The Good Wife recap: 'Message Discipline'
Cary's criminal case takes another big hit when Finn Polmar brings up the past, and Alicia faces a potential new opponent in the state's attorney's race
Guest star alert! With “Message Discipline,” David Hyde Pierce joins the list of great actors who play characters I hate on The Good Wife. Unfortunately, this episode fell a little flat. They can’t all be winners, but this episode did feel like it was laying the groundwork to propel some of the recurring story lines later on, rather than really adding all that much for the week. But given the show’s track record, I tend to place my faith in the writers and just let them do their thing.
At the forefront of Alicia’s campaign is a potential new candidate entering the race. Peter goes on a CBS news show with Frank Prady (David Hyde Pierce), and while Eli is waiting in the wings, he notices the presence of Warren Plep (Ken Land). Eli finds Plep’s presence suspicious, since Plep is a D.C. petition bundler. Eli’s immediately concerned that Frank Prady might be considering a state’s attorney run. Eli alerts Johnny, and they formulate a game plan for their latest problem. Yes, they are past the filing deadline. But if Prady gathers 50,000 signatures, he can run by petition. And since Prady’s a brand—a bigger one than Alicia’s—if he runs, he’ll most definitely win. So Johnny and Eli send Alicia to ask for Prady’s endorsement to feel him out. If he agrees to endorse her, he’s definitely not running. But if he doesn’t, obviously they have bigger fish to fry.
Alicia is typically the epitome of calm and collected. In uncomfortable situations, you can usually count on her to keep it together. That’s why it was so funny to see how awkward she was in her meeting with Prady. He thinks she’s there to pitch herself for an interview, but she’s really there to ask for his endorsement. So after a super awkward conversation, Alicia leaves with cookies and an interview spot, but no endorsement. Prady wants to talk more during that later interview, so Johnny begins to prep Alicia for the hardball questions.
Alicia’s awkward meeting with Frank Prady was just a precursor to her awkward interview with him. Alicia said it best, post-interview: “It was like watching a ship go down, and I couldn’t do anything about it. It was like my mouth was on automatic pilot.” She was fully prepared for hardball questions, but got softballs instead; he “Katie Couric-ed her” if you will. It totally threw her off her game. To make matters worse, they determine that Prady is running. So leave it to Eli and Johnny to scare him into not running.
So with that in mind, Eli and Johnny dig up an old Law Review article written by Prady titled “Sovereignty for Me, Not for Thee. It’s about how Israeli settlements in the West Bank violate the Geneva Convention. But Alicia won’t let them leak it. She’s not ready to go that route yet. In the end it doesn’t matter because Castro uses the paper instead, and now Prady’s under fire for his remarks. Prady goes to see Alicia and informs her that he can’t endorse her because he is, in fact, running. He’s already resigned from his job at CBS. He could have called her to tell her this, which pisses Alicia off. Alicia calls him a hypocrite. And he claims that he wasn’t going to run until her team leaked the paper to Castro’s team. Unlikely story. They don’t end on good terms. It looks like Prady will be the thorn in Alicia’s side for the time being.
NEXT: Cary’s case gets (more) complicated
Things also took a turn for the worse in Cary’s criminal case. Picking up where last week’s episode left off—where we learned about Cary’s new bail restrictions—Finn Polmar attempts to postpone Cary’s trial date by an additional 60 days. He wants the time to locate the key witness Trey Wagner. But the judge (thankfully) denies Finn’s request, and everything is set to proceed as planned. Castro pressures Finn to make something happen with the case, so Finn looks to Geneva Pine (Renée Elise Goldsberry) for help. After a chat with her, Finn starts looking into Cary’s exit from the state’s attorney’s office three years ago.
And that’s when things start to get (more) complicated. Three years ago apparently some evidence went missing on a Lemond Bishop case. The evidence in question was two kilos of cocaine. For some reason, Cary ignored the usual protocol and delivered the cocaine to the lab for testing himself. And the coke suspiciously went missing after Cary handled it, meaning the state’s attorney’s office had to drop that particular case against Bishop. The lab technician, Liana Depaul (Tanya Wright), tells Finn that there was never an investigation because no one wanted to point out the deficiencies in the office, especially on a Lemond Bishop case.
Over a drink, Finn warns Alicia about this new development in no specific terms. He can’t tell her anything about Cary’s case, but basically gives her the heads up that something’s coming down the pike. He encourages her to isolate herself from Cary or it might hurt her and her campaign.
Finn brings his new evidence to court in hopes that they can use the proof of other crimes charge in the criminal case. Finn argues that Cary was secretly working for Lemond Bishop while he was an ASA, and that he buried evidence so Bishop could avoid prosecution. I guess when it rains it pours, which is basically Cary’s motto for this season. In court, Geneva says Cary insisted taking over Lemond Bishop’s cases. So sure, at this point it’s all supposition and happenstance, but as Diane points out, it’s effective.
Cary admits that he did check out the cocaine to take it to the lab to expedite the process. But that’s all he’ll tell Diane. Later Kalinda phones him (from 30 feet away to keep with his bail restrictions) and calls him out on his BS. She knows who Cary’s protecting: Peter asked him to expedite the process. He was eying the governorship at the time, and a Lemond Bishop conviction would have helped. So that’s why Cary didn’t follow the protocol. Cary doesn’t want to take Peter down, but Kalinda doesn’t want Cary to take the fall for something Peter ordered. To be clear, neither Cary nor Peter had anything to do with the cocaine going missing. But it doesn’t matter. Peter’s new attorney (more on that later) manages to quash Peter’s subpoena. So Finn & Co. can use the proof of other crimes evidence against Cary in his trial.
Kalinda decides to take things into her own hands. She goes to see Liana about the mysterious $30,000 that was deposited into her bank account. Liana claims she won it at a riverboat casino, but eventually Kalinda gets the truth out of her: She got involved with the missing cocaine because of her cousin. He knew it was coming through the crime lab and he wanted it back. Very important detail: Her cousin is the Trey Wagner. Liana says she doesn’t know where he is, but Kalinda breaks into her car and downloads her GPS info. With that information, Kalinda is able to locate Trey in Gary, Indiana.
NEXT: The episode’s best moments and lines
Kalinda anonymously calls Finn to tell him she found Trey, and that he’s willing to testify for Bishop in exchange for immunity and protection. Trey feels guilty for framing Cary, and only offered him up because he was scared to turn on Bishop. Finn tells Castro the good news, but Castro makes it clear that he still wants to go after Cary. Castro’s showing his cards now. He doesn’t just want to take Bishop down—he wants to hurt Alicia in the process. Castro is insistent on sticking to the original court strategy, and Finn Polmar decides he’s had enough. He resigns from his job.
And again, when it rains it pours. Diane learns that Trey Wagner (and his cousin) died in a car accident. They were the only two people who could help Cary and harm Bishop. Who wants to bet that their deaths are not accidental? Because that’s probably a pretty safe bet to take.
Meanwhile in Peter’s world, he’s blindsided by some of the questions Frank Prady asks him during his interview. So Peter asks Eli to start a list for potential personal attorneys to keep him up to speed on certain issues. Oh, and he wants Ramona Lytton (Connie Nielsen) on the list because of course he does. Yes, she’s the mother of that intern, but she’s also a layer and a family friend, and she needs a job. Convenient! At one point, Alicia goes to Peter’s office to meet with Eli and Johnny and she runs into Ramona, who’s there to interview for the aforementioned job. She’s an old family friend, so Alicia knows her, too. This isn’t really a great surprise, but I didn’t put two and two together before. This further complicates my “Peter had an affair with Ramona” theory. But you don’t cast someone like Connie Nielsen to under-use her. (Also, we learn that Ramona is now divorced. Also convenient.)
Ramona gets the job, and her first order of business is to deal with the subpoena Peter receives regarding Cary’s case. Peter thinks Diane is getting back at him because he rejected her for the Supreme Court nomination. As if she would be so petty. Anyway, Ramona earns her keep by suggesting that they quash the subpoena on relevance, not privilege, which works in court. Way to go, Ramona! But I still think we should be worried about her relationship with Peter.
The best moments and lines from “Message Discipline”:
++ Warren Plep: “I know someone here. A friend.”
Warren: “Matt. Baloo.”
Eli: “Really? Baloo? Like in The Jungle Book?
++ Johnny: “We think a third candidate’s joining the race.”
Eli: “I thought we were going to ease her into it.”
Johnny: “I changed my mind.”
++ “Alicia, you’re not writing a poem. You’re practicing politics.” —Eli
++ “I hate just asking but… well I just did. So there.” —Alicia, to Frank Prady
++ “Questions are for dopes.” —Johnny
++ Alicia giving her “real answer” about Zach’s abortion while she was doing interview prep with Johnny. I love mad Alicia!
++ Alicia: “Am I ready?”
Johnny: “For now.”
Alicia: “You’re a bundle of optimism.”
++ Eli reacting to Alicia’s bad interview
++ Alicia: “I’m going home to get drunk.”
Eli: “That’s a joke, right?”
Alicia: “It is… I know. Don’t joke.”
++ “Lady, whenever I meet you, there’s trouble.” —Trey, to Kalinda
++ Finn: “Can’t tell you. I can’t. I resigned, but it’s still confidential.”
Alicia: “I think you will tell me after three more drinks.”
I would like to get Warren Plep to start a petition to punch Castro in the face. He continues to be the absolute worst. What do you think about the addition of David Hyde Pierce to the cast? I think it’s a good fit. Alicia’s relationship with Finn keeps changing, and I’m curious if they will explore a romantic relationship at any point. Is that something anyone even wants to see? With Trey Wagner officially out of the picture, how will Cary win the case? And who will Castro get to replace Finn in the courtroom? And finally, it’s seriously bumming me out that Cary and Kalinda have to stay 30 feet away from each other. At least they have texting!