The return of Louis Canning (Michael J. Fox), the death of a recurring character, Eli’s reporter problems and the greatest speakerphone known to man were the highlights in another solid episode of The Good Wife.

michael j fox the good wife

This week’s episode started out with security footage of some cubicle filled office. We saw a man get up from his desk and grab his garbage can. We follow him through the different cameras as he goes to the supply room, dumps the garbage, grabs an extension cord, goes back to his cubicle, climbs up on the desk, and hangs himself from the exposed beams in the ceiling. So, right off the bat we know this is going to be a cheerful case!

The video was being watched by former partner in Lockhart/Gardner, Jonas Stern(Kevin Conway). He is representing the “big bad internet company” that has been treating their employees with such love and affection that three have killed themselves in the past month. And many more have quit. Lockhart/Gardner is representing the formers employees (and the families of those that committed suicide) in a suit against the company. Alicia and Stern argue over whether or not the video should be allowed as evidence. Alicia convinces Stern that Judge Abernathy (the ever delightful, Denis O’Hare) would side with her anyway, so he signs off on the inclusion. They banter for a bit about how she has changed – isn’t it amazing how everyone is a little bit in love with Alicia – and how she is going to be a hot commodity for other law firms, and not just a little bit because of Peter’s inevitable win.

Meanwhile at campaign headquarters, Eli tells all the members of the campaign basically to shut the heck up. They are 3 points up and 6 days away from election night. If they just hold tight, this is in the bag. But before he can even finish the sentence he gets a call from Petra Moritz (Lily Rabe) – a pesky reporter that always manages to get that one piece of information that Eli doesn’t want her to have. But before she gets to that, Petra lets Eli know that the DCC has charged  Wendy Scott-Carr with a lack of residency status. Basically – they are trying to make it out like she doesn’t even really live in Illinois and is ineligible to run. (Ripped from the headlines – but replace Wendy Scott-Carr with Rahm Emanual) Let’s just say that Eli is pissed. So pissed that his initial reaction is to choke the guy from the DCC.

Eli: You know, I don’t have many enemies in life. I get along with Republicans, Protestants, Catholics, even a few reporters. But one thing I hate is amateurs.

In case you are missing why he is pissed – by putting something out there that questions Scott-Carr’s integrity, it puts sympathy for her and makes Peter look like a bit of a d-bag. Even if he had nothing to do with it. Oh, politics are fun!

After Will and Diane tell Alicia to show the video of the hanging to the guys wife (that must have been an unfornate meeting) Will sees Tammy (Elizabeth Reaser) waiting in his office. Cue Alicia’s sad face. Tammy first tells Will that her sister, Helena, is visiting. (Reminder: In college, Will was dating Helena and then dumped her because he was in love with Alicia. Tammy knows the story, but not that Alicia was the one Will was in love with.) Tammy also tells Will the Olympics offered her a job to go to London and start prepping for the 2012 games. She would leave in two weeks. Will, always unsure of the status of this relationship, doesn’t know what to say, so she prompts him to say she should go. And he does.

Back at Stern’s office, he is asleep (not really) on his couch. His assistant comes in, removes his ipod earbuds and starts telling him about a meeting later. (He can’t hear you!) Cut to Diane getting a phone call that Stern is dead. (Poor assistant) This is a classic Will and Diane scene. They reminisce about Stern bringing them together. And then both realize this would be the time to try to get back all the clients Stern took with him when he left – but what is the proper amount of time to wait? They also worry they will end up like him – mistaken by their assistants as asleep after an all-nighter.

Will: It doesn’t matter does it? We all end up in the same place. All that’s left is a Wikipedia entry.

Diane: Well you’re a bundle of joy.

