E: It turns out that Alicia’s a pretty poor campaigner. Gee, who would have ever guessed it? Let’s all say it with Eli: politics is all about asking people for things, which is Alicia’s least favorite thing ever, and everybody knows it. Excuse me while I go knock my head against a wall (since it’s more fun than watching Alicia completely humiliate herself). Ironically, she privately makes the best case I’ve ever heard for her running. Or at least, she shows that she cares about the right things, which is something of a relief. I’m sure we see her acting like a moron this week so we can get an arc of her learning to do better, but man, was it excruciating to watch.
In much more exciting news, the noose twists tighter around Cary’s neck, and that thirty foot distance rule seems to definitely be making Kalinda’s heart grow fonder. See, they can beat up on a character in a way that produces good drama! Also to the good: the production design team does their best to make Will’s office not look like Will’s office.
In sum this week’s episode was a combination of the brilliant writing and acting we love, and the wrong-headed plotting and ridiculous character choices we all despise.
It turns out that there was a little more to Cary’s most recent bail hearing than we heard last week. After the judge approves Joyless Joy’s new restrictions and tries to put the fear of God in Cary, Finn introduces a new plan — or at least, a proposal to get him to a plan. “Your Honor, we ask for an extension of the speedy trial provision,” he says. Huh. Good to know that they’re pursuing the speedy trial provision; in the real world it’d take a good 12-24 months to get to his trial at the earliest. No, Diane counters. “It is my client’s constitutional right to a speedy trial.” One that most accused don’t get. “Yes, and if your client hadn’t had some involvement in the disappearance of our key witness,” Finn alleges, which launches Diane into a tirade, because Cary certainly was not involved in that. “He has flouted the dictates …” Finn continues, but Grumpy Cat/Judge Glatt shuts them down. “Wait wait, shut up. How many days until trial?” 58. “And how many days do you need beyond that?” he asks Finn, but Diane’s not finished interrupting, wanting to impress on the judge just how damaging the wait is to Cary’s reputation.
“Damn it, counselor!” the judge explodes. “Everybody, everybody, just answer what I ask, okay? How long an extension?” Youch, he’s got a short fuse. “60 more days, that would give us time to locate the missing witness, Trey Wagner,” Finn answers, hoping Grumpy Cat will bite. “If he’s still alive,” the judge snorts, which unsettles Finn. “Yes, if he’s still alive.” Diane’s not willing to concede this as a reasonable plan. “Finding Trey Wagner … but that’s a Hail Mary pass.” On that I agree, says the judge. “Unfortunately, Mr. Polmar, I’m going to deny your motion. And the trial will begin on schedule in 58 days.” Glatt’s gavel smashes into the bench.
Back at the SA’s office, Finn slumps into his chair, sighing. “Damn it!” he curses. Could Matthew Goode be making a war movie? I mean, really, why does his hair need to be that short? He’s on air right now in Death Comes To Pemberly as well, and it’s reminding me how terrific he looks when he’s not scalped. Ah well. The king of hairlessness Jimmy Castro lurks in Finn’s doorway. “So I heard no extension,” he observes. Yep. “What’s your plan?” Gesturing at his desk, Finn explains that he’s formulating one now. “Formulate it faster,” Castro snaps. Wow. There’s lot of testiness going around today, apparently. “Hey, let me do my job,” Finn stands strong, and Castro slinks off grumpily. (Grumpy Cat-stro? Too much?) Behind Finn’s head is a poster of a classical ruin, the Parthenon, perhaps, sitting above a filing cabinet; next to that we find what a normal procedural would call a murder board (a white board filled with photographs and notes on the case) and it’s that Finn turns to for inspiration. Trey linked to Bishop linked to Cary, “The Lawyer.” Then he looks out in the hall, which is covered with photographs of Deputy ASAs. Cary’s picture (much nicer than the mug shot on the white board) is placed next to Geneva Pine’s.
With no better ideas, Finn follows Geneva out of court. “Cary was a good prosecutor, he just wasn’t ready to be deputy,” she offers. “So did he resign willingly or was he pressured?” Finn asks. “Mr. Agos resigned for fraternizing with a coworker,” Geneva explains tartly. Ah, the late, unlamented Dana. I think it’d make the current run of bad writing choices easier if fans had a person to focus our hate on, like Dana or Blake or The Husband Who Must Not Be Named. There’s no face to slap on my imaginary dart board this time. “Come on, Geneva,” Finn presses, ” the longer that I work here the more I realize there’s always a reason behind the reason.” Geneva smiles. “Cary was gone for a few weeks on administrative leave. I never got the whole story. Everybody guessed it contributed to his resignation.” WHAT? What is she talking about? “When was this?” Finn wonders.
“Three years ago,” a uniformed officer at a crime scene tells Finn. “And you’re the one that complained against Cary,” Finn surmises. “No, I just didn’t want my partner to get blamed for missing evidence,” the cop says. What? Oh my God, what pandora’s box is this? “Cary lost evidence?” the prosecutor asks. “All I know is that the chain of custody was intact between us and the deputy SA,” the cop explains. “We got a call from the crime lab asking where the evidence was.” Whoa. Oh my gosh. Not cool, y’all! “Well, where what was, what was the evidence?” Finn wonders. He’s walking, hands in his pockets, between large rows of lumber; the crime scene appears to be at a construction site, to judge from the hard-hatted men working in the background. “Cocaine,” the cop answers, “two kilos.”
I will say it again. Whoa.
“It never showed up in my lab,” a woman in a lab coat tells Finn, either the head of forensics or a tech. Her hair is piled up on top of her head in a ponytail. “Cary said he delivered the cocaine to you,” Finn adds. “To the lab, yeah, but there was no record. And he never signed it out of the evidence room, which it all very suspicious.” WHAT?! “Why wasn’t there a bigger investigation?” Finn wonders, and yeah, I’m curious about that too. “Nobody wanted to point out deficiencies in the office,” the scientist explains. “Especially when it had to do with the Bishop case.” Oh no. Oh my God. CRAP. “This is about Bishop?” Finn breathes. “Yeah,” the woman growls. “Never could prove it cause the evidence went missing.”
That is every kind of no good.
Finn walks into a crowded bar. Silently, without even looking up, Alicia slides a glass in front of the empty stool beside her. “Thanks,” he says, plunking down into the seat and drinking. “Good day, huh?” Alicia laughs. “Actually pretty good,” he says, “you?” Well, she says, “I’m learning how to campaign. It’s like learning a new language.” I’ll bet. “Well, you got Castro worried,” Finn passes on, “He is not a happy boy these days.” Er, good, I guess? “I know, we’re up by 8 points. But I don’t know how long that will last,” she adds rather glumly, mistrustful of as always of good news. “You know when something good happens to you, but it means something bad’s gonna happen to someone else?” Finn asks her, and that immediately makes me think of organ donation, but I can see how it would also apply to lawyers, sure. It’s nice that Finn’s thinking about Alicia here in the midst of what appears to be a bonanza for his case. “I think so, why?” she asks. Listening to all the other lawyers chatting about depositions and witnesses around them, Finn tells Alicia they can’t talk there.
His plan for secrecy involves a staircase heading only to the basement. Why don’t they just sit in a booth sometime? “Cary’s in trouble,” he says, looking up at Alicia from a few steps below. I know, she agrees, crossing her arms and looking down. “Worse trouble,” Finn insists. “Okay,” Alicia answers cautiously, “how?” Good question, Alicia, because the trouble he was already in looks bad enough. “I can’t tell you,” Finn says, “but it could hurt you, the campaign. You have to isolate yourself.” No! Oh my gosh, she better not. “You can’t tell me what happened?” Alicia asks, nervous. “I can’t,” he declares, “but believe me.” He gives her the puppy dog eyes, staring up. She nods.
The next day, Alicia watches Cary in the conference room at Lockhart – damn it, Florrick Agos & Lockhart, looking more like himself than we’ve seen in weeks, her heart in her mouth. What can she do to help him? How can she abandon him? “How are you with the office?” Diane breaks into her reverie. “Good,” Alicia answers. “It’s odd to be back.” That’s what Cary said, Diane laughs.
“It’s going well, right, Cary’s trial?” Alicia asks fearfully. In the conference room, Cary laughs. “Yes,” Diane answers, “Finn isn’t ready. Speedy trial strategy’s working for us.” Trying to figure out a delicate way of passing on the warning, Alicia tells Diane something bad might be coming. “”I can’t say what it is…” which is not the same as admitting you don’t know what it is, Alicia! “… but is there anything we’re overlooked?” Diane frowns. “I mean a million things, there always are. What’s your worry?” That something bad is coming! “I don’t know,” Alicia confesses. “Maybe nothing.” Will you quit backpedaling? It’s not nothing. How fascinating that she doesn’t want to state her source. Was giving her that warning illegal, I wonder? Cary knocks on the glass. “Your husband’s on the news, talking about you,” he says. Huh. I don’t remember them doing that before.
“You know, it reminds me of what President Kennedy said when he appointed his brother Attorney General,” Peter expounds from a wood paneled set, smiling. “Something to the effect that I can’t see that it’s wrong to give him a little legal experience…” “before he goes out to practice the law,” a beard Niles Crane quotes along with the governor. They’re both quite pleased with this. “Ah, that was back when you could joke in politics,” Niles smiles wistfully. “But to be clear,” Peter adds, “Alicia actually has more experience than Robert F. Kennedy did when he was Attorney General.” You sound proud, Niles observes. “I am proud,” Peter replies, and aw. Cue the aw.
“Let’s turn then to a subject that’s been all over the news lately,” Niles suggests. “Militarizing law enforcement.” Ah, Peter nods. “The rise of the warrior cop. Yes.” In the studio, Eli makes a fish face at this development. “Imagine something like Ferguson happening in Chicago,” Niles suggests. “Would you feel comfortable using police officers carrying automatic weapons? Driving around in humvees?” I certainly hope not! “No, I wouldn’t say comfortable,” Peter shakes his head, which is quite good to hear. “This is a civil rights issue, and I do…”
As the interview progresses, a suddenly fierce Eli walks up to a man who’s also standing in the studio. “Warren Plep!” he thunders. “Eli, hey,” Plep greets the chief of staff, pretending to be nonchalant. “What’s up?” Yeah, that’s much too polite a greeting for Eli. “What’re you doing here, Warren?” he snaps. “Nothing. You?” Just supporting my boy, Eli says, before turning the full force of his suspicion on the fabulously named Plep. “So you just happened in off the street?” I love that he’s so unapologetic about this being any of his business. Where does he get the nerve? “I know someone here,” Warren claims. “A friend.” Who, Eli wonders, and Plep answers that it’s a producer named Matt. Matt Baloo; the name sends Eli into fits of contempt. “Really? Baloo? Like in The Jungle Book?” Snort. “Good seeing you, Eli, gotta go.” That’s enough for Plep, who beats a hasty retreat.
Of course Eli the bull terrier isn’t close to done with Plep, and follows him up the stairs to the exit. “You’re still looking at petition drives, aren’t you, Warren?” Warren admits that he is: why, does Eli need one? “I might,” he narrows his eyes, “unless you’re already employed?” Why would I be employed, Warren wonders, which is the absolute stupidest defense ever. I thought Eli was being way over the top – well, I mean, he is — but it seems like he has a point. “I’m just trying to figure out what you’re doing here, Warren,” Eli explains. “You don’t go anywhere without a good reason.” I already told you my reason, Warren claims, and then scrambles through the door, leaving Eli to ponder their encounter. Oh, and to listen to his boss over the monitor chatting about qualified immunity. “But that trend has reversed, hasn’t it?” Niles suggests, which flummoxes Peter. “I’m thinking of the, ah, recent second circuit case. SWAT team in CT smashed down a doorway causing…”
After the interview, Peter’s still seething over being caught off guard. “I wasn’t prepared,” he grouses, pacing the back of his office. “I looked like an idiot.” Interestingly, Eli is not paying attention; he’s still trying to figure out Warren Plep’s appearance. “Eli!” As Peter barks, Eli snaps back to attention. “You, you didn’t look like an idiot,” he stammers. “I need a new personal attorney,” Peter decides. “Someone to keep me up to speed on these issues.” Er, okay. Shouldn’t you have a whole department for that? “I’ll make up a list,” Eli promises. “Put Ramona Lytton on it, would you?” Peter asks. What? “Ramona Lytton,” Peter repeats, “Put her on the list.”
“The mother of the intern?” Eli musters up some real outrage. “Well she’s not just the mother of the intern. She’s a lawyer. And a family friend. And she needs a job.” Oh. Interesting. Would he suggest someone for this job who he’s sleeping with? I’d kind of guess not. “When was the last time she practiced, Mr. Governor?” Eli snaps. “When was the last time Alicia did? Put her on the list.” Admitting defeat, Eli nods.
And then he pops in on Elfman, who’s working on his laptop. “We have a problem,” he says.
As much as I hate being back at the old offices, it IS comforting to see a more diverse workforce in place. In a particularly telling move — it’s so old order — Diane sits at the head of the conference table with Cary on her right closest to the door, and Alicia on her. “What! The problem in the opposite,” the former managing partner of Lockhart/Gardner tells us. “We have too much space now and too few lawyers.” Right; I hadn’t really thought about that, but it makes sense. “So, we lease it back,” Alicia suggests, but Diane fears that this won’t leave them room to grow. So? Sign tenants at will, or short leases, and grow sensibly. “Lease it out,” Cary says, agreeing with Alicia for the first time in recent memory. “Lease out the 27th floor. You’ve got 20 offices downstairs. Lease ’em out to other businesses.” Wonders never cease. As Diane asks for a calm and quiet discussion of the leasing plan, Alicia sees E and E standing out in the glass hallway.
“What happened?” she asks, rushing into the hallway as if someone had died. “We think a third candidate is joint the race,” her campaign manager tells her, and he kind of sounds like someone did die. “I thought we were going to ease her into it?” Eli asks, confused by his colleague’s directness. “I changed my mind,” Elfman shrugs, and Alicia heads off to her office without a word.
“So this is your office now?” Eli observes as he walks through the door of Will’s old office. “It’s nice.” Indeed, she’s gone far away from Will’s sleek, contemporary boys club look; she’s got an overstuffed beige couch lining the inner wall to start. “I thought we were passed the filing deadline,” Alicia says, ignoring Eli’s attempt at emotional connection and small talk. Good point, because that all important filing deadline loomed large in Alicia’s own journey into political candidacy. “If you get 50,00 signatures you can run by petition,” Elfman explains. You can? Huh. Illinois, you’re so weird. “And is anyone doing that,” Alicia wonders, sitting down at her desk; a greenish Florrick, Agos & Lockhart sign rests on a bookshelf behind her, and various paintings on the floor. Eli explains about running into Warren Plep, who’s a D.C. petition bundler, at the CBS studio during Peter’s interview, and how this leads them to believe that the interviewer/commentator, Frank Prady, is going to be the third candidate.
“And that would not be good?” Alicia asks, watching the mens’ faces. “That would be terrible,” the Haircut sighs. Prady is a brand, you see. “Yes, and he’s a bigger brand than you,” Elfman adds. “We have to do some polling…” “It might be nothing,” Eli hopes. “It could be for another office,” Alicia suggests, but a review of Prady’s recent broadcast commentary would suggest otherwise. “He’s disgusted with the murder rate in Chicago, and how Castro’s fighting it.” Well, he’s not alone there.
Speaking of Castro, Cary knocks on Alicia’s door, Diane in tow. They’ve been called to court. “On your case?” Alicia asks nervously. “Yea. Should be about an hour.” Oh, dear. “Do you know what its about?” You can see Alciia trying to control her worry. “No,” Cary replies lightly. “Maybe it’s good news, maybe they’re dropping the charges.” Diane smiles; Alicia looks ready to cry. “Good luck,” she wishes them.
“So what do we do now?” Alicia asks her team. What happened to Marissa? Can they not afford to keep her on set continually? Maybe they’re balking at paying her health care if she has a certain number of hours on the show? (I kid, I’m just annoyed with the glue stick for one episode and complete absence for the next.) “We find out if it’s true,” Eli decisively replies. Good idea. And how do they do that? “You go to Prady and ask for his endorsement,” the Haircut proposes. Um, no, I’m not in love with that plan, and neither is Alicia. “He’s endorsed candidates in other races,” comes the rational. “If he does endorse you, then clearly he’s not running. If he doesn’t, then there might be some problem there.” Alicia being Alicia, she cuts to the chase. “If he runs, I lose?” Well, anything could happen, Eli hedges. “Yes,” the Haircut replies. “You lose.”
Run, Prady, run! Not that I want her to be beaten, but really I want my show back.
“Okay, here we are again,” Judge Glatt grumps. “What’s going on, counselor?” Ah, it’s not us, Diane tells the judge, standing in a row in front of him with Cary and Finn. “It seems the ASA has something up his sleeve.” How true that is. You’ll be horrified once you know how true that is. “A proof of other crimes charge, Your Honor,” Finn speaks up. A what? This is new to the Good Wifeverse; I love it when they bring in legal machinations I’ve never heard of. (Hey, I’m grasping at straws here. I want to like what they’re doing…) “Your Honor, ah, that is just wrong,” Diane gasps; both she and Cary gape at the idea. “My client is innocent and the State’s Attorney is conducting a vendetta.” The funny thing is, it sounds like exaggerated rhetoric and paranoia, but it’s quite true. “We’re not conducting a vendetta,” Finn insists, because he isn’t. “Mr. Agos used to be an ASA, Your Honor, and while he was working here, he was also secretly working for Lemond Bishop.” I can’t even type that without gasping. “What?” Cary explodes. “That’s ridiculous,” Diane sputters, “that is slanderous, Your Honor.” While they react, Finn keeps going with his speech about their connection.
“God Almighty, stop it!” Glatt slaps his palm against the bench. “I’m the one in control here.” Oh, yes, you look very in control. “What evidence do you have?,” he asks, his thick fingers pointing to Finn. “We have evidence that Mr. Agos, when a deputy SA, buried evidence against his one time client Mr. Bishop, allowing him to avoid prosecution. Now,” he sticks on his words a little, seeing that Castro has shown up to watch him, “the evidence against him was 2 kilos of cocaine, which went missing after Mr. Agos removed it from the evidence room. Now the prosecution merely asks that they be allowed to use this evidence at trial.” Oh, they merely ask that, do they? That’s all? “Bring this evidence tomorrow and I will rule on this motion,” Glatt decides. Astounded, Diane tries to object but Glatt hollers at her. “No! Everybody shut up, I already ruled.” Cary blinks, unable to believe what’s just happened.
