All through the latest episode of The Good Wife, I had to ask myself, am I watching the evening news? Because that’s how up-to-the-minute it felt.

The Good Wife is nothing if not topical. But this week, it’s as though they predicted events of the past week, even though the episode was probably filmed two months ago. (Even Law & Order never managed that trick.) Plus, Cary may be leaving L&G and Diane’s engaged — those are pretty important bits of news, too.

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What’s Idealism Without Realism?

In “Rape: A Modern Perspective,” Will’s client is a young woman named Rainey. She’s brought a civil suit against Todd, the student who raped her but avoided prison in a plea bargain. Since he wasn’t convicted in open court, she’s facing an uphill climb to victory. Then she tweets that Todd raped her, naming him openly.Thanks to the judge’s gag order, her tweet earns a contempt citation and jail time. Judge Parks will free her if she apologizes for sending the tweet, but she refuses. After all, if she loses her case, then she’ll be on record as saying that Todd didn’t actually rape her. 

Alicia joins the case, but not before telling returning client Dylan Stack, creator of Bitcoin, about Rainey’s plight. (They were meeting to discuss having Lockhart & Gardner take on a new case for him.) He’s intrigued by Alicia describing Rainey as idealistic, but not realistic. Dylan considers himself quite the idealist, too.

Stack’s interest becomes more than peripheral when Zach and Grace start receiving texts from “a friend” — each with video and photos proving Todd’s guilt. The texts infuriate the judge, who views them as interfering with the case. Though Stack denies his involvement, he lets it slip that the files came from hacker-activist group Anonymous. And many in the group happen to be his friends. When Alicia confronts Stack, he says she should be grateful — the case is going badly, and the L&G team needs the help.

With Friends of the Court Like These…

Despite Alicia’s pleas, the activists from Anonymous post another damning video, not in a text to Alicia’s kids, but online. (This time, Stack says his acquaintances had nothing to do with it — many people are part of Anonymous.) The hackers also start showing up in court, wearing their trademark Guy Fawkes masks (V for Vendetta fans, represent!). The video, which includes Todd’s home address, is the last straw. The judge calls a mistrial, but refuses to rescind the contempt order against Rainey. She’ll be in jail, while Todd’s off to Princeton.

Rainey’s saved by a surprising source — none other than Kalinda. Our favorite PI has finagled the cop who interrogated Todd into slipping her the boy’s confession tape, the one that got deep-sixed after his plea bargain. She posts it online, which forces the judge to admit that Rainey shouldn’t be held in contempt for speaking the truth. V for Victory!

So in the course of one case, we get several ripped-from-the-headlines references. The most obvious inspiration for Rainey’s dilemma is the recent Steubenville, Ohio, case about teen boys who assaulted an incapacitated classmate, recording much of it for social media. And Dylan mentions Aaron Swartz, the Internet genius who committed suicide after being hounded by federal prosecutors. A doctor who testifies that Rainey might not have been raped turns out to have written papers in college theorizing that women can’t get pregnant from sexual assault (shades of Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin). Typical Good Wife topicality.

But there are also two really wild “How could they know?” moments. As in: how could they know that Anonymous would be threatening to reveal the names of the rapists of Rehtaeh Parsons, the Canadian girl who committed suicide last week after being cyber-bullied. And how could they know that Bitcoin would be all over the news this week, with concerns about a boom and bust? Spooky.

Cary and Associates?

Alicia becomes suspicious about Cary’s activities, especially when it comes to the other fourth-year associates. She privately engages newbie PI Robyn to look into Cary’s plans. When Robyn reveals that Mr. Agos has indeed purchased high-dollar malpractice insurance — the kind you’d need for a new law firm — Alicia confronts him.

At first, he denies that he’s planning to leave, admitting that while it hurt to lose out on partnership, he trusts the partners to keep their promise to promote him later. But as evidence mounts, Alicia gets him to fess up that, yeah, he’s leaving. In about a month.

He explains that most of the L&G partners are dead-weight, just scooping up the profits. He believes he has a better chance with the other fourth years financially, and he’ll be able to practice the kind of law he loves. (There’s that idealism again.) Moreover, he still wants Alicia to come aboard, dangling the name Florrick, Agos & Associates in front of her. 

“We’re the new Will and Diane,” he tells Alicia. Surprisingly, rather than refusing outright, the newly minted partner replies that she’ll think about it. 

Could Will be one of the reasons Alicia might consider leaving Lockhart & Gardner? Once again, she’s daydreaming about her boss. She admits to Grace that she’s been thinking about herself too much lately and hasn’t been a good mother. In a sweet moment, Grace tells her that she’s a great mom, but Alicia seems doubtful, her head full of Will-ful thoughts. 

Partners in Crime

Diane’s still the front-runner for the new Illinois Supreme Court justice, so that means even more background checks, this time from Peter’s campaign staff. When she’s quizzed about her relationship with her partner, Kurt, she reveals two important facts. One: he’s not personally a secessionist; he just agrees with other people’s right to secede. Two: they’re now engaged. Even Kalinda, who was helping with the background check, is shocked. (And she does not shock easily.)

She has to go to the court in Springfield to meet with the chief justice to explain about Kurt. Without the CJ’s approval, she’ll never make it to her confirmation hearings. Turns out that Kurt was a red herring. When the chief justice had expressed concern about her “partner,” he actually meant Will, her law partner. 

It seems the CJ considers Will to be a scoundrel, a disbarred lawyer, unworthy of Diane’s approval. Diane tries to explain that Will wasn’t disbarred, just suspended for six months. Potayto, potahto, right? 

Wrong. CJ thanks Diane for her time and leaves the meeting. And we’re left wondering if Diane is willing to crawl over the body of her long-time friend and associate for the sake of ambition. 

Summary Judgment

Even in season 4, The Good Wife keeps us glued to our couches, like a breaking news announcement. I enjoyed how the writer intertwined today’s headlines with personal stories. I especially loved how we learned enough to keep our interest piqued, but resolved nothing fully. (Possible exception — it looks like Robyn will get to stay on for a while, following a successful performance review. Yay!)

So, Diane and Kurt are engaged (congrats!), but is she willing to drop her partner to gain her dream job? Cary plans to leave Lockhart & Gardner, but will he really make the leap and take Alicia with him? And will Alicia ever be able to get over her boss? She’d better make her mind up fast, because Peter’s going to ask her to renew their vows. Can’t wait to see how she handles that one.

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(Image courtesy of CBS)

Alison Stern-Dunyak

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV