‘The Good Wife’ 7×18 Recap: ‘This Goddamn Female-Led Firm’

Mamie Gummer, Julianna Margulies andAnna Camp, The Good Wife.

Mamie Gummer, Julianna Margulies and Anna Camp on The Good Wife. Via CBS

Welcome back to The Good Wife, Season 7, Episode 18, called “Unmanned”. Have we mentioned this female-led firm to you at all recently? Oh, only 123948987 times? Well get ready for a few more, because last night we were working with the following plot points:

This goddamn female-led firm

Connor Fox putting the squeeze on Marisa Gold

Alicia and Peter Florrick’s marriage, which is suddenly relevant again

The drone privacy case

So let’s hop to it. In their typical ham-fisted fashion of late, the first show is Alicia Florrick and Jason Crouse all twisted up in bed together, talking about how his Greek Orthodoxy influences his feeling about sleeping with a married woman. (Negatively, as it turns out.) He admits that it bothers him, but the conversation gets interrupted by Diane Lockhart calling to bring Alicia on to a new Reese Dipple case on privacy.

It centers around a drone owned by a woman named Edie Ham (Tara Summers), who flies it around her neighborhood to conduct security sweeps and cut down on crime. But she’s being sued by Alicia and Diane’s client Jeffrey Nachmann (Scott Cohen), who is both a therapist and one of her neighbors, and concerned about the lack of confidentiality for his patients. Interestingly enough, Miss Ham is being defended by Caitlin D’arcy (Anna Camp), who used to work at whatever Lockhart, Agos & Lee was called back then, before leaving to start a family. It gives her a more intimate knowledge of the firm, and she correctly connects the dots to notice that the presence of two name partners at the table suggests that this is a test case for someone like Reese Dipple. Good eye, lady.

Back at the apartment, Jason is kicking around all day, as requested by Alicia, who apparently likes to keep a pet, when Peter Florrick shows up. Finally, some interaction I’m actually interested in. But these writers still have ham all over their fists, because they turn it into an overblown melodrama where Peter slaps the coffee cup out of Jason’s hand and threatens to kick his ass. Oh okay, Peter.

Over at the smoothie shop where Marissa Gold works, Matthew Morrison — sorry, I mean Connor Fox — and his actor voice are demanding Marissa’s help putting Peter in jail. He has a transcript of the conversation between Marissa and Eli about warning Judge Schakowsky about the bribe, and says she either has to testify against Peter, or Fox will make her testify against her own father. Ice cold.

And clipping right through these plot lines, back at LA&L, Howard Lyman is being moved out of his office so that Alicia can take it, which I bet will cause exactly zero problems.

In court, Miss Hamm is giving testimony about how much the rest of the neighbors love her surveillance, and Diane and Alicia are pretty clearly trying to make this about “intrusion on seclusion”, to make this a privacy case, as sometimes the camera ends up with footage of people inside their own homes. But Caitlin is having none of it, saying Reese Dipple is trying to create law, and that we have to weigh minor inconvenience against public interest in preventing crime. And Judge Peter Dunaway (Kurt Fuller) agrees with her, denying Mr. Nachmann’s request, and saying the drone can fly.

Back at LA&L, two men are talking to each other in a room, so you know it’s about the all female-led firm. In this case it’s David Lee and Howard Lyman, and they’re blowing up Cary Agos’ spot for going along with everything.

Speaking of Cary, he’s in his office right now having a minor and very odd meltdown with his screensaver and some tiki tunes. Alicia stops in to ask him about it, and he blows her off a little by saying how weird it’s been to jump from firm to firm. But after she’s gone, we see that he has a subpoena at his desk, and likely is being called to testify against Peter.

You probably thought we were done with that drone case, too, but that was before Nachmann shot it out of the sky, prompting a countersuit from Caitlin to the tune of $80,000, the cost of the drone. Also I guess no one is worried that this amateur neighborhood watch lady has $80,000 to throw at a drone prototype? This makes me nervous as hell.

Back at Alicia’s apartment, she’s arriving home to find that he’s not there, which is totally fine, he probably wanted to go watch Netflix at his own apartment, but didn’t leave her a note or a message about it at all, which is not fine. And then when she calls him, he doesn’t pick up, so I guess that Greek Orthodoxy thing was some pretty heavy foreshadowing then.

