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The Good Wife Recap: Wine-Fueled Booty Calls

"Gloves Come Off" -- Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Julius (Michael Boatman) represent a man who was injured and lost his wife in a snowmobile accident, but they must prove that his former career playing professional hockey did not impair his ability to drive the vehicle, on THE GOOD WIFE, Sunday, March 18 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: David M. Russell/CBS ©2012 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Mamma Mia, Diane! The best part of this middling episode by far was Diane’s flustered, simultaneous phone conversations with the men in her life. It’s been a while since we’d seen Diane stretch her wings as a middle-aged sex symbol, and good for her for getting some.

My vote is for Kurt McVeigh (Gary Cole), her Palin-loving ballistics expert ex. But he also seems to be screwing a pretty, brunette, also conservative student who’s taking the forensics class we didn’t know he taught. A lot can change in a year, which is how long it’s been since Diane told him she couldn’t leave the firm and run away to Costa Rica with him. Diane drops by his place, via a 40-mile cab ride outside of the city, after getting stood up by her subpoena-serving Aussie suitor, Jack Copeland (Bryan Brown). Now we know that Diane makes pinot noir-fueled booty calls like the rest of us, except that she’s also badass enough to show up on the guy’s doorstep and get him to drop his hot 20-years-younger piece of ass for her. When Kurt asks her for some guidance as to what she’s doing at his house, she says, “This is me missing you, and hoping you feel likewise.” The editing cuts out on his quizzical look, and it’s unclear if he’ll take her back.

Jack had resurfaced because of a small-claims case made against him by that guy he roughed up in the lobby of Diane’s building. The guy had resisted getting served and Jack had thrown him up against a wall in front of a very turned on Diane. At the start of the episode, she’s getting questioned in court by Jack, who’s representing himself and asking her leading questions, like whether he threw the guy against the wall in “a manly fashion.” He asks her out, and then fails to show up, due to some “complications.” (Rest assured, those complications will turn up again and they may prove to be bad news for Diane.) Of course, as life goes, just after Diane’s booty call with Kurt, Jack pops back into the picture to ask her out for a makeup date. He does this as Diane is on the other line with Kurt, who apparently liked her drop-in visit so much he wants to take her fishing for the weekend. (Diane’s awesome response: “Have we met?”) Jack wants to take her to dinner on Friday night. Diane stutters her way through both phone calls, switching back and forth between the phone lines, messing up at times, but managing to secure both dates. Go, girl. By the end of the episode, she’s laughing heartily while talking to one of them. Which one, we’ll have to wait and see.

This was a night of exes popping up, and we were all prepped by last week’s promos for an Alicia-Tammy catfight. It was pretty tame, but the anticipated confrontation did happen. When we last saw Tammy (Elizabeth Reaser) — the only woman besides Alicia that Will has ever seemed serious about — she’d gotten a job offer to start up a magazine called The Sporting News in London. Will hadn’t put up much of a fight to get her to stay, and then we never heard about her again. She’s back this time around to report on a suit L&G brought against pro hockey (the APHL instead of the NHL, probably for legal reasons), which seems clearly engineered by The Good Wife’s writers as just a device to get Tammy back into the picture. She tries to interview Will, who tells her he’s suspended and that she should talk to Julius and Alicia. It’s a little weird that they have no other contact than this brief, formal meeting in Will’s office. She says he looks good. He says she looks good. And she’s on her way.

Now, sound journalism would dictate that she should probably go to Julius first, as the equity partner on the case. But clearly Tammy wants to force Alicia to talk to her. Commenters, I’m struggling to remember exactly what Alicia and Tammy’s interactions were before she left. Did she suspect Will had a thing for Alicia? The writers cleverly structured the scene to open with Tammy asking Alicia, “The truth, are you in bed with him?” She’s actually referring to Frank Michael Thomas, a lawyer/actor played by politician/actor Fred Thompson, who’s helping L&G win their hockey lawsuit. Ha. Good one. But after some perfunctory questioning about the case, Tammy does ask the question she’s probably been dying to ask for a year: “You slept with Will, right?” Will hasn’t told her anything, but she intuited it. She’d emailed him from London and he never got back to her, which isn’t like him … which would make Will a much better person than any other over-40 Lothario single men I’ve ever encountered. Make that over-25 single men. I hate dating in New York. Where were we? Oh, Tammy also drops the bomb that she and Will weren’t over when she went to London, but after he slept with Alicia, they were over.

I can’t tell what Tammy is doing here. If she’s mad at Will for not fighting for her to stay, and then disappearing, she should be yelling at Will. If she’s mad at Alicia for sleeping with Will after he and Tammy had broken up and Tammy was living an ocean away, then she has no grounds. If she’s mad at Alicia for sleeping with Will when they weren’t actually broken up but he said they were, then again, she’s mad at the wrong person. Or is she merely informing Alicia that Will feels more for Alicia than he did for Tammy and she’s a fool if she doesn’t hold onto that, because Tammy would take him back in a second? Could she be giving Alicia a big ol’ verbal high five for being so good in the sack that Will just jettisoned his relationship with Tammy? The only thing I got from that interchange is that Alicia must be pretty mind-blowing in bed.

There’s some other stuff going on this episode, too. Let’s see … we have the case of the week, which was originally a suit brought by L&G’s client, a former pro hockey player who’s suing Snowplane, the manufacturer of a snowmobile that he drove into a tree, killing his wife, after the steering wheel locked. It’s an easy win for L&G, since they have video evidence of the crash. But Snowplane introduces evidence that their client has brain damage from a career-ending hit he received in his 86th game of pro hockey and shouldn’t have been operating the snowmobile in the first place. If they can prove that L&G’s client was more than 50 percent responsible for the crash, they walk off free as birds. But in a strategy secretly devised by Will — who’s not supposed to be advising on any cases during his suspension (bad Will!) — L&G bring pro hockey into the suit, saying they’re responsible for his head trauma and are therefore responsible for the crash.

Will consulting on cases is becoming a big issue at L&G. Someone inside the firm went to the disciplinary board about it. At a contentious equity partners meeting, we’re led to believe the leak came from one of three men fighting for Will’s managing partner position and square footage: Eli, David Lee, and Julius. (Julius: “I’m the one who’s suffering!” David Lee: “You call me an ethical midget?!” Diane: “If you want to backstab someone, you do it here!”) Diane wants them to keep on fighting because if the hate each other, they’ll stop going after Will. But there is a chance that they could band together and get the equity partners to strip Will of everything. Look for the battle to keep going to the end of the season, and for the leak to be someone you’d least suspect. Such is The Good Wife way.

Also, whichever of you commenters said Cary is poised to come back to L&G is probably right. After demanding Peter punish him for fraternizing with Dana Lodge, he’s been kicked out of his Deputy’s office and moved back into a windowless closet. That’s where he is when Alicia comes to ask him about a suit the SA had started but dropped whether the hit that had ended her client’s career was premeditated retaliation for him taking out the star player of another team in an earlier game. Alicia tells him she volunteered to pay him a visit, rather than Kalinda, but she doesn’t know why. (Because you miss him, dummy!) Then she asks him if he’s safe. “No one’s told me otherwise, and that usually means no,” says Cary. Will the fearsome three of Cary, Kalinda, and Alicia ride again???!!!!

The hockey suit is also responsible for the return of Louis Canning (Michael J. Fox). He’s repping pro hockey. We get to learn some fun stuff, like how there’s a guy who acts as the “enforcer” on every hockey team, and is responsible for starting fights. And that players often fake their baseline tests to seem more neurologically damaged from the start, so that when they get head injuries and actually do get messed up, they won’t lose their jobs. In a strategy engineered by Will (bad Will! Again!) Alicia wins the case by proving that pro hockey encourages the fights. The APHL issued a cease-and-desist order within two hours for game footage Kalinda had uploaded on a YouTube-like site. But it has allowed Ringfights.com, which uses unauthorized clips of hockey fights, to operate unfettered for eight years.

There’s also Frank Michael Thomas (Fred Thompson, if you forgot) who is bringing a class action suit against pro hockey about head injuries. He won’t join forces with L&G because he knows Canning is using their case to set a precedent that will destroy his case. Will had a neurologist friend who was going to testify, but Thomas stopped him. That’s because the neurologist is the trump card in his class action. Thomas hands it over after that damaging testimony about RingFights.com makes it clear L&G is going to win. It turns out Will’s neurologist friend had actually come up with guidelines for treating head injuries that would have stopped players from faking their baseline tests out of fear of losing their jobs, but the APHL dismissed them. When she brings Canning the evidence, all of a sudden Snowplane gives them the $5 million they’d originally wanted. It’s such a big win that she and Julius gloss over how puzzling it is.

The real reason Canning has come back on the show, though, is to try to poach Alicia. She’s turned him down before, mostly because he’s a slimeball. But this time around, she’s kind of desperate for cash. She’s trying to put a down payment on her old house, which is worth $1.9 million (remind me to quit reporting and become a lawyer). So she needs a chunk of money now and consistently higher pay so she can afford that, along with private school tuition and two college funds. She’d asked Diane for a raise, but the equity partners shot it down, thinking it would have the 11 other third-year associates (have we ever seen any of them?) up in arms. They give her something that must be like a 3 percent bump with an extra week of vacation, and from the look on her face, she’s pissed.

She cajoles Canning into giving her an offer, and in the second-best scene of the night, just as Diane is on a high from being pursued by two hot manly men, Alicia confronts her at the elevator. Diane rightly points out that Canning wasn’t the one who gave her a chance after 13 years away from the law. She wants until the end of the week to give her a counter-offer. Alicia says she can’t wait that long; Canning gave her 24 hours. It’s a tense exchange, and then Diane hits to the bone. “Everyone changes,” she observes, sounding disappointed. “End of the week, Alicia, or you can clean out your desk now.” I’m on Diane’s side here, though I’m also happy that Alicia has the guts to demand what she needs. It’s just odd that she’s gone from musing, “It doesn’t make sense to go backwards” to demanding a raise so she can move back into her old house. Is she just conforming to what her kids want?

She ends up getting her bonus, but at what cost? David Lee resents her even more, and in order to get it passed, Diane had to invoke the managing partner’s prerogative to make a unilateral decision. She stuck her neck out for Alicia to keep the firm from falling into chaos and losing another body. But I sense a lack of trust between her and Alicia that may never heal. Alicia resents that Diane talked about being her mentor and putting her on partner track, but she mentored Caitlin instead, and when it came down to putting her money where her mouth was, she failed. And Diane thinks Alicia is ungrateful and conniving, which she kind of is.

Alicia turns Canning down, which was probably her plan the whole time. Funny that she didn’t want to be poached because no one ever trusts a poached lawyer, but now that she made her power play, she’s also put herself in a position not to be trusted. She’s learned how to be a snake. While I think Canning was being sincere about him wanting her to work with him, he can’t help but take the final jab. He tells her that she may have won the battle with the snowmobile suit, but she torpedoed Thomas’s class action. Thanks to her telling Canning about Will’s neurologist friend, he knows their trump card and he’ll be ready to beat it.

It’s been a long couple of days: New house, salary fight, almost losing her job, getting confronted by Tammy, finding out that Canning used her just as much as she was using him. Alicia needs a friend, and as we all know, without Kalinad and Owen, she has none. This will also go down as the episode that marked the long-awaited thaw in Alicia and Kalinda’s friendship. Mid-episode, Kalinda had come into Alicia’s office bearing warm beers of redemption, and Alicia had shot her down, saying, “We’re working together. Isn’t that enough?” By episode’s end, Alicia is approaching Kalinda, willing to give friendship a chance. They won’t go back to the way they were, but they can try for something new. The only thing Alicia asks is that, “Everything has to be on the table. I can’t be the only one being forthcoming. I can’t be the only one being honest.” Kalinda agrees. But she’s been taking shady phone calls all episode. What’s that about? And does she care enough about her friendship with Alicia to come clean?

Photo: David M. Russell/CBS