It's all about the numbers this week in the world of Alicia Florrick. How many families make up a class action suit? How much of the youth vote can Peter count on? And most important, how many votes does it take to oust a conniving partner?
In "Real Deal," nothing is at it seems, from a lawyer with suspect motives to a business associate spying on his own colleagues. Ironically, the most honest man in the room appears to be the one who spent time in prison.
The Facts Before the Court
The week's case is more about the lawyers than the law. Lockhart-Gardner has to duke it out with a rival lawyer for control of a class-action suit involving the poisoning of a neighborhood by a pesticide company.
Despite the lack of low-cut tops and dangling earrings, Alicia makes a pretty convincing Erin Brockovich. As she's making headway signing on families to the suit, she discovers someone else is trying to do the same. The big surprise: Her opponent is Lewis Canning (Michael J. Fox), the disabled attorney who faced off with her last year. He's now a sole practitioner, no longer representing big companies. He's had a change of heart. Or so he says.
Even after the judge (the always-welcome Denis O'Hare) combines the classes and forces Canning and the L-G team to work together, Alicia and Kalinda try to prove that Canning is actually in the pocket of the pesticide company. It turns out that he is -- and he isn't.
Canning tries to undercut the larger award L-G wants by bringing forward a lower offer from the company. After she questions his motives, he tells Alicia that he does believe the pesticide company harmed the people in the suit. But he believes just as much that lawyers like L-G do harm by seeking too much in damages. If that makes him a cynic, then so be it.
The intrigue at L-G continues apace. Will and Diane scheme with family-law litigator David Lee, who practically cackles at the idea of taking down Derrick Bond. Just as the L-G team has to calculate how many clients they can sign for the lawsuit, they must carefully figure out who will support their efforts. Things only get more complicated when they think they have a mole who is feeding Canning insider info.
But Canning isn't actually that canny -- the real culprit is Bond, who has been using spy software on staff computers to learn what's going on. (The nerve!) Working with Kalinda, our favorite law team sets a trap for Bond using fake information. After he walks right into their snare, I felt a bit like cackling myself.
Let's face it: It's a crazy mixed-up world when a politician is the straightest shooter in town.
Peter and Eli hire a pollster who used to work with Wendy Scott-Carr. The man tells them that Peter gained a lot of street cred with young people when he swore on television while defending his family. Normally this wouldn't be very important --y oung people don't vote much -- but with a medical marijuana law on the ballot, that may not be the case this time.
Peter starts to reach out to local college students -- even asking an old prison buddy, a famous rapper, to hold a benefit concert for him. Eli isn't sure that this is the right road to go down. But after he meets an admirer who's been making goofy videos supporting Peter (because he spoke against bullying where the man teaches), Eli starts to realize that Peter connects with people on a deep level. Maybe he's the "real deal" after all.
A well-balanced episode, with nice amounts of screen time for most of our favorites. And though I'm not a big fan of the Will-Tammy relationship, it seems to be sticking for now. Perhaps that's for the best. It's clear Tammy makes Alicia uncomfortable -- jealous, even. But Alicia's a married woman with a family, including a husband she's welcomed back to her bed.
Some of the best scenes this week, in fact, involve Alicia and Will just talking. When Will, worried about Tammy, says, "I need friends -- a buddy I can tell things to and get drunk with," Alicia smiles sweetly and says, "I'll work on that."
But is this new era in their story the real deal? The previews for the next episode -- Valentine's Day week, fittingly -- seem to indicate that we're actually seeing the calm before the storm. With Lockhart-Gardner & Bond about to boil over and Alicia ready to ask Will about "the" voice mail, expect some fireworks to erupt next week.
(Image courtesy of CBS)