At some point, it was inevitable that Diane’s deal with the devil (aka billionaire Reese “R.D.” Dipple) would come back to haunt her on The Good Wife. When R.D. became Lockhart, Agos’ biggest client, she extracted a promise that he’d never force her to push his anti-choice position. But in the world of hot-button political issues, some promises can’t be kept.
Unfortunately for Diane, what transpires next has huge consequences for Lockhart, Agos. The biggest beneficiaries of her actions might just be the fledgling firm of Florrick & Quinn. And wait until you hear what’s up with Eli!
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Diane Faces a Troubling Case
As with nearly every episode of The Good Wife this season, “Restraint” opens with someone other than the cast members onscreen. In this case, we see a video (shot with a hidden camera) that captures Dr. Hallie Fisher, a local OB-GYN, talking about “selling” fetal tissue from her clinic. We then pull back to find out that it’s Diane and R.D.’s chief counsel, Ethan Carver (played by Peter Gallagher), watching the video.
Carver plans to back a young woman, Stacy, who wants to sue the doctor and the clinic. She claims that she’s suffered regrets and mental distress from having an abortion. Diane flatly tells Carver she won’t take the case. In fact, the “selling” of the tissue described on the video is a perfectly legal $100 charge for shipping and storage, she tells him.
He’s okay with her refusal but still needs her to cross-examine the woman. Carver tells Diane to “do your worst” and see if she’s ready for court. (Interestingly, we haven’t seen Dipple’s portrayer, Oliver Platt, for several episodes. He’s apparently across town starring on Chicago Med.)
Diane asks Jason to investigate Stacy. He’s thrilled that there’s no cap on his hours, unlike his work for Alicia and Quinn. In fact, Jason’s next stop is the A & Q office (aka Alicia’s apartment), where the two women are brainstorming about ways to save money and bring in new clients. They also agree that “we eat what we kill,” which means whoever brings in the business gets two-thirds of the payout instead of an even split. It will make us hungrier, Lucca says.
Canning Makes a Play for Lucca
Not one to let any grass grow under her feet, Lucca heads to a lunch with Louis Canning. He offers her a job. She refuses, saying she doesn’t want to be bait. She knows Canning really wants Alicia. Meanwhile, when Little Florrick (aka Grace the Office Admin) asks how she can help, her mom tells her to start cold-calling local firms to see if they need legal representation. Grace gets Mom to pay her a bonus for any business she snags.
Back at Lockhart, Agos, Diane and Ethan question Stacy. She claimed she was tricked by the doctor at the clinic because they sold the fetal tissue without telling her. Now she says she cries all the time and her work has suffered. (The lawsuit can’t go forward if she can’t prove she suffered harm from the procedure.)
Diane clearly looks skeptical and walks out — but it’s actually to see what Jason has brought her. Whatever it is, it’s useful. Diane wants to know why he won’t come to work for the firm full-time — he’d make a lot more money. “Money isn’t everything,” he says.
Has Diane Backed Herself into a Corner?
Diane returns to question Stacy, armed with Jason’s info. She makes a lousy witness, as it turns out. For one thing, she had the abortion months before and didn’t become depressed (her own diagnosis) until joining a right-wing church in the last two weeks. Carver is impressed by Diane’s due diligence. He’s dropping the case but putting the undercover tapes online to see if anyone else takes them seriously.
Grace, while searching for potential clients for Mom, calls Eli for advice. He’s busy, though, trying to get big donor Courtney Paige’s ear. He wants to discuss the “salary floor” she’s about to institute for her employees: Everyone will get at least $75K per year. It could sound a little “socialist” during Peter’s campaign. (It’s cute how flustered Eli gets around her.)
Eli visits Alicia to tell her that Courtney will be calling to hire her for a few hours. While you’re at it, he says, try to talk her out of the big raises.
Carver comes back to Diane with a new twist on the abortion case. Dr. Hallie Fisher has gotten a judge to stop the posting of the undercover videos before they go online. That’s prior restraint and violates the First Amendment. Carver reminds Diane that she’s always been a vocal supporter of free speech.
With a sigh, she asks, “Why do I have to be so damn convincing?”
A Fiery First Amendment Case
Cary accompanies Diane to court, which is filled with contentious supporters on both sides of the issue. The woman who shot the videotape introduces herself as Diane’s client, Heidi, of the Citizens for Ethical Medicine. Diane reminds her that she’s pro-choice, but Heidi insists she must support the anti-choice side or why else would she be there? (Poor Diane!)
Dr. Fisher’s lawyer, Samara Steele, claims this isn’t about prior restraint because the video was shot illegally, without the doctor’s consent, in a yogurt shop. Diane and Cary the doctor had no expectation of privacy. The judge buys their argument and throws out the illegal-taping motion. But Steele has another motion.
Alicia meets with Courtney, who asks a lot of personal questions about Eli. When did he get a divorce? What about his daughter? (Hmmmm.) They discuss her reasons for wanting to give all her employees raises. But it’s her money, right? Unfortunately, Eli later tells Alicia that Courtney’s ex-husband is suing her for breach of fiduciary duty, what with spending all that money. Who knew he was still a partner in her company?
The Dominoes Start to Fall
When Diane arrives back at the office, she’s surprised by Bea Wilson (Gilmore Girls‘ Kelly Bishop), a women’s rights activist. She’s appalled that her law firm has taken this case, not buying the “it’s a First Amendment issue” argument.
Bea probably shouldn’t have bothered complaining, since lawyer Steele produces a non-disclosure agreement that bars employees of Citizens for Ethical Medicine from releasing any on-the-job information. This time, the judge sides with Dr. Fisher. Diane seems stumped about what to do next, at least momentarily.
When Alicia calls Jason to have him investigate Courtney’s ex, Larry Oliver, she overhears Diane in the background. So that cat’s out of the bag.
Grace, still on the hunt for new clients, stumbles into a potential goldmine: none other than Bea Wilson. She’s considering switching law firms for her women’s rights group. Let’s set a meeting, she says. Score one for Little Florrick!
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Who’s the Canny One Now?
One by one, some of Lockhart, Agos’ most valued clients begin leaving over what they see as an abortion rights case — no matter how many times Diane says, “It’s about free speech!” The judge still won’t allow the release of the full video, but Diane can’t let it go. One of the firm’s new associates suggests using a whistle-blower statute.
Canning continues pursuing Lucca. He says he wants her, not Alicia — but the clock is ticking on the offer. What he doesn’t know is that she’s memorized the names of clients she might represent for him. She takes them back to Alicia for potential poaching. But where can they meet? The apartment-office seems inadequate.
Poor Grace tries to tell them, “I got a client!” but Alicia just pats her shoulder. Meanwhile, the clients who just dumped Lockhart, Agos call looking for the services of Florrick & Quinn, too.
Alicia and Eli meet with Courtney and Larry. He’s an experimental filmmaker who wants to make sure the money keeps flowing. Eli suggests that instead of a salary floor, she should offer unlimited vacation and sick days. Alicia says that’s a possibility, and do you by any chance rent out that nice conference room you have?
Diane Gets an Earful in Chambers
Diane brings a motion claiming that Heidi’s a whistle-blower, exposing information about Dr. Fisher’s clinic. The judge calls her into his chambers and says this has to stop. Her motion is too much of a reach — and why is she trying so hard to make it? He thinks she shouldn’t be pursuing this “because it’s not you.”
But this is about free speech and you know it, Diane says. He says no — this tape is disgusting, and these right-wing Republicans don’t play fair. “Let’s put an end to this!” he insists.
As she walks out, Carver’s waiting for her. Diane wants to put Stacy on the stand after all. She questions Stacy about her abortion, saying she’s the whistle-blower. The judge still won’t give Diane any ground.
Eli Makes a Move While Grace Comes to the Rescue
Alicia and Lucca meet with Canning’s clients. They spin and spin, trying to make the firm sound bigger and more diversified than it is. Not too surprisingly, they fail with all three.
Grace saves Alicia and Lucca’s day — she’s snagged them four new clients. “Excuse me?” a stunned Alicia asks. The women agree that they can make time to meet with them. (Ya think?)
Eli’s still hanging around Courtney’s office, trying to find out if she’ll change her mind on the raises. But, really, he’s there to confess his attraction to her. “Come here,” she says. He leans over her for a kiss. (Yes! I called this one last time! Yay, me!)
Has the Damage Been Done?
Diane’s fighting a losing battle on getting the evidence she needs to proceed. She threatens to request that the judge be removed because of political bias. But since he only revealed his feelings in chambers, there’s nothing on the record to use against him. He accuses her of crossing a line — he’s really mad now. Diane feels compelled to tell Carver that she’s a liability to the case. “It’s in your client’s best interest for me to withdraw,” she says.
“Nicely played,” Cary says on the way out of court. “You found a way to get out of it without backing down from anyone.” I have no idea what you’re talking about, she says smoothly. Now let’s go get our clients back.
But is it too late? Grace, Alicia and Lucca are celebrating the new business as Jason arrives at the apartment. And Grace is celebrating all the incentive money she’s earned. About $35,000 and change. Cash or check accepted!
For the second time in a week, women’s reproductive rights were on the table on network TV — Scandal got there three days earlier. Unlike that show, The Good Wife didn’t deal with Planned Parenthood, but it did make use of the high-profile videotape incident from earlier this year.
By cleverly turning the issue on free speech instead of abortion, “Restraint” allowed us to see Diane in full-on action, something we haven’t seen for a while. Whatever your thoughts on this controversial issue — and the show doesn’t equivocate on where Diane stands — the episode created a timely discussion on speech, belief and the law, in classic Good Wife-style.
Several questions remain from this episode, however. Can Diane keep her principles while still keeping Dipple as a client? Can she and Cary convince their wayward clients to return? Will Grace buy a new car with her bonus check? And, most important, will Eli and Courtney become an item?
Just a few things to mull over while you’re stuffed with turkey and pie. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone — see you next Sunday!
The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)