Elegant Ramona Lytton, mother of the infamous intern Lauren Lytten, studies a flow chart of government agencies and executive branch structure near the reception desk at the governor’s office, muttering to herself. Odd that they don’t have a waiting room, isn’t it? Maybe everyone who comes there is too important to have an official waiting room, so they just get shunted to an chair in the hall? If she was off in a room, however, Alicia might not have noticed her on her flight down the hall. “Ramona?” The nervous woman looks up, and a smiles breaks open on her face. “Alicia, I thought that was you!” Huh. Somehow when Peter said the Lyttons’ were family friends I assumed he meant friends he’d grown up with; instead they seem to be friends of his and Alicia’s that we’ve, um, never heard of, striking because of the marked lack of friends in their lives to this point. “Oh my gosh! What’s it been, ten years? You look great.” Wow. I’m getting more and more curious about this family friendship. The two women hug. “Thank you,” Ramona blushes. “What’re you doing here?”
“A job interview, can you believe it? For the legal job here,” Ramona confesses. “That’s great,” Alicia gushes, ” they need someone like you! Where’re you coming from?” Oh, Alicia. “Where am I?” Ramona repeats awkwardly. Blind Alicia makes her say it: she’s not actually coming from a law firm. “Nowhere. Home,” she blushes becomingly again. “Raising two kids, you know?” Yes, Alicia smiles, because she does know, and so she feels bad about forgetting that, apologizing. “Don’t be. It’s my first interview in, um, 12 years?” Ramona whispers, which is sort of fascinating because that means she only stopped working when Lauren was about 10? Or later? Usually it’s the other way around; that’s when you’d be going back to work. “That’s great! You’ll be great. That’s exactly what I did.” I know, Ramona smiles, I’m modeling my career after yours. “Don’t do that!” Alicia snorts, and the women laugh together. Ramona is seeming less and less like a threat to Alicia’s marriage, such as it is.
“How’s Anton?” Alicia asks, speaking of marriage. “We divorced last year,” Ramona cringes. “He’s in Nashville. I think.” Oops. “Oh, Ramona, I’m sorry. I keeping right in it.” No, you’re great, Ramona replies graciously. There’s something very lovely to her manners, don’t you think? Her cultured voice reminds me of the Florrick matriarch, prim and genteel, but in a good way. She’s definitely not the dirty mistress type. That pretty much ends the conversation; Alicia goes off to meet her team, and wishes Ramona good luck.
“He wants to meet at 2,” Eli tells Alicia. Well. That was fast. “Okay, good. Why do you look so nervous?” she wonders. “We don’t want him in the race,” the Haircut says, adding no new information to the conversation. “I know, neither do I,” Alicia replies, confused. “We had a few issues we’d like you to talk about,” Eli informs her. “His mother was attacked, a year ago, at her retirement community,” the Haircut tells his client. “She was left with twenty stitches in her forehead.” Yikes! “Okay, so — you want me to bring that up?” Alicia’s even more confused now. “No,” the Haircut has no time for denseness. “Try to talk about crimes against seniors, how you’re gonna push for stronger prosecutions.” Um, I guess no one can object to that? “That’s a bit unsubtle, isn’t it?” Alicia snarks, and boy, that hits Eli wrong. “Alicia, you’re not writing a poem,” he sneers, which has got to be one of his best put downs ever. “You’re practicing politics.” Piling on, the Haircut suggests warning Prady away from running by talking up the money in her PAC. Right, because she wants anyone thinking too much about that PAC? Ah, no.
“How do I do that?” she asks, really horrified. “You’re asking for his endorsement, it makes sense you’d bring up your grass roots support,” Elfman counters, and huh, he’s actually right (or would be if the PAC represented actual grass roots support). That’s far more organic an in than the elder care stuff. “And don’t mention his Supreme Court book,” Eli adds. “He was disappointed with the sales.” Is he kidding? Like Alicia would know any of this? Does he think he’s dealing with Peter? “Okay, this is getting silly,” Alciai shuts them down. ” Just set it up. I’ll be good.” No, they can’t help themselves from trying to micromanage her. “Also, he’s a fan of history,” the Haircut blurts out. “Cold war history.” Eli offers up a sheet of paper. “I selected a few quotes…” Staring at the paper with a look of queenly disdain, Alicia has only one word for them: “no.”
To make his case that Cary’s been in cahoots with Bishop, Finn puts Geneva Pine on the stand. “So Mr. Agos insisted on taking over all Lemond Bishop’s cases,” he asks. What? He did? He did. “And this is when he first joined the State’s Attorney’s office?” “No,” she answers, “when he was elevated to deputy.” Had he shown any interest in the Bishop cases before? Cary’s attention, previously riveted on his former coworker, switching to Kalinda as she walks into the gallery. “He checked in with me regularly, wanting to know now far along an investigation was, if we were building a strong case.” Why would he have been checking up on Geneva’s work before he got the deputy position? That makes no sense. Elegantly, Diane rises and glides to the back of the courtroom to talk to Kalinda. “And what did you tell Mr. Agos?” Finn asks Geneva.
After explaining to us that she has to stay at the back of the court because she’s not allowed within 30 feet of Cary, Kalinda apologizes. “Oh, I know,” Diane waves her off, “I need your help on this. They’re trying to imply that Cary was secretly working for Bishop while he was at the State’s Attorney’s office.” Er, shouldn’t you have gotten Kalinda on this last night? “You’re kidding,” Kalinda gasps, gobsmacked. And you know it takes a lot to shock Kalinda. “It’s all supposition and happenstance, but it’s effective,” Diane explains regretfully. “See what you can dig up to battle it.” In the background, we can just hear Finn finishing his cross.
“Counselor!” Judge Glatt barks. “Excuse me!” Diane turns. ” Sorry to break up the important meeting you’re having back there, but we’re waiting.” Much to smart to be mouthy and remind him that he imposed the restriction she warned him was absurd and deleterious to her work process, Diane rushes back and apologizes. “Miss Pine, you were already at the State’s Attorney’s office when Cary joined?” She was. Cary’s phone buzzes. “Think I’m breaking the 30 ft rule?” the text reads. He twists his neck to look back at Kalinda, who gives him a rueful smiles, and so Cary texts her back:” Watch. They’ll make it 100 feet next.”
“And do you remember the reason that Cary left private practice to come over?” Er, vengeance? Because you fired him for Alicia, no one was hiring, and Glenn Childs thought he’d be a good tool to take down the Florricks? I have no idea what Diane’s going for here, so it’s probably a good thing that Finn’s objection (calls for speculation) is sustained. “Would you say that Cary is a competitive person?” Finn objects and the judge reminds Diane that Geneva was Cary’s colleague, not his therapist.
“The prosecutor’s direct suggested that my client took the Bishop case for no reason,” Diane continues. “It is within the scope to suggest that he took a high profile case in order to prove himself,” she adds. In the gallery, Kalinda looks at her phone. “And now she’s testifying,” Finn complains. “Mr. Agos is free to take the stand and explain his own state of mind,” Judge Glatt suggests sarcastically, as if Diane would ever let that happen. What a face he’s making, good grief. “Yes Your Honor,” Diane replies wryly as Cary’s phone buzzes with Kalinda’s next message: “Wish we could get a drink.”
“Miss Pine,” Diane switches up her tactics. “How long did you run the investigation into Lemond Bishop’s drug operation?” Almost two years. Cary smiles at his phone. “And during that time,” Diane finally moves in for the kill, “how many charges did you file against Mr. Bishop?” None, admits Geneva, steely in her olive cardigan. “Really? None?” Diane wonders, as if surprised. Finn closes his eyes; Cary texts Kalinda three simple words — “I miss you“. “So isn’t it likely that they gave the Bishop cases to somebody who could do better?” Cary looks back, smoldering; Kalinda returns his gaze, more emotional than we’re accustomed to seeing her. Of course, Kalinda’s eyes are a deep lake; you see what you want reflected in them. She puts the phone to her lips, and again he smiles. Finn objects, calling Diane’s question argumentative, but the judge wants to hear the answer. “Yes,” Geneva bites, perhaps a little bitter but honest to the last, “It’s possible.”
As Alicia wanders a corridor, looking for the right door, Frank Prady calls out to her, shrugging into his suit jacket. “Alicia! In here!” It’s funny, isn’t it, how little David Hyde Pierce actually sounds like Niles Crane? After so many years in that brilliant role – and only that role – I expect him to speak with Niles’ exaggerated cadences. She smiles warmly and walks down the hall into his dressing room. “Sorry, I was just getting changed,” he says. “No,” she replies, “thank you for meeting with me.” “Are you kidding?” he asks with enthusiasm, “I’m a real fan.” Huh. Is he the kind of guy who just says that, or does he mean it? “Don’t make fun of my cheeks,” he adds disarmingly, “it’s make up for camera.” Somehow his use of the word cheeks is endearing. And my goodness; his dressing room has a side board overflowing with cookie tins piled upon each other.
“Wow. Frank. A bit of a sweet tooth?” Alicia asks, surprised at the bounty. “No,” he answers sadly, before asking hopefully “Do you like cookies? You have to have some. Two tins. Three tins at least.” He’s oddly charming, which is confusing. “Thank you, I’m all right,” she demurs; he waves her into a seating area with a sofa and chairs and a coffee table piled high with cookie tins. “It’s these ladies online,” he confesses. “They have a fan club, and they get it into their heads that I like certain things. Last year, they thought I was getting too much sun, so they sent me panama hats.” Ha! That’s too awesome. I love his droll delivery, too; it’s much more pulled back than Niles, but it’s definitely related. Alicia laughs. “Well, you must have a lot of fans,” she observes. “Not as many as you!” he counters. Dude. Nobody sends her stuff in the mail, and if they did, she’d be freaked out and hate it. “I’m sure that’s not true,” she smiles. “I’m sure it is!” he gushes. The excess of politeness is killing me. “Well, we’re both popular, then,” she mercifully puts an end to this nice-off. “I’m glad we settled that,” he grins.
“So,” he says. “Yes, you must be wondering why I asked to meet with you,” she starts. “No, ah, my producer said, and I think it’s a great idea,” Frank tells Alicia. Say what? “Oh. He did,” she stumbles. “What did he say?” That you wanted to pitch yourself for an interview, he explains. “No, actually,” she stammers, “but thank you. The State’s Attorney’s race. I’m running.” Oh, love.
“Yes. I know. Condolences. I mean, congratulations,” he quips, and it wins him a smile. Ah, that’s the tongue that won four Emmys (and was nominated a staggering 11 years in a row). “And I was hoping to encourage you to… endorse me.” She deflates. “I hate just asking, but — well, I just did. So there.” She laughs awkwardly, and he blinks. Wow. He’s hard to read. “Uh huh,” Frank responds her, “that is different.” Oh God. Well that’s not what you want to hear! I kind of wanted her to say something like, wow, I’ve never done that before, or, this doesn’t come easily to me, or, I don’t know what, which would be vulnerable and human instead of just awkward, but I guess she can’t since this man’s likely to be her enemy? “And just so you know a little bit more about what I stand for, Castro has one of the worst records in the country prosecuting federal gun crimes, which means the State’s Attorney’s office has to pick up the slack.” He nods, looking grim, not giving her an inch. What happened to the affable gentleman of a few minutes ago? Say something, damn it! And you, too, Alicia. Say something about gen den-ing, maybe, or some other issue that Castro’s messing up with, or how you didn’t want to run for office but there was no one else up for the task. It’s in the face of his silence that she does what she scoffed at doing. “And, I don’t know if you’ve seen the statistics on crime against the elderly, but I would really want to beef up on penalties against elder crime.” He nods. Great Good God, this is like pulling teeth!
“Just so you know, that’s not true about my mom getting beaten up. It was another lady in her retirement community,” Frank tells Alicia, looking painfully sad, like she’s disappointed him terribly by so prosaically, nakedly catering to his presumed wishes. “The press got it wrong.” Alicia looks horrified. “Well, no, I did not know that.” At least her jacket is gorgeous; that’s about all I can salvage from this. “But it doesn’t matter anyway,” she rallies. “I still feel bad for that, um, lady. And I believe it. The elderly crime. Thing.”
Oh. Dear. Lord.
And now four tins of cookies sit on the governor’s conference table. “He gave you cookies?” Eli asks in disbelief. “Yes, And an interview spot.” “But not an endorsement,” the Haircut notes, and thank you very much Captain Obvious for that information. I’d never have guessed. “No,” Alicia confirms. “He said he wanted to talk more in the interview.” And, I don’t know, maybe have her actually talk? “I’m not good at this, guys,” she wails. “I’m bad at asking for things. I don’t like asking.” Fine time to remember that, Alicia! I seem to recall someone bursting into tears when she asked Eli to switch to her law firm back in season 1. She’s gotten better at it, but still. “Alicia,” Eli snaps, “Listen to me. You’re running for office. The very nature of your hob is asking for things. Votes, money, help.” Good point, Eli. Wish she’d realized that a few weeks ago. “It’s a talent.” One she does not possess. “That’s how politicians get you to love them. Not by giving you something, but by asking for something.” Hmph. Doubtful. I mean, I see a point there — it’s very FDR or Kennedy, appealing to one’s better nature, to duty and service — but is that Eli’s point? “So you’ve just gotta get over your … feeling that you’re above all this,” Oooh, nice finish. And good point.
“The real question,” the Haircut interrupts his counterpart’s philosophical pep talk, ” is, do we do the interview? It could be a set up. He uses a bad interview to launch his own campaign.” Eli turns to look at Elfman. “It’s an audience, we have to.” Yeah, all right, Elfman agrees. “Prep for hard ball questions, we make him think we’re going in soft, then we go for the jugular.” How do you go for the interviewer’s jugular? I don’t see it. “Yeah, okay.” Does Alicia not get a vote?
“Where did you recover the two kilos of cocaine, Officer?” Eli asks the uniform cop we met earlier. “At a stash house on Kenzie Street tied to Lemond Bishop.” Of course. “And did you ever see the cocain that you believed belonged to Mr. Bishop agains after you checked in?” He didn’t. “Do you normally see evidence again after check in?” Finn asks for some background for us. “Standard operating procedure is for the recovering officer to export it for testing.” Okay, good to know. “But Mr. Agos insisted on taking this cocaine to the lab,” Finn leads his witness. Oh no, the horror! “Yes, he needed a quick check, off the books, so they could link it to Bishop.” And you let him, Finn wonders; you can see he’s got Diane worried. “Well, deputy SAs have a lot of clout.” How many deputies are there? I sort of got the impression there was only one at the time, but I guess it’d make sense if there were more than one? “And he said it was the fastest way to down Bishop.”
“And was it?” Finn asks, even though we all know the answer. “Once the cocaine disappeared, the case disappeared,” the cop grouses. Diane gives Cary a worried glance as Finn finishes.
“Be honest with me,” Diane asks Cary, in a room full of lockers and filing cabinets. “How do I defend against this?” I thought it was just happenstance and circumstantial evidence, Diane? “I don’t know,” Cary replies. “Well, what did you do?” she asks. “I checked the cocaine out to take it to the lab myself,” he admits. Why? “To expedite it,” he explains. “Cary, this testimony is killing us,” she complains. He knows.
Cary sits in his office with his back to his desk, staring into space. When the phone rings, he reaches up behind his head to grab it. “Cary Agos,” he answers. “It’s me,” Kalinda breathes, and he softens. “Where are you?” Turn around, she says; she’s calling him from a phone in the hall. “This is crazy,” Cary tells her. “I know,” she agrees. (So, call me, maybe?)
Did she see what they were doing in court, he wonders; she did. “I also know who you’re protecting,” she adds. “Who,” he wonders, playing dumb. “Peter. That’s why you broke the rules at the State’s Attorney’s office. Got the cocaine for the lab because Peter asked you to. He was eyeing the governship and he knew that a conviction would help.” Huh. That makes a lot of sense. How shocking, that Peter would break rules using a proxy, and that Cary would be too loyal to finger him. “That’s supposition, Kalinda,” Cary lies. “No it isn’t. You have to defend yourself, Cary.” He didn’t do anything wrong, Cary protests, and there it is — he is protecting Peter, even now, even after the way their working relationship ended. “Then subpoena him and have him say that,” Kalinda protests. “He has nothing to do with this coke going missing,” Cary insists.
“Well neither do you!” she retorts. “But they’ll crucify him,” Cary tells her. “Cary, they’re crucifying you! Look, you have to tell them that you were under orders,” she pleads. “I can’t,” he replies. “Then I will,” she declares. He calls out to her, but she hangs up. Cary walks into the hall, but she warns him back loudly. “Thirty feet, Cary!” He freezes.
Something about Ramona Lytton’s curly hair, tucked back into a chignon as usual, makes me think of cornrows. I thought she was so serene and confident when we first met her, but today the poor woman looks nauseous. “Ramona,” Eli smirks, standing in the hall by the flowery reception desk. “How was your first day at school? You find the lunch room?” Ha. I guess there wasn’t any question that she was getting the job, huh? But all this must mean she’s not Peter’s mistress after all; I keep jumping to conclusions, but now I feel like I owe him an apology. “No, but that’s okay,” she smiles back awkwardly, trying to launch into something yet unable to speak up; instead, Eli tells her it’s one floor up. “There’s something that came across my desk,” she tells him, hesitating. Eli assumes it’s something to do with an office redesign, but of course we know better. He even takes a phone call, clearly expecting this to drive her off, but she just stands, gripping a sheet of paper by its edges, until finally he asks what she needs. Wordlessly, she hands over the familiar blue and white document.
“Why am I being subpoenaed?” Peter wonders, looming behind his desk. “Because Diane wants to drag you into this proof of other crime nonsense,” Eli thunders; Ramona just looks terrified. How did she raise a daughter that confident, I wonder? “You think this has to do with the Supreme Court rejection?” Peter asks, and of course Eli thinks that; fascinating to see his spin a conspiracy where none exists. This entire episode bursts with missed attempts at communication and blind assumptions about motivation. “It says here that you ordered Cary to violate evidence handling rules in order to push a high profile prosecution,” Eli summarizes. “This is a nightmare,” Peter growls. “We need to file a motion based on privilege,” Eli adds, which Peter thinks is a fine idea. Poor timid Ramona’s trying to get a word in and failing miserably. “Don’t,” she squeaks, and neither of them hear her. “I’m gonna meet with Cary, I know he doesn’t want to go there, I know that,” the governor insists, slumping into his chair, finally sparing a glance for his family friend. “How about that for a first day, huh?”
