor, this is …  what has Mr. Agos every done to warrant revocation of bail?” Diane asks, aghast. “The day that Mr. Agos was released from holding the primary witness against him, Trey Wagner, disappeared.” Finn snaps to indicate this magical transition. “That is completely irrelevant,” Diane fumes. “We have evidence that Mr. Agos intimidated the witness,” Finn presses.  What evidence, the judge wonders.

“A report from his pre-trial services officer,” Finn replies, opening up a folder; Cary’s outraged. How does this make sense? “Mr. Agos met with Kalinda Sharma upon his release; Kalinda Sharma then approached Trey Wagner.”  This is supposition upon supposition, Diane snaps as Cary turns to look at Kalinda.  “This is why we need a revocation of bail hearing,” Finn concludes.  Wow.  “Mr. Agos has already been through a source of funds hearing.  Now the county wants a revocation of bail hearing?  This is, this is Kafka in action!”  Finn turns to Diane, smiling in appreciation for her literary reference. “The longer I live, the more I realize that everything is Kafka in action,” the phlegmatic Russian replies.  “I will hear arguments on Tuesday.”  Thank you, Your Honor, Finn smiles. His mouth open, Cary leans over to Diane. “They’re gonna get me one way or another,” he whispers bitterly.

It’s getting to be a theme for this episode: Alicia sits in Joy Grubick’s cubicle as the older woman fights on the phone, rolling her eyes. Who is this woman, to keep someone as important as Alicia waiting?  It’s not one of Alicia’s more attractive character traits, her inability to treat people consistently across all social spectrums. “Well that’s not what he said,” Grubick repeats doggedly. “It isn’t.”  Clearly annoyed to be kept waiting, Alicia flutters her hands. “No, no, that’s not what he said,” Joyless reiterates, frustrated. “He didn’t say that.” Alicia rolls her eyes; frankly, this has not been a flattering episode for her. “Look – no.  I have to go.  Goodbye.”  She puts down the phone hard, then grips the edges of her desk. “Hi,” she turns to look at Alicia.  “My name is Joy Grubick, and I’m the, ah, pre-trial service officer for Cary Agos,” she declares, making only occasional (though still searing) moments of eye contact. “And as such it is my job to write a report to the court on Cary’s compliances with his bond obligations.”

“It looks like you already did that,” Alicia replies maliciously; Joy’s head snaps up. “I’m sorry?” she asks sharply. “You already did that,” Alicia won’t back down. “The court is holding a revocation of bail hearing. Based on your report.”  So we want to piss her off more?  “No no no,” Grubick laughs to herself, odd, “that was based on my notes.” Oh, well, notes, report, that makes all the difference, doesn’t it?  Pedants. “Ah,” Alicia snarks, “well that’s a comfort.”  Yeah, I’m not so sure your tone is helpful, Alicia.

“You’re Mr. Agos’s employer?” Joyless asks. “No,” Alicia responds, and I’m glad to hear she’s not going along with this bureaucratic fiction. “I’m his partner.” Well yes, says Joyless, but for my report I need to declare an employer.  So the form dictates fact, does it? “Well that’s too bad, because he doesn’t have an employer,” Alicia pushes back, and even though it’s more than a little supercilious I really like that she’s able to make the point that Cary couldn’t make for himself.

After giving her a long stare, Joy acquiesces. “And how has Cary been doing at work, Mrs. Florrick?” she picks up again, which makes Alicia memory pop to the same argument about gutting Lockhart/Gardner that Cary recalled.  “Why are you fighting me on this,” she asks softly as his grabs the bridge of his nose with his bandaged hand, very Decision Tree.  “Because this is B.S.,” he snaps. “They are not ours,” he barks into her face, and she turns away, forbearing. “They want to change…”

“Well, he’s doing well,” she answers.  It’s convincing. “Good,” Joyless replies, head stuck in her notes. “I understand he was in court yesterday and today?”  Yesterday, but not today, Alicia corrects. “And afterwards, after court?”  Damn.  The level of detail she asks about is pretty invasive.  What happened after court, which Alicia does not divulge: Dean, Cary and Diane pull her into to a room (with glass doors, huzzah!) and ask her if they’re staffing her campaign office. “No, where did you hear that?” she wonders, surprised.  Arms crossed, Diane gives her an incredulous look. “A reporter called me for comment,” she answers. “She asked if I had a position on your campaign.  I didn’t even know there was a campaign to have an opinion about.”

And as if this weren’t awkward and weird enough, there’s a window in this office or conference area, and guess who we can see through it out in reception?  Dr. Evil, come to demand his one meeellion dollars.  Uh, I mean Jimmy Castro.  Alicia’s so lost in reverie she forgets that Joyless is waiting for her answer. “You wanna hear what happened afterwards, right?”  Yes, she brays, after court. “The State’s Attorney met with me,” Alicia volunteers. Joyless nods judiciously.  “I see. Was Cary Agos with you?”  No, Dr. Evil – I mean, Mr. Castro – showed up just to talk to her. “Well then it’s not important, we can move on,” she dismisses the information without even hearing it.

This leaves Alicia a bit incredulous. “You don’t wanna hear about Mr. Castro threatening Cary?”  Miss Grubick turns and stares at Alicia, her lips pursed.

“I’m not threatening Cary,” Castro tells Alicia.  See, I’m sorry.  He just IS Dr. Evil.  “It sounds like  you did,” Alicia replies.  “No,” Dr. Evil replies carefully, delicately. “I’m saying Cary’s case will go away if he testifies against Bishop.”  Well, gee, there’s a surprise. “That’s what we call plea bargaining.”  He over enunciates the last two words. Jerk off.

“Mr. Castro, you don’t come to Cary, who’s in the next room.You don’t come to his lawyer, Diane Lockhart.  You come to me.”  Yep, it’s clear she right to call him on this from the way his eyes lock on her, like sharks with frickin’ laser beams. “Who’re you really threatening here?”  Oh, like he’d ever admit it. He opens his mouth to some oily, self serving reply.

“I really don’t need to hear all this,” Joyless complains, head cocked at an odd angle. “You don’t want to hear about the State’s Attorney’s threats?”  This lack of interest renders Alicia incredulous. “They’re not relevant to my report!”  What, and his having one beer is? “But I’m not finished yet,” Alicia promises.

“Are you asking whether this has anything to do with your campaign?” Evil Castro wonders. “Let’s just be clear, Mr. Castro,” she says, “you’re making a connection between Cary Agos’s prosecution and your campaign for State’s Attorney.”  No, he replies, leaning forward.  “I’m doing the opposite.  I’m saying Cary’s prosecution has nothing to do with politics.”  Right.  Right. “But,” he adds, lips quirking. “Here we go,” she snarks. “Although it won’t look good for your campaign, will it?  Your partner, being in prison?”

UUUUUUUUGH!  I hated this enough when I thought he was just faking evidence to get back at Alicia over Finn, and to put Bishop in jail where he belongs. Alicia reaches down to her desk and picks up her phone, which she holds to his mouth.  “You wanna repeat that, Mr. Castro?”

He smiles, so creepily, and he takes the phone, set to record. “No, but, I will say this. It’s a bad idea to run, Alicia. Very few saints survive oppo research.”  Uuuuuugh.  And, hell yes, I don’t know how she could ever survive that.  If only you would let her alone so she’d be rational enough to come to that decision on her own, you moron!  He shuts off the recorder and hands her the phone back; she takes it, and walks around the desk, never loosing eye contact as she does. “I’m not running!

