30 January, 2012

"Another Ham Sandwich"

Episode Title: Another Ham Sandwich
Season 3, Episode 14 | Original Air Date: January 29, 2012

For me, the mark of a great hour of television comes when my heart rate elevates and I feel as though I haven’t taken a breath for a full 60 minutes.  Heading into “Another Ham Sandwich” I knew I was going to be on the edge of my seat, if not falling completely off of it.  Did I shriek?  Once.  Okay, maybe twice.  Did I cover my face?  Twice.  Okay, maybe four times.  Did I yell at my TV, “Did that just happen?!?  I can’t believe that just happened!”  Yes.  In fact, I haven’t stopped… and I have witnesses.

This week, I’m excited to feature a recap of “Another Ham Sandwich” and a special section feature: “The Top Seven Breath-Taking Moments” – because if you’re anything like me, you spent most of the episode hyperventilating with paper bag in one hand and a stress ball in the other.

In My Opinion – Episode Commentary
Eyes.  Pirates.  Stickmen.  Ferris wheels.  Wait, pirates?  All of these things flashed on the screen in the opening of “Another Ham Sandwich” as the impaneled jurors doodled during Wendy Scott-Carr’s opening remarks.  Frankly, I was thrilled to see the grand jury portrayed as a whimsical bunch – anyone who doodles pirates is going to be a difficult sell when it comes to bribery, unless it’s on the high seas.  Will Gardner, you may have just dodged a swashbuckling bullet.  Maybe.

The case this week revolved solely around Will Gardner.  The issue?  Being indicted by a grand jury for felony bribery.  The possible sentence?  Three to seven years in prison.  For Will, everything came down to who was put on the stand and fortunately, everyone from Lockhart Gardner was on the same page thanks to Elsbeth’s shrewd legal mind: If all answers led back to Peter Florrick, the grand jury could be called off.  Let’s get this show on the road.

First up: Andrew Wiley.  Whenever Andrew the investigator is on the scene, you know things are going to get dicey for whoever’s on the receiving end.  His “always in the pursuit of justice” attitude is both admirable and annoying.  Perhaps I would like him more if ever he was on the side of Lockhart Gardner?  This week he revealed that three judges (Parks, Dunaway and Winter) decided favourably for cases Will argued 95% of the time.  As if this wasn’t questionable enough, as it turns out, they all played basketball with Will.  Now, that could be like saying, “they all drove ’57 Chevys” or “they all went to law school,” but in this case, it is unfortunately implied they all know something.  Exiting stage right, Wiley quickly picked up his stroller and headed to court’s hallways, where he saw Will go into Judge Parks’ chambers, passing him an envelope.  Quickly using his baby as a diversion, he took a picture of the exchange.  My question?  Why can’t this man ever find daycare?  He knows dozens of Dad’s who stay at home with their kids – could none of them have babysat, even for an hour?  A grand jury is kind of important…

Next on the stand: Diane Lockhart.  It’s impossible not to love Diane in the place she draws the most strength: the courtroom.  In what can only be called, “The Battle of the Beautiful Blazers” Wendy Scott-Carr (WSC) and Diane went head-to-head.  How long had Diane known Will?  Eight years.  Did Will ever invite Diane to play basketball?  Yes.  Did Diane ever go to a basketball game?  No.  Why?  She doesn’t play basketball (enter cackles from the 16 jurors, because, well, does it look like Diane plays basketball?  This was a silly line of questioning coming from WSC, who is clearly also not a basketball player either.  A jouster?  Maybe.  A ballerina with an axe to grind?  Most certainly.  But not a basketball player).  Does Diane think Will playing basketball with judges is inappropriate?  No… and she doesn’t think Peter Florrick would either, since he’s also been involved.  Swoosh.  WSC didn’t see that coming.  Unfortunately for Diane this meant a new line of questioning coming back to the infamous “McDermott file” Kalinda planted in Dana’s hands.   Did Will ask to take over the case because he knew Judge Parks, subsequently winning the argument?  Yes.  Oh dear.

David Lee – don’t forget to smile.  Ever a loose cannon, David Lee is both the first and last person I would want testifying on my behalf.  He’s sketchy but efficient, both things WSC would typically appreciate in a person, preferably on her side of the table.   With a quick note from Elsbeth to “smile” while being questioned, David took to the stand and caught ASA Dana Lodge in a messy web surrounding the fair market value of doing trust work – sure David gave Judge Parks a deal… but he did the same thing for Peter.  That’s another swoosh for three points.  Thank you, David.

In hot seat with Judge Parks.  As an audience, we haven’t seen Judge Parks since season two’s “In Sickness.”  While his on-screen appearance made me yearn for a good bout of verbal sparring between Will and Patti Nyhom, the only conversation we were treated to involved Parks saying, “Upon the advice of counsel, I insist on my fifth amendment rights.”  This is always a dodgy way of evading a question because guilt is somewhat assumed.  Point WSC.

At the heart of the matter with Will Gardner.  The moment Wendy Scott-Carr had been waiting for: getting Will on the stand with the evidence Dana secured from her “inside source.”   Having been given an easy opening with the photo Wiley snapped, Will quickly admitted to meeting with Parks and passing along an envelope of money.  Stunned at Will’s honesty, WSC falls off pointe and follows up with a “was there an agreement between you and Judge Parks?” as per the $2,000 sealed in the yellow “you’re being served” stationary.  As it turns out, there was: Parks was to give the money to a Unicef Immunization Drive benefitting those in Uganda.  The three point shot?  Will had the charitable receipt in his suit jacket.  Having nowhere left to go, WSC began pirouetting around questions surrounding the McDermott case, where the I’ve got your back bond of Will and Kalinda became increasingly obvious.  Yes, Kalinda had given Dana the file, but as predicted, it wasn’t entirely pure.  The emails in the file, believe it or not, had been tampered with: WSC had no real evidence.  Who had it?  Will – in his briefcase. 

Enter Will’s Achilles heel, Alicia Florrick: Everything quickly turned from business when WSC summoned Alicia to the stand.  After getting virtually nowhere with all of the previous witnesses, it was time to make Will Gardner pay for this runaround.  With Cary in the background shaking his head at the audacity of WSC for turning the fishing expedition into a full-fledged circus, he had nothing left to do but stand up and question WSC on his own, urging her to stop probing Alicia for personal details.  In the end, Alicia ended up having to admit she had a sexual relationship with Will but it has since ended (paper bag + stress ball = me, freaking out on my couch).  Did that honestly just come out?!  I’m still in disbelief, but after re-watching this scene once, twice, okay, three times, I can state for the record: that just happened.  While Alicia looked horrified at WSC’s line of questioning (which seemed to equally bother Cary), the accusation that Alicia was moving up in the corporate ladder because of her relationship with Will, threw things over the edge.  Getting up, Alicia walked out of the courtroom while saying, “You’re out of control.” 

With the fate of Will Gardner left to the people, WSC assumed she had made her case, because as we know, grand juries will indict anything – even a ham sandwich.  What WSC didn’t bank on was the fact this pirate-doodling crowd was more suspicious of the oft-mentioned “Peter Florrick” and the “fifth amendment” judge.  In their minds, Florrick and Parks should have been the ones arrested (enter a coy smirk from Cary, who, on some level, also agreed).  Wendy Scott-Carr, game over.  Literally.  Peter Florrick just had your parking validated.

What the Fish?
While Will, Diane and Alicia were busy with grand jury, Eli was off sleuthing new business over at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Chicago (GLAC).  Also vying for new business was Stacie Hall, the clever campaigner who worked Eli out of his dairy job.  Chicago, it would appear, is a very small city, especially for these types of gigs and in the case of Eli and Stacie, they always seem to find themselves in each other’s business… both figuratively, and as of this episode, literally.  Stacie admitted she “desired” Eli and Eli reciprocated, but only after securing the GLAC account.  The sting?  Stacie is now representing Eli’s ex-wife, Vanessa, in her campaign for state senate. 

Top Seven Breath-Taking Moments
(Just be thankful I didn’t pick my top 28… because that’s where this list started)

1) The Kitchen Conflict – Time for my stress ball!  Worried about Will, Alicia confronted Peter about the grand jury, asking him to back down.  Accusing her of sleeping with Will, Peter yelled, “off course that’s the issue!” regarding this whole legal mess.  Following up to the outburst, Alicia calmly, and honestly stated there’s nothing between she and Will… but Peter called her out on semantics, a game he knows, and plays, all too well.

2) The Friendly Phone Call – Finally, a truly great glimpse into the beautiful world of Team Gardner – Oh how I’ve been waiting for this moment! Harkening back to the I miss you phone call from “Feeding the Rat,” Alicia called Will to wish him luck and apologize for any involvement she may have had in his current situation.  In what could be considered one of their most heartfelt conversations to date, their chat was a perfect blend of concern, love and respect for each other.  Sigh.  I think I just melted.  Let’s get these two back together!

3) Will on the Stand – This scene made me pull out a paper bag and be thankful for those deep breathing techniques learned in dance class.  Having Will on the stand was nail-biting enough, but when he pulled out all of the evidence to contradict what WSC was presenting?  I couldn’t help but shriek.  Also, it was nice to learn Will has a philanthropic spirit – giving to Unicef and supporting immunizations in Uganda is downright admirable.  In fact, I’m pretty sure public knowledge of that would elevate him to at least 10th spot for Chicago’s most eligible bachelors.  

