Chicago's Dirty Politics Shocks Alicia...Again? Somehow?
Alicia is forced to defend her election victory against charges of voting-machine fraud committed on her behalf, with the help of Ron Rifkin's hot shot lawyer Spencer Randolph. Let's hope he's less evil here than he was with another cute TV brunette a few years back.
Chipping Away At Alicia's Victory
Name: Ken Boxer Jr. Age: Early 40s. Occupation: Head of the Board Of Elections. Goal: To ensure that the State's Attorney race results are legitimate in light of reports that some voting machines were tampered with -- but first, he's giving Eli a heads up about exactly what his candidate will have to defend against by meeting to show him the microchip thing a precinct captain found in a voting machine.
Sample Dialogue: When Eli tries to cast doubt on the provenance of the chip by asking how Ken knows it wasn't planted by the precinct captain: "I don't know. That's why the Election Board has to investigate."
The Battle Is Joined
Who called the meeting? Alicia.
What's it about? At Eli's direction, she's called a meeting with Frank Prady to try to convince him that he doesn't want to win via recount -- "not ugly."
How'd it go? Starts bad; gets worse. First, Alicia's waiting for Prady when a waitress brings over her coffee and then asks her, "Did you do it?" Given Alicia's current difficulties, she has to ask, "...Do what?" "Screw your boss," leers the waitress. Alicia tries to pull the "none of your business" card, but the waitress says it's not up to Alicia what's her business. Alicia is then in the middle of deciding maybe she shouldn't drink the coffee this hostile woman just brought over when in walks...Martin, Prady's campaign manager. He takes great pleasure in telling Alicia that he's shown up instead of Prady because he knows what she was going to try to do but that he's "not so easily tricked" compared to Prady, and he's going to prove that Alicia stole the election. Given how things go from here, it's hard not to think this was a setup by Eli to position Alicia in a way that makes her the sacrificial lamb and ultimately preserves Peter's governorship by sticking the scandal to her?
Bits And Bytes And Baaaaaaaah
Alert Type: Metadata Alert.
Issue: Wiley's concluded that Prima really didn't delete that email from Canada, that someone hacked the metadata, and that Diane presented fraudulent evidence in court -- and he's letting Diane know before he goes to the police board.
Complicating Factors: As we know, Kalinda did it, and now Diane faces disbarment and a possible three-year prison sentence.
Resolution: Wiley's just finished testifying to the police board when Finn, Kalinda, Diane, and David Lee (representing Diane) enter and confess their collective part in this whole flap, affirming Prima's innocence at least in terms of the email deletion. Prima goes straight to Geneva and tells her. The next day (apparently), everyone's in court, with Geneva saying she wants to bring charges against Diane. (Judge Glatt: "The Cary Agos case. There've been more remakes of this case than Spider-Man." WELL, HONESTLY.) But that night, Geneva meets with Team Fake Metadata to tell them they'll drop all the charges against Diane on one condition: Cary testifies against Bishop. Diane's upset on Cary's behalf that they're back where they started when he was first arrested, but Cary doesn't want her to spend the next six months fighting this and looking over her shoulder, and no one feels guiltier than Kalinda (which...is appropriate, really).
Spoiler: A couple of these people are going have a noble-off!
Name: Spencer Randolph. Age: Mid-70s. Occupation: Fancy lawyer. Goal: Retained by local DNC boss Frank Landau, he's going to defend Alicia before the Board Of Elections. Sample Dialogue: "Elections need to be over! At some point, they need to be done. Don't you agree, ma'am?"
The Filth And The
Situation: Alicia and Will's dirty emails have gone public.
What makes it awkward? One member of the public is Grace, who's not only had to hear about the sexy exchanges but watch the secondary wave of jokes about it, including a very "Between Two Ferns"-y web video in which a couple of pretentious actors do dramatic readings of the emails.
How is order restored? It isn't. Grace avoids Alicia for a while, but when Alicia finally makes Grace come talk to her, Grace asks whether the "innocent flirtation" characterization is accurate, and Alicia has to admit that it's not. "You lied?" asks Grace. "Yes," says Alicia." "Because?" "Because it's none of their business," Alicia replies. "That's okay?" Grace asks. Alicia says it is. Grace, obviously crushed and disillusioned (more so by the lying than the infidelity, it seems), then tries to leave to do her homework, but Alicia makes her come back and hug her.
Seems like a real lovely moment between mother and daughter, A+ parenting, Alicia.
No No Nolan
Who called the meeting? Alicia.
What's it about? Since it's come out in the election inquiry that Peter could be implicated in a fix on Alicia's behalf because the governor has some degree of control over voting machines thanks to the Help America Vote Act (and Martin apparently didn't forget Peter's "take it to the bank" remark before the election), Alicia's confronted Peter about it, and he's told her that in order to forestall such accusations, he appointed an independent monitor -- our old friend Ernie Nolan! So she's sitting down with him to see what the deal is.
How'd it go? It seems bad. Alicia asks whether Nolan will testify that he helped her win the election. He reminds her that he tried to help her back before she'd even decided to run and that she'd turned him down: "I found Prady's man much more open to donations." Alicia clarifies: "You controlled the voting machines and you gave to Prady's campaign." "No comment," smarms Nolan. Alicia's like, you put the devices in the machines for Prady? Nolan grins, then giggles, and then makes for the door, Alicia calling after him that Prady lost. "Yes, because your campaign cheated better than his," Nolan cracks. Alicia says her campaign didn't cheat, and Nolan says the recount should be no problem, then. "You should've taken my money," he grits. "Now you won't be SA." I mean, it's sub-optimal for sure. OR SO ONE MIGHT THINK...
Plot Lightning Round
...but then when we rejoin the inquiry, Nolan's on the stand confirming to Martin that a total of forty chips were found, and that even if they each only changed a couple of hundred votes in Alicia's favour, it would be enough to swing the whole election on her behalf...and then Randolph gets up to cross and asks Nolan about his comments to Alicia in their meeting! Nolan turns it around on Alicia, claiming she tried to bribe him to advise against a recount...
...so then Alicia takes the stand and says that she recorded her meeting with Nolan! Martin sputters that it's "beyond the pale," but Randolph smoothly points out that one-party recording is perfectly kosher in Illinois!
As Alicia starts her recording, Nolan gets up and saunters off! Randolph comments that he can understand why Nolan wouldn't want to hear it!
Martin, still outraged, says this still proves that the organization is corrupt and that there has to be a recount! Randolph says there doesn't, if Alicia is blameless! If you love procedure, this is really the plotline you've been dreaming of!
After taking a good look at a photo of the chip that Kalinda's provided for him, Howell takes the stand with some damning/snotty testimony.And what were you able to ascertain?The technology's from 2012.And is there more recent technology available?Oh, yeah, lots. This stuff is ancient. Things turn around twice a year now?So in your expert opinion, was this hacking device used in this election?Well, that'd be dumb.
Plot Lightning Round
Howell having said the tech in question is from 2012, Randolph's suggested that maybe election shenanigans date back to the election held that year...which happens to be the one Peter won! "Dad's not going to be happy," says Marissa to a shocked Alicia.
Marissa is right -- he's not, and neither is Peter, both of whom show up to yell at her about "your lawyer" and his strategy! Alicia yelps, "He's not my lawyer! The party gave him to me!" "Either we're a team or we're not," says Peter. "Don't let him divide us." I feel like you're only "a team" like 50% of the time, but sure?
Eli and Alicia meet with Randolph to tell him to quit casting doubt on the legitimacy of Peter's governorship! Randolph asks Alicia whether this is her wish or her "handler's," and Alicia says it's hers! Randolph tells her that's too bad: "I'm not here to defend you, Mrs. Florrick. I'm here to defend the democratic process, I'm here to defend--"
"A hero!" After fighting Eli and Alicia in private, Randolph has come around and is now positioning Alicia as The People's Champion or some such nonsense! Martin's like, cool, but there's a witness I want to recall!
