'The Good Wife' Mid-Season Finale Recap: Does Cary Take the Plea Deal?
'The Good Wife' Mid-Season Finale Recap: Does Cary Take the Plea Deal?
Alison Stern-Dunyak
Alison Stern-Dunyak
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
It's finally here -- Cary's day in court. Unfortunately, just because he's a name partner in a law firm doesn't mean he won't end up in the slammer. Will Florrick, Agos & Lockhart have to change its letterhead? 

In a week that swings wildly between the tragic and the absurd, Alicia faces campaign troubles that pale in comparison to her friend's legal burdens.

No Deal

In the bluntly named "The Trial," our man Cary is getting ready for court. But once again, he's the client, not the defender.

Things don't start well. Judge Cuesta (David Paymer) is having a bad day, and he's ready to take it out on all the participants. Cuesta calls Cary, Diane and Geneva Pine into his chambers -- he doesn't actually want to bring this case to trial. The State's Attorney offers Cary 10 years if he pleads out, but Cary refuses. He stands by his innocence.

Geneva then offers six years. With good behavior, he'll be out in three. Alicia -- who's come to offer advice and moral support -- says no way. She reminds him he'll be a felon and unable to practice law. Diane thinks juries are risky, so maybe taking the deal is the way to go. 

But Cary says he won't survive any jail time. Alicia tries to get Finn to find out if the State's Attorney's offer is final, but he reminds them it would be unethical to dig into his old employer's business.

Did You Hear the One about the Parent Who Threatened a Teacher?

Alicia gets called away by a phone call from mother-in-law Jackie. She's calling from Grace's school. By any chance did Alicia threaten to kill a teacher with a knife?

Alicia rushes to the school. The principal reads a note, written by Alicia, that says she'll kill Grace's gym teacher if he makes the girl run in phys ed while she's sick. Funny thing -- it was just meant to be a joke between Alicia and Grace.  (Mom was making a literary reference.) Funny thing -- the note made its way to the teacher and no one's laughing. 

Grace showed the note to her civics teacher while they were discussing satire. Alicia apologizes profusely, and the principal seems willing to drop the whole thing.

At campaign HQ, Eli and Jon are fighting over what Alicia should say about Cary's trial, especially if he's found guilty. When a journalist calls, though, it's not for a comment about Cary, it's about the "death threat" against the teacher. 

Who Knew Geneva Had a Life?

Well, well, well -- uptight Geneva Pine seems to have a secret boyfriend! Before the trial starts, she's on the phone telling someone she "can't leave him" and "don't smile at me on the stand or I'll crack up." Whoever she's talking to will be in that courtroom.

Based on the funny faces they're making at each other, the "other man" in Geneva's life seems to be the detective who has the wiretap tapes of Cary talking with Lemond Bishop's crew. Against Diane's strong objections, Geneva plays the tape. A man enters the courtroom and drops off a note for Geneva that says "We need to talk." How many men are in Geneva's life anyway?

At campaign HQ, the "two horsemen of the Apocalypse" (as the journalist calls them) are hashing out what to do about Alicia's "joke." Bodywoman Marissa says they should really just say it was a joke. Who would believe that Alicia would knife a teacher?

Diane grills the detective and scores some points. He admits that confidential informant Trey Wagner (who was killed before the trial) told him he set up Cary to take a fall by selectively turning the wiretap recorder on and off. Which is exactly what Cary has said all along. 

Grizzly Mom

BuzzFeed gives Alicia some good press -- suddenly she's a "grizzly mom" protecting her daughter. But Frank Prady takes advantage of her faux pas, saying anyone who threatens a teacher with violence should be prosecuted. Eli and Jon offer to go after Prady with their oppo research. 

At the ASA's office, we see a picture in Geneva's office. Apparently, "Note Man" is her husband. She's looking at the photo guiltily when Jimmy Castro comes to see her. He tells her they can't lose this case, and "You know what to do." After he leaves, the detective from the trial slips in and tells her they're over. She's having a bad day, too, but decides to take action. 

She calls Kalinda to the stand.

Disorder in the Court 

As Kalinda begins to testify, one of the jurors looks ... suspicious. Weirdly, everything people say sounds garbled. Geneva asks Kalinda about "Lumar Bishop" and if she was Cary's "hunter." (She actually said "lover.") Nothing makes sense. We realize that we're hearing things from the juror's POV. He's either partly deaf or has another issue, but this has to affect the trial's outcome, doesn't it?

Finn asks Alicia if they've been avoiding each other. He says he likes her as a friend, but they don't want anything awkward. They agree to meet in diners, not bars, and talk about the law.

Prady comes to Alicia's office. He's furious about a leak to the press about him being gay. She denies having anything to do with that, but reminds him about what he said about prosecuting her. In turn, he tells her the reporter asked him what he thought was a random question -- he claims he didn't know about her joke.

But he won't retract what he said -- that might actually help her win. He just won't fight dirty. She calls him on his hypocrisy, since they're now even in the polls.
 