4) There’s the Slap – I don’t know what Dana expected when Kalinda passed along the McDermott file, but she couldn’t possibly have though K would throw Will under the bus.  Surely she’s not that naive.  Oh wait.  She was.  As predicted, Kalinda saved both Alicia and Will in one fowl swoop, like a leather-clad hero whose main superpowers involve sheer brilliance and a knack for outwitting those who have spent eight plus years attending university.  Two words: Pa chow.  Admittedly, Kalinda felt kind a little bad about having to use Dana to save those she cares most about, so she offered Dana a consolation prize: “Go ahead, hit me. It will make you feel better.” Slap.

5) The New Subpoena: Alicia Florrick – Perhaps the most intense moment of the whole episode came when Alicia took to the stand, was forced to admit her relationship with Will and found a surprising ally in Cary who tried to diffuse the situation.  Walking out in the middle of WSC’s accusations was part of the new Alicia we’ve seen grow and develop over the past three years.  She’s not afraid to take a stand and she’s even less afraid of what Peter or anyone else is going to do about it.  I was proud that she stuck her ground – Alicia 2.0 is someone you don’t want to cross.

6) Mulled Wine and Brandy  – Eli has danced on the verge of relationships before, but we’ve never seen him take the leap… until now.  Baited with mulled wine, brandy and whipped cream-covered fingers, Eli was seduced (or was he the one doing the seducing?) the unflappable Stacie Hall.  Talk about a game of thrones – these two have a love/hate relationship that continues to see them working to one-up each other in the chess game that is business.  I can’t wait to see these two face-off again… and with Eli’s ex in the mix, it’s likely to happen sooner rather than later.

7) Here I Go Again, On My Own – The one thing you can always count on to make an episode of The Good Wife better is a scene with Will and Diane.  Spotting each other through the fishbowl boardroom glass, they met, looked at each other and began to dance to Audra Mae’s powerful version of Here I Go Again. As Will spun Diane and they looked warmly at each other, I couldn’t help but think: this is what television gold looks like… if only they had won the SAG.

Quotes of the Week:
Elsbeth: So, here’s the thing: Grand juries indict, hamburgers and all. 
Will: Ham sandwiches. 
Elsbeth: Yes.  So, you’re going to get indicted unless… Oh, I like that pin. 
Diane: Thank you 
Elsbeth: Unless someone pulls the plug, someone higher...

Alicia: Will… I’m sorry. 
Will: Don’t be. 
Alicia: I am. 
Will: Well then be sorry because it’s happening, don’t be sorry because of anything else. 
Alicia. Okay.  Do good. 
Will: Always.

Will: That was a close one. 
Diane: Yes. Let’s try to reduce the excitement level from now on, shall we?

Peter to Wendy Scott-Carr: Thank you for your service.  My assistant will validate your parking…  Now, get out of my office.

What’s next?
There are many things The Good Wife has taught me about law and a few things I’ve picked up on the street.  In episode 15, “Live from Damascus” the culmination of book smarts and streets smarts collide when the Bar Association calls for Will, because, let’s face it: they rarely call about anything good – it’s official, you’re in trouble.  It appears that Wendy Scott-Carr wasn’t joking about sending Will’s infractions to the Bar Association and the next step is having him disbarred.  Unfortunately we have to wait until February 19 for this next collection of trials of tribulations, so until then, I suggest enjoying some mulled wine and brandy topped with whipped cream – things are going to get bitter sweet.

Preview: “Live from Damascus”

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22 January, 2012

The Good Wife: On Location in NYC - Take Two

On Location in NYC – Take Two
On-site filming, January 18 & 19, 2012 | Post Date: January 23, 2012

One of the great things about living in New York is being able to get out and explore the different communities within the city.  When it comes to districts I like to frequent, Soho certainly tops the list.  It’s full of stunning cast-iron architecture, art galleries, restaurants and, best of all, shopping.  Okay, the amazing stores were the best part of Soho until The Good Wife rolled into the neighbourhood. 

While I rarely need an excuse to wander through Soho (the frozen yogurt mecca, Pink Berry, is just one of many obvious draws), this past week I took the opportunity to sip a latte and stroll through the trailer-filled streets to see what was happening with The Good Wife, on-location in NYC.  You see, some people love Sundays because of football, while others would hold it in high esteem as a day of rest.  For me, Sundays mean one thing: The Good Wife… so any time I can spread that joy throughout my week, I’m willing to jump at the opportunity.

This was my second on-location experience and entirely different from my first (where I saw Christine Baranski shooting the lobby scene from “Alienation of Affection.”).  This time, I lucked out with spotting Josh Charles and getting more than a few hints on guest stars we can expect later in the season.  Without further ado, I present “The Good Wife: On Location in NYC – Take Two.”  I hope you enjoy the photographic journey!

Deep in the heart of Soho, I spotted The Good Wife filming on the fourth floor of this beautiful brick building.   Who and what could be inside?  Predictions to follow...

Reflections from inside the building

Signage aplenty!

