Remember last season when Will and Alicia had to try a case in military court? The unfamiliar rules of conduct almost cost them their case. In this week’s episode, they find themselves in a similar pickle. Only this time, instead of uniforms and medals, it’s all about the wigs. Yes, the British are coming, and they have it in for their former colonists.

Oh, Kalinda becomes Eli’s go-to investigator. Things don’t get much better than that.

The Case in Evidence

In “Death Zone,” the defendant, Danny, has written a book accusing an American millionaire named Cardiff of taking the oxygen bottles from a dying climber on an ill-fated Everest trip. In the American courts, Alicia wins Danny’s case when the plaintiff can’t prove libel.

But rather than withdraw, Cardiff, sues again–this time in the British courts, where libel laws favor the plaintiffs. And his British barrister, Thrush (played by the always-welcome Eddie Izzard) warns Will that he comes from the England of football (i.e., soccer) thugs, so expect a rough game.

Despite those great ads on BBCAmerica for Law & Order: UK that say the British courts are just like American ones–but with wigs!–Will and Alicia soon find out that’s not quite true. The British judge may allow them to conduct witness depositions using video-teleconferencing, but he still expects the same deference and traditions as in the British courts. Both Will and Alicia falter badly when it comes to showing the proper submissive attitude to the judge. (Alicia’s inability to be “demure” for the judge is a big turn-on for Will.)

Fortunately, Danny’s British solicitor, Brannon, saves the day with his arcane knowledge of British libel law. By maneuvering into evidence the fact that Cardiff had taken gear from a dying Japanese climber on another trip, Brannon gets the judge to consider Danny’s book a “warning” to other climbers about Cardiff’s behavior. The judge buys it, and Cardiff loses his suit.

Hostile Witness

Diane approaches Will about bidding on a plum job–handling all the civil cases aimed at government employees through the State’s Attorney’s office. Will is skeptical, given the presence of both Peter’s wife Alicia and campaign manager Eli at Lockhart-Gardner. They agree, however, the annual $20 million fee would be nice.

But when Diane talks to Peter about the work, he says that he’s concerned about their continuing association with known drug dealer Lamont Bishop. Although Diane insists they only handle his legitimate business issues, Peter suggests they allow the state department of taxation to audit Lockhart-Gardner’s books. A good-faith gesture.

Will doesn’t like it, and neither does Diane. And it turns out that the other firms bidding for the work aren’t being asked to open their books. It might have ended there, but Diane decides to talk to Peter once more. Not knowing that Peter no longer occupies that fabulous Chicago apartment, she knocks on Alicia’s door. No Peter.

So she asks Alicia her opinion. Our good wife says that she’s always tried to keep her personal and business lives separate. Diane pushes for an answer. So Alicia says, no–I wouldn’t do it.

The next day, a suspicious Diane asks Will if Peter and Alicia have separated. A wary Will says that she should ask Alicia herself. Diane settles for getting Will to promise that if Alicia is hurting their business in any way–by making the State’s Attorney an enemy, for instance–they will let her go.

Friend of the Court

“Why haven’t we met before?”

This question, from Eli to Kalinda, reminds the audience that The Good Wife’s two most fascinating characters have never interacted before. (Her answer, “We’ve traveled in different circles,” sums it up nicely.) Though Kalinda helps Eli snag an important crisis management gig with a national political consultant, the circumstances of their meeting are less important than the meeting itself.

Alan Cumming has hinted in several recent interviews that Eli and Kalinda will develop a bantering relationship–and maybe more–this season. If this episode is any indication, this looks like the start of a beautiful friendship.

Summary Judgment

Was anyone besides me surprised The Good Wife didn’t follow up on last week’s unfinished case? No matter–I’m sure they’ll revisit it later this season.

That said, some of TGW‘s most entertaining cases occur when the legal team gets pushed out of its comfort zone. Will’s face off with “soccer thug” Thrush combined with the triumph of previously bashful solicitor Brannon made for fun television. But Will, really–when Alicia makes you hot by being feisty with the judge, can’t you think of a more hygienic rendezvous spot than your executive bathroom? In a word–ewww. (Fortunately, Alicia saw Diane keeping an eagle eye on them and called it off.)

With points both high (Eli and Kalinda–yeah!) and low (Will promising Diane he’d fire Alicia if necessary–boo!), “Death Zone” gave us a good, solid episode. Even better–next week, Lisa Edelstein (formerly House‘s Cuddy) makes her debut as Will’s ex. Does anyone know if Alicia knows martial arts or are stiletto heels enough of a weapon for defending her turf?

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Photo AlbumThe Good Wife – 3.02 – “The Death Zone”

Alison Stern-Dunyak

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV