E: Trust The Good Wife to drain you, stretch you out over the rack, tighten the winch, fill you with hope and then smash those hopes again before finally providing an amazing Hail Mary pass undercut by emotional and professional destruction.
I mean, seriously. Holy crap, that was some great TV.
Alicia counts out hundred dollar bills into five neat piles, thousand dollar soldiers lined up on a hotel coffee table. Once done counting, she bundles them up; and a man’s voice asks for a bank bag, which Marissa Gold struggles to pull out of a plastic sleeve. It’s – odd. There’s something furtive about the way Cary looks over at Alicia, the way they’re both perched on the edge of a small couch, the way Marissa doesn’t seem to know where to look. She manages to get the bag out, and Alicia stuffs the cash into before handing it over to the man who asked for it, who looms in front of the camera in a leather jacket. In return he sets a sheet of paper on the coffee table and grunts “sign it”; Alicia bends to do so.
“Are you the one going to prison?” he brays, sarcasm as thick as his brawny arms. No, she answers quietly. “Then what the hell you doing?” he demands, and we get our first look at his meaty face as he stares Alicia down. She drops the pen, chastened. Tightening his jaw, Cary picks it up and signs. Good, the man says. This pays for the hotel room, room service and his dry cleaning — which, dry-cleaning? what the heck is about to happen? — and six hours of consultation to start at this moment, 10:30. He raises a thick finger in Alicia’s direction: “You can go,” he dismisses her.
She doesn’t want to, but he’s insistent. “No women,” he adds, which endears him even less to Alicia, but at Cary’s nod, she stands. Giving the bull-like man an embarrassed but determined glance, she throws her arms around Cary’s neck. Similarly embarrassed, Cary pats her back and says he’ll call. “Yeah,” the bald man snaps dryly, “he’ll call you. Like the first day of school.” I like that; I’m surely not the only one who feels that Alicia’s feelings for Cary have become even more maternal not merely since the start of this nightmare but also since she so brutally cut Zach out of her life. Already out in the hall, we hear Marissa fielding a call from a typically hyperventilating Eli. It’s killing Alicia to leave, but she does it. The burly man shuts the door behind her.
“So four years?” he asks Cary, his voice low and rough. Yes, Cary says; the burly man rubs his cleft chin as Cary explains he could be out in two years for good behavior. (You know, he kind of looks like a really beefy Matt Damon to me. Like Matt Damon’s body builder cousin Mike, or something.) You’ll go to Statesville for three weeks first, the man explains. “It’s a maximum security prison. That’s where DOC will classify you as either minimum, medium or maximum.” Frowning, Cary voices his assumption that he’d automatically be minimum security. “Maybe,” the bald man shrugs. “There’s overcrowding these days, so some minimum end up in maximum.” Right, because that makes sense. Throw the former SA in with the murderers. That’d be super smart. “You need to prepare for maximum.” Cary looks like he’s going to swallow the inside of his face.
You’ve done time, the man asks. A week in County, Cary nods, but to Mike Damon — who seems to be a sort of consultant on surviving prison? — County’s full of little boys waiting for their mommy to bail them out. “Prison is different,” he shrugs. “Half the guys in there aren’t going home. Now you tell me, Mr. Agos, you think guys like that aren’t going to hesitate to beat the crap out of you for looking at them the wrong way?” Cary sighs. “You don’t need to scare me straight, I get it. I just need tips on what to do.” Indeed. I think Cary is scared enough. I think we’re all scared enough.
“Sure,” Beefy says, and you can just tell from his tone that he’s not going to be ordered around. He reaches into his bag and tosses a red chiffon teddy at Cary (nice prop); Cary can try that on if he’s not prepared to listen, because otherwise his cellmates are going to turn him into their prom queen. Okay, Cary says quickly, tossing the lingerie and sitting back down on the couch. “No,” the man insists, “not okay. Shut up and listen. What you going to do to protect yourself, Mr. Agos. Any friends or family doing time?” No, Cary replies, pale. Of course not. “No one who can vouch for you on the inside?” No, Cary asks, but how can that be? I mean, there was the guy who almost cut his hand in half. Isn’t Bishop going to protect him? I guess I’m naive, but this stuns me. The bull-like consultant sucks in his lips, pacing. “That’s your tip, find a friend, a white guy, there’s no such thing as a post-racial lock up. Someone jumps off on your block, you gotta run with your own, because if something happens to you, white defends white, and black defends black.” Interesting. Not to argue with the expert, but Peter seems to have come out of prison with a fair number of black friends. Maybe it’s different, though. Whether it’s the prospect of this or the principle, Cary looks sick. “Got it?” I got it, he says. “Good. Now let’s find you a white friend.”
So of course the next face we see is Kalinda’s, her brown eyes wide with concern, her face strained. The phone rings, and brings with it a plea for help from Cary. Her face softens at the sound of his voice, as if she’s already nostalgic about working with him. I’m on my way to you, she nods, but he tells her that’s not it – his prison consultant wants him to find a friend in Statesville. He’s apologetic, not to mention quite specific in his terms and his attribution, when he adds that the convict he can trust ought to be caucasian. “Right, I get it,” Kalinda nods. Is she thinking how this makes things difficult? Does anyone occur to you offhand, he wonders? After searching her thoughts for a moment, Kalinda tells him she’ll call back.
“Is that your girlfriend?” Matt Damon’s cousin asks, though why he’d assume that classy lawyer Cary has a girlfriend with underworld connections I have no idea. Yeah, Cary says, which frankly astounds me after everything that’s gone on this season — are we just erasing the whole Lana love affair, during which Kalinda basically ripped his overreaching heart out of his chest? Lana/Kalinda came out of nowhere because it was convenient to isolate Cary, and now it’s going to disappear with as few ripples? “But it’s complicated,” he adds, smirking ruefully. Well, thank heaven he’s not being completely deluded. “You’re gonna wanna uncomplicated that today,” Meaty Mike replies. Cary just laughs. “I’m serious,” the consultant frowns. Good luck with that, buddy. There is no uncomplicating Kalinda.
And Kalinda is about to get serious. Her car’s parked outside of a row of a brownstones; to a driving rock beat, she shuts off the car, pulls her hand gun out of her jacket and shoves it into her glove compartment. She steps out of her SUV, drags off her leather jacket and stows it back in the car, all the while watching the door of one particular house. My heart rises into my throat; the music is making me panic about whatever it is she’s about to do. I’m getting flashbacks to her smashing up Blake’s car, and I love it, but I’m also terrified.
Her fitted, asymmetrical red and black dress looks better from a distance – and now we see her from that distance, standing at a very familiar kitchen peninsula. She taps her fingers on the marble countertop until some sense alerts her to Lemond Bishop’s suddenly too close proximity. She turns, but he continues to walk closer, and all the while he stares her down, head cocked to the side. “This isn’t about me,” she begins carefully, “this is about Cary.” He nods. “A lot of things about Cary end up being about you, Kalinda,” he admonishes her with quiet menace. She admits this, but asks for a friend to watch Cary’s back in Statesville for those first three weeks anyway. Bishop blinks at her gall.
The last time we stood right here, he says, you threatened me. “My mistake,” she nods. And worse, he adds, you threatened my son. She apologizes. “But that has nothing to do with Cary. You know, he has never wavered once in his support for you, sir,” she says. “All he asks is that you find someone on the inside, that’s all.” She looks away. “Someone, ah, white.”
It kills me that they’re going there, it absolutely kills me. Which is good, having something to snicker about, because the tension is going to actually kill me otherwise.
Bishop glowers at Kalinda in utter disbelief.
And then he bursts out laughing.
And then, he disappears through the door at the front of his kitchen.
Nervously, she looks around his immaculate kitchen. I like the city house, but the country estate is so much nicer. I wonder what happened to that set?
Seconds later he’s there, stalking through the back entrance to the kitchen, and there’s so much predatory menace to his bearing and in the music that I’m ready to leap out of my skin. He moves inexorably closer to Kalinda, moves in so close that she first inches away and then actually bends back over the countertop to keep her distance without actively fleeing.
He raises a hand toward her throat. In his fingers is a cell phone.
She reaches out for it, uncertain, but he snatches his fingers back. There’s always that level of showmanship with him, damnably efficient at keeping those around him off balance. “You’re going to get a call in a few hours,” he says, then considers. “Or in a few days. And you’re gonna take it.”
“From?” she asks. “Someone,” he replies. ‘You’re asking for a favor, Kalinda. I’m asking for one in return.” Of course he is. Does he know – he must know – that she didn’t bug Lana office for him the last time he demanded a favor from her. I wonder why we haven’t seen any repercussions from that? I suppose it’s because we’re pretending Lana didn’t happen.
Frowning, Bishop looks down at Kalinda. “You want Cary to have a friend? Say yes.” Yeah, she grunts. He waves the phone at her – it’s a flip phone, probably a burner – and this time lets her take it. After Bishop gives her space to breathe (and then turn around), she puts it to her ear. “Hello?”
“Yeah, this is Ray,” a man’s voice says. “Who’s the guy coming in?” He can’t possibly have speed dial into a prison, can he? I mean, prisoners don’t get to carry phones. Anyway. Bishop backs away, still giving her the fish eye. She tells. “Oh yeah,” Ray says. “He’s the lawyer caught with Trey Wagner.” Yeah, Kalinda agrees, but Ray hasn’t stopped talking. “The export trade.” Yes, that’s right, Kalinda says, and then Ray wants to know when Cary’s “self-surrender date” is. Horribly, it’s five o’clock today.
And that’s when it hits her, mid sentence.
“Sorry, what did you say?” Ray’s speculating that Cary will arrive at Statesville at 8am the next day. “I can meet his transport,” he adds. Meet the transport? Is Ray a guard? I guess that would explain his access to a phone, but it doesn’t seem like the right kind of thing. Anyway, I’m entirely missing the point. Lucky that Kalinda’s more on the ball.
“No,” she says, “you said something about Trey’s export trade, the 1.3 million in heroin. You mean import, right?” No, Ray says casually. “Trey and his buddies were trying to get into their own business. Selling to someone in Toronto.” Perhaps he can hear her intake of breath, but somehow Bishop knows to narrow his eyes at the back of Kalinda’s head.
She’s on the same phone, stepping out of the brownstone, just moments later. Cary was accused of conspiring with Bishop’s crew to get the drugs into the city, she explains, “but he couldn’t have.” Why, Diane asks, sitting behind her desk. “Because the drugs were already here,” Kalinda answers.
Puzzled, Diane takes off her glasses. Where’s this information coming from, she asks. It seems that Ray was arrested with Trey (guess he’s not a guard after all), and so he knows that the drugs were getting ready for export. So Trey knew about this, too, and could have told them if he hadn’t been killed. Should have told them, really, when he admitted to selectively framing Cary with his wire. Rushing, Diane taps on the glass wall, beckoning some colleagues into her office. Yes, she agrees; to be found guilty of conspiracy, Cary would have had to give advice that the drug dealers followed. “And it wasn’t, he’s innocent,” Kalinda says.
Oh my God.
I mean, what do you even say to that? How didn’t we know that before? And what can we do with the information?
“Is it enough to get him off?” Kalinda wonders. “I don’t think so,” Alicia replies, from what looks like a TV studio, then brightens. “But we could get his plea withdrawn.” That would be nice. Diane wonders where Kalinda is; on her way to Diane. No, Diane says (yet again, sent away); she should go straight to the courthouse. Diane will go there too, to petition for time with Judge Cuesta. I’ll meet you there too, Alicia offers, but Diane says no. “Judge Cuesta doesn’t like you,” she says (ouch), “stay where you are.” Sneaking up behind her, Eli begins hissing like my sister’s easily offended cat. What is she talking about? How can she think of leaving? Is she about to do an interview? “Look, I can’t not be involved,” Alicia double-negatives. Diane gets it. She’ll call back, if Alicia will just sit tight.
“Alicia. You have a debate tomorrow,” Eli growls. Oh. Damn, that’s seriously bad timing. (Also, maybe it’s because Bishop isn’t breathing down anyone’s neck, or because they turned off the heart-attack inducing music, but I am finally noticing Alicia’s really cool pantsuit with the open jacket and the sort of hombre pattern on the sleeves and hem. Very different and flattering.) “If you don’t prep for it, you will lose. It’s that simple.” Okay.
The Haircut glides over, phone to his ear. “I got three journalists and one moderator, and I acted really mad about the standing, so we got it,” he says. “We got standing?” Eli enthuses. They did, by pretending that Alicia wants to sit. Ha! I love it. Poor Alicia pleads for the chance to call Cary, but Eli will have none of it — instead, he’s shaking hands with someone named Adrian, who is … oh my God, it’s Cabin Boy. They hired the Cabin Boy for this show. My head just exploding from the mental dissonance; excuse me while I go clean gray matter off the rug.
“Alicia, this is Dr. Adrian Fluke, professor of Renaissance literature at the University of Chicago,” Eli explains. And if you didn’t know that he was one of the most sophomoric comedian of the late 80s, I suppose Chris Elliot might look professorial enough with his thinning hair and beard and horn rimmed glasses and tweed. “He’ll be playing Frank Prady today.” Okay, I guess I see it. Replace one well know 80s comic actor with another! Yes, Fluke smiles. “In middle English.” He then proceeds to, I don’t know, give us a passage of Beowulf or something. “No,” Eli shuts him down. “But thanks. Johnny, we need to have a word.” He asks, and is given, a second alone with Alicia.
“You are down by two points,” Eli turns to the candidate to say. Of course she protests that this number is within the margin of error, but since she’s been consistently down by that much, both men think it might be a real number. Letting the Prady camp think she wanted to be seated was a two-folk ploy; Prady should assume she’s going in soft and collegial. They’ve even leaked some fake memos arguing that the public doesn’t want to see an aggressive female candidate. They think Prady won’t prepare properly. “But this only works if you take the fight to them,” Eli finishes.
“I just need a second,” Alicia says, and she walks away, and make a call. I doubt she processed much of that.
“Take away her phone,” Eli whispers to Marissa, who’s sitting off on a bench. What? Take her cell phone, he repeats. “Dad, I’m the body woman, I’m not going to take her phone,” Marissa scoffs. I feel like Peter never carries his phone. Doesn’t that seem to be a political thing? Of course, Alicia has an actual life, so she needs hers. Anyway. “You work for this campaign. When she hangs up, take her cell phone.”
As she’d said to Eli, Alicia’s calling Cary, who’s going through a role play exercise with Meaty Mike Damon. Imagine if some inmate “rolled up on you,” what would you do? Foolishly, Cary goes straight for Beefy Jason Bourne, who has to push him away. Don’t square up, he says. That shows aggression and provokes. “So bring it down a notch,” Cary nods. Yes, Beefy Bourne agrees. De-escalate. (He’s an entertaining creation, this guy; he’s totally crass and has a brassy accent, yet slips in these SAT words every once in a while.) “And the best way to get him to do that is to say yes.” Hunching his back, he stares meaningfully at Cary. “You ever spend time around a toddler? Like, no no no no no? It’s the same thing with these cons. Some gangster wants something that belongs to you. Get him saying yes, and watch the resistance fall away.” Okay, I have no idea how you apply that to a gangster, though I have no doubt it’s a good tip; Cary spends his days manipulating other people’s emotions, and so he nods fervently, probably with a better understanding than mine.
“Okay, first question,” Jonny Elfman begins; Alicia and Fluke both stand behind podiums. “Let’s start with the personal. Alicia, your law partner recently pleaded guilty to a drug charge. Mr. Prady, do you have a question for Alicia about this?” First, I can’t help remarking that this — letting the candidates articulate the questions — is a weird format for a debate. Also, I think it’s very curious that they’re going for “Alicia” rather than Mrs. Florrick. Distancing her from Peter? Making her seem more approachable, less elite? Really interesting choice. “I do,” Fluke answers. “What you need for State’s Attorney is someone who upholds the moral authority of their office, someone who does not have a compromised law partner, and someone who fights for the law abiding citizen.” Alicia bites the inside of her cheek. “Now, do you really think that you’re that person?”
Alicia doesn’t answer.
After a moment, Elfman tries to prompt her. Does she have an answer? “Oh, I thought he was still busy making a statement,” she snarks dryly. No snark, come on, Eli growls from the control booth. “Well here’s the thing, um, ” she says. “Cary’s innocent. My law partner, he didn’t do it.” No very persuasive. She’s really not putting in the effort, which somehow looks worse when reflected in the 20 or so screens in the control booth. Fluke/Prady snorts. “Then why’d he plead guilty?” Can he just interrupt like that, Alicia wonders, and Eli chastises her for pulling a Romney and complaining about the structure of the debate during the debate. “Don’t referee.” He turns to Marissa. “You’ve gotta get her in the game,” he frowns. Marissa shrugs, curls jiggling. “I’m her body woman, not her fluffer,” she complains, and Eli turns to look at his child. “When did you become so crass?” he asks. Snort.
“It’s a pertinent question, if he was innocent why did he plead guilty?” Elfman asks, arms folded. “I didn’t think I was debating two people today,” Alicia complains (GET OVER IT, GIRLFRIEND), “but, um, well, it’s important to remember that sometimes innocent people plead guilty. It’s .. they…”
And then her phone rings, and she actually runs off the debate set to answer it. “Diane, how’s it going,” she asks breathlessly. Diane’s in court, Geneva also in attendance. They’re meeting with Cuesta any moment. “Kalinda’s got an affidavit from Toronto,” Diane explains, which makes Alicia slump with relief. We may need Peter’s help if this doesn’t work, Diane warns Alicia; she knows. Then Diane hangs up to take another call.
And of course, the other call is Eli, demanding Diane stop taking Alicia’s calls. “We’re trying to prepare her for the debate of her life, and all she’s thinking about is Cary!” You know, I just don’t think there’s anything you can do about it, Eli. She wasn’t on the phone with Diane three minutes ago and she couldn’t concentrate at all. “Then tell her to stop calling me!” Diane whispers. “Listen, Diane,” Eli thunders. “Alicia can make a different to Cary, and any other Cary that comes along, but only if she wins.” Seeing Judge Cuesta enter the court, Diane promises Eli help as long as he just gets off her phone.
“Isn’t this case over, counselor?” Cuesta wonders, sitting down. God. He ‘s so small-minded and sour; of all the judges we know he might be the worst Cary could have gotten. “I’m afraid not, Your Honor,” Diane replies. “Your Honor,” she adds. “My client would like to file a motion to withdraw his plea.” Oh, come on, Geneva Pine snaps, sending her high ponytail whipping through the air. We have evidence, Diane continues, that the prosecution charged my client with a crime they knew he did not commit. “This is not gym class. There are no do-overs,” Geneva scoffs. “What new evidence?” Cuesta sighs, irritated. Walking toward the bench, Diane hands the judge the affidavit from Toronto stating that the drugs in question were part of a Canadian ring. “Okay, am I supposed to be impressed?” Cuesta wonders sourly. “The Toronto detectives noted that the shipment arrived in Chicago on May 11th, two full weeks before my client allegedly gave his damning advice.” Shaking her head, Geneva blinks, opens her mouth wordlessly. She is well and truly shocked.
“Your Honor, the prosecution has charged my client with conspiring to import 1.3 million dollars worth of heroin into the country. That charge is inconsistent with what in fact occurred.” But your client plead to those facts, Cuesta pushes. Oh please. You pushed more than anyone to make that happen over his considerable protests. That’s because he was framed, Diane answers. “Framed by who?” Geneva seems to genuinely want to know – or maybe she just wants to know if Diane’s accusing her. (And here, again – Geneva should know better than almost anyone how hard Castro pushed for this conviction, even if in the end, Cary was actually framed, or at least pushed to accept the plea, by Lemond Bishop.) “Where is the evidence that the prosecution knew about this?” It’s weird that they didn’t, really, that they could have been so misinformed about Trey’s movements, but at any rate, Diane has no such evidence. “Because the only way I’m rescinding this plea is if you can show that the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence.
“But Your Honor,” she starts, “my client plead to…” I don’t care what your client plead to, Richard Cuesta declares in high dungeon. God, that’s so cold, and so ridiculous. You were there, judge. You know exactly what sort of pressure Cary was under to take a plea because you applied a lot of it. “I only care if he plead because the prosecution lied.” Geneva looks unsettled. “Now, do you have proof that the prosecution knew that the drugs arrived on May 11th?” No, she admits, and he takes off his glasses, giving her a disappointed look. “Well then there’s nothing I can do,” he almost sings.
All we ask is for our day in court, Diane pleads. And you can have it, Cuesta says. If you can find proof of a Brady violation, and bring it to me before the sentencing at 5pm. He bangs his gavel, and Diane and Kalinda surge out of the room as if shot from a cannon. “That’s not much time,” Kalinda notes. “Six hours,” Diane agrees, her hair flying out around her face, sounding invigorated. “We’ve had worse.”
At the busy offices of Florrick, Agos & Lockhart, Diane is in inspirational coach mode. “We have been given a task,” she tells the assembled lawyers, including Cary Zepps, tossing her things down on the conference table. “Probably the most important task we will face this year or any year. Two days ago Cary Agos accepted a plea bargain, and will spend four years in prison,” and here she holds up four fingers, gasping for breath. “Unless – unless – we can find a Brady violation in the State’s Attorney’s work. We have six -” she shakes her head, walking to stand with Kalinda – “five hours and thirty six minutes before Cary’s taken into custody.”
Then she turns the proceedings over to Kalinda, who quickly explains about the export/import issue. “And the Canadian authorities knew this!” Diane growls. “That’s the exculpatory evidence you think they buried?” Carey Zepps asks. It is, but any buried evidence will do for the Judge’s request. Diane organizes the lawyers into two groups, one lead by Carey and investigating the State’s Attorney and discovery (the boxes covering the conference table); a slender young man named Brian is tasked with a similar investigation into what the Chicago PD knew. Carey thinks someone should look into the Mexico border angle (I guess the drugs had to come to Chicago from somewhere) but when he tries to put Kalinda on it, she explains that with her Canadian contacts, she’s going to stick with the northern side of the story.
Diane’s phone rings, and it’s Cary. After a moment’s deliberation, she declines the call. Hmmm. “Let’s regroup in two hours for a progress report,” she tells the entire group. “Remember. Cary is counting on us.” Then she pulls Kalinda out into the glass hallway, where the two quickly decide to keep Cary in the dark. They don’t actually have anything yet, so they should let him focus on prison prep. I understand the decision, but when Cary finds out he’s not going to be happy about it.
And then Alicia calls in. Diane explains the situation – Cuesta won’t vacate unless less they can bring him that Brady violation by five – but refuses her help. That’s kind of selfless – they really could use Alicia, who used to be very good at figuring things out and finding important evidence – but Alicia needs debate prep. “And, Alicia, I need you to stop calling me,” Diane adds, much to the shock of both Alicia and Kalinda. “I don’t mean to be rude, but we need to focus here.” She’ll call back after five. Ouch! That was quite curt. I know she’s in a time crunch, but I think a little more information, or a little politeness, might have been warranted. Well, on the other hand, explaining that Eli’s behind the request is only going to cause more tension. Then again, Alicia ought to know that was the reason, right?
“Good,” Eli barks. “Can we continue?” Alicia walks up to her podium. “I’ll hold that for you,” he says, reaching out for Alicia’s cell phone. Don’t give it to him, Alicia! You’ll never get it back! (I mean, there’s history with Eli holding your phone and it’s not a good one.) “Do you want some milk?” Marissa interjects, and Alicia turns to look at her quizzically. After how many months, she’s finally annoyed enough to make the obvious confession. “I don’t like milk,” she says. “Why not?” Marissa wonders. “It’s good for you.” This is so surreal. I can’t think what Eli’s doing, making that crazy face for his daughter’s benefit. Motioning to his daughter to leave so they can start debating again? At any rate, they finally do.
“What’s this about, m’am?” a policeman in a white uniform shirt asks Kalinda via Skype. She establishes that he’s a Narcotics Inspector with the Ontario police, who’s been following Trey’s heroin from afar, and that the Chicago police had the wrong idea about the location and direction of the drug traffic flow. That’s right, the inspector says, “but when I reached out to Detective Prima, I…” Whoa, Nellie. And that’s just the news Kalinda’s been looking for, and she can’t keep the grin off her face when she asks him to repeat that information. He does. It’s true. “I emailed him an official request for information, why?” Before even speaking a word, Kalinda’s on her feet, carrying the laptop out into the hall. “Do you still have that email, Inspector?” she wonders with a grin like we’ve never seen. Certainly he does. And he’ll send it to her as long as she can explain who she is and why she wants it.
“The Chicago police believe the heroin was being imported into the United States, but you wrote to them that it was being exported into Ontario, correct?” Yep. And how did they respond? “Well, I don’t mind saying, I, I was a little disappointed he didn’t have the courtesy to respond,” the very polite Narc tells Kalinda. She rushes the laptop into Diane’s office and sets it on her desk. “Diane, you need to subpoena Prima now,” she says. “You’ve found the Brady violation?” Diane asks, her voice catching. Smiling like a completely new woman, her heart shining out of her face, Kalinda says she has.
“Anyone you trust out here?” Cary’s sitting on one of the armchairs in the gorgeous hotel suit – the one next to the couch and in front of the bed – and the Colossal Consultant looms over him, perched on the arm. Yeah, Cary sighs. Who, Meaty Mike wonders. Family? No, Cary sighs, which draws an appreciative chuckle from the consultant. “Sounds like my life,” he smiles. Who knew he could do that? “Girlfriend, friend, wife?” Friend and girlfriend, Cary sighs, and Meaty asks who’s the friend. “Alicia,” Cary sighs. Seriously, that’s all he’s doing, sighing. It’s painful, because it feels like every word is painful for him to speak. “The girl what was here, right?” Meaty wonders. Right. “Give her your power of attorney,” he advises. Well, that makes sense. Cary sighs again, his biggest this scene. His eyes look red, as if he’s been cried out, as hollow and empty as he can be to make room for this new reality. “Everything you need done, everything you need sent. Do not trust the girlfriend. Things change when you go inside.” You can see Cary thinking that it was never like that in the first place, but there’s no explaining this to someone who doesn’t know Kalinda. “Go ahead. Call her. Call Alicia!”
“One of the reasons I’m running, if not the prime reason,” Alicia declares in her best Debate voice, “is that I saw how a marauding State’s Attorney ruins peoples lives.” Elfman paces between the cameras and the podiums, and so he gets a front row seat when Dr. Cabin Boy starts to choke with laughter. Alicia looks away, pained. “Not just the life of my partner, but the lives of widows and orphans whose loved ones have been murdered in the recent gun violence.” Yay, smiles Marissa proudly in the control booth. Huh. I thought the widows and orphans line was a bit much. Do you have a response, Johnny Elfman asks Fluke, who’s still giggling into his beard. No, he really doesn’t. Just more snickering, which gets so bad he starts to hyperventilate a little. “What the hell,” Eli asks in high dungeon, storming out of the booth.
“I’m sorry,” Fluke says, inhaling deeply to steady himself. “That was totally inappropriate on my part.” Then he dissolves into giggles again. “She just looks so serious staring at me!” He cups his hand over his mouth, trying to contain his laughter. He begins to formulate a response, but collapses onto the podium sniggering instead. Well, this was a great idea, Alicia snarks, stalking off with her hands in her pockets. Once she’s gone, her campaign manager steps in.
“Mr. Fluke, what are you doing?” he asks. “Dr. Fluke, thank you very much!” the outraged academic replies. “And nothing, I’m not doing anything, I’m fine.” By this time the two Golds have arrived in the production bay, and are both staring at the now angry professor. “He’s high,” Marissa realizes. (I don’t know why, but it annoyed me a little that the writers assumed just because she’s the youngest person there she’s the only one who could recognize the signs.) “I’m not high!” he protests, crossing his arms, “I’m pleasant.” Ha. We need a new sparing partner, Elfman decides, clearly agreeing with Marissa’s assessment.
“Guys, this is medical marijuana for my glaucoma, okay?” Oh God, really? And you thought this was the appropriate moment to use it? Where did Eli get this guy, anyway? “I’m functioning here, I really am!” While Marissa and the Haircut both look amused, Eli looks like he’s trying to metamorphose into a dragon so he can swallow Fluke in a single gulp. Or maybe just roast him, I’m not sure.
“You need to get laid,” Meaty Mike tells Cary. Ugh. “You gotta start creating memories now. What’s your girlfriend’s name?” I kind of squirm every time they refer to Kalinda that way, I’m not going to lie. Let me think of something else. Um. Let’s see. My, that shirt fits Cary very very well. “Gimme your phone. You’re going two to four years without a moment of affection or comfort, so give me da phone!” And just like that, it rings. “Maybe that’s her,” Meaty guesses with a wry cheeriness. “Hi, Alicia,” Cary says as he lifts the phone to his ear. “No, why,” he answers something we don’t hear. Uh oh. “What?”
“Where are we on overturning the plea, I can’t get a hold of Diane,” our girl asks, her heart in her voice. Oh, crap. “What do you mean?” he asks, his voice rougher. “Your plea, the Brady violation,” she says, not twigging to the obvious. God, this is what happens when you dismiss someone without a word of explanation, Lockhart: she goes and blabs the secret plan you didn’t bother to tell her was secret. And now your partner’s going to be an angry wreck. Cary leans forward, mouth hanging open. When he’s unable to get a complete sound (let alone a word) out, Alicia belatedly realizes what she must have done. “It, um, okay, let me call you back,” she says, shaking her head at her own ignorant folly. In his hotel suite, Cary lets her words sink in, trying to catch up to the implications.
“Your Honor, we would like to subpoena the backup drives of the CPD’s fourth district,” Diane tells Judge Cuesta as she and Geneva Pine approach the bench. “This is completely unnecessary, Your Honor. Detective Prima stated on the record that he never received an email from Toronto.” Crap, he did? On the other hand, what else is he going to say? “Then he shouldn’t mind us taking a look at the backup,” Diane essays. You know you only have four hours left, Cuesta reminds her. “I do, Your Honor,” she smirks. “It’s very dramatic.”
“Objection! The defense is trying to manipulate your affection for the dramatic, Your Honor.” That’s so funny. Diane looks positively impish. “I know she is, Madam ASA,” Cuesta scoffs before smiling up at the ceiling, “and yet I do love the dramatic. Subpoena approved. And if I were you, Miss Lockhart, I would race out of this courtroom right now.” Oh, she does, with thanks and a smile on her lips. Smiling himself, Cuesta watches her go.
Which brings us to code, of course, green on a black screen; Kalinda’s voice-software friend has her into the CPD system, and he can access anything, including Detective Prima’s files. That’s where the good news stops, however; Prima didn’t get the email from the Canadian authorities. There appears to be a record that the email was sent, but not received, so they go hunting in the meta-data to see if perhaps it was received but had been deleted, and “the meta-data don’t lie.” You have to stop trying so hard, guy.
As she paces the room, Kalinda get a call from an unknown number. She purses her lips, assuming that it’s one of Bishop’s contacts looking for that favor. She rolls her eyes, and answers. “Are you the girlfriend?” Mike Damon asks. Ha. She’s totally confused. “Ah, who is this?” she asks. “It’s the damn tooth fairy, are you his girlfriend?” Sigh. “Is this the Bishop call?” she wonders. “This is the prison consultant,” Meaty barks, “and your boy’s throwing up in the bathroom, right now, and if I were you I’d get your ass down here right now and do your job.” Her job? Okay, that’s not a little offensive. “My job,” she asks, annoyed. “What’s my job?” “It’s your boyfriend’s last four hours of freedom, you need to screw his brains out.” Oh, he’s such a classy one.
“Look, I’m a little bit busy right now, okay?” she snaps. This totally appalls Meaty, who of course doesn’t understand what she’s busy with, and his genuine concern for Cary makes up for his crassness a bit. “He’s going away for four years, four years! What else you have to do that’s more important than that?” He’s trying to keep his voice down so Cary can’t hear them argue, which again, I kind of like. Computer-dude calls out that he’s almost figured it out, putting further strain on Kalinda. “I’m getting him a hooker. You don’t get down here, I’m getting on the phone with five hookers I know.” Okay, that is all kinds of gross. “Cause he’s a nice kid, and he deserves a memory.” Um, thanks?
“Yeah, I’ll get back to you, alright?” Kalinda asks, because what Cary deserves more than anything is to stay out of jail, and no awkward hotel sex with either Kalinda or a professional is going to measure up to that gift. I’m in the meta-data, one expert says; “and wear something sexy,” the other one finishes the phone call. Kalinda makes a face. I make a face. Gross.
But it’s all going to be worth it when she leans down to see the metadata, right? She’s smiling, but not for long; it seems that the email was misdirected to a spam folder which automatically deletes at the end of each week. Oh no! “Well, couldn’t he have read it first?” No, sadly, the meta-data supports his testimony. Much as I’d pretty much automatically assume that Past-His-Prima was a slimy liar as well as a complete dick (don’t think I’ve forgotten how he treated Cary when he arrested him), it seems that he didn’t perjure himself to save his sorry skin.
As she’s scanning the code, Kalinda’s expression remains one of disbelief. Heck, I can’t believe it. “Sorry, K,” he says, “it’s a dead end.” It’s a devastating revelation.
And it’s one that brings her to Cary’s hotel room, clearly having decided she really can’t be of more help else where. “Good, you came to your senses,” announces Meaty in his thick Chicago accent. Since he only wants us to like him some of the time, he gives her a once over. “Okay, I approve,” he says, and as he backs away to let her into the door I wonder if it would be counterproductive of her to smack him. “Alright, I’m gonna leave you two alone for a minute. Not too long, we have work to do.” He walks out, shutting the door of room 513 behind him.
“Treat me like an adult and tell me everything!” Cary fumes, staring across the bed at Kalinda in a very unfriendly manner. Yeah, this is not quite the memory that Meaty was hoping Kalinda’d produce. “It was a hail mary pass,” the investigator protests, motioning her hands down in the hopes of calming him, “and you needed to focus on getting ready for prison.” I don’t care how farfetched the idea is, he snarls. “If there’s even the slightest chance of me beating it…” There isn’t, she tells him, gently but firmly. What? “We were trying to find a Brady violation,” she tells him, having to talk over the hope Alicia’s call raised, tears in her eyes. “And there isn’t one.” She leans against the bed, letting her words sink in. “I’m sorry, Cary,” she whispers.
He breathes hard. “Okay,” he says quietly, before turning around and sitting down on the bed, his back to Kalinda. After a moment, she walks around and sits next to him quietly. “Hey, I got to live in hope for an hour,” he jokes. “That’s something, I guess.” Is it? Kalinda sits on her hands, not knowing where to look. Then she turns one hand over, palm up, and sets it on his thigh. He looks at it for a moment, then reaches out to hold it. The tender moment is interrupted by Meaty pounding on the door: “Less talk and more sex,” he barks, and the two burst into sweet giggles, Kalinda letting her head fall on Cary’s shoulder.
And, wow, the light of day! Eli walks out of a door and heads down a skinny metal staircase with Finn Polmar behind him. Ah. I wondered if we were going to see Finn, but when they didn’t contact him to help with the Brady violation hunt, I thought we weren’t going to. I’m surprised, really, that they wouldn’t press him there (the guy did quit because Castro was going after Cary unjustly, after all) but whatever. “Eli, is there anything particular you want me to focus on?” Just one thing, the campaign manager says, not even looking. “Bury her!” Um, okay. He’s just so angry today, that Eli. I mean, okay, I know that’s where he lives but he seems to be taking it to high gear this episode. Together, they walk to the door for Stage 13. “Bury her?” Bury her, Eli affirms. “Don’t let up. Go for the jugular, just like you would in a real debate.” Finn considers this. “All right,” he shrugs. And we’ve seen in court that he’s fully capable of doing that.
“Character,” he intones, sounding just like a pompous politician. “Character is the essential issue in this campaign.” Alicia turns to look at him. “The S.A. must be above reproach, and that is where my opponent falters.” “Excuse me,” Alicia cuts in. “The company that we keep matters,” he pushes on loudly, drowning her out. “Mrs. Florrick has represented the biggest drug dealer in Chicago. She has represented the wife-killer, Colin Sweeney. Governor Florrick – we’re all acquainted with Governor Florrick’s record.”
“As a candidate for this office,” she tries again, “Mr. Prady should understand the importance of judging people on their own merits.” Mmmm, Finn hums, making Alicia’s statement sound suspect. “Instead of engaging in guilt by association — the cynicism is beneath him!” In the control booth, Marissa and Eli are thrilled, nodding at each other, smiling, each with their arms crossed. “Better,” Eli nods.
And, wow. Cary lies on his back, naked, with Kalinda similarly naked looking down at him, her elbow propped under her head. “Well,” he says. “That was a memory.” Snort. I guess everything that’s happening today is emotionally heightened, so maybe I shouldn’t be impressed with Kalinda’s ability to actually make this happen, but I kind of am. It didn’t seem very likely before. Carefully, she watches his face. “Hey,” she says, apparently worried about what she sees there. “Again?” Sure, he shrugs without sounding excited; the strain shows in his face. When he reaches out a hand to cup her cheek, she stares into his eyes. “Hey, I won’t disappear,” she says. (So you say!) Four years in a long time, he says, stating the obvious. “Two years on good behavior,” she leans over and smiles. Damn, where was all this tender care before his trial? She takes his hand and brings it between their bodies, trying to make him believe. “I’ll be here,” Kalinda tells him, Kalinda who can’t be faithful even for a week. Not that sexual fidelity is what she was promising. Good, he says, but I’m not sure he bought he assurance. And perhaps it’s too hard even to hope for it.
When Kalinda heads into the hall, Meaty is across it, waiting for her. “So,” he asks cheerily, hands thrown out, “rotated the tires?” Ew. Will you shut up, dude? I mean, seriously. Of course she ignores him, but once he’s back inside the suite, she slumps into the wall, hopeless, wrecked, fighting a breakdown. Instead, she clearly comes to a decision.
The music brings her back into the office; she shuts the door carefully behind herself. “How hard would it be to fake the meta-data in Prima’s account?” she asks Consultant #2. “What do you mean… Kalinda?” he asks, as if she could possibly mean more than the obvious. Hurrying, she sits down next to him and repeats the question: how hard would it be to make it appear like Prima read the email? “You know that’s illegal, right?” he asks, gulping and looking down at his lap. She does know it. “But I’m asking hypothetically,” she lies. It wouldn’t be that hard, he shakes his head. He’s wearing a teal t-shirt and this gray thing over it that’s like a jacket made out of sweat shirt material. “Kalinda, you hack someone, you pray there’s not a cop on the other end. This is all cops?” He leaves the question hanging.
Breaking the moment of caution, Diane sticks her head in, her breathless hope making my stomach turn. Do they have anything yet? Not yet, but I’m working on it, Kalinda lies. “Let me know as soon as you can. We’ve only got two hours.” Oh God. As soon as Diane leaves, Kalinda’s mind seems set. “Look, okay, now, here’s the thing,” she says, leaning over. “You show me how one would do it, and you leave. You don’t contact me, I don’t contact you. And if this gets more serious, you tell the truth. I asked you how to hack into an account. You had nothing to do with it.”
Her friend shakes his head. “Kalinda,” he whines, unhappy. (Apparently his name is Howell, though I can’t remember ever having heard it.) “I love you.” Oh please. “I’ll do what you ask. But you could get in some real trouble.” So stand up to her! She’s never going to sleep with you! Show her you love her by stopping her doing this! Or, wait. Maybe I want her this? Damn. I’m so confused. No, no, I need you to save Cary, but this is a bad idea, a terrible idea.
She gulps. “I know,” she says. “Show me.”
At first, I am convinced that Meaty is snorting cocaine, but it turns out he’s showing Cary how to eat in prison, his face low to the table with his left hand curved around his plate. It’s not because someone might try to steal your food, he adds. It’s because someone might try to slip a piece of glass in it. Oh, that’s charming. Even this tidbit can’t hold Cary’s attention; heck, his dinner can’t either. Is that a bloomin’ onion? Plate of fries? Whatever it is, Cary’s too morbidly depressed to eat, even when Meaty reminds him that prison food will be pretty uninspiring. “Food’s lousy but you have to keep your strength up.” Like a pouty, spiteful child, Cary tosses his fork on his plate.
Meaty stares at him for a moment. “Look, you got a misconception of all this, from Oz or Shawshank,” he says, waving his hands around. “Where you’re going, it’s not like that.” Wait, is he trying to cheer Cary up? Thinking that he made Cary too fearful? Cary gives him something of a Billy Idol sneer, but I can’t help thinking it’s just him trying not to cry. “You’re gonna be all right. The last few months and the first few months are the hardest.”
“Anyone ever ask you about taking off?” Cary asks quietly. God. Slowly, Meaty looks up at him, takes a slow slug of water, says yeah. “Whadda you tell ’em?” Cary wonders. “Problematic,” he grunts. Why? He raises his hands. “Where do you go? Two years goes faster than you think!” It’s four years, Cary breathes, his voice aching. Ever been to Spain, Cary wonders. “They have extradition,” the consultant replies flatly. Ha. That’s true. That never came up in the little conversation with Bishop; he’d always be looking over his shoulder. “Look,” Meaty adds. “You do what you want. But you’re not built to be an outlaw.” I don’t see that he’s built to be a prisoner, either, but what choice does he have?
“My whole life I wanted to be one thing,” Cary confesses, looking down at his plate. “A lawyer.” And now you’ve lost that. That’s worse than the prison part from my point of view. “And I had it.” He nods along with each phrase. “I had it, I had it figured out, get to the top, take the cases I wanted, have the people I wanted. Now…I can’t … I can’t … I can’t figure anything out.” He’s near to crying, his eyes red, his voice quavering; Meaty looks at him with pity and empathy both, and I can’t help wondering if this is an actual job, a prison consultant, and what devastation such a person might see, what vulnerability and anguish. Because that’s what I see now, anguish and despair, Cary grieving both the life he had and the future he anticipated.
“Look at me,” Meaty says, and with both reluctance and hope, Cary does. “Don’t do it.” There’s something in Cary’s face that’s so complicated – a little hate, a little understanding – that I just don’t know where he’s going to go.
“So it can’t be used to investigate you, your husband or your partners. Now that, that is the height of cynicism,” Finn debates coolly. “Let’s talk cynicism,” Alicia points to Finn and he grins in anticipation. “The cynicism of a life long Republican switching parties in advance of his candidacy.” Wait, how recent was that party switch? Anyway, things look good, and no doubt that’s why Peter walks in. It’s going too well, clearly. “You can’t stay away,” Alicia smiles through her teeth as Peter kisses her cheek. He promises to stay out of the way, but from the control booth, Eli looks mightily displeased.
“This is what I would do,” Howell tells Kalinda; they’re sitting with their laptops next to each other. He shows her the line in the meta-data to change, the one where the email is listed as deleted unread. She does so on her own laptop, moving it out of spam and listing it as read on May 15th, and then copies this over on his laptop so they match. I’m surprised she doesn’t know how to do this herself, actually, considering all the hacking she’s done in the early seasons, but okay. It’s done. Is it officially done or not? I can’t tell. I mean, it looks done, but she said she wasn’t going to do it with him there. On the other hand he’s so wimpish about her… As I’m dithering, Carey Zepps walks in, wanting Kalinda to look at something.
“Um, I think I found something,” he says as soon as Wimpy’s out of the room. Apparently, there’s an interview (or does he mean the testimony on the stand?) with Detective Prima where he kept using the pronoun we inappropriately. “‘We never heard the name Detective Frasier.’ Who is we?” Perhaps the police in general? Carey thinks not. He’s got the transcript of Prima’s interrogation of Trey, the one where they got him to wear the wire, and he gives Kalinda a highlighted section to read. She does. “‘Prima: I’m gonna see what I can do to help you, Trey, but you gotta help me too. Trey: I don’t know anything. Prima: Shut up, you lying piece of crap.” As she reads “piece of crap,” the brick drops, and Kalinda brings a smile up to Carey’s face. He nods. “See? It’s like good cop/bad cop, only he’s doing both cops.” Ha. And if you’re not a Lego figure, that doesn’t make much sense.
Someone else was there, Kalinda realizes. Zepps has the answer – and you know, I love that he’s bringing this to Kalinda, not Diane, like she’s the boss, even though he’s a partner and no one’s his boss. Anyway. Sorry. Prima’s former partner, Kevin Rodriguez, had been listed on all police forms until the day of the investigation; from that point on, it’s just Prima. So either Rodriguez was suddenly fired or relocated, or he wanted off the case, Kalinda realizes. “Very smart,” she beams at Zepps. When I apply myself, he replies modestly. And perhaps this is why he brought the theory to Kalinda; if the department has gone to the trouble of hiding Rodriguez’s involvement, it might be because he’s got something to say. She’s only got an hour to find out what. Forgetting utterly about her manufactured evidence, Kalinda calls Diane and tells her to go to the courthouse and do what she can to stall Judge Cuesta.
In his hotel suite, Cary check his watch and looks out the window. I might have chosen to spend my last day of freedom outside, but whatever. Maybe I’m just feeling claustrophobic; there’s the subtle suggestion of bars on the window from the shadow of the blinds. On his phone, he checks his bank account; roughly 240k, a tidy sum to skip town with. After tucking the phone back into his jacket pocket, he walks out of the suite with determination.
“The problem starts with guns,” Alicia thunders. ‘The SA’s office should aggressively pursue weapons violations.” Except we don’t have the resources to do so, Finn replies. “No, that’s not true,” Peter snaps. Say what? Finn turns to ask him. “The SA has the resources, they just choose to allocate them elsewhere.” Thanks for the clarification, Finn says quietly, clearly thrown off his rhythm and worse, unsettled by the scrutiny from an unexpected source. Alicia, on the other hand, continues to roll. Either way, the SA’s apathy toward charging gun crimes sends the wrong message. I agree that we need to look more closely at that, Finn tells her.
“Wait, is that it?” Peter asked. Oh, God, really? Jealousy does it again. Elfman and Eli both cringe. “Now she just made a good point,” Peter criticizes Finn’s answer, stepping on to the podium. I’d say the politician just can’t keep out of a debate, but since it’s Peter, it’s just as likely to be yet another pissing contest with yet another man he identifies as being a potential rival for Alicia’s attention. “Guns are a problem, but violent crime is a bigger problem, so choices have to be made.” Can I just say that Peter proved right here why he’s such a good politician – such a good speaker – but not necessarily a good public servant? Because that was the pithiest, most digestible and most memorable line of the debate, and he’s not even supposed to be part of it. (And, oh yes, he’s not supposed to be part of it. But he has to make it about him; that’s one of his biggest weaknesses as a politician and man.) Okay, Elfman steps in. Why don’t we take a break? When Finn walks past Alicia, he makes a whistling sound like a plane that was shot down.
“Finn, you can’t leave,” Eli tells him outside the stage door. I am obviously intruding, Finn smiles. “No, no, you’re not intruding,” Eli lies, so badly, but before he can prevaricate too much, Alicia walks out with her phone, and Finn’s told her he needs to get back to his office. “Oh, I understand,” she says, so cheerily it makes me think she agrees with his instinct to get out of Peter’s way. “Thanks for pitching in!” You’re going to do great, he says, walking out backwards, his hands in his pockets. You were kicking my butt out there. She blushes. We kicked each other’s butts, she says. “So, we need to find a new Prady,” Eli grumbles.
And of course it’s Peter, pinning the microphone to his lapel like the expert he is. Of course. Nervously, Alicia walks up to him. Oh, God, I already hate this. “Hey!” he says. “We should make Eli mix up the order of the questions, that way it makes you pivot on the fly.” You can see how much he loves this, how it makes him come alive — how it’s his gift, how sharing his knowledge is a gift to her. Somehow it’s also sad, too, not least because in this moment she just doesn’t care about anything other than Cary. “Peter. You know I respect the line, the line between husband and governor, but I need to cross it and ask you a favor.” Okay, he says warily. “Cary,” she says, and he looks away, drawing in a long breath. “I’m not asking you to consider a pardon, I’d never ask you to go there, I just want him safe.” In other words, he says, you want me to make sure the DOC puts him in minimum security. “I don’t want him to look over his shoulder for the next two years,” she whispers. “This won’t have any political blowback. This isn’t Bill Clinton helping Mark Rich.” No, but it’s not nothing, either, because it’s clearly personal.
“I can’t do that,” Peter declares, irritated, putting out a hand, “and you know why.” I hate the way he does that when they argue, not even bothering to explain why she’s wrong. She stares at him for a moment, then closes her mouth and walks off. “You’re right. Sorry I asked,” she says.
“You don’t think I want to help Cary? I mean, he worked for me for God’s sake,” Peter calls after her. You know, on the one hand, I feel like they ought to protect him because he was an SA – but on the other, if the crowding is really as bad as we heard earlier, then the press would crucify Peter for giving a break to a friend and probably rightly so. “Let’s just start this this,” Alicia calls out.
“It’s Diane,” the lawyer whispers into her phone as the courthouse clock strikes 5. “Have you heard anything from Kalinda?” The man on the other line – Carey? – hasn’t. “Cuesta’s not here, thank God. Call me the second you hear from her.” The court bailiff walks out and shakes his head at Diane, tossing up his hands in confusion. Nope, no Cuesta yet.
