Ever have the feeling that mysterious things are happening around you, but you can’t quite put your finger on what’s going on? For everyone from Alicia to Cary to Eli, there are unanswered questions and undercurrents aplenty in this week’s new Good Wife. 

One mystery does get solved immediately: Can Lockhart-Gardner survive Will’s absence following his six month suspension from the law?

The Case in Evidence

In “After the Fall,” Alicia takes on one of Will’s cases — a wrongful-death suit that brings her face to face with an old nemesis, Nancy “I’m just a girl from Michigan” Crozier. Alicia’s client, Aiden, has made a documentary purporting to carry an anti-suicide message. Unfortunately for Aiden, the parents of the film’s main subject (a college student named Kara) accuse him of actually encouraging suicidal behavior by making jumping from a bridge look romantic. 

Both plaintiffs and the dependent have points in their favor. It turns out that suicides at that particular bridge are so commonplace that all Aiden had to do was set up a remote video feed from a locked-in-place camera and wait. Yet he and his crew were also aware that the police always take the better part of an hour to show up for 911 calls to the bridge. By delaying their calls until a person is already on the other side of the railing, they saved none of the five people who killed themselves during the course of making the film. 

Moreover, Aiden had made a YouTube video promoting the unfinished film to help him gain funding. The plaintiffs claim the film “inspired” Kara to kill herself. But the L-G team shows that Kara had been posting suicidal status updates on Facebook for months before the video appeared. And her father, who brought the suit in the first place, had told her he was withdrawing financial support from her two days before she died. 

It seems there’s culpability all around. Alicia offers a settlement — if the plaintiffs drop the suit, she’ll have Aiden put a disclaimer at the beginning of the film. Crozier counters with the disclaimer plus half the profits going to a suicide-prevention organization. Alicia’s client takes the deal.

Hostile Witnesses

Back at the office, Diane has her hands full with partners jockeying to fill Will’s position in the firm while he’s on leave. Julius Cain from litigation David Lee from family law, and Eli all vie to become name partners — claiming a spot on the letterhead and better office space to boot. David tells niece Caitlin he’ll be needing her help, while Eli and Julius (appear to) join forces.

Diane begs Will (who is home contentedly writing a book) to come back to L-G and stake his claim. Much to the displeasure of the circling sharks, Will returns after only a week — but not because he fears losing his job. Rather, it’s because his visiting sisters, Aubrey and Sara, drive him out of his own apartment with harping demands that he find a new job, get a girlfriend and make something of his life. Apparently being partner in a law firm with 300 employees and $40 million in billings isn’t enough for them. (I hope they never ask to see my year-end tax returns!)

Unethical Behavior

Eli gets Peter a lunch date with political heavy-hitter Donna Brazile. They’re angling to get Peter a keynote speaking spot at the upcoming Democratic National Convention. Though Peter charms Brazile, she confides to Eli that no one in Chicago supports him. 

Eli discovers that when Peter made his big comeback to the State’s Attorney’s office, he alienated his old colleagues because he decided to never hire friends — he wants to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Eli tells Peter that he may have to relent on this to get support for the speaking engagement. He also asks Peter whether he’s really committed to running for governor. Peter’s enigmatic answer leaves Eli wondering where he stands. 

Apparently Peter can’t resist the limelight. He tells Cary that he’s hiring a new assistant State’s Attorney — one who just happens to be an old political supporter. Bringing in the man means bumping another attorney from her department head role. Cary asks if they should talk about it first. But Peter says he’s made the call. Just make it happen.

With no knowledge that Peter has compromised his principles to get his keynote address, a baffled Cary is left having to explain the demotion to the understandably angry (former) department head.

Legal Briefs

Other times to ponder this week:

  • When Alicia realizes that the judge in her case is entranced by blondes like Nancy Crozier, she puts young associate Caitlin front and center. Caitlin does so well, both in her cross-examinations and in attracting the judge’s attention, Diane makes her a full litigator. Alicia doesn’t understand the rush to promote such an inexperienced employee, but — like Cary — she goes along with management’s decision. Could David be pulling some strings behind the scenes?
  • What’s up with Kalinda’s taxes? Alicia needs to know why some of the places the investigator claims to have worked don’t exist. Though Kalinda nonchalantly says they do exist, I’m thinking this is going to blow up in her face some time soon.
  • Great guest stars this week. Besides the aforementioned Donna Brazile, we also had the welcome return of Mamie Gummer (look-alike daughter of Meryl Streep) and the introduction of Will’s sisters, played by Nurse Jackie‘s Merritt Wever and The Big C‘s Nadia Dajani. Though I’m not sure if the whole “we just don’t get our brother” shtick can be replayed, I’d be glad to see them again sometime.

Summary Judgment

Solid episode, with a good mixture of an interesting case (I loved seeing the in-court demonstration of how the documentarians manipulate their video footage), behind-the-scenes political wrangling and office shenanigans. My only quibble: I think they wrapped up the “Where is Will?” storyline a little too quickly. 

I certainly hope we’ll get to see Chris Noth actually deliver that keynote address later this year. Picture it: Peter wants to discuss the topic of “second chances,” so Noth could talk about getting his big break on Law & Order (where he had a rocky relationship with the producers), then moving on to Sex and the City and now rating “special guest star” status on The Good Wife. That would make a lot of disaffected voters tune in, don’t you think?

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Alison Stern-Dunyak

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV