Elsbeth and Eli take on Josh Perrotti and the DOJ, Alicia adapts to her new role at the firm, and Peter goes against Maddie in a gubernatorial debate 

By Breia Brissey
Updated March 02, 2015 at 10:48 PM EST
David M. Russell/CBS

The Good Wife

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Hooray! Now that we’ve reached the end of the NFL season and major award shows, it seems that The Good Wife will no longer suffer from network preemptions. We get five all-new episodes in a row, beginning with last night’s “Going for the Gold.” The typical case of the week was replaced with the continuing saga of Eli Gold vs. the Department of Justice. Likewise, that meant the return of everyone’s favorite guest star, Carrie Preston as Elsbeth Tascioni. (Check out Preston’s interview with EW after her last appearance on the show.)

Elsbeth and Eli were still trying to outsmart the DOJ’s Josh — you can call him Josh — Perrotti (Kyle MacLachlan). Elsbeth agreed to a work lunch with Perrotti, to tell him that since the wiretap had been thrown out, he needed to stop harassing Eli. Specifically, she referred to a gossip column piece in which a source was overheard telling Perrotti that Eli Gold was definitely guilty. Perrotti then told Elsbeth that he’d found another way to prove the charge against Eli: conspiracy. Elsbeth pointed out that this would require a co-conspirator, and then the two argued about going to court. But the best part of this scene was the tension between Perrotti and Elsbeth. Mr. Perrotti clearly has the hots for Elsbeth, going as far to compliment her on the shape of her lips. But since Elsbeth is Elsbeth, his attempts to woo her only made her more flustered and uncomfortable. She slowly and rather awkwardly removed herself from the table. Here’s to hoping Mr. Perrotti likes Indian food, because he was left with a lot of it after her abrupt departure.

With Kalinda’s help, Elsbeth tried to figure out who the co-conspirator was. I love it when these two interact. Kalinda is the antithesis of quirky, so when she’s paired with Elsbeth, I find that I’m often giggling just like Elsbeth does when she tries to go along with one of Kalinda’s no-plan plans. But the two succeeded and learned that the DNC chair, Frank Landau, was the alleged co-conspirator.

Obviously, Eli wasn’t thrilled when he learned of Landau’s connection to the case. Landau admitted that the DOJ was coming after him, so with his career on the line, he threw Eli under the bus. Cut to Elsbeth and Perrotti arguing with Judge Ellis (guest star S. Epatha Merkerson) about the discovery. Perrotti thought it would damage the case by allowing Elsbeth and her team to dissuade their witnesses from testifying. And since Eli lost his temper and knocked away Landau’s keys in their earlier encounter, the judge sided with Perrotti. Eli was convinced there was no scheme to buy votes and Landau had to be lying. So true to her genius, Elsbeth came up with her own creative plan to get some answers: They would sue Frank Landau for defamation, which as Elsbeth pointed out, is not as strange as it sounds.

NEXT: Alicia helps Elsbeth, and Jackie returns….

Elsbeth sought Alicia’s help with the civil court case to basically play act a lawyer in the sham defamation case. Elsbeth knew she wouldn’t have much luck actually winning the defamation suit, but all she needed was for the defense to ask for a dismissal so she could put Landau on the stand. Then, in the civil court case, she could ask him about what he planned to say in federal court. It was a wacky loophole, but this is Elsbeth we’re talking about. Wacky plans tend to work in her favor.

Perrotti tried to assert himself into the case, seeing Elsbeth’s true intentions. But thankfully, Judge Marx (Dominic Chianese) wasn’t a fan of Perrotti or the DOJ and asked him to sit down and stay out of it. In civil court, Landau testified that he arranged a meeting between Eli and Hugh Saxon, the CEO of Green Gate Retirement Center, to buy votes. Landau alleged Eli was worried that Peter wouldn’t get enough votes at the Democratic straw poll. So Saxon promised to bus senior citizens to the poll to pack the vote for Peter.