Just a few blocks away from the set, the beautiful "Most Precious Blood Church" opened their doors as the holding and catering area
One of my favourite images of the day: a large lighting rig with the Woolworth Building pictured in the distance

On-site catering... basically a pantry containing everything from apples to yogurt and peanut butter to Sour Patch Kids.  Check out Food Inspired by The Good Wife for this week's latest recipe, created in honor of this very well-stocked table!

After a bit of waiting, Josh Charles (and who I believe to be Nadia Dajani, one of the newest additions to the cast of The Good Wife) appeared to browse treats on the catering table

Charles poses with a fan 

It's official!  Based on this trailer door, Will's younger sister, Audra Gardner (played by  Merritt Wever) has rolled into town.  Word on the street is that she is going to be whimsical and fun-loving... I can only hope she is pro-Team Gardner, like Alicia's beloved brother Owen.

This trailer door says it all: Sara Gardner (played by Nadia Dajani), Will's older sister, is also in town and rumor has it she and her sister are looking to help Will find love.  Sigh.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: Team Gardner, we have a problem.

The best find of the on-location shoot (except for Josh Charles, of course) is what appears to be trailer of Mr. Lou Dobbs.  We last saw Dobbs, appearing as himself, in season two's "Double Jeopardy." When Bond was ousted, I assumed (perhaps inaccurately) that his business similarly walked out the door, despite Dobbs' adoration of Diane.  It looks like Dobbs and his controversial ways could be lurking in the halls of Lockhart Gardner before too long.

With Lou, Sara and Audra set to hit the scene, I can't help but think we're in for an absolutely thrilling last third of season three (and dare I predict that Elsbeth gets Will off the hook with the grand jury... I mean, his sisters weren't visiting him in prison...).  I'm guessing the filming I've captured above will surface around episode 17... stay tuned!

A special thank you to On Location Vacations - a great group that
shares information about television and movie shoots each and every day

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16 January, 2012

"Bitcoin for Dummies"

Episode Title: Bitcoin for Dummies
Season 3, Episode 13 | Original Air Date: January 15, 2012

Bitcoin, it can be argued, is both a currency and a commodity.  If you’re Will Gardner, it’s most easily understood as a bushel of fruit.   While I prefer to think of it as pairs of shoes or pints of ice cream, I appreciate his metaphor (and also the fact bushel is a highly underused word, at least in my circles).  Always eager to learn something new, I tackled “Bitcoin for Dummies” in a similar way to Alicia: I headed to the source – Google and YouTube – to get to the heart of the matter.  More about that later.  First, let me say this: We’re a little more than halfway through season three and my I Didn’t See That Coming list is ever-growing.  For fans of Kalinda (and I think we all are), this episode was a tribute to a character who continues to be one of the most compelling on TV, surrounded by story lines that keep the viewers guessing.  If ever you find yourself thinking, I Didn’t See That Coming, you’re not alone – that’s the beauty of The Good Wife and the mystery of Kalinda Sharma.

This week, I'm featuring a recap of “Bitcoin for Dummies” as well as an analysis of The Judges in Question: Winter, Dunaway and Parks.  Which judge do you think is most likely to be corrupt?  

 In My Opinion – Episode Commentary

This week, The Good Wife opened with the empty reception area at Lockhart Gardner.  Enter guest star Jason Biggs as Dylan Stack, a Digital Information Lawyer from New York.  Sitting down, he is quickly followed in by two men representing the Treasury.  While I’m not an expert in legal dealings, I do know that if you’re being tracked by Federal Agents from the Treasury, you’re in some kind of trouble.  Alicia Florrick knows this first hand, which happens to be why Stack is in the lobby.  “The rumor is you’ve had your own dealings with the Treasury” he tells Alicia when she asks why he is at Lockhart Gardner.  Apparently word on the street is that Alicia got out of a tight spot unscathed so now she’s the “go-to” for these types of matters.  In her mind, she’s probably thinking “shouldn’t you be in Elsbeth’s lobby?” but instead she gets Diane who is wearing what can only be described as a upholstery-inspired smoking jacket.  But I digress.

Stack has money and plenty of it.  His biggest problem is that he is unable to disclose the name of his client, henceforth known as “Mr. Bitcoin.”  The Treasury is after Mr. Bitcoin and Stack is, seemingly, the only one who can give up his identity.  The thing is, he won’t and the Treasury is trying to imprison him over it.  Fortunately for everyone, Diane is a closet techie and happens to know that Decode-A-Con, a conference of cryptographers, is in town.  While I want to know why Diane is so well versed in computer coding, we’re only left to speculate as to why this event was top-of-mind.  Maybe the person who sold her the smoking jacket told her?  In any case, if there’s one person who can uncover a computer mystery, it’s Kalinda, so off to Decode-A-Con she goes.

