When it’s revealed that an actor will not be returning to a show, it can change the way you watch his or her character: Every move is scrutinized and analyzed for potential exit strategies. Surprise exits—like Josh Charles’ Will or T.R. Knight’s George on Grey’s Anatomy—are hard to stomach, for sure, but at least you can watch the episodes up to their last with blissful ignorance. That’s not the case with Kalinda because we know Archie Panjabi is leaving. According to the Kings, we have her for all of season 6, but tonight’s episode made it seem like they’re planning for her exit sooner. My colleague Samantha Highfill recently interviewed Mike Colter about Lemond Bishop’s role in Kalinda’s arc. He said that what all of us are thinking (that Lemond is going to kill her) is too obvious, but it is possible. And tonight’s episode made that possibility seem really possible.
(By the way, if you haven’t noticed by now, I’m not your regular recapper, Breia. She’s away for the weekend, and like Rita Wilson, I’ll be stepping in for this episode.)
Let’s start with that Kalinda storyline: She is still seeing FBI Agent Lana Delaney. (Lana must have quite the effect on her because Kalinda let her hair down—twice.) It’s a secret to everyone—including poor Cary, who thinks she’s pining away at home for him—except for Bishop. He has informants everywhere and finds out the FBI is investigating him. He “asks” Kalinda in a parking garage (where all shady dealings go down) to find out what Delaney is working on. The good PI that she is, Kalinda overhears Lana talking about Bishop and waiting for probable cause before doing anything. So Bishop’s informant is definitely right—except Kalinda tells him he has nothing to worry about. He doesn’t believe her.
In their second parking garage meeting, he tells her to place a blank white card (likely a tracking or listening device) into Agent Delaney’s wallet. Kalinda comes very close to doing it… before snapping it in half. This can only go south—fast. Which is why it’s so difficult knowing Archie Panjabi is leaving; I kept thinking the entire time her story played out, “What does this mean for her exit?” But I was also thinking, “Wow. It’s unusual to see Kalinda worried.” She’s a rock on this show, the one person who is never rattled; even when her abusive husband came back in season 4, she barely wavered. But this Lemond/Delaney situation has her worried. Just as her being killed by Lemond seems obvious, her running away seems out of character, too. What seems the most likely at this point is the Kings are playing up a storyline that has nothing to do with Panjabi leaving just to mess with us. And it’s working. Seriously, WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
But we’re not alone. You know who is really having her head messed with? Alicia. Johnny and Eli have started conducting focus groups for Alicia’s campaign and she accidentally overhears a woman named Sally talk about how Alicia seems entitled and selfish. Naturally the guys tell her not to worry about one woman’s opinion; and naturally Alicia can’t think of anything but that woman’s opinion—when she should really be thinking about her current “case,” this week courtesy of her brother, Owen.
Owen stops by Alicia’s office to get her help; he lets her apologize for prying into his sex life (although he doesn’t really seem to accept the apology) and says he won’t hurt her campaign—which means in a later episode he most definitely will. He’s there to ask her for help with one of his students, Jody Milam, who was raped and wants to get her rapist, Troy Anthony, expelled. Alicia goes to the student disciplinary hearing as an advocate—a silent advocate she soon finds out because the school handbook doesn’t allow her to speak. Being quiet isn’t something Alicia is used to doing, so she contributes via text messages to Jody. Justice is swift, but not quite fair, at Chicago Polytech (known for water polo hazing, a Jeffrey Grant murder, and being the alma mater of Neil Gross).
Never one to allow injustice, Alicia convinces Jody to file suit against the school for not allowing her due process. And it’s a good thing she did because going to court allowed this week’s Louis Canning cameo. His “I’m disabled” court routine was ratcheted up with the addition of a wheelchair and an oxygen mask. Canning is able to convince the judge to proceed quickly with the case because he has kidney transplant surgery the following week. This leads to two perfect exchanges between Louis and Alicia. Conversation #1:
“Are you dying?” —Alicia
“Everybody’s dying.” —Canning
“Are you dying now?” —Alicia
And the best part is—no one knows. He’s so good at his routine even someone like Alicia, who knows him so well, can’t read him. Her inner Sally tells her to stop doubting him, though.
When it turns out that Chicago Polytech has a problem with covering up rape (seriously why does anyone go to this school?), Canning gets the school to “settle”: They perform a random search on Troy’s room, find weed, and kick him out. Alicia wants to continue with a class action, but Jody just wants her life to go back to normal. This leads to conversation #2: Alicia asks him about his operation, and he says they haven’t actually found a kidney for him yet. Instead of getting upset about his lies in court, she simply asks what she can do. And he says visit his wife if he dies. (Insert tears here.)
NEXT: More bad news for Cary