While he's updating Diane on the performance, she updates him on the latest from L/G, specifically one more reason Eli's billing more than the actual lawyers: The Wisconsin Dairy Guild wants Peter Florrick's crisis manager for something awful that's happening. (Both partners' eyes light up, notably, at the subject of a crashed jet, but we don't come back around to that second crisis.) Diane brings the Cheese People into his office, and watches him work with just a certain measure of trepidation, because he is scary.
Eli, twinkling: "A certain kind of cheese? Or all cheese?"
Oh no! Listeria outbreak in a Chicago grammar school, four hours ago, traced to infected cheese slices. Five children are hospitalized, four teachers are ill, and the government is all over them. Eli couldn't be happier. The Guild has a contract with an existing PR firm, Keyser & Associates who were -- until four hours ago -- building a magnificent EAT CHEESE campaign. Of course, Eli wants them fired immediately (and if you want to know what a good crisis manager goes for, he opens with a monthly retainer of $60K, plus hourly, which my goodness).
Eli: "Get me everything on listeriosis, anyone who will speak out against cheese, and I'll need more investigator time. Get Kalinda."
Kalinda is: Working on the SCS mediation.
Eli: "Not anymore."
He's imperious, of course, it's part of his charm and a good deal of his power is just being a tiny little steamroller, but what's cool about it this week is that it's actually a subject of conversation. For somebody like Diane, who counts her friends very selectively and evaluates people by a specific personal rubric, she doesn't give a shit about steamrollers because she'll steamroll you right back. It's how she became Diane Lockhart. But when you put Eli's obvious aggression up against Diane's invisible aggression, things get interesting real fast. As much as separating the named partners works to create more story time for us to learn about Celeste, it's also cool and important to have her be the only person in the office on the day Eli starts screaming truths.