Cut to Stern’s house while his family is sitting Shiva. Brief side note – I’m Jewish and have had to sit Shiva for my father 15 years ago. This portrayal was so accurate. The sad – ripped black ribbon buttons, covered mirrors, family sitting low on boxes. The ridiculous and copious amounts of food, everyone else hanging around your house endlessly and talking as if it was a cocktail party. Loved watching it on here! So funny. But it wasn’t just a fun education into Jewish mourning rituals, it was also a forum for Will to learn that getting back the clients won’t be so easy – Stern was selling his firm. To whom? Well look who is there – Louis Canning. And isn’t he happy to tell Alicia the good news – he bought Stern’s firm.

Eli goes to see Petra to give her proof of Scott-Carr’s residency. But she makes a play for what she has really been interested in – word that Peter didn’t just sleep with the hooker, but also slept with a co-worker (Kalinda!). The only way she will cooperate with Eli is if he gets Alicia on the phone with her.

The suit against the internet company goes to trial because now that Canning is in charge, the settlement talks are off the table. A former employee tells of horrible work conditions – no break room, working weekends, no A/C, desks moved to copy room. Of course Canning, with his Parkinson’s makes the employees complaints about the work conditions seem ridiculous. Points to Canning.

Outside the courtroom, Kalinda has information on the company’s financials. (Notice we haven’ seen Kalinda until now, almost ⅓ of the way through the episode. May be coincidence, but I think it is on purpose showing that Kalinda has been avoiding Alicia. I may be reading too much into it…)  A hidden record in the financials shows that they spent nearly $3million on an HR firm (that is meant to show how to fire/get rid of employees). That purchase puts a big hole in the” cut-backs were because of the economy” defense.

When Alicia tries to enter the surveillance video into evidence, Canning objects and they all go to Judge’s Chambers. Will and Alicia say that Stern already signed off on it. Canning says it doesn’t matter because Stern was suffering from Alzheimer’s/Dementia so he was coerced by Lockhart/Gardner. Canning claims they knew. Will says he didn’t (true) but when Abernathy asks Alicia she evokes attorney/client privilege, meaning obviously yes she knew.  (This was from a case in an episode in Season 1, “Threesome”) So, the video is out.

Cary (who I have missed desperately for the first half of the episode) goes to see his stay-at-home dad/ investigator friend, Andrew Wiley (Tim Guinee). Childs has Wiley investigating some missing pages from Blake’s last interview with Brody about Kalinda. Brody told Wiley that he told Cary about the pages. Wiley gets Childs on the speaker phone.

Time out – the speaker phone. It’s a stuffed animal lion that is plugged into the phone and “talks” when the person on the phone does. So basically Childs’ voice is coming out of the stuffed lion that wiggles around on the desk and moves his mouth. Best. Invention. Ever. Only thing that tops it is Cary’s face when the lion starts “talking.”

Anyway, Childs realizes that Brody may just be trying to get leverage, and wants to be sure this isn’t criminal. Plus he is Childs and he likes to mess with people.

Back at Lockhart/Garnder Alicia runs into Tammy. Tammy just had a nice conversation with Helena… where she finds out that Alicia is the woman Will left her for. Awkward! Alicia assures her that it’s nothing. They have both moved on. Alicia heads to a meeting with Will, Diane and Kalinda. Kalinda has found paperwork from he HR firm that says if a company can make a person quit they will save (you don’t have to offer unemployment, severance, etc). So now they are out to make the company pay.

Will gets the CEO, Kim Palmeri (Caroline Goodall) on the stand and plays audio of her berating an employee during a meeting. An employee who killed himself six hours later. She says she is just confrontational. And her reason is that if her employees don’t do their absolute best, she would be forced to hire overseas. She is just being patriotic and saving American jobs. (UGH!)

Back at the State’s Attorney’s office, Cary goes to see Brody about the missing pages in the Blake interview. Brody hints that he isn’t trying to protect Kalinda, but the future inhabitant of the office and that it’s a personal issue, not criminal. Cary realizes Kalinda and Peter had an affair (Brody tells Cary it was a one-nighter). Once again, Matt Czuchry shows how great he can act when not saying anything at all. In those 30 seconds, sadness, disappointment, and maybe a little bit of disgust crossed his face. Poor Cary.

After court, Canning asks Alicia for a ride home. Love the editing of that scene by the way, where they didn’t even bother to show the full sentence! In the car Alicia tells Canning to cut to the chase, because she knows he wants something. And he does – for Alicia to join his firm at twice her current salary. She turns him down. But their banter is amusing as always. Somehow Canning knows her really well. Love the two of them together.

After the discovery Kalinda made about forcing employees out, the surveillance video is allowed back in. But of course, Canning has another twist – the employee was prescribed a drug for depression that causes suicidal tendencies. Back to Abernathy’s chambers we go! And in chambers, Canning shows the judge video of mice on the drug going insane. Will almost hits the roof because this is the same video he used against Canning when Canning represented the drug company that made that drug! Will getting annoyed is hysterical. But Abernathy is moved by the video. And point to Canning. Again. However back at the office, Kalinda finds out there was an ex employee, Karen, who quit and didn’t want to be part of the law suit. So they are off to find her in hopes of getting some information.

While Kalinda is taking care of that, Alicia agrees to call Petra for Eli. I really love that he had a hard time even asking her and looked genuinely uncomfortable with the whole idea. Once again, Alicia is loved by all! More than that, he respects her. And he knows Petra can be a bit of a pain, which is why he is on the phone with them during the interview. Alicia gives good quotes, at first – saying these last minute rumors are always put out there to make people look bad and that voters don’t have enough time to reconcile it. But then Petra alludes to Peter having an affair with someone besides the hooker, and did Alicia get an AIDS test. Eli almost reaches though the phone to kill her as he tells her to go to hell and hangs up. LOVE IT!

Cary goes to find Kalinda and tells her about the whole investigation and that he knows about Peter. He tells her she should have just been upfront with Alicia and it would have been fine. But from the look on her face he realizes that is why she became friends with Alicia in the first place. (Another brief time out – I love that Cary seems as upset for Alicia as he does for Kalinda. Cary is the best.) Kalinda goes to see Karen. First she tells Kalinda that the guy that killed himself never took the medication because the side effects freaked him out. Then if that wasn’t enough, she also admits the reason she isn’t part of the lawsuit is because she found paper work showing he company cut backs were because of covering for the pension funds the executives used. Basically – major fraud. But the problem is, they can’t use it because then the company will go under and won’t be able to pay the clients. Will decides to use it anyway, kind of. He bluffs, and starts to call Karen to the stand. Canning objects saying she isn’t on the witness list.

Will: We specifically reserved the right to call any former company employees. And Your Honor does like to air on the side of admitting evidence.

Abernathy: Uh, yes I do. I also like to be unpredictable. [pause] And yet here I find myself at the height of predictability. I will allow it.

Bluff works and Canning offers a settlement. Canning says that, obviously they can’t take the information of Karen’s to the authorities or they won’t get money, so to take the lowball offer. But Karen also knows about the CEO’s personal take in the fraud, so she is going to pay out the rest of the settlement personally. Just like always though, Canning alludes to Alicia that maybe they could’ve gotten more. Pesky guy.

Wiley tells Cary to be careful because he knows Cary warned Kalinda. Ruh-roh.

After Alicia told Will to be good to Tammy, Will tells Tammy no to go to London and they try to decide where they stand now.

I thought the episode was good, but sort of a bit soft after the past few weeks. At this point we are just waiting for the secret of Kalinda/Peter to blow up and everything leading up to that is just a simmer. But this definitely set up a lot of interesting pieces to the secret’s reveal. Cary, Childs and Wiley are all involved now. Will is settling down a bit with Tammy – something that may get in the way when he finds out about Peter. Eli is trying to hide things from Alicia and protect her at the same time. The tension builds…..

Written by Melissa Miller

Find her on Twitter @serrae and read her blog I Heart TV

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