THE GOOD WIFE: NSA Outwitted By Team Florrick


Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox as Louis Canning on “The Good Wife”

In last night’s THE GOOD WIFE, Peter Florrick acted like a man who was governor of a large state and didn’t let the schism between him and wife Alicia keep him from flexing his power muscles in support of his family’s privacy.

In “All Tapped Out”, the show’s writers gave Peter the best dialogue he’s had in quite a while. With his wife drained of her zest for life, work and him, Peter took over and ended the NSA snooping into his phone calls and those of Alicia in a very neat and efficient way.

Alicia’s Still Depressed

Good thing too because Alicia was still home in bed as the show began, only to be roused out of her depression to attend a hearing for Finn Polmar. His computer was taken by his employer, the State Attorney’s office. Finn’s boss needs someone to set up to take the fall for what drove Jeffrey Grant, Will Gardner’s client to go on the courtroom shooting spree that killed Will in a bloodbath of an afternoon.

Jeffrey’s parents are suing the State Attorney for keeping their son in the general population of the jail, where he routinely was savaged both physically and mentally, a particularly horrible state of affairs considering the prosecutors had the wrong guy indicted for the crime.

The boy kept asking Will to correct that situation, but Will was constantly rebuffed by Finn and his department. By pointing the finger at Finn for making the decision to move the young man into harm’s way, his employer hoped to deflect what Alicia demonstrated was standard operating procedure for prosecutors who want to bring about a plea bargain and avoid a costly and time consuming trial.

While Alicia rallied towards the end of the episode, she began Finn’s hearing in a daze that saw her forget facts, use incorrect terms and generally scare the heck out of Finn, who knew she was hurting and not at her best.

In the midst of defending her client Alicia quickly returned to a dark place when she came to realize that her lover Will’s death was the result of Finn’s decision about Jeffrey Grant. For a moment she asked colleague Clarke Hayden to continue the case, but got a second wind and grew a new set of balls when the NSA phone tap scheme was revealed. That left Clarke available to second-chair with Cary on the NSA whistleblower case and he demonstrated once again that he is a tremendous asset to the law firm.

Louis Canