New Show Recap: The Good Wife 5×13, “Parallel Construction, Bitches”

Sometimes I think The Good Wife writers room reads our little ladyblog. You know, in those moments when reality isn’t as much of a factor. 

I say this, because during the past two or three episodes, the show has made a point of verbally naming the Judge-of-the-Week multiple times, as well as holding the camera over said judge’s nameplate long enough for me, and my sisters/brothers in TGW recapping, to jot it down.

Tonight’s JotW is Judge Klueger, played by the inimitable Jeffery Tambor. He’s joined in the guest star bullpen by Wallace Shawn, national treasure, as charming/shady/terrifying/adorable mob lawyer, Charles Lester; Nathan Lane as Clark, Eric fucking Bogosian, and one of my personal favorites, Mike Colter as world’s hottest drug kingpin, Lemond Bishop. In a show that is wall-to-wall ridiculously attractive people, Colter stands out. I don’t understand how so much human beauty fits in one person, but ours is not to wonder why.

Previously, on AMC’s Darkness at Noon

We open watching a show within a show, as Alicia downs a Scandal-sized glass of red while watching a gritty cable drama with Grace in her loungies. My first reaction was to assume they were making fun of my beloved, and ridiculous, SVU, because the tortured anti-hero cop featured in the fake show is a ringer for handsome renegade, Eliot Stabler. Later, I come to the realization that The Good Wife is making fun of the tortured cable anti-hero, and for this, they get gif’d. I should have picked it up from the title of the episode.

Olive, from sadly defunct TV show Pushing Daisies, is feeling tingly.

She’s interrupted when Wallace Shawn comes to the door. I would totally pick Wallace Shawn over most cable dramas, but perhaps not in his role as a deadly and unpredictable mob lawyer, cleverly disguised as your sassy great uncle Frank. Shawn, as Charles Lester, reports that Lamond Bishop has been picked up by Johnny Law.

So Much for Marilyn

Marilyn is arguing with Eli over the phone, when a large black van that screams B613 pulls up alongside her (wrong show, still waiting for the crossover fic). Three men hop out to open the door, revealing Eric Bogosian as an agent for some sort of professional integrity commission that obviously has a large budget. Those seats are leather. She’s renditioned, by which I mean strongly encouraged to take a ride around the block in Bogosian’s windowless justice van. He’s come to take down Peter, and possibly for a kicky L&O: Criminal Intent reunion with Chris Noth. Marilyn resists turning on Peter at first, but by the opening credits, she’s handing Eric Bogosian the flash drive containing the damning video of Peter’s campaign’s blatant voter fraud. This can not possibly end well.

Previously on The Good Wife

TGW respects its viewers, and they expect us to keep up. The previouslies for Darkness at Noon replaced the traditional TGW previouslies, so let’s do a Cliff’s Notes version of all the key points from previous episodes that will help us understand what’s about to happen on this one.

  • The NSA is tapping Alicia’s, and, by extension, Lockhart Gardner’s, Peter’s, Eli’s, Cary’s, Bishop’s, and possibly the Lindberg baby’s phones. They were able to do this through a three-hop connection Alicia had to a suspected terrorist who turned out to be innocent. The taps on Alicia, and those within three hops of her, continued even after the original contact was cleared.
  • Will and Alicia both served as counsel for Peter’s gubernatorial campaign, which makes them potentially liable for the voter fraud.
  • Judge Klueger invited Alicia to a meal back in our October. I speculated it was because he wanted to give up his seat and join the new firm.

We Are Being Watched, Probably

Lockhart, Garder, Florrick, Agos, and Lester represent Bishop at his initial hearing. Were I a devilishly handsome druglord facing 15-20, this is definitely the lineup I’d want at my table. The DEA has a witness who’s quickly proven (by Howard Lyman, this time with pants on, of all people) to have been no where near Bishop at the time she says she saw him with a trunk full of drugs. The DEA counters that their witness was mistaken, she saw Bishop on the previous day. Bishop can prove this isn’t true, sort of, as he didn’t actually move any product on that day, only on the day she originally claimed to see him. “Your Honor, the witness is clearly lying, because Mr. Bishop did crime on another day,” is not the best defense, and all of these details of when product was moved and by whom are moot, because the real story is that the only way the DEA could have any idea about Bishop’s movements, with or without a trunk full of drugs, is if they’ve been tipped off.

This leads to several uncomfortable meetings in elevators, of course, this is The Good Wife. Sorkin sent his characters on walk-and-talks, the Kings shove their characters in or in front of elevators. Bishop and Lester suspect Florrick Agos is harboring a confidential informant, as his movements on the day he was actually guilty were only revealed to the Florrick Agos team. Alicia quickly interviews all pertinent parties, and everyone looks innocent.

Bishop and Lester set up a sting of their own, traveling with a trunk full of pancake mix in drug bricks. They told Alicia, Cary, Robyn, and Clark Hayden each a different time for Bishop’s travel. Bishop is pulled over at the time he told Alicia, but since we all know Alicia isn’t a CI, there is obviously something else afoot.

And BOOM, we’re in the endless beige hallways of the NSA, where that nice man from Community and a scruffy white dude in an anarchy t-shirt are following along with everything. We learn the NSA are Will and Diane shippers, which is both quaint and fucking terrifying.

Bishop, Lester, Florrick, et. al. think the DEA has tapped Bishop’s phones. As it turns out, the DEA is just borrowing intel from the NSA. Let’s all take a moment to run out for landline phones and enough aluminum foil to cover our homes, heads, and cars. All set? Great! Let’s keep going. Bishop sends FA a box of burner iPhone 5s. You know you’ve arrived when your burner phones not only don’t flip open, they cost $500 each.

In front of Judge Klueger, the DEA denies tapping any pertinent parties, which is technically true. All the smart people in the room quickly connect the dots leading to our friends in the NSA. Cary, feeling righteous, informs Lockhart Gardner that they are also probably under surveillance. LG sends Kalinda to use her magical vagina to find the truth. Which she doesn’t do, as even magical vaginae aren’t infallible. She tells LG that FA is lying about the taps.

The lawyer (from Justice, not DEA) prosecuting Bishop resigns, which Cary and Robyn ascribe to his conscience. He’s called to testify, and while he doesn’t give up the goods, he pleads the fifth, which is enough to spark Judge Klueger into smelling something fishy, and ultimately dropping the charges against Bishop, who is once again free to distribute pancake mix to the mean streets of Chicago.

This is not the last we see of the NSA, however. Eric Bogosian visits them with his own warrant, and gets to hear a panicked conversation between Alicia and Eli (on burner phones, I might add).

To recap, the NSA was tapping a suspected, and eventually cleared, terrorist tangentially related to Alicia, which allowed them to tap her calls with impunity and without a warrant. They are continuing to tap her, and everyone tangentially related to her, with no cause. And now, the data collected has nearly sent another man (however actually guilty he is) to prison, and it’s likely to get Peter booted from the Governor’s mansion/office.

And with that, The Good Wife is back, firing on all cylinders, and scaring the crap out of me.

Discuss.

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[E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

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