The best part of this underwhelming but not totally terrible episode was Andrew Bird. The Chicago-born multi-instrumentalist provided the opening and closing soundtrack for this week with his 2005 song “Fake Palindromes,” which set things up to seem much creepier and more emotionally evocative then they actually turned out to be, but nevertheless, good tune.
There were multiple exits on “Invitation to an Inquest,” in roughly chronological order: Good-bye, Justice Ludwick (RIP); good-bye, Jordan (we won’t miss you); good-bye, Maddie (you were almost fun while you lasted); (probably) good-bye, Mr. Agos (good riddance!); and good-bye, Nisa (sorry, girl — you seemed sweet, and heartbreak’s a bitch, but you'll get over it).
The case of the week and the return of Cary’s dad (John Shea) were the major plot threads, but let’s note some of the more amusing developments before we get to all that.
- Robyn is growing on me! Something about her tentativeness and thrift-store duds just works, right? It’s fun to watch her incredulous expressions when she observes Kalinda working her magic on reluctant sources. (See: hotel clerk; trucker with incredibly well-groomed facial hair). Sidebar: Any guesses as to what Kalinda said to the trucker that prompted both the information they wanted and an apology for his sass?
- The tiny after-hours Willicia moment. “I don’t want to be wary of you … it feels like we’re avoiding each other,” Will says. And he’s right! Or, we mostly see Alicia avoiding him like she’s a tentative high-schooler. (Sidebar: That reminds me, whatever happened to Grace and eighties bad boy Connor?) We’re all for direct communication, but to me this is really seeming like prolonging a whole lot of nothing. Let’s do this thing or bury it again, cause this in-between phase has just about hit its shelf life for entertainment value.
But on to what happened: There’s a wintery car crash on a windy road, and it’s Will’s old basketball buddy Justice Ludwick, whose widow, Janie, is played by Glee’s Jessalyn Gilsig. Alicia’s called to the morgue shortly after the crash, since the Ludwicks’ life-insurance company is contesting paying out his policy. And who is the exceedingly warm and likable snake representing the company? None other than Wilk Hobson (Frederick Weller), whom we last saw working pro bono for Leelee Sobieski and punching Will way back when. He’s does the "talk to the hand" for a moment when Alicia approaches him, and we can tell immediately that he’s gonna be a dick. Things convene for a pseudo-hearing in a freezing basement room presided over by an avuncular Chief Coroner (Rene Auberjonois from Benson!) in order to determine whether Ludwick’s death can officially be ruled an accident.
There’s a real jury, but many of the rules are different, and the whole thing has a small-town, Poirot sort of feel, but with much less charm. We know that CBS was trying to create drama out of the fact that counsel was only allowed THREE QUESTIONS PER WITNESS! but really, it hardly seemed like a big deal.
So was it intoxication? Was Ludwick talking on his cell phone? Was it the road conditions? Was it a suicide since the justice was being investigated for corruption? Or was it murder, since Kalinda and Robyn sniff out one of his mistresses? Eh, none of the above. In the end, it was the black box in the car that proved Ludwick swerved to avoid an oncoming drunk driver. (Sidebar: Where was this box in the beginning?)
Meanwhile back at L&G, Cary’s dad Lex Luthor returns, just as we had almost put him out of our minds since we last saw him in that horrendous Christina Ricci episode. Unsurprisingly, he isn’t quite on the up and up. He’s a lobbyist now for a pharmaceutical client, and Diane and Will are psyched that the Cary connection has brought in new business. But of course it’s not that simple: Lex wants L&G to help craft a marijuana initiative to confuse voters about this other marijuana initiative, and really the whole thing is just a device for Dad to undermine his son, inserting jabs at him during a briefing with his team and making things mighty uncomfortable in front of Alicia when they get to talking about how she made partner so quickly. Ick. Luckily, he’s gone soon enough, as Cary goes over his head to the pharma CEO when his dad gets squirrely with the account. This whole thing felt a little too pat, but we won’t quibble too much since it earned Cary a re-up on approving looks from Diane.
At Florrick HQ, Eli plays Jordan like a fox, since Peter won’t agree to let him go after he takes the Democratic primary (farewell Maddie!). Instead, Eli gets him to dig his own grave by delivering the news to Zack that the campaign thinks his girlfriend Nisa’s family’s ties to Muslim groups could be bad for Peter, knowing full well that Peter and Alicia will go apeshit when they hear he’s interfered with family business. And right he is. Jordan gets dispensed of in short order, and so does Nisa. But don’t feel too bad for Zack (just Nisa), because he planned to break up with her anyway. She wanted to get more serious before they left for college, and well, this isn’t his first rodeo. (Sidebar: Here’s hoping Zack’s got other male role models for how to treat women besides his dad. Owen perhaps?) At least next week looks a little more promising: Kresteva’s back, punches are thrown, sheets are rumpled— onward to the governor’s race!
- When Robyn reports her findings to Will and Alicia that Ludwick’s corruption investigation was regarding a lawyer accused of bribing judges, Will looks uneasy. Damn straight! Foreshadowing? Is this suspension business not over yet?
- The overexcited hotel clerk who can’t wait to ask if Robyn and Kalinda would like a room. Ha!
- Gallows humor from Will: “We have to get back … to the morgue”
- Seems like the winner for the new relationship name in the comments is Carlinda, with Shargos as a close second, but unfortunately we were given no more on that. Here’s hoping we’ll be able to try it out soon.