'The Good Wife' recap: 'Undisclosed Recipients'
As the previews indicated, Alicia’s transition to the state’s attorney’s office will not be a smooth one. She can—and should—enjoy the honeymoon period while it lasts. But this is a CBS drama. So we all know it’s not going to last long. So let’s dive in to “Undisclosed Recipients”:
Alicia returns to Florrick/Agos/Lockhart to find her office full of gifts and other celebratory items congratulating her on her election win. Unfortunately, she can only consume gifts that are less than $75, according to Cook County ethics rules. So that bottle of bubbly she just opened? It’s gotta go in the trash. Damn you, ethics! But Alicia’s got bigger fish to fry, because the requests for favors start to roll in immediately. First up, it’s the despicable human and outgoing SA, James Castro (Michael Cerveris). He says he wants to bury the hatchet, but we all know that’s a lie. He just wants Alicia to keep Phil Lorie as her chief deputy. She puts the kibosh on that pretty quickly. And then Castro makes this plea: “It is customary for the incoming SA not to investigate the outgoing SA.” And, sure, Alicia’s not one to hold a grudge, but if anyone is deserving of it, it’s James Castro. Anyway, the encounter ends with a classy Castro threat: “A lame duck can still tank your record before you get started!” Ugh. I hate that guy.
Up next is another despicable human in the form of Guy Redmayne (Ed Asner). He awkwardly hugs Alicia (a.k.a. grossly rubs up against her) and then congratulates her on the win. He also mentions the gift he had sent over: a chessboard made out of human teeth. (Is this a joke? I’m concerned because I’m pretty sure he’s being serious.) Anyway, he quickly gets down to business. He wants her to appoint his friend Dean Lumber as her No. 2. But considering Redmayne starts off the conversation by comparing Alicia’s feet to that of a whore in Arizona named Brittney, it’s unsurprising that she isn’t too keen on taking his suggestions. Redmayne ends the discussion with a threat of his own: “I spent seven figures putting you into office. It won’t cost me nearly as much to get you out of it.”
But the awkward party has only just begun. Lemond Bishop arrives to chat with Alicia, and he crosses paths with Mr. Redmayne. As expected, those two in the same room is not a good idea. Thankfully, Redmayne makes his exit before Bishop has much time to consider the old man in front of him. After last week’s episode, we already know what Bishop wants: He’s getting out of the business and wants Alicia to ensure his safety and stop Geneva Pine’s investigation. Alicia promises to stop the investigation and grant him full immunity…on the condition that he’ll testify against his lieutenants. Alicia, you should know by now that Bishop is not an enemy you want. “This was not a smart move. This was not a smart move at all,” Bishop tells her before literally hitting the wall on his way out. And I can’t help but agree with Bishop on this one. He’s not one to make empty threats.
Eli catches wind of the Guy Redmayne interaction and he’s less than thrilled. He’s actually in full-on Eli rage. He scolds Alicia for telling the truth, when really she should just be telling people what they want to hear. And he gives her a new motto, albeit one that’s totally full of BS: “Thank you for your advice. All options are open to me. I plan to decide in the next 48 hours.” She’s on her way into becoming quite the politician!
Eventually Redmayne, Castro, and Bishop all return to Alicia’s office—at separate times, of course—so she can rattle off her new BS mantra. It must be noted that during this interaction Guy Redmayne proclaims his love for Taylor Swift’s “Shake That Thing” “Shake It Off.” If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is. It should also be noted, that in the midst of all this drama, Alicia goes to Finn Polmar to offer him the No. 2 spot in the SA’s office. He says he’ll consider it. Unsurprisingly, Eli’s not happy about this either, so Alicia hasn’t entirely learned her lesson.
NEXT: The firm falls victim to a cyber attack.
Moving on: The case of the week takes place out of the courtroom and entirely at the firm through depositions. Movie producer Vince Dalton (Neil Hopkins) is suing Nathan Bacevich (Michael Stahl-David), the head of WharfMaster, a peer-to-peer sharing site. Dalton’s movie, In Brain, was illegally downloaded 4.2 million times prior to the film’s theatrical release. Dalton claims the site depressed the box office numbers. Bacevich claims he and his employees had no specific knowledge of any illegal downloading. But Kalinda disproves that by calling WharfMaster tech support. When she says she’s trying to download American Sniper, they help her no questions asked. They start the ask at $28 million.
Unfortunately, Bacevich has Jared Andrews (returning guest star John Glover) on his side. Andrews shows that Gemstone Publicity uploaded the video to WharfMaster. Gemstone was contracted to do viral marketing for Dalton’s company. So Diane, Cary, and Julius—everyone seems to be working on this case—have to pivot on their plan of action. They decide to argue trademark tarnishment since the downloaded movie plays next to banner ads for hardcore porn. It’s a stretch, but it just might work.
That is until Andrews argues that the WharfMaster ads are targeted. Kalinda, have you been watching a lot of porn on your computer? Of course not. In fact, it’s not her computer. And I’ll give you one guess at the true owner. Yup, it’s Howard Lyman’s laptop! He’s the one watching porn, and a lot of it. So those banner ads wouldn’t show up on just anyone’s computer.
They’re losing at settlement negotiations, but that’s the least of their worries. All hell breaks loose when the firm’s emails get hacked. (The show’s nod to the Sony hacks.) A WharfMaster supporter leaks all of the firm’s emails from the past four months. Nathan Bacevich is a hero in the cyber world, and the Internet is not happy with Florrick/Agos/Lockhart for going after the peer-to-peer site. And the emails are bad. Including this choice gem written by Cary about Diane: “Maybe we could ask McVeigh to do a better job in the sack, get the stick out of her ass.” And that’s just the beginning. It’s no bueno.
Howell (Jason Babinsky) disconnects the computers from the network, but too much damage has already been done. Alicia, though, is the one person safe from this nightmare. She’s been busy with her campaign, and so she hasn’t been using her work email. But she’s not safe for long. Diane receives an anonymous email that says: “This is just the first batch. Tomorrow, we will release two years of e-mails.”
Alicia starts her own efforts of damage control. She asks Marissa, who is now her executive assistant, to go through the emails from the last two years looking for anything having to do with Will, Lemond Bishop, and Peter. (Don’t worry, Marissa. Only two of those names are a part of Alicia’s sexual history.) Anyway, the results aren’t so pretty. Marissa combed 5,000 emails to find a lot of questionable material. But the questionable pile is much smaller than the bad ones. (Eli also weighs in on this situation. He doesn’t want Alicia to apologize beforehand since it might show weakness.)
Unfortunately, there’s nothing they can do to track the hackers. The only solution is to stop the emails from getting out. And the only solution to that is to settle the WharfMaster case. They try to convince Dalton to accept $500,000. But he wants WharfMaster out of business. And when Diane and Cary try to withdraw as his counsel, Dalton refuses to accept that as the end to his case.
NEXT: Kalinda saves the day… almost.
Thankfully, Kalinda has something that might save the day. She hasn’t solved the hacker situation, but she is able to prove that Nathan Bacevich lied about when he saw In Brain. He was in Europe during the movie’s American release, which means he had to have watched it illegally on his own site. He testified that he didn’t knowingly violate any copyright laws, but this proves that he did. So unless he settles for at least $15 million, they’re going to take him to court for perjury. It seems fool proof. But Andrews and Bacevich still won’t take the deal. In fact, they want a public apology from Dalton! And oddly, Dalton agrees. But it’s not so odd once he admits that the hackers have released his company’s emails, too. The firm loses a case, but it manages to maintain what’s left of its interoffice dignity by halting the release of more incriminating emails. Apologies all around!
Meanwhile, Alicia and Finn attempt to negotiate her exit package from the firm. Everyone wants it to be a “dignified exit.” But of course, that’s easier said than done. Diane, David Lee, and Julius (who is back from New York, apparently) are fairly comfortable with a low number. Their $350,000 offer is well below Alicia’s initial capital contribution. Cary’s on Alicia’s side, though. “She deserves the money. She built this firm.”
Cary has a change of heart after he sees Alicia meeting with Castro for the second time. They bump up their offer only by $50,000. But Alicia still isn’t comfortable taking that amount. When they meet again, after the hack, they offer a quarter of a million below the initial amount. The firm has to buy all new computers, cell phones, and other equipment to deal with the hack. Alicia says she’ll consider it, and then offers this gem: “I want you all to know that this offer does not in any way impact my consideration of your criminal cases when I’m SA.”
Diane: “Was that a thinly veiled threat?”
Julius: “Nope a very clear one.”
The episode ends with Eli suggesting his own No. 2 to Alicia. And she proves she’s learned her lesson: “Thank you for your advice, Eli. All options are open to me, and I plan to decide in 48 hours.”
The best moments and lines from “Undisclosed Recipients”:
- Cary: “It’s like, uh, King Tut’s tomb in here.
Alicia: “Yeah, if King Tut didn’t have to obey the ethic rules.”
- Eli: “What the hell are you doing?!”
Marissa: “Hi, dad!”
Eli: “Oh, don’t ‘Hi, dad’ me. You’re supposed to be keeping her in line.”
- “You know the truth. Here, in your heart. Good. Be a Disney princess. But don’t tell moneymen like Redmayne anything but what they want to hear.” —Eli
- “Absence of yes times time equals no. That’s the law.” —Eli, offering the kind of equation I can understand
- Diane: “And you apparently called David Lee a racist fruitcake.”
Julius: “What? When? I mean I know he is, but I don’t remember writing that.”
- Alicia: “I need you to do me a favor.”
Marissa: “Sure. What? Shoot you now?”
- “Everything all right here?” —Eli, during a visit to the firm, where everything is clearly not all right
- Grace: “You spent a year living where it all began. You must have felt, I don’t know, inspired.”
Marissa: “No just hot. And gassy. You eat a lot of falafel.” —Marissa, about Israel
- “It was quaint! You don’t really see ‘albeit’ in too many emails.” —Marissa, trying to comfort Alicia about her one-night stand email
- “You know, I sense something between us. Want to grab some dinner one night? ” —Howard Lyman, to Kalinda
- Cary: “I think an apology is in order.”
Diane: “From whom to whom?”
Cary: “Take your pick.”
- Cary: “It’s not a pretty picture when you see what people really think of you.”
Alicia: “I don’t think it is really what people think of you. I think sometimes you just have to let off steam and say something nasty.”
Cary: “And sometimes the nasty thing is what people really think.”
Let this episode be a lesson to everyone: Be careful what you write in work emails! Speaking of, one of the emails Alicia was worried would come out was an email to Johnny Elfman about a one-night stand. Are we to assume that she slept with Johnny? Why else would she talk to him about a one-night stand? And surely he’s not just leaving the show like that. I want some answers! It’s going to take some time before Alicia figures out the balance of making this new transition. But who will she pick as her No. 2? This was one of the weaker episode’s since the show returned. That said, I’m pretty sure I could watch an entire hour of the office freaking out over everyone’s emails. That’s my worst nightmare come to life. Until next week!
Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles, and Chris Noth star in the legal/family drama.