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Television writers use the word “bottle show” to describe inexpensive episodes that use few sets. This week’s episode of “The Good Wife,” “Alienation of Affection” appears to be one. The majority of the action takes place at Lockhart-Gardner. It’s also quite possibly the show’s funniest episode.
Will (Josh Charles), now aware that the woman with three names, Wendy Scott Carr (Anoki Rose), is going after him to get the dirt on Peter. After securing Diane’s (Christine Baranski) support, Will seeks outside counsel to advise him on how to handle the grand jury. He is not satisfied with his choices, so he asks Alicia (Julianna Margulies) about Elsbeth (Carrie Preston), who successfully defended her against the treasury department. It’s a layered, tense scene since Will does not tell Alicia why he needs a lawyer, not to mention that she recently dumped him.
Will meets Elsbeth in her tarp covered office (remember, it’s a bottle episode), is hilarious. He is alarmed by her seeming disorganization. She asks him to name the most honest judges in Cook County. Then she assures him that she will come up with a clever plan that will save him — though she has no idea what it will be. Will is sold.
Elsbeth finds Wendy with her kids in a park. She claims a reporter from the Tribune called her about this, asking if the judges Will is accused of bribing were the ones that Will named. Wendy says she is not investigating them and threatens to charge her with obstruction of justice if she gave the journalist those names. Elsbeth points out that she will have trouble getting a judge to sign off on the warrant. Sure enough, when the article is published, a bunch of angry judges phone Wendy. Elsbeth is a genius.
The case of the week involves a reconciled divorced couple that is suing Lockhart-Gardner for alienation of affection. The wife, who was represented by L.G.’s sleazy family law partner David (Zach Grenier) represented the wife, negotiating a generous settlement that included one of his companies. The wife claims that David pressured her to divorce her husband so the firm could make money on the sale of the company.
Diane convenes a partner meeting. Everyone will owe 1.2 million if they lose. Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) recalls that David had her hire a stripper to buy the husband drinks, with the goal of getting him a DUI so the wife could get custody of the kids. The husband ended up sleeping with the stripper, which was not part of the plan. During his deposition, David denies hiring the stripper, since technically Kalinda did it.
David talks to Alicia to make sure her testimony matches his. She denies that Lockhart-Gardner hired the stripper hired to seduce the husband. The lawyer claims that the case is now about fraud. It turns out that Julius (Michael Boatman) negotiated the deal so that the firm made more money than the wife. David claims the wife signed a coflict of interest rider that negates the fraud claim.
Alicia is the one who logged in the contract to L.G’s computer system. The conflict of interest rider is missing. Alicia insists she logged it in there. Once again, L.G. has an I.T. problem. Where is this going? David finds the hard copy of the rider in Cary’s files. Except that Alicia suspects David slipped a copy of the rider to her to sign a couple days ago while she was signing trusts from her children. When Cary is deposed he backs up Alicia’s story. Alicia thanks him. He says he likes working with Peter.
Conveniently, the process server the divorcing couple hired has a crush on Diane, and tells her that he saw the husband with his current mistress when he signed the summons. Why would the husband be such an idiot? Diane shows the wife photos of the husband and the mistress. It’s a happy ending — until the process server hands Will a summons to appear before the Grand Jury.