The case of the week is clever, and eats up enough cast that we see more of it than usual: A mismatched couple -- hot chick, nerdy guy -- were nabbed for coke trafficking after a weekend in Rio, but now that their law firm has split into two, both LG and F/A want a severed trial. (And on the prosecutor side, we get ASAs Geneva and Matan, whom we haven't seen in like years.) Judge Victor Garber likes the idea of two trials, but for some reason thinks it would be efficient -- read "whimsical" -- if both of them took place simultaneously, in the same courtroom.
With me so far? So this means that sometimes one of the defense firms will request that the other jury, or their jury depending, be shuttled out or shuttled in. The two juries themselves get into weird infighting -- and love blooms between some of the cuter ones -- and although it never gets into actual mayhem there, the stresses between the two firms are always looming. Cary offers to first-chair so it won't be another head-to-head between Alicia and Will, and then we see that Diane has offered the same thing; the investigators end up crossing each other's trails a few times. That kind of thing.
Eventually they do all get into it, and we see... Rather than a drudging-up of old grudges between LG and F/A (even the SA, I worried, given Cary's history), we get a dance of professional manners that only occasionally grinds to a halt when somebody (usually Will, but of course also Alicia; even Cary gets a little hot-headed a couple times) loses control of their intense and passionate feelings, etc. But mostly they are some classy fucking grownups. (Particularly Geneva, which didn't surprise me at all.)
In the end, after a feint by both teams to put the blame on a random flight attendant with circumstantial ties to the drug lord in question, the real Pascal's Wager scenario comes up, with all manner of near-explicit parallels to Will and Alicia: Through the vagaries of plot we have a situation in which it's better for the two lovers to pretend they don't love each other, so that each has a better chance of being acquitted by their own jury. In the end, the lady of the couple (the LG client) goes free, while the other jury (the F/A client) acts fishy enough that the man of the couple decides to take the SA's deal. Which is no balm to Will's mood, as we'll see.
Outside the courtroom, all kinds of shenanigans are going down, but most of those have to do with Kalinda's ongoing project to act like a person -- this time, by reconciling with Cary and only slightly trying to screw him on the business side, and vice versa -- and less with the case itself. At one point he tricks her into alienating a client Robyn wants to poach, but because it's Kalinda she thinks this is adorable, and they decide that they're even and can be friends (or more) again. So that should ruin lives, somehow. Mostly it's just nice to see either of them smiling, at each other or otherwise.
The big drama, however, surrounds that tape the Tribune revealed to Eli last week. He brings Marilyn in on it immediately, and she spends the episode -- in her dark, mystical fashion -- trying to figure out exactly what Eli, Peter, and then the rest of the campaign and Peter's representation at the time knew about the ballot-stuffing in last year's finale. If you want a refresher on it, go find one, but the basics are simple: A lower-level heavy in the DNC was told to "get out the vote" in a certain district, and to do "whatever possible." He read this instruction from Eli (which was very Eli in that who really knows, he's less of an asker and more of a see-what-I-can-getter) as worth stuffing them, and there we are. (The guy himself agrees to take the blame without mentioning Eli, but I don't know if that's a for-sure thing yet or if it will come back.)
Now, the votes didn't make or break the campaign, as Eli keeps repeating, and so the only weirdness is what Peter, Eli, Alicia and Will each knew as it was going on. On that, I think, we actually do have a fairly complete perspective: Will and Alicia fought to disqualify the votes, and then later on found out they were for and not against Peter, and so while it didn't change anything, Will brought the matter to Peter's attention and they agreed to let it rest. (They quibble over the details, and I'll review them before the recap, but it really doesn't matter: Will has no problem using this to make Peter look as bad as possible, both for stealing his girlfriend and for burning Diane on the judgeship.)
We still don't know who the anonymous tipster is -- and maybe never will? -- but we do know that, after a furiously intense confab with a very hostile Will, Peter has declined to waive his attorney-client privilege, which means that Marilyn has no choice but to assume the worst, and file a damningly "inconclusive" report on the matter. Which is a weird place -- but a fun one -- to leave things until... What, March 9? Is that right? God, I hate living in some future's past.
Cary was a lawyer at LG, then at the State's Attorney, then at LG again, and now he's at F/A. Alicia was a law student and then a wife of a corrupt guy, then at LG, and now she's at F/A. Geneva Pine has been an ASA the whole time, and Matan is presumably in the same boat although we haven't seen him in forever.
On the Peter side, Zach uncovered ballot tampering that ended up being the fault of DNC Frank, which Eli didn't know about but Peter -- after Will told him about it -- decided wasn't worth mentioning to anybody. Now the video of the tampering's been leaked (maybe by Will?) and Marilyn and Eli find themselves on the same side of ethics for like, the first time ever.
HIS HONOR VICTOR GARBER
Last July, a couple (nerdy Howard Lampe and buxom Darla Riggs, who seem to be in real love) were arrested for trafficking coke from Brazil, and took LG as their counsel. Now it's a big mess, due to the firm politics, so LG and F/A both want to sever the cases and for some reason Matan is not feeling that.
Will: "My client is the lady one. It will make her look bad to be tried at the same time as the man one, because we are going to say he did it."
Alicia: "My client is the man one. It will make him look bad to be tried at the same time too, because if you look at both of them together it seems fishy."
SA: "They both look worse if we keep them visually together, because of the fishiness and the fickle nature of love."
Judge Victor Garber: "But because this is really about Alicia and Will, I am going to suggest the stupidest thing imaginable, which is that you have separate cases but try them at the same time -- with two separate juries -- and that way, nobody wins. It's kind of more efficient in one way, but also a very big mess in another way."
Cary: "Crazy days, right?"
Alicia: "Working alongside Will? Or the double jury thing? Or I mean, who is Will?"
Cary: "Okay like you just started yelling at each other. In front of Victor Garber! I am going to be first chair."
Alicia: "Because you think I will get emotional and weird?"
Cary: "Obviously. Wait, no. I mean because I think Will is going to be emotional and weird."
Alicia: "When you put it like that, it seems like he's the problem. I like it. Plus, he's always a better lawyer when he has murder in his heart. This way he will just be petulant and shitty in front of Victor Garber."