Before I go any further, it’s important to understand Bitcoin, an online currency (or is it a commodity… I’m still confused on the specifics).  Luckily, like Zach (who, by the way is still with Neesa), I was able to track down a video (dare I say, the same video The Good Wife writers found online and used as a model?) to learn, in just under two minutes, the intricacies associated with these new “digital coins.”

Now you’re an expert in Bitcoins, we can move on.

It wouldn’t be a matter involving the Treasury without the cupcake-loving Gordon Higgs on the case, and this week he’s in top form as he tries to take down Stack and Mr. Bitcoin.  What he didn’t bargain for was Kalinda tracking Mr. Bitcoin on her own and, in fact, getting caught up in the case to the point of having her computer “ghosted” and ending up on the stand after accidently taping a conversation between herself and Mr. Higgs.  You see, at the Decode-A-Con conference, Kalinda met two potential Mr. and Mrs. Bitcoins: the former, quickly fell for K and the latter, gave her just enough help to crack the code on her own.  In the end, presiding judge, Dwight Sobel, had no option but to let Stack off.  With Alicia and Kalinda working together, they’re nearly unstoppable.  Case closed.

Tascioni & Asbestos

With the Bitcoin drama unfolding over at Lockhart Gardner, Will found himself away from client’s cases, instead spending his time with Elsbeth working on his own defense.  While Elsbeth found herself busy juggling Will’s debacle, she was also trying to manage life in a construction zone.  It seems asbestos was found in her office, so gone are the drop cloths and painting ladders of last week, only to be replaced with bare concrete and workmen in steel-toed boots roaming the space.  The only thing that seems to be consistent is the pile of purses and bags squirreled away in the corner.  Of course, this isn’t the ideal circumstance to host guests, but the element of surprise is what keeps Elsbeth top of her game, and so she welcomed Wendy Scott-Carr, Cary and Dana into her modest quarters.  The meeting went, well, poorly for the State’s Attorney’s Office and rather splendidly for the team of Tascioni and Gardner.  The beauty of it all was that Elsbeth was able to get Wendy to drop the names of three judges who Will is being looked into with regards to bribery: Winter, Dunaway and Parks.

The Judges in Question: Winter, Dunaway and Parks

There was nothing left for me to do but investigate the judges on my own (why should Elsbeth do all the work?  She has bigger problems… like finding a desk).  The facts are these:

We have seen all of these judges throughout three seasons of The Good Wife.  The breakdown?  Here goes:

Judge Robert Parks – He has appeared in five episodes, more than any other judge in question – Season 2 Episode 21: In Sickness,  Season 2 Episode 6: Poisoned Pill,  Season 1 Episode 17: Heart, Season 1 Episode 10: Lifeguard and Season 1 Episode 5: Crash.  Personally, I’ve always been a fan, and not just because “Heart” was one of my favourite episodes of all time.  He’s sharp, smart and never showed what I would consider to be biased judging.

Judge Harvey Winter – Judge Winter was notably absent in season two, but has still managed to preside over four cases in The Good Wife’s history: Season 3 Episode 6: State of Affairs, Season 1 Episode 14: Hi,  Season 1 Episode 13: Bad and Season 1 Episode 8: Unprepared.  Winter hasn’t been my favourite judge over the years, and I wouldn’t be truthful if I didn’t say he could land on my potentially into shading dealings list.

Judge Peter Dunaway – Judge Dunaway is the biggest wildcard of the pack, having only been presided over one case, Season 3 Episode 11: "What Went Wrong". He’s a bit quirky but that’s what makes him fun.  In “What Went Wrong” we saw him fall strongly on the side of the defense (Lockhart Gardner), but he made them work for their win.  Was it because of a past relationship with Will or was it because the original verdict was unjust? 

In the end, the only judge that may matter at all is Parks – my favourite of the three.  A verdict from a 2009 file went the way of Stern, Lockhart & Gardner to the tune of $8 million and because it was a bench trial, things look a little suspicious.  What is inside the file is a mystery to us, but we know the following: 1) incriminating evidence can be found within the manila walls of the accordion folder and 2) Will didn’t ask Kalinda to “get rid of the file” – he can’t, that would be tampering with evidence – but with one look, the file was gone.  Thank you, Kalinda.

Who is under the bus now?

Between attending Decode-A-Con, having her computer hacked and meeting with Will in a parking garage, Kalinda still had time to get together for drinks with the predominantly evil ASA, Dana Lodge.  Unfortunately, Dana is trying to use Kalinda to further the Florrick-under-the-guise-of-Gardner investigation.  Waiting for the ball to drop, Dana presented K with a shocking piece of paper: the forged document from “Alienation of Affection” – the one David Lee had Alicia sign.  I didn’t see that coming… and neither did Kalinda.  As Dana presented the situation, the evidence is “highly actionable” unless Kalinda points the State’s Attorney’s Office to one of Will’s cases that makes him vulnerable.  At this point, I may or may not have yelled at my TV, “That did NOT just happen.”  Gasp.  Fortunately, if there’s one thing Kalinda is willing to protect more than herself, it’s Alicia Florrick. 

While I’m left questioning how Dana is going to prove the document is a forgery (the analysis alone costs $30,000 and we know Wendy Scott-Carr’s budget is being closely monitored by Peter, who, let’s face it, isn’t going to spend the money only to have his wife disbarred), Kalinda has no choice but to protect those near and dear to her.  Who is under the bus now?  Will.  Maybe.  Kalinda handed over the Judge Parks file from Will’s office in order to protect Alicia.  Of course, one never knows what Kalinda did to the file before passing it along.  Could evidence be missing?  Absolutely.  Is K clever enough to outsmart Dana to save both Alicia and Will?  Is the sky blue?  Of course.  She’s brilliant. There’s no way Kalinda is going to let Will (or Alicia) go to jail, at least not without a fight (and if one of them does end up there, my money is on Kalinda to be the first one to make a pie with escape materials baked into the crust).

Quotes of the Week:

Judge Sobel: Do you guys in Treasury get a lot of dates?
Mr. Higgs: Yes we do… (pause) thank you for asking.

Will: You’ll visit me in prison?
Diane: Every Friday.

Kalinda to Dana: “I like Will. I go back and forth on you.”

Wendy Scott-Carr: “That was a sham.”
Cary: “She played you”
Wendy: “Yes, thank you, Cary.”

 Team Gardner, we have a problem… as if we didn’t already 
(formerly entitled, “What’s Next?”)

After months of waiting, the grand jury story line finally reveals itself in an episode that’s bound to be overrun with courtroom drama: “Another Ham Sandwich.”  Avid viewers will remember the original, “Ham Sandwich” from season two when Kalinda gets hauled into her own grand jury.  This time around, Alicia gets called to testify with questions surrounding her relationship with Will.  While previews aren’t always what they seem, it can’t be denied that we’re in for a real treat: Alicia if forced to dodge questions about sleeping with Will (is it wrong that I want her to state for the record “it was worth it!”… no, right?) and that she walks out of the courtroom proclaiming, “then arrest me.” 

The episode also promises to be engaging on an entirely different level when Amy Sedaris reprises her role as Stacie Stahl.  Could Eli be back in the cheese business? Perhaps he’s simply taking Diane’s advice, “we’ll sit and talk, we’ll hatch a plan, and Stacie Stahl is going to rue the day, and that’s a fact?” Oh for the love of a bushel of fruit (and dairy), I can’t wait!

Preview: Episode 14 "Another Ham Sandwich"

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09 January, 2012

"Alienation of Affection"

Episode Title: Alienation of Affection
Season 3, Episode 12 | Original Air Date: January 8, 2012

After a one-month hiatus, I couldn’t have been more thrilled to have a new episode of The Good Wife to kick off 2012.  Let’s be honest – I spent most of my day keeping busy so as to pass the time more quickly before that elusive hour of 9 pm (okay, 9:17 pm, because I live on the east coast, home of the football/CBS/The Good Wife/hot mess).  Lucky for me, the four week and 17 minute wait was absolutely worth it – this episode exceeded my exceptionally high expectations on every level: dialogue, story line, humor and fashion.  To say it was a drama-filled, madcap adventure would be an understatement.

Typically I write a full episode recap and leave it at that, but this week I thought I would spice things up with an overview of "Alienation of Affection" and finish things off with my top 10 favourite moments of the episode.  Look out – you’re being served.

In My Opinion – Episode Commentary

Despite being very confused by what day this episode was supposed to be starting on (Diane was at an art gallery, Alicia was at a busy school, Will was at a wedding and David Lee was backstage at a Gilbert and Sullivan production), everyone had one thing in common: getting served.  The Good Wife production staff must have placed a special order for office supplies just to keep enough yellow envelopes on hand.  The problem? A 2010 divorce gone awry.  As it would happen, David Lee, and therefore Lockhart Gardner, was being sued for $44 million dollars – the value of a company that was sold in said divorce. The crux of the problem was actually the tort Alienation of Affection – did Lockhart Gardner try to further their business interests (and therefore make a tidy sum) by ensuring the successful breakup of April and Jake Hundley?  With the hard-hitting Burl Preston (played by F. Murray Abraham) in from LA, the heart of the matter came down to what information could be collected in depositions.

First up: David Lee.  Always good for sarcasm and banter, David can’t pass up the opportunity to, as Will would say, “poke the bear.”   Does David run his legal dealings above board?  If I were to be called to the stand, I would have to confess to having some reservations about his ethical conduct.  What I do know is: a) he likes to tread a fine line around semantics and b) he could be cast in a production of H.M.S. Pinafore quicker than most.  While we don’t know much about David, we have the keen suspicion he is rather smart.  In “Alienation of Affection” we see this shine when he proclaims he didn’t hire a stripper to sleep with his client’s husband.  No, he had Kalinda do it – but Preston didn’t ask, so that little tidbit was astutely left out of the discussion.  Was it perjury?  No.  Is Diane going to be giving David sidelong glances for the rest of the season?  Hopefully…  but not just because she’s seen him in tassels.

Second in the hot seat: Alicia Florrick.  I’ve never seen anyone give a stare-down quite like her and let me just say, it’s intimidating.  If there’s one thing I’ve come to respect and admire about Julianna Margulies’ character, it’s that she is always in pursuit of justice.   Certainly the path isn’t without its meanders and proverbial potholes, but that doesn’t change the fact Alicia always tries to land on the right side of the fence.  This week, Alicia seemed even more direct and determined when it came to depositions – She’s done with being raked over the coals, personally and professionally.   While it provided a point of frustration for Buro Preston, I think in the end Diane was a little proud.

Buro: “You told her [April Hundley] you had also dealt with an unfaithful spouse?”
Alicia: “We commiserated over similarities in our personal lives.” 
Buro: “Did you express what a relief it was to be away from a cheating husband, saying “You can’t imagine the relief you feel that first night, just being alone, having a glass of wine” 
Diane: “Objection Mr. Preston. Are we really delving into the private life of Mrs. Florrick?”
What I loved most about this scene is not that Alicia stood her ground and didn’t crack one iota under the pressure, but that Diane was in the room to hear Alicia’s quote about her personal life.  Diane only knows Alicia to be someone who draws a strong line in the sand between her home and work spheres.  Yes, there was the relationship with Will (sigh…), but that didn’t impact the quality of her work.  In hearing those very intimate feelings Alicia had shared with the client, Diane can now appreciate what Alicia has be juggling for the past three years.  It may never be brought up again, but I think the level of respect Diane has for Alicia, has further elevated.  Also, I’m pretty sure if the circumstances were different, she would be rooting for the Team Gardner relationship.

Third time’s the charm: Cary Agos.  With all questions going somewhat unanswered, Buro had no option but to call in Cary to the deposition process.  You see, a rider went missing with the original divorce filing… unfortunately it happened on Alicia’s watch.  Believe it or not (emphasis on “or not”) the document was found in Cary’s old files.  Happenstance?  Unlikely.  David Lee definitely planted a fresh copy and passed it off as the 2010 document, but there’s no way to prove it.  Well, there is.  A $30,000 ink analysis could confirm its legitimacy, but who was going to conduct that analysis with the divorce being back on?  Oh yes, in an unpredictable series of events, the man responsible for serving everyone with those treasured yellow envelopes, Jack Copeland, was the one to break the news to Diane – the husband in the divorce was still cheating on this wife.  Case closed.

Alienation of Affection – Top 10 Favourite Moments 
(because 11 seemed like too many and nine seemed like too few)

1) On Exhibit– The episode opens with Diane standing alone at a Harry Borgman art exhibit (robust piano music plays in the background).  Personally, I was thrilled with this scene as we got a glimpse into the world of Diane after hours (she wears flats and likes art - now we're getting somewhere). Enter a rather handsome older man with an Australian accent.  They strike up a slightly flirtatious conversation and all signs point to Diane having plans for a dinner date later in the week until… she gets served.  The man?  Jack Copeland.  Well, at least he was nice.

2) “I am the Captain of the Pinafore” – Having also been served, David Lee shows up to work wearing his costume from the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, H.M.S. Pinafore.  I may or may not have clapped when I saw him dressed in such theatrical garb – moments like these make The Good Wife stand apart from other network dramas. Diane, Alicia and Will all did their best not to laugh and/or cry at David’s expense.  I tried to do the same.  There’s nothing more I can say, except, perhaps, “Ahoy!”

3) Fisticuffs – There’s nothing I like more than a good bout of verbal sparring and this week was full of moments on which the writers can proudly hang their hats.  The fact there is no love lost between David and basically everyone at the firm was officially settled.  Julius almost punched David in the face and Eli began quickly crafting a coup to oust Lee from his high horse... or ship deck, whichever the case may be.  It’s just a good thing Eli didn’t see David dressed up.

4) “I’m going to write that down as a yes”  For the first time since season two, Kalinda and Alicia were finally on semi-casual speaking terms.  In fact, the thawing ice between these two was a welcome addition to “Alienation of Affection” especially because Alicia was responsible for the missing rider.  Kalinda had to bring up the error and you could tell she was willing to do just about anything to get Alicia out of the sticky situation. While Alicia became confused about what could have happened to the document, Kalinda once again proved she has Alicia’s back.  On the trust report card, I think Alicia would move K back up to a solid C+.

