Alicia’s learned some hard lessons about campaigning against Jimmy Castro to become the new State’s Attorney. But what happens when she’s faced with an opponent who might be more popular than “Saint Alicia”?

We’re nearly one-third of the way through The Good Wife season 6, and politics is really taking center stage, at least when it comes to episode names. First, we had “Oppo Research,” and this week it’s all about “Message Discipline.”

Let’s Be Frank About This

Unfortunately, the message for Cary isn’t so good. Following his bail hearing from last week, the judge sets his trial to begin in 58 days. Finn is still looking for the missing Trey Wagner, the one witness who can connect Cary to Lemond Bishop. Finn asks colleague Geneva Pine for insider info on Cary’s time at the State’s Attorney’s office. Finn isn’t sure what to think when a string of people tell him that a load of cocaine went missing under Cary’s watch three years ago — drugs from a case against Bishop. Finn meets with Alicia in a bar and warns her that Cary’s in trouble, worse than you think. 

Frank Prady, a former lawyer turned popular TV newsman (on CBS, where else?) interviews Peter. At the studio, Eli spots Warren Plepp, a powerful political operative. Could Warren be there to test the waters for someone else? Could it be Frank? Afterwards, Peter tells Eli to find him a new personal lawyer and be sure to include Ramona Lytton on the interview list. Lest we forget, she’s the mother of the lusty intern.

Back at the old/new offices of Florrick, Agos & Lockhart, the partners argue about leasing excess space. (Though this seems merely like an amusing aside, this will become important later.) Eli and campaign manager Jonathan tell Alicia they think that Frank Prady is going to jump into the race, which would be bad news for her candidacy. They want her to go to Prady and ask for his endorsement. See what he does, they tell her. That will give us some clues.

Alicia Needs to Sharpen her “Ask”

In court, Finn brings new drug-related charges against Cary. He has evidence that when Cary was an ASA, evidence against Bishop went missing. 

Alicia goes to Peter’s office and sees Ramona waiting. They greet each other like old friends, and in fact, she’s just coming back into law after raising her kids — just like Alicia. Eli and Jonathan tell her that Frank will see her today, though she doesn’t feel quite ready.

In court, Finn leads Geneva through testimony that makes Cary look guilty, if only by association with the missing cocaine. Diane does a nice job taking apart Geneva’s testimony, but she can’t rely on that. She sends Kalinda out to find out who’s really trying to frame Cary. 

Alicia meets Frank at his studio. He’s a big fan of hers and thinks she’s there to pitch herself for an interview. He admits an endorsement is pretty different. Their awkward conversation results in the promise of an on-air spot, but no endorsement. Alicia later tells Eli and Jon she’s no good at asking for things. They tell her to get over it — she’s a politician now. 

Things are going from bad to worse for Cary. A cop tells Finn that Cary asked to check the cocaine linked to Bishop out of the evidence locker; when they disappeared, the case disappeared. Cary admits to Diane he did check the drugs out to expedite the case, but then they went missing. He doesn’t know what happened, he says. 

At the office, Kalinda calls Cary. She’s frustrated by the new bail rules that require them to stay 30 feet away from one another. But that doesn’t mean she can’t help him. She knows he’s protecting someone — Peter. It was Peter, during his time as State’s Attorney (and Cary’s boss), who told Cary to expedite the case. But Cary knows that Peter didn’t have anything to do with the missing drugs, he protests. Kalinda tells her friend/lover that if he won’t defend himself, she will.

The next day, we learn Ramona got the job working as Peter’s personal attorney. Her first duty is to advise Peter and Eli on the subpoena that just arrived. Peter’s been called to testify in Cary’s case. At first, they want to quash it outright, but she says no — that’s what your opponents expect. Make it clear you have nothing to hide. Besides, even if Cary was following orders, that doesn’t change the fact that he might have committed a crime. We go on the offensive and say that it’s not relevant for Peter to testify — that’s how we quash the subpoena. Eli and Peter are impressed. 

