Alicia gets a career-changing offer, Will and Diane face off against Louis Canning, and Neil Gross returns

By Breia Brissey
Updated March 02, 2015 at 10:51 PM EST
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Are you kind of tired of hearing about Lockhart/Gardner’s financial woes? Just like I grew weary of the Kalinda/Nick storyline, I’m now getting a little bored with the firm’s constant debt struggle. But at least the writers shook things up a little bit by throwing Louis Canning into the mix. I love to hate Michael J. Fox’s character on The Good Wife. That said, I’d be a pretty happy camper if I didn’t have to hear another word about the firm’s debt.

Unfortunately, that day will not be today. The central focus of “The Seven Day Rule” was Diane and Will going to court to gain a five-month extension to raise the remaining $30 million in funds they needed to pay off their creditors — or creditor, now that Louis Canning bought off the debt. But before they went to court to face off against Canning, they sat Alicia down and gave her an offer she couldn’t refuse: They asked her to join them as an equity partner. Naturally, Alicia was thrilled and had a treat yo’ self moment by going on a shopping spree. It did seem odd to me that they were offering a fourth-year associate a partnership. But she is the good wife after all. Alicia’s great at her job, so I took the promotion at face value. But nothing is ever that simple. (More on this later.)

Diane and Will headed to court to argue that they deserved a five-month extension since they’d already showed great progress toward eliminating their debt. Louis Canning played up his disorder to the judge for sympathy, and then claimed that Diane and Will prolonging the payback would deny futures to children with handicaps like his own. Canning planned to use the money he was owed to fund neurological research. And a continued delay was the equivalent to not helping children. It was pretty ridiculous, and just the sort of stunt Louis Canning would pull. Will pointed out that if the firm was liquidated immediately, Canning would only get 50 cents on the dollar. If they got an extension, Canning would get a full, 100 percent return. The judge agreed to at least hear out Will and Diane’s argument for extending what he deemed was an arbitrary deadline to begin with.

To combat Canning’s tactics, Will and Diane attempted to prove that the creditors had ulterior motives. Canning objected the relativity of the motives, but he made it an issue when he suggested the debt was for afflicted children. Will pointed out that Lyman Norquist, the CEO of LOC pharmaceuticals, funded the trust Canning used to purchase Lockhart/Gardner’s debt. On the stand, Lyman admitted that the firm often brings costly nuisance suits against the pharmaceutical company. It was a win for Will and Diane. Realizing he had his work cut out for him, Canning made a play for Clarke Hayden. Canning implied that after Hayden passed the bar exam, there might be a position for him at Canning’s firm should he help him out.

Back in the courtroom, Canning argued that Lockhart/Gardner was settling more cases than necessary for their own financial gain. Will knew that their weakness was the West Nile virus case from a few weeks back that they settled for $12 million, even though their initial ask was $15. To ensure they had their bases covered, Will and Diane spoke with Alicia about her testimony. She’d been subpoenaed to discuss the firm’s recent and frequent settlements. Before this, Alicia learned that Cary had also been offered partnership. (That was strike one against Will and Diane.)

NEXT: Alicia takes the stand and Neil Gross returns…

Once Canning put Alicia on the stand, he tried to get her to say the firm had agreed to a settlement with only their financial interests in mind. Alicia stood firm that the settlements were not at all a driven by Lockhart/Gardner’s need to raise capital. Canning then asked her about the “schemes” the firm had used to raise funds, and naturally, Alicia said she didn’t know of any. And that’s when she got the unfortunate news — while testifying, no less — that she and Cary weren’t the only people offered equity partnerships. Three other fourth-years got the same offer. Alicia maintained her cool while on the stand, stating that she’d won dozens of cases and brought in thousands of billable hours. But you could tell how pissed she was at Will and Diane. (And that was strike two.)

Since Canning’s only great success was to piss Alicia off, his last-ditch effort was to subpoena Clarke Hayden. Canning asked Hayden about the five equity partnerships. Hayden appeared to play into Canning’s hand, admitting that the offer of employment in exchange for money was a type of pyramid scheme. But that’s where it stopped. It was pretty awesome when Hayden testified that this quid pro quo arrangement was not at all unusual. And as an example he noted Canning’s offer of employment to Hayden in exchange for his help in the proceedings. (It wasn’t a clear offer, but it was clearly implied.) And that was all the judge needed to hear. He granted Will and Diane’s request for a five-month extension.

Just like Lockhart/Gardner can’t seem to avoid financial woes, they can’t seem to avoid Chum Hum and its owner, Neil Gross (John Benjamin Hickey). This time, the (almost) Mrs. Chum Hum joined the picture. Deena, Neil’s fiance, reached out to David Lee & Co. for a second opinion about her prenuptial agreement with the ninth richest man in America. Deena’s father wanted to make sure she was protected, and insisted she seek advice from someone outside of Neil Gross’ lawfirm — which Deena also happened to work at.

David Lee’s eyes lit up when he realized the earning potential of gaining her business. They knew that Mr. Gross would never hire them, but if Deena worked with the firm, it would open the door for more business down the road. And it’s worth mentioning again that Neil Gross is the ninth richest man in America. They convinced Deena to sign on, so David Lee began his negotiations with Gross’ lawyers.

Neil Gross was pretty pissed that he had to deal with Lockhart/Gardner, and burst into Will’s office (interrupting a meeting with Kalinda) making that very clear. But as Will kindly pointed out, he was involved in litigation, not family law and wouldn’t be involved at all. I’m sure that didn’t settle Gross’ anger, but the outburst managed to secure Kalinda a raise. Will asked her to keep an eye on the situation.

NEXT: Let the negotiations begin!

David Lee & Co. started their negotiations with the point of jurisdiction. They wanted to take advantage of the seven day rule by moving jurisdiction from Texas — a place Gross hadn’t been since 2009 — to California. In the Golden State, both parties must have the final pre-nup in hand for seven days before signing or it’s unenforceable and voided. The wedding was in nine days. That left the lawyers only 48 hours to hammer out all the details. (David Lee kindly pointed out that God made plants and animals in 48 hours.)

But they faced several unexpected hits when Deena agreed to most of Gross’ terms without any fight. She felt that they were never going to get a divorce, so the agreement was merely a formality. That meant Lockhart/Gardner was put in the awkward position of motivating her to push back. That meant finding enough dirt to get her to budge, but not so much that it would kill the wedding altogether.

David Lee pointed out that Deena’s shares in Chum Hum would be worthless if they divorced, but she still believed the whole thing was just a formality and made it very clear she didn’t care about the money. So Alicia suggested they go after something else. David Lee went back to Gross’ lawyer (Margaret Colin) and said Deena was okay with signing on all the financial issues, but that she wanted to address a number of relationship maintenance concerns. He said she wanted a date night each week, 600 minutes of time with Gross away from work, and that any future children would be brought up Christian. Obviously, Deena never requested any of these things. So when she was presented with the counter offer (things like their children must be raised Jewish and have sex at least twice a week), they finally got Deena to push back in future negotiations. Success!

Or at least temporary success. The firm’s meddling with the negotiations backfired a little and Deena and Neil had it out in the conference room. So David Lee and Counselor Cary convinced Deena to make amends, and pull each other past all the pre-nup drama. Meanwhile, Cary and Kalinda were still looking for dirt in Neil’s Chum Hum financial reports. Cary suggested that Kalinda check the footnotes for problems. I thoroughly enjoyed the callback to Cary’s lesson from Clarke Hayden. (Later in the episode, Cary and Hayden appeared to make their own amends, and Cary apologized for testifying against him in the bankruptcy mediation.) But it worked. The found a discrepancy in the 2010 and 2009 records: A joint venture expense worth $112,000 in the footnotes.

They presented their findings to Gross and his team. The beneficiary to the corporation was 4-year-old Jacob Carlisle, the son of a woman Neil Gross had a one-night stand with in 2008. Extortion certainly wasn’t the high road, but it’s the road they chose to take. And just what they needed to get Neil Gross to stop the negotiations and give Deena/David Lee what they wanted. After that, Deena was considering giving Lockhart/Gardner her entire Midwest book of business.

