Poor Alicia — still no victory lap for the new State’s Attorney on The Good Wife. You didn’t think those juicy e-mails between her and Will were just going to disappear, did you? Do they ever?

Meanwhile, back at Alicia’s soon-to-be-former law firm, Diane’s taking on a case that’s so timely it’s bordering on freakish. But all that might pale in comparison to what Kalinda’s done — and how far the damage could spread.

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Women Under Pressure

In “Loser Edit,” we open with a news magazine reporter (think 60 Minutes, but not as classy) putting together a piece on “Saint Alicia.” (It’s worth it for the hairstyle flashbacks alone.) We get to see all the raw footage of the interview between Alicia and Petra, the reporter. Let’s just say some sound bites are better than others.

While she’s editing the footage, reporter Petra (Lily Rabe) receives a batch of those hacked e-mails from the past five years, many full of dirt. Her self-described “puff piece” won’t be so puffy now.

Back at Florrick/Agos/Lockhart, Kalinda is suspicious about the return of Andrew Wiley, the private investigator and dad. (Welcome back, Tim Guinee!) He’s investigating Cary’s case, which was dismissed after Kalinda used fake e-mail metadata to create evidence of shenanigans by the cops. 

The real problem isn’t that part of it (Cary was indeed innocent), but that Diane unwittingly provided false evidence to the court — a big, bad offense. Without revealing her actual role in the case, Kalinda asks Finn for advice about the consequences of her actions. 

A Timely Case

At the request of her buddy (and new client), the fabulously wealthy R.D. (Oliver Platt), Diane visits the Plenary Institute, a conservative think tank. R.D.’s asked her to play devil’s advocate on the topic of the day — gay marriage and religious rights. The group must decide whether to fund a case involving a baker in California who wouldn’t bake a wedding cake for a gay wedding. Diane says it’s a weak case, especially under California law. 

She and the men continue to go at it at R.D.’s urging. Where is the line between discrimination against a protected class and religious belief? (A serious issue, but the little re-enactments of possible scenarios are hilarious.) 

After several rounds of arguments with R.D.’s think tankers, the billionaire tells Diane she’s convinced him — he’s not going to fund the baker’s case. But this guy doesn’t give up so easily, does he? 

Our suspicions prove valid when Diane learns that R.D.’s going to fund a different case. This one involves a wedding planner in Idaho. Did I forget to tell you that Diane said the services provided by a wedding planner might be an easier case to win? Ouch! (And you can just substitute the word “Indiana” for “Idaho” to see what I mean by timely.)

Is Petra Crossing an Ethical Line?

Petra’s still working on the piece, cutting in sentences from the leaked e-mails. We quickly see how the episode got its name — and Alicia’s the loser in this edit. 

The reporter interviews her a second time, for “clarity.” She dives right into Alicia’s relationship with Will. Those e-mails between Alicia and her late lover are pretty damning (and racy!).

Eli and Josh accuse Petra of improperly using the illegally obtained e-mails. It’s unethical, they say. It’s journalism, she says. Her producer says he’s going to hold up airing the interview until he can think on it some more. Petra considers leaking her piece to Gawker or TMZ. 

Back at the office, PI Wiley seems to be getting into the heart of the case — it’s all about the metadata. Kalinda’s visibly nervous. 

Finn approaches Kalinda and asks her for a dollar. She hands it over and he announces he’s now her lawyer. Did she fake metadata to get Cary released? She confesses, saying Diane was totally clueless. Finn tells her to keep quiet from here on out.

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A Mock Trial with Real Implications

A furious Diane accuses R.D. of tricking her to help him find a stronger case. He points out that if she believes gay marriage is right, then it should be able to withstand opposition like his. To help prove his point, he asks her to play the plaintiff’s attorney in a mock trial.

The “judge” in their trial, Jeffrey Solomon (Richard Masur), is a famous liberal justice. R.D. says he’s stacking the deck against himself — he expects Diane to win. The defendant is real, however. She’s firm in her Christian beliefs and quite knowledgeable about the Bible. 

But she’s not as knowledgeable about her clients, some of whom were previously married. It turns out Jesus never actually mentioned gay marriage, but he did condemn divorce. Diane calls out the woman for having selective religious objections. 

Meanwhile, Eli decides to take a two-pronged attack to keep Petra from selling her story to a celebrity gossip site. (Daughter Marissa sounds downright nostalgic at the thought of a “two-pronged” attack, which apparently must have been common at the Gold family dinner table.)

