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The Good Wife Recap: Status Updates

This will go down as the week The Good Wife made an actor out of Lou Dobbs. (We can only hope he pulls a Justin Timberlake and starts pursuing this as his true calling.) Both Dobbs and Democratic operative Joe Trippi played themselves on last night’s episode, and both cutely tweeted as their cameos aired. Never mind that neither politico has any logical reason for employing a law firm in Chicago (we’re breathlessly awaiting inevitable guest star Rahm Emanuel), the plotline nicely set up a Will-Diane rift, a Will-Derrick alliance, and a sneaky Diane-Kalinda collusion to bring down the boys' club once and for all.

Political Intrigue
This has to be a coincidence, but on the very week The Social Network tops the box office, we get a smart and ruthlessly political high-school girl manipulating Facebook to get back with Alicia and Peter’s son Zach, while simultaneously putting the hurt on the Childs campaign.

Said high-school girl is Zach’s ex, Becca (Dreama Walker, reprising her Gossip Girl mean-girl vibe), whose tendency to tweet inside information about the Florrick family brought out the side of Eli that makes us think he keeps a stash of concrete down by the dock. “Did you see Drag Me to Hell? It’ll be just like that. Do you understand?” he said, awesomely, in season one. She responds by dragging Zach off for apparent de-virginizing. We hadn't seen her since.

And yet there she is, volunteering in Peter’s campaign offices at Zach’s request. Or so she says. Turns out Zach dumped her when he found out about the tweeting, and showing up at the campaign was Becca’s way of tricking Eli into yelling at Zach, thereby alerting him that she still cares. (The moment when master-manipulator Eli realizes he’s been played is priceless: “Huh. I must be off my game today.”) Post-reunion, Becca makes up for hurting Zach’s mom by helping his dad. She sets up the fake Facebook page of Glenn Childs Jr., an actual kid whom Becca met at summer camp and who also happens to be the only human under the age of 30 not to have a Facebook page. (Commenters: Is that really Glenn Childs’s son, or some kid with the same name? We’ve never heard of Childs’s son, but he does seem like he’d be a terrible father.) Together, they create a supremely annoying teenager with sadly believable interests (Miley Cyrus, American Idol, the Jonas Brothers) and have him badmouth his dad in his status updates. It’s a pretty great revenge tactic, but wait till the Childs camp traces the IPO address back to inside the Florrick house.

We already know Childs is sitting on video his trackers took of a kid ambushing Grace to talk about her parents’ sex life. But this episode the campaign gets dirtier when the Florrick campaign is hijacked by a CollegeHumor.com video and a Politico-like vlog. As Peter is doing a webcam interview with some balding, pudgy blog rat, an aide pulls Eli aside. He needs to see this thing that went live an hour ago. There is Peter’s onetime call girl Amber, singing her heart out in various slutty Halloween outfits — a captain’s hat with nightstick, a stomach-baring clergy uniform — that we respectfully beg you to refrain from wearing at the end of this month. Please. Don’t. We can’t decide which was better, the little ditty’s amazing sexual puns (“People say you’re down in polls, but I say you’re always good at coming from behind.” “You can caucus me any time.”), or Alan Cumming’s “Oh dear God” reaction to it. The line that really sets Eli’s weasel ears at attention, though, is, “You’re not afraid to hand out stiff sentences, and I think you agree, the stiffer the better.” It took us a second viewing to realize that pudgy blogger had just tricked Peter into repeating those words, “the stiffer the better.” Cue Eli’s panicked banging on the interview-room door, screaming, “It’s a setup!” You know things are bad when a political operative drops his cell phone in a mad dash up an escalator and doesn’t care. Too late. They’ve just given the blogosphere tomorrow’s news cycle. Though, you know, serves their Luddite staff right for not seeing that video until a full hour after it went up. Is no one there on Twitter?

Legal Intrigue
After tonight, we want Will and Alicia to try cases in military court every episode. They’re there because their client, Randall A. Simmons, whom they’d just acquitted in criminal court of stabbing his wife 38 times, is an active reservist and therefore can be court marshaled for the same crime without it being double jeopardy.

You know things are going to go terribly, comically wrong for our hotshot civilian lawyers the second the badass female judge — who also happens to be doing a cleanse and is feeling particularly cranky — asks Will if he’s ever served in the armed forces. Yeah, right. And the fish-out-of-water jokes never get old. When Will tries to exclude a juror on grounds of bias, the judge turns to the soldier and says, “If I order you not to be biased, will you not be biased?” “Yes, ma’am.” Here, all the evidence Will and Alicia got excluded in pre-trial motions is allowed; there’s no time for wimpy laws about illegal searches or coerced confessions in military court! They find three new suspects, but can’t get any to testify because they’ve all either been killed in combat or are currently deployed. And they certainly can’t use their client’s alibi: that he was in his car with a wig, a passport, and $2000 in cash getting ready to go AWOL so he didn’t have to go back to Afghanistan when the murder occurred.

To make things worse, sore loser Cary — who alerted JAG to the case in the first place and is so revenge-minded these days he’s starting to look like a cartoon villain — is feeding the prosecution evidence. (The night’s best dialogue exchange, between Alicia and new in-house investigator Blake: Alicia: “How do you know?” Blake: “I know.” Alicia: “But I need to know how you know so I can act upon your knowledge.”) There’s some hot usage of military code by Will and Alicia gets Cary to testify, blah, blah, blah … Simmons’s commanding officer did it. But there’s a twist. Now that he’s a free man, he’s free to finish up his tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, back at the firm, there’s a showdown brewing over Trippi (Diane’s client) and Dobbs (Derrik’s client). Will promises Diane he’ll vote to keep Trippi, then changes his mind, and the resulting blowup is enough to win Christine Baranski an Emmy nomination. “This is a betrayal,” she seethes. “You just lost your certain vote.” Now she’s beginning to suspect that there’s some connection between Will and Derrik we don’t know about, and Kalinda seems to have dug something juicy up that (argh) we’ll have to wait till next episode to hear. At least it looks like we’ll get some repeat appearance from Dobbs, who’s actually not bad at this acting thing. Diane tells him that she’s not going to abandon her liberal political beliefs just because he’s with the firm, but that it won’t be an issue; if she can represent murderers, she can certainly represent him. He’s so impressed with her honesty that he drops Derrick and makes her his lawyer. Could Lou Dobbs become the hammer Diane uses to break up the old boys’ network? Because that would be amazing.

Personal Intrigue
There’s no reference to last week’s Voice Mail of Love. (By the way, we think Eli was able to delete it because smartphones don’t require a passcode to access VM. Go ahead, steal our BlackBerry and try it out. But first find us a dude to leave us “I love you” voice mails.) Instead, Will meets a flirty brunette from the Chicago Law Review who seems eager confirm certain things he said about his underwear choice upon his recent naming as Chicago’s sixteenth most eligible bachelor. Later she comes by late night to “fact-check”; Alicia hears her voice when she calls Will while they’re in bed. She won’t last. We see Will going the way of Nate Archibald with Chuck Bass’s little black book, at least until something forces a confrontation with Alicia.

In the meantime, we’d like to thank The Good Wife for joining the distinguished line of TV shows and movies that feature female journalists sleeping with the male subjects of their articles. See: Katie Holmes in Thank You for Smoking, Maggie Gyllenhaal in Crazy Heart, Scarlett Johansson in Scoop, Sally Field in Absence of Malice, etc. Is it too much to ask that every once in a while Hollywood allow a female reporter to do her job without having to employ her lady parts? Or at the very least, have the reporter wait until after she’s published the story to sleep with her source? We’re just asking for a modicum of realism and respect when it comes to our profession. Besides, that “just fact-checking” line never, ever works.

Photo: David M. Russell/CBS