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.
Because there's another thing going on here, the Eli thing of it all, which is that he's not saying anything that's not true: You will be firing your PR company. You will be doing whatever I say the second that I say it. You will be doing exactly what I say and paying exactly what I ask, because they're no time to waste. You're plummeting at 32.2 feet per second per second, I'm the parachute, this will go easier if you stop asking me questions. You can't argue with gravity. Some forces are irresistible; time and gravity are only two.
It's the role that he's always played with Alicia, of course -- "If X, then Y, so stop bitching and do what I say" -- and generally it's sympathetic because the whole show is about double-checking your own shit (as a human) before you mess with other people's lives (as an officer of the court), but it's intriguing to see the ultimate pragmatist, Diane, unnerved by his upfront, no-bullshit bullshit.