And that’s because Cuesta’s at a restaurant, talking to a man in a dark suit about a spot on the Illinois Supreme Court. No way! This again? The tie back to season four’s search is awesome. The Justices are interested in you, the man says, and Cuesta is very interested right back. The Justices? Do they get to be interested? I mean, does their interest matter? They don’t get to pick. Peter does.
It’s moving fast, the man says. Let me walk you through how this will go down.
“James Castro is corrupt and he’s going down,” Kalinda tells Detective Rodriguez, who squirms. “Especially if Alicia Florrick becomes the new State’s Attorney. So if you conspired with him, if you obstructed justice…” “Whoa whoa whoa, I did nothing wrong,” Rodriguez replies, holding a finger up to stop her words. “I wouldn’t play ball with Castro, so they took me off the case.” And what about Prima, Kalinda wonders. “He seemed to have no problem running with it.” We all know the answer to that. “He’s the senior detective, what the hell am I supposed to do?” Rodriguez asks. “All I care is what you do now,” Kalinda demands, pointing her own fingers right back at the detective. “Listen to me. Castro is a lame duck, he can’t hurt you anymore. Don’t you wanna look good in front of the new SA?” Rodriguez considers this, tensing his jaw. “What happened in that interview? Why’d they take your name off the transcript?”
I’ll be ready, Cuesta smiles, but I was sure either Flaherty or Dominguez were a shoe-in for the next spot. “Well sir, you have fans,” the dark suited man grins. The Chief Justice considers Cuesta an inspired choice. Hmm. That sounds very flowery for the Chief Justice we know. The man has his cell phone laid down on the table next to him, and Cuesta notices him decline a call from Peter Florrick. Despite further compliments, he wants to know if the Justices are talking to other possible candidates. They’re not, the flunky says. Cuesta’s their guy. “You sound surprised,” he says, and Cuesta lets it rip. “Well, you’ve been Peter Florrick’s man for years, and Peter Florrick wouldn’t cross the street to stop me from choking, so, yeah, I guess I am.” Huh. Things change, the flunky says. “No they don’t,” Cuesta notes sharply. “And you keep checking your watch, sir. And the governor just call to see if I’m still stuck in this meeting, instead of in presiding court on a case involving his wife’s firm. Okay. This was good. You tell the governor next time he calls, go to hell!”
Wow. You know, I can believe that Peter would orchestrate a back room distraction, but I am surprised that he’d stick his neck out in this way, so clumsily. Also, I’m surprised he knew to do it. Did Diane call him? Was he the one on the phone with Diane? Fascinating. At any rate, that did not go well. Cuesta’s livid. “He was the most corrupt SA this county has ever seen, and now he’s the most corrupt governor, and that’s saying something.” It is indeed, although I don’t agree; he’s got a pretty serious standard to live up to, after all. The Suit tries to get Cuesta to yell at him a little longer, but the jig is up. “No, no,” he says. “I’d much rather destroy his wife’s firm in court. Even though I’ve been successfully stalled for two hours.”
Oh, crap. Because Cary doesn’t have enough going against him, this happens? Crap.
“Why are you doing this?” Peter asks. “Can you be more specific?” his wife asks. “It’s the most fundamental question any candidate has to answer, Mrs. Florrick. Why are you running for office? Why do you want to be State’s Attorney?” I’m running, she says, because I believe there’s a failure in leadership. In the State’s Attorney’s office, she adds. No, he snaps. You’re setting up a straw man; you’re not running against James Castro. “I’m not just blaming Castro,” she says, giving Peter serious side eye. Whoa. Her husband looks back, shocked into stillness, one eyebrow raised.
“Cook County has a history of prosecutors with serious ethical shortcomings,” she declares; Elfman bounces back on his heels, grinning. “This is is,” he enthuses. “There is a difference between unethical and controversial,” Peter replies, on the defensive, answering as himself rather that Prady. “I know it well,”Alicia nods. “My husband, unfortunately, was both.” Oh snap! “Your husband,” Peter bites, “is not in this race either.” But he is, Alicia says, holding up a finger. “What he did as SA, what he’s doing now as governor, informs voters’ perception of me.” She stares him down fiercely. “For better or worse,” Peter interjects. “Absolutely,” Alicia agrees, and Elfman is as spellbound as the audience at home. “But I think it is critical that people understand that I am not my husband. And that they can expect more of me in office. More accountability. More responsibility.”
Uh oh, says Eli in the control booth.
“You’re never happy,” Marissa notes, sharp as ever. “She’s kicking his ass.”
“I don’t want a career in politics,” Alicia says, but there’s something very much of the candidate about her. Peter, meanwhile, starts to look awkward and confused. “I’m simply a lawyer. By training as well as by character. And what that means is, I have the character to put the demands of this job before my own self-interests. And the discipline to insure that winning cases does not become more important than seeing justice done. Based on your past, Mr. Prady, I don’t think you can say the same.”
This is a good time for a break, Eli calls on an intercom through the control booth like the voice of God.
The interference infuriates the Haircut. “What the hell,” he grouses, before walking up to Alicia (who’s blinking a bit, reorienting herself) and whispering practically into her mouth that she’s just graduated. “You were amazing,” he finishes. She stares out into space, her face a blank.
“Eli!” Elfman barks, barrelling into the control room. “It’s finally going good for her and you do that?” They needed a break, Eli says quietly. “They did not need a break, your boy needed a break,” the Haircut snaps. Behind them, Marissa pretends to page through a document, watching awkwardly. “You have a problem with me?” Eli wonders; Johnny does. “You were worried about your candidate’s ego,” he says. “Do you guys want me to leave?” Marissa asks, and tries to go when she doest get an answer, but the two bickering men are blocking her way to the exit. I’m worried about their marriage, and you should be too, Eli says; Johnny calls that fear complete and utter crap.
“Think of the long term, Elfman. Are you doing this for some stupid little SA’s race?” Geez, is this normal, looking multiple elections ahead? “No,” Elfman agrees. “I’m doing it because I wanna win.” They win if they’re married, Eli insists. Look at them! “Come on, Eli,” the Haircut says. “Don’t try to save your boy at my girl’s expense.” And then they’re just talking over each other, ignoring each other completely. She was kicking his ass! I’ve worked with them for five years! You haven’t done enough work in the trenches! You’re just protecting your meal ticket!
“Why don’t you get the hell offa my campaign?” Elfman yells, and Eli’s head snaps back. “This is not your campaign,” he replies, and his head bobs back and forth in silhouette, making me think, oddly enough, of that bird desk toy. It’s Elfman who leaves, and no one is happy.
“This is by far the lowest trick I’ve seen in all my years on the bench,” Cuesta declares as he takes his seat, adjusting his robes on the way. Diane, Carey and Geneva stand. “Your Honor?” Diane asks, which does not help. “Don’t you dare feign ignorance with me, Miss Lockhart. The fact that you conspired to waste this court’s time is not only personally offensive, it’s potentially actionable.” No one has any idea what he’s talking about, so I guess it was Carey and not Peter Diane was talking to. So, does that mean maybe Eli was behind the trick? Eli, listening in on Alicia’s conversations, tried to get it taken care of with Peter? Clearly Alicia didn’t ask for it. “I have no idea..” Diane says, but gets cut off. “It shows poor judgement, tremendous disrespect, and will deservedly color every interaction both of you have in this court and every court in this jurisdiction. Where is your client? Where the hell is Cary Agos?”
Looking grim but determined and perfectly on cue, Cary Agos walks through the courtroom door. “I’m here Your Honor,” he says quietly.
“Good,” Cuesta snaps. “Get your ass up here for sentencing.”
“Your Honor,” Diane says as Cary joins her at the defense table, “we have found the Brady violations, and we ask…” Oh yes, Cuesta snarks. “You have your Brady violation because you delayed me.” “Your Honor,” Diane replies, “with respect, I did nothing of the kind. And we insist that you see this Brady violation.” She practically quivering with indignation. “What did you get?” Cary whispers, and Diane leans slightly toward him. “Kalinda got it, I just pulled it down from her computer.”
“Your Honor,” she calls out loudly, “I ask leave to approach?” He looks at her sharply. “With great caution, counselor. As you would a lion in a cage.”
