Hey, can someone call The Good Wife writers and let them know that they only have five episodes left of this show to wrap up four-and-a-half seasons of excellent television and two-and-a-half of…television? Because based on Season 7, Episode 17, called “Shoot,” they seem to think they have forever to draw this out and figure out what everything means. In any case, here are the plot lines we focused on last night:
The Case of the Tragic Gun Death
The Case of Alicia Florrick and the Incredibly Illegal Grand Jury Proceedings
The Case of Grace Florrick and the Accused Plagiarism
The Curious Case of the All-Female Firm
So let’s hop to it. Top of the show, we’re getting to know a father and daughter, seeing the daughter through her first steps, first day of school, braces, heartbreak, and all the way up to prom. Then they’re sitting at the table together, and we hear gunshots, and before we know it, there’s a bullet hole through the front of the daughter’s throat and she’s dying in her father’s arms. Yeesh. What a way to start an episode.
We cut to a courtroom scene, where we learn that the father, Harry Dargis (Blair Underwood) is being represented by Diane Lockhart, and that he needs this reputation because he put up a billboard accusing the gun store Gloria’s Guns of being responsible for her death. That gun store owner, Gloria Beattie (Zuzanna Szadkowski), is understandably pissed off, and is being represented by Alma Hoff (Becky Ann Baker), who’s attempting to prove that the billboard is defamatory. She doesn’t want responsibility for the gun deaths — she blames on the neighborhood, not her store — and also wants damages, as she says she has protesters outside her shop, which has affected her sales. But she’s also had 3,000 guns tied to crimes traced back to her shop just in the past few years, so um…business seems to be pretty booming.
The judge in this case is Charles Abernathy (Denis O’Hare), who is staunchly anti-gun control, an agenda that Alma Hoff keeps pushing in hopes that he’ll over-correct his bias and find in her favor. But she maybe doesn’t even need to worry about that, because Diane and Cary Agos are feuding between themselves; Cary wants to take the angle that the words on the billboard are truth, while Diane wants to stick with their current defense, which is that the billboard is defensible as opinion. Cary wins out, so Diane calls Jason Crouse to get him to pivot his digging to fit the new strategy. He answers the phone in a hotel room, half naked with Alicia, of course, which is a scene I’m pretty sure we’ve already seen, just with Will Gardner swapped out for Jason. She’s all over him when he’s on the phone, until she gets her own phone call from Eli Gold, who says that Lloyd Garber is testifying before the Grand Jury. He also says they’re going to need her to go in front of the Grand Jury, even if it’s just to go invoke spousal privilege about a hundred times. Oh and don’t worry, she asks on the phone, if Eli still has “that way” of hearing what the deal is with the Jury, by which she means standing on a trash can in the handicapped bathroom. I’ll state again for the record how much I hate this plot device and what it says about the characters who are employing it. Just as she’s wrapping up that conversation, Alicia gets another phone call from her daughter Grace about college — the Admissions Office apparently thinks she’s plagiarized her essay. Dun dunnnnnn!
From his perch in the handicapped bathroom (I guess that parade of humans disabled in some form or another has chosen a different courthouse to frequent today), Eli hears Lloyd Garber (Howard McGillin) being examined about a conversation he had with Peter Florrick, where the now-Governor said he had “nothing to worry about” in terms of his son going to jail. It’s not looking good for Peter, until a Grand Juror pipes up “Seriously?”, incredulous that anyone could remember a conversation that clearly (and conveniently) so long after the fact.
Meanwhile, back in Familyworld, Alicia is meeting with a Mr. Monte Ecklund (Jonathan Roumie) at Grace’s school, who explains that the accused-plagiarism was caught by a site called Genuine Thought, but that he can’t say specifically what Grace is being accused of plagiarizing. For that information, Alicia will have to go to College Admissions. And you bet she will.
In court, Mr. Dargis is testifying about the drug-related issue next door that led to his daughter’s shooting. The man who shot her is in jail currently, and got the gun from Gloria’s via a straw buyer. And a straw buyer, just for those of us who aren’t up on our terminology, is the term for someone who buys a gun and sells it to another person who couldn’t have passed the background check necessary to purchase it themselves. On cross-examination, the defense attorney asks just one question — who killed your daughter? And when Mr. Dargis says the name of the man serving time for the crime, Antoine Dedlun, she’s proven that the billboard is not in fact true, because it states that Gloria’s murdered Naysha Dargis. And it’s too late to pivot back to opinion, as those defenses are conflicting, so once the judge finds for the gun store, the only thing left to rule on is damages. And as you can imagine, all of this is causing more trouble in paradise between Diane and Cary, as the former is pissed off at the latter for taking the case that direction.
But in the part of the world where we don’t have to obey laws even if we are a lawyer, Eli and Mike Tascioni are instructing Alicia to change her strategy in front of the Grand Jury. Instead of invoking her privilege, they want her to somehow speak to this incredulous juror’s doubts without being obvious about it. And because this is the new and unrecognizable Tequilalicia we’re talking about, she sees this as an exciting challenge, rather than you know…a moral conundrum and an out-and-out crime.
At Lockhart, Agos, & Lee, Lucca Quinn is not having herself the best time. She doesn’t have an office, which Jason wants to rectify by having her steal one. Because truly not one person on this show has a brain between their ears right now.
But in any case, Alicia wants to hire Jason freelance to do some digging into GenuineThought.com and figure out what the deal is with Grace’s essay. He’s also come back with some info on the gun violence case, which convince Diane and Cary to counter-sue for damages against Gloria’s; even though she can’t show losses, their client can, and he claims they’re directly related to gun violence increases. You see, Mr. Dargis owns a hotel, which makes him a part of tourism, and if gun violence undermines that, this might be the way to make the gun industry responsible under the law, which has always been an evasive issue in this past. And on this particular law, lower courts have been split, so this is the kind of case that could go all the way to the Supreme Court. In Diane’s words, “Illinois needs guidance on this issue”, and you don’t have to tell Abernathy twice! He’s into it.
Later, Alicia sits down with Diane, to go over her idea for the all-female firm for the millionth time. And I guess we rejected that idea to go to Cary with the fact that Diane approached her, because the first words out of Alicia’s mouth are that she doesn’t want to hurt Cary. Are you kidding? He’s barely been in the show for the past few months, I doubt you’ve even spoken. Diane says she wouldn’t be making these moves if Cary and David Lee weren’t making moves against her, and Alicia seems to agree, but makes Lucca’s promotion a stipulation of her acceptance. Then she sees Jason over Diane’s shoulder at the restaurant, and gets up to say hello, only to see him kissing some other woman. OH BOYYYYYYY things are about to get interesting.
Or maybe they just literally aren’t. Later on, the two of them drinking together, Lucca points out that Alicia isn’t even crying over what she saw. Which is a good point. This was presented as a huge deal, but Alicia doesn’t care enough to even shed a tear about it? Make up your mind, writers. We’re even denied a confrontation about it, or even a normal conversation, as Jason shows up at Alicia’s office the next day to give her info about Genuine Thought — its designers have acknowledged false positives before, from common phrases like “not enough money to go around”, and have been subject to lawsuits — and she pretends like everything’s normal. It’s actually really annoying. If you have a problem, you have to talk about it. And I’m talking about real life, sure, but we’re also making a television show here, so cough up the drama, lady.
Back in court, Diane tells Cary she’s giving the Dargis Case redirect to Lucca, which he’s not psyched about. It’s her responsibility to prove that his business was affected, and Mr. Dargis says there were 200 200 Gloria’s Gun-related shootings within a mile of his hotel last year, all of which caused cancellations, early departures, and a loss of sales. Ms. Hoff suggests that loss of sales is connected to his one-star Bed and Plate reviews, and Judge Abernathy is left with no evidence regarding causation. Just as he’s about to rule, Diane gets a text from Jason saying he has more affected business owners, and he grants them more time to bring forth more evidence. It turns out to be an entire room full of people, all of whom saw similar declines in business during the same time period, all connected to gun violence, which seems to be good news for LA&L.
Back in Subordinateville, Lucca notices her stuff in the new office and gets mad at Jason, but he says Diane did it. Lucca then realizes this probably has something to do with Alicia, and pulls Jason aside to do her a solid right back, in the form of letting him know why Alicia is being so frosty, and getting to the bottom of who this woman was that he was kissing the other night. Jason seems really upset right away, like struck, and says she was a friend from New York; his only concern is about Alicia, which is kind of a bummer, because I feel like it would be more on-game for his character to be a little more cavalier. Not to mention more true-to-life of these kinds of guys, and the type of people who come your way when you dip a toe into the lifestyle that Alicia has been swimming around in. But what do I know. Once again, you do you, writers.
Now it’s time for Alicia to go in front of the Grand Jury with her new strategy, and she starts putting it into place right away. When Connor Fox thanks her for her presence, she shoots right back that it wasn’t by choice, it was by subpoena. So we comin’ in real hot. Eli is listening, of course, because it’s apparently still worth breaking the law when you could get first-person information from Alicia herself. Fox assumes that Alicia is going to invoke spousal privilege, and warns the jury not to judge her for doing it repeatedly, which basically means the exact opposite because it puts the idea in their heads. So he’s completely shaken when he asks her the first question, and she actually does answer it. It makes him look pretty foolish in front of the jury, but he shakes it off and comes back with a real cross-examination. Fox asks her whether Garber would have any reason to lie about his version of events, and she she says no, clarifying that this doesn’t mean he was necessarily telling the truth, just that he has a bad memory. She’s trying to suss out her friendly juror, and it works. Liam Meade (Thomas Kopache) leans forward, and now she knows who he is, and can basically speak directly to him about Garber’s memory problems. Which, as far as I can tell, is just fully a lie concocted to get that one guy on her side. Not a good look, and Fox notices it right away, because Alicia isn’t being subtle at all. He asks if Alicia and Meade have ever met within thirty seconds of her starting her testimony, so it seems to me like we’re on thin ice. But again. WHAT. DO. I. KNOW.
Back in Abernathy’s courtroom, we have the seventeen Chicago business owners with proof of losses. Ms. Hoff calls a big deal economist who works with Chicago Tourism to talk about visits to the state in 2015, which she says are up 3.5%, a figure reflected in hotel stays as well. Seems dicey, until Diane cuts her down to size by asking whether these figures include the numbers of people who fly through O’Hare without visiting the rest of the city. Isabel St. Jean (Ann Harada) says she can’t say one way or the other, but her attitude makes it clear that yup, that’s exactly what happened. This was my favorite scene from the whole episode, because it was actual law and a reveal, and Diane being a bad ass while also being true to her original character. Finally. I wish these moments weren’t so few and far-between these days.
Speaking of which! Alicia and Grace are sitting down with the College Admissions Director, Amy Fossbinder (Jennifer Van Dyck), who still won’t say what passage they claim Grace plagiarized. Alicia is going head to head with this woman, lawyer vs. director, which seems like the worst possible idea if you want your daughter to go to her school. Alicia says she submitted the essay to Genuine Thought independently, and found that the flagged sentence was from the Sermon on the Mount. She’s almost yelling at this lady, and threatening a lawsuit, which I assume the writers think proves she cares about Grace, but I think actually proves that she’s only out for herself. Feel like Alicia hasn’t been in actual mom mode for a long time.
At the Grand Jury proceedings, Mr. Garber has been brought back to give more testimony, and Eli’s magical bathroom is being cleaned, so he can’t listen in. Wow what a twist.
Back in her apartment, Alicia is eating pizza, or tonguing it vaguely, when Jason shows up to cower. He says he thinks he offended her, and she plays shocked, which I’ll say again IS NOT A GOOD LOOK, you passive-aggressive weirdo. He starts to explain the situation, and Alicia interrupts to says she’s fine, she’s an adult. First of all, I’m not buying it, but second of all, do you really want to sell out a moment that big by making your main character not even care about it. And then having the next line to come out of her mouth to be, “Come around the (kitchen) island and kiss me”? Jesus Christ. How the mighty have fallen.
At her second meeting with this College Admissions lady, Alicia has somehow backed them into a corner on not having the Intellectual Property rights to the essays they cross-referenced with. I don’t totally get it, but this lady seems mad and the writers still seem to think that Alicia is doing a good thing, and Grace officially wants to be a baby lawyer now that she saw her mommy yell at another lady, so I guess it’s okay.
Back in court, Judge Abernathy is issuing his judgement. He says it’s his duty to rule with the laws we have, not the ones we wish we had, and finds that there is no direct causal connection. So he’s ruling for the defense, which is devastating, and moving toward damages, which sucks so hard. EXCEPT! In terms of damages, he awards just ten cents a day for every day the billboard remains up. And since Mr. Dargis pays $40 right there on the spot, he earns 400 more days. It seems to be a clever way for Judge Abernathy to get around…doing his job? I see that he wants to be a part of the solution, and it’s a clever conceit for a TV show, but totally unrealistic in real life to let your biases show through like that, but hey Grace wants to be a lawyer now so what can any of us really do.
At LA&L, we’re all admiring Lucca’s new office and laughing excitedly about how much the other associates hate her, and Lucca, Jason, and Alicia are going to go out to celebrate, until Cary materializes, it seems like specifically to whine about the speed of Lucca’s promotion. And also to ask Alicia about his favorite topic, whether Diane has approached her about making the firm all-female. And Alicia lies right to his face and says no, so I guess we know where she landed on all of this.
Oh and then. And then and then and then. Then comes the scene everyone is talking about, where ALICIA GIVES JASON A CASUAL HJ IN THE RESTAURANT. Because it’s the final season, and Grace wants to be a lawyer, and let’s go hogwild with lines like, “The Governor’s wife was arrested for performing a lewd act on an employee.” At what point are we going to acknowledge how incredibly risky and self-destructive Alicia’s life is right now? You have five episodes, so I’m starting the clock.