The Good Wife often takes inspiration from the headlines—and we all know there’s plenty of fodder to choose from. Most recently, we saw the show’s nod to the Sony hacks when the firm’s emails were compromised. This week, though, the show upped the ante with a timely take on the hot-button issue of gay marriage and the rights of religious freedom. Recently, the state of Indiana and its governor, Mike Pence, enacted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law that could give businesses the right to refuse service to gay people. Unsurprisingly, the law has sparked a wave of controversy that’s even made its way to the pop culture world. Many people are boycotting the state of Indiana in protest. Then earlier this week, an Indiana pizzeria publicly said it would refuse to cater a same-sex wedding, but that it would not deny service based on sexual orientation. The restaurant has had to shut its doors due to the backlash.
“Loser Edit,” which was written and shot in February of this year, features an eerily similar story line. Diane joins R.D. (Oliver Platt) and his conservative lawyer friends, Justin Partridge (Michael Zegen) and Max Gaul (Darren Pettie), to offer up her liberal viewpoint. They are considering funding a case on gay marriage and religious accommodation and want to know whether it’s worth their time and money. So Diane’s there to play her part as Devil’s advocate. The case is as follows: A baker in California was asked to bake a cake for a gay wedding, but she refused citing religious objections. (Sound familiar?) The gay couple then sued for discrimination, and R.D. is trying to decide whether or not to take up the woman’s appeal. Diane advises that they not take the case, but not because of her liberal beliefs. She’s just convinced that they won’t win. Max brings up the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, noting that it allows exemptions in anti-discrimination laws. But that doesn’t hold true in California. The whole debate is rather civil. Both sides voice their opinion, but no claws come out. And that’s just the opposite of what R.D. wants. He calls Diane out on going too easy on them. He wants her to fight and convince them that they’re looking at a loser case. She need not worry about offending anyone and go for the jugular. All I can say, R.D., is be careful what you wish for.
They continue the debate, this time replacing the gay couple with different types of protected classes. So where does religious freedom end and anti-discrimination laws begin? The answer is not a simple one. And every which way they look at this issue they can’t seem to agree. But Diane seems to have made a strong enough argument. R.D. tells her that he’s decided not to fund the baker’s appeal.
But slam the breaks! Literally that’s what Diane does. She’s driving in her car, listening to NPR, when she hears that R.D. agreed to fund the appeal after all. It’s a wedding planner in Idaho, but the case is basically the same. (Diane had already admitted a wedding planner would be a slightly harder case to win than the baker.) And Diane’s pissed. She knows she was just used as R.D.’s liberal guinea pig. But R.D. has another proposition: “If you think gay marriage can withstand all legal assaults, you should rejoice in any chance to defend it.” He wants Diane to represent the plaintiff in a mock trial so they can practice their defense. He’s even hired liberal judge Geoffrey Solomon (Richard Masur). R.D.’s stacking the deck against himself. “If you lose, all your fault,” R.D. tells Diane.
So Diane continues her go-for-the-jugular strategy. She hires Tom Keppler (Smash‘s Wesley Taylor) to play Nils Anderson, the plaintiff in the trial. R.D. is clearly shaken by this development and calls a recess before cross examination. Why? Because Tom is his gay nephew. He thinks she’s being too personal, but Diane points out that when it comes to these sensitive issues, it’s better to see who you’re impacting. R.D. asked her to go for the jugular, and now he’s suffering the consequences. (Or at least getting a little unwanted family therapy session out of the deal.) When it’s all said and done, Diane ends up winning her case for the plaintiff. But R.D. still doesn’t agree with Diane’s tactics. But I love her response: “The law is supposed to be fair, not impersonal. In fact, I would argue that the law is always personal. It has to see the human side, too—or else it’s meaningless.” But despite his loss in the mock trial, R.D. decides he is still going forward with funding the wedding planner’s appeal. He likes people who stand by their beliefs, which is part of the reason he and Diane get along so well, despite their major ideological differences.
In other Good Wife developments, reporter Petra Moritz (Lily Rabe) is working on a puff piece about Alicia and her rise from being a stay-at-home mom to the recently elected state’s attorney. Unfortunately, there’s still some concern that Alicia’s hacked emails might come out and negatively affect Petra’s story, even though the firm settled the WharfMaster case. These concerns are warranted because an anonymous source sends Alicia’s emails to Petra. And the juicy contents make it pretty hard for Alicia to claim that she’s worthy of the public’s trust.
Petra goes back to the editing room to make tweaks to the piece, this time including the firm’s hacked emails. Then, Petra organizes a second sit-down interview with Alicia to ask her, stealthily of course, about the emails. She starts off with questions about Alicia’s relationship with Will—and then goes straight for the jugular. Eli, who’s standing off in the wings, pulls Alicia out of the interview for a “phone call.” They know she has the hacked emails.
NEXT: Alicia & Co. try to stop Petra.