While Diane approaches the lion, Kalinda literally runs into the courtroom. Cary walks back toward her, patting her arm. Good work, he says. He’s looking at it now. Looking at what, Kalinda wonders, her hands full of papers. “What you found,” Cary repeats. “Diane pulled it off your computer.” Kalinda’s face turns to ash as she hears Diane make her case: “this is meta-data from Detective Prima’s account, proving that he saw the Canadian email. That is your Brady violation.” In the gallery, Kalinda grips a seat back, the real proof of Cary’s innocence crumpling in her hands, breathing hard, locked in silent horror.
Oh. My. God.
“That’s a flat out lie,” Detective Prima flails from the gallery. From the other side of the aisle, Kalinda looks at him, pained. “We have proof, Your Honor, that Detective Prima buried evidence!” Diane trumpets, her voice sharpened with outrage. Crawling forward, Kalinda calls out quietly to her boss. “Not once have I buried evidence,” Prima howls. “Let me handle this,” Geneva tells her former lover (seriously, I still want to vomit over that), and he waves his arm again. How can Diane just smear his name like that? I’d have a lot of sympathy, what with the faked e-trail, if he wasn’t being self-righteous about framing Cary. Because he really did. There’s real evidence. “Is this morse code? What am I looking at here?” Diane explains. Cary’s almost in a trance, he’s trying so hard not to get his hopes up.
“Geneva,” the detective practically spits, “You gotta help me out here. You know this isn’t true.” Does she? “Yes, Geneva,” Judge Cuesta asks, and I have to say, I hope drama loving Judge Cuesta is enjoying this at least a little bit. “Help us out here. Because from where I sit, it looks like the State’s Attorney’s office and the Chicago PD are playing fast and loose with the facts.” And that’s when Detective Kevin Rodriguez walks in.
“The state has new evidence to submit,” Geneva tells the court; Diane’s of course inclined to protest. “I just received a statement from Detective Rodriguez,” she continues, waving at the man himself, as Prima turns to stare in disbelief. “Mr. Agos may have been a victim of entrapment.” Shocked, Diane turns to look at Kalinda, who nods.
“Okay,” Cuesta says, curling his fingers toward his body. “Everybody bring their evidence up here, now.”
While Diane and Geneva stand in front of the bench, Diane’s phone buzzes with a call from Alicia that goes to voicemail. Not knowing where to look, Cary turns, and notices a devastated-looking Kalinda behind him. “You okay?” he asks, and of course she nods and smiles and fakes it. Cary’s not so good at faking being okay.
“Sit down, Miss Pine, now,” the judge snarls. Wow. “If your office spent this much time working within the confines of the law, the streets would be free of criminals.” Let’s not go quite that far, but I won’t protest the sentiment. She looks mortified. “We move that we be allowed to retry this, Your Honor,” Geneva asks. Are you kidding? Knowing what you know now about the shipment being for export? I HATE that about these prosecutors; I won’t say real prosecutors, because I’d like to think better of real people (including friends) but the idea that anyone would be stuck in a mindset where, as Alicia says, convictions are more important than justice is appalling. It makes me sick. “Excuse me,” Diane interrupts, and thank God. “We move for an immediate dismissal, Your Honor. This is not just a matter of a cover up of the original investigation, but the police detective who received that email lied to the court.” Her voice throbs with righteousness.
“I did nothing of the kind,” Prima protests, and again, Kalinda looks devastated. “Sit down, sir, and stop your lying,” Cuesta demands. “I did nothing wrong!” the detective bleats. Cuesta waves the falsified papers at him. “This shows you did something wrong,” he announces, telling the man that if he continues to protest he’ll be held in contempt. Prima’s neck is bright red. He sits.
“Okay. Here’s how we’re doing this,” Cuesta says. “Mr. Agos.” Cary and Carey stand along with Diane. “Please except my apologies on behalf of this court for the egregious prosecution you’ve suffered.” The first tiny gasp comes with the word “egregious,” and when mention comes of his suffering, Cary begins to break, because against all odds and all his preparation it’s clear that this horrific ordeal is finally going to be over. “I know these words don’t make up for the last six months of your life,” Cuesta continues, and Cary raises his head, trying to keep calm. “No words ever can. But they’re all that I have, so I will use them now.” He closes his eyes. “This case is dismissed with prejudice.”
“Your Honor!” Geneva complains. “No, leave the poor guy alone,” Judge Cuesta stops her, unexpectedly sympathetic. Diane’s tears start. “You’re free to go, Mr. Agos.” (Damn it, I can’t even type those words without my own tears going. This has been so long in coming, and such an beautifully orchestrated emotional disaster.) “With our apologies,” Cuesta finishes, and Cary kind of gasps, and Diane throws her arms around his neck and cries into his shoulder, and he falls apart into hers, and hiccups “thank you, thank you” with each breath. Tormented, Kalinda watches Detective Prima go as Diane sobs and Cary hugs his namesake. And of course, that’s when Lemond Bishop chooses to call Kalinda’s phone.
Before she can answer, Cary stumbles into the gallery and collapses on top of her, shuddering into her shoulder. Thank you, he says. Thank you so much. Holding him tightly, she doesn’t even try to keep the anguish off her face.
Despite the studio being outside, Alicia walks to her car in an underground garage, where she luckily is able to receive Diane’s phone call with the happy – no, amazing – news. “I… thank you! ” she gasps. “I… no. Oh my God, I’m good! I’m … okay. No! I’ll talk to you.” In a stupor, she stumbles forward, laughing in her joy, finally turning and plunking down against a parked car in her surprise.
The car, of course, protests by beeping loudly.
She stands up, pressing her phone to her chest, smiling to herself, almost laughing, unable to soak it in. After today’s gray suit, it’s appropriate that she’s warm and glowing in a long red coat. She raises her eyes to the roof, closes them, and lets out a whoop, letting herself laugh loudly. On his way to his own car, Johnny ‘the Haircut’ Elfman stares at her in surprise. “Alicia? You alright?’ She gives him a wicked grin, and the music ramps up, and from her walk it’s so clear what it’s about to happen; she crosses the garage, smiling, her hair swinging, walks right up to her campaign manager, grabs the back of his head and kisses him on the mouth. Bewildered, he seems to be kissing her back. She drops his head, and just keeps walking, the same wicked smile on her face.
And damn, that was amazing. It’s right up there with Hitting the Fan for nail biting, heart pounding fortune reversing amazement, and I could not be more thrilled.
Oh. I’m also completely thrilled that this plot line is over, because it was brilliant, but damn did it hurt. Kudos all around for great writing, great acting and all around beautiful work. There are so many twists and turns to this incredibly puzzle that I don’t even know where to start. Honestly, it’s so late Friday night I’m not even sure I should bother. The only thing that struck me as less than perfect about this episode was Peter’s involvement; while it definitely seemed like something he’d do, I’m just not sure how he’d have known to do it. It had to be Eli, right? But if that’s the case, then Eli was paying more attention than he let on.
It presented some super interesting issues with Kalinda, didn’t it? Should we all assume this is going to contribute to her (SPOILER) exit from the show? Will we ever get to learn the fate of husband Nick before she does? Also, do you think she was telling the truth when she told Cary she’d be around when he got out? That doesn’t particularly seem like the sort of promise she’d make, much as she is a loyal person. Heck, she wouldn’t tell him the comforting lie before when he needed to think she wanted only him. Why so kind now? This is really the only fault I can find with the entire plot line, the Lana and Kalinda oddness.
What do you think Bishop will ask of Kalinda? Also, is he going to confront her about not bugging Lana’s pocketbook? I am so, so curious to see how all this works out.
Okay. Is there any chance that anyone is going to mention that kiss in the future? Elfman will get that there wasn’t anything personal in it, right? Right? He’s cute, and he does really like Alicia, but I don’t want to see them date. Or boink.
I suppose next week is going to be the debate. Why, why why do they insist on putting this show up against the Golden Globes and Downton Abbey? Every year they do this, and I never understand what they’re thinking chopping up their audience into small pieces like that. Are they trying to kill me? (I’m going to a wedding so I won’t be able to watch any of them live, which makes it all that much worse.)
I apologize for the late posting. I actually started a job this week, one with variable hours that started out quite heavy. I’m hoping next week will be a lighter schedule, since not only is there a new episode of TGW but the Golden Globes and the Oscar nominations, but I guess we’ll just have to see. AS for this episode, if you guys aren’t all talked out over it, give me some questions. I know I’m not being as thorough as usual in breaking the episode down. So, tell me what I’m missing!