'The Good Wife' recap: 'Winning Ugly'
Alicia and Eli try to stop a recount, and Diane learns she submitted false evidence in Cary's case.
Well there have been good episodes this season, and some less-than-stellar ones. But I think the latest episode, “Winning Ugly,” wins the award for the most frustrating episode of season 6. Sure, it helps to remember that this is just a TV show. But the injustices! This episode could have alternatively been titled “When It Rains It Pours.” Bad things are happening for pretty much everyone, so let’s get to it:
The episode opens up with a brief reminder that Kalinda is in some serious hot water. Andrew Wiley (Tim Guinee) knows she faked the metadata. This has serious repercussions for not only Kalinda, but also Diane who used the evidence in court. Wiley goes to see Diane and alerts her that he’s ready to submit his report, but before he does, he gives her a chance to make a statement. This, of course, is all news to Diane since she had no idea that Kalinda faked evidence. Diane sends Wiley on his way, without giving a comment, and goes straight to Kalinda to confront her about the metadata. It’s now time for everyone to panic! Kalinda says she intends to come clean, but there might not be a way to save Diane.
Diane tells Cary and David Lee of the latest development, and David Lee encourages them to go before the Police Review Board and come clean before this circles back to them. It’s the only way for them to stay in control of the situation and for Diane to avoid jail time. It’s so bizarre to see David Lee as the voice of reason, but with everything spiraling out of control, someone has to do it.
Anyway, Cary goes to Kalinda and tries to convince her to let him be her lawyer. But she insists she’s made the right decision with Finn. Kalinda wants someone who “doesn’t care.” That’s probably a misnomer. Kalinda probably should have just said she doesn’t want a lawyer with whom she’s slept with. But Cary’s obviously concerned about Kalinda’s future since the faked metadata was partially responsible for his freedom. It’s complicated.
Kalinda and Diane move forward with their plan to come clean. So with Finn and David Lee as their respective representatives, they go before the Independent Police Review Authority to admit what they know about the metadata, and clear Detective Prima’s name. Prima is, unsurprisingly, upset about the whole situation. He goes straight to Geneva Pine—his former(?) lover—and tells her that he’s been framed.
So back to court they go. Geneva tells Judge Glatt (John Procaccino) that Cary’s case was dismissed on fabricated evidence. As expected, it doesn’t matter that Diane didn’t know the evidence she submitted was falsified. Judge Glatt will listen to arguments tomorrow morning, but he’s already made it clear that he thinks Diane’s alleged actions are “beyond inexcusable.” If charged, Diane could face up to three years in prison.
Geneva goes to speak to Diane & Co. to offer a deal. The outgoing state’s attorney (a.k.a. James Castro) authorizes dropping all charges against Diane…if she agrees to testify against Lemond Bishop. Diane says it best: “And here we are back again. Right at the beginning.” Normally, the beginning is a very good place to start. But not this time. Diane knows she can’t testify against Bishop, unless she’s okay with being murdered. In Cary’s case, the evidence against him was tenuous. But in Diane’s case, the evidence is ironclad. So she’s in a pretty sticky situation.
Cary sees the wheels turning in Kalinda’s head, and tells her to not consider testifying against Bishop. He knows Bishop will kill her. So what does he do? He goes to Geneva Pine and tells Geneva to not accept Kalinda’s offer. He says he’ll testify. This is a terrible idea, Cary! I know you’re trying to protect Kalinda. And that’s admirable. But getting murdered is really not the ideal situation here, either. This issue was not resolved before the end of this episode.
NEXT: Alicia deals with a potential voter fraud scandal.
But like I said, when it rains it pours. Alicia’s got her own serious problems to worry about. Last week Petra Moritz (Lily Rabe) reported that there was potential voter fraud in the SA election. Just what we need! Another Florrick scandal! Move out of the way, sexual emails! It appears as though the voting machines were tampered with. Great!
Ken Boxer (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) meets with Eli to give him a heads up about the investigation. A microchip was found in a voting machine in the 12th precinct and it was programmed to override votes. Eli swears to his innocence, but the election board has to investigate anyway. Later, Eli assures Alicia that he didn’t have anything to do with the fraud. But they’re not so sure that one of Alicia’s supporters—like Lemond Bishop or Guy Redmayne—didn’t have anything to do with it. Eli wants to avoid a recount at all costs, but Alicia’s comfortable moving forward with the recount. If she loses, she loses. But obviously, that’s not what she really wants. So at Eli’s suggestion, she goes to persuade Frank Prady to halt a recount.
Unfortunately, Prady isn’t available for this meeting. Martin Parillo (Remy Auberjonois) arrives as Prady’s proxy. It’s a less than fruitful meeting. A waitress asks Alicia if she screwed her boss, and Parillo makes it very clear he intends to prove Alicia stole the election. Alicia and Marissa go to meet the DNC chair Frank Landau (Mike Pniewski) to discuss their options. Landau seems to think there isn’t an issue, but he provides Spencer Randolph (Ron Rifkin), a well-respected civil rights lawyer, who agrees to represent Alicia before the election board. Things seem to be looking up.
So to the election review board they go to plead their case. Parillo is convinced there are more hacking devices, and he wants a canvass of all the voting machines where the results differed by more than four points from the predicted results. Nick Zubrovsky (Dan Fogler) appears as a witness to back up Praillo’s case. But Randolph points out that Prady won several precincts that were expected to go to Alicia. Parillo’s initial argument doesn’t really hold up.
But Parillo hits back with this: On the day of the election, Peter all but guaranteed Alicia’s victory in an interview. This was a problem because they thought it would depress turnout. But now it’s a problem because of the Help America Vote Act, a program where states get money to buy and maintain voting machines. That money goes directly to the governor’s office. If Peter is in charge of safe guarding the machines, and he guaranteed Alicia’s win, he must be involved with the scandal, right? Parillo says yes.
And since Peter doesn’t have the best track record, Alicia’s concerned. She directly asks him if he helped her win the election. But Peter actually did the right thing for once. He was aware of the potential conflict of interest, and appointed an independent monitor to aid in the Help America Vote Act. So Peter didn’t do anything wrong—unless you count lapse in judgment by appointing Ernie Nolan. As you’ll recall, Nolan tried to bribe Alicia before she ran for State’s Attorney. This doesn’t bode well. Alicia meets with Nolan, and he admits that he didn’t help her campaign. He did donate to Prady’s campaign, though. “[Prady lost] because your campaign cheated better than his,” Nolan tells Alicia. “This recount should put things right. You should have taken my money. Cause now you won’t be SA.” Ewww. Ernie Nolan is one bad dude.
When Nolan’s questioned in front of the election board, he says he found 40 more hacking devices. He also denies all involvement and says Alicia tried to bribe him. It’s a classic case of he said/she said. Fortunately, Alicia is smarter than Nolan gives her credit for. She recorded their conversation, and he’s caught red-handed in his web of lies. Parillo argues that this proves that the chairman is corrupt so there should be a recount anyway, but Randolph insists that there doesn’t need to be one if Alicia is blameless. And she is in this case.
Despite her own personal issues, Kalinda manages to offer her help to Alicia. Howell noticed something odd with the hacking device, and they are able to use his testimony in front of the election board. The technology in the microchip was from 2012, and there is no reason someone would use outdated technology to rig an election. This is all fine and well until Randolph steers the fraudulent election toward a specific 2012 election…Peter’s gubernatorial race. And we get a glimpse of Randolph’s true colors.
Peter is concerned about this latest turn of events. Alicia didn’t know Randolph was going to throw Peter under the bus. Not to mention, Randolph’s not even her lawyer. He’s the lawyer that the party provided for her! Alicia and Eli tell Randolph they doesn’t want to go after Peter, and Randolph appears to agree with that methodology.
NEXT: Spoiler alert! He’s not actually agreeing.
Unfortunately, Parillo’s got something else up his sleeve. Parillo recalls Howell to the panel to recant his previous statement. Howell was provided with the software specifications on the hacking device, and learned that the software was remotely updated via a Wi-Fi connection about two months ago. So now we’re back to Parillo demanding a recount.
But Frank Landau doesn’t want a recount. He insists that Alicia step down. Wait, what? Isn’t he supposed to be on her side? Landau knows that Alicia didn’t cheat, but he’s looking at the bigger picture (a.k.a. being a douchelord). Alicia’s name wasn’t the only one on the ballot. Tilden was in danger of losing his state senate seat. If a recount goes through, it will draw attention to Tilden’s tight race. So there was voter fraud. It was just put in place for Tilden, not Alicia. (Tilden is obviously a fictional senator in The Good Wife world, but Samuel Tilden is a real political figure. I like to think the writers chose this name for a different type of voting scandal. Tilden won the popular vote in the 1876 presidential election, but lost with the electoral vote to Rutherford B. Hayes.) Anyway, Landau promises to make it up to Alicia in the future, but she doesn’t care about her future politics. She wants this job. But it doesn’t matter what she wants. If she doesn’t play their game, Landau threatens to destroy her and/or the governorship. And just to prove that point, he confiscates her cell phone to make sure she didn’t record the meeting. “Oh, my God. Did that just happen?” Yes, Alicia. Yes it did.
Peter thinks that Landau is all bark and no bite. He advises Alicia to call Landau’s bluff and continue with Randolph at the panel. Unfortunately, Randolph isn’t actually on Alicia’s side. Before the panel announces their decision, Randolph interrupts and says Alicia has been lying during the proceedings. He says the voting machines were hacked under her direction, and he encourages her to step down from her position. If ever there were a time to reach through the television and slap someone, this would be it.
Alicia is shocked and hurt by this betrayal. Randolph says, “Be a good Democrat. Step down now. The party will take care of you. Everybody wins.” Except no one wins here. It’s corrupt, and now Alicia is crying in Peter’s arms. This is not how I wanted this episode to end, Randolph! And you are a jerk.
The best moments and lines from “Winning Ugly”:
- Eli: “Okay, okay, it’s not the end of the world.”
Marissa: “Stop burning a hole in the carpet, dad, and we might believe you.”
- “Life…sucks.” —Eli
- Gerald the Giraffe
- Popcorn really is the state snack food of Illinois
- “Oh my, God. It’s you. Yes. Wow. Hi.” —Marissa’s reaction to meeting Spencer Randolph (guest star Ron Rifkin)
- The fallout of the email scandal with “A Romantic Interlude,” a Funny Or Die/Between Two Ferns-esque parody of Alicia’s “flirtatious” emails with Will
- “Politicians use statistics like drunks use lampposts—more for support than illumination.” —Spencer Randolph, with an old saying
- “I want to marry him.” —Marissa, after seeing Spencer Randolph in action
- “The Cary Agos case. There have been more remakes of this case than Spider-Man.” —Judge Glatt (John Procaccino)
- “Well, I worked in that office and Bishop could cure cancer and wipe out world hunger and they’d still want him.” —Finn
So what happens now? That’s the million-dollar question. Based on the previews, it’s evident that Alicia’s time as state’s attorney is over before it ever really began. And both Cary and Kalinda have some serious things to work out. Kalinda won’t let Cary take the fall for her. But Lemond Bishop won’t let someone testify against him without repercussions. It doesn’t matter if he’s trying to go clean. This is all one big mess. And we have to wait at least one week for any resolution. The Good Wife takes a break next Sunday for the Academy of Country Music Awards. Good Wife writers: You better have some good answers for us when we come back! Because this is not okay.