5) "Are you looking for a lawyer?" – Let me open with this: Did anyone predict the whole “grand jury” situation coming out to Alicia so, well, plainly?  Just one more thing to add to my I didn’t see that coming list I suppose.  Will just blurted out “Wendy Scott-Carr” and “grand jury” over the speaker phone and that was it:  Can of worms, you’ve been released.  That surprise aside, I was thrilled to see Alicia and Will have a somewhat normal conversation.  It was sweet, genuine and a little mysterious.  It made me long for the days of “Feeding the Rat” with the proclamation of love, but, in a strange way, Will being able to approach Alicia for Elsbeth Tascioni’s business card sent a message: I’m around, I love you, I’m not mad and I could be in trouble.

6) "Don’t judge by first impressions" – Will quickly headed to Elsbeth Tascioni for help after a few botched interviews with other lawyers (who unwittingly would have him inside of a prison cell faster than Kalinda can take a bat to a car).  As it turns out, Elsbeth’s office was under construction so off the top, the meeting was a bit unorthodox.  First, Elsbeth had to double check the chair she gave Will because the contractors were practical jokers.  Well, sure.  Second, it seemed that while she had no desk, she also had no phone.  Correction.  She had a phone (maybe two) and all were hidden under drop cloths.  Kicking at the floor, she tried to dislodge them to stop the ringing.  Third, for whatever reason the only thing exposed in her office, aside from two chairs, was a pile of purses.  I’m going to keep active notes on this in the future, but do we think she ever carries the same bag twice?  Despite all of this, Will trusted Elsbeth with his grand jury turmoil because unlike the other lawyers he talked to, Elsbeth began to immediately tackle the idea of innocence.

7) “I like anything with bears” – You just never know where or when Elsbeth is going to show up when she’s on a case, but surprising Wendy Scott-Carr at a children’s play was a brilliant move.  Also, she probably bought a ticket and thoroughly enjoyed the show with dancing stuffed bears, elephants and lions.  No judgment here – I think she’s a superb blend of clever and zany swirled together with comedic genius and dramatic flair.  Even better?  As predicted, Wendy Scott-Carr has no idea what to do with her!  Oh yes, and Elsbeth leaked Wendy’s back-room dealings to the press and therefore three of Cook County’s most honest judges.  Point Tascioni.

8) The questioning of Cary Agos – This scene was brief but telling.  Cary truly loves being a lawyer and he’s not in it to throw anyone under the bus.  In fact, out of anyone on the show, he may have the most altruistic goals of all.  He’s willing to work hard, he appreciates a job well done and if circumstances had been different, I truly believe he and Alicia would be friends.  As Cary stated: “I have absolutely no reason to believe that document is a forgery. I knew Mrs. Florrick and Mr. Lee to be outstanding, competent and ethical lawyers at the firm.”  Maybe this is the new leaf that needed to be turned, after all, the last time Alicia and Cary spoke was because Kalinda had been arrested.  It’s just too bad Cary is being pulled into Wendy Scott-Carr’s hornet’s nest.

9) For the love of children – Diane never had children, and I think at this point, she’s grateful.  Quite frankly, with Eli and David going head-to-head trying to fight each other to the death, she is playing both mother and boss.  The best part?  She’s tough and she wins.  Both men are strong-willed, but no one is more capable of sending two people to their corners to make them think about what they’ve done than Diane Lockhart.  There’s a reason she’s the master of the eye-roll.  That’s a time-out, men. 

10) The pillar push – Finally!  The scene I’ve been waiting since November for – the lobby altercation!  This is the scene I saw filmed live (see The Good Wife: On Location in NYC for details) and I couldn’t have been happier to see it finally air.  What’s even better is that we now have context for that story line – Jack Copeland, welcome to the show.

Quotes of the Week:

Diane: “We’re not throwing anyone under the bus.”
Eli: “Last time I looked we were all under the bus.”

Will to Alicia (about the grand jury): “I just don’t want to make life more complicated”

Will: “It’s probably too early to drink…”
Diane: “Another two hours”

Jack: "Where am I looking?" (when searching for the artist's autograph in a painting)
Diane: "The inside top of the right thigh... That wasn't a pick up line, I did think you wanted the spot."
Jack: "I know, I just like your voice. I wanted to hear it again."

What’s Next?

Next week we’re in for a real treat when guest star Jason Biggs joins the cast as a computer programmer turned client who is “arrested by the government for not revealing the name of an anonymous client” and it all ties back to a new online currency (Clarissa, TV Over Mind).  Stay tuned, it’s going to get juicy.

Also, Elsbeth will be back for round two, where it’s likely her run-ins with Wendy Scott-Carr are only going to increase in number.  Will we finally learn how legitimate this case against Will really is (or isn't, as it may turn out)?

To top things off, Bob Balaban will return as Gordon Higgs (remember, the man from the Department of Treasury who just loves his red velvet cupcakes?).  I can only hope there will be a happy reunion between Tascioni, Higgs, Florrick and Gardner over coffee in a break room. 

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