Welcome back, Alicia and company! Hope you had a great holiday and a fine New Year celebration! Now -- back to work.
In the first new episode of 2011, "Breaking Up," a crime tests the limits of love for a young couple. Meanwhile, Diane tests the limits of Will's loyalty when he learns about her plans to bust up the firm. In both cases, the results aren't pretty.
The Case Before the Court
Will asks Alicia to handle the seemingly simple case of a young man -- the son of an important client -- who's been picked up on a prescription drug charge. It turns out his girlfriend (played by Leelee Sobieski) is also involved. Thinking she'll get the charges dropped to probation, Alicia offers to rep the girl as well.
Things start looking suspicious when Cary shows up. Though he claims he's always assigned cases involving Lockhart-Gardner, his true motives soon surface: The couple is implicated in the shooting death of a pharmacist in a burglary gone very wrong. Agos also convinces the girl's mother to find different representation than L-G, because of conflict of interest.
Throughout the show, Will, Alicia and Diane try to get their client, Jon, to turn on his girlfriend, Alexis, and her lawyer does the same thing on the flip side. Evidence ultimately proves that Alexis indeed shot the pharmacist -- to save Jon.
Both remain steadfast, however, and Jon baffles his lawyers by confessing to the crime. The reason: Alexis is pregnant, and he wants her free to have their baby. After a tearful embrace at the police station, the cops lead Jon away as Alexis becomes hysterical. True love wins -- but with a high price.
An uglier scene awaits when Will discovers Diane's plot to go rogue.
Gardner learns the disturbing news through an unlikely source -- his sports writer squeeze, Tammy. One of her contacts tells her of Diane's plans, and she passes on the rumor to her beau. Will, stunned, hurt and angry (take your pick -- you can't miss) waits until the resolution of the murder case and then confronts Diane with his knowledge.
Diane makes it clear she's leaving because the merger with Derrick Bond has left her out in the cold. He vehemently tells her she's paranoid, but she refuses to budge. She also lets it slip that she's offered a position to Alicia, who is "thinking it over." This gives Will pause, since he knows he disappointed Alicia by trying to get young Jon turn on his beloved.
He snaps to, however. In a fury, he tells Diane to pack her things and get out--he's calling a meeting of the equity partners to remove her from the firm. Ironically, this last jab only reinforces her belief that Will has turned everyone against her.
Holy WestLaw -- is this the end of Lockhart-Gardner?
A few notable bits:
Best line of the night: From guest star Frederick Weller (Marshal Marshall!), in a return appearance as Hobson, the lawyer who sparred with Will a few eps back. As Alexis's lawyer, he pleads with her to turn on Jon -- take the deal of a reduced charge: "I know you think that love lasts forever, but it doesn't -- love wilts in the face of 25 years. And then it will just be you and a prison cell."
Best advice of the night: From Alicia (of course), who counsels her lovelorn brother, Owen, about making relationships last: "I think it's not just about the heart, Owen -- sometimes the heart needs ... steering."
Best image of the night: Hands down, it's Jackie Florrick, tipsily wearing an immense African headdress (a vacation gift from Owen to Alicia). As she totters across the apartment, she admits to her daughter-in-law that she might have had "a glass of wine."
The Jury Has Reached a Verdict
Let's face it -- any show would be hard-pressed to top the heart-stopping suspense of the last new episode ("Nine Hours"). But you have to love TGW for moving a major plot line -- the possible break up of Lockhart-Gardner--toward a decision point, instead of waiting for a season-ending cliffhanger.
On the downside -- no Peter, no Eli. But you can't have everything, and we did get tipsy Jackie, which counts for a lot in my book. That certainly bodes well for 2011.
(Image courtesy of CBS)