Hey, they always said she’s a good wife, but they never said anything about being a good mother. So I felt after wrapping up Season 7, Episode 8 of The Good Wife, “Restraint”. The season overall seems to be trending toward painting an ever-more unrecognizable portrait of Alicia Florrick, and this week we furthered that goal with the following plot-based brushstrokes:
Diane Lockhart dipping her toe in the pro-life pool.
Alicia Florrick and Lucca Quinn hurting for clients.
Eli Gold and The Case of the Unexpected Romantic Storyline.
That’s all, and trust me, it’s more than enough. With that third one in particular I just about pooped my pants when I started figuring it out. So here we go.
With this cold open, I can tell right off the bat we’re doing a Planned Parenthood-type story, with a hidden camera and seemingly-blasé testimony about organ harvesting, so yikes! Get ready for righteous indignation that anyone could discuss tissue samples and frozen yogurt in the same breath, in this case, Dr. Callie Fisher, played by Quincy Tyler Bernstine. The footage is being brought to Diane Lockhart by Ethan Carver (Peter Gallagher), representing Reese Dipple, who has been an unseen force all season so far, as Oliver Platt is seemingly unavailable to film?
But anyway, Dipple wants to sue this woman’s organization, whose name I never caught, because she repositions fetuses for a breech birth so as better to harvest their organs. Diane says that in order for the case to be viable, they’d need to find someone who had an abortion, was lied to, and suffered “measurable harm as a result”. And guess what! They have her. Her name is Stacy Groom (Andrea Syglowski), and you, Diane, just put your first foot on a slippery slope. Sure, Carver is telling you he just wants you to cross-examine her, not actually take the case, but we all know where this is going.
But speaking of knowing where things are going, here’s Jason Crouse! About which I feel like I know nothing at all. He’s cruising around the hallways at Lockhart, Agos, & Lee, looking about as comfy as can be with no cap on his investigative hours, getting put on this new fetal tissue case.
Meanwhile, times are a bit more lean over at Florrick & Quinn, where Lucca Quinn is pushing for an “eat what we kill” procedure, which would mean each partner would take ⅔ of what they bring in, but really means they need money. Badly. Badly enough that Lucca is going to a “business lunch” with Louis Canning, which is what we used to tell each other at my old job to explain why we were all dressed up without having to say “I have an interview”. So watch your back, Alicia! Canning is wooing Lucca bigtime, but she sees through it enough to know that she’d likely just be bait for Canning to get Alicia to join his firm. Which she should honestly just do already? Stop fighting it.
Or, you know, don’t. Instead, make your poor sweet daughter Grace Florrick cold-call Chicago insurance companies, and give her side eye when she mentions getting paid for it. This girl is obviously stressed out of her mind that not enough money is coming through, and you’re gonna haggle with her over half a percentage point? What are you up to, Alicia? Shouldn’t your daughter be in school and/or developing a non-law-based personality?
Time to meet the ace-in-the-hole in Dipple’s case against Hallie Fisher, the woman who got an abortion and is now regretting it. She says Dr. Fisher flipped the baby into a breach position before the procedure, and never disclosed that the fetus’ tissues would be sold, instead promising her they’d go toward research and that her health wouldn’t be affected. Now Stacy can’t eat or sleep, and her work has suffered, a position that Diane points out that she’s taken up within the last week or so, although her procedure was ten months ago. Before that, she’d made statements about being pro-choice, but recently she joined the Church of God and Christ, so Diane calls her out on going from one extreme on the issues to the other, for no other reason than to take a stand, not because of actual beliefs. Consider yourself eviscerated, star witness! But Carver is going to release the tapes to the internet anyway, to see what pepole make of them.
Back at Alicia’s, Grace is alone (naturally) and starting to realize the insurmountable nature of the task she’s been given, so she calls Eli Gold instead, seeing if he has any clients he can send Alicia’s way so Grace can come in from the cold and stop selling her little matchsticks. Eli’s like okay, sure, but first I have to do a little more desk slapstick, because that never gets old. Have you heard yet that Eli has a small office? Courtney Page (Vanessa Williams) knows now, because she was summoned there to talk about her new plan to institute a salary floor at her company, which would mean giving all of her employees a raise to pay them the exact same amount of money: $75,000. Which sounds fine to me, but would apparently reflect badly on Peter Florrick during his Presidential run, being Socialism and all. To solve this problem almost before its asserted itself, Eli decides to send Courtney Page and all her billions to Alicia as a client, but only if Alicia agrees to talk her out of the salary floor thing.