NEXT: Alicia gets some expensive news…

When David Lee wasn’t working out the details of the pre-nup, he gave Alicia a shock about her new promotion. The capital contribution for equity partnership was $600,000. She’d only need to put up half, but still, that’s not a small sum of money. She obviously had no idea she’d have such a financial responsibility, and I think it’s safe to assume she returned all her previous celebratory purchases. Alicia queried whether or not she could borrow against her mortgage, and found out she could as long as she could get Peter to co-sign on her loan.

When she went to Peter to tell him the news, he was equally thrilled. But instead of agreeing to co-sign the loan, he offered to just front her the money. He considered it a good business decision. And I suppose it was an even easier decision now that they seem to be on better terms. (See: their sexcapades from two weeks ago.)

Meanwhile on the campaign trail, Eli and Jordan were trying to make Maddie’s religious beliefs an issue. A video caught her not bowing her head or closing her eyes during a prayer. And even though, as Eli pointed out, it is not the South, they thought it was something they could run with. Eli asked Alicia about it, and Alicia confirmed that Maddie had told her she was an atheist.

Since they decided to hit Maddie with religion, Jordan decided he needed Alicia to formulate an opinion on her own beliefs. It’s understandable how much Eli dislikes Jordan, but I kind of loved how much Alicia seemed irritated by him. (And Eli’s working any angle to get the “awkward” politico out of his way.) Since Jordan didn’t get a solid answer from Alicia about her religious beliefs, Eli was left to determine her stance on the matter. Eli was less than pleased when Alicia admitted she didn’t believe in God either. (Unless, of course, Jesus himself showed up to her office and performed a miracle.) Eli explained that the public wanted Saint Alicia, and it would look bad to voters if she said she was an atheist. This led to one of my favorite exchanges of the night:

Alicia: “So Diane and Will negotiated in good faith. Cary is as deserving as I am. And God might exist. I’m good.”

Eli: “Yeah, I don’t know what that was about, but yes!”

NEXT: Parties and pouting…

Fast-forward to the Illinois Women’s Leadership Forum, where Jordan tried to be chummy with Alicia and Alicia was still reeling from the news about the equity partnerships. Meanwhile, Maddie and Alicia had a mini-tiff about their friendship, or lack thereof, and I was highly disappointed that Peter interrupted the two before Alicia had a chance to tell Maddie off. While at the event, a reporter questioned Maddie about her perceived insensitivity. She apologized, but said she was trying to avoid being hypocritical. She admitted she was an atheist and said to let the voters decide. Peter was right there to respectfully disagree with Maddie, citing his time in prison where all he had was faith. And Alicia stood by, presumably waiting to deliver her Eli-fed line about her own belief in God. But as you’ll recall, she was still pretty pissed, and declared she was an atheist. (Leading Eli to roll over in his proverbial grave.)

The episode concluded with the firm celebrating their five-month bankruptcy extension and David Lee’s success with Mrs. Gross. (Important question: Don’t you think the firm could help their financial woes if they didn’t throw celebratory parties with free-flowing booze and shrimp? Just a thought.) Anyway, noticeably absent from the celebration was Alicia, who was in her office pouting about the equity partnership. Canning approached her and gave her a “get out of jail free card” (a.k.a. his business card), making it clear he still wanted her to come to the dark his side.

Diane went to Alicia and called her out on her pouting. Diane then shared how she became a partner: Jonas Stern was sued for sexual harassment and needed to promote a woman. Diane basically told Alicia to put on her big girl panties, suck it up, and go to party to thank the other partners for the opportunity. So Alicia went to the party, and gave another one of her scripted lines about not disappointing anyone. But suffice it to say, Alicia’s still unhappy.

What did you think of “The Seven Day Rule?” Do you think Alicia should turn down the partnership offer? How awesome was it when Clarke Hayden testified against Louis Canning? Sound off in the comments.

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The Good Wife

Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles, and Chris Noth star in the legal/family drama.

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