The Good Wife recap: The Art of Intimidation
Lemond Bishop's case takes center stage with guest stars Wallace Shawn and Audra McDonald
After two episodes in a row of Carrie Preston goodness, I have to admit I was fully prepared to be underwhelmed by “Runnin’ with the Devil.” But of course I was wrong. Any time Lemond Bishop (Mike Colter) returns, we’re usually in for a good show. Under normal circumstances, Lemond Bishop is someone I’d never root for in real life. He deservedly has a lot of bad things coming his way. But stick Lemond Bishop under the protection of Alicia & Co., and I’m ready to go to court and help them defend him!
Earlier this season Bishop got into some hot water with one of his legitimate businesses. The Feds’ confidential informant — Christina Diaz, a woman who worked at one of Bishop’s health clubs — turned up dead. Bishop was arrested for murder, and the firm has been working on the case ever since. (We’ve heard about it in passing, but it hasn’t come to the forefront of an episode until now.)
Alicia went to court and discovered she’d be facing her law school nemesis, Liz Lawrence (played by guest star Audra McDonald). First up, they faced off in front of Judge Friend (Bebe Neuwirth) about Bishop’s visitation rights with his son, Dylan. Friend ruled in favor of Bishop — he’d get to see Dylan two hours each week — and Liz told Alicia that just like in law school, she always let her win one. And I hate Liz already!
During one of those visitations with Dylan, Bishop spoke with Alicia about the case. The informant’s boyfriend — who was presumably the other leading suspect — had committed suicide. At this point, all Bishop could rely on was the testimony of his sister, Judy (Tracie Thoms), to corroborate his alibi. Through all of this, Bishop left Alicia with one request: Work with his lawyer friend, Charles Lester. And then Bishop left us with this gem: “Can you believe it? They might convict me for the one thing I didn’t do.”
Alicia and Cary met with Charles Lester to question witnesses. To say that Mr. Lester was not at all what they expected would be an understatement. At first I thought perhaps Lester (guest star Wallace Shawn) would turn out to be the male version of Elsbeth Tascioni. You know, a total mess but really a genius? But Mr. Lester showed he had much more mysterious and possibly sinister motives. (More on this later.)
NEXT: Alicia and Mr. Lester question witnesses, and they get an odd results….
The first witness was Ike Cramer (Glenn Davis), a trainer at one of Bishop’s gyms. Ike told Alicia, Cary, and Mr. Lester that at a staff meeting Lemond Bishop had threatened to kill anyone who was caught skimming. And apparently the now-deceased criminal informant was one of those skimmers. Then, oddly, Lester asked Ike some seemingly useless questions and left Cary and Alicia quite puzzled.
Back in court, Alicia and Cary were fully prepared to take the hit on Ike’s testimony. Not to mention, Kalinda had uncovered a video that had Bishop in the same room as the CI. Bishop had previously claimed that they never met. So things weren’t looking too good. But when Liz put Ike on the stand, he changed his tune, saying Bishop never threatened to kill anyone who was caught skimming. Bishop had just threatened to fire whoever was caught. It was really bizarre for him to recant his testimony, and immediately Alicia became suspicious of Mr. Lester.
So at their next witness questioning, Alicia asked Mr. Lester to explain his odd career. He’d been a lawyer for 25 years, but never tried a single case or written a single brief. He doesn’t have an office, and Lemond Bishop has been his only client for the last 10 years. Lester tried to quell her concerns, saying he just doesn’t like to work very much, so instead he offers dedicated services. I was right there with Alicia, not buying what Lester was selling, but she was still unable to pinpoint what was off with him.
So she continued her questioning of the witness, Bennie. He said he saw Bishop get into a tan Honda the night of the murder, the same car that the CI’s body was found in. Lester asked Bennie how old his kids were, another odd question. And unable to stand quietly by, Alicia called him out on implying some kind of threat. Lester played innocent, but in court, they had a repeat of Ike’s behavior: Bennie recanted his testimony.
Obviously, Liz Lawrence was pissed at the turn of events. So she decided to play a little dirty, telling Alicia: “We used to feel bad for you, the old gang from school…. Can you believe it? Having your husband admit to sleeping with prostitutes. Now, I see. You were made for each other.” But Alicia, never one at a loss for words, had a comeback fully ready: “Do you know what I’ve thought of you since school? Nothing.” Get it girl!
