Mike: "Hey, I'm Mike. Don't let the fact that I'm pretty much adorable fool you. Anybody on this show that's adorable is guaranteed to be carrying a knife."
Men: "Congratulations on being handed this thankless duty! And on being married to the worst person alive!"
Alicia: "Hey, check a girl out in the very halls of power. I don't mind telling you, I'm a little intimidated."
Men: "We are so fuckin' glad you said that."
So they run through the facts in a bored, study-hall fashion, and you get the gist pretty quickly: They're a secondary review, but it's in their best interest to do the minimum amount of work on any one case, since to question the authorities who already signed off would affect not only their relationships with, say, the Commish, but also their intertwined business, political and personal interests. Diane says this much more clearly later, but the scenario is that if Alicia does anything to piss off, say, Judge Dunaway, that's going to upset his take on any and all Lockhart & Question Mark cases for as long as it takes to buy back his favor. Et cetera, but also true of every person there with regard to every other person there. Sort of a nightmarish checks and balances situation, which is why over time the tradition here has worn itself down to token members, token questions, and going lengths to prove they're not simply rubber stampers.
Right? So then imagine Alicia Florrick walks into that shit and presumes that everybody is on the up and up like she is, and you can see how she's the quietest, most polite grenade imaginable, being tossed into a room, in a way that nobody would question until about a minute after the fact. If you look at the seasons of Buffy as an upward ramp of politics -- first vamps, then boyfriend, then the Mayor, then the Government, then God, etc. -- we've reached the part where you learn that old white guys have their own thing going on: They're playing on an entirely different chessboard, and don't really have time to care about your mess. Our confrontations with Alicia's problems -- speaking Truth to Power and assuming everybody's got honor, specifically -- have just hit been raised to a new level. And just as hard work is rewarded with hard work, her spiral up includes raising and raising the stakes, asking the same questions again at higher and higher levels. I'm more convinced than ever that we're heading back toward the world of politics, when you connect the dots that way.