Meanwhile, Marissa is warning Eli about what Fox knows, which is kind of a lot. Since he had the transcript about their conversation regarding the Judge bribe, Eli puts together that this likely means they had a phone tap in the governor’s office. Marissa is explaining how Fox wants her to get Eli to testify against Peter at the trial, and Eli focuses in on the word “trial”, because it means Fox is confident that he’ll get his indictment.

Back in court again, Nachmann is admitting to shooting the drone, but Diane and Alicia are taking the position that he was defending his property. If they can prove that he felt threatened, or that the drone was making an assault, he’s protected under Castle Doctrine, which allows use of force necessary to terminate or prevent unlawful entry. They’re saying drone-over flight is a de facto intrusion, and Dunaway is at least interested enough to hear out the rest of their argument.

At LA&L, Cary is talking David Lee down by reminding him that they’re name partners, but David is still paranoid about “the women”, and wants to “fire a shot across their bow”. Guys, I’m worried about David Lee. He’s fixating. He hasn’t gotten to have a conversation about anything except the female-led firm in months.

Cutting back to court, drone expert Barry Pert (Leslie Odom Jr.) is testifying to the fact that drones can be fitted to carry guns, as well as other more dangerous but less obvious weapons — drones trick your computer into connecting with their wifi, then steal your personal data. This drone had none of these things, but Mr. Nachmann had no proof of that, so there’s an argument defending his decision to shoot it. What doesn’t defend that position is the fact that the drone was flying away from the house, aka retreating. And under Illinois law, it’s illegal to shoot an intruder in the back. Miss Ham gets damages awarded, and Mr. Nachmann is told not to shoot at drones.

At LA&L, David Lee is starting to make some moves, assigning Lucca Quinn to do a bunch of busy work. She protests that she’s working on a thing Alicia asked her to do, but he pulls rank, reminding her that he’s above Alicia on the food chain. And now that I think about it, I would actually love to see Lucca and David Lee go head to head. What a weird, detached showdown that would be.

Meanwhile, Eli is storming into the Assistant US Attorney office, to read Fox the riot act for tapping a phone in the Governor’s office. But it turns out that the tapped phone in quesiton was actually his daughter’s. Marissa isn’t connected to illegal things Lloyd Garber or Peter Florrick did, but she’s been brought in because she knows about something illegal Eli did, and they want that as leverage. In Fox’s words, “Help me take down Peter Florrick, or your daughter helps me take you down.” I wish I could take him more seriously as this villain, but I keep expecting him to tell the Glee Club to take it from the top.

It was only a matter of time before Alicia crossed paths with Jason at work, and now is that moment, and it seems like they haven’t talked? Everything about Jason’s body language is saying, “I’m not into it”, and it’s time to take a hint, Alicia. Or, you know, ask a question like, “Is this about your religion? Because I don’t want your spirit, I want your body.” That also works. Jason tells her the situation with Peter, and his very justified concerns about not coming in the middle, and Alicia responds with, “I’m seeing you tonight, at my apartment. After that, you can do whatever you want.” Hi sorry, I’m grossed out, let’s not talk to people like that.

Alicia leaves work, and strides into Peter’s office, announcing her presence with that ice-gaze look I miss so much from earlier days of her character, dropping the bomb, “I want a divorce”. Peter is trying to throw out his usual excuses and buy himself time, guilting Alicia about the impending indictment, but she has no mercy, saying, “You’re always being indicted — if it wasn’t today, it would be tomorrow.” Okay yes, this was the brief glimpse of the Alicia I know and love that I needed in this moment.

Bet you thought you were done with drone news (again!) but we’re back, as this client has dropped another one, this time with a device that allows him to bring it down safely and return it in one piece. Unfortunately, there are rules against messing with aircrafts in flight under the FAA, it’s just unclear if they apply to drones. So I bet we’re gonna have to figure that out.

Eli shows up at LA&L to get Diane to be his lawyer, because his interests are about to diverge from Peter’s. (Finally.) He explains that he needs total privilege, and Diane can’t even share with Alicia, because of the position that Eli is being placed in with Marissa.

Meanwhile, in another office, Alicia is filling Lucca in on why David Lee is bothering her — he’s obsessed with the gender war and will never speak of anything but it, the gender war stuff. Alicia also sits down with Cary, asking him to please protect Lucca from David’s hazing. And Cary’s like sure, I’d be happy to, as long as you can do one little teensy tiny thing for me: not side with Diane in this all-female led firm thing. And we leave it really up in the air, with Cary refusing to agree to help Lucca.

Back in court again for this gulldurned drone thing, Bill Ortiz (Drew McVety) of the FAA is testifying about the proposed regulation on drones, specifically Class G airspace, the area where the FAA doesn’t control. It extends up to 500 feet, so above that, it’s illegal to drop a drone, and below that, it’s…not explicitly illegal. But Caitlin refers to a case called United States v. Causby, which shows you only own as much air above your house as you need for your house things. (Authentic legal dialogue.) In this case, that was just 83 feet, as airplanes flying any lower than that would scare his chickens. And in response to that, I’ll write the sentence I’ve been writing more than any other over this season of The Good Wife: Sure, okay. Edie Ham’s drone, that Mr. Nauchmann dropped was at 200 feet, so not specifically on his property. Case law is clear for 0-83 feet, as well as 500+ feet, but between 83 and 500, we’re looking for new information. And I bet we’re gonna find it too, because this case will not die.

Meanwhile, Eli is sitting down with Marissa to reassure her that he has a good lawyer, and exemplifying why she’s one of the last characters on this show that I can stand, she wants to know if she’s not testifying against Peter because she doesn’t think he did anything wrong, or just because she wants to protect him. Hmmmmm?

And in the conference room nearby, there’s a shouting match happening between Diane and David Lee over the elevation of Alicia. Diane says it has to do with her name, but Cary points out Diane never even wanted her to come back. Which I feel like is almost one writer taking a potshot at another, to be honest. Someone in that writer’s room wanted Alicia to come back and be welcomed by Diane with open arms, and someone didn’t; otherwise there’s no way we would have dilly-dallied about it for so long. Anyway, she wants to make Alicia a name partner, and the two men refuse, so it would come down to who could get the vote.

Or maybe not! Because David Lee being sketchy with Howard, saying how he just wants to milk this place for all it’s worth while it’s still standing. So he goes to see Diane and gets on board with her, “a rising tide lifts all boats”, yada yada yada. He just has one condition, which we don’t end up hearing about, but which I assume is slimy.

Then Alicia gets home to a seemingly-empty apartment, but surprise and presto, Jason is there! And everything is apparently okay again, even though he ghosted you, you’re married, and you sexually threatened your subordinate in both of your place of business.

And finally, our last excursion into Drone Town. Judge Dunaway believes drones are “frighteningly unregulated”, and no one wants to touch them, so it falls to him to make the law. He decides that private property doesn’t extend higher than 83 feet, and Dr. Nauchmann owes punitive and compensatory damages. And we’re over that so quickly that it’s clear the whole case was just an excuse for this conversation we’re seeing now between Alicia and Caitlin, where Caitlin confides that she and her husband (also a lawyer), have separated. Honestly I’m shocked that Alicia didn’t ask her to join LA&L right there on the spot, but I guess they have to save something for the next episode.

And speaking of LA&L, David Lee has Howard on his side now too, and is talking a big game about “the good of the firm”. Cary is pissed and confused, and oh poor Cary, nothing is going right for him.

Over at Connor Fox’s office again, Eli arrives, calmer this time, with Diane by his side, ready to confess to his involvement in the Judge Schakowsky situation. He seems to be agreeing to take the consequences for admitting to his crime in order to get Marissa left alone, promising that he remembers more about the mistrial than he originally shared.

Back at LA&L, Alicia comes into Cary’s tiki hut again, where he has his nice tunes tinkling and his beach scene in front of him on the laptop, and thanks him for making her a name partner. But in an impressively candid moment, he shares that he was against it, and also that he’s decided to leave the firm altogether (so Lockhart, Lee & Florrick?), letting Diane buy him out. Which I’m pretty sure is exactly what she wanted. He also casually fills her in on the subpoena on the way out.

And finally, we’re at Alicia’s apartment, where Peter knocks on the door and then lets himself right in — gotta get those keys back, girl — and they have a frank discussion in the kitchen. He says he’s not here to argue her out of the divorce, but wants a favor. ONE LAST FAVOR. He needs her to stand beside him during the indictment, because of course he does, because this is The Good Wife, and she is the good wife, and everything is resting on this. And she considers it, and then there’s an intake of breath, and then the episode is over. So I guess we’ll meet right back here next week to see what she goes with.

‘The Good Wife’ 7×18 Recap: ‘This Goddamn Female-Led Firm’