Cary Courts Disaster
It's finally time for Cary's trial, which means it's also time for Cary to face head-on exactly how weak his case is.
Name: Richard Cuesta. Age: Early 60s. Occupation: Judge. Goal: To ditch Cary's dog of a case, over which he's presiding, as quickly as possible; also to get his wife a nice surprise for their anniversary. Sample Dialogue: "I need two tickets for the Neil Diamond concert tonight...?"
Plot Lightning Round
"I really don't want to be in that courtroom with you people" is Judge Cuesta's opener after bringing all the relevant personnel on Cary's trial into his chambers. He describes Cary's as "a losing case" (and waves off Diane's suggestion that if he really thinks that, he should recuse himself), talks about the wire that he intends to admit into evidence and how guilty it makes Cary look, and orders Geneva to "sweeten the [plea] deal" she's already offered Cary. Geneva duly comes down from ten years to six. "Six years with day-to-day good time, that means three years in prison," Judge Cuesta wheedles. This is a man who really doesn't feel like working today, and dammit, I respect that. "What do you say?"
"No!" - Alicia, meeting with Diane and Cary. It's still three years of his life, and then when he gets out, he'll be a felon and won't be able to practise law. Cary tends to agree, since he only spent a week in jail and he really couldn't handle that shit. ("What a baby!" - Crazy Eyes.) Cary wants to ask Finn if six years is really the SA's office's bottom line for him...
...which is pretty awkward seeing as how Alicia and Finn almost had a moment when something almost sexy almost happened between them last week. But Diane is the one professional in the room and focused on the task at hand and doesn't notice the furtive looks Alicia and Finn are shooting at each other as Finn says it would be unethical for him to disclose anything he knows about the SA's strategy, proving definitively that the only use for his face right now as far as Alicia's concerned is to provide a place for her to sit.
Then Alicia gets a call from Jackie, who's at Grace's school, since she's still on the list of emergency contacts. Don't worry, everything's fine, buuuuuuut... "Alicia, did you threaten to kill a teacher with a knife?"
From The Desk Of Alicia Florrick
Dear Coach Linklater,
As I wrote yesterday, Grace needs to be excused from running in P.E. because she's contracted a cold. If you make her run again, I will personally come down to your office and knife you in your lower intestine. I will then call Principal Englehardt to help you, but since he doesn't receive or accept parental calls of concern, you will most probably bleed out.
Thank you for your concern,
Knife To Meet You
Situation: Alicia wrote a joke note to Grace's gym teacher excusing her from running when Grace had a cold.
What makes it awkward? Grace showed it to her Civics teacher as an object of discussion on the question of whether satire is protected speech under the First Amendment, and the Civics teacher either followed the school's protocol with regard to threats of violence, or, as we will see later, saw an opening to advance her own agenda. And now it's a whole thing.
How is order restored? It's not, yet. Alicia tries to explain that it was a joke: "Have you ever seen Darkness At Noon?" But the principal or headmaster or whatever is not prepared to take "It was a joke" for an answer, and if she thought it was just going to remain a private matter, a call from a journalist asking about it (which Eli and Johnny both laugh off as totally absurd) makes it clear that this is going to be the stupid thing the Florrick campaign has to defuse this week.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Secret Lovers, Loving Secretly
"We can't now, I have to head into court!" says Geneva on the phone. "No, you can't call me. Not at home. I can't leave him. I can't. I'm going now. I'm going. And don't smile at me on the stand or I'll crack up." Whomever could she be speaking to? Oh, it's Detective John Ventimiglia, the one who arrested Cary? ...Okay, I can't blame her. Especially if they spend a lot of time on the phone, because THAT VOICE. Anyway: sexy as he is (which is very), he's also really throwing her off her game, but she does manage to get the wire recording admitted. Which I guess means that Detective John Ventimiglia has gained admission to parts beyond, later.
Hey, It's Funny's Cousin: NOT Funny!
Alert Type: Bad Joke Alert.
Issue: Now that one reporter knows about Alicia's threatening note, it's only a matter of time before more pick up on it.
Complicating Factors: Some of the reporters who pick up on it are the editorial board at the Correspondent, who ask Frank Prady about school violence for a video on their website. "If there were even merely a written threat, I would prosecute," says Prady. So now Johnny and Eli want to leak their info about the guys who supposedly had sex with Prady.
Resolution: Alicia says she'll think about it, and as is their custom, Eli and Johnny just decide to do it anyway.
Spoiler: Everybody wants something, and they'll take it even if you threaten -- in writing -- to cut their guts open.