“I’ll have one of the paralegals help you file a motion to quash based on privilege,” Eli tells Ramona, effectively dismissing her. “I don’t think we should do that,” she finally gets out. “Why? Based on what?” Peter asks; Eli wants to take the discussion out of the room (i.e., chastise the child for speaking up in front of Daddy) but Peter really wants to know why. Slowly, hesitating, she says. “They’re expecting us to do it. They want us to argue that any conversation between the then State’s Attorney and Mr. Agos is privileged work product. They want it to look like you’re covering something up, so don’t.”
Ah. Clever. “Okay,” Peter nods, his imagination captured. “So what would you do?” Not ready to trust the panty-less intern’s mother to advise Peter, Eli gulps. “Go on offensive. No matter what Mr. Agos was told by his superior, it doesn’t excuse him from having committed a crime.” That’s a great defense, but damn it, Cary does not deserve this from Peter. “I can file a motion to quash based on relevance. The Governor isn’t hiding anything, he is busy. And the defense is maybe trying to stall by dragging him into this.” Do it, Peter decides, winning a smile from his new personal attorney. “Thank you, Mr. Governor,” she says, before thinking to add that he shouldn’t talk to Cary. ‘They’ll use it against you.” After she goes, Peter tents his fingers together, and gives Eli a pleased look. “Not bad, huh?” Of course Eli’s not willing to commit himself to anyone else’s brilliance. “We’ll see,” he says, grudging.
At least someone’s having a good day. Alicia’s sitting across from the Haircut in the L&G — I mean FAL — conference room; he’s leaning back in his chair, fiddling with his pen. “Isn’t your law partner facing conspiracy charges, Mrs. Florrick?” he asks her. Interview prep: how wonderful. “He is, but those charges haven’t been proven,” Alicia answers lamely. Haven’t been proven! This is a miscarriage of justice! That’s the best you can do, hasn’t been proven? “Never accept the premise of the question,” the Haircut tells his client, and there it is, the reason that political interviews are largely a waste of time. “Your answer can be edited down to ‘he is.’ Always jump back to your pivot.” Shouldn’t that be pivot back to your pivot? Ha, ha, I crack me up. Improbably, Alicia doesn’t know what a pivot is. “Yeah,” Elfman tells her, “this is the most important advice I’m ever gonna give you, Alicia. Questions are for dopes.”
Sigh. This is what I’m talking about.
She tilts her head questioningly. They are? “Yes,” he affirms, “say it.” She gives him a sour look but caves, reluctantly repeating his words: questions are for dopes. “Isn’t that the point of an interview?” she wonders. “No, the point of an interview is to put you on the spot, and your point is to pivot back to your message.” Well. That’s not adversarial or anything. “And what is my message?” she wonders. I bang my head into the wall again, because the woman does not even known why she’s hijacking my show to do this stupid ruinous thing. “Castro is ruining the department,” he answers, and she makes a note of it. I love the color of her dress, but the embellishments seem odd in themselves and also oddly placed, don’t they? Like someone sewed bullet casings to her shoulders.
“Now, Mrs. Florrick. Your law partner is facing drug conspiracy charges. Why shouldn’t voters trust you based on who you associate with?” This time, Alicia has a better answer. “Because my partner is innocent,” she declares passionately. Good. “And the current State’s Attorney is pursuing a vendetta against him to get back at me.” Good, Elfman affirms her upgraded language. “Stick with it. Message discipline.” Ah. Thanks for the episode title reference. Everybody drink!
The Haircut shifts from critique mode to questioning mode. “Ahm, but doesn’t your law firm also represent Lemond Bishop, the biggest drug dealer in Chicago?” Alleged drug dealer, the lawyer quickly amends, and I roll my eyes. “Come on, Alicia, Lemond Bishop?” That’s right; she’s got to learn to answer the questions not as a lawyer but as a politician. “In our legal system, everyone deserves a vigorous defense.” Okay, good. Also I suppose you could mention that you don’t represent him anymore? “But not everyone deserves you,” Elfman suggests, which, sure. Unchallenged. “Unlike the current State’s Attorney,” she smiles, “I’ve seen both sides of the courtroom.” She has? How so? Does she mean she will once she’s a prosecutor? Did she work as a prosecutor right out of school? We only know she worked at a firm. “I know when the system is being abused.” Okay, that makes sense; it’s actually a good argument for her candidacy. “Good,” Elfman approves. “Ah, don’t cross your legs under the table.”
Poor Alicia’s alarmed and uncomfortable. How does he know what her legs are doing under the table? “It keeps you from sitting up straight, so, cross at the ankles.” Oh, okay. It still feels a little creepy, but okay. Ever so awkwardly, she does.
“Now,” he flips subjects, “let’s talk about the abortion your son got for his underage girlfriend.” To distract myself from Alicia’s wrecked expression, I’m going to say that Elfman phrased his question like Zach gave Nisa a stolen iPad or something. She can’t answer. “Is anything wrong, Mrs. Florrick?” he prompts. “Is this you talking or Prady?” she hedges, pushing her hair back from her forehead. Prady, of course. “Always use his first name, Frank,” the Haircut adds. “Well. Frank. I obviously find this situation very difficult. My son… no. You want my real answer?” Her campaign manager does, and she turns it on him with the full force of her despair. “How dare you?” He recoils from the unexpected level of anger in her tone. “How in the world does it possibly impact my work as a prosecutor to ask about my family’s most vulnerable moments?” Well, he starts to explains, but she runs right over him. “This city is suffering from the worst murder spree in its history and you’re asking me about my son’s abortion, are you friggin’ kidding me?”
“Okay,” nods Elfman, “let’s unpack that.” Alicia’s practically panting; she’s visibly trying to get herself under control, and is far from ready to unpack anything. “Good second half, although I’m sure about ‘friggin.’ And bad first half., You can’t personalize it, Alicia. It’s not Frank.” She’s still trying vainly to compose herself. “Well,” she declares, “If he asks about Zach then it is about Frank.” I’m down with that.
“The passion is good, you just have to control. People don’t necessarily hear the words, but they get a sense of it from your tone of voice.” Gosh, is the electorate really that stupid? “Gotcha,” she snaps. “Ok,” he moves on. “I’ve heard these rumors that your husband is sleeping with an intern in the governor’s office.” You’d think, after all these years and all these bimbo eruptions that she’d be used to them, but no: despite having given Peter permission to do just that, she looks gutted. “Again, this type of politics of personal destruction…” she begins, but the Haircut stops her; too cliche. “Again, this type of horse ____…” and wow, did they just bleep her? Or effectively white-out the word, I guess, turning the sound off? Damn. “Yeah, you can’t say that,” Elfman observes. Um, yeah. “This type of b.s. is why people don’t run for office. It’s why I almost didn’t run. And then I realized if I didn’t, only people like Castro would.”
Good answer, Alicia. Even though I wish you’d stayed out, I don’t want it to have been because you were forced out by rumor or innuendo. “Good,” Elfman agrees with me, “Good. And don’t look at the camera, act as if its just the two of you talking.” She nods. “And watch out for the second camera, sometimes in the middle of a question they;’ll cut to y ou and try to catch you off guard.” Right, so relax, but never relax. Got it. “And don’t be afraid to say ‘ I disagree with your characterization.'” Okay. Wow. That was a flurry of crazy specific, confusing notes is what that was. “Okay. Anything else? Am I ready?” For now, he says, and she tilts her head. “You’re a bundle of optimism,” she snarks. He smiles.
And what a contrast this is to Grumpy Cat/Judge Glatt’s bored, gloomy face, his chin resting on his hand. He’s barely awake. “Your Honor. Cary Agos was only following the orders of his superior Peter Florrick, who was State’s Attorney at that time, that’s why we subpoenaed him. That he is governor is immaterial, we’re only interested in his actions as a State’s Attorney,” Diane argues. I’m sure it’s a little late to say this, but I don’t understand why all this is happening in bond court. Shouldn’t Cary have been indicted by now? Shouldn’t this be happening at pretrial hearings, in a regular court with benches and everything? At any rate, here we are again, this time with Ramona standing next to Finn, looking over her notes in a panic – so much so that Judge Glatt has to prompt her (none too kindly) to speak. “Counselor?” Yeah, she asks, like a kid caught napping in class. “It’s customary at this time for you to say something.” Ha.
Looking to step into the vacuum, Diane has a few suggestions. “If the governor’s counselor is arguing that Peter Florrick held some sort of privilege…” As Diane tries to take control, Kalinda siddles into the room. “I’m not,” Ramona interjects quietly. “… or had qualified immunity…” “I’m not saying that either.” Hee. “Well then what are you saying? Anyone?” Grumpy Glatt snaps, and Kalinda sits. “ASA Polmar?” Finally, Ramona recovers the courage to speak. “Qualified immunity does not apply,” she offers. “A little louder?” the judge asks. “Just spill it out.” She steps forward, clearing her throat, and something about her reminds me of Kim Bassinger blended in with Rosamund Pike; classically beautiful, elegant, but also unsure, contained. “Your Honor, sir. Miss Lockhart is desperate to make this hearing about Governor Florrick’s refusal to testify.” Diane being Diane, this wins a little quip. “I’m not desperate about anything!” Nice. “She wants you to put up some shield. Privilege. Immunity. So that when he doesn’t take the stand you can draw a negative inference from that fact.” Quite right, Ms Lytton. “The defense has to prove that Governor Florrick has to offer some testimony that would impact her client’s guilty, but he can’t. Mr. Agos isn’t accused of transporting drugs against police regulations, he’s accused of stealing drugs.” Well, okay, but the first, less serious offense — taking the drugs out of the evidence room against protocol — make it look like he was planning to commit the latter, more serious one. “Even the defense isn’t accusing the governor of ordering Mr. Agos to steal these drugs, so again, my client has nothing to contribute here.” Clever, though I just don’t agree. “Accordingly,” she finishes, “we respectfully submit that the subpoena be quashed. Immediately.” Ah, that politeness will take you a long way with this judge; too bad for Diane and Finn that they didn’t figure that out earlier. “And Your Honor, we respectfully disagree,” Diane counters.
“Proof of other crimes presented at trial can have enormous negative impact on a defendant,” the judge answers. “Accordingly the defense deserves every opportunity to have such evidence excluded.” Standing in front of the bench, Finn starts to smirk, Ramona looks hopeful, and Cary, alarmed. Only Diane controls her expression. “In this instance, however, I cannot compel the testimony of a witness, let alone a sitting governor. Motion to quash is granted. Prosecution has leave to introduce evidence of Mr. Agos’s involvement in the disappearance of the cocaine at trial.” Oh NO. “That’s it!” he barks, banging his gavel on the bench. “You can go. Next!” Well done, Finn whispers to Ramona; she lets out a happy, relieved breath.
Sitting on the set of Frank’s show, Alicia searches for her wits in the bottom of a coffee mug, then re-crosses her legs. You can see she’s preparing herself for battle; she can’t make any small talk with him, and he doesn’t try either, so they sit in awkward silence. “Okay,” he says quietly, listening to his earbud. “Twenty more seconds. They’ll introduce you in D.C., so you won’t hear that here.” She nods. “Okay, here we go,” he tells our heroine, and the camera spins toward her, thoroughly unnerving her. “That’s right, Jim,” he begins, “first the husband, now the wife.” Frank smiles encouragingly at Alicia, who shoots him a fearful look in return. “I can always ask her,” he replies to Jim’s unseen question, and then does. “Where do you find the time, Alicia?” He leans forward, balanced on one arm, warm.
She blinks in confusion, skittish. “The time?” She’s got a matching jacket over the blue dress, and this too is covered with those little silver cylinders. “Yes! You started your own law firm, you have responsibilities that come with your husband’s job, there’s family, and now you’re running for State’s Attorney?” Still panicky – what is it about this man, or this situation, that unsettles her so? She so collected last week – she simply smiles and says, “well, yes!” Seeing that his opening salvo has fallen flat, Frank tries another way of phrasing it.”How do you prioritize?” Family first, of course, she nods, though honestly we’ve never seen much indication of that. “Okay,” he nods, “let’s start with your family.” Oh God. “Uh, no,” she stops him. “what I was going to say, is like most busy people, I triage.” He doesn’t quite know what to make of that either, so he tries yet another take at the subject. “How do your husband and kids feel about you taking on this SA race?” Huh. Good question.
“Fine,” she blinks, and then excitedly thinks of an answer. It’s like her brain’s stuttering, or something. “Peter has done the job, of course, so he’s been really helpful, and my children, growing up in this family, understand how important it is to do public service.” Well, it’s not exactly an answer, but okay; Frank accepts it and leans back. “Is that something you talk about, sitting around the dinner table?” Dinner table, ha. When do they remotely sit around the dinner table? Not that the table itself is that important to the question. “Or, is it a lesson they get by Florrick family osmosis?” He half laughs, and it feels genuinely conversational and nice.
But Alicia seems to be looking for the mine buried in the question. “We have dinner like other families, we talk,” she answers defensively. Yeah, she did take it as a criticism, because they don’t really have dinner together — although to be fair I’m sure lots of families with teens don’t. Oh, I know that, he attempts to reassure her. “I was just interested if you like to sit down and discuss… criminal justice over the chicken, or gab about reality TV.” Huh. Not the approach she prepared for, is it? “I don’t watch reality TV,” she smirks, again totally missing the opportunity to give voters a view into the warm and interesting home life they’d imagine she has. “Or whatever,” Frank tries to recover. “My dad was a police officer, which I thought was fascinating, but he never wanted to talk about that at home.” It’s true. She does talk about her cases a little, and I like hearing what the kids think. “For him it was all Chicago Bears, all the time.” Alicia laughs at the Frasier-like picture.
And then she doesn’t answer. She says nothing; she just sits.
“What the hell?” Eli asks The Haircut, watching on a television in the gorgeous conference room at the governor’s office. “She’s braced for hardball,” he explains, “She’ll relax in a minute.”
“One challenge in being a prosecutor and a mom, I imagine,” Frank tries, “will be seeing the worst side of the world you’re sending your kids into. Does that worry you?” Like she hasn’t seen ugliness as a defense attorney? Or in her husband’s various campaigns and trials? “To the contrary,” she answers. “I think it will help me remember what’s at stake every time we try an accused criminal.” Finally, a good answer! “Something that the current State’s Attorney is failing to do,” she adds, apparently trying to pivot, though ineffectively. (Is he failing to remember what’s at stake, or failing to try the criminals?) Taking this in, Frank nods. “Is that part of the logic of your campaign?” She’s confused. “Replacing the prosecutor machismo with someone who’s spent the majority of her life raising kids?” Sounds good to me – run with that! But Alicia stares at him, looking for the trap.
“I’m sorry,” she replies carefully, her wits seemingly stuck in a molasses vat. “I object to your characterization of me as someone who’s spent the majority of her life raising kids.” What the heck? Back at the governor’s office, Eli and the Haircut react like Bears fans after a fumble. What is she doing? No no no, Frank steps in, “I didn’t mean that as an insult.” Then she’s apologizing to him. “I’m proud of being a mother,” she adds, “I’ve just done a lot of other … things.”
“Oh God,” she moans, trying to melt herself into the wall, arms wrapped around her body. “Oh God.” It’s okay, Eli lies, trying to calm her. “We can move on from this.” She unfurls herself and faces her team. “It was like watching a ship go down, and I couldn’t do anything about it, it was like my mouth was on automatic pilot.” He Katie Couric’d you, the Haircut shakes his head. “You think it was planned?” Eli wonders, not sold. “Serving up softballs. If she answers them earnestly, she looks like a lightweight, if she doesn’t answer them, she looks like a prig?” She looked frozen, is what, like she had no personality, no feeling and nothing to say for herself. Not like a prig but an ice queen, and that’s the downside of her press persona, isn’t it? The Haircut bogged her down with so many dos and don’ts, and has her looking for the trap in every commonplace remark, and it torpedoed her. “I need something to drink,” she moans.
“Wait, we have something to tell you,” Eli stalls her. Damn. That can’t be good. “I did some intel. Prady is running,” the Haircut informs her. “How do you know?” she asks, terribly weary. It seems that Warren Plep’s gathering signatures and polling. “Then we’re sunk,” she declares, tossing out her arms. Please be sunk, please be sunk. “No, nope,” Eli shakes his head, despite having told her that she can’t possibly beat Prady (even thought that seemed premature, because favorability ratings and a fan club don’t actually equal votes). “Not yet. There’s always a plan B. We dirty him up. Fast. We scare him into not running.” Oh. See. That’s not what I was thinking, although I guess it fits the whole “if he runs you’re toast” model.
“With what?” Alicia asks. You leave that to us, Elfman replies, and she wearily consents. “Okay,” she agrees, swaying on her feet. “I’m going home to get drunk.” Heh. Eli blinks. “That’s a joke, right?” he wonders, nervous. “Yes. I know,” Alicia replies robotically. “Don’t joke.”
Ah, it feels like old times! There’s Kalinda waiting outside a door; a curly-haired woman in a plaid shirt opens it. Kalinda in the field! YES! “Yeah?” the woman asks, immediately hostile. “Your bank account balance?” Kalinda asks, holding up a sheet of paper. That would totally have me slamming the door and calling the police, a stranger showing up at my door with my personal information like that. “Okay,” the woman answers, strangely composed. “Who’re you?” I can’t believe she’s still talking. “I’m Kalinda Sharma. You work at the crime lab.” OH. Right. She looks different with her hair down. “And that is your bank account balance.” Oh. Now she’s looking alarmed. “And as you can see, you received thirty thousand dollars six months ago.” Belatedly, the woman tries to shut the door in Kalinda’s face, but the latter blocks it. I’m going to go to the police unless you answer my questions, she threatens. “What questions?”