“I’m gonna stop you right there,”  Joyless proclaims, putting her hand up between them. “You don’t wanna hear more?” Alicia asks, sarcasm submerged in incredulity. No, Joyless lies, it’s just that that’s all the time we have.  She gathers up her notes and thumps them against the desktop. “I thank you,” she says, and Alicia smiles faintly and stands. “And good luck!” Oh, God.  Here it comes. “With?” Alicia wonders, surprised. “Your campaign!  I heard about it on the drive in.” Disgusted, Alicia walks away, and Miss Grubick calls out after her. “It was on Morning Edition!”

Ha ha ha ha!  I love love love love that this show name checks NPR so often.

And then Alicia bursts into Eli’s office, a bolt of black and white lighting. “Eli, what…”  “I know,” he placates her, “I heard the Morning Edition thing, too, I had nothing to do with it.”  Huh, it’s not Eli’s office, it’s Peters’ – he’s lying down on the striped couch. “They said I opened a campaign office,” Alicia complains. “No, they quoted a blog saying that you’ve opened a campaign office, but you haven’t, so the quote is wrong.”  Okay, not cool, setting NPR up with shoddy reporting. Also, this isn’t going to make her feel any better.  “Mr. Gold, Mrs. Florrick is here to see you,” a voice comes over the intercom.  Sitting up, Eli spits out the derision for which we love him so much. “Thank you, Nora, your precognitive powers amaze me!”

Hee hee hee.

“Tell them it’s wrong,” Alicia pleads.  Why don’t you tell them yourself?  You’re a big girl. You know how to work a phone. “What?” Tell them it’s wrong, she repeats, arms folded, defensive. “Naw,” Eli tuts, buttoning up his jacket. “You just feed the fire if you tell them things.” Nice attitude. “No, I feed the fire. You feed them on background.”  Oh.  I got it; Eli looks pleased with her perceptiveness. Man, his hair is really long right now.  Is he still in Cabaret? (He is!  Till January! I’m so jealous of anyone who sees this.)  “Okay, talk to Steve Inskeep tomorrow at the fundraiser.” Okay, she really needs to just call the Chicago NPR station (WBEZ, home of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me), because I’d expect it was a local story, not a national one, and – oh my God, does that mean Steve Inskeep is going to be on the show?  That is the coolest!  Alicia’s a mite less star struck. “No.  Who?”  “He’ll be a the fundraiser tomorrow night,” Eli explains. “Did you forget?”

“No,” she lies. “When?”  7pm.  “Talk to him,” Eli suggests, which makes it sound to me like an interview set up. “That’s the only way to nip this in the bud.”  There’s no bud at this point, although of course Eli doesn’t want to nip this in anything. “I have to get to church,” she sighs, and walks out. “Good,” Eli stands. “Atheism doesn’t play anyway.”  She shoots him an evil look over her shoulder, hair swinging in a gorgeous arc.

“Congratulations, Ms. State’s Attorney,” Carter Schmidt’s voice oozes out as Alicia walks through that giant auditorium with the red plush airline like seats, a white clothe with a rose and some words embroidered draped over the top of each one.  Wait, that’s a church?  Megachurches are so not a New England thing; this doesn’t compute for me. “Actually no,” Alicia snaps, “it’s all wrong. I’m not running.”

“Really?” Dean drawls. “Did you hear Morning Edition?”  I love that everyone listens to Morning Edition. “They got it wrong. I’m not running,” she declares, crisp and no nonsense as she climbs up to the – stage?  Altar? “Cary, d’you have a second?”  He does, fussing with his cuffs as he walks down the stairs.  He’s curious how her PSO interview went. “Good,” she relates, “or, I don’t know. I had a bit of an edge.”  At least she’s self aware enough to know that. “But I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing.”

“Well, thank you,” he tells her sincerely, apparently willing to trust her instincts. He laughs. “And I’ve been thinking, this rule change in arbitration isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.”  Okay, tell us more.  “What’re you thinking?” she asks.

We see what he’s thinking in action; Mrs. Toms, the widowed feed store owner, repeats her testimony verbatim with a quick explanation to Dell about GMOs.  It’s creepy, really, the way they all use the exact same words and expressions. Instead of sustaining Carter’s hearsay objection, however, Dell strikes the more common sense path a second time. Cary steps in, waving his bandaged hand: “Mrs. Toms is a widow and a Christian woman who has something to share, isn’t that right Mrs. Toms?”  It is.  His reference to her religion sets my teeth on edge a bit. “Shouldn’t she be allowed to testify honestly and forthrightly?”  Dell’s picked up on this pandering, too. “Well first of all, you don’t need to gild the lily,” the pastor gently chastises him.  Sounding as crabby as Alicia the day before, Carter’s staunch in his knowledge of the law; since Mrs. Toms wasn’t there, she shouldn’t be allowed to testify to the conversation her husband had with Wendell Keller. “Mrs. Toms, have you been telling the truth here today?” Dell asks.  She has – and so she should be allowed to speak.  When Carter attempts to protest, Dell tells him he needs to trust the process. To my surprise it’s Dean, rather than Alicia, who first shoots Carter a look of smug triumph.

And what does trusting the process get us?  “Wendell said he didn’t need to buy seed from us anymore because he ‘hit the mother load’.”  And by mother load, she believes he was replanting Mr. Pratt’s seed: “why else would he not need our seed anymore?”  Hmm.  That almost gives credence to the wind theory, the way it sounds – brown bagging isn’t hitting any kind of mother load.  Dell makes a calming motion with his hands. “Can I break in here?  Why don’t we ask him?”

“What?” Alicia asks, her face contorting. “Why don’t we ask Wendell,” Dell repeats, gathering steam. “He’s sitting right here, I’m staring at him, why don’t we just ask him?”  Wendell looks apoplectic, but no more so than the lawyers do. “You Honor,” Dean interjects with quiet firmness, “Dell. He hasn’t been sworn in.”  So?  Can’t they do that?  “Yes,” Dell agrees, “but we’ve been trusting Mrs. Toms, why can’t we just trust Wendell? Mr. Keller, have you been planting these seeds of Mr. Pratt’s?”

For a moment, Wendell flaps his mouth soundlessly.  When the merest hint of a syllable starts to issue from it, Carter clasps his elbow. “I’m going to instruct my client not to answer,” he warns everyone.

“No, guys, that’s not how this works, the Matthew process,” Dell smiles. “Just answer the question,” he urges Wendell. “Just tell the truth!”  Wendell straightens up a little.

“Do I replant seed?  Sure.  Always have, always will.”  Quietly, Alicia gives a victorious smile; Carter rolls his eyes unhappily. “Ed’s seed?” Dell asks. “I don’t know. Is it possible Ed’s seed got onto my land and I replanted some of them, sure!”  Okay, says Dean, having heard enough, “I congratulate our defendant on his honesty, but that’s our whole suit. He admitted his complicity.”

“No,” Carter counters, thinking very quickly on his feet.  Er, on his butt?  “Did you intend to plant these seeds?” he asks Wendell.  No, interjects Cary, intent is irrelevant to patent law. “But intent is relevant here,” Dell cuts in, and the triumph leeches out of Alicia’s face. “First Samuel 16:7.  “God sees not as man sees. For man looks at the outward appearance, and God looks at the heart.”  Come on, Alicia sneers, “he just admitted to breaking the law.”  No, Dell smiles. “He admitted to not being conscious of breaking the law.”  This turn leaves Alicia literally gasping.

And that’s when she brings out the big guns. “Grace?” she asks later that evening, cracking open her daughter’s door. I can’t decide if I’m more thrilled that Grace has made an appearance, happy that she has something to contribute, or sad that her only interaction with her mother this season is another “trot Grace out when it’s time to talk religion” moment.  Oh well. I’m overthinking; it’s just good to see her. “Do you have a minute?”  Happily Grace, lying on her stomach looking at homework, does.