In court, the judge buys her argument. Peter doesn’t need to go to court, and Finn will be allowed to add new charges to Cary’s existing case. 

Alicia Learns her Lesson a Little Too Well

Getting ready for the Prady interview, Jonathan coaches Alicia on the fine art of the sound bite. It’s all about that message discipline — she always needs to pivot back to the campaign and why she’d be a better State’s Attorney.

At the studio, Frank starts with softball questions about how she balances work and home life. She’s thrown by the gentle tone — she was braced for hardball and comes out swinging. She flails miserably and later says it was like her mouth was on autopilot. 

Eli and Jonathan break the news: Prady is planning to run. The only way to beat such a popular guy is to “dirty him up — and fast.” She just wants to have a drink.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel for Cary?

Kalinda locates a woman from the crime lab who claims that the drugs went missing and Cary must have taken them. But Kalinda knows she was bribed — what’s the truth? The truth is, she did it for her cousin, Trey Wagner. She denies knowing where he is, but handy Kalinda gets data off the woman’s car and locates Trey in Gary, Indiana. 

When she finds the former Bishop associate, she gets him to admit he feels guilty about framing Cary. He’s willing to testify for Cary and against Bishop. Kalinda calls Finn to tell him that Trey will turn state’s evidence against his dangerous boss, but they have to give him immunity. Finn’s okay with that. 

But when Finn tells his dangerous boss about the potential deal, the current State’s Attorney doesn’t want to give up on trying to put Cary away. A disgusted Finn realizes that Castro never cared about Bishop. It’s just about the campaign; it’s always been about the campaign. 

A furious Finn resigns. Though he tells Alicia he’s ready to start a new life, he still can’t tell her about Cary’s case. She offers to rent him office space in her building. How convenient!

As part of their oppo research, Eli and Jon show Alicia a thesis Prady wrote back in law school that condemned the idea of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. He’d turn off Jewish voters and Evangelical Christians, too! They’re downright gleeful. But Alicia tells them not to use it — this isn’t something she can support, even if it means losing the election. 

You Be Frank, I’ll Be Alicia

A day later, Castro makes a speech about how he’s always been a friend of Israel, unlike some people. At first, Alicia thinks Jon or Eli slipped Castro the information, but Jon denies it. We all do the same research, he reminds her. Just then, a tearful Diane comes in to tell Alicia that Trey Wagner and his cousin died in a car accident. They were the only two people who could help Cary. With Finn out of the picture, they have to meet the new prosecutor now. Alicia wishes them good luck. 

Frank Prady shows up at her office unannounced. He says he’s been losing friends this morning because of some youthful writings that slipped out. She admits that she heard Castro’s speech. 

He says he’s disgusted by politics — how people are treated like commodities. She thinks he’s there to endorse her, but no. He’s decided to run for office himself, to be part of the change. But Alicia doesn’t buy it — he’s known for days he was going to run. Prady protests that he was going to endorse her until he found out it was her team who leaked the report to Castro. 

While he stands there, she calls Eli and tells him that Prady is running. Frank wishes her luck. Her response? “Yes, it was fun. See you out there.”

Summary Judgment

So let’s stick to this week’s message. Well, two messages, actually. One: it’s Alicia versus Frank and everybody versus Castro! We now know that Castro is as corrupt as he seemed. But Frank is still an unknown quantity. What if something Eli or Jonathan did really was the deciding factor behind his run for office? Whatever’s going on, it’s wonderful to welcome Frasier‘s David Hyde Pierce back to network television. 

Two: Cary’s still in deep trouble, now that the only people who can prove his innocence (as far as we know) are dead. How will he get out of it? Will he get out of it? This is The Good Wife — you can’t predict what will happen next. 

The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9pm (give or take) on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)


Alison Stern-Dunyak

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV