With just six episodes to go, many Good Wife fans would happily spend most of the remaining time watching Alicia and Jason snuggle. But as always, the real world intrudes, and this episode, titled “Shoot,” is no exception.
In the race to the finish, we get another outstanding episode, with everything from a hot-button legal issue to the relationship between parents and daughters (both real and figurative). Speaking of hot, Alicia has come to an understanding of herself that may surprise even the most devoted fans — and surprises Jason in a very, um … let’s call it “exciting” way.
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A Father’s Grief on Display
The legal case in “Shoot” involves gun violence, a hot-button topic more relevant to Chicago than pretty much any American city. We begin with a series of home videos — a proud father (played by Blair Underwood, who never ages) documenting his daughter’s life. Tragically, the promising teen is murdered by a stray bullet from a gunman in the house next door. Mr. Dargis takes his revenge by posting a billboard accusing a local gun store of causing her death.
Now Dargis faces defamation charges from the owner of Gloria’s Guns. Cary and Diane seem to have caught a break by getting liberal Judge Abernathy (a returning Denis O’Hare). But despite Abernathy’s anti-gun stance, he still thinks the billboard can rightfully be called defamatory.
The only way to prove otherwise is through a truth defense — it’s not defamation if the charges are true. And Gloria’s Guns have been tied to more than 3,000 acts of violence in the neighborhood, so they may be on to something. Cary and Diane need Jason to dig up some evidence.
Unhand that Woman and Pick up the Phone!
When the call comes, Jason and Alicia are trying to sneak in a nooner. But work is work, and anyway, Alicia’s doubly busy. First, Eli phones to say she’ll have to testify before the grand jury. Also, the next witness is Lloyd Garber, Peter’s big donor. They agree that that can’t be good. Eli’s worst fears are confirmed when he once again takes up his post inside the handicapped-accessible restroom and listens in.
Garber, the father of accused murderer Richard Locke, all but accuses Peter of taking a bribe to fix his son’s case. Fox, the federal prosecutor (Matthew Morrison), seems to have a win on his hands until one of the jurors starts asking questions that cast doubt on Garber’s testimony. Eli laughs with glee. (Glee, get it?)
To make a busy day ridiculous, Grace calls with bad news. The college she’d pinned her hopes on attending has accused her of plagiarizing her admissions essay. Or, rather, a piece of software the college uses has accused her of plagiarism. Alicia can’t get much information out of Grace’s guidance counselor, but she assures her daughter that even software makes mistakes.
Time to Make Some Law
Pursuing the truth angle, Dargis claims that Gloria’s Guns sold the murder weapon to a “straw buyer,” who then sold the gun to the actual shooter. But since the shooter’s behind bars, that means the gun store didn’t commit the crime. Judge Abernathy rules that the billboard is indeed defamatory and must come down. Now the team must argue about damages.
Alicia arrives at the courthouse to meet with Eli and Mike (still holding that cute little dog). They need to discuss her grand jury strategy. They’re not sure how to deal with Eli’s insider information just yet.
Lucca’s unhappy doing scout work at the crazy-packed Lockhart, Agos. She’s sitting out in a cubicle, though Jason urges her to steal an empty office. Alicia arrives and hires her lovah as a freelancer — again. ( “Oh my god,” she muses. “My family needs a full-time investigator.”) She needs him to look into GenuineThought.com, the software that flagged Grace’s essay.
Lucca’s research into Gloria’s Guns shows that her business is up, not down, so Dargis probably won’t owe damages. In fact, they decide to counter-sue. Dargis runs a small motel. Every time there’s gun violence in the neighborhood, he loses bookings. As a rule, you can’t sue gun manufacturers for civil damages, but Diane says no one’s ever tried tying it to tourism, especially in Illinois, which has specific laws promoting tourism. (Who knew?)
Judge Abernathy loves it, saying, “Let’s make some law!” He orders the attorneys to return with more arguments.
Does Jason Have a Woman on the Side?
Diane and Alicia meet for drinks to discuss Ms. Lockhart’s idea of a firm with only female name partners. Alicia worries about Cary’s reaction, but Diane says they’d buy him out. But what if he’s not interested in a buyout?
Cary and David Lee have already made moves against her, Diane confides. She needs to know where Alicia stands. Alicia’s first thoughts are of Lucca. What about her younger friend? “I want to be at a firm that recognizes talent,” Alicia says. Diane promises to “take another look.”
Just then, Jason enters the restaurant and Alicia lights up. But (with R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” playing in the background — subtle!) she sees him kissing a beautiful blonde. Kissing her like he means it. Jason — noooooo!
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Is Lucca the Wisest of Them All?
Back at the office, Lucca recommends that Alicia call Jason and try to clear things up. Alicia admits she has “issue on this front.” The two women agree that he didn’t promise her anything, but Alicia says she was getting “invested” in the relationship. Lucca advises her again — talk to him.
Jason reports to Alicia that the software company has admitted to a series of “false positives” that led to settlements. But without any specific guidance, they can’t tell why the system flagged Grace’s essay. Alicia decides to submit Grace’s essay under a different name, just to see what happens.
In court, Diane lets Lucca handle the Dargis redirect instead of Cary. As good as Lucca is, the judge is about to rule against them, until Jason finds several local businesses that can also testify. Lucca’s rewarded with her own office from Diane.
Now that she’s in her own space, she’s not afraid to confront Jason herself. “Who were you seeing at the tavern? Alicia saw you!” He identifies the woman he kissed only as “a friend from New York.” But it’s not encouraging when Lucca asks, “What are you going to do?” and his response is, “I don’t know.” Jason — noooooo!
Wrapping Everything Up
Alicia goes in front of the grand jury. Fox is very solicitous, inviting her to invoke spousal privilege. He actually wants her to so she’ll make her husband look shady. But she chooses to answer the questions directly, much to Fox’s dismay. The juror who questioned Garber’s veracity earlier sits up and takes notice, so much so that Fox asks if Alicia and the juror know each other. Both of them take umbrage to his implication, and Alicia’s feeling pretty optimistic about winning now — until the guys learn that Lloyd Garber has been called back to testify again.
In the Dargis case, Judge Abernathy announces that he won’t make new law after all. He declares that Dargis must take down the billboard — or pay the court the penalty of 10 cents per day in fines. Over the protests of Gloria and her lawyer, Dargis hands over $40 to start, which buys the billboard another 400 days. He won’t get his daughter back, but at least his message will be heard.
Alicia confronts the college admissions officer who rejected Grace’s application. Tiger Mama shows proof that GenuineThought improperly tagged her daughter’s essay as plagiarized, but the woman is implacable. No college for Grace!
Except you don’t mess with Tiger Mama! Or, specifically, one who’s a lawyer. Alicia tells the admissions officer that she’s bringing a big ol’ class-action suit against the college for failing to secure the intellectual property rights to all those essays they use to make decisions.
Suddenly, it appears that Grace will not only be attending that college, but she’s decided to follow in Mom’s footsteps to become a lawyer.
Why Mrs. Florrick!
Jason visits Alicia at her apartment. “I think that I offended you,” he says. “I met an old friend at the Avenue Tavern.” She stops him before he can say more. She tells him she’s an adult, neither of them made any promises and if anything — as a married woman — she should be the one making explanations. The short version: they kiss and make up. And they have 45 minutes until Grace gets home. Jason — yessss!
Later, Alicia’s impressed by Lucca’s new office. They’re about to go out with Jason to celebrate Lucca’s promotion when Cary stops by. He asks Alicia point blank whether Diane approached her with the all-female partner idea. She looks over at Lucca and her new digs and says no.
When they finally get to the bar, Lucca notices that the couple would probably rather be alone and makes a graceful exit to get another drink. Jason and Alicia return to snuggling, and she says something racy to him (which we can’t hear, darn it!).
“Mrs. Florrick!” the P.I. says in mock shock. She then starts to unbuckle his belt, even though they’re in public. Nothing’s stopping her now.
“I wasted the last 20 years,” she says. “I’m not wasting the next ones.” The camera pulls back discreetly — darn it!
Another fabulous episode. Take the woman-led firm angle. Diane was once Alicia’s mentor. Now Alicia is doing the same for Lucca, even if it means lying to Cary. Clearly, young Mr. Agos needs to get his own mentor. But with only five more episodes after this one, he’d better do it quickly.
On the political side, Eli had better figure out what’s going on with the grand jury investigation quickly too. Now that Alicia’s incurred Fox’s wrath by refusing to incriminate her husband, you know they’ll be coming for Gold next. (Also, the previews for the next episode kind of give that away.)
Finally, who can’t love the blossoming of Alicia? Whether she’s in it for the long haul with Jason or not, you have to admire her clear-eyed enjoyment of the ride. It may have taken her 20 years to get to this place, but the view from here is looking pretty good.
The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9pm on CBS for a few more, very important weeks.
(Image courtesy of CBS)