Another interesting case from the bond court, in ‘Cooked’: Alicia is instructed by Roland Hlavin, a young scientist who has been making a designer drug which isn’t GHB, but which has the same effect. Lucca acts for Hlavin’s dealer, and the two of them are offered an “exploding plea” – the first to plead gets one year in prison, the other gets 25 years, an hour to accept, clock’s ticking – by this week’s ASA. (Who just gets referred to by his title, rather than his first name, by Judge Schakowsky, because he isn’t Matan.)
Alicia’s first defence is that the faux-GHB isn’t a controlled drug, although that doesn’t get far. Then another possible defence is raised by Lucca, which depends on Hlavin instructing Alicia in a precise way; not for the first time, Alicia skirts ethical propriety in obtaining the instructions she wants, on this occasion by sketching out a hypothetical scenario to Hlavin. “Is that”, Eli asks after the fact, “a lawyerly way of saying you helped him lie?” The question of the extent to which Alicia was indeed helping her client to lie becomes a live one because Hlavin isn’t all he seems, and nor is his crime.
To say any more would be spoilery, so I won’t: but, like last week, it’s a reminder that even as the finishing line approaches for The Good Wife, it remains one of the very best shows on TV. In particular, the way in which a complex legal issue is elucidated is a model of the form. And the final twist is a wicked one; with, in all likelihood, lingering consequences.
The subplots work better this week as well, even if I’m still not convinced about the political arc. It’s undoubtedly entertaining to have Alicia and Veronica play passive-aggressive happy families on ‘Mama’s Homespun Cooking’, a reality TV show on which mothers pass on hard-won wisdom and cooking tips to their daughters, particularly as Veronica is on spectacular form: “I had a little wine at lunch, but I haven’t been drinking”. I have a feeling, though, that The Revenge of Eli is going to get very old very quickly. I ask again: why doesn’t Ruth just get him fired if all he’s going to do is undermine the campaign?
And I was about to award the Lockhart, Agos and Lee plot full marks this week, until it pulled the rug out from under me. To start with, Howard Lyman consults Alicia, because he’s being undermined. “My guess”, Alicia explains tartly, “ is that they’re pushing you out because of performance. You don’t do anything, Howard”. He takes the hint and, after a chance encounter with Jackie, also starts a romance with her. There might be life in Lyman yet.
Then Diane has a deeply unsatisfactory encounter with one of her new interns, who she’s offering to mentor; it’s a delicious scene, no more than a minute or so long, in which New Intern is all, but I don’t want to work more hours, and what about my new boyfriend? New Intern has a point, but it’s not the sort of point that Diane wants to hear, schooled as she was in an era when young attorneys worked 24/7, sacrificed their personal lives, and gratefully accepted the patronage of more experienced colleagues.
All of which makes her feel more generous towards Alicia, and her firm agrees to start giving Alicia some of their overspill cases. Good, I thought; we need Diane and Alicia as allies rather than adversaries. But then the show uses an overheard phone conversation to… well, I thought it was a bit of a cheap trick, particularly as the relationship between Alicia and her former partners foundered in the first place because of misunderstandings and split-second coincidences. Enough. Putting that aside, though, this was excellent.