‘The Good Wife’ Recap 7×10: How ‘The Good Wife’ Got Its Groove Back

TGW 7x10

Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick and Alan Cumming as Eli Gold in The Good Wife. (photo: CBS)

Welcome to Episode 10 of The Good Wife, “KSR”, in which everyone — and I mean everyone — gets their groove back. Today we’ll be looking at the following plotlines:

The scheming young associates of Lockhart, Agos, & Lee.

The fictionalized version of the Cannibal Cop case.

The ever-confusing relationships between Alicia and Jason and Courtney and Eli.

Lights up on a deserted office, with a line of phones on a conference room table, one of which is ringing. It’s from Cary Agos, to one of the firm’s young associates, White Brian, and he’s thanking them for pulling an all-nighter on Reese Dipple’s case. Except I definitely don’t think that’s what’s going on, as there’s nobody in the office, and Cary is in the midst of that realization as well.

On Alicia Florrick’s side of Chicago, she’s crossing paths with Bad Judge Don Schakowsky again, who’s playing his character game of punishing Alicia’s clients just because he doesn’t like her. This time, it’s a defendant named Dr. Joseph Portnow (Josh Stamberg), who is accused of attempted rape and murder, but is presently performing surgery on an infant, and is consequently late for his court appearance. Bad Judge don’t like — off to a great start!

Speaking of a great start, Cary is weirdly siding with the associates, saying the office does have a culture problem. Which probably it does, but all that pales in comparison with the bigger problem that the firm has: everyone from Dipple’s team has vanished, and they wiped all information about the case from the servers. Better go fix this, Cary!

And now for some dabbling in my least favorite forced relationship of the show (just slightly behind Alicia and Lucca) — Eli Gold and Courtney Page! Do not buy it, will not buy it, do not like it, no matter how many chaste kisses they plant on each other’s lips. But the relationship I do buy is between Courtney and Ruth Eastman, who leapfrogs over Eli for being ineffective and goes to Courtney to see if she can help separate Alicia and Jason Crouse, which she attempts to do by offering him $50,000 for two months work…in California.

Finally, Cary finds the missing associates, in what’s presumably the only Chicago bar that can contain eight to ten disgruntled lawyers on their laptops. He asks them to return the brief, only to discover that they never started it, and are moving over to work for Louis Canning, aka the lawyer for the client opposing Reese DIpple. And yes, they’re allowed to do that, because they intentionally never learned anything about the case, so they aren’t compromised. Oh my god you guys are so smart and suck so hard.

Things are getting worse quickly in Alicia and Lucca Quinn’s case representing Dr. Portnow, as Judge Scharowsky calls for the non-appearing client to be placed under arrest with his bail revoked, meaning he can’t perform these life-saving procedures on infants. Aftering the ruling, Alicia goes to the Judge’s office and accuses him of using his own personal bias against Alicia to punish her client, which he of course denies. And because we’re being our new, baller selves in this episode, Alicia also drops the truth bomb that she knew about the bribery attempt, and how Eli Gold warned him against taking. He’s not happy, but it seems like he’s seeing Alicia in a new light.

And it was at about this time in the episode that I realized the real-life story we’re pulling from is the Cannibal Cop case. Dr. Portnow was on a dark sexual fetish chat room where he made detailed plans with another user to “KSR” — kidnap, sedate, rape — a woman that he knows in real life. He never actually did it, but according to the prosecution, he had purchased all the materials, and would have put his plan into action the next day if he hadn’t been arrested first.

At L, A, & L, they are in serious trouble, and unless they get more bodies to help, they’re gonna miss the filing deadline. So who are we gonna crossover with today? It turns out to be that young woman Monica, whom they missed out on hiring in the first place and then got embarrassed by in the media, and she has some demands for her hiring. Get it, girl.

In the Cannibal Cop case, Lucca is arguing that because the doctor used a false occupation instead of stating his real one, it’s proof that the KSR fantasy was just that — a fantasy. Lucca and Alicia ask Jason to help them out with some information, if he can, and Jason pulls Alicia aside to tell her that he’s taking the Courtney Page offer, since she can’t beat it herself.

In very skeeve-worthy news, the young woman Dr. Portnow targeted for his fantasies was the mother of one of his patients, Lucy Van Gaal (Lauren Molina), which isn’t great. He called to check in on her the day before he was supposedly set to initiate his plan, and said he might come over the next day, but the bottom line is that he didn’t do anything. And nor, according to Jason, has any one of the site’s users. Although there is one teensy little problem, which is that the guy Portnow was talking to isn’t a banker, he’s a registered sex offender. And also, Jason is taking this flight tomorrow, so I guess we’re really just going to write his character off the show mid-season?

At Lockart, Agos, & Lee, the only thing I have to share with you is that Monica is killing it, but they still need more bodies. But good job Monica.