That Quote"Oh, dear God, this is a nightmare. The only bad people to have in your life are teachers! I trust ASSASSINS over teachers!"- Eli Gold -
And Me Without My Ear Trumpet
Name: Steve Fratti. Age: Mid-30s. Occupation: Juror (part-time). Goal: To follow Cary's trial, even though he apparently suffers from some sort of impairment that makes him think Geneva might have said, "To your knowledge, did Cary Agos work for Lou-Mar Bishop when he was Emperor of the Lake District?" Sample Dialogue: "I didn't hear. What did she say?"
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Alicia vs. Prady
Prady comes to Alicia's office again to confront her about her dirty campaign tactics, viz outing him in the press. Alicia doesn't deny it, and shoots back that he went dirty first with that whole school violence interview. Prady claims that he didn't know about her note: the editorial board just asked him about it without giving him any context. Alicia says that he should correct the record, then, now that he knows what the context is, and when he hesitates, she gets sarcastic: "Ah. Are we not friends anymore, Frank?" Prady whines that their agreement was that they not smear each other, not that they help each other win, and Alicia's like, SEE YA. Prady is shocked that Alicia would let her campaign goons go ahead with attacks on him that she knows aren't true, to which she haughtily replies, "I have no knowledge that my handlers did any such thing." So they're right back where they started, Prady sighs. Alicia: "No. We're even in the polls now."
Winner: Alicia gets the last word, but Prady can at least claim a moral victory (a.k.a. a loss).
Who called the meeting? Judge Cuesta.
What's it about? A juror has submitted an anonymous note speculating that Juror #11 -- our friend Steve Fratti -- seems to be partially deaf.
How'd it go? Steve denies the charge. When Diane sticks up for him, Judge Cuesta says it's because she thinks Steve is pro-defense, and turns back to Steve to ask whether he has any impairment that would prevent him from understanding the trial proceedings. Steve starts by saying, "I didn't hide anything," and then explains that he has Auditory Processing Disorder, which flares up in times of stress, but that it only rarely affects him. Asked whether it has affected him during the trial, he says it hasn't, because he has coping mechanisms. The judge then decides to test him by asking Steve a question with his back turned; though we just hear more word salad -- "What waxing the number of the last wideness?" -- Steve correctly pieces together that it's a question about the name of the last witness. But when the judge tests him again...yeah, no. And the last we see of Steve is when he passes Cary and Kalinda in the hall, apologizing for having been dismissed from the jury: "I thought you were innocent."
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
"I'd Like To Cover You With This Sweet, Sweet Syrup...Wait, What Were We Talking About?"
Having agreed only to meet each other in well-lit, unromantic places and chat -- only about the law -- not over drinks but, like, pancakes, Finn has met up with Alicia at a very unromantic diner, for pancakes. (Thanks for adding to the unsexy atmosphere, crying baby!) And since Cary's trial -- which was looking up when Diane got Det. John Ventimiglia to admit that he talked to someone he had no reason NOT to think was Trey, who admitted to having entrapped Cary on the recording and then got killed in a car "accident" forty-eight hours later -- is hitting the skids now that Steve's been dismissed from the jury, Alicia needs a favour: might he by any chance have any info they can use to get to Dante Wallach, the last person on Cary's incriminating wire recording who's still alive (other than Cary) (for now)? Then all the lights get knocked out from the wind outside, and a waiter stops by to put a candle in a red glass jar on their table, and though the ambiance just got a lot less unsexy, they're still only talking about the law as Finn says he can't say anything. And then some dude at the bar has a guitar he's using to accompany his crooning of a Spanish tune I assume is a love song. And then, as Alicia and Finn gaze at each other with goo-goo eyes, Finn slides an envelope across the table to her. "What's that?" she asks. "I can't say anything," he replies. (It's surveillance photos of sketchy people coming out of Lemond Bishop's house. Probably useful?)
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Bishop vs. Kalinda
Kalinda's popped by her buddy Bishop's house, and waits for him in the kitchen, where Dylan helpfully informs her that Bishop's just fighting with his girlfriend. Neat? Soon enough, Bishop comes down (still screaming abuse at the departing girlfriend, who doesn't even get a character name in the cast list for the episode), sends Dylan to bed, and is very short with Kalinda as he demands to know what she wants. Kalinda starts slow, saying she thinks that Bishop knows where Dante is, and that if he wanted Dante to testify, he would. Bishop is dismissive of this idea and tries to get rid of her, which is when she gets the photos out to show him, informing him (as if he didn't know) that he's looking at shots of four known drug dealers entering or exiting Bishop's front door. Bishop cockily points out that he isn't visible in any of them, and Kalinda drops her volume even lower as she calmly explains, "This is not about you. This is about Dylan. There's enough her for Child Services to take your son away."
