“We need some diversity”
Yes. We do. And if it comes with some meta commentary on the casting practices of the show itself, fair enough, but as we’ve said before, acknowledging something isn’t the same as doing something about it, so I’m reserving judgement on whether this week’s Lockhart Agos storyline about unconscious racism in their hiring practices is actually going to take us or the show anywhere. Particularly since, while I can absolutely believe Howard said what he said, Cary’s lines seemed pretty un-Cary-ish and, seriously, they wouldn’t let Diane pick one associate? Not even one?
In the past, TGW has proven it can cover institutional racism powerfully and sensitively, while being completely true to its characters, but I’m a little concerned this storyline isn’t going to be handled (if we ever hear about it again, that is) as well as the one involving Peter’s hiring practices at the State’s Attorney’s Office; after all, that story relied on slowly building up a clear, coherent, multi-layered picture of long-term behaviours and why they’re problematic, instead of the short-term punch of clever people saying obviously idiotic things.
Not that the Lockhart Agos stuff was the only meta moment this week. Alicia finding out her next stop on the campaign trail from Eli and asking “Do you ever wonder why I’m only hearing this from you and not Peter?” was a pretty big wink to the audience but, given the ill-will generated by last season’s Kalinda-related shenanigans, I’m not quite ready for the show itself to make jokes about the amount of time any particular cast member might spend / do not spend on screen with Julianna Margulies, so the comment jarred with me rather than making me laugh.
All this meant that, while watching “Lies,” I spent more time than I should thinking about how off-screen life and commentary might have affected the script, instead of actually just enjoying the story, which is a shame because the Polygraph Protection Act plot, the return of the NSA guys, and the campaign stuff all had great moments. There’s no disputing that a lot of wit and intelligence went into writing this ep, then, and I did enjoy it, but not as much as I wanted to.