The Good Wife recap: 'The Trial'
Ooof. That was a brutal ending. And it’s not helping matters that we have to wait until 2015 for any resolution. The Good Wife is taking an early winter hiatus, and it won’t return until January. But before you settle into withdrawal, let’s talk about “The Trial.” Season 6 has been leading up to this very moment, and I was kind of surprised at how they handled it. So let’s dive right in:
Cary’s case is finally going to trial. And before it begins, Judge Cuesta (David Paymer) is so over it. He’s trying to get last-minute tickets to see Neil Diamond for his anniversary. (Forgive me if I don’t feel sympathetic. You can’t wait until the day of to buy an anniversary present, dude!) He also gets the wrong muffin from his assistant, so by the time he enters the courtroom he can barely contain his impatience. He calls Diane, Cary, and Geneva Pine into his chambers to persuade them to reach a deal before the trial actually begins. That unsurprisingly doesn’t work, so his new plan is to push through jury selection as quickly as possible. He’s gotta get those tickets!
The trial begins, and we learn that Geneva Pine is having some sort of affair with the narcotics detective on the case, Gary Prima (John Ventimiglia). I’m not entirely sure why this was relevant. Perhaps it was to show that she wasn’t fully on her A game? Or, could this relationship result in a mistrial later down the road? Geneva ends the relationship a few scenes later, but I’m not entirely sure of its purpose. (Share your theories in the comments!) Anyway, on the stand Diane asks Prima about speaking with Trey Wagner. And Prima admits that Trey said he set Cary up by selectively turning the wire on and off because he was scared of Lemond Bishop. Forty-eight hours later, Trey was dead. Castro calls Geneva Pine out on her setback in court, this is when she ends things with Prima. So now she’s ready to kick some ass.
Geneva brings in an unexpected witness to trial: Kalinda. Diane protests, but Judge Cuesta okays it. But we learn that one of the jurors can’t correctly hear what’s going on with the case. He keeps asking the juror next to him to clarify things. This was a great scene because at first, I was totally confused and thought I might be losing it. Then I realized that they were just playing out the scene from the juror’s perspective. As it turns out, The Good Wife doesn’t make much sense when you can’t hear properly! The juror in question, Mr. Fratti (Zak Orth) suffers from Auditory Processing Disorder. During certain moments of stress, he confuses words and sounds. He insists he’s followed the trial, but Judge Cuesta proves otherwise when Fratti hears this sentence: “The question, Mr. Fratti, is whether Cary Agos hurt lemons busing the important tree mills of honeycuts.” So yeah, Fratti is obviously dismissed, which is especially unfortunate because he was the only slam-dunk juror on the case. Cary continues his “when it rains it pours” streak.
Cary knows they don’t have a strong enough case, so he asks for Kalinda’s help. Apparently he doesn’t have to keep his distance from her now that the trial has started. Kalinda asks Alicia to make a plea to Finn to get a lead on Dante, the only other (alive) witness to Cary’s incriminating wiretap.
Speaking of, Alicia attempts to clarify her relationship with Finn. What is going on with these two? The more I see them interact, the more I kind of want them to develop romantically. (I mean, I will still be Team Will forever. But since he’s dead, I’ve probably gotta move on from that one.) They basically admit that things have been awkward between the two of them and decide to set some boundaries to keep anything from happening:
Finn: “We meet in brightly lit diners, not bars.”
Alicia: “Pancakes, not drinks.”
Finn: “Yes. And we talk about the law.”
Alicia: “Great. With accordion music.”
Finn: “Well, unfortunately, accordion music kind of turns me on.”
See? They’re pretty cute together.
NEXT: Cary makes a big decision
Alicia and Finn stick to the plan at their next meeting: diner, pancakes, and annoying music. But the universe has other plans. The lights go out turning their evening into a candlelit event with a guitarist soundtracking their meal. Awkward! (But also kind of adorable.) But they have more important business to attend to. She asks Finn about Dante, but he insists that he can’t say anything. He does give her an envelope full of surveillance photos of Lemond Bishop’s house. I know Finn is breaking the law here, but as Kalinda earlier pointed out, Finn knows Cary is innocent. I love that he’s willing to cross the ethical boundaries to do what’s right and help Alicia out. That has to mean something to her. Plus, he never actually said anything.
Kalinda takes the photos straight to Bishop in hopes that she can use them as leverage to find Dante. The photos are copies of pictures from the state’s attorney’s office, and they show four known drug dealers entering Bishop’s house. He knows it’s not enough for an arrest, but Kalinda points out it is enough for child services to take away his son, Dylan. To say Bishop doesn’t take this well would be an understatement. He tells Kalinda to leave before he thinks about it too much. Man, Lemond Bishop is one scary dude.
But Kalinda’s little visit seems to work because Dante (Mark Green) appears in court as Diane’s newest witness. But as Dante takes the stand, Lemond Bishop also shows up. Not a good sign. Dante lies on the stand and says Cary did tell Bishop & Co. how to break the law. Kalinda scrambles to get Bishop to have Dante tell the truth. But it’s too late. Kalinda played with fire, and now she’s getting burned. Here’s my issue with that, though. I really don’t think Kalinda meant the photos to be used as a threat. She would have helped Bishop fight any custody issues. She just needed a little leverage to find Dante. But her plan backfired. And the one person who could have testified in Cary’s favor, all but ensured Cary will get a guilty verdict.
Back at Florrick/Agos/Lockhart, Geneva Pine offers Cary another deal: time served with six months probation if he testifies against Bishop. He refuses again, so Geneva offers one final deal: a lighter sentence on the conspiracy charge, four years, but not with time served. With day-for-day good time, he’d get two years in prison. And that’s the best offer he’s ever going to get.
