Captain Laura Hellinger's first case is, of course, opposing L/G. Specifically, a murder-for-hire black widow situation who, if Will pulls it off, could get the firm completely out of bankruptcy. So when the judge in the case -- a massively watchable, mind-blowingly effective Judd Hirsch -- lets on drunkenly out of court that he doesn't trust Will and that he's already decided she's guilty, the firm has to decide whether or not to alienate him by asking for a recusal. When the extremely intransigent judge pushes Alicia to asking for a full hearing on his bias, however, the whole thing threatens to blow up in their face. The judge on that one is one of the guys from the Blue Ribbon Panel, so he comes with Alicia issues to start with. Dicking with judges is really becoming a L/G tradition.
After some serious dirty doings -- going so far as to infiltrate the guy's clerk and even his AA meeting, which gross me out; Will also sleeps with a cute new young lawyer -- L/G pulls off a win and gets the original case reassigned. Thanks to this second trial-within-the-trial, Laura realizes the ousted judge has given her the clue that will lead to a win, damning L/G but making her bones in the real world. Looks like Alicia's mentee has at least one more week in her before Alicia has to take her down... And goodness knows how long it'll be before Diane finally gets to toss Nathan Lane out a window.
Kalinda's voice once again betrays her on the phone with Alicia, and a miscommunication down the line leads to Nick sending one of his thugs to beat up Cary Agos of all people. As "Beating up Cary" seems to be the theme for November, one wonders where that's all leading, but it's a dreadfully ugly and ironic turn of events. Hopefully at the least it means Alicia will run to Kalinda's side and get Nick out of here before the Xmas break, but who knows.
Zach has been secretly running the Florrick Campaign's IT department, but once he discovers he's been using Alicia's kids without her permission, Eli tries to turn this into another round of "Your Cute Kids vs. Kresteva's Cancer Kid," much to Alicia's chagrin. In the end, she thinks about letting Zach go back, which should make Eli easier to take moving forward.
But the really interesting child this week -- and trust me, it's weird to admit -- is Grace. What begins as a study in hybristophilia after a schoolmate named Grace kills herself turns into an unlikely/dangerous friendship once Grace's romantic obsession with the girl's bad-boy ex pulls him into her orbit. There's nothing too plotty about the way they come to understand each other, but it's actually quite a joy to watch, and bodes excitingly for the future as Hayward and Kresteva's forces converge on our little family.
Next Week: Alicia's mom, Stockard Channing, joins Brother Owen (!) and I'm guessing Jackie and Fabulous Cristian for Thanksgiving. Or is it Halloween, given the immediate bond Mom seemingly forms with David Lee, of all people? I guess we'll finally find out just how gay he really is. Unless that is a thing I made up four years ago and it's not actually a question, which maybe is what happened.
Nick Savarese comes and goes, but is working up a real head of jealousy about whoever it is at work that Kalinda loves so much. Alicia is staying strong on not letting the kids be involved in Peter's campaign, which chaps Eli's hide continually thanks to Kresteva's Cancer Kid. And bright new guest star Captain Laura Hellinger, with Alicia's help, has left the military and joined Peter's office as a new Assistant State's Attorney. Oh, and Nathan Lane is beginning to drive Diane Lockhart basically out of her mind, the little badger.
Like any teen, you know, she just loves her social media. Skypin' her IMs, YouTurbing viruses and whatnot. Chummin' Hums. Teen stuff. With all her friends she apparently has now.
Sisterwife: "GRACE RU OK?"
Grace: "YEAH Y"
Sisterwife: "SOMEBODY SAYS U DED"
Quick videoconference later, the story comes out -- Grace and her Sisterwife buddy are joined by two other nerds -- that another Grace at their school killed herself last night. Her black friend Sarah says "liberry" at one point, which I don't even know what to do with that. The death deets are vague, seems the boyfriend broke up with her the day before Prom and she used her Prom hotel room (they say, with the hushed nerd voices of those who will never know Prom) for the deed. The camera closes in, closes in on Grace as she slowly determines that this will be about her.
Somehow, by God, she will make this all about her.
PILATES MURDER TRIAL
Captain Laura Hellinger's first civilian case as an ASA is, of course, with Will Gardner on opposing counsel. Alicia's not quite in the courtroom yet, but you can feel her coming. The facts of the case -- Judge Judd Hirsch presiding, in one of the best judge performances we have ever seen, the guy's fucking magnetic -- are that a rich lady with a prenup got her Pilates instructor to shoot her husband so they could get around the legalities and split the money. And also they are in love, of course.
The proceedings are dicey and thrilling, but hard to replicate: Basically, Will holds Laura under fire in what the judge calls "new ASA hazing" and she stumbles and mumbles and makes you feel bad for her. The more they make us love Laura, though, the more I get scared she's going to pull off her face-mask to reveal something evil. Or at least some kind of Caitlin-type thing that causes Alicia to act awful and then feel doubly bad later.