Even the best attorneys don’t go it alone. There are paralegals, junior associates and — on TV, at least — very cool investigators. With Kalinda Sharma in the wind, Alicia Florrick could sure use a sharp set of eyes on the street. In this episode, she may have found her man. Unless Diane gets to him first, that is.
In one of the most eagerly-awaited cast additions of the fall season, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, formerly of Grey’s Anatomy, Supernatural and Magic City, charms Alicia as PI Jason Crouse. But when Diane ups the ante, will he follow his instincts instead of his wallet? Let’s find out, shall we?
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A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Worries
The second episode of season 7, titled “Innocents,” finds Alicia and new buddy Lucca back at bond court. Lucca asks Alicia to take over one of her cases, involving a young man named Eric Barsetto. He’s charged with vandalizing a photo in a museum, and he also admits to his guilt. The judge grants Alicia’s request for bond anyway, but as Eric leaves the court, he tells his unsuspecting attorney that he’s the subject in the damaged photo.
Back in the governor’s office, Eli apologizes to Peter for his harsh language when the governor replaced him with Ruth Eastman. Peter accepts the apology, but there’s no place for Eli in his campaign now. They somberly shake hands. As Eli leaves, Ruth stops him and threatens his destruction if he ever comes near her candidate again. Eli seems unfazed. Later on, Ruth asks Eli’s former assistant, Nora, to return to work for her old boss and report back on everything he does.
At bond court, Alicia watches the security video of her new client. That’s definitely him smashing the glass on the photo. Alicia asks Lucca if she knows any good investigators. She recommends a few, including one Jason Crouse. (Yesss!)
Eric explains that he was only 8 when his mother took a series of photos of him and his sister on vacation in Maine. They’re naked in the photos, and he can’t stand it. He even threatens to damage them again if the museum continues to display them.
Alicia interviews the three people on Lucca’s list. Jason is adorable, witty and flirty, and Grace urges her mom to choose him. “He’s better,” she says. But Alicia’s concerned that he’s too expensive, so she tells him she’s “going in a different direction.” (Noooo!) She goes with a young PI named Amanda.
Meanwhile, Cary’s getting an earful from the junior associates about Howard Lyman’s behavior. And he’s looking for investigators too (which becomes important later on in the episode).
Pictures at an Exhibition
At a meeting with the head of the museum, Alicia tries to get the charges against Eric dropped. (The museum’s attorney is Nancy Crozier, played by returning guest star Mamie Gummer.) They will do it only if he “embraces” his mother’s photos publicly as works of art. Eric says that the naked photos have ruined his life, and he’s not interested in a deal.
Alicia offers to fight the museum by saying he never consented to being photographed. She wants an emergency injunction to close the museum exhibit too. To bolster her case, she sends Amanda to find Eric’s sister and to make sure there are no problems on his social media footprint.
During a break, Eli calls and says Peter’s vetoed him being her chief of staff, so he’d like to offer a list of names for her. She immediately recognizes that he’s using her, but she visits Peter to request Eli’s services anyway. After Alicia threatens to torpedo her husband’s campaign to become Hillary’s VP running mate (by tarnishing his newfound “family man” image), the governor caves to her request. Eli’s in!
At her office/apartment, Alicia looks at a book of the photos, also called The Innocents. She shows it to Grace for her reaction. Their discussion is interrupted when Lucca stops over. Now that Alicia’s taking on the museum directly, the savvy young bond attorney wants a cut. After all, she referred the case to Alicia.
Cary holds a meeting with Diane and David. He’s worried that Howard’s causing too much trouble with the young associates. But Diane notes that associates always complain about senior partners. She wants Cary to decide if his reaction is professional or personal.
At court, Eric meets up with his mother (played by Amy Irving). She’s upset that he’s trying to stop her museum show. He’s upset that the show has revived interest in a painful part of his life. The judge seems upset by everything. Alicia and Lucca even wonder if he’s on meds.
On the stand, Eric says he never gave consent to be photographed, but Nancy Crozier wants to establish that kids do stuff for their parents (like go to the dentist) all the time. Essentially, the mother gave consent on Eric’s behalf. In any case, Eric says their initial display made his early life hellish, attracting attention from pedophiles.
But Nancy counters that if his life was ruined, why does his Facebook page have so many happy photos? Alicia’s furious with PI Amanda — this was exactly the kind of thing she should have turned up.
Hoping to figure out his motivations, Cary meets Howard over lunch. Lyman says things are going great — and makes a lascivious remark about a young associate. That settles it. Cary suggests moving Howard to emeritus status, which doesn’t go over well, to say the least.
Into the Enemy’s Den
Eli has big plans for Alicia’s “pathway to rehabilitation.” His main idea? Apologize to Frank Landau, the Democratic Party chairman who put her in this position in the first place. Look contrite now and you’ll destroy him later — forcing him out of his job.
