Given the bitterness behind the creation of Florrick, Agos and Associates, it’s probably not too surprising that someone’s spying on Alicia’s new firm. But it may surprise you who swoops in to (possibly) save the day. 

Although this week’s episode is titled “The Next Week,” it’s actually been three weeks since the newbies set up shop in Alicia’s living room. They may still have enthusiasm, but they’re sorely lacking in new clients and cold, hard cash.

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When the Student Becomes the Teacher

Because The Good Wife lives in a semblance of the real world, the money and legal troubles following F-A’s birth haven’t died away. Even big client Chumhum’s retainer money won’t arrive for another six weeks. That might be too late.

A glimmer of hope arrives when Alicia gets called back to her old stomping grounds to provide testimony in a malpractice case against David Lee. She has key information about a botched adoption supervised by David that she also worked on. Amazingly, her memory of the events isn’t very clear — she’s too worried about money. But her memory might be just fine if they return the $150,000 partnership fee Lockhart & Gardner owes her. When Diane and David realize she has them over a barrel, they agree to refund her money. 

Diane can’t help but get in a dig: “You know, sometimes I look at you and wonder if you’ve changed or if you were always this way.” 

Alicia smoothly responds, “I had the best teachers in the world. I couldn’t help but change.” Ouch!

Back to Business

Will may have set his sights on world domination, but he still has a law practice to run. When the son of one of Alicia’s former clients calls from the local police station about a DUI charge, Will intervenes. The young man, Jeffrey Grant, sits cooling his heels while the cops and the state’s attorney (in the form of Geneva Pine) dither. 

Something’s up — and that something turns out to be a murder charge. Jeffrey stands accused of killing another student from his college, based on DNA evidence taken from the victim. The cops connected Jeffrey to the girl’s DNA using a familial match from an earlier incident involving Jeffrey’s father. Still, the case isn’t airtight, so the court gives Geneva two days to shore up the case or release the kid. 

Diane, Kalinda and Will interview Jeffrey, who denies even knowing the girl, much less killing her. Will’s determined to stop what he views as a miscarriage of justice. Kalinda, on the other hand, is sure the boy’s guilty. 

Listen to Kalinda, Will. Ignore her at your own peril!

From Nemesis to Ally

Back at the apartment offices of the new firm, former L&G bankruptcy trustee — now lawyer — Clark Hayden arrives. Cary and Alicia have brought him in to analyze their books. As suspected, things don’t look so good. They’re burning overhead money and not bringing in enough billable hours. 

Worse, Zach discovers that someone has taken over Alicia’s computer, using a remote access tool, or RAT for short. By turning on Alicia’s webcam, anyone on the other end can hear and see what’s going on in the apartment. Though Clarke isn’t crazy about the idea, Cary gets him to take part in a scheme to provide false information about the F-A’s business, presumably to the folks at Lockhart & Gardner. 

David Lee still is fuming about Alicia’s “betrayal” and tries to hang the malpractice case around her neck. The key piece of evidence is a check to a leader of the Chippewa nation — a bribe to look the other way in the adoption case, which involved an infant of part-Native American heritage. Everything hinges on which attorney was the supervising partner of record. David claims it was Alicia, since she received her promotion to partner in the middle of the case. 

That would make Alicia liable for the whole malpractice claim — a whopping $6 million. But Clarke Hayden says David was in charge. He knows this because of his work doing their books during the bankruptcy proceedings. Is Alicia in the clear?

It’s Not About the New Firm

During Will’s investigation of the girl’s murder, he runs into Alicia’s brother Owen on the college campus. Owen’s surprised to learn his big sis has struck out on her own. He also doesn’t buy the idea that she just wanted her independence.

Unable to keep out of it, he confronts Alicia back at her place about his suspicions: she left L&G to put distance between herself and Will. Just as they’re about to get into it, Grace interrupts, looking for Zach. Now the webcam light is on her computer, not Alicia’s. What’s up with that? 

Zach, who as we know is a computer whiz, discovers to his horror that someone is feeding live footage of Grace to anyone willing to pay to see the “politician’s hot daughter” in her bedroom. Similar to Clarke and Cary with the RAT in Alicia’s computer, they set a trap for the hacker who’s selling access to Grace’s private life.

Meanwhile, the malpractice case won’t go away. The legal eagles learn that the person who sent the would-be bribe to the Chippewa nation is Anthony, one of their own. He swears that actually it wasn’t Alicia or David who told him to send he check — it was cranky old Howard Lyman. This could be the break that Alicia needs.

Or so it seems until Anthony gives his deposition and calmly throws Alicia under the bus. He switches his previous statement, saying that Alicia authorized the illegal payment. Once again, she might be on the hook for the $6 million. Amazing what a man will say when he’s offered a position back at his old firm. Even more, a partnership. 

Alicia smells a rat — or a RAT — in their midst. She threatens David with disciplinary action for coercing Anthony’s dishonest testimony by offering him the partnership, but David is characteristically defiant. The worst part may be that Anthony took part in many of Florrick, Agos’ strategy discussions, so he’ll be able to report back to his new partners at Lockhart & Gardner. 

There’s a lot of betrayal going on here, isn’t there?

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Nothing’s Set in Stone

Will’s still got that pesky murder case to deal with. Before he can meet with his client again, however, Owen comes to see him in the office. He’s just got to tell Will his theory — that Alicia left to get away from him. 

“I care about my sister,” he says. “I want her to be happy. It was easier for her to leave than to own her feelings for you. You know, she and Peter — they’re not set in stone.” 

Nice try, but no luck. “No,” answers Will, “it’s over.” Poor Owen — unlike Grace and Zach, he’s not doing as well in the brother-sister department.

Also not doing so well is Jeffrey Grant. Jail isn’t the best place for a pampered college student who looks like Hunter Parrish from Weeds. Based on the preliminary DNA evidence, Geneva Pine offers him a deal: involuntary manslaughter, two years. But he insists to Will again that he’s innocent, he didn’t know the girl and he wants to reject the deal. Despite Kalinda’s earlier insistence that Jeffrey’s the one, Will wants to believe him.

Geneva Pine gets the pleasure of telling Will that they should have taken the deal. The new DNA test they’ve run on Jeffrey is a 100% match for the victim. He may have relatives out there with similar DNA, but only his fits the evidence. Geneva tells Will not to be too hard on himself. Apparently, clients sometimes lie.

The boy continues to insist he didn’t do it, so Will tells him they’ll go to trial. It could take as long as six months, he says, so look for this case in a future episode.

Knights to the Rescue

Computer whiz Zach tracks down the culprit who’s violating Grace’s privacy. It’s a boy from their own tony private school. Big brother jumps into action mode, giving the RAT a beat down. Zach explains the resulting black eye to Alicia as a baseball injury, but Grace saw the whole thing and sweetly thanks him for playing her knight in shining armor (or a navy blue school uniform).

Meanwhile, just as things are looking bleak for the F-A team, they learn they may be getting their own knight, in the form of Clarke Hayden. Now that he’s a lawyer, he’s willing to get their financial house in order, for free no less. He just wants to be paid once they’re in the black. With his hard-headed pragmatism in their corner, maybe these scrappy upstarts have a chance after all. 

Summary Judgment

Another excellent episode in the greatness that is season 5 of The Good Wife. We’ve got Alicia reveling in her “warrior-princess mode” (as Owen calls it), Zach fighting for his sister’s honor, Will denying his still-obvious feelings and a legal case without a clear-cut conclusion. And it’s a kick to welcome back Nathan Lane (as Clarke) — this time as a potential good guy. 

With Clarke by their side, Florrick, Agos & Associates may be on the right track. Next week, they finally start gaining new clients, which is a relief. (Who wants to see them go down over unpaid utility bills?) Even better, Natalie Flores (America Ferrera), Eli Gold’s “one that got away,” returns. That’s something worth staying up for. 

The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9pm (barring football overruns) on CBS.

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(Image courtesy of CBS)

Alison Stern-Dunyak

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV