The Good Wife recap: Restraint
Diane tries to win by losing, but she ends up losing anyway.
Political opinions and the First Amendment aren’t always comfortable bedfellows, as Diane Lockhart learned the hard way tonight. (However, ambient noise videos and lucky phone calls co-exist quite well. Just ask Grace Florrick.)
Diane takes an unpopular stand
First, let’s tackle the ripped-from-the-headlines case of a sting video capturing Dr. Hallie Fisher of the 8th Street Clinic talking flippantly about harvesting and selling the body parts of aborted fetuses. Naturally, this gets Reese Dipple, Lockhart, Agos and Lee’s biggest and most-convervative client, all worked up.
So he sends Ethan Carver (Peter Gallagher) to ask Diane to represent Citizens for Ethical Medicine, the anti-abortion rights group that shot the video. Fisher is suing to block its release. Diane prepares for court, rationalizing that the case is no longer about abortion. It’s about prior restraint violating the First Amendment.
So Diane and Cary arrive in court to find screaming protesters on both side. Diane’s client greets her with an eerily calm “God bless.” You can tell Diane wants to take a Silkwood shower after all of this.
The lawyers bat around several arguments, in true Good Wife fashion: two-party recording consent, expectation of privacy, non-disclosure agreements, whistle-blowers. It’s a zoo, and every time the lawyers want to show a portion of the video, the bailiff has to clear the cheering, chanting crowd from the courtroom and then usher them back in again afterward.
But no matter how often Diane privately insists that the First Amendment has to apply even to ideas that you hate, her liberal allies don’t see it that way. Bea Wilson of the National Council on Women’s Right tracks her down to express her furious disapproval. And since Bea is played by Kelly “Emily freaking Gilmore” Bishop, you know that furious disapproval is both icy and cutting. She asks Diane how she can compromise her stance supporting abortion rights in the face of a right-wing attack, and Diane yet again repeats her position that arguments have to be strong enough to stand up to the marketplace of ideas. Bea is not impressed.
Neither is the judge on the case, who pulls Diane into his office for a little ex parte communication, urging her to drop the case because it goes against everything she believes in, everything she is.
It gets to be too much, and Diane finally proves her lawyerly mettle by asking for a substitution of judges on the basis of his political bias, which emerged during their ex parte communication. The judge blows his top, and Diane tells her client that she tried her best but is now a liability who should withdraw from the case.
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Cary congratulates Diane on the strategy, though it feels like she lost the battle to win it, yet she still lost the war by making an enemy of that judge and alienating her clients.
NEXT: Diane’s loss is Alicia’s gain
Alicia’s firm is also struggling, but their problem is finding clients, not keeping them. Grace offers to help, so Alicia suggests she cold call companies. Shrewd Grace asks, “Do I get a percentage if I find anyone?” Alicia agrees to half a percentage point of any annual billable hours she brings in.
Okay, is Grace no longer in school? Did I miss a scene explaining that she graduated early/dropped out/is being homeschooled so she can be the full-time legal assistant for Florrick/Quinn?
Anyway, Eli brings Alicia in to convince Courtney Paige, the wealthy woman from last week, not to create a $75,000 salary floor for her employees, lest Peter be tied to such a dirty socialist scheme.
This plot point is important for three reasons. First, it lets Alicia hire human charisma machine Jason Crouse to do some digging and it lets her hear Diane interrupt their phone call, thereby tipping her off that she might not be the only person he’s investigating for, if you get my drift.
Second, it lets Eli put the moves on Courtney. First he shows her into his tiny office, actually straddling her to get behind his desk, and then he nervously approaches her in her spacious surroundings for a kiss. It’s a delight to watch a ruffled Eli.
Third, Alicia and Lucca rent Courtney’s conference room to look fancy as they woo some new clients, courtesy of Louis Canning, in a roundabout way. While pursuing Lucca to join his firm, he showed her three clients who’d be hers. Of course, she and Alicia use that information to try to steal them.
But oh my word, their presentation to the clients is awful. Awful! They talk over each other and can’t agree on the number of associates they have. They pitch corporate representation to the nonprofit company, and Alicia refers to the firm as Florick and Agos. It’s the most painful two minutes of television you’ll see all week. Unsurprisingly, none of the clients jump ship.
Thank goodness, then, for Grace.
While Diane is committing professional suicide and Alicia and Lucca are stammering through increasingly awkward meetings, Grace is Getting. It. Done.
With visions of half a percent dancing in her head, she hits good ol’ Chumhum to look up companies to cold call. We watch her get better and better, first identifying herself as being from the Midwest offices of Florrick/Quinn and then making it sound like she’s not a teenager calling from her bedroom by playing Chumhum videos of office chatter on three different computers for the proper ambience. She gets so good, in fact, that at one point she says she’s going to close her door for privacy and shuts a laptop, thereby reducing the noise. You guys, this is easily the most I’ve ever enjoyed Grace Florrick.
She also calls numbers in Alicia’s day planner and gets Bea Wilson on the phone at exactly the right moment. Bea is, in fact, looking for new representation thank to Diane’s current case. Bea knows who Alicia Florrick is, and before Grace knows it, she’s secured four big new clients.
As the three women toast to successfully signing their new clients, Grace approaches her mom with some math: “Um, so, it works out to $35,800. For the year,” she says, calling in her half percent. “Cash or check is fine.”
Slay, Gracie! Slay! Here’s hoping this show stays on the air long enough for us to see the firm become Florrick & Florrick someday.