The lawyers gather in Judge Dunaway’s office, where Nancy reveals that Wendy (Eric’s sister, who PI Amanda could never find) said she’s fine with Mom’s photos. The judge says okay then, good enough — the museum can display the photos. But Lucca jumps in — there’s another matter: the right to publicity. The museum can exhibit the photos, but forget any sales of the images in the gift shop. That’s a separate issue. Case not closed!
Alicia and Eli visit Frank Landau. She apologizes for causing any embarrassment to the party by complaining about her treatment. To make it up to her, Frank offers her a seat on the Election Board. Landau sends Eli out of the room and tells Alicia how to vote on the first issue that comes before the board. (We don’t yet know what that is.) Meanwhile, Nora approaches Eli in the hall and says she’s back with him — she doesn’t like working for Ruth Eastman. When Alicia comes out of Landau’s office, she keeps mum about the coercion.
A furious Alicia tells PI Amanda that the museum had no trouble finding Eric’s sister, Wendy, given that she was in Chicago all along. (We’re starting to see why Amanda costs less than Jason.) Alicia fires her and calls Jason — who’s standing in the offices of Lockhart, Agos.
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On Second Thought, a Picture’s Worth a Thousand Dollars
In court, the Barsetti case now revolves around museum gift items (which is where the organization makes its real profits). As both sides argue, Jason Crouse slips into the courtroom. Then the judge throws a wrench into the case: since the photos were taken in Maine, where laws about the right of publicity don’t apply, the museum can sell anything it wants.
A baffled Alicia and Lucca wonder, what did we do wrong? Jason leans over and tells them: it’s not you — the judge is just hungry. It’s Ramadan, and the newly converted Muslim jurist has been fasting all day. Catch him in the morning when he has more patience. Alicia apologizes to Jason for not hiring him in the first place.
But it might be too late. We’re out of witnesses, Alicia says. Jason says he might be able to help with that too.
The next morning, Alicia brings in an expert witness — a convicted child pornographer. To Mr. Wilson and his friends, the images are kiddie porn (just better made). As we hear the judge’s stomach rumble, Nancy tries to prove that the photos are art.
Later, Eli and Ruth argue over campaign strategy. Nora fesses up that she’s keeping tabs on him for Ruth. Really? Umm-hmm.
In court, Phyllis Barsetto shows several paintings of nudes, including children. No one would call them pornography. Judge Dunaway agrees and drops the injunction. The show can reopen.
Alicia and Jason talk. He says he has another offer, which would be exclusive. (He won’t tell her it’s from her old firm.) She ups this hourly rate, but he has to think it over — and see what the other folks are willing to pay.) Grace, who’s been listening in, says that it’s now time to renegotiate her salary — from nothing to something. Alicia gets a light bulb look on her face.
It’s Decision Time All Over Chicago
Diane and David tell Cary and Howard they have to make peace. Cary says okay, but Howard won’t budge. Either he goes or I do! The always-snarky David asks, “Did he just offer the easiest ultimatum in history?” Buh-bye, Howard!
Jason comes to see Diane to discuss his hourly rate. He lies (big time) about his counteroffer (not saying it’s from Alicia). Diane ups her offer again but emphasizes the exclusivity angle.
Back at the museum, Alicia argues that Eric worked for his mom as a model — that’s unpaid child labor. Before things get out of hand, Eric says he would drop it all if his mom would just hand over the photos. Alicia notes that thanks to the Internet, the photos will always be out there, so why not use the money to start a new life? Eric and his mom clasp hands in friendship.
Peter comes to see Ruth. He’s impressed that Eli arranged it so that Frank Landau’s supporting Alicia again. The governor wants Ruth to call and congratulate Eli on his good work. No bad blood between you two! Eastman knows she’s been played, wanly smiling at her boss.
At Alicia’s apartment, Grace reviews the settlement, which gives a nice payout to mom and Lucca, plus $80 for her.
Suddenly — this being The Good Wife — the doorbell rings. It’s Jason! He’ll come on board for $90 an hour but no exclusivity. That’s less than half of what Diane offered, so obviously there’s more to him than just money, though Alicia doesn’t know it.
Alicia counters with $95 but no more using her to get better deals from other clients. And … a new partnership begins.
Okay, good case and all (and welcome back, Amy Irving!), but you really want to know: what about Jeffrey Dean Morgan? How’d he do?
I say great. I loved that Jason turned down mucho bucks from Diane to help out Alicia. I loved that he knew why Judge Dunaway was acting so erratic, which proved really helpful to Alicia and Lucca.
There is a mystery, however: why did he turn down Diane? Maybe it’s that instant attraction thing with Ms. Florrick. Maybe Jason just likes to be needed (and Alicia really needs a good investigator). Whatever the answer, in just a few minutes of screen time, he made a major impact, and not just because he’s looking all Clooney-adorable. He’s also apparently excellent at his job — maybe the equal of Kalinda?
Only time will tell. I know I’ll be watching.
The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9pm (or later, depending on football overruns) on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)