Diane and Liz fight to save Jay from being deported in the fun 'Day 485'
Is it possible for The Good Fight to have a filler episode? Because “Day 485” definitely feels like one, but in the best way possible. While it does take on another farcical aspect of America, it feels rather divorced from a lot of the season’s storylines; however, it’s fast-paced, interesting, and downright fun, even though one of the characters finds himself in a truly terrifying position. And by the end of it, Reddick Boseman & Lockhart has itself a new enemy.
“Day 485” opens with Jay and Maia rushing a witness who just flew to federal court from Israel to testify in Naftali’s corrupt foreign practices case. However, what begins as a simple Good setup quickly devolves into a fraught battle with ICE and a lesson in federalism when the cops pull their car over and arrest Jay and the witness, leaving Maia to tell the partners what’s up. Diane and Liz rush to bond court to bail Jay out, but ICE agents led by Patrick Basehart (Enrico Colantoni) are waiting there to deport Jay. Hoping to keep Jay out of their custody, Liz and Diane manage to convince the ever-benevolent Judge Suzanne Morris to deny him bail so that he remains in jail. (I loved the way Judge Morris dressed down Patrick in court after he initially refused to identify himself. She was one of my favorite judges on The Good Wife, and I’m glad she was back here.)
Everyone is convinced this is a simple mixup and they just need to find Jay’s birth certificate to prove it. Thankfully, Jay’s sister has it at the ready, but Marissa realizes something: It’s fake. It turns out Jay was actually born in Nigeria and his parents faked his birth certificate to make it seem like he was his American-born sister’s twin, even though he’s actually a year older. Oh, and they never told anyone in the family this. Now Diane, Liz, and everyone in the firm must rush to save Jay from being deported.
Part of the problem in this case comes down federalism. Chicago is an asylum state, which should make things easier for Jay, but Patrick and ICE keep asserting that federal law trumps state law and want him remanded into their custody so they can deport him. Federalism isn’t the most interesting topic in the world, but The Good Fight works its magic and makes it incredibly compelling. Part of the way it does so is by keeping the plot moving so quickly that you don’t have much time to really think about anything. (To be honest, I’m not entirely sure that I understand it all.) There’s a gloriously fun sequence that jumps between Diane and Liz arguing for state’s rights in state court and federal court that captures this.
Liz ends up convincing the state judge to allow Jay to remain in the state’s custody, but Trump-appointed federal Judge Trig Mullaney, who continues to be a goofball here, rules in ICE’s favor. The bond court sheriff declares that the two court orders cancel each other out and Jay needs to remain in jail, but while all this bickering is going on, ICE pulls some strings and has Jay transferred to federal court to testify in Naftali’s case, which will make it easier for them to pick him up. The great Judge Morris gets on the phone with the prison transport vehicle and tries to save him, but fails.
The firm’s last hope is for Marissa to come through on finding a way to get Jay an “Einstein visa,” which allows immigrants who make significant contributions to the culture to stay in the U.S. They decide to appeal for one using Jay’s artwork, and Marissa finds a goofy comic book store owner who bought some of Jay’s work to testify in court. To tip the odds in their favor, she microtargets the lion-loving immigration judge in order to convince him that some of Jay’s work has been show in a gallery. But the icing on this beautiful cake comes when Diane counters Patrick’s claim that Jay doesn’t merit an Einstein visa by pointing out that Melania Trump got one for her modeling career.
The episode ends with a rather peaceful shot: a newly freed Jay whistling as he strolls out of court. It contrasts with the noisy chaos of the first 40 minutes. However, we know this calm can’t last for long. Back at the firm, Julius’ Republican fixer friend, to whom he turned to for help in dealing with ICE, warns him that his firm now has a target on its back because it made a new enemy. Clearly, the good fight never ends.
- While the episode was very much about the fight to save Jay from being deported, it also found time to touch on Diane’s renewed drive and newfound clarity. In one of the episode’s calmer moments, she tells Liz that she realizes the only way to not let the insanity of the world get to her is to focus on making her corner of the world sane.
- Another very Good moment: Part of the humor in the immigration court scenes comes from Diane and Liz having to present their arguments to a judge who is teleconferencing in. At one point, they find themselves talking to a frozen video feed, because technology can be so silly sometimes.
- On The Good Wife, Judge Suzanne Morris was one of the few judges who would try her best to help the defense when the law was being stupid, and I’m glad she’s still up to her same tricks here. My other favorite part of the episode was when she hinted that Jay should act up in court so that she could hold him in contempt.