By Kate Linnea Welsh
“Live from Damascus” begins with a party at Lockhart/Gardner, as Will officially gets the word from Cary that the State’s Attorney will not go after him again. The celebration is short-lived, though, as Lionel Deerfield arrives with the news that the state bar association is pursuing Will’s disbarment – not because of judicial corruption, but because of the money he “borrowed” from a client in Baltimore fifteen years ago. Will ready admits that he’s guilty and seems ready to give up – “It never ends, does it? Once they have you in their grasp, they never let go.” – but Diane insists that he fight, and she’s the one who pleads for leniency. Because of Lockhart/Gardner’s pro bono work (which Will, of course, didn’t want to do in the first place), the board offers him six months’ suspension in place of proceeding with a disbarment hearing. Diane thinks he should keep fighting; she’s convinced that six months away from the law will kill him, which sounds a tad over-dramatic to me. Perhaps she actually means that she thinks it would kill her, or that she doesn’t know how she’ll function without him. Will decides to talk it out with Alicia instead, but Alicia barely has to say anything – Will decides to take the suspension as he’s telling Alicia what’s going on. When Alicia weirdly claims that she can’t imagine giving up the law for six months, Will points out that she gave it up for a decade, and this is a nice reminder that what’s seen as a cataclysmic event for a single man in this position is barely acknowledged as difficult sacrifice for a married mother.
Will’s final case before his suspension begins is against Neil Gross (last seen in “Great Firewall”), whose company made the software that the Syrian government used to decrypt emails and phone calls between protesters. They used that information to capture, torture, and kill people, and Lockhart/Gardner’s clients are the families of three dead American protesters. The judge keeps talking about his sympathy for Occupy Wall Street, and Gross’s lawyer Viola Walsh claims this must mean he won’t be objective, which is an interesting follow-up to the fake judicial corruption story. Much of the trial is spent going back and forth over whether Gross knew that the software, which was sold through a wholesaler, was headed to Syria, and Walsh distracts everyone with a picture that supposedly proves that one of the victims, Sara, is still alive. Will, who thinks he has nothing left to lose and, as Diane puts it, wants to “hit a home run with [his] last at bat,” is determined to get Sara back, and Kalinda uses her contacts and a little blackmail to find Sara’s location. Meanwhile, Will realizes that they key to the case is tech support: the Syrian government registered their software licenses but had to get help before actually using the software, so Gross’s company had to know what was going on and deliberately help them. By the time the dust settles, Lockhart/Gardner has won the case and Sara is safe at a US Air Force base in Germany – but Kalinda’s contact in Syria has vanished.