NEXT: Bishop’s trial takes a hit when his alibi is brought into question….
Before Alicia could question the next witness, she was called in to court to meet with Judge Friend. There, Alicia met a visibly shaken Liz Lawrence who claimed that a black SUV followed her and questioned her son at his preschool. She accused Lemond Bishop of being behind the intimidation, although she didn’t have any proof. Alicia said she didn’t have any knowledge that her client was using intimidation to scare anyone, but obviously the news was stressful because she had her suspicions about Mr. Lester. Still, she stuck to her guns, saying she had no knowledge that Bishop was involved in anything like that. Before she dismissed them, Judge Friend warned Alicia that withholding knowledge would leave her subject to arrest.
After that run in with Judge Friend and Liz, Alicia again questioned Lester’s motives. She flat-out asked him if he had someone threaten Liz. But again, Lester claimed to have no involvement. Alicia had to take him at his word and focus on the next witness, Dexter Roja. Dexter didn’t want to testify against Bishop, but Liz and her team told him they found his DNA under Christina’s fingernails. (Dexter was sleeping with Christina, but said he didn’t kill her.) Liz promised Dexter she wouldn’t prosecute him if he testified against Lemond.
Kalinda and the new investigator (more on Robyn later) noticed something in the autopsy report that they had confirmed by the medical examiner: Skin cells were never collected from under Christina’s fingernails because there were no fingernails. She was a nail biter. That meant that AUSA Liz had threatened Dexter Roja with false information to get him to testify against Bishop. It worked out pretty perfectly since Liz had just accused Alicia & Co. of intimidating her. Now they had definite proof that she’d used intimidation to coerce Dexter into testifying. Judge Friend was forced to dismiss since there was no viable testimony.
But you should know by now, nothing is ever that simple in The Good Wife world. Liz amended the witness list to include Judy Bishop, Lemond’s sister. Judy’s earlier testimony confirmed Bishop’s alibi. But she decided to recant her statement, saying that the night Christina Diaz was killed, Bishop left the house and didn’t return until midnight. She claimed he came back agitated and said he immediately took a shower. Bishop knew his sister might have her own ulterior motives. If he went to prison for good, Judy could claim full custody of Dylan. But now without his alibi, Judge Friend would have to rule against him.
Because of the last-minute addition of Judy to the witness list, Alicia requested a recess so they could prepare a rebuttal. In the interim, Kalinda and Robyn went to the horse farm where Bishop claimed he was during the murder. There, the detail-oriented Robyn noticed an electronic gate. They checked out the gate’s record, and learned that Bishop likely buzzed in a person from inside the corral, even though he claimed to be alone.
NEXT: The truth comes out about Lemond Bishop’s real alibi….
As it turns out, Lemond Bishop wasn’t alone that night at the farm. The security cameras were off that night because Bishop wanted to make it look like he was alone. Apparently he met with associates from “another organization,” which is a euphemism for associates from his illegitimate work. Even if those associates would corroborate his alibi, Bishop acknowledged that he couldn’t admit on the stand he was meeting with them in the first place. And that put him in a pretty tough position, since that “associate’s” testimony was the only thing to refute his sister’s. They decided to roll the dice on the trial, and Lester ominously told Bishop, “I think you know what you have to do.”
The next time we saw Mr. Lester, he was at Judy’s front door — the viewer’s proof that he was definitely up to something shady and probably intimidating witnesses (although we were never told how or to what extent). Alicia showed up in court with a plan to get Judy’s testimony kicked out. But it didn’t matter. Mr. Lester’s secret meeting with Judy proved to be effective. She’d withdrawn her testimony. And so given the lack of evidence and witnesses, Judge Friend had no choice but to release Lemond Bishop.
Meanwhile, the lasting effects of Lockhart/Gardner’s bankruptcy were still being felt. During a partner’s meeting, Diane and Will argued about the benefits of re-acquiring the 27th and 29th floors, which they dramatically lost in the midst of all their financial woes. Or as David Lee put it: “It’s time we look like a real law firm again, and not some Burmese tent city.” Diane was rather cautious about the new proposal, and any other expansion for that matter, and felt they should remain conservative so they wouldn’t end up in a similar financial crisis. (Those of us who were entirely exhausted over the bankruptcy storyline tend to agree.) But Will, the more fearless of the two, was fully ready to expand and get back to the way things were.
Other than setting up the obvious tension between Will and Diane on financial matters — this continued throughout the episode — the most important development of this meeting was the partners deciding they should hire another investigator. Alicia was the only one who didn’t want that to happen, but she was out-voted. Diane was concerned that Kalinda was over-extended with all the new business. (And it’s now I’d like to remind everyone how unsuccessful hiring Blake was a few years ago — his car window would agree.) But I’m choosing to trust the writers on this one: Here’s to hoping a new investigator will be more lucrative the second time around! But at least Alicia asked to be on the hiring subcommittee to look out for Kalinda.
While they were interviewing potential investigators, Will and Diane sent Kalinda out to look into one of their long-standing clients, the restaurateur Seth Deluca. Apparently, Mr. Deluca paid his bill in full and on time, which left Will and Diane concerned that he was about to jump ship. Kalinda learned that Deluca was considering leaving to follow…wait for it…Cary!
When Alicia and Cary both had their partnership offers reversed, they talked about going out on their own. But when Alicia was re-offered the position, I dropped the idea that they might leave Lockhart/Gardner. Cary, apparently, did not. Instead of telling Diane and Will what she really learned, Kalinda kept her lips sealed to protect Cary. And later in the episode she warned him that he’d almost been found out. Cary said he was just considering leaving, but Kalinda told him to stop. If Will and Diane ever learned the truth, he’d definitely get fired.
NEXT: Cary and Kalinda share a moment, and Will sings!
Anyway, Kalinda noticed the several ex-cops in the waiting room of Lockhart/Gardner, and barged in on Will asking if she was being replaced. He explained that they were just looking to add another person, but Kalinda was none too thrilled about the idea of an additional investigator getting in her way. Will tried to assure her that the decision was in everyone’s best interest, but Kalinda wasn’t having it: “Somehow when people say more prestige, they usually mean less power.”
You can imagine Kalinda’s unhappiness when Robyn Burdine snagged the job. After several dud applicants, Robyn entered the picture. She was wonderfully awkward, and I’m already a fan, even if Kalinda’s not. Because she was the “different choice” both Will and Alicia fought for her. Will said it was because people wouldn’t see her coming, while Alicia argued for Robyn because she thought she wouldn’t challenge Kalinda. And that was enough to convince the hiring subcommittee.
So welcome, Robyn, to your new job at Lockhart/Gardner! Now you have the difficult task of making Kalinda not hate you! Will asked Kalinda to train Robyn, and Kalinda obliged, though you could tell she wasn’t at all happy about it. It’s important to note that when Kalinda spoke to Cary about what she’d learned about Seth Deluca, Robyn was waiting patiently at her side. Kalinda made a little spin move to get Robyn out of the room — and out of the conversation — and it was totally worth it because Cary made a Batman sidekick joke. (Her name is Robyn! How could he not?!)
Over the last few episodes, commenters have noticed the closeness between Cary and Kalinda. That came to a head at the end of the episode, when Cary met Kalinda at a bar. He thanked her for having his back in the Seth Deluca situation and then bravely went in for the kiss. But she shut him down. She claimed it was because they work together and that she won’t give him what he needs. But it sort of seems like Cary doesn’t care. He just wants Kalinda. Alas, it looks like Cary (and all the Kalinda/Cary shippers) will have to wait.
I mentioned earlier that Will and Diane were having trouble seeing eye to eye on how to move forward post-bankruptcy. Diane wanted to play it safe, while Will was ready to start making moves. Together, the two decided to write a mission statement for the firm, hoping it would help steer them in the right direction. But they’re just still in an awkward place following all the financial drama. This led to easily one of my favorite Will moments ever: him singing the theme song to Growing Pains because, you know, the firm’s going through growing pains. (Props to Josh Charles for executing this. And am I the only one now ready for a Growing Pains marathon? Probably.) By the end of the episode, Diane and Will finally compromised and celebrated beating bankruptcy with a toast. It’s good to have Mom and Dad back together.
What did you think of the episode? How great but also frustrating was Audra McDonald’s Liz Lawrence? Charles Lester was obviously involved in all those recanted statements, but what do you think he actually did to get people to stay quiet? Do you want to see Cary and Kalinda get together? What are your thoughts on Robyn, the new investigator? Sound off with all your thoughts in the comments.