Howell returns to the stand to look at a printout and confirm that the chips he just finished saying were ancient bullshit were actually remotely updated two months ago! I guess that's why you don't get a defense lawyer, in a case revolving around technology, who was alive in the golden age of radio?
Who called the meeting? Landau.
What's it about? The chips.
How'd it go? Really, really bad. Landau's pissed about how the Election Board inquiry is going. Eli confidently tells Landau that they're ready for a recount, to which Landau flatly states, "We can't have a recount." In fact, he needs Alicia to withdraw from her office and concede to Prady. Alicia says, "I'm not a cheater," and Landau tells her, "We know that," buuuuuuuuut hers wasn't the only name on the ballot. See, there was this other dude Tilden whose candidacy was kind of iffy, and if he'd lost his seat, the Democrats would have lost their supermajority in the state Senate. "So the hacking device was for Tilden," duhs Eli. "I can't comment on that," says Landau. Alicia insists that she won't withdraw -- not even when Landau tries to woo her with a spot on the Gaming Commission. Landau's like, fine, think of another post that you want more, but she's like, NOT THE ISSUE, BRO. She asks what happens if she doesn't withdraw. "You don't want to do that," Landau warns. "You don't want to do that....The party will destroy you. Or the party will hurt the governorship. We all benefit from a filibuster-proof majority -- you know that, Eli." And then, as if that wasn't bad enough, he also needs her to open her purse: he (obviously) knows about her having recorded her meeting with Nolan, so he's just going to hang on to her phone for twelve hours, nbd. "The party thanks you, Mrs. Florrick," says Landau. "Oh my god, did that just happen?!" chokes Alicia, aghast. OMG ALICIA, SERIOUSLY? THIS IS CHICAGO. ARE YOU NEW?!
I Am Metadatacus
Suspecting that Kalinda's going to try to fall on her sword to save Diane (and then fall on Lemond Bishop's shiv, since that would definitely be her death sentence), Cary goes to Geneva to tell her that if Kalinda tries to volunteer to testify against Bishop, Geneva should refuse to let her, because Cary's going to do it instead. Cary, use your head, don't you know Kalinda's leaving the show?!
J. Walter Weatherman Lesson
A Slippery Lawyer? Well, I Never!
At the Election Board meeting, Alicia recaps her conversation with Landau for Randolph. He checks that she doesn't just want to quit, and she firmly tells him, "I want to win!" So even though the Board is about to make its ruling, Randolph gets up and asks for the floor. After a bunch of hoo-ha about how he's spent his career fighting corruption, while Alicia watches smugly, he declares, "I have just discovered that Alicia Florrick has been lying to me through these proceedings! It is my understanding that the voting machines were hacked under her direction!" OH SHIT! Alicia gets up and yelps that it's a lie, but Randolph steamrolls her: "In light of all of this, I must not only side with [Martin], but I must encourage Mrs. Florrick to step down in her role as State's Attorney. She has made a mockery of these proceedings. She has committed the high crime of stealing an election. She must never set foot in the State's Attorney's office, or any other political post, for that matter. In my opinion, Cook County and the City of Chicago deserve more." Not great!
Outside, Alicia's all, "I trusted you. I put my fate in your hands. The man whose speeches I listened to and so admired." Randolph has zero guilt and tells her it's not personal -- it's all about the supermajority: "Be a good Democrat. Step down now. The party'll take care of you -- everybody wins." As he strolls out, Alicia stands by the rotunda and cries, but Jesus Christ, Alicia, you are a lawyer and you should have known this was going to happen as soon as Landau sold you out to your face, or maybe when Randolph said "I'm not defending you," or maybe when YOU YOURSELF told Peter "He's not my lawyer," because of COURSE Randolph wasn't loyal to you: you aren't his client! THE PARTY IS!
Wrap It Up