He first offers Petra an interview with Peter. Who wouldn’t want commentary from the governor? Second, Eli and Josh “pre-spin” the e-mails by taking her story to a friendly reporter. He wants her to take charge of her story. 

Big problem, though: Eli thinks that Alicia was just tempted by Will. He doesn’t seem to realize they had an actual affair. Alicia finally admits it was an affair, and she won’t tarnish Will’s memory by saying negative stuff about him — not even to protect her reputation. 

Peter and Alicia discuss their mutual dilemma over a glass of wine. They talk calmly, almost as though they’ve forgiven each other, or at least like each other. He gets that “look” in his eye, but she quickly shuts him down — no sex for you, Peter, you bad boy!

“I haven’t been as bad as you wanted me to be,” he tells his estranged wife. “And I loved you. I still love you.” She’s conflicted by her mixed feelings. Can’t they just say they enjoy sitting and drinking wine together? 

What It Means to Go for the Jugular

During the mock trial, Diane interviews Todd — a stand-in for Nils, the actual plaintiff. Despite being an actor, the man’s arguments are impassioned; he feels like a second-class citizen. R.D. walks in to see that the actor is actually his own much-beloved and very gay nephew. He’s furious with Diane about the casting. She reminds him that he told her to “go for the jugular.”

R.D. says this is beyond that — it’s an insult. She tells him he has to see how these cases affect real people. “Finish what you started,” he angrily says.

Finn tells Kalinda she needs to “contain” Howell, the IT guy who taught her how to change metadata. But he’s busy — in an interview with Wiley.

Josh finds a friendly (and laughably stupid) reporter, Willoughby (Mo Rocca), to interview Alicia. Perfect for their purposes. He buys her story that the racy e-mails only describe a “flirtation” with Will, not an affair. Meanwhile, Eli gives his own interview to another reporter (Kim Masters, an actual journalist in the real world), maneuvering her to scoop Petra Moritz before it’s too late. Every reporter loves a scoop!

Howell tells Kalinda that he lied to Wiley for her. But Wiley’s smart as always. He flat-out tells K he knows what she did. The sooner she comes clean, the better it will go for her and Diane. 

Back at the mock trial, the plaintiff’s attorney accuses Todd/Nils about whether he brought the suit solely as a test case. Todd denies that, saying he’s in love (apparently the real Todd is in love and wants his uncle to know it). More important, he wants to know why no one ever asks him what he believes. He believes in God, too.

Peter gives Petra an interview. She quickly “goes there”: did Alicia have an affair with Will? The governor says he can’t say one way or another — he has no knowledge of it. He also accuses Petra of having a vendetta against Alicia. “You have a grudge against her — you do,” he insists. Her producer shuts down the interview. 

“I think that went well, don’t you?” Peter asks. 

An “October Surprise” in April

At the mock trial, Judge Solomon says both sides argued well, but he rules in favor of the “plaintiffs.” As a victorious Diane prepares to leave, R.D. asks her about the fairness of having family members play such a central role in court cases. She reminds him that the law is always personal. “It has to see the human side, or else it’s almost meaningless,” she says. 

He’s still going to fund the wedding planner’s case. He reminds her that just a few years ago, many Democratic politicians were against gay marriage — now they’re not because (in his opinion) it’s the politically expedient thing to do. He likes people who stand by their beliefs in the long term. “I think religious accommodation must be made for people to do that.” She says nothing, though the two seem to have developed mutual respect.

Petra’s piece finally airs. Alicia, Eli and Josh watch approvingly at what appears to be a “winner’s edit” that paints her as a woman on the rise. Until the last minute, when Petra reveals she has evidence of a new charge against Alicia — vote tampering! 

“Oh, we are all in trouble now,” Eli hisses. Alicia looks stunned. 

Summary Judgment

“Loser Edit” provided a master class from both sides of the interviewer’s desk. Whether it’s Eli’s spin or Petra’s special effects-laden edit of Alicia’s story, neither the politicians nor the journalists come out looking too good. And now the new State’s Attorney has an entirely new bundle of trouble waiting to be unwrapped.

Meanwhile, Kalinda’s managed to put both herself and Diane in the hot seat (though Diane doesn’t know it yet). It’s starting to look like the whole Lemond Bishop storyline was a red herring — it might be metadata that brings Kalinda down. But will she take Diane down with her?

Three women, three big problems. With only four more Good Wife episodes left in season 6, it looks like the clock is ticking down to an explosive conclusion. 

The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9pm on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Alison Stern-Dunyak

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV