It seems like quite a lot is starting to brew for our favorite people over at Lockhart/Gardner. In this week’s episode of The Good Wife, employees were (re)hired, alliances were formed and broken, death threats were not-so-vaguely made and judges acted like babies. “The Penalty Box” was another superbly written hour of television that no leads us into the final episode of the season in a way that makes me extremely nervous.

julianna marguliesThe case this week involved Judge Richard Cuesta (David Paymer) being put in the proverbial penalty box while his is investigated for prosecutorial misconduct related to a case from 20 years ago. He sent a man to prison for killing his wife, and thanks to some DNA evidence, the man has now been cleared. So now they are looking into how the case was handled and if he did things to make sure this guy went to jail despite his innocence.

Unlike some cases, this one didn’t have much relation to what was going on in the rest of the episode, so I won’t focus on it too much except to say there were two things I loved. One was seeing Stephen Root in a judge’s robe as Judge Murphy Wicks. He was playing a small town country judge who was, I felt, hysterical. He would question witnesses and talk to them about their life. But I also just loved seeing Root as a judge again so soon after Justified’s season ended. It eases the pain. And for the record, when he said his name was Judge Wicks, I wrote it down as Judge Wixx. I’m clearly a product of 80s hair bands.

The other thing I loved about the case was that Diane (Christine Baranski) got to be her take charge self. When she is being a harsh mom to all the males on the show is when I am at my happiest. Well, besides when Czuchry is on screen, but we’ll get to that. Judge Cuesta was being very judge-like when they were trying to help him with his case. He doesn’t like how defense attorneys work plus he is used to being in charge. Diane had to give him a stern talking to at which point I clapped and cheered and waved my “Diane Lockhart Rules” banner above my head. She is perfect.

But on to the other stuff. That mysterious IRS case of Kalinda’s became a lot more interesting this week, and by “interesting” I mean “life-threatening.” One of those unexplained checks of Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) came from Lemond Bishop (the extremely frightening Mike Colter). You remember Bishop – he is brought up every time someone wants to point out that maybe things at Lockhart/Gardner aren’t entirely legit since he is a drug dealer. He asks to talk to Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Kalinda alone. Why? Because Federal Agent Lana Delaney (Jill Flint) approached him about his business dealings with Kalinda. Needless to say, the dude doesn’t like being approached by the Feds. And he makes that very clear to Kalinda. In a way that says “if I get in trouble because of you I will kill you, and maybe that pretty lawyer sitting next to you too” without saying anything at all.

matt czuchryKalinda tries to seduce Lana into backing off Bishop, but she won’t. Even though Kalinda is clear that the guy is going to kill her. Nice, Jill. Nice. What would Hank say? Oh wait, I’m getting my shows confused again. Anyway, Alicia calls Lana into her office and shows that Will was the one that asked Kalinda to do research on a Bishop case and that the reason she was paid directly from Bishop’s accountant was just a clerical error. Yeahhhh…. Lana doesn’t buy that, and frankly Alicia doesn’t even sell it that hard because everyone knows it is just a tactic to get Lana to back off of Bishop. But I am worried. Very worried. I don’t think they will kill Kalinda, but still…

Then there is Cary (Matt Czuchry). He and Alicia are BFFs again, so when Lockhart/Gardner is in need of another litigator, she recommends him for the job. Of course Will (Josh Charles) isn’t thrilled about it because of that whole “Cary was involved in trying to get Will indicted” nonsense. I mean really, so sensitive, Will!  And Howard (Jerry Adler) only asks who Cary would take on a desert island (his answers were Thurgood Marshall and Keith Richards, naturally). Howard doesn’t like it because why would he bring two males? Oh Howard….

Cary feels good about it, and asks Alicia not to tell Peter (Chris Noth). Unfortunately, that doesn’t matter because Eli (Alan Cumming) saw Cary being interviewed and calls Peter to ask why he let him go. Awkward! So now Peter fires Cary because he was looking elsewhere and that shows disloyalty. But it’s fine, right? Cary will totally get the job, won’t he? Not so fast…

So Diane decides to continue the hunt. Not because Howard has issues with the desert island thing but because of Will. So she brings in the lawyer from last week, Callie (Julianne Nicholson). Diane likes her, Howard likes her desert island picks (Yo-Yo Ma and his cello, and Brad Pitt) and I start getting needlessly worried she is about to steal Cary’s job even though I saw the promo where Alicia is clearly congratulating Cary on getting the job! But then my worries are quickly pushed aside when Will has a minor melt down when Callie tells him she interviewed for the job. Oh, did I not mention they are still sleeping together? Silly me. They are. I hate Callie, btw. And Diane hates that Will can’t keep it in his freaking pants!

Meanwhile, Eli attempts to turn Howard and bring him on with his faction that is trying to overthrow Will. Diane and Will see this happening, and Diane worries and wonders if they should do something. Will says no, it will fix itself. And it does. How? Howard’s old person annoying-ness drives Eli insane and Eli calls it off. As Will laughs in the background. If you can count on one thing, it’s old people annoying someone like Eli.

Anyway, Callie turns down the job. She says not because of Will but because of a better offer. This all sounds shockingly like Tammy’s whole “I’m a strong women” schtick which eventually melted down to jealousy when she discovered Alicia’s existence. Will the same happen here again? I don’t know, but I don’t care because whatever the reason – Cary got the job! The third years all go out to celebrate and Alicia and Cary have a heart to heart. I. Love. These. Two. Together. But he leaves to take a call from…. Peter? Why? Whyyyyyy?

And when he leaves Alicia turns to see Kalinda in the bar. Cary invited her to come in one of their awkward/sexually charged conversations. So Alicia turns the chair toward her in a way to offer Kalinda to sit down and drink with her. HURRAY! ALICIA AND KALINDA FOREVER!!! I may be overinvested in this friendship.

Next week is the season finale and there is so much going on I don’t understand how they will cover it all in an hour. There is Mike Kresteva’s run for governor against Peter and all the turmoil that is about to cause. Jackie buying the house. Kalinda’s legal issues. The issues at the firm with Will. Oh, and Patti Nyholm (Martha Plimpton) and Louis Canning (Michael J. Fox) are back. Together. To take down Lockhart/Gardner. Yay! I mean, Eek! I love them, but they are scary!

How are you preparing for the end of this wonderful season? And what do you think is up next for our lawyers come season 4?

Written by Melissa Miller. Find her on Twitter @serrae. The Good Wife pics courtesy of CBS. Don’t miss our The Good Wife recaps every week.