The pots are starting to simmer at Florrick, Agos & Lockhart, and it’s not just because Alicia takes up volunteering at a soup kitchen to shore up her campaign. 

The real heat is coming from Cary’s case. It’s rolling out of control, unless Kalinda can help. But to save her friend, will she make a brave choice — or a fatal error?

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Focusing on What’s Important

With a lot of talk about “getting your head in the game,” we’re into the sports metaphors this week in “Red Zone.” In football, the red zone is where you want your team to be — right near the goal line. But in college, the “red zone” is also the first six weeks of school for freshman girls, when they’re likeliest to be targeted for rape.That’s this week’s hot-button issue.

Before things get so serious, however, we begin with campaign manager Jonathan Elfman conducting focus groups of potential voters. Do they like Alicia? Mostly, yes. But do they like Frank Prady better? Mostly, yes. Eli and Jon aren’t happy about that. 

Back at the office, Alicia receives a visit from brother Owen. Despite pulling back on her cases to concentrate on the race for State’s Attorney, Alicia can’t resist Owen’s “puppy dog face” when he asks her to be an advocate for one of his students. The girl was raped at a party, and she needs someone by her side during the student disciplinary hearing at the school.

Before Alicia leaves for the hearing, Diane calls her in to talk with Cary. They have a partial wiretap that makes it look like Cary was in cahoots with Bishop and his gang to hide drugs. Kalinda — who still can’t come near Cary because of his bail constraints — listens in on the phone. She tells Cary there weren’t only three people on the tape, as the feds say. There were four. Someone else knows what happened, which is vital since Cary’s only hope, Trey, was killed the week before.

Armed with this new knowledge, Cary wants to testify on his own behalf to prove his innocence, but that’s usually a bad idea. Diane and Alicia are skeptical.

What Cary doesn’t know is that when he talked to Kalinda, she was in bed with Agent Lana. But someone else catches on — Lemond Bishop. He surprises Kalinda in her underground garage and wants her to “do some research — and fast” to find out if Lana’s investigating him. He knows they’re using Cary to get to him, but is Lana involved? 

Saint Alicia or an Entitled Governor’s Wife?

At the school hearing, the girl, Jody, is a bit overwhelmed by the proceedings. She says she was raped at a party by Troy, who now faces expulsion. Although the hearing’s rules don’t allow Alicia to speak on Jody’s behalf, Alicia talks to her in the hallway and gives her coaching via text. 

Jody scores some points, and Owen comes to her defense, but the school panel says she hasn’t made enough of a case to warrant expelling Troy. Alicia jumps in and says that the lack of due process has opened the school up to a lawsuit under Title IX protections. So it’s out of the ivory tower and into the courtroom. 

After the hearing, Alicia congratulates Finn on his new office, which he’s renting from Florrick, Agos & Lockhart. She tells him she’s concerned about some of the focus group reactions. Is she coming across as “entitled”? Finn urges her to get out of her own head by volunteering — and he has just the church soup kitchen for it. 

Meanwhile, Cary’s practice testimony couldn’t go worse. He’s defensive, angry and evasive. Diane’s called in old nemesis Viola Walsh (Rita Wilson) to act as the prosecutor. She scores point after point against Agos, much to Diane’s dismay. Viola tells Diane that if Cary goes to court like that, he’ll lose for sure. 

The Appearance of Guilt 

In court, Alicia asks for an emergency injunction to force the university to choose a new panel for Jody’s hearing. Speaking for the college is Louis Canning (he’s baaack!), who is now in a wheelchair. He tells the judge that he’s fine with an expedited hearing since he’s supposed to get a kidney transplant next week. As Alicia rolls her eyes, she realizes how that might look to a focus group member. “She questioned a dying man?!” 

To feel better about herself, she goes to the church soup kitchen. Unfortunately, she’s dressed in one of her awesome suits and has to scrub dirty pots. She works hard, but it backfires when a photo of her holding a now-clean pot shows up on the Interwebs. She looks like a phony, like she’s (wait for it) “entitled.” Eli gives her an earful about appearance versus reality and why she needs to let him do his job.

And that’s really Cary’s problem, too. He knows the criminal informant who wore the wiretapped things selectively, which makes Cary look guilty. Alicia gives him a pep talk about chilling out or facing jail time. He truly seems moved by her loyalty. In fact, her words have such an effect that the next time he practices, he’s cool as can be, taking each question calmly. The team agrees he’s ready for court now. 

The one who doesn’t seem as loyal to him, however, is Kalinda. After spying her kissing Lana, Cary slips into the PI’s apartment. It’s a violation of the bail rules, but he can’t stop thinking of her. Can’t she stay away from Lana for the two weeks until his trial? When she protests that they aren’t a steady couple and she wants to see other people, he’s says, “Well, that solves that. Thank you — and go to hell.” Ouch!

It’s especially painful to Kalinda because Cary doesn’t know that K has discovered Lana really is working on a case against Bishop. She lies and tells Bishop that Lana’s just involved in a white-collar crime investigation. But Bishop didn’t get to where he is by being stupid. He tells Kalinda to slip a white plastic card into Lana’s wallet to prove she’s on another case. She agrees, but doesn’t look happy about it. 

Has Kalinda Snapped Her Future in Half?

Alicia’s case against the university isn’t going anywhere until Kalinda delivers evidence that there’s a “rape wall” on a school building. Girls write the names of the many, many rapists on campus. That doesn’t have anything to do with Troy, but it does show that the school provides an unsafe environment for its female students. Class action, anyone?

But before that can happen, the school announces they discovered a whole lotta pot in Troy’s room — a clear violation of the university code of conduct. He’s expelled. Not for rape, but still, he’s gone. Alicia wants to carry on with a class action suit, but Jody’s done. Troy’s gone, and she just wants to move on with her life. 

After she leaves, Alicia and Canning have a heart-to-heart talk. He may or may not be dying soon, but he seems very ill, and she’s sympathetic. He asks a favor — when he dies, he’d like her to reach out to his wife. Apparently, Mrs. Canning always liked Alicia. She says of course. No eye rolling this time.

Later, an Eli-managed volunteer event with Alicia goes off beautifully. She doles out food and hugs at the church, all caught on the cameras. Suddenly, the focus group people are all in agreement: Alicia’s great! 

Even better, on hearing that Frank Prady is joining the race, Jimmy Castro bows out. Now all Alicia has to do is beat Prady. “Just tell me what to do,” she tells a beaming Eli. 

Normally, that might be the end of the episode, but not so fast. The final moments go to Kalinda. Just as she told Cary, she’s still seeing Agent Lana. During the middle of the night, she crawls out of bed and takes Lana’s wallet to the bathroom. 

She’s about to slip the mystery card into Lana’s wallet, per Bishop’s instructions, when she has a change of heart. She snaps the card in half. Oh, Kalinda — what have you done now?

Summary Judgment

If I had to guess (and I do!), I’d say this was the episode on which the rest of the season will pivot. Two main plot points took center stage: Alicia is (finally) fully invested in the political game, while Kalinda is playing her own dangerous game to save Cary. 

We all know that Archie Panjabi is leaving at the end of season 6, so is this the beginning of the end for Kalinda? Will she go into witness protection or go out in a blaze of glory? In her own “red zone,” will she score a big win or be crushed by the opposition? Stay tuned!

The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9pm on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)


Alison Stern-Dunyak

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV