Isn’t it just like The Good Wife to follow up a decidedly underwhelming episode that left many of you feeling like giving up on the show with one like this week’s “Here Comes the Judge”? There were plenty of flaws here, to be sure — and, ugh, more Nick — but just when we thought we were drowning in a sea of slack attempts at humor and too-many-guest-stars-at-once syndrome, the Kings give us just enough sparkle and smart writing to remember why we fell in love in the first place.
On to what happened: Grace’s classmate, also named Grace, overdosed on pills, and the school, naturally, is reeling. (Sidebar: It seems as though the cold opens are consistently becoming one of the most creative parts of the show, what with the Jackie dressing montage to the dark confusion of “I Fought the Law” to this week’s IM/video chat glimpse into the secret life of the American teenager.) Laura Hellinger is arguing her first case as ASA against L&G, an angry, rather flat little number concerning a woman charged with hiring her Pilates instructor to kill her husband. We never get too far into it, though, because the real courtroom action takes place in the trial-within-a-trial that happens with guest Judge Harrison Creary (Judd Hirsch). Seems Creary may or may not be a drunk, and some sloshy comments he makes after hours at a bar to Will in front of the sultry Giada (Karen Olivo) — who’s having drinks with him under the auspices of, ahem, getting career advice — could spell bias. “Do you know this bastard?” Creary cackles to Giada. “If it was up to me, you wouldn’t be allowed to practice law ever again,” he says to Will. Yikes. L&G asks Creary to recuse himself the next day, and, naturally, this does not go over well. (Sidebar: Remember Giada back from season one and that DePaul law school mock trial Will judged? We seem to recall some motions to recuse going on in that one, too. Lawyers in the comments: Do calls for recusal happen as much as this show makes it seem?)
Meanwhile, Zach’s been working undercover at his dad’s campaign for a high-strung scarf-y woman who looks like she could use a cheeseburger. (Sidebar: Could Zach really be hiding out in plain sight like that at a governor’s campaign? Would there honestly be no one there who’s ever seen the candidate’s son before?) And Nick is still around, being homophobic and scummy and making us regret having to see him post-sex with his shirt off, again. Commenters, you were right on in predicting he was the one behind Cary’s horrible beating that was teased in previews last week. Ouch, ouch, ouch. As much as we wanted to make sure Cary was okay, that rainy, queasy scene was so viscerally unsettling, we think it would have felt a little trite to cut right to Cary banged up in a hospital bed, like another show might have done.
Unfortunately for Alicia, who’s charged with arguing in the recusal hearing, the judge for this one is Peter Dunaway (Kurt Fuller), her nemesis from back at the Blue Ribbon Panel. He’s not making things easy for her, but Alicia doesn’t back down on the sass. “I know what you think, your honor. Does that mean you overrule my objection?” she says in a bold deadpan after she calls out Creary for grumbling from the audience. (We like how this one earned her an impressed double take from Hellinger.) And the case is a tough one. Will may not have been officially disbarred, but why is it that the first result for his name that comes up in Chumhum is “do you wean Will Gardner, disbarred lawyer?” (Ha.) Creary is denying he said anything of the sort, so it’s over to L&G to find others to testify about Creary’s prejudice.
So of course now Giada gets a call back. We loved this hilarious bit of seduction dialogue between her and Will over drinks after she tells him what she’s up to later:
Giada: I was gonna go home and read a brief. A big long brief about farm subsidies.
Will: Sounds like a Thursday night.
Giada: Light some candles, draw a bath. Read about the viability of ethanol as a fuel supplement.
Will: How viable is it?
Giada: Pretty damn viable. More so than you might think.
After sex, Will goes in for the ask, of course. (Sidebar: Why is it that postcoital Will is in a grubby undershirt but Nick we have to see bare-chested over and over? Will does not seem like he would be uncomfortable with his body in this way like that move suggests. Kings: please even the shirtless score!) But Giada’s not having it. You go girl? Or, honestly, we can’t tell what to make of this character. She’s awfully playful for a woman who just slept with a guy who blew her off before and is now clearly just back again to barter. But who knows: She’s got a wrought-iron headboard and looks sexy eating ice cream — maybe she does have all the answers. And what was that business about the family fortune and were they really drinking $180 glasses of wine? Commenters: Can anyone shed some light on this?
Since Giada is not helping, team Agos-Sharma is dispatched to a law school poker night and an AA meeting, respectively, to make some ethical transgressions and dupe two new witnesses into being subpoenaed to speak about Creary’s sad backstory, prejudice, and alcoholism. After that, it’s basically a lock for L&G. Dunaway rules to dismiss Creary, everyone’s traumatized and disgusted, but Hellinger drops a bomb at the end. Seems that Creary saw L&G’s client on a website for cheating spouses back when he was a cheating spouse himself. (Or was he the cuckold? We couldn’t quite tell.) Confusing stuff here: If the judge knew something incriminating about the prosecution’s client that hadn’t been revealed in court, wouldn’t that have been bias anyway?
We won’t skip over Grace’s secret garden exploration with Connor, Dead Grace’s ex-boyfriend and a kid who looks like the prototypical bad boy from every eighties teen movie, but there’s not much to say except that it felt quite believable for a young girl, likely a virgin, to be curious against her better judgment about someone like him. Like some other characters on this show — Kalinda, anyone? — Grace, with Connor, is swept up into something she knows might not be safe, but she can’t bring herself to run the other way.
- “I’m narcissistic enough to believe women should give up sex altogether after me.” (Will to Kalinda in that great drinks scene before he stops by Creary’s table.)
- “If you go nuclear, you don’t leave missiles in your silo.” (Diane to the team, after that uncomfortable-for-everyone-involved testimony about Creary’s alcoholism.)