Season 5 of The Good Wife is all about shaking things up. In this week’s new episode, “Whack-a-Mole,” that means introducing a new associate at LG — someone who might be up to no good.
I’m thinking it’s no coincidence that newcomer Damian Boyle’s first name is the same as that demonic kid in the old Omen movies. There’s something devilish about a guy who lies about his birth date, hangs out with mobsters and steals a keepsake from Alicia’s children. But he can’t keep F-A from winning — not yet, anyway.
Terrorist or Victim?
At both Florrick, Agos and Lockhart & Gardner — excuse me, LG — everyone’s talking about future moves. The F-A team needs more clients, while the LG partners agree they need more associates to deal with their caseload.
While Alicia’s strategizing with her colleagues, she gets a call from an old client, university professor Zayeed Shaheed. He tells her that he’s being interviewed by the FBI as part of a background check on a friend, but something doesn’t feel right. Alicia, with Robyn tagging along as a witness, head out to Zayeed’s house.
Turns out that his concerns are justified. The FBI actually wants to investigate him on suspicion of carrying out a bombing in Milwaukee. They have a warrant to search his place. Zayeed insists on his innocence — he was in Milwaukee that day for a conference, but inside his hotel room during the terrorist attack. Alicia’s worried that the FBI will use the fact that Zayeed’s latest scholarly work, about spiritual jihad, will be used against him.
Alicia and Cary go to court to quash the warrant, but aren’t successful. Worse, Robyn discovers that the FBI’s entire case rests entirely on blurry photos and nasty accusations from a thread posted on a site called Scabbit. Now, F-A may have something to work with. Time to take on Scabbit.
Man of Action
Back at LG, Will’s being super-picky about the new associates he’s interested in hiring. He ignores Diane’s and Kalinda’s advice, particularly when it comes to one guy: reputed mob lawyer Damian Boyle (played by Jason O’Mara). After watching Boyle in court, Will tracks him down at a bar and offers to hire him. The cocky Boyle makes it seem like he’s doing Will a favor, instead of the other way around.
The other partners are furious that Will hired someone with possible criminal connections, but Will insists that he’s tired of discussions. In would-be King of the Legal World fashion, he just wants to make decisions. Diane fumes, but (for now, anyway) Boyle’s staying.
Boyle doesn’t seem interested in discussion, either — he likes action. After hearing that F-A “stole” Chumhum from LG, he can’t believe they’re discussing a negotiation to share the privacy suit work with their rivals. He grabs a group of LGers and heads over to the new offices of Florrick, Agos. Telling the unwitting admin that he represents the furniture rental company, he and his compatriots take all the furniture — even the lamps. Boyle caps it off by snooping in some of F-A’s legal documents (including the Scabbit paperwork) and stealing Alicia’s “Number One Mom” pin off her desk. The man has no shame!
Alicia and Cary seek an injunction against Scabbit in Judge Kluger’s court (a returning Jeffrey Tambor). The judge welcomes Alicia back and congratulates her on starting her own firm. All they ask is for Scabbit to remove the thread that points a finger at Zayeed as a terrorist. No one from Scabbit even bothers to show up, which Alicia views as disrespectful.
The judge grants F-A the injunction, much to Alicia’s delight. But her happiness is short-lived. Shortly after the inflammatory posts disappear, up comes another thread with a similar title. Alicia says it’s like a game of Whack-a-Mole — how do you stop this? Oh, and all their furniture’s gone, too. And Zayeed has lost his college teaching job because he’s an accused terrorist. This has gotten really, really serious.
Back to court they go. This time, Scabbit actually comes to oppose them, now with legal counsel. Surprise! It’s Will and Boyle from LG. Even Judge Kluger acknowledges that it’s awkward for Alicia to face off with Will.
LG argues that Scabbit can’t be held responsible for the actions of the people who post on the site. That’s true to a point, but not if Alicia and Cary can prove the damaging threads came from Scabbit employees. Until they can prove that, the judge can’t do much for them — but he can force Scabbit to turn over a list of employees that matches up with posters’ screen names.
Like last week, it’s Robyn to the rescue again. She figures out one of the “posters” is actually a social-bot — an automated process that scoops up controversial material from around the web to drive traffic to the Scabbit site. That means Scabbit’s responsible for spreading the false information about Zayeed. It’s a big win for the young upstarts.
And Alicia figures out that LG took the furniture when she spots her “Number One Mom” pin on Boyle’s lapel. Despite Will’s protestations of innocence (which may well be truthful), Boyle is so busted.
Is It Perjury If You’re Not Under Oath?
Speaking of busted, Diane still isn’t crazy about the new associate. Boyle may have won over some of the others with his take-no-prisoners approach (and his charming Irish accent), but Diane doesn’t trust him. She asks Kalinda — who’s equally skeptical of the newbie — to look into his background.
Boyle doesn’t score too many points with our favorite PI when he claims to dislike the idea of female investigators. They’re not thorough enough, he says. Kalinda coolly continues interviewing him, but many of his answers don’t add up. He even gives three different dates for his birthday. That may just be a joke, but his evasiveness doesn’t sit well with Kalinda, who reports her suspicions back to Diane.
Kalinda can’t nail Boyle yet, but she lets him know that she’s still got her eye on him. He tells her to bring it on. Obviously, he doesn’t watch The Good Wife. Otherwise, Boyle would know better than to goad our gal.
From One Awful Woman to Another
In the only real subplot of the episode, we welcome back Jackie Florrick. Naturally, she’s up to something. This time, it’s interfering with Peter’s pick for state Supreme Court justice, the person he’s naming to replace Diane.
She insists that Eli ask Peter to dump the woman, Rachel Kaiser (played by Mary Stuart Masterson) because of a sexual indiscretion. For once, though, it’s not about Peter — it’s about Peter’s father. Years ago, Rachel clerked for dear old dad, a prominent judge, then proceeded to have a lengthy affair with him. Jackie refuses to see the woman who nearly broke up her marriage get a plum judicial appointment.
After the fiasco with Diane, though, Eli refuses to help Jackie, even though he’s sympathetic to her feelings. He needs a strong woman candidate for the position, and Rachel has no obvious drawbacks. So Jackie takes things into her own hands, confronting Rachel with the threat of revealing the affair, especially to Rachel’s deathly ill husband. “You’re an awful woman,” she tells Jackie. “Yes, I am,” Jackie serenely answers.
At first, Rachel won’t back down — she wants the job. But this is Jackie we’re talking about. She goes so far as to visit the nominee’s husband at his hospital room. Just to chat, you know. It doesn’t take long for Rachel to realize that Jackie means business. Whatever it takes, she’ll make Rachel’s life a living hell if she won’t withdraw her name from consideration.
Eli takes the call from Rachel. He’s suspicious that Jackie had something to do with it, but the new First Mother feigns innocence.
“Whack-a-Mole” feels a little like a transition piece — not as strong as the string of excellent episodes we’ve had the pleasure to watch over the last few weeks, but still worthwhile. Most important, it sets up a lot of interesting possibilities. I’ll name my top three.
First, the show ends with Will, Diane, Cary and Alicia in one room together again. This time, they’re discussing the sharing of Chumhum work, which could earn F-A more than a million dollars. Even better, they’re not yelling at each other. In the middle of the negotiations, Alicia takes a call from Judge “Call Me George” Kluger, who wants to meet for coffee. What’s that about? Could someone be interested in a suddenly vacant Supreme Court nomination?
Second, is Jackie through interfering in Peter’s administration? If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.
Finally, what about Damian Boyle? Besides pulling the “high school prank” (as Alicia calls it) of taking F-A’s furniture, does he spell trouble for LG? If he’s really a mob attorney, his shady past may catch up with him, possibly pulling Will into another ethical breach. Trying to become King of the Legal World brings its temptations.
Without Alicia to keep him grounded, is Will succumbing to the dark side? I guess we’ll find out in the coming weeks.
The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9pm (barring football overruns) on CBS.
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(Image courtesy of CBS)