Out of the courtroom, Eli admitted to doing what everyone does. He claimed that he didn’t pack the vote — busing senior citizens was all a part of a Democratic outreach to involve seniors. Coincidentally, he offered a discount on Green Gate’s crisis management through Lockhart/Gardner at the same time. Eli stood firm that it was only a coincidence that these two things happened at the same time, and tried to assure Alicia — who was rightfully upset — that he never traded discounts for votes.

Meanwhile, Kalinda paid a visit to Saxon to corroborate Landau’s story. Saxon admitted to making an agreement with the DOJ to not discuss the matter. During their meeting, Kalinda noticed a photo from the straw poll with the senior citizens wearing T-shirts representing all of the candidates. The implication was that they voted for all the candidates, and not just Peter. On the stand, Saxon confirmed that version of the story. Discouraged but not willing to give up, Perrotti promised that there were other eyewitnesses who could corroborate Landau’s story. Take a wild guess who that person was! None other than Jackie Florrick.

My immediate thought went to Jackie’s stroke. And thankfully, the writers didn’t ignore that previous plot point. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Obviously, Eli and Jackie haven’t always seen eye to eye. So he was definitely concerned:

Eli: “She’s doing this to get back at me.”

Elsbeth: “For what?”

Eli: “Everything.”

Jackie told the court that she overheard Eli and Mr. Saxon discussing arthritis, Jewish stuff — oh, and an agreement in which Eli cut his crisis management fee in return for the transport of residents to the straw poll. It was pretty damning.

NEXT: Diane takes the stand; Will and Alicia meet in an elevator….

Elsbeth & Co. had to poke a hole in Jackie’s testimony, which turned out to be pretty easy because of Jackie’s aforementioned stroke. (In fact, Eli called Jackie a “blind donkey,” referring to her memory and orientation problems.) They put Jackie back on the stand, and she brought up her stroke willingly. She said that since she suffered her stroke, she had days when she couldn’t even recall her own name. Eli asked her why she did it, and she said, “It’s the truth, isn’t it?” Awwww. Jackie did something nice for a change!

Judge Ellis had no choice but to disqualify Landau’s testimony because no one could corroborate his story. But Perrotti assured Ellis he could add a new co-conspirator to the charge. Elsbeth had to rely on Perrotti’s testimony in the civil case with Judge Marx to determine that the new co-conspirator was Diane.

Back in federal court, Perrotti proved that Lockhart/Gardner signed off on a 25 percent discount for Green Gate. Diane’s initials were on the bill, which implied that Diane approved the discount. But here’s a sentence I’d never thought I’d say: The firm’s bankruptcy was a good thing! As you’ll recall, over the last few months all the Lockhart/Gardner financial decisions were made by the trustee, Clarke Hayden. Yes, Diane signed off on the discount, but she didn’t approve it. Clarke did. So that ruled out Diane and Lockhart/Gardner from co-conspirator charges. It appears as though Eli’s troubles with the DOJ are over, along with Perrotti’s hope that Elsbeth accompany him on a date:

Josh: “Do you like the ballet?”

Elsbeth: “No.”

Josh: “Me neither. Let’s not go together. Dinner?”

Elsbeth: [Long pause] “No.”

Josh: “May I ask why?”

Elsbeth: “No.”

With that monster of a case out of the way, let’s talk about the other important developments: How genius was it that both Alicia and Will started out the episode with a cold? Now, of course, we don’t know the exact cause of their under-the-weatherness. But the implication is that they were both sick at the same time courtesy of their recent lip-lock. Fortunately they got over their respective colds, but not before an encounter in the Lockhart/Gardner elevator. Will told Alicia the kiss was a mistake, and that it wouldn’t happen again. He said they couldn’t avoid each other forever, and she agreed. Am I the only one slightly bummed this didn’t turn into to a sexy elevator tryst?

But fear not, Alicia got her sexy times elsewhere. Later in the episode, she and Peter were seen re-dressing after a presumed campaign-bus hookup. And then Peter did something really weird: He asked Alicia out to dinner. On a date. I know these two are married, and they’ve certainly rekindled the flame, so to speak, over the course of the last few episodes. But it’s still interesting to see them back together in a more official sense. She agreed to the date, but we didn’t get to see that play out. Perhaps next week?