Back in the courtroom, the convicted sex offender we heard so much is testifying, a trucker named Manny Hofstedter (Don Stark). He says he could tell the plan to kill Lucy Van Gaal was real, even though Dr. Portnow made up a fake occupation, and said he was looking forward to seeing it through. But, as Lucca pointed out, it seemed very unlikely that was going to happen, as Hofstedter’s cargo manifest for his job placed him on a route two thousand miles away for the dates the two had planned on.

At Alicia’s, Eli crosses paths with Jason leaving, who says he left something for Alicia, so he promptly goes into her office and digs through her desk looking for it. It turns out to be a copy of Portnow’s wife’s book, called Why Smart Women Make Bad Decisions, that Jason wants her to use to prove in the trial that Portnow’s wife understood him and trust him. And Eli is babbling on in the background throughout all of this, so suddenly Alicia just snaps, asking him “Why are you in my life?”, accusing him of sending Jason away, and telling him to “back the hell up.” Woooo! There she is, finally! And this is also the first time that Eli is hearing Courtney was involved in Jason leaving.

Meanwhile, Cary is sitting down with the associates again, trying to beat Canning’s offer and lure them back with 20% signing bonuses, with the checks right in his pocket. His only condition is everybody has to come back right away so they don’t lose Dipple as a client.

And thanks but no thanks for the tip, Jason, because Dr. Portnow’s wife Patricia Evra (Michelle Duffy) is so cold and clinical about her husband’s activities that the excellent ways she has of explaining his proclivities and need to compartmentalize and “exhaust his dark thoughts” will be useless on the stand. So maybe they should just put the doctor himself up there? Seems risky, but what’s the alternative?

COURTNEY AND ELI SEX NO NO NO. I don’t believe that ever happened. No. But here, finally, is the kicker — Courtney is going back to the Bay Area and won’t be around again for a year. A YEAR. So her relationship with Eli is effectively over, even after his big passionate speech at the door; she’d rather focus on her business, so have a nice life, Eli. (But seriously dude, Vanessa Williams is a big-name guest star, you should’ve known it could never last. CBS can’t afford that, mama!)

On the stand, Dr. Portnow is actually proving to be a pretty compelling witness, as he’s owning his behavior and seeming genuine in his explanation that he would never have followed through with any of this. Lucca and Alicia feel very strongly that the jury needs to be instructed on the rules of conspiracy specifically, as we’re on the edge of a slippery slope here, and it’s important that they realize that thoughts have to be coupled with actions in order to be inherently illegal. Bad Judge agrees with this argument — he seems to like Lucca — and rules that he will give the jury this additional information in order to decide.

And here comes the big scene where Cary and Diane get their mojo back! Cary is leading the associates back into the firm, presumably getting ready for everyone to buckle down on the Dipple case, when suddenly he stops them in the hall and fires them instead. And since he’s already instructed them about the case, they can no longer work for Canning. OH DAMN THAT’S COLD AND I LIKE IT.

Back in the courtroom, the jury has returned with a verdict in under fifteen minutes, which Alicia says means they were “swayed powerfully”, but she doesn’t know in which direction. They turn in a guilty verdict on the conspiracy to commit kidnapping charge, which is a huge blow, but Judge Scharowsky hasn’t had his moment yet, so buckle up. He scolds the jury, saying they didn’t fulfill their sworn oath to be impartial, then finds that there was insufficient evidence to convict, vacating jury’s verdict, and acquitting the defendant. Wowzers. Seriously huge moves, and Alicia is suspicious of them, after her secret meeting with the judge. She’s like, “We earned that, right?” which Scharowsky responds to with the very cryptic, “Why don’t you just say thank you?” Okay fine, then why don’t YOU just tell me what your deal is? Are you a good witch or a bad witch, Scharowsky? I don’t have a good read yet.

In his Slapstick Office with a comically large painting that Courtney got him, Eli is listening to her last voicemail over and over, which apparently stirs something in him so deeply that it carries him right over to Alicia’s house, where Tequilalicia has graduated to stirring her drink with just her finger. He’s come to apologize for being too involved in her life, but Alicia wants none of it, closing the door in his face. But he’s tenacious and ends up sitting at the table with her and a drink of his own, urging her to call Jason and not let the campaign get in the way of her life. Alicia keeps insisting that there never was anything physical with Jason, so it isn’t the same as him and Courtney, but Eli keeps pressing it, and finally the whole story of six years ago slips out. When Will Gardner (Josh Charles) left Alicia a voicemail telling her he loved her and would drop everythign to be with her, but Eli deleted it from her phone, because he needed her to support Peter.

Ho. Lee. Crap. I thought Alicia was gonna cry on this slow zoom in toward her face, but now I’m pretty sure she’s going to incinerate Eli with just her eyes? She reaches across the table, takes his drink, and says, “Get out”, and THAT IS WHERE WE LEAVE THE EPISODE. Gah! You can’t do this to me, Good Wife! See you all next week, if the suspense doesn’t kill me before then.

‘The Good Wife’ Recap 7×10: How ‘The Good Wife’ Got Its Groove Back