In court, the judge asks all the jurors to leave the courtroom, except for Juror 11. Is that our impaired guy or someone else? Yes, indeed. Judge Cuesta got a note saying the juror may be partly deaf and can't fully understand the trial. 

But it's not deafness. He suffers from an auditory processing disorder, which sometimes makes words go wonky in his head. The man claims he followed the trial, but he fails the judge's verbal test. 

Those Darn Ethics!

At Grace's school, Alicia goes to see the civics teacher who still has the "joke" note. The woman has a motive for inviting Alicia to visit -- she wants a special teacher advisory group for the State's Attorney office. Alicia doesn't want to do it because it's patronage. Eli tries to get her to relent, but it's a no. Eli rolls his eyes, saying, "You know -- ethics."

After he's dismissed, the juror stops Cary and Kalinda in the hall and says he thought Cary was innocent. Oh boy. Kalinda tells Cary she'll see what she can do to help him. She calls Alicia and says they need to get a line on Dante, the only remaining member of Bishop's crew who can clear Cary. Alicia says she can't get anything from Finn, but Kalinda tells her she needs to try again.

Alicia's note is now on the Interwebs in its full gory glory. Somehow it just doesn't seem that funny to Eli and Jon. They tell her to give the teachers their patronage jobs.

At a diner, Alicia asks Finn to help Cary's case. There's a storm and the lights go out. Suddenly, they're in the dark talking by candlelight. He says he can't say anything, but he slips her surveillance photos from Bishop's house. He gets all coy and won't say where they're from.

Kalinda Saves the Day?

Kalinda takes the package to Bishop's house. He's annoyed she's there. Why are you coming to ask about Dante? She shows him the photos -- four known drug dealers entering his house. It's not enough to get Bishop arrested, but it's enough for Child Protective Services to take his son Dylan away. 

He's furious about the threat, but she says they just want his help, for Cary's sake. In court the next day, we learn she's been successful in finding Dante. 

For once, Cary's looking hopeful. As Dante testifies, Bishop enters the courtroom. Dante's story changes on the fly -- he says Cary taught the crew how to break the law. It's a complete reversal from his original statements to Diane.

A sinister Bishop tells Kalinda she needs to understand no one can threaten him and get away with it. She pleads with Bishop to let Dante tell the truth, but he tells her that's her problem. It's a disaster. 

Back at Florrick, Agos & Lockhart, Kalinda offers to talk to Bishop again. Don't take the plea, she says. 

He's convinced they'll convict him. His life isn't his own anymore. 

Diane brings in Geneva with a new offer: time served, plus probation, if he'll testify against Bishop. He refuses, so she offers a lighter sentence on the conspiracy charge: four years. He'll probably serve two. Diane says a jury might give him 15 years. 

There's Something About Cary

He walks out in despair. Diane and Alicia talk. Maybe Alicia can advise Cary. Oh, and did you threaten to knife one of Grace's teachers? "Not one of my better moments," a rueful Alicia admits.

But things are turning around. The civics teacher gave an interview saying the whole thing was a joke -- Alicia's a great mom! Saint Alicia is worried that Eli and Jon caved on patronage, but "all" they did was give some teachers seats on a newly-created Illinois Safety Commission. No worries!

Cary walks down the now-darkened streets of Chicago. A black SUV pulls up with Bishop inside. Would you like to talk? 

Cary gets in the car. Bishop tells him that Cary's been loyal. Even though the trial's not over, it's over. Cary's toast.

Bishop offers to move him out of the country to serve as his legal consultant in Europe. Cary says he can't jump bail or the firm's out $1.4 million. Bishop tells him to send the money from overseas -- don't go to jail for four years because of a law firm.

Cary wanders back into the office. Alicia's waiting and tells him to fight the charges. He says no, he can't fight anymore.

But you're innocent -- we can only appeal if you don't take the plea, she reminds him. She's devastated by his choice. They hug tearfully. 

In court, Cary revises his plea. To guilty. 

Summary Judgment

Oh, Cary. Cary, Cary, Cary. If you were on a different show, you'd be a free man now. But oThe Good Wife, as in real life, things don't always work out the way we hope. 

Just when we thought Kalinda had saved the day, Cary's (and the audience's) hopes are dashed again. We know he can't bear the thought of prison again. Will he jump bail and become the barrister of Barcelona for Bishop? Or will a guilt-stricken Kalinda do something crazy and dangerous out of loyalty for her friend/lover? 

As the doctored wiretaps and the misunderstood "joke" showed, context is everything. Fortunately for Alicia, she's weathered this storm, but Cary's not so lucky. What a heartbreaker of an episode, and what a great performance by Matt Czuchry, who does despair better than just about anyone. Emmy nomination, anyone? 

Speaking of despair -- now we wait for the back half of season 6 to see what happens. l'll be back in January, full of hope that the New Year brings a new day for Cary. 

The Good Wife returns January 4, 2015 at 9pm on CBS.


(Image courtesy of CBS)