We also learn here in the form of a little aside that Alicia ordered a study to delay having to make a decision on the Election Board, which is kind of an anticlimactic way to address last week’s cliffhanger, but okay sure, whatever you say.
Meanwhile, back in the land of Ripped From The Headlines, Hallie Fisher is suing to take down the video, a motion that a judge shouldn’t even hear, because it has no legal merit, but one is, and that makes Diane mad, because now this is a free speech issue. So she signs onto it after getting her own words quoted back at her, about the real challenge of law being in representing cases in which you don’t necessarily believe, and I can’t believe she’s actually gonna work for these yahoos. Ugh.
And neither can the people in the gallery, because we’ve got ourselves a very noisy courtroom, presided over by the Honorable Ben Magorvski, played by Richard Portnow. Diane is asking him to treat this like any other prior restraint case, where a government tries to censor something before the expression has even taken place. Diane says there should’ve been no expectation of privacy because the conversation took place in public, in a very busy frozen yogurt shop, and we get some courtoom slapstick now, as every time they want to show a clip of the video to prove a point, they need to completely empty the galley. Meanwhile Heidi (Orlagh Cassidy), the woman who filmed the video and is being represented by Diane, keeps touching her hands as a thank you, and DIANE I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU HAVEN’T FIGURED OUT YET HOW BAD AND WRONG THIS IS.
Alicia gives it the old college try with Courtney, talking about the salary floor, but she’s come armed with Bible verses, and she doesn’t seem that worried about Alicia’s points that she might upset shareholders or senior employees; at the end of the day, it’s her money. Hard to argue with that!
Back at Lockhart, Agos, & Lee, the firm is starting to see some clients upset over the position that Diane is taking, including Bea Wilson (Kelly Bishop), who’s waiting in the lobby to give Diane and Ethan Carver a piece of her mind for joining the war on women before storming off. Jason has a new piece of information, also, that the opposition has a non-disclosure agreement that was signed by Heidi at the conference where she met Dr. Fisher, and it prohibits any recording or dissemination of the information in their conversations. Diane doesn’t find it to be particularly valid, as the conversation took place outside of the place it was originally signed, but the judge disagrees, saying the conversation was continuous.
We also find out in a very odd little blip that Courtney Page’s ex-husband Larry Oliver is suing her for breach of fiduciary duty. So there’s that.
And Alicia discovers in a phone call to Jason that he’s also working for Diane — although not full-time, like she wants — after she hears her in the background. Just adding on to the enigma that is Jason Crouse.
Back at her garret, poor sad, lonely Grace is cold-calling in front of her menagerie of open computers playing office sounds, and accidentally stumbles into an actual client: Bea Wilson from the National Council on Women’s Rights. She’s pissed off at Diane, as you’ll recall, and interested in moving her legal business elsewhere. As are a lot of people, as it turns out! Cary Agos is having very impassioned conversations in the lobby with people, and it’s clear that this is all happening because of Diane’s position on this issue; no such thing as neutral ground on abortion.
Lucca and Canning are on their second date by now, with Canning pitching her on what kinds of clients she could expect if she joined his firm, three in particular that he’d want to hand over to her right away. She rushes right back to the office to tell Alicia about them, so apparently they were both in on this the whole time, and the plan has always been to make Canning show his hand and then snap up these clients themselves with a well-timed pitch. Grace tries to tell her mom about hooking a huge client, but Alicia really can’t be bothered right now, thank you so much, so Grace goes back to her spinster phones and scoops up Ginger Gale from the Justice Center as well.