Reading aloud from her daughter’s bible, Alicia lands on this passage. “My conscience is clear, but that does not mean I am innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.”  Taking off a pair of reading glasses, she asks her daughter for clarification. “Doesn’t that mean that you can sin and not even know it?”  I guess, Grace replies, considering her words carefully; Alicia, on the other hand, has her lawyer voice on, her delivery calculated innocence. “So intent is irrelevant to guilt,” she decides, which isn’t inaccurate but is also more than a bit extreme. “Yeah, but that’s only one verse,” Grace cautions; her hair’s slung over her right shoulder so we see long strands framing her face and her bare neck. “But that’s all I need,” replies the lawyer, “I’m just looking for a precedent.”  “That’s called pretexting, Mom, you can’t do that,” Grace explains. “You have to look at what the whole Bible says.”

Huh.  Whoever is instructing Grace in Bible study is actually a really thoughtful Christian.  Lots of people go looking for just the quote to support their own point of view; I never thought before that this is literally what Alicia’s been educated to do, but it’s definitely antithetical to the ideal of the Matthew process, where two people with problems attempt to solve them in a non-adversarial setting.  “Yeah, but aren’t all the verses considered true?” Alicia wonders.

“Yeah,” Grace agrees, “but you can’t pick and choose.”  Good for you, Grace!  Alicia, you should be happy someone is raising your daughter so well, teaching her to see morality as an integrated system of responsibilities instead of a sophistical grab for self-justifiation. “I’m a lawyer,” Alicia shrugs, “that’s what I do.”   This admission makes Grace laugh, which makes Alicia laugh a little, too.  Just not for long.

“So you really believe all this, Grace, the Tower of Babel and Noah’s Ark and everything?”  Wow, you go from talking theology of being in the world – of truth and innocence and guilt and living a just life – and you’re going to attack her with the improbability of Noah’s Ark? Sigh. I suppose she did just assert that you can’t pick and choose. Grace considers. “I don’t know if it’s all historically accurate,” she explains carefully, “but I think it can be true in another way.”  What other way, her mother wonders. “You know, like poetry,” Grace furthers. “It can still be true even if it’s not accurate.”  This makes Alicia pause and think.  “If I wanted you to remember that God created everything, I’d probably tell you a story about it happening in seven days,” Grace goes on. “That doesn’t actually mean that it happened in seven days; that just means I wanted you to remember that God created everything.”  So seven days is more relatable, or easier to grasp, especially for a culture dependent on oral tradition?

Blinking, Alicia turns to her daughter. “Did you just make all that up?”  Yeah, Grace replies, unnerved, why? “It sounds… smart,” Alicia widens her eyes, which horrifies her daughter a little. “Well thanks for being surprised!” she exclaims in a much smaller voice, making Alicia laugh and caress her hair. Oh, honey.  It’s not you she expected to be dumb.  It’s religion she thinks is beyond any reasonable defense.  Not that she actually admits that.

“So, okay,” she refocuses the discussion, pulling the bible up off her lap and putting the thick black hipster reading glasses back on. “I can use the first verse, what is it?”  First Corinthians. “And he will come back at me with 1st Samuels, verse 16:7,” she recalls from today’s events. “What can I use?”  “Romans: “I would not have known what sin was were it not for the law.”  Wow, Grace’s turned into quite the Biblical scholar, huh?  That’s something that does not necessarily, go hand in hand with youth ministry.  “Right, good, the law,” Alicia clicks her tongue.  “And look at his translation,” Grace suggests. “I think it’s the American Standard version? Compare it to the Revised Standard.”  She’s a Bible savant!

“When a person sins and does something the Lord has commanded not to do, even if he doesn’t know it, he is still guilty,” Alicia reads, making Carter squirm as a janitor cleans up the monster church behind them. “He is responsible for his sins.”  Leviticus, Dell guesses. “Chapter 5  verse 17.  I think it’s pretty clear, Dell – intent is not essential to sin.”  I wish she could turn off her lawyerly mannerisms here; she’s too theatrical, and it’s too easy to see she’s just arguing without any conviction of the justness of her arguments.  That makes this episode interesting, in a way, seeing the difference between Alicia when she cares about something (like Cary’s release) and Alicia when she’s just shoehorning emotion in by rote, but I admit I much prefer cases that do hook into her feelings.

“Do you know what the penalty for that was, Alicia, in Leviticus 5?”  Carter puts a finger on the verse. “The burnt offering of a male sheep.  Are you suggesting that we burn a sheep?  Because we can arrange that.”  Well, I’m glad it wasn’t stoning; that’s where I expected this to go. “I see you’ve both done your homework,” Dell smiles pleasantly. “Dell, I would assert that New Testament commands hold sway over Old Testament, just as Christ came to fulfill the law, not to …”  “Abolish it,” continues Dean, looking at hip lap instead of a bible. “Yeah, that’s Matthew 5:17,” he replies with such easy authority that both Alicia and Carter look at him in surprise. “First Corinthians 4,” he quotes off the top of his head. “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent.”

“Thank you,” Dell joins the conversation. “It’s good to see that you’ve all become Biblical scholars overnight. But I would agree.” At this, Dean perks up in his chair. “I may have been a little hasty yesterday.  Clearly the scriptures are not as easy to unpack as I’d like.”  Carter sighs. “I’d like to reflect on this,” Dell continues, waving his worn Bible, “pray on it. And I’ll come back with my decision.”

“Detective Prima, what’re we looking at here?” Finn asks over in bond court, turning a computer monitor toward the balding detective in charge of Cary’s case; on it, there’s a picture of a group of men talking. I know we’re all bad at printing out our digital pictures these days, but you hauled in a monitor rather than just get this one made?  Because this monitor definitely doesn’t belong on Judge Petrov’s desk.  “That’s Trey Wagner, a confidential informant in Lemond Bishop’s gang.”  Your former informant, Finn corrects. “Yes, unfortunately, yes,” Prima agrees, going on to date the photos to the day a week ago when Cary was released. “Here is another photo of Trey,” Finn says, picking up a printed copy of an additional photo (seriously? you couldn’t have zoomed in on the first one without the monitor?  ridiculous) and getting Prima to confirm that it shows Kalinda talking to Trey.  Rut ro.  Warning him, clearly, not that Finn knows that (or could have without getting Kalinda killed for it).

At the defense table, Diane’s jaw drops.  Quickly, she leans back so she can whisper to Kalinda without turning her head. “Look forward, no emotion,” she instructs, as if Kalinda needs any advice on her poker face; Diane and Cary are clearly more thrown and surprised. “Now what happened after the events of this photo?” Finn wonders, even though we all know — Trey disappeared. “We have reason to believe that Miss Sharma passed on a message from Mr. Agos.” Diane stands to object to this rank speculation, and as she does it’s clear there’s no actual table, just a set of chairs wheeled in for her and Cary to sit on.  Clearly, bond court isn’t normally a place people spend too much time.  The objection is sustained.

“So, Trey Wagner was a witness against Mr. Agos,” Finn goes on.  That’s right, Prima says, although that’s not the story we heard from Trey in his sadly unofficial discussion with Diane, Kalinda and Lemond. “Tell me, do you know, was it a condition of his bail that he not contact any of the witnesses?” Finn denounces Cary.  Prima nods; it was.

