One of the joys of watching The Good Fight is that you can tell the writers are passionate about the topics they touch on, whether it’s the Trump effect or the #MeToo movement, to borrow two examples from this season. And their passion comes through in their stories, which are detailed and specific and remind how you fun and exciting it is to listen to smart people talk about the things they care about. However, The Good Fight’s passion and penchant for complicated storytelling can’t make every topic interesting on both an intellectual and entertainment level, and that’s the case with this week’s episode, which dives into microtargeting, the process by which advertisers use ad dollars to zero in on very specific groups of people in order to influence their actions (e.g., what Russia did with fake news during the 2016 election). Sure, the case features several twists and some soap opera-y bits, but it felt like the show was missing that trademark electricity this week.
This week, Diane, Adrian, and Julius represent a black undercover police officer named Rashid Clarkson, who was shot and crippled by another cop during a drug sting. This pits them up against supposedly legendary lawyer Solomon Waltzer (Alan Alda), who is representing Det. Whitehead, the officer who shot Rashid, and the Chicago Police Department. But Diane and Adrian aren’t too impressed by him because they’re easily winning the case, especially after Kurt walks the jury through the ballistic evidence at the scene of the crime, and for some odd reason, Solomon doesn’t raise any objections. They take it as a sign that he’s going senile, but if you’ve watched The Good Fight, you probably spent the entire episode waiting for the shoe to drop, and it does.
Instead of objecting in court, Solomon questions Rashid about dogfighting, pointing to an article that claimed he was being investigated for holding such fights in his backyard. Rashid maintains that isn’t true, even though Solomon has an article stating it is. Of course, Marissa is the one who figures out what’s going on after she struggles to find more than one article with those claims. She goes back to the jury research, creates a Facebook profile with all the jurors’ characteristics, and discovers that someone paid to target people with the same characteristics as the jurors with that fake news article — in other words, microtargeting. Solomon is obviously the one behind this fake news article, and it’s not the only one he’s sent out into the world.
Microtargeting is fairly interesting in theory, but it doesn’t do much to elevate this episode’s case and seemed a bit too ridiculous. For some reason, I’ll totally buy that Chicago lawyers are being murdered, but I wasn’t convinced that a lawyer would use microtargeting to sway a jury. At times it felt like the show was forcing microtargeting into a story where it didn’t really fit or need to be. (Next: Someone quits)
However, the microtargeting is only the tip of the iceberg. Once the firm accuses Solomon of doing it in court, things turn nasty. Solomon decides to make things personal and hires Holly Westfall (Megan Hilty), the woman Kurt cheated on Diane with, as his ballistics expert, then uses that as an opportunity to bring Kurt’s infidelity in court. Holly reveals that she and Kurt got a drink together recently, which undercuts Kurt’s previous testimony and, more importantly, breaks Diane’s heart. To make matters worse, the ever-noble Kurt refuses to make things personal.
At this point, Diane is upset and fresh out of microdosing liquid, so she tracks down the charming bartender from Reddick’s funeral for a refill. She then winds up back in bed with Tully, whom she just helped out in court. At this point, I’m still not entirely sure what to make of Tully, but I don’t think I like him, or that he’s adding anything to the story right now.
While all this is going on, Maia and Lucca decide to help Jay with a case that’s related to the main one. It turns out that Jay referred Rashid’s case to the firm because he hoped it would help his friend Craig, who is serving 15 years in prison for having both marijuana and a gun in his possession; however, Craig maintains the gun wasn’t his and was planted by none other than Det. Whitehead. Now Jay hopes that whatever comes out about Whitehead in Rashid’s case will help get his friend out of prison too.
Maia asks Kurt to look into the gun Craig was found with, and Kurt discovers that it was recovered from a crime scene Rashid, not Whitehead, worked on. The lawyers confront Rashid, who admits he and Whitehead used to skim firearms from crime scenes and give them to cops who needed drop guns. It turns out that Whitehead didn’t shoot the unarmed Rashid because he was black and just assumed he was a criminal, but because he was afraid Rashid was going to turn him in. Unfortunately, this new discovery means the firm has to drop Craig because there’s a conflict of interest.
With new evidence in hand, Adrian and Diane strong-arm Solomon into agreeing to an $8.3 million settlement because they know the city would rather pay up than have every case Whitehead was involved in reopened if Rashid decided to come clean about their drop-gun side project. This is a big payday for the firm, but a major loss for Jay because attorney client privilege forbids the firm from using Rashid to help Craig. A pissed-off Jay interrupts the firm’s celebration and accuses Adrian of being a hustler who’s more interested in a payday than doing what’s right. And Jay does a have a point. The firm talks a big game about fighting the good fight, but it just let two crooked cops off of the hook because of money. Their big fight ends with Jay quitting the firm, which isn’t as powerful as the show probably hopes since I don’t think we were really that invested in Jay, who still hasn’t risen above supporting character.