Editor’s Note: Kate was traveling over the weekend, thus the one-day delay. Consider this an open thread for the first half of this season of The Good Wife. And enjoy!
By Kate Linnea Walsh
We begin “What Went Wrong” with a slightly distracted Alicia and her colleagues defending a police officer, Lauryn, accused of killing her husband. The judge instructs the jury to only consider judgments of “guilty of first-degree murder” or “not guilty,” but the prosecution – led by Cary – is afraid they didn’t make a strong enough case for that, so they offer a deal: Lauryn pleads guilty to second-degree murder (and gets four years in prison). When the defendant asks for Alicia’s advice on whether to take the deal, Alicia says: “I think that you need to make that decision, Lauryn. You can’t defer to anyone else. You know what you did. You know what you didn’t do. You also know sometimes that doesn’t matter.” Alicia’s words aren’t really helpful to Lauryn, but the fact that Alicia came up with those words – especially the last sentence – encapsulates the way her character has evolved over the past two and a half seasons.
Lauryn doesn’t take the deal, and the jury decides on a guilty verdict. Alicia and her colleagues immediately start talking to jurors to figure out what went wrong, because everyone – prosecution, defense, and the judge himself – is surprised by the verdict. Something clearly happened, because in just one round of voting, over half the jurors changed their votes to guilty. It may have had something to do with outside evidence about one of the witnesses that the foreman introduced, but Lockhart/Gardner can’t use that because they found out about it by going through the trash from the jury deliberation room without permission. Instead, they must play a game of cat and mouse with the State’s Attorney’s office as Cary and Dana follow Alicia and her colleagues around and try to stop them from getting useful information from the jurors – a game that culminates in Cary throwing Kalinda in jail for a while. Lockhart/Gardner finally convinces the judge to declare a mistrial based on a technicality: The judge himself accepted a juror’s Facebook friend request during the trial, which counts as unauthorized outside contact with a juror. Everyone knows that something weird went on with the jury, but everyone also knows that this Facebook friending had nothing to do with it. It’s a perfect illustration of the point the show likes to make about using the system to get a desired (or even correct) outcome, even if the means end up having nothing to do with the motive.
While the Lockhart/Gardner lawyers are looking for evidence, Dana uses the threat of the judicial corruption investigation to try to scare the judge into deciding against Lockhart/Gardner, but he’s not playing. The investigation itself, however, is still going on, and Wendy Scott-Carr dramatically confronts Will at the basketball court where so much of the supposed corruption was alleged to have taken place. She tells him that he’s not her real target – Peter is. (She also tantalizingly mentions that Peter used to be part of Will’s basketball game. I’d love to know more about the history between Peter, Alicia, and Will.) In an echo of the case, Wendy, too, is using the system she’s been given to accomplish her own objective. Now, does she mean that Peter is literally the target of the investigation, or that she plans to use the publicity of the investigation to gain support for another run against Peter when his term is up? It could be either, but I think she meant the former, because she said “Peter’s clean this term. But he wasn’t his first term, was he? And you know where his weaknesses lie.” Will: “Well, I know a lot of things.” I’m sure he does. When he refuses to talk without a lawyer, though, she says the next time they talk will be in front of a Grand Jury. Will calls her bluff: “Okay. So be it.” That should be interesting.