“Mrs. Wagner, your husband was a confidential informant for the Chicago Police Department, is that right?”  Finn asks a pretty, well dressed woman, perhaps thirty. Trey was married?  I don’t know why, exactly, but I wouldn’t have expected that.  Mrs. Wagner’s justifiably alarmed. “I’ve been told that now. I didn’t know before.”  Kalinda notices Dr. Evil walking into the courtroom, and for those of us who know her, you can see how unsettled she is to be part of the story. Finn elicits the information that Mrs. Wagner hasn’t seen her husband in 7 days, not since July 1st. “He came home around midnight,” she explains as Evil Castro sits in the gallery, “he was scared. He said someone was gonna kill him.”  In the dark courtroom, only her face is illuminated; she appears to be pleading with Finn when she looks up at him. “And how did he know that?”  “Some Indian woman told him,” she whines, definitely alarming Cary and Diane. “Don’t turn around,” Diane warns Cary as he’s in the process of looking behind him at Kalinda, “don’t do anything.”   Finn thanks Mrs. Wagner for her testimony.

“Your Honor, Kalinda Sharma met Cary Agos the night that he was released from holding.  Twenty minutes after that, Trey Wagner was warned by an Indian woman that he should be afraid for his life.”  Er, I’m not entirely sure where he’s getting that timeline – after all, the rendez-vous we saw in Cary’s memory didn’t look like a drive by – or why he’s simply calling her “an Indian woman” when he’s got a photo of the meeting between Trey and Kalinda, but okay, I suppose it’s nice he’s leaving the possibility open that a different Indian woman could have told Trey he was being threatened.  (Also, if the police were keeping such close tabs on Trey and Kalinda both — the former a justified precaution after Silver Jim Leonard’s murder — then why don’t they know what happened to Trey?)

Kalinda stomps out of the courtroom biting her lip, which really is about as much as she ever breaks her poker face.  Diane’s quick on her heels, the faint light shining off one golden wing of her hair, and quick to confront her investigator. She doesn’t want to suborn perjury, Diane says, so she’s not going to ask Kalinda who she met with or what she did.   I think that would be smart, Kalinda agrees, giving her boss a decisive nod, and Diane bites her lip, understanding what this means.  Or kind of – does she realize that Cary had nothing to do with this, that Kalinda had been talking to Bishop?  “But I still think it would be good if there were a way to impeach Stacie Wagner’s testimony,” she adds.  Kalinda concurs.

The camera closes in as Diane steps away, and Cary takes her place to interrogate Kalinda in the crowded hall. “I’m not worried about suborning perjury,” he tells her, clamping down hard on his fury. “D’you threaten Trey Wagner?”  No, she replies so that you believe it. “Did you tell Bishop he was the C.I.?”  She bites her lip, gently from the inside. “You don’t wanna know, Cary.”

“And then you warned Trey Bishop was coming after him, and that’s why he took off.”  I don’t suppose the police could be made to see this as laudable – that she saved both Wagner’s life and Silent Bob’s?  She won’t answer — she says she has to go — but he knows the truth.

“I didn’t know you were religious,” Alicia makes conversation with Dean on the elevator.  What, you didn’t know he was an African American on a television show, Alicia, and there for not only enabled but actually required to be religious? Today he’s wearing a brown vest with a blue shirt, gorgeous.  Alicia towers over him.  “I almost became a priest,” he confesses. Really!  “Really?  When?” Alicia asks, a huge grin on her face. Right out of high school. “Why didn’t you?”  I’m expecting him to say the whole celibacy thing — he did say priest, not minister, and I have a fair number of friends who considered religious vocations but couldn’t get past wanting a family — but no. “To Kill A Mockingbird,” he answers in his concise way.  Her laughs rings out in delight, and she tosses her hair over her shoulder again. “Yeah. That book created a lot of lawyers.”  He harrumphs. “Yeah, I decided I wanted justice in this world, not just the next,” he adds. “You?”  I don’t know what I want, she sighs, and the doors open, and brings the world in.

“Mrs. Florrick, hello, my name is Joss Acker,” a man surges to her side. (Joss Acker?  Like writer director Joss Whedon and one of his long time players – and Good Wife guest star – Amy Acker? Love it!) “And I’m Frank Zeti,” a second man scurries up.  “Before you complete your staff of your campaign office, I’m a member of the Black Caucus,” Joss (who is younger and, yes, African American) interrupts. Not to be outdone Frank cuts back in, saying he’s met Alicia at a speech the previous year.  “Actually, gentlemen,” she tries to stop their undignified pleading, “I’m not running, and I have a reception to get to.”

But, nope, they don’t listen.  Not really a trait I’d want in a staff if it were me. “African Americans have been completely ignored in campaign staff for years now,” Joss informs her.  (In general?  Or just on this show? Probably both.) White haired, red faced Franks’s case is more personal: “Your husband said you would say that.”  What did you say, she gasps. “Diversity hires, m’am,” Joss pushes.  No, not what you said.  The part about Peter sending her staffers; that’s what’s got her goat.

No sooner has she walked through these two job applicants than we see her walking back stage, wearing a sparkly cream colored suit with a sleek, short zippered jacket.   “Alicia, good,” Eli greets her. “I need you to not talk about your campaign.” God, she barks quietly, thrusting her arms down, looking ready to hit something. “There is no campaign!”  Exactly, Eli replies reasonably, “I need you to not talk about it.”  Practicing reverse psychology today, are we?  Somehow, the red and blue lights behind her give a Christmas-y affect. “Where’s Peter?” she demands. “On the other side of the stage, why?” Of course she doesn’t answer Eli; somehow their relationship works well when she treats him like a servant; I suppose he’s too pushy and conniving for her to treat him like a regular person.

Striding behind the stage, she reaches a group of people on the other side. “Have you seen Peter?” she asks a tall blond woman who walks off, not hearing her, to reveal a short woman with a blunt hair cut.  The sight of this other woman makes Alicia blush and smile. “Oh my God,” she says, clearly starstruck. “Oh, no, but thank you,” the woman says, pretty light streaks of hair framing her face. “I’m Gloria Steinem.”

Heh.  That’s cute. But is it awful to say I’d have been more excited to see Scott Inskeep or Renee Montagne?  I don’t think I’m old enough to get swoony about Gloria Steinem. “Yes,  I know, ” Alicia gasps, putting her hand to her heart. I can’t help thinking she’s too young, too. “Alicia Florrick.”  I know that, Gloria replies, and I’m kind of surprised Alicia’s knees don’t buckle – she actually steps back in shock. “And also I know that your husband already started speaking – they just introduced him.” Right, we’d never get three Peter episodes in a row. “I hear you’re going to run for State’s Attorney,” Gloria adds warmly. “That’s great.”

Uh oh.

“Oh no,” Alicia gushes, “that was a little premature.”  Premature?  Damn you, you really do want to run! Or you just don’t want to admit that you don’t. “Why?” Gloria wonders, and though she’s given a ton of great answers, she can’t come up with one now. “Because I’m not sure if I’m running,” she tries. “And why aren’t you sure?”  Er, she’s a bit overwhelmed with life and work at the moment.  (God! You just started your own business and you wanted to see it through!  You don’t like politics!  You don’t want to put your family back through the ringer! Pick a reason!  You have plenty!)  “Yeah, but, show me the woman who isn’t overwhelmed,” Gloria remarks wisely, and Alicia laughs the way you laugh when someone you want to impress says something not particularly funny. “That is true, yes,” she agrees, ” but that wasn’t – this wasn’t my idea.  My husband’s Chief of Staff, he asked me to run.”

As if to clear out all trivialities, Gloria shakes her head.  “Would you do a good job? You would,” she suggests as being the only question, though how she would know whether Alicia would be effective I’ve no idea. That’s not the point, Alicia counters, but Gloria disagrees. “No, I think that is the point. I think that if you would do a good job, you should run.”  This stops Alicia cold, because someone she respects is giving her another way to define herself as a good girl.  Some day, some day, she’s going to figure out what SHE wants, not what other people want for her (or think is convenient for them), but clearly this is not that day.  As she stands, gobsmacked, the crowd claps enthusiastically for Peter. “People respect you. And you could make a difference.  We need more good women to run.”

All of that is true.  I just wish they’d thought of this LAST year, before they came up with a more interesting path than merely following her husband’s.  Or maybe this was their original plan, and Josh Charles leaving screwed it up? Or maybe I’m giving them too much credit for long term thinking either way.

Sorry.  Alicia smiles bashfully at Gloria, who gets introduced, as if by a circus barker. (“And now please welcome feminist icon Gloria Steinem!“) As she moves to head on stage, the light turns her hair into a blue halo. “Alicia,” she turns to say, “It was great talking to you, but I’m serious, do run.”  Nodding and smiling, Alicia watches her hero go, her own face blue with reflected glory.  When the curtain closes, the light changes abruptly to red and Alicia sighs. What on earth does she make of that?

Like we don’t know.

“It’s very nice talking to you, Alicia,” Gloria Steinem’s gravelly voice narrates Alicia’s day dreams. “You could make it all the way to the Supreme Court, Alicia.”  Heh.  Is that her ambition?  You just needed the right surrogate to appeal to her vanity, Eli.  “You’re that amazing.” Alicia shakes her head and hair to clear herself of this troublesome vision.  “Thank you all,” Dell begins, shuffling into his chair.  “After much reflection, and prayer, and returning to scripture with an open heart, I realized that I was wrong.” Carter and Wendell inhale. “Knowledge of sin is in some extent irrelevant.  So I will hear arguments now of the fact of Ed’s seed being planted on Wendell’s land.”  Carter wants his objection recorded in whatever sense it can be recorded here, and Dell duly, politely takes note before asking Alicia, Cary and Dean to produce their first witness.

And this gets more interesting, because for once it’s something we haven’t seen.  They have an plaid-wearing expert named Derek Moss, a forensic botanist hired by Ed to study Wendell’s plants.  I love the very idea of a forensic botanist, and I love the name Moss for such a character, and I’m fascinated that in all this time, they’ve never said which plant they’re talking about.  With the articles I linked above, the main crop of contention seems to be soybeans, but the pitted ball Dean held between his fingers looked nothing like those.

“After testing Mr. Keller’s fields,” Dean wonders, quiet and soft, “what did you find?”  Derek pulls his research out of his briefcase. “I found that his fields went from an acceptable 6% of Mr. Pratt’s seeds to 89% in one year.”  WOW.  No wonder Carter didn’t want to go down this road. “Can that be explained, by, ah, blowing?” Dean asks. Snort. “No,” the expert testifies, “It’s my conclusion that he’s saving and replanting seeds.”  All righty then.  “Thank you.”

Carter clears his throat. “Dell, I’ll be frank.  This is bad science.”  Oh yeah? Leaving aside the weirdness of how Derek got sufficient samples from two of Wendell’s harvests, I doubt that very much.  Alicia and Dean smirk at this ploy, but Ed looks as frustrated and upset as he did in court back in the start of the episode.  As Carter suggests an independent expert and top of the DNA sequencers, and estimates it will take two months, and Alicia grandstands about this being a clear delaying tactic, he sighs.

“You know this is untrue, Wendell,” Ed leans forward, and Carter’s eyes just about pop out of his head. “You’ve been replanting my seeds. With the herbicide you were using, you would have killed off everything but my plants. You know that.”  Excuse me, Carter Schmidt gets his back up. “Don’t talk to my client, sir.”  No, says Cary, laser focused on Wendell’s face, let them talk. “Dell, instruct Mr. Pratt this is not a free for all.”  Frowning, Dell seems to sense this is the moment for the truth to come out.  “No, I agree. It’s time for the two of them to talk it out.”

Nodding, Ed leans forward and addresses his neighbor. “Wendell, I know you don’t live with your head in the sand.  You’re a good man.”  Wendell turns his rather large and oddly coiffed head away – now that I’m picturing it stuck in the sand, I’m all distracted.  “A good stewart of the earth.  Just tell the truth.”  Like the voice of the devil, Carter suggests a break, but Wendell is ready for this moment. “No,” he says, sitting up straight. “I’ve been replanting your seeds,” he admits to Carter’s horror. “I know it’s against the law.  But it’s a rotten law!  I had no choice. Your seeds were taking over my land.”  Huh? This makes Ed uncomfortable in his turn. “You control over 90% of the market, Ed, you control the food.  When you control the food, you control the people.”  Er, okay.  Not that I don’t agree in principle, but I’m not sure that’s really important to what’s going on here — Wendell’s real issue with with Ed controlling the farmers,  the people selling the food, not the food supply itself. “Dell, I’m sorry I lied before,” he finishes. “I knew what I was doing. I lied before God, and, I’m sorry.”

“Thank you, Wendell,” Dell replies. “Thank you for sharing that.” Unable to stand hearing him talk like he’s leading an AA meeting rather than an arbitration, Alicia quickly cuts in with her own thanks. “But again,” she notes, “that makes this case simpler.”  Yes, Dell sighs, it does. “Wendell, since you’ve admitted to the infringement, I have no choice but to find…”

And that’s when quick witted Carter Schmidt hops in again.  Did he figure this out on the fly, or did he have it in reserve, knowing or guessing that his client was guilty?  “Excuse me,” he says slowly. “I submit that the admission is moot.”  Of course Alicia does not respond well to this idea. “He just…” Dean counters, tongue tied by annoyance, and then just asks – “why?”  Carter nods. “There can be no infringement because,” and here Schmidt takes a deep breath and places his hand on the bible, “the patenting of life is an affront to God.”

Alicia just laughs her biggest, most theatrical laugh.

“Are you kidding me?” Dean asks in disbelief.  (Honestly, I have real issues with the patenting of gene sequences and living organisms and a whole host of other things, so I’m less offended than they are, but I would imagine that’s outside the purview of a lower court. )  “They’re messing with nature. The Bible says, God’s creation is good.”  Okay, now that part I don’t agree with.  And I hardly think that Wendell would argue that Ed’s GMO seeds aren’t good. “What about weeds?  Are weeds good? Because our client knows how to get rid of weeds,” Alicia snarks as Ed closes his eyes (he was so close!) and Cary smiles. “Your client likes that.”  Dean has his word in, too. “Our client has spent 400 million dollars on R & D for a product that is feeding the world.”  As the lawyers argue, Wendell jerks his head, asking silently if Ed would like to go talk.  Smiling in relief, Ed nods.  He would.  The lawyers have moved on to Sun Tsu, once more not even noticing that their clients are gone — except Cary, who realizes he’s got to go.

“All right, I’ll pay you for the seeds I used, and I guess I’m your customer, but I’d appreciate a discount given…” Cary steps toward the two men. “I think that’s a good idea,” Ed interjects.  Nice. “One gene and one plant,” Carter continues to pontificate. “They don’t own the sun!”  Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, Alicia replies, and unto God what is God’s, a comparison I’m not entirely sure Ed would appreciate.  “And now you’re just quoting random Bible verses,” Carter laughs.

Are you good, Wendell wonders. Yeah, Ed nods, extending his hand, you?  He is.  They shake, despite the lawyers, with no help from Dell.  “We settled it,” Ed says, turning to Cary with a smile in his voice.

