I like Cary and Alicia’s relationship, but I almost wonder if this whole season is one long Cary Agos swan song somehow. Because he’s being dumped on relentlessly, and it’s gotten to the point where he’s so downtrodden, I’m not sure what his character brings to this party anymore. Because, as usual, the last spot on our Power Suit ranking is…
16. Cary Agos
He wears this pained expression the entire episode. Observe:
Those were three different scenes, and there are more. See, poor Cary is having ANOTHER charge added to his record, related to some missing cocaine from back in his days working under Peter in the SA’s office. He hand-delivered some cocaine linked to Lemond Bishop to a police lab — circumventing usual evidence-handling — and then the drugs were never seen after that; the lab contends it never received them, and Finn advances the theory that Cary has a history of running Bishop’s drugs. Thus, Cary is walloped over and over again with more charges. It is seriously as if someone filled up a pillow case with crack rocks and is just beating him in the face with it.
Worse, Kalinda has to stay thirty feet away from him as a new condition of his bail, so he can’t even relocate his frustration into her erogenous zones. All his ensembles have red and brown and pink undertones — or, overtones — because this poor child is mired in a bloodbath.
This face says it all:
She successfully puts down Finn’s attempt to extend the trial, but is immediately thwarted by just about every other twist and turn in this case — none of which they saw coming, even after Finn’s attempt to warn Alicia without violating confidentiality. And her wardrobe did not back her up at ALL this week on ANYTHING. If you’re Diane Lockhart, and you’re having a bad day in court, and your law partner is so caught up in her own election that she forgets your other partner is on trial for Shenanigans, the very LEAST you should be able to expect is that you will look bangin’ while the world is snacking on both your ACLs.
I mean, why does she look like Marilla Cuthbert all of a sudden?
Anne, have you been at Diana Barry’s mother’s cordial again?!? You do beat all, girl.
And here she looks like the lead in a children’s series in the UK that I’m inventing called Miss Mulliver’s Madcap Girl Guides in which she and her troop get up to wacky misadventures in the British countryside. Lots of scraping mud off wellies and eating snacks of tomatoes and cheese and potted shrimp. It’ll be very Enid Blyton.
I’m glad Diane Lockhart has this alternate reality, though, because in THIS one, she is blindsided by everything and no turn she takes puts her anywhere she wanted to go.
14. Gary, Indiana
Since The Music Man so joyously committed its name to song, Gary, Indiana, spawned the Jackson 5, and then spent the 1990s known as the Murder Capital of the U.S. before being named the nineteenth most miserable city in America by Forbes in 2013.
So Gary must have been tickled that a key witness in Cary’s case went to Gary to take REFUGE. And the city name made it on screen — three times consecutively, just like in the song (“GARY Indiana Gary IN-diana GARY Indianaaaaaaa”). Just TRY getting that out of your head. Gary! It’s what’s for dinner.
And the witness there is…
13. Trey Wagner
Trey is the informant who turned on Lemond Bishop, then turned tail and fled when Kalinda sold him out to Lemond to save Cary’s bail money. Turns out his cousin was the lab worker who took the cocaine from Cary lo those many moons ago, and the Bishop crew paid her to lose it. Kalinda figures this out when she unearths the woman’s bank statements — I genuinely don’t want to know if it’s that easy for some rando person to get those — and then hacks into her GPS to find out where Trey is hiding. Sadly, this ends with Trey and his cousin completely dead in a mysterious car wreck. So there goes Cary’s defense. Again.
Big points to Kalinda for doing that detective work, which apparently no one else was capable of doing either now OR back when the cocaine originally vanished. She also convinced Trey to testify against Bishop, and called Finn with her offer. Everything was coming up Kalinda… until Finn’s boss, The Evil James Castro, rejected the deal, and then Trey ended up roadkill. When Trey answered the door to Kalinda, he made a crack about how she always brings trouble to his door, and he was right. Dead right.
Kalinda does still have the upper hand on Cary. The two of them text-flirt during his court appearance, teasing about exactly how far away from him she has to stay, but then he texts “I miss you” and she doesn’t answer. That is some A-grade gamesmanship there. She also asserts her power over him by getting him to confess that PETER was the one who demanded that Cary circumvent the evidence process with the cocaine, because he wanted to rush a Bishop conviction to bolster his gubernatorial run. Cary doesn’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of this: “They’ll crucify him,” he says of Peter. “They’ll crucify you,” Kalinda points out. She wins. Until the MUUURDER.
She started out having a decent week.
She has this great cranberry suit for the scene in which she runs into her old friend Ramona — mother of Hot Intern Lauren, and played by Connie Nielsen; we met her two weeks ago — in Peter’s office. Eli has determined Peter needs a personal attorney to advise him on some yada-yada, and Peter demanded that Ramona be included in the job pool; Ramona is lavish in her praise of Alicia, and Alicia all but flips her hair over it, even though she seems a little surprised and maybe uncomfortable at how gushy Ramona is.
And this suit is stellar. Alicia makes me wish I wore suits every day. Which is major. I guarantee you that if I HAD to wear suits every day, I would not be best pleased about it, because I would be confronted with the harsh reality that I do not wear them the way Alicia does. She is dangerous. Things look like a good idea on Alicia, and then you learn the hard way it’s just because she’s ALICIA.
But. There is always a but. Eli finds out that a local news host played by David Hyde Pierce — Niles Crane! — might join the SA’s race. And if he runs, she will lose. The entire hour is about the delicate dance of figuring out whether he’s going to run without ASKING him about it, which involves: 1) Alicia asking him for his endorsement, and 2) Alicia going on his show.
She handles both with this glazed, unprepared look. It’s strange seeing Alicia anything but smooth, and I’m not completely sure I bought it here. Alicia is great on her feet. She’s very diplomatic. She is not stupid. And yet she can barely string together a sensible or compelling request for Niles’s endorsement, and totally bones the interview. Eli arms her with the information that Niles’s mother was attacked and beaten at her nursing home, so Alicia should make wild promises about cracking down on crimes against the elderly. “That seems unsubtle,” she says. Eli’s sublime response: “You’re not writing a poem, Alicia, you’re practicing politics.”
Niles is genial when they first meet but assumes she wants a spot on his show; Alicia awkwardly corrects him asks for his endorsement, and he basically blinks at her and says very little, so she turns uncharacteristically crazy. Seriously, she can’t come up with anything much to say about her stance, and reacts very poorly to his non-reactions. I guess she’s used to opposing counsel screaming objections or quietly fuming, and she doesn’t know how to deal with anything in between? So she falls back on the crutch that Eli offered, and promises to defend our cherished elders. Niles blinks and says, “Just so you know, that’s not true. About mom. It happened to another lady.”
And she actually COWERS IN THE CORNER after the TV interview. She tanks. She tanks so hard that she actually rolls out of there and shoots military-grade fire out of her mouth, and most likely burns down all of Gary, Indiana.
Elfman had given her all kinds of advice on how to twist a question back around to her campaign agenda without actually answering it, and hammered her with every practice hardball he could think of — and then Niles Crane showed up with a grin and asked Alicia all about bringing feminine energy to a den of machismo, and whether her family talks about politics at the dinner table. She MIGHT have been flummoxed by how boring and tragic the questions were, I suppose. Eli, afterward, interprets this as being because they only prepped her for softballs. “He Katie Couric’d you,” Eli says. “I’m going home to get drunk,” Alicia sighs.
In one sense, it’s nice, because Alicia can’t ALWAYS have all the answers. But in another, I don’t buy that she isn’t smart enough to pivot and give charming answers. Alicia is not Elsbeth. She doesn’t usually juice her own mind-grapes.
At least she looked great while prepping, though.