Hmmm. Let me think. How about where that extra money came from? “I won the money,” she claims, but if she had, she wouldn’t need to keep talking about it, would she? Kalinda wonders how. “At a Riverboat casino,” the lab tech lies badly. “Oh, which one?” Kalinda wonders, and when she can’t answer, presses in. “Tell me the truth, Liana, or this is gonna get worse.” Oh, I can pretty much guarantee that this is gonna get worse.
“I never did anything like that before,” she finally confesses. “Like what?” Kalinda asks. It was my cousin, Liana explains. “He knew the drugs were coming through there and he wanted them back.” Huh. So why wait so long to pay her? Even on the screwed up timeline of this show, we know it’s been much longer than 6 months since Cary was Deputy ASA; three years is what the cop said. Kalinda’s more interested in who Liana’s cousin was, but predictably, the CSI doesn’t want to give that information up. “You wanna take the fall for this yourself?” Kalinda pushes, which again, I’m sure she IS going to take the fall for this. “I don’t know where he is,” Liana counters, which immediately makes Kalinda suspicious. “He took off because he was scared of Lemond Bishop.” Gee, couldn’t be our old friend Trey Wagner, could it? Oh but it is.
And we are not done with old school bad ass Kalinda by a long shot. Liana won’t give up Wagner’s location? No problem. From the apartment number to the corresponding parking spot, Kalinda discovers Liana’s car, breaks into it, and uses some sort of awesome/horrifying private investigator tech to hack Liana’s GPS, where she discovers that the tech’s been making more than a few trips to 21st Avenue in Gary, Indiana.
Okay, that’s a head trip, imagining Kalinda singing and dancing.
Anyway. Slipping in through the front door, Kalinda knocks on a first floor apartment on 21st Avenue in Gary, Indiana. Great, now I’m headed down a Music Man rabbit hole. It’s a goog think the name Kalinda doesn’t start with a P. To my surprise, Trey himself opens the door. I’m not here for Bishop, she forestalls him quickly. “Lady, whenever I meet you there’s trouble.” Oh, shoot, I can’t get away from it! Neither can Trey. “Then let’s talk,” Kalinda insists.
“‘Sovereignty for Me, Not For Thee,'” Alicia reads out loud, looking at a paper the Haircut’s given her. E & E seem to have found their dirt. “It’s a law review article Frank Prady wrote as a student.” So he is a lawyer. I mean, I guess it figures. Eli couldn’t look more thrilled. “It’s about how Israeli settlements in the West Bank violate the Geneva Convention.” Huh. “Really?” Alicia replies. “It’ll kill him with Jewish voters,” Eli thrills. “And Evangelical Christians,” the Haircut adds.
“No,” says Alicia, sliding the article back across the table. Oddly, she’s wearing the bedazzled blue suit from the interview. “No, he’s right, the Evangelicals will be turned off too,” Eli agrees with his counterpart, but that’s not her point. No, she means she doesn’t want to use it. “Because we don’t even know if he still believes this,” she explains as if to morons. “What does that matter?” Eli frowns. ‘Because it does,” she insists rightly. “It has nothing to do with the State’s Attorney’s race.” Wow! She does have morals! Nice to see some proof of that. “Alicia, part of running for office is electability. Attitude toward Israel goes to electability.” Eli, what does that even mean? We’re not using this, she declares flatly.
“She’s right,” the Haircut agrees, rather to my (and Eli’s) surprise. “Let’s have the PAC do it.” Ah. Okay. That’s more like what I’d have expected him to say. “No,” Alicia snaps. “We’re not giving it to the PAC. We’re not using it. Look. I’m learning a lot from you guys. But you need to learn something from me too.” I can’t stop laughing, because Eli looks as if that’s the most distasteful thought ever, like he can’t believe her gall. “He’ll run. You’ll lose.”
“Maybe,” she agrees. She walks out, and the two men sit as one.
“Whadda you think, you know her better than I do,” Jonny Elfman asks, rubbing his face in frustration. “We can’t use it. We can’t slip it to the PAC either,” Eli says, nodding. “There might be another way.”
When his phone rings, Finn slides across his office in his wheeled chair, shooting from a filing cabinet back to his desk. Dropping a file on his desk dramatically, he picks up the phone. “Finn Polmar,” he greets the caller quietly. “You looking for Trey Wagner?” Kalinda’s voice comes over the phone. “I might be, who’m I talking to?” Ha, nice try. “I found him,” is all Kalinda will say. “He might be willing to testify.”
“Against Cary Agos?” Finn assumes, but no. “Against Lemond Bishop.” Behind Kalinda, Trey sits at a kitchen table, his head bowed. Finn’s eyes enlarge and he snaps at a woman across the office. “Get Castro,” he hisses, and she tumbles out of her desk at his urgent tone. “Why would he, um, testify against Bishop?” For two reasons, Kalinda replies, turning to reveal that Trey’s praying with a woman, holding hands across the kitchen table. “He feels guilty about framing Cary Agos, who did nothing wrong.” At this comment, Trey looks up, looking repentant. “Why?” Finn asks. “How exactly did he frame Cary?” At this point, Finn puts his phone on speaker mode; he’s done something else to it, making me wonder if he could be recording the conversation (please!), but I don’t know. “He turned the recording on only for what the cops wanted to hear.” Ah. Okay. That’s very interesting – Castro didn’t manufacture the evidence, even if he might have cherry picked it. “Okay, and what’s the second reason?” Finn wonders. “You gonna grant him immunity?” Kalinda needs to know first. “And you don’t wanna tell me your name?” Finn presses. “I’m only interested in justice,” Kalinda answers. “Agos is innocent, Bishop is guilty.”
“Where are you right now?” Finn wonders. “I’m with Trey, you wanna talk to him?” Finn nearly falls over; hell yeah he wants to talk to him. “Trey, you’re on,” Kalinda calls out, and the woman holding his hands nods encouragement.
“Sir, we need to offer Wagner immunity and protection and then he’ll testify against Bishop,” Finn tells Castro, following the latter through the SA’s offices. “I thought he was getting us Cary Agos,” Castro frowns, walking into his own office; Finn shuts the door behind them. “Well,” he says, “He said Agos didn’t do anything. He only offered us the lawyer because he was afraid of turning on Bishop.” Right – make someone else the fall guy. Finn seems genuinely distressed by this, pacing up and down. “And now he’s turning on Bishop?” Well, Finn says, his sister’s Christian, she’s convinced him to come clean. Ah, so that’s who that was.
“But can he connect Bishop to the 1.3 million in heroin?” No, he can’t. “He said that was his. He and a few other crew members were selling that on their own. BUT. He can connect Bishop to other drug deliveries.” Wow. That’s great! “He can connect him the way he connected Agos,” Castro wonders. Is he implying that Wagner can only connect Bishop fraudulently? “He’s turning on his boss!” Finn points out, unable to see why his own boss isn’t jumping at the chance. “No, he’s admitting he lied about Agos. How do we trust him now?” Are you kidding? Because we want Bishop, Finn reminds Castro.
That’s not his boss’s strategy, though. “Yes, we want Agos to get us to Bishop, that’s the strategy,” Castro insists, and Finn bites down on his lip. “Cary Agos is innocent,” he states flatly. “Trey says that he’s innocent,” Castro prevaricates. “Maybe he’s lying to us now.” Finn can’t believe what he’s hearing.
“What’s going on, Jim?” he asks his boss flat out. “Nothing, I think we should stick to the original strategy,” the SA blusters. Walking right up to his old friend’s desk, Finn stares down. “Is this about your campaign,” he wonders, finally getting there. Castro rears his head back, blinks. “I think you should reconsider what you just said,” he declares, sounding offended. Instead, Finn bends down and looks into Castro’s eyes, searching for the truth. “You don’t care about Bishop. You care about Alicia Florrick,” he realizes. The Butt chin sneers. “Get out of my office,” he orders, and Finn does.
“You’re kidding me,” Alicia says, dumbfounded, starring at Finn from the seat next to his at a bar. He’s got his jacket off and his sleeves rolled up to reveal bare forearms. I’ll ask it again; what does this show have against booths? They never have these conversations in booths or at table, which would be at least marginally more private. Smiling to himself, Finn shakes his head. “Nope,” he says, drawing out the word, and her jaw drops. “When?” He reaches over and turns her watch toward him. “Roughly four hours ago,” he confides. “Oh my God,” she stares, tucking the hand he touched under her chin. “And I thought I was having a weird day.” Why, how was your day, he wonders, which somehow sounds oddly domestic. “No no no,” she stops him, “we’re gonna stick with you. Why?”
Oh, he sighs. “A disagreement with Castro about trial strategy…” Damn, I thought that he’d told her that Castro was pressing ahead with the prosecution despite there being proof that Cary’s innocent! So, wait, what’s this conversation about? “I can’t tell you,” he says, and when she gives him the look, he insists. “I can’t, I resigned but it’s still confidential.” He resigned! Wow. I can’t decide if that’s good for Cary or bad. “I think you will tell me after three more drinks, ” she flirts, nodding and smiling and waiting until he laughs. “Maybe,” he agrees, glass to his lips. She laughs. “What’re you gonna do?”