And then we see a liquor store security video, in which a couple cuddles at the back of a line, the man’s hand on the small of the woman’s back, his shoulder curved over hers.  Her face turns up, and she touches his jaw. “Who is that, Mrs. Wagner, the man you’re kissing?” Diane asks, her voice without inflection. Stacie looks from Diane to Dr. Evil — holding up the doorway as Cary bursts in — appearing trapped and worried. “It’s not your husband, is it?  It’s not Trey?”  As he heads to the front of the court, Cary turns back to look at his ultimate adversary. Stacie squeaks out a cry. “Was that a no, m’am?” Diane pushes, relentless.  “That was a no,” Stacie whimpers, and Diane thanks her for making Cary’s life that much easier.

“We were able to i.d. him as Ellison McFarlane,” Diane testifies. “Is he your boyfriend, Mrs. Wagner?”  Finn wants to know why this is relevant. “Your Honor, Mr. McFarlane’s rap sheet is extensive.  Battery, armed robbery, possession.”  The judge nods. “He is a dangerous man with whom Mrs. Wagner has been carrying on an affair for over a year.”  Cary turns around, knowing that Kalinda must be the source of this nicely diversionary information. “She wanted a new life. She wanted Trey gone.”

“That’s not true,” Stacie wails, and Finn objects. “This is pure conjecture with no basis in fact.” Yep, Judge Petrov agrees, “You’re right, Mr. Polmar.  Then again I’m not sure how much fact you’ve got, either.”  Well, a piece of the truth — more of the truth than Diane — but not all the facts. Funny that a lie will serve Cary better in court than the truth of his innocence. “I will rule tomorrow.” The judge decides, leaning forward. “In the meantime, Mr. Agos, try showing up on time and stay close to home.”  Petrov’s voice carries his annoyance across the room; Cary just nods mildly. “Next!”

“So no money,” Alicia smiles into her wine glass; Dean sits next to her, his glass on the conference table. “Yep,” Dean sighs regretfully before slapping his hand down on his knee. “Well, at least they’re friends.”  What?  I mean, that can’t be right. I can’t imagine Dell agreeing that the lawyers shouldn’t be paid, and it’s not like there was ever going to be a big settlement; Ed’s clearly worth more than Wendell, and I’m sure he’s well worth having as a client. “Good working with you,” Dean tells her, standing and grabbing his jacket. “You too,” she replies on rote – but then we get a more personal moment of communication. “Do you still believe in God?” she wonders aloud, curious. “Do I?” he asks, surprised, as if the answer should be obvious. “Yeah.”  He stops to look at her, curious himself. “You?”  He’s not a man of wasted words, is he?  I like that.  “No,” she smiles. “I don’t think I’m genetically built to believe in God.”

I can buy that. Always questioning, never satisfied.  “I didn’t think I was either,” Dean tells her, staring off into the distance, “until I was.”

Huh.  She smiles as she watches him go.

“Alicia, do you have a minute,” Eli asks. “Talk to you later, Alicia,” Dean calls out, heading out of the office. “Who’s that?” Eli whispers, pointing off in the Dean’s general direction, and Alicia explains, standing. “Peter needs to endorse for State’s Attorney tomorrow, and I’m putting together a list of the top contenders.  I can’t put your name on that list, is that right?” That’s right, she replies coolly, picking up a book off of her desk. “Do you have any other suggestions?”  SAY GENEVA PINE, DAMN IT!  “Harold Lutz?” she suggests, picking up her purse and swinging it over her shoulder. Naw, they already asked him.  Diane?  Yep, asked her too; I wish we’d gotten to see Alicia’s reaction to that bit of information. Who else does he have, she wonders. “There’s only one name,” Eli admits. “I’m not running,” she smiles cheerfully. He knows. That’s why the name is James Castro.

This seems a calculated risk to me — I really can’t believe that Peter would endorse Castro after everything — but it strikes home. “Castro is a bad man,” she tells him. “Yes, and Peter will grit his teeth and do it. James Castro is the only one who can win, and Peter needs to back a winner.”  Makes you long for the days of Wendy Scott-Carr, doesn’t it?  Jaw open, Alicia stares at Eli, horrified.  And then she sees how she’s being played, and wags a finger at Eli. “Nice try,” she grins.

Eli smiles back. “What?” he asks, knowing full well. “Trying to psyche me into saying yes.”  No, Eli chuckles, not everything is about you.  Yeah, but this is. “Peter is endorsing Castro.  He is a bad man, but sometimes the world needs bad men.” Whatever. You’re making the Saddam Hussein argument in a State’s Attorney race?  “Unless you have another name.”  Yep, there it is, the emotional blackmail.

No, she replies sadly, then gets an idea. “You!”  Ah ha ha, he laughs, fake as can be. “Okay, thanks,” he gives up for the moment, and slumps off. “If I think of another name, I’ll let you know,” she calls out. Geneva Pine!  Geneva Pine Geneva Pine!  “By tomorrow, Peter needs to endorse by tomorrow. Otherwise it looks like he’s following the crowd.”  What crowd?  Yeah, whatever, Eli.

This gives Alicia a moment to see Gloria Steinem’s blue lit face. “Alicia I’m tired. I need you to take over for me.”  Snort.

“Never say such a thing, I don’t know why he’d say such a thing!  I never heard him say that. Nooo – I did – I have to go.”  Man, what is this perpetual conversation Joy’s been having?  Now it’s Diane waiting in the seat at Miss Grubick’s cubicle as she (for the third time) defends some unknown person over the phone. Grubick hangs up, and slowly turns to Diane, pursing her lips.  “Ahhh…” she tries to pull everything together.

“Do you have any questions, Miss Grubick,” Diane wonders. “Ahm, yes, let me see,” she woolgathers slowly. Diane nods, waiting. “As I said, I’m Cary Agos’s pre-trial service officer, and I just had a few questions for you as his lawyer before I submitted my report to the court.”  If she meets with him weekly, then how many reports will she submit?  Gah. “That is why I’m here,” Diane tells her clearly, as if imagining the officer to be deaf, not less impatient than Alicia but less supercilious. “I understand you fired Mr. Agos a year ago?”  Yes.  Wait, how does she know this?  “At his old firm. My old firm,” Diane acknowledges. “And actually, that was not the first time you fired him, was it?” Wow, when you put it that way, it sounds pretty bad. “No, once before,” Diane admits.

Joyless turns to look at her, putting one hand to her cheek. “So, how secure is his job right now?” she wonders. Diane laughs. “Very. My job is less secure than his.”

Without looking up, Joyless continues her uncomfortable questions. “It’s my understanding he’s lost many of his clients?”  Some of his clients, Diane concedes. “And that has not become an issue?”

“That’s the issue,” Dean insists in Diane’s memory, his clothes suggesting this was several days before. “I have to impress clients, and you don’t.”  Whose name is on the letter head, Cary asks, gesturing with his bandaged hands.  I swear I never noticed how much he talked with his hands before the injury. “Wait, wait,” Diane stops them, wearing a cream suit with a large gold chain hanging low around her neck. “No issue at all,” she declares brightly in the present.

“And there’s no tension between Cary and his coworkers?” Miss Grubick wonders; Diane flashes back to Alicia asking him and Dean to stop fighting and just listen. “We need to expand,” Diane insists. “This is a charming space, but our clients are used to more.”  Your clients, Alicia catches the slip.  Oh, come on.  There’s not physically enough room unless you want a Joyless-style cubicle farm, which you don’t, and let’s leave it at that. “I only say our clients because they’re more in danger of leaving for Lockhart/Gardner.”  Okay, fair point, and Cary would love to do what they could do about it. “We have no where to go,” he tells her bleakly.  “Well, the floor above us has just become available,” Dean notes, “so I propose we build up.”  Huh.