NEXT: Alicia takes on a new role; Peter takes on Maddie….

Now that Alicia’s officially an equity partner, she had to deal with the new responsibilities of her promotion. The first: a mandate from Diane to cut the billable hours on the Lemond Bishop case by 10 percent. This put Alicia in a semi-awkward position, making the change from peer to boss. Alicia first suggested a more conservative approach on the case. Cary, worried about his own job security come promotion time, lashed out against Alicia. Understandably, he doesn’t want the rug pulled out from under him again.

Will overheard Cary and the associates grumbling about Alicia’s new stance, so he informed them that Alicia cut her own hours — not theirs — to resolve the billing issue. But once Diane learned of Alicia’s actions, she reprimanded her, saying that clients wanted to see partner hours. Alicia had to revise the hours again, cutting in other places. You can’t win ’em all, and Alicia’s learning the hard way what comes along with her new title.

Meanwhile, Peter was trying to move forward with his campaign sans Eli. With Jordan coaching from the sidelines, Peter took on Diane (playing the role of Maddie) in a mock debate. Jordan urged Peter to play it safe and make sure he didn’t fight too much during the real debate. Jordan didn’t want Peter to look combative and aggressive toward Maddie.

Peter told Jordan he trusted him, but he clearly had his doubts. And so did Alicia. When Peter told her about Jordan’s debate strategy, she encouraged him to call Eli for his opinion. Eventually, Jordan sensed those doubts. He asked Peter to hand over his phone, because the ship would sink with two captains. Peter had to let go of his instinct to talk with Eli about the campaign.

During the real debate hosted by Petra Moritz (guest star Lily Rabe), Maddie pretty much knocked it out of the park. Peter’s attempts to not bully Maddie came across less than favorably. During the debate break, Alicia again encouraged Peter to call Eli for advice. Eli told Peter to fight back a little bit, and when he did things started to pick up. Peter finally started to act like he was in it to win it. Suck it, Maddie!

NEXT: Peter and Eli rekindle their bromance; Will reconnects with Laura Hellinger….

After the debate, 56 percent of people polled thought Peter had won. But a bigger win for Peter was getting Eli back to his campaign. Even with his legal troubles over, Eli was still going through with his resignation. He was packing up his things when Peter convinced him to stick around to see him through his gubernatorial race. Who cares if Mike Kresteva will use Eli’s troubles against them later? Nothing can come between this bromance!

Last but certainly not least: Will Gardner. In my opinion, Will was a little underused in this episode. But it seems like the writers are foreshadowing a bigger story for him in the future. The state’s attorneys office was looking for a new outside firm to represent it on its civil suites. Lockhart/Gardner wanted to throw their name into the ring, and Will was tasked with representing the firm for the pitch. This reconnected him with Laura Hellinger (Amanda Peet) who was on the committee to judge the potential applicants.

During Will’s pitch, the ASAs (which included Geneva Pine) seemed to go fairly easy on Will with their line of questioning. You could tell he was enjoying the meeting with a sense of security until Hellinger started to ask about Lockhart/Gardner’s involvement with Lemond Bishop. Will recovered nicely from the surprise questions, but was clearly a little rattled. Later in the episode, he confronted Hellinger about her hostility during the interview. But she fought back, saying Geneva Pine never wanted him…and that she was only giving Will a chance by asking him the tough questions.

Will realized his error and apologized to Hellinger with an expensive bottle of wine. But in the end, it didn’t matter. Lockhart/Gardner didn’t get the business — they were actually cut after the first round. So no new client for Will, but perhaps a budding relationship with Laura Hellinger? Discuss.

MVP line of the night goes to Elsbeth talking to Alicia: “We’re suing the…Oooh, I like those earrings!”

What did you think of “Going for the Gold?” What do you think will happen between Will and Alicia? Are you glad Alicia agreed to go on a date with Peter? Have we seen the last of Jordan? And most important, do you want to see more of Josh Perrotti and Elsbeth? (The obvious answer is yes.)

Sound off in the comments with all your thoughts!

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The Good Wife

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

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