Now shit's gotten real, and Bishop doesn't like it. Judging by her expression, it doesn't seem like Kalinda feels great about making this threat either...but it does work. Sticking his finger in her face, Bishop demands to know whether anyone else knows she's there. Kalinda: "Yep." "We want to help you," she tells him, "but we need your help." Bishop stomps off, presumably to find another girlfriend to fight with.
Winner: Seems like Kalinda, right?
Wrap It Up
Kalinda slides into court and sits down behind Cary! Diane: "How did you find Dante? ...Don't tell me." Cary tells Kalinda she's a lifesaver! Kalinda's just looking forward to "this thing being over," KIND OF LIKE WE ALL ARE!
Dante takes the stand! And hey, his friend Bishop showed up to support him! Either that, or to intimidate him into lying his face off! When Diane asks whether Cary told Dante how to break the law, Dante locks eyes with Bishop and answers, "...yeah." Diane is like, uhhhhhh, and Dante sticks to his guns: "No, he told us how to break the law. How to be smart about it." Well, this isn't great! Diane tries to remind Dante of what he'd told her outside of court, and Dante's like, maybe you didn't understand me! And then Bishop leans forward and murmurs to Kalinda, "Don't you ever threaten me again!" Cary is defeated!
Cary continues to be defeated in the conference room at the Florrick Agos Lockhart office! Kalinda finally comes in and says she'll talk to Bishop again! GIRL I THINK THAT AVENUE IS CLOSED TO TRAFFIC! Cary tells her she can't! But Kalinda says he can't take a plea! Cary gets philosophical, saying that four months ago his life was his, and now he doesn't know what it is! He just goes from one nightmare to another! He just wants this all to be over! JUST LIKE WE ALL DO!
Diane enters with Geneva! There's a new offer! He can do time served, and six months' probation, if he testifies against Bishop! Hey, just like Cary swore he would definitely never do! Cary chokes that he can't do that! So the alternate offer is a lighter sentence on the conspiracy charge: four years (not time served)! It'll just end up being two years in prison, and Geneva claims it's the best he'll ever get! If they go to the jury, he might get sentenced to fifteen years! Cary starts crying! I mean, I don't blame him, but on the other hand, was it THAT important to seem cool in front of Bishop's henchmen?
Diane calls Alicia to report on the latest in Cary! Alicia's coming over! When Diane asks what Alicia thinks he should do, Alicia says, "I have no idea!" And then Diane asks if Alicia really threatened to knife Grace's teacher! You know, Eli's right: the more it's repeated, the less funny this joke actually is!
Hey, speaking of which, here's a news report with the Civics teacher and the school principal walking back their outrage at Alicia's supposed threat! But HOW?! Well, even though the Civics teacher wanted Alicia to reinstate a task force on school violence that would definitely get her the support of the teachers' union, Alicia has already come out against patronage and didn't want to do it! But you know who's not so scrupulous? Her husband! And he just happened to have a couple of seats to fill on the Illinois Safety Commission he just created! Alicia's hands are clean! And Grace's teacher is unstabbed!
Cary walks, his cheeks wet, self-pityingly looking up at the uncaring moon! And then Bishop pulls up beside him in his SUV for a friendly chat! He wants to send Cary away before his sentencing! He will reward Cary's loyalty by sending him some kind of bullshit legal work that Cary can do at his leisure in Spain! Cary looks like that actually sounds okay to him, except for the fact that the firm put up his bail, and he'd be fucking all of them over if he jumped! Bishop points out that he could just send them their $1.3 million from overseas while he fucks swimsuit models with his copious free time (I'm paraphrasing!)! "Don't go to jail for four years for a law firm," says Bishop wisely! I mean, Bishop wouldn't!
Cary gets out of the elevator and sees Alicia waiting for him! She tells him he has to fight it! He didn't do anything, and if he takes the plea, he won't be able to appeal! But Cary has decided: "The smart deal here is to take the plea." He squeezes her shoulder and asks if she'll come to see him! She hugs him hard, crying, and promises that she will! After she wins the State's Attorney race? Yeah, I just bet she will!
And then Cary's back in the courtroom to revise his plea: "I would like to plead guilty!" I'm not actually sure how much he'd "like" it, but that's what's happening! This was a lot of ground to cover and a lot of low-level henchmen to get murdered just to end up at what was always the most logical and reasonable outcome, but okay! Let's see how this plays out in the new year! The Mentalist, you've got the conn!