“Mmm, it is my understanding that Mr. Agos’s bond has come from his workplace, your workplace?” Joyless asks.  It has.  “It’s a lot of money!” Miss Grubick hums, giving Diane a significant, twitchy look. Yes, she knows. “Is there any chance the bond could be rescinded due to … financial reasons, or any other reasons?”

“Can we afford it, the second floor?” Alicia wonders.  “Well,” Diane begins. “Dean and I talked. And we would be willing to finance the first year’s rent via a personal loan to the firm.”  Err.  Hmm.  All those clients they’re bringing in, all that money, won’t pay for it? May be none of that money’s liquid but I can’t believe they’d have to wait an entire year to get something; it does seem fair they’d use their own money, though, given that they’re the reason the space is needed. “In exchange for the money,” Dean explains, “we would like an executive committee, composed of three partners from Florrick Agos, and three partners from Lockhart Gardner.”  Ah.  This news does not please Cary and Alicia.  I don’t know why they’d ever agree to it, frankly.

“No, the bond is secure,” Diane announces decisively, and Joyless stares at her while drinking a glass of water, which is frankly kind of weird.  But then this Miss Grubick is all kinds of quirky.  She sets the glass down, and Diane smirks to herself when the other woman finally looks away.

“Okay,” she finishes. “Is there anything else you want to tell me?”  No, Diane answers so briskly.  “Thank you,” Joyless says, standing and walking off.

“This has not been an easy decision,” Judge Ilya Petrov tells the assembled throngs. Alicia listens, sitting behind Diane and Cary (who was, presumably, on time). “On the one hand, the defense has presented a reasonable alternate theory to Trey Wagner’s disappearance, but on the other hand, they haven’t backed it up with evidence. The prosecution has an abundance of evidence, but nothing that leads one directly to the conclusion that they would like.”  Sitting next to State Attorney Evil, Finn bows his head.  “I am left with a tie. So I have asked the defendant’s pre-trial services officer to weigh in, and I would like her recommendation on the record.” Diane and Cary exchange worried glances as Joyless makes her way to witness stand. Leaning toward Diane, Cary gives in to despair: “Dear God, I’m screwed,” he says.

“Do you have a recommendation for the court?” the judge asks Miss Grubick.  She does.  He’d like to hear it.  As always, she clutches Cary’s file in her gnarled hands.

“In my sessions with Mr. Agos and collateral witnesses, I saw a man who’s terrified of going back to jail,” she assesses. In the audience, Dr. Evil strokes his chin. Literally.  I’m not exaggerating this.  “He was a deputy State’s Attorney, and there are prisoner’s inside who he put there.”  In the gallery, Alicia takes a deep breath, fearing what comes next. “So, that makes him a flight risk.”  It’s only through his tensing jaw that we see Cary’s terror and resignation.

Joyless continues to loudly clear her throat. “But I also saw a man who is fighting for his business,” she tells the judge, and Cary’s eyes widen just slightly, “determined to get his life back.” His determination not to hope plays painfully across his features. “It is my opinion that he knew enough of the risks not to intimidate or order the intimidation of any witness.”  Now Cary’s nodding, his face surrendered to hope, to the surprising realization that she did do him justice and believe in him. “I have concluded that Mr. Agos has not broken any of the conditions of his bond.” Diane practically swallows her lips in relief.

On the other side of the aisle, Dr. Evil storms out of the courtroom.  Okay, “stormed” is a little melodramatic (as is calling him Dr. Evil, for that matter), but he has this trick of tilting his head so you can see the straining muscle in his jaw that makes his displeasure dramatically obvious. “There you have it,” the judge announces. “Mr. Agos, you remain free on bail!” Craning his own head, Cary turns back to exchange a gleeful look with his delighted partner. “Next!”

In the hall outside the court, Alicia finds Dr. Evil waiting for her; her walk toward him is slow, queenly. “You have something to say to me,” she asks. He thinks about it, looking up. “No, ” he lies. “I doubt that,” she laughs. “Men always have something to say.”  Oh, ouch. “No, after I put your partner away for fifteen years, then I’ll have something to say,” he smarms, nodding. The man is professionally insufferable. “If you’re still in office,” she suggests.

“Oh, so, that’s why you’re running,” he snorts. “To get your partner off the hook. Or so you can keep your client, Lemond Bishop, out of jail.” Believe me, if she’s thought about running, she has not thought about Lemond Bishop, and what he will expect from her, and what will happen if he doesn’t get it. She shoots Castro a filthy look, and then sails past him. “Or because your lover was gunned down in one of my courts.”

Oh, that stops her good.

She turns, to find that he’s facing her, still leaning against the wall, still smug, still looking at her. “That’s the rumor, anyway.” The hall where they’re standing is lined with lockers, making it all feel very high school, this exchange of poisonous rumors and threats. “Will Gardner was your lover,” he says in his oiliest, quietest voice. “You blame me for his death, and that’s why you’re running. Retribution.”  His hand twists oddly.  It occurs to me now that he’s not Dr. Evil after all, not merely the comic caricature; he’s Lord Voldemort, creating his perfect enemy — the only one who can defeat him — by his relentless, paranoid pursuit. He is the despot whose addiction to power and desperation to keep it forces a hero to rise up against him.

She walks closer to him, her eyes entirely black in the half light, like a monster. “Anything else?” she asks quietly. “What’d you want?” he wonders, confused. “No,” she sneers, “get it all off of your chest.”  He starts to quiver, the small man with his swollen pride and petty indignities. “I have a lot on my chest,” he bites out. “I’ll save it for the campaign.”  Which you have just assured will happen, you complete idiot. She looks him up and down, as if he were something she found glued to the bottom of her shoe. “Talk to you,” she tells him, and spin around without a word.

In the hall at the governor’s offices, people literally leap out of her way. When she slips in Eli’s door, however, she’s quiet, controlled. “Alicia,” Eli greets her without looking, “how’re you?”  He knows why she’s come, but he’s playing it cool, and so is she.  She stands before him, smoothing her hair with the back of her hand. “If I ran,” she asks nervously, “what’s the plan?”

It’s been coming all episode — all season, really — but it still makes me want to smack my head against a wall.

So, okay, as usual they packed a lot in here.  Lots of beautiful acting, particularly from Matt (oh my goodness, so good; it’s like what they say about all doctors needing to be patients, the beauty of watching him grow in empathy), Archie (when she knows that Cary will pay for her carelessness in saving Trey, we see a rare, almost agonizing show of regret), the marvelously odd Linda Lavin and creepy creepy Michael Cerveris – although, that said, I’m really enjoying getting to know Taye Digg’s Dean as well.  The writing on this show is so brilliant, and he’s a perfect example of why: his dialog is very simply his own. He’s more measured and cool than his colleagues, clipped while still meticulously polite. It’s not merely the way he says it – it’s in the shortened sentence structure. I really like that.   Lavin, too, stole the show – her coughs and scratches and twitches were mesmerizing.  Oh, and that was a lovely scene between Alicia and Grace, although I think it’d be just as likely that Grace would stay offended by her mother’s attitude toward her choices and her intelligence.  Or maybe I just think that because my parents (as you might have deduced) encouraged vigorous intellectual debate, and none of us would ever have given up on an argument so easily.