“Make some money,” he says, and I wonder for a split second if she’s going to offer him a job, because then she really will be turning into Will. “Open my own practice.” Okay, that’s better, I think. “Do you have office space?” she wonders; of course not, it’s much to soon. That’s a task for tomorrow. “I may have something,” she offers. “Office space? Where?” The 27th floor, of course. Why, it’s like fate. “I don’t know, that’s a little bit incestuous,” he demurs. “If we were siblings!” she snarks, and he snort-laughs, looking back down at the bar. “I can get you a deal!” she grins. He’ll think about it. “So how was your day?” he asks, changing the topic — domestic once more — and she chews on the question for a few seconds. “Well…”
“Let me be clear,” Castro announces, “I am pro-Israel and proud of it.” On Alicia’s computer, we see a news story titled Frank Prady Under Fire, with a quote highlighting the Geneva Convention charge. “So I have to disagree vehemently with anyone who still harbors a youthful fascination with the Palestinian cause.” Ugh. You’ve got to be kidding me, Alicia mutters, dialing her phone. I’ll never understand Castro. He threw a press conference about this, before Prady even entered the race? That doesn’t look paranoid or anything! Don’t you just leak stuff like this to the papers and let them do the dirty work for you? It makes no sense for him to do it himself (though it’s in his character). “Did you see this?” Alicia asks the Haircut. Huh. I’m surprised she went to him before Eli! Yeah, he says, sitting in front of his laptop, “I’m watching it right now.”
“I told you not to leak that article,” she remonstrates, far more kindly than she would have had she been talking to Eli. “Alicia, I didn’t Castro did,” he weasel words. “And you expect me to believe that?” she replies sharply. “Look, we all do the same searches, we all find the same dirt,” he shrugs. Right. Why would Castro even have known Prady was exploring a run? He wouldn’t. Alicia snorts at him.
“This is a good thing,” Elfman insists. “This hurts Prady without reflecting badly on you.” She hangs up and tosses her phone on her desk in disgust.
“You saw the news?” Diane asks gravely, walking right into Alicia’s office. Is it just me, or is Alicia’s desk positioned closer to the door than Will’s was? “I did,” she agrees. “So what do we do now?” Diane worries. “I don’t know if there’s anything to do,” Alicia confesses. “I have to find out if this was Elfman, or if Eli pushed him…” Obviously Diane thinks Alicia’s gone insane. “What’re you talking about?” The leak of Prady’s anti-Israel article, Alicia explains myopically. Do her coworkers really know enough about her campaign to know the kind of minutiae she’s talking about? I hate that we didn’t get any insight there. I suppose it’s not convenient for the writers to get into how angry and betrayed Cary, Diane and the rest of the crew would actually feel; it’s all part of the writers’ plan to bamboozle us into going along with this running for office nonsense. “No,” Diane replies, shaking her head,”Trey Wagner died in a car accident last night, along with his cousin.”
Oh crap. Alicia stands up. Poor Trey. Poor Cary. Poor – cousin? Not his sister who he was hiding with, but the lab tech Liana? Oh my God. “The two people who could help Cary and harm Bishop. We’re going to meet the new prosecutor now.” I am so sorry, Alicia tells her, and Diane nods and walks out. Not content, rushes to the side of her new office to watch Cary and Diane walk out through the glass wall above her newly placed comfy couch. She knocks on the glass, trapped, and they look in at her. “Good luck,” she says, fervently, and Cary gives her a slight smile.
And then her phone rings; Frank Prady’s at reception, hoping she has ten minutes to talk with him. Huh. Picking up her phone, she considers calling Eli, but chooses not to. Send him in, she decides, flustered, and tries to look casual, neatening up her desk, slapping on a pair of thick reading glasses (when did she get those?) and half sitting on her desk. It’s like Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley suddenly showing up at Longbourn. “Oh, Mr. Prady,” she says when he enters, standing and setting down the document she was pretending to read and extending her hand. “How are you?” His reflexive answer is “fine,” but he clears his head. Actually he’s not fine. “Oh, I’m sorry, why is that,” she asks. “Can I get you something to drink?” Nope. Why is she pretending not to know? Ah, it’s always hard to deal with that sort of thing, I guess. He doesn’t want a drink. “I’ve been losing friends this morning,” he confesses, which is awful. “Why?” Again, I wish she’d admitted to knowing. “This article,” he says. “This, uh, thought process from a while back. It’s been sent to the press…” And that’s when the video on her laptop starts spontaneously playing.
Man. It’s all one big embarrassment this week. She can’t do anything right with him. Once she slams it shut, he gives her a tortured, terrible look. And again, she handles it all wrong; throwing out her arms as a mea culpa, she tells him she saw the video. “I don’t like losing friends,” he tells her. “I don’t either,” she agrees, the most sincere and actual thing she’s ever said to him even though it’s also a complete no-brainer because who does? “You asked me to endorse you,” he begins ruefully. “Yes,” she smiles, “I would love your endorsement.”
He stares into space for a moment, quivering. “I’m disgusted by the personal nature of politics.” Well, no one knows that better than her. “I hate campaigns being treated like bad reality shows, where lies are exposed and human beings treated like… commodities.” They agree there. “Yeah,” she nods, “I hate it too.” So, he finishes, “I’ve decided to run for State’s Attorney. The only way to change it is to have skin in the game.” And there their agreement ends. Even though she was expecting it, she’s not happy. “So I can’t endorse you,” he concludes. “I’ve resigned from CBS. I intend to run by petition.”
“You could have called me to say that,” she reminds him, a sharp edge in her voice. “Yes, I could have,” he agrees, “but I wanted to give you my reasons.” Huh. “This leak of my youthful views has changed my mind.”
“You’re such a hypocrite,” she breathes. Whoa. The gloves, they have just come off. He just stares. “Excuse me?” She’s cold now, hard. “You’ve known for days now that you’re running.” Oh, I’m not at all sure this open hostility is a good idea. “You had me jumping through hoops for you endorsement,” and falling on your face doing it, “and you had Warren Plep out there gathering signatures, doing your polling, so don’t act like you’re trying to change the system.” He’s stunned. “You are the system!”
“Plep was doing that on his own,” Prady defends himself, “he was pitching me!” I wonder if that’s true? “I think we’re done here,” she declares imperiously. “I didn’t decide to run until this leak today!” he insists. She turns her back on him and makes the call. “Eli, he’s running. He’s in my office.”
Not ready to be dismissed, Prady circles the desk so he can look Alicia in the face. “I was planning to support you until I discovered it was your team that gave my article to Castro.” Whoa. Oh my gosh. How can he know that? Not denying it, not even answering, she presses her phone to her clavicle. “Is there something else you need, Mr. Prady?” she sneers, icy. Taken aback, he gathers himself up and smiles. “No. Good luck, Mrs. Florrick.” Oh God. “It was fun,” she scoffs. “See you out there.” She pretends to listen to Eli, only turning when she’s sure he’s left the room.
I am trying to think how any of that could have gone worse – Prady, Castro, Wagner – and I honestly can’t think how. It’s funny how hard it was for Alicia to decide to run, isn’t it, but then once she’s in the race, the competitiveness takes over, and what does she do? She Castroes Prady into opposing her. Not Castro, but her. Damn it. Well, actually, there’s a question. Alicia doesn’t believe Frank when he says he wasn’t planning to run: do you? I feel like we’re means to, at least a little. His story is largely plausible, except for the bit about knowing that Alicia’s the one who sent over the article. He seems pretty moral. On the other hand, I was definitely confused about his intentions through all of their conversations; often he seemed to be helping her out, offering her a platform, but he also hung her out to dry more than once.
I love David Hyde Pierce, but I’m curious about the thought behind making him the third candidate. (I won’t say party, because we never discuss parties or normal political structure here outside having Democratic politicians guest on the show, a very annoying omission.) I can’t help feeling that if the writers wanted him to compete against Alicia for our votes (so to speak) they’d have picked a woman or person of color for the role, not yet another white man. On the other hand, there seems to be a lot to like; he’s smart, thoughtful, he care about the right thing, he’s not Castro, and even better, he’s not Alicia.
I don’t suppose she’ll quit now that there’s someone out there who can beat Castro even more handily? Sigh. I mean, oh my gosh. That interview was excruciating. I’d like to say this was all about the education of Alicia as a candidate, and that’s certainly part of it — there’s a lot to learn, a lot of knowledge to put into practice, and sometimes even smart capable people fail at that — but it’s also as much about how a campaign is an organism made up of systems that don’t always work in unison. She’s not Peter with his easy schmoozing, but Alicia can give an interview; she just floundered under the weight not only of expectation, of the advice her advisors foisted on her.
I’ll ask it again. Where’s Robyn, Alicia’s most trusted confidant? Also, where’s Marissa? I loved her turn as a body woman last week; is that only going to happen when it’s convenient? I won’t even get into Clarke, who we haven’t seen all season (presumably Nathan Lane is busy), or Taye Diggs, but good grief.
Really, the show has been unrecognizable of late. We spend far less time in the court room, and especially far less time with Alicia in the courtroom. I’m worried about Cary, of course, but I thought that this week treated his case beautifully. It’s scary, all this pressure mounting on him, these suggestions of a double life. Will he ever be able to go back? Will he and Kalinda go forward from this? Can they transcend the 30 foot rule? Should we care? Are you rooting for Kalinda and Cary to make it out of this, or to break apart?
I could go on about this episode for hours — but it’s time I just send it over to you, I think. Have fun, and write into tell me what you think.