‘The Good Wife’ Takes on Steubenville and Anonymous

"Rape: A Modern Perspective"-- Jared Andrews (John Glover) and Alicia (Julianna Margulies) square off in the trial of a girl who accuses a classmate of raping her, on "The Good Wife" (David M. Russell/CBS)

The Good Wife”  probably gives CBS’s real-life lawyers plenty of headaches. The show likes to feature cases that are not just based on true stories but actually reference real life events. This week, “The Good Wife” risks earning the ire of hacker group Anonymous with the episode, “Rape: A Modern Perspective,” which features them both assisting and disrupting in a rape case obviously modeled after the teen gang rape incident in Steubenville, Ohio. Given the lag time between the writing of a television episode and its airing, it’s likely that the verdict had not been reached when this episode was conceived.  Maybe Anonymous will hack “The Good Wife’s” website in retaliation. If that happens, maybe the free publicity will help the show’s ratings. The theme of the episode is the clash between idealism and the actual, dirty practice of law.

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Cary Plots A Coup: Alicia (Julianna Margulies) sees Cary (Matt Czuchry) dining with the other fourth year associates. She asks him if he is starting his own firm. He denies it, saying it was a friendly lunch and he is not plotting anything. The awkwardness of getting promoted while an equally qualified colleague does not is a real life problem that is rarely tackled on TV. Cary has to be wary of Alicia while Alicia is torn between loyalty to her friend and her new responsibilities as a partner. David (Zach Grenier), the least idealistic of all the partners, notices that the fourth years are taking all of their vacation days. The fact that using your benefits is seen as a bad thing is everything that’s wrong with law firm life, and, indeed, corporate America as a whole. He suggests firing Cary to scare everyone else. Alicia stands up for Cary, saying that he assured her he has no plans to leave.  But at Alicia ‘s request, Robin learns that Cary purchased malpractice insurance. When Alicia confronts him, he admits he is leaving in a month but won’t reveal which clients he plans to poach.  He explains that Lockhart-Gardner is top heavy because of all the partners who don’t do anything, making it difficult for him to move up. Then he outs himself as the second most idealistic person in this episode,  asking Alicia to join him.  He says the two of them could be the new Will and Diane. Alicia does  have similarly questionable taste in men, and starting his own firm makes Cary a gambler, so it’s a pretty good analogy. He promises his firm will be far more ethical than Lockhart-Gardner. She says she will think about it.  I think this is a potential season finale cliffhanger.

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What’s the Deal with Robin?: Cary thinks Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) ratted him  out to Alicia. She insisted she didn’t say anything because she thought he wasn’t leaving.  She realizes Robin was the mole.  Kalinda does some digging and learns that Ribin lied about accidentally shooting her brother and spending six months in juvie. Robin claims she dud it because her actual childhood was boring. Why tell a lie that makes you look bad? Either there is some larger purpose for Robin, or Kalinda is going to follow Cary to his new firm. Since Kalinda is certainly in no position to judge someone for lying about her pass, Kalinda tells the partners she supports permanently hiring Robin.

Diane’s Relationship May Hurt Her Chances of Becoming a Judge: Peter’s operative questions Diane (Christine Baranski) about her background, specifically her relationship with Kurt McVeigh in preparation for nominating her to the Illinois Supreme Court. She drops the bomb that they are getting married. That wedding better happen onscreen. Diane can’t resist sitting in the dead judge’s empty office. She asks the Illinois Chief Justice about McVeigh. It turns out that he doesn’t give a damn about Diane’s personal life.  Instead, he’s concerned about her partnership with Will.  He calls him a “scoundrel who needs to be spurned and not embraced.”  All this time, viewers have been led to believe that Will is the good man in Alicia’s life in contrast to the slimy Peter. What if he really is just as bad? What if  his suspension last season was justified?  The rest of the partners are upset that Diane has not told then she is considering leaving the firm.

Anonymous Outs a Rapist: The case of the week involves a  teenage girl, Raynee,  who is suing the boy who raped her because he copped a plea and served no jail time.  After learning he was accepted to Princeton, the girl tweets her rapist’s name against the court’s gag order. She is held in contempt.The judge says he will release her from jail if if she apologizes. Because she is an idealist, she refuses. Will (Josh Charles) tells Alicia he does not have the girl’s determination, which is a nice euphemism for integrity.

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Internet activist Dylan (Jason Biggs) wants Lockhart-Gardner to join his class action suit against the government for the over zealous prosecution of Aaron Swartz, the real hacker who killed himself because the was facing prison for illegally downloading academic publications with the intent of making them free for everyone to read.

Someone texts Zach a video of teenage boys playing with a blow up doll they call Raynee. One is the accused rapist, Todd. The judge refuses to admit it as evidence because it was obtained illegally; Todd deleted the video from his phone. Dylan shows up in the courtroom. He denies to Alicia that he sent Zach the video. Will asks Todd if he made fun of Raynee so he can admit a portion of the video to prove Todd is a liar. Grace receives a text of Todd with a passed out, half undressed Raynee.  Dylan denies sending it, but thinks his friends in Anonymous did it. The hackers are more idealists, breaking the law to achieve real justice.  She tells Dylan to stay away from her kids. Will suggests subpoenaing the server that housed the photo. There is more sexual tension between them when he asks her if she likes being a partner. She stops to stare at him through his office window as she leaves his office. Masked members of Anonymous show up in court. They are not wearing Guy Fawkes masks like the Real Anonymous, so maybe that’s where CBS drew the line.

The judge grants the subpoena, then quashes it when the photo of Raynee appears online. Anonymous makes a video outing Todd as a rapist, and naming the judge, and revealing Todd’s address. Dylan insists he had nothing to do with it. Alicia tells him the firm is not joining the class action suit, without revealing that Diane vetoed it for fear that it would hurt her candidacy. Alicia, as always, is the thin grey line between idealism and the law. The judge declares a mistrial and refuses to lift the contempt order against Raynee. More masked people stand up in the courtroom. Kalinda talks to an Internal Affairs cop who has a video of Todd’s confession that was tossed for legal reasons. If she suspected that existed, why not act sooner? The cop emails the video to Kalinda. She uploads it to a liberal website. Could she be an Anonymous member? It would fit her personality. Will persuades the judge to watch the video. In a moment of idealism, he releases Raynee, who presumably will get some satisfaction from having the world know that Todd is a rapist. If nothing else, Princeton will probably rescind his offer of admission. Lockhart-Gardner did not win, for once. Will only succeeded at getting a rape victim released from jail. It’s a nice grey ending.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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