First, for the plot of the week, GMOs.  That’s a lot to tackle, even if it’s a far less controversial subject in America than it is in the rest of the world. I’ve got more to say about the Matthew process, something I’d never heard of but rather like.  Obviously all systems can be abused by a bad administration, as we see with Castro putting excess pressure on prisoners and inventing evidence, and religious courts are no exception.  (For more on the subject, check out this great piece I heard on – yes – NPR, which would make the basis for a killer TGW episode.)  That said, when people come together in sincerity, isn’t it nicer to see people tell each other the truth rather than all the theatrical posturing and lies?  To see to people make a real effort to resolve their difficulties amicably?  The show left me with a good impression of what the Matthew process could achieve, though it still made a solid case for lawyers and expert testimony. Anyway, not a solution for everyone, but kind of a nice one in the end.

The indignities of the penal system continue with the pre-trial service officer.  Joyless Joy seemed curious well informed, daffy and protocol-bound and sharp at the same time, intimidation-proof.  It’s disheartening that she wouldn’t hear any evidence against the State’s Attorney (maybe criminals are so quick to throw down the conspiracy card that law enforcement officials have all stopped believing in them?) and horribly interested in the intimate details of Cary’s life.  It’s shame he didn’t lie about that beer the way he lied about conflict at work.  Maybe I’m a wimp, but I’m glad we got to see so much more of Alicia and Cary working together to free him and help Ed than we did the two of them arguing about how to handle the firm’s expansion and their loss of control.  And damn it if Castro isn’t desperate to sink his fingers into Cary in a way that’s looking less and less about Lemond Bishop, and more and more about Alicia; it’s a shame, because Bishop you could understand even if you couldn’t condone his methods.  I guess that’s what makes Castro the villain we need to oppose, however.

And oppose him Alicia apparently must. Is it wrong to hope when she sits down with that promised “oppo research” she gets frightened off?  Because UGH.  How many times do I have to say this?  UGHHHHHHH!  The State’s Attorney’s Office isn’t some nirvana where Alicia would easily do good, as Gloria Steinem’s flattering comments suggested.  It’s a tough management position, one which would (let’s remember) largely keep her out of the court room.  How often have we seen Peter try cases?  Would we really want this show without Alicia litigating?  Can you even imagine it?  I can’t.  That can’t be what the Kings want, can it?  And we’re going to exchange that for what, stump speeches and fundraisers?  Blech.

It’s not that I don’t want her to succeed, to come into power in her own right. I just don’t see why the only way to succeed is to follow in her husband’s footprints.  I just don’t want her to change the position she has – which is one in which she can do a great deal of good for her partners and employees, something she intended to do and so far hasn’t, so far as I can tell – for another, where life will be just as difficult. I don’t want her to exchange real growth for some sort of grass is greener fantasy. I don’t want her to go after this office because Castro’s pushing her into it. I don’t want her to go after it because she’s left unsettled by Will’s death.  I don’t want her to go after it because she thinks Gloria Steinem wants it, because Eli thinks she can win and because Peter cares more about expediency and his political career than he does about his family, because it is yet again someone else’s idea of what a good wife/girl/woman/lawyer looks like.  I want her to go after what she wants; I want her not only to think about what might make her happy, but to consider the ramifications and then make the leap.  And they have not sold me that this is what she wants.

The sad thing is that they did sell me on her starting her own firm.  They built that wall too efficiently, and it’s too late to tear it down without leaving a hole.

I guess, however, that I will just have to trust that these very smart writers have gone through all these objections already, and have something smart and exciting waiting on the other side.  Crossing my fingers…

 

 

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16 comments on “The Good Wife: Dear God

  1. dashalerin says:

    Frankly, I’m not at all surprised.As soon as the Eli asked Alicia if she wanted to run, at the end of last season, I KNEW they we’re going to go for it.
    What I don’t understand is WHY Alicia would run now, with a newly opened firm with her name on the letterhead and with half of LG’s departments heads sitting on her doorstep.
    Sure, Cary is in danger of ending up behind bars for the next 15 years, but Alicia’s not stupid: she can’t really think that running for State’s Attorney will in any way help him. If anything, Castro will only be more vicious.
    Not to mention the fact that I really, really can’t see Alicia behind that desk. Sorry, but no.

  2. Alice says:

    On top of all the other problems with the Alicia the politician plot line, it would isolate Alicia from all the other characters. It would be very hard to keep Diane, Cary and Kalinda in the story. And her relationships with the other characters, especially her newfound friendship with Diane, her partnership with Cary, and hopefully she and Kalinda will reconcile eventually so we can have some of those scenes to, is part of what makes the show so great!

    • Pat says:

      I agree. Especially now that there are so many plots going on and many conflicts between the characters. Maybe it has to do with the fact I prefer the legal aspect over the political one but I don’t want to see the show becoming the Alicia’s campaign show. I don’t want to see her spending most of her time with campaign managers and characters I don’t care about. I’m liking that season a lot but I’m not sure I like that new direction.I think she can run but I’m not sure she can win without completely shaking up the entire show.

      • E says:

        Exactly. It doesn’t make sense in terms of the balance of the show. Hopefully the idea won’t last too much longer.

        • Pat says:

          I fear it’s going to last the entire season…
          And I think the big problem is Eli character: no campaign no storyline for him, so every season they need to come up with something for him too because they were never able to integrate him with other characters besides Alicia and Peter. But I don’t know if this time they came up with the right idea. I cross my fingers they’ll be able to balance everything and I hope someone else ( not Castro but a third candidate) will win.

    • E says:

      YES! Now, they did manage to give us a lot of Cary while he was at the State’s Attorney’s office with both Childs and Peter, and lots of L/G last year, so they’ve proved they can handle a split focus. And surely we’d see a lot of Eli on her campaign. But why go through all that effort if she would only lose to Castro? Do we really want to spend the bulk of our time at the SA’s office?

  3. Pat says:

    Thanks E! And Gosh! Wasn’t that hand kissing the most sentimental thing Kalinda ever did? I whish we could also get some real talking with those two. I need to hear some meaningful words about their relationship.

  4. Kiki says:

    Hey E!!!!

    So I get your frustration with this plot. Hell I said all you said in this post like 100 times, I have beaten my head against the wall with it for months, cause I have known for months. And I am not 100% sold, but I feel I am getting on board now. To me it doesn’t really make much sense really, still because Alicia doesn’t care about helping people so what gives? But I am excited to see her campaigning to see her become political, mostly because I always wanted her to care about a political issue and really embrace it. And is finally happening, so for me is an easier sell because I enjoy politics.
    But I do agree with your concern, it just seems like such an unlike thing for Alicia to do.
    I mostly want to talk about 604 LOL now that we know what happens. Because boy, wow.

    Great review like always!!!!

    • E says:

      I HATED 604, oh my gosh. I mean, so much ugliness!!!! Am in the thick of it now.

      • Kiki says:

        HAHAHHAHA! After I read your 603 review, I knew you were gonna say that about 604. I honestly LOVED it, but it was the first time I sat back and thought, holly shit Alicia might be hitting the point where she is going to be unrecognizable. I still enjoyed the Alicia centered episode, but wow, it left me broken.

        • E says:

          Well, right. It walked this crazy line between “yes, that’s the most self-aware Alicia has ever been” and “where the hell did that come from and who is this woman?” I was fine with there being no case, I like the focus on here, but holy crap.

          • Kiki says:

            Yea no case was wonderful and the more serialized is perfect. But yes there was a moment where you just can’t believe Alicia actually said that to Zach LOL. I was like what? lol

    • E says:

      I don’t suppose it’s too much to hope that the Kings will change their minds and back away like they did with the Evil Boyscout and Kalinda’s husband? Must we commit this entire season to a mistake?

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