Meanwhile, things have gone so far with Diane that even Cary is asking her to back off the argument now, but one of the new associates who is neither female nor of color suggests that Diane try the whistleblower statute, and instead of being like, “Don’t tell me how to do my job”, she’s like, “Ooh good call”, this is how I shall next challenge women’s rights.
I’m also still confused about why Courtney and her husband Larry Oliver (Isaach De Bankolé) are even a plot line, but they’re back again, with Eli trying to convince Courtney to offer unlimited vacation and sick days to her employees instead of this whole salary floor thing. And Alicia is so checked out that she’s not even engaged in the meeting, instead scoping out a nearby conference room, which she wants to rent out to look legit to Canning’s clients as she attempts to poach them. Tequilalicia, I don’t even know who you are anymore.
Meanwhile, Diane is still refusing to give up the ghost with this women’s rights case, and is presenting her whistleblowing theory to the judge, saying that since public funding goes toward the procedures the clinic performs, the video is proof of fraud and needs to be shown. Margovski again disagrees, and this time has really had enough, pulling Diane back into his chambers for a conversation off the record that’s basically just him going “WTF WTF WTF STOP” over and over. But she won’t, because this is Diane, and her tenacity is part of why we love her, even when she is being a stupid.
Speaking of being a stupid, Lucca and Alicia are totally botching it in their meetings with Canning’s clients. They’re like talking over each other, exaggerating the number of associates their firm has without consulting with each other, and Alicia even refers to the offices as “Florrick Agos” at one point. It’s heavy amateur hour.
Oh and remember that woman from earlier, Stacy Groom, whom Diane so thoroughly destroyed during cross-examination earlier? Well now she’s gonna put her on the stand as if she’s a credible witness, so we’ve lost all control of this case. Stacy is running through her same speech from before, and has a PTSD diagnosis that’s hot off the presses from yesterday, and Diane is staring down the judge and objecting to the questions that she herself initially asked. WHAT IS HAPPENING.
But you ain’t seen nothing yet! Remember before when I said Eli had an unlikely romantic connection in this episode? Well I got all the way through the scene between him and Courtney Page before I realized THIS IS IT IT’S THEM. It’s so weird, you guys. There is almost zero chemistry between these two, so they’re bandying these suggesting lines back and forth, about how the door is closed, and discussing my intent, and all I have written in my notes is “WHAT. WHAT. WHAT. HOW IS THIS REAL?” And then they kissed and my brain exploded.
While all this is happening, Lucca and Alicia are getting turned down by every client they pitched, and still Alicia is blowing off Grace, trying to tell her about the new clients she’s roped in. Like, does Grace seem like an idiot to you, Alicia? Obviously you wouldn’t imagine she’d get four new clients of the size she did, but aren’t you at all curious as far as what she came up with? I’m pretty annoyed at the way they’re writing Alicia right now. So finally Grace tells her mom about all the clients she wrangled who are disappointed with the representation Diane has been providing as she careens off the rails, and Grace gets a big hug and a thank you from Mommy.
Back in court, Diane is in a loop of sorts where in order to get the evidence she needs, she needs to provide the evidence she needs, so she will never get the evidence she needs, and these are not the droids you’re looking for. As a last ditch effort, because the judge won’t give an evidenciary order, she files a motion for substitution of judge due to political bias, which is half what it sounds like, and half just a hail Mary from Diane to distance herself from this case. When Margovski refuses to remove himself, Diane then removes herself from the case, because she doesn’t think the judge could be anything but unbiased after that, so they should get another lawyer who hasn’t, y’know, publicly called out the trail judge in open court. So she got what she wanted, I suspect, and Cary suspects the same thing and tries to compliment her on it, but Diane is like yeah, shut up, it’s time to go get our clients back. Good luck with thaaaaaat!
Back at the Florrick family residence, Alicia won’t look at Jason in the eyes, which is either because they effed or because he’s working for Diane and she’s awkward. We may never know. And lil baby Grace Florrick is about to drop a bomb in the form of the amount that her mom owes her for all the recruiting she did — $35,800. YES GRACE GET IT. And screw you, Alicia, for the look on your face when your daughter told you that. She did a killer job where you failed, and I want your attitude to be completely and utterly turned around by the time I see you again this time next week.