It took me a few minutes to realize that there wouldn't be two different cases on the latest episode of The Good Wife, "Two Courts." Instead, the plot revolves around the hard lessons learned in the courtroom and inside the basketball key. (Two courts, get it?)
At first, it appears that Will gets schooled, but he manages to overcome his early-game deficits to rebound -- all the way back into Diane's (and Kalinda's and Alicia's) good graces.
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Court of Public Opinion
This week's murder case serves mainly to introduce an amusing character -- a jury consultant similar to Lie to Me's Cal Lightman. He calls his talent "reading microexpressions." But a skeptical Kalinda accuses him of performing magic at his clients' expense. He claims it's just that people are predictable -- "like animals." (I don't think even Cal would go that far.)
Will's run-in (literally) with the presiding judge during a friendly game of b-ball turns out to be far more important to the case's outcome, however. Despite Will's earnest apology, one ruling after another goes against him throughout the trial. The irritated Judge Grudge (OK, not his real name) refuses Will's request to recuse himself or at least let Will withdraw. He snaps, "It's called defense -- you should learn to play some."
It looks like Will is going to need some new basketball opponents -- and a new jury consultant. After convincing Will that the jury's "microbursts of expression" show they'll vote for acquittal, they find the defendant guilty in only 20 minutes.
But forget the courtroom and the gym. The real fireworks take place back at Lockhart-Gardner & Bond. Honestly, didn't you think the Will-Diane fallout would drag out until at least the end of the season? Things move fast in Chicago.
And at first, the situation indeed seems to be where we left it last week. Will and Diane are at odds over her departure plans. Diane, still fishing for associates, asks Cary to join her new firm. Blake lords his position as Derrick's favorite over Kalinda. Meanwhile, Derrick and Will conspire to keep Diane on board just long enough to bring on a new client, a giant political action committee -- then they'll boot her.
Will learns Derrick has ordered Blake to perform "informational gathering" background checks on the partners and associates -- including a furious Alicia. It turns out Derrick has been pitting Diane and Will against each other in a classic divide-and-conquer move. They've been played!
But Will takes the judge's advice about practicing defense to heart. He confesses to Diane that he and Derrick had lied to her and admits that Bond took advantage of them both. They agree to secretly play along with Derrick's plot until the super-PAC become their client -- and then they'll boot Derrick. Woot!
The Best Evidence
Many good moments this week. Among the highlights:
Overdue (p)raise: Fearful that Kalinda will defect to Diane's new firm, he offers her $50K bump in salary -- as long as he knows she's got his back. She assures him he does -- and always will.
Eli to me: Jackie Florrick, feeling left out of son Peter's campaign, convinces him to bring on an old friend as a fundraiser. Eli spots the man for the sleazebag that he is. In a clever bit of maneuvering (with Alicia's advice) Eli gets Peter to persuade Jackie she's backing the wrong horse. By episode's end, Jackie is BFFs with Eli, something I didn't see coming (what with her casual anti-Semitism and all).
The truth hurts: After the jury consultant's bad call, Alicia asks the foreman -- in the name of helping future clients -- why did they vote for the defendant's guilt so quickly? "Because he did it," says the man. "I hope that helps." He walks off, leaving a bemused Alicia behind.
Several thanks go out for this episode: For relieving our collective stress at the thought of losing the irreplaceable Christine Baranski from the show, even for a short time. For finally having Will acknowledge Kalinda's value.
And especially, thanks for bringing back the comedy stylings of Eli Gold and Jackie Florrick. I'm dreading the end of Peter's campaign, if only because I'll hate to see that team break up.
(Image courtesy of CBS)