Welcome back, Elsbeth Tascioni! Both Carrie Preston and the case of the week return for “Shiny Objects.” And I’m definitely not complaining. It certainly wasn’t the strongest episode of the season, but any time Elsbeth is around, you can expect a little bit of crazy, and her latest return is no exception. The episode opens up with her on the treadmill, and we get a glimpse of what goes on in Elsbeth’s head. It’s pretty much what you’d expect: It’s a jumble of words, clowns, ice cream cones, traffic cones, pumpkins, candy, sand, sandwiches, and regular witches—soundtracked by xylophone music. You know, the usual. It’s been debated whether Elsbeth is a genius or just crazy. I’ve always thought she had to be a little bit of both. Her mind definitely works in strange ways, but that’s just it. Strange or not, it works.
Unfortunately, her weirdly successful ways were competing against Alicia and her team this time. Elsbeth and her partner Rayna Hecht (Jill Hennessy) sat opposite Alicia and Dean on a wrongful termination suit. Alicia’s client Camilla Vargas (Jan Maxwell) claimed that she was fired by Eric Napier and his company J-Serve solely because she’s a woman. (Think of a Jill Abramson-inspired story line.) Enter Tascioni’s tactics for the win. Alicia and Dean took an early hit on the case when Elsbeth made it about Camilla being a bitch, and not an issue of sexism. Elsbeth even inspires Dean to say, “We need to take her out.”
So both Dean and Alicia distract Elsbeth in court with a picture of a boat and penguins. It’s laugh-out-loud funny as Elsbeth tries to rein in all the things running through her mind. It shakes her enough that both sides agree to talk settlement numbers. But before they get too far, Elsbeth decides she will not get distracted again. So back to court they go.
This time, Alicia tries to distract Elsbeth with a picture of a cat, but Elsbeth powers through. It’s less than ideal for Alicia and Dean. But they catch a break when Josh Perotti (Kyle MacLachlan) shows up in court. Mr. Perotti’s got a thing for Elsbeth, so when she sees him in the back of the court room, she totally loses it. Outside of the courtroom, she accuses him of trying to rattle her. He insists he’s there on official business and asks to have dinner with her (and her sexy red hair, of course). As it turns out, Perotti is there on official business. He tells the judge J-Serve’s assets have been frozen pending federal criminal charges against the company. There’s an intellectual property suit at play, and that effectively ends the current case until the criminal one can be resolved. Rayna and Elsbeth want to work with Alicia & Co. to beat the federal case, so this will likely come back later in the season. (And maybe even next week since Carrie Preston is set to return to the next episode.)
Back at Florrick/Agos, they have bigger fish to fry. Diane inadvertently downloads a virus to all the firm’s computers, and they are instructed to pay $50,000 in the next 72 hours, or all of their files will be permanently deleted. To call this a problem would be an understatement. They call Cary to update him on the situation, but he’s busy having sexy time with Kalinda. Then, they call Kalinda to update her on the situation, but she’s busy having sexy time with Cary. Convenient! Ultimately, they decide they have to shell out the cash. They can’t lose their files, and if they alert the authorities, they run the risk of the investigation leaking. And looking vulnerable to the entire legal community isn’t an option. It’s decided that each partner will put up $5,000 to raise the ransom amount.
After the money is collected, Diane enters her routing number but nothing happens. Thankfully, there’s a helpline number listed, so what choice do they have? Diane calls the number only to be put on hold because, of course, they’re busy assisting other customers. They even have the quintessential on-hold music. And when it rains it pours, literally this time, as a pipe is leaking water onto Diane’s chair. She’s so over it.
UP NEXT: Diane returns to her old firm for a run-in with David Lee