Alicia also fails to control Eli and Elfman. In one last desperate bid to scare Niles out of the race, they unearth a paper he wrote in college arguing against Israel. They want to leak it, and she refuses. “I’ve learned a lot from you two, but you should learn something from me too,” she says, as if she hasn’t tap-danced along the morality meridian herself. Eli tells Elfman they have to abide by that, but then decides there’s another way to do it, and slips the information to Castro. This, of course, ends up coming back around and prompting Niles to run — and he claims to know it was Alicia’s campaign that passed along the information, and that he wasn’t going to run until they acted.
Even Alicia’s great pantsuit can’t fix that one.
Although I did appreciate the effort she made to look studious. She put the glasses on solely for Niles’s benefit, so she could remove them when he came into the room — as if he’d just caused a wave of genius to break.
10. The TV Camera
“Just what do you think you’re doing, Alicia? All of Illinois is watching. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.”
Y’all know from my Pretty Little Liars days how much I love a Helpful Evidence Wall.
This one somehow gave Finn the inspiration to dig around on Cary’s work when he was a deputy State’s Attorney. I don’t know how or why that happened, but damn, Finn, you obviously make powerful charts. If Alicia knew what magic your hands could do…
We also got a flow chart about How Shit Works In Illinois. Someone took the trouble to make this flow chart, and/or print it off the Internet, so let’s take a moment to appreciate its… flow, and its… chartyness.
Seriously, Finn discovered a MAJOR trump card this week, and played it ably. It sucks for Cary, but… man, that is some advanced-level dot-to-dot action. Well done, you velvet-tongued minx.
He even found, at a teeming bar, a TOTALLY empty stairwell in which to tell Alicia secrets (out of concern for her campaign, he warned her that big Cary drama was coming, though he couldn’t break confidentiality and tell her how). If only he had used this totally empty stairwell to MAKE OUT WITH HER.
He did, however, quit his job — more on that in a second — and might start his own firm. But he needs office space. Guess who has that, in the floor beneath where she sits? One Alicia Florrick, whose company can’t afford NOT to rent out its superfluous spots. So, yes, we’ll get Finn underneath Alicia this season one way or another. RROWR.
7. James Castro
To put it in eloquent terms: This guy, man.
It’s amusing that he’s hairless, because James Castro is the most mustache-twirly character on The Good Wife. I mean, even David Lee and Louis Canning and whatnot have a little impishness to their cunning, but this guy is just a full-on oil slick. There is no subtlety to him at all, and I feel like this show isn’t usually so ham-handed.
Anyway, Castro takes the bait and releases the dish on the anti-Israel paper that Niles Crane wrote in his youth. But the big thing he does: Kalinda offers Finn the testimony of Trey Wagner against Lemond Bishop, in exchange for immunity. Finn excitedly takes the deal to Castro, and Castro REJECTS IT. He shrugs that he thought Cary Agos was the decided-upon path to Lemond Bishop, and why not stick with that? Finn cannot believe his ears, as Castro’s forked tail winds arounds his body and tickles Finn under the chin.
So Finn quit. Who’s going to bring quiet sexuality to your office NOW, eh, Castro? You FOOL.
6. Eli and Elfman
These two. Honestly, I thought half the point of hiring Elfman was because Eli had too many other things to do, but I actually think it was because Eli needed it to LOOK like someone else was handling this but in fact he’s still right up in there. Eli correctly sniffs out Niles Crane’s intentions, and Elfman gives Alicia some interesting pointers that would’ve had her KILL the interview if Niles had asked her anything challenging. As my dad would say, they’re not totally useless.
But the bad intel on Niles’s mother was amusing, as was this scene. Elfman chips in, “Don’t mention his Supreme Court book. He was disappointed in the sales.” And then Eli hands her a pack of pages with that pseudo-angelic smile and adds, “He’s a huge Civil War history buff. I selected a few quotes.” Alan Cumming is tremendous, but you can also tell the writers have a LOT of fun with Eli. There’s spice even in his straightforward scenes.
Peter slid down a bit for opening the episode on-air with Niles Crane and being caught off-guard by some of his difficult political questions. You’re getting complacent, Mr. Florrick.
But he TOTALLY wins over Eli with regard to Ramona. Needless to say, she is the one Peter hires to be his personal attorney, and Eli CLEARLY wants no part of Hot Intern Lauren or her Hot Still Somewhat Nordic-Sounding Because Her Accent Needs Work Lawyer Mother. But Ramona knows her stuff, and Peter gets to wiggle his Peter Gallaghers at Eli in Ultimate Gloatitude.
4. The Honorable Thomas Glatt
This man is presiding over Cary’s case, and let me tell you, he is not a fan. Of any of them. He would rather be in Hawaii. He’d rather be fishing. He’d rather be watching Sally. He will neither sit nor stand for their baloney. I just realized I hadn’t given his irritation its due yet, so here we go. Although, good sir, you should try one of Annalise Keating’s cases. Then you will understand pure aggravation.
This brilliantly framed shot shows Ramona right smack in between Peter and Eli, which is where she will exist for a while. Eli is wary of her because he assumes Peter’s peter cannot be trusted around anyone with nice skin and lady parts. Whereas Peter is proud of himself for hiring her and giving her a chance and having her turn out to be smart. He even uses Alicia as an argument for why Ramona should get a chance — and it’s very telling, because if Ramona is Alicia in this situation, then will Peter be Will? Eli clearly already thought of that.
Peter has been subpoenaed in Cary’s case, because Kalinda blew the whistle that — in the years-ago case being entered into evidence — Peter was the one who demanded that Cary circumvent procedure to take the cocaine to the lab. The first time Ramona speaks up to Peter and Eli, her volume dial is low, and she bumbles through her explanation of why Peter should NOT respond to this by citing privilege, or looking defensive or argumentative. She points out that they’re expecting him to act shifty, and that as soon as he does, they’ll jump on it as proof that there’s a cover-up. She’s right. When she appears in court, she also begins timidly and finishes strong, and impresses Finn. (DON’T SLEEP WITH HER ALICIA NEEDS YOU.) There’s something tired and played about the Underconfident Lady Is Dismissed By Her Peers But Turns Out To Be Smart and Schools Them All, in a way that made me a little bored, but then again… I do LOVE a lady schooling her faithless peers, so in that sense, Team Ramona.
2. Niles Crane
Oh, Niles. It’s implied that the entire episode, he knew he was planning to run, and might’ve played Alicia like a fiddle by throwing her off her game. Of course, HE claims at the end that he only JUST decided to run for State’s Attorney — I hope he is a lawyer? — because he was so disgusted by the very system that might reward the leak of a person’s youthful academic experimentation. “The only way to change it is to have skin in the game,” he tells Alicia. She snaps that he’s full of shit, and he fires back that he would have endorsed her if he hadn’t found out her team gave Castro the anti-Israel paper. The episode ends on the frenetic note of Alicia calling Eli to tell him that Niles is running, in front of Niles, while simultaneously kicking Niles out of her office. Alicia as a character had a lot of rough beats for me in this episode, and it almost made calm, temperate, noble-of-bearing Niles come off as the one you believe. Big score for him.
Also, apparently he gets a LOT of sugary treats from fans. The fake people of fake Illinois LOVE this guy. There is real power in candy.
1. Lemond Bishop
He’s not in the episode, but Trey Wagner is REAL DEAD Y’ALL. Is he tracking Kalinda? Is he just an evil genius? Where is Lemond Bishop? How is Lemond Bishop? When will we get to SEE Lemond Bishop again? Can we get a spinoff all about him and Linda Lavin, where in she calls him Lemond again? I have questions. Lemond has answers. Lemond wins. Lemond always wins, that crooked, beautiful bastard.