The Good Fight recap: The gang deals with who let the dogs out
Enough is enough — Adrian Boseman and Liz Reddick have had it with all of these dogs in their office! And no, that isn’t a metaphor. There are now actual dogs running around the firm, which is just one of several absurd developments on The Good Fight in season 4. Sure, we’re no longer in the season premiere’s freaky alternate reality where Hillary Clinton was president, but the reality we (and Diane) return to in episode 2 is weirder than that fantasy. In fact, “The Gang Tries to Serve a Subpoena” is mostly concerned with establishing what’s new or tweaked about this season (Spoiler alert: The world is even more surreal and broken) and the paranoid serialized story about the mysterious Memo 618. There’s more explanation than action, but that doesn’t stop it from being pretty entertaining.
Our introduction to this brave new world is, of course, Diane, who took a nine-month vacation after the traumatic swatting incident and returns to the firm at the top of the hour. To her surprise, the firm isn’t quite the same as she left it. During her absence, Reddick, Boseman & Lockhart lost cash cow ChumHum as a client and was forced to accept an acquisition offer from STR Laurie, a multinational firm. This change in ownership brought several changes with it, including gaudy new decor in the office (there’s a freaking bat gargoyle outside of Adrian’s office now!) and weekly pet days, which explains why there are dogs scampering around the office and peeing everywhere, much to Adrian and Liz’s annoyance.
I actually love the detail about STR Laurie instituting pet days because it accomplishes two things. First, it’s a hilarious yet effective way of depicting the post-acquisition culture clash, which is something that happens in any kind of merger or large-scale purchase. Second, it just livens up the show’s setting. A law firm isn’t the most interesting location in the world and could easily become bland, but throwing some hyperactive dogs into the background makes the firm feel alive.
After reuniting with Adrian, Liz, and the equity partners, Diane is summoned upstairs to meet with Gavin Firth (John Larroquette), who runs STR Laurie. Like almost every new character the Kings introduce on The Good Wife and here, Firth is off-putting and quirky: He loves quoting Zen koans. During his awkward first meeting with Diane, he reveals she’s now in charge of the firm’s pro-bono department and has full access to the firm’s resources. “No more corporate cases,” he says. “You make our firm a good citizen no matter what it costs.” Obviously, this seems too good to be true.
For her pro-bono case, Diane represents a chef named Marta Tecades (Jane the Virgin’s Andrea Navedo) because a large real estate firm called Rare Orchard is threatening to bulldoze her restaurant. Luckily for Diane, freshman federal Judge Julius Cain is presiding over the hearing. What seems like a typical and manageable case, though, quickly becomes something else (read: insane and believable, yet very unbelievable) when Rare Orchard’s CEO Tucker Nugent ignores the subpoena because he doesn’t recognize its legitimacy, much to Diane and Julius’ astonishment. The back-and-forth between Julius and Canning, who matter-of-factly states his client’s position, is hilarious because of how absurd it is. How can someone just ignore a federal subpoena?!
Seeking guidance, Julius turns to Judge Charlotte Hazelwood — a.k.a. Adrian’s girlfriend — who drops some knowledge on him: Being a judge is a meaningless position because your power depends on other people making sure your ruling is executed. Nevertheless, Charlotte asks her marshals to help Julius out and drag Nugent into court; however, once he’s there, Nugent refuses to be sworn in or recognize Julius’ authority because he clearly believes he’s above it. “I await your apology,” says Nugent as he’s dragged to jail for contempt of court.
Charlotte’s assessment of Julius’ lack of power, though, is further driven home when Julius finds an envelope on his desk that simply says, “Memo 618.” What is Memo 618? It’s not entirely explained, but for Julius, it’s a warning that he needs to let someone rich and powerful like Nugent go or else risk losing his judicial appointment. And just like that, Julius is corrupted. He returns to court, frees Nugent, apologizes for incarcerating him, and recuses himself from the case. Diane can’t believe what just happened, and it’s unclear whether or not Louis Canning is aware of Memo 618. It’s a frankly insane development, but it doesn’t ring as false. We’ve seen time and time again how the rich and powerful don’t have to play by the same rules the rest of us do. It's clear that this will be the theme for the entire season.
The episode’s concern with how the rich and powerful enjoy a certain privilege is also explored in the subplot. Lucca is forced to work with problematic Good Wife lawyer David Lee, who works at STR Laurie now, on a divorce case involving nouveau riche cosmetic entrepreneur Bianca Skye. Bianca immediately takes a liking to Lucca and casually flies both her and David to St. Lucia for debate prep. While in the Caribbean, Bianca essentially asks Lucca to be her friend because she doesn’t have any real ones since her business took off. Lucca resists, but it’s clear she likes Bianca. It remains to be seen where this friendship goes, but it’s just interesting to see Bianca deploy her wealth to gain friends after lamenting that having money has made it hard to do just that.
- Adrian and Liz confront Firth about the peeing dogs and their equity partners being upset that they haven’t been made whole financially since the merger. Not only does Firth promise to address those issues, but he also says the partners can now use the executive elevator that previously didn’t stop on their floor. Again, this seems too good to be true.
- Julius finds out about Adrian and Hazelwood’s relationship.
- “I don’t like wizard s---,” says Lucca, explaining why she hasn’t read Harry Potter.
- “I didn’t know the firm had any black lawyers,” Bianca, when she meets Lucca for the first time, which is another indication of how things have changed since STR Laurie acquired RBL.