Last night’s episode just doesn’t hold together the way most installments of this ambitious show do.
The “case of the week” involves a ripped-from-the-headlines crime: the rape of a teenage girl at a drink-addled party, and subsequent bragging about, caught on video of course, by the kids involved and their friends. The perpetrator has wriggled out of prison time by means of a plea bargain and is headed instead to Princeton, so the victim sues him in civil court, then breaks the judge’s gag order (by means of a tweet, of course) and ends up in jail for contempt. But the issues raised turn out to be too sprawling for the writers to do them justice (so to speak) in the interstices between developments in the regulars’ personal and professional lives. The added involvement of an online anarchist group taking a creepy interest in the rape case really lifts the episode off its moorings.
At the top of this week’s legal pyramid, Diane’s hopes for being named to the state’s high court dim when it turns out the questions being raised about her “partner” refer not to her lover (and, suddenly, fiance) Curt with his suspicious, “secessionist” political views, but to her professional partner, Will, whose earlier suspension for influence-buying is proving a black mark on Diane’s record even more than on his own.
Meanwhile Alicia continues to experience dizzying moments of unwanted feelings for Will, but nothing about that gets resolved as she focusses on work. In her new capacity as a partner she enlists Robyn to look into Cary’s activities and discovers he really is planning to leave and start his own firm, taking the other fourth-year associates and undisclosed clients with him. Learning that Alicia has found him out, he urges her to join the new venture.
“Florrick, Agos and Associates” – surely it sounds tempting to Alicia. But more urgent matters occupy her mind as she senses herself losing her grip on her parenting. The “anonymous” hacker group, represented by one Dylan Stack (Jason Biggs, in a role that feels like it was supposed to be more creepy than it is), reaches out to her regarding the rape case by texting useful video evidence to her kids, a plot device that feels more like an excuse to give the latter some screen time rather than a realistic development. While it’s obviously painful for Alicia to realize her career is getting in the way of being a good parent, she takes no action to combat the rot of corruption even though she knows it’s in the air. As she so clearly accepted in the recent episode about the drug lord and his dastardly lawyer-enforcer, compromising her principles is part of her job. That theme has become a big factor in the show’s sustained drama week to week.
Zach Grenier makes a welcome return as David Lee, but in this episode instead of being his usual font of acidic, sarcastic humor he’s leading an attack on Diane and Will for not disclosing to the other partners her court post consideration. So, partners are bitching; associates are plotting to take their toys and go build their own treehouse; Alicia is questioning her mothering; and, oh yes, new investigator Robyn’s probationary period is up and Kalinda has to decide whether to recommend keeping her on in light of her discovery that Robyn has been lying about her own background. Plenty to chew on, but the tastes just don’t merge satisfyingly on the palate in this episode. Dramatic developments in Peter’s campaign for governor are on tap for next week.