Cary leaves the office to get some fresh air, and Bishop oh-so-conveniently stops by in a black SUV to talk. Bishop thanks Cary for being loyal, but concedes that Cary’s trial is basically over. So as a peace offering, Bishop offers Cary a job as his legal consultant in Barcelona. It pays well, but it would mean Cary cannot return to the U.S. But Cary does the right thing and turns Bishop down. The firm put up his $1.3 million in bail, and if he leaves, the firm won’t get that back. Bishop tells him he can send them the money from overseas, but Cary holds his ground. Isn’t that the loyalty you admire so much, Bishop?
Alicia tries to convince Cary to continue to fight since she knows he’s innocent, but he doesn’t want to risk the 15 years of jail time. He barely survived his one week in prison. Despite all their differences, I love how Alicia has stood by Cary through all this. She promises to visit him in prison, and their embrace is almost too much to handle. I promise I’m not crying! (Okay, I’m definitely crying.) The episode ends with Cary taking a deep breath pleading guilty in court. Nooooo!!!
NEXT: The episode’s best moments and lines
Meanwhile in less sad but equally dramatic story lines, Alicia finds herself in some pretty hot water after she’s called to Grace’s school to deal with a joke gone bad. To make matters worse, Jackie Florrick is the one who delivers this news to Alicia: “Did you threaten to kill a teacher with a knife?” This, of course, sounds like a complete impossibility, but as it turns out, Alicia did sort of threaten one of Grace’s teachers. Apparently, Alicia wrote a letter to Grace’s P.E. teacher to excuse her from running in class. Here’s an excerpt: “If you make her run again, I will personally come down to your office and knife you in your lower intestine. I will then call Principal Englehardt to help you, but since he doesn’t receive or accept parental calls of concern, you will most probably bleed out.” Ummm what?!
So remember Darkness at Noon? It’s the fake TV show within The Good Wife universe. Apparently, Alicia’s threat against Grace’s P.E. teacher was just a quote from that show. She wrote it down to make Grace laugh, and it was unintentionally delivered to the school. (I guess Eli was right when he warned Alicia against joking!) The joke quickly escalated to a perceived threat, and that brings us to the current situation: Alicia at Grace’s school trying to explain away a joke turned wrong.
Over at Alicia’s campaign headquarters—the re-purposed Florrick/Agos offices—Eli (welcome back!) and Johnny are arguing about how Alicia should handle Cary’s trial and the yet-to-be-determined verdict. But all this takes a backseat when a reporter calls for a comment about Alicia’s “threat.” Johnny and Eli immediately go into crisis mode. Grace had given the note to her civics teacher, Ms. Slavick (Rose Evangelina Arredondo), during a class discussion on free speech, and the teacher turned it over to the principal. Alicia’s team clamors to get the letter back in their hands before it leaks, but Slavick won’t turn it over until she has a chat with Alicia. But before that, things get worse.
The story about Alicia’s threat ends up on BuzzFeed politics, and then Prady (David Hyde Pierce) gives an interview in which he says that school violence is too serious to be treated as a joke. Then, Prady says he would definitely prosecute someone to the fullest for this behavior. It appears like a direct attack against Alicia, so Johnny and Eli want to release some of their oppo research on Prady. But she’s still trying to take the high road and asks that they give her the night to think about it. Before she has time to mull it over, Prady’s possibly closeted sexuality is leaked to the press. He’s not pleased about it, and their attempts to run a fair campaign keep getting thwarted by the politics of it all.
Anyway, Alicia goes to meet Mrs. Slavick about the letter. And the teacher will definitely give it back in exchange for a task force to advise the state’s attorney on school crime in the state’s attorney’s office. Of course, Alicia doesn’t want to because it’s patronage, and she’s trying to avoid that. But it doesn’t matter because a copy of the note ends up on a blog anyway. In the end, Slavick and Principal Englehardt decide Alicia’s “threat” is clearly a joke that they don’t have to worry about, and they make sure the local news knows. Why the change of heart? They got seats on the Illinois Safety Commission, courtesy of Peter. Alicia got to avoid the patronage, but Peter, unsurprisingly, is not above that. So problem solved.
The best lines and moments from “The Trial”:
++ Judge Cuesta (David Paymer) unable to get the automatic sink and hand dryer working in the bathroom. We’ve all been there.
++ Cary: “I did nothing wrong, your honor.”
Judge Cuesta: “You’re in my court, young man. That means you did something.”
++ Marissa: “They’re arguing again.”
Alicia: “About the interview?”
Marissa: “I have no idea. I think they just like it.”
++ Eli: “This is a nightmare. The only bad people to have in your life are teachers. I’d trust assassins over teachers.”
Marissa: “This is my childhood. People ask why I turned out the way I did.”
++ Judge Cuesta singing “Sweet Caroline” the day after his concert
++ Marissa: “Uh oh.”
Alicia: “I’m really starting to hate those syllables.”
++ “You know. Ethics.” —Eli
++ “You know, for some reason I thought this was going to be funnier.” —Eli, about Alicia’s threatening note
This episode was kind of a downer. This whole season I’ve wondered how Cary would be able to get himself out of this legal mess. And I just assumed someone would swoop in to save the day before he was convicted. I never imagined he’d actually take the plea deal. But that’s where things stand. If Cary goes to jail and Alicia gets elected as state’s attorney, how will the show even continue as we know it? It certainly can’t be the same show. Also, maybe Kalinda will leave after Cary goes to jail because she feels responsible. It’s not her fault by any means, but she certainly poked the bear with Lemond Bishop. I also still worry that Bishop will come after Kalinda. Surely they wouldn’t kill her off. But I thought the same thing about Will Gardner. So many things to think about until January! See you back here then!
Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles, and Chris Noth star in the legal/family drama.