In the middle of a Ponzi scheme trial, the judge -- Richard Cuesta -- is forced into the penalty box when he's accused of prosecutorial misconduct in a case from twenty years ago. Being a fan of the way Lockhart/Lyman dealt with Will's own suspension, he asks Diane and Alicia to represent him, but Diane's still angling for a litigator to replace Caitlin D'Arcy before they take on new business, so in the end it comes down to two possibilities: Alicia's very strong recommendation of Cary Agos, and -- when that's heavily protested by Will, because of the Wendy Thing -- that cokehead lady Will slept with last week.
Of course, Diane doesn't know that part, leading to a hilarious scene in which she must ask her former partner and the Platonic love of her life to stop fucking all their prospective new hires before she can interview them. Meanwhile, they're both using Howard Lyman as a tool of both whimsy and leverage, which makes Eli's ill-fated attempt to recruit him into the Gold/Cain attack on Will even more hilarious. In the end, Cary is hired -- yay! -- and Will continues his relationship with Cokehead Callie, while being forced to juggle Lyman's insane and bizarre demands as a sort of lighthearted recompense for ruining Will's life.
Kalinda gets a terrifying visit from Lamond Bishop, who was recently approached by FBI Lana and understandably bothered by that, being that he's a crimelord, and before you know it he's called a little meeting with Kalinda and Alicia and threatens Kalinda with death unless she solves her tax problems. A short visit to Lana yields no real results and a fair amount of fingerbanging, but in the end Alicia puts together a plan to stall Lana that works, at least for the moment, to keep her away from Bishop.
Oh, and Kalinda also meets the Kalinda of that era, a lovely woman with a definite Kalinda-ness to her, who runs a wine shop in Lincoln Park and instantly knows exactly what Kalinda is like on the inside. She gives her the usual case-winning Kalinda Klue, and gives her some parting advice: Get out now. It was the neatest, and somehow the saddest, scene in the whole thing.
Alicia's performance in the Cuesta case depends on her using a lot of the semi-dirty tricks she's been learning this year, and as come to be the usual way of things, she has no idea at the end whether or not her success is a good or a bad thing. This is especially ironic since the judge in the case (a special proceeding called a Court of Inquiry that we're never fully explained), played by Stephen Root, is adorably aw-shucks and doesn't stand on ceremony, preferring to treat witnesses like his personal guests that he just wants to chat with and get to the bottom of things. AKA, Alicia's dream judge, except for this week, where the details of the case keep forcing her to pull more and more defense attorney tricks out of her purse until even the judge on trial decides he wants to go to jail.
But on the other hand, it's the moral bendiness of this case -- a kind of Final Exam for Season Three Alicia -- that leads her to her best conclusion: After a quick talk with Cary, she runs into Kalinda and, without even really thinking all that much, pulls up a stool for her. It is on!
Next Week: I'm guessing Leela's husband shows up to kill us all, while Louis Canning teams up with Patti Nyholm's adorable new haircut to give us a glimpse of the horrors in wait for next season. That's right, it's finale time! And may our girls never be parted again.
(Including Cary, of course.)
The inordinately unethical Mike Kresteva may as well have put on an opera cape and carried a fog machine with him places, as subtly as he declared his evil intentions toward Peter and -- by extension, but also specifically -- Alicia. But he was not the only villain in our world, no: Jackie Florrick threw down the gauntlet with a fake (?) stroke when Alicia finally got Peter to stand up to her. In other news, Eli was forced to choose Peter's campaign over Vanessa's, Kalinda and Alicia are talking again, Cary's time at the SA may be coming to an end, and Will slept with some yucky lawyer lady who's been suspended for her coke habit.
HON RICHARD CUESTA PRESIDING
Cary: "So all your life savings and everything, huh? Just gone? And who's to blame?"
Lady: "That man over there! The defendant!"
Alicia: "Uh, that calls for speculation. Just trying to keep the prosecutor honest."
Judge (and Cary, to be honest): "We like your spunk!"
Bailiff: "Here's a document of a weird thing you should know, Your Honor."
Judge: "Nice weather we're having. But I think it might rain."
Diane & Cary: "Yeah, totally. Weather."
Judge: "Soooo I'm declaring a mistrial."
Alicia, et. al.: "WHAT?"
Judge: "Shut up. I've been put in the penalty box, it has nothing to do with y'all or this trial, it is politics, and my life is over. Stop crying, Judy."
Court Reporter Judy: (Is unable to stop crying.)
Judge: "So you three can just keep smirking and head on out to gossip about me. Except Diane."
Cary: "But Your Honor..."
Judge: "It's not about that. Just get out. You too, Judy."
LOCKHART & CUESTA
Judge: "Ms. Lockhart, I need a lawyer."
Diane: "Civil or criminal?"
Judge: "Depends on how much God hates me, I guess."
Diane: "Tell me more."
Judge: "Will you take the case?"
Diane: "Judges are assholes. Sell me on it."
Judge: "I prosecuted a wife-killer that just got out on DNA, and the State's Attorney is investigating how I did things."
Diane: "Alicia is not going to intercede with the SA. You have no idea..."
Judge: "It's not about Alicia, it's about Will. I liked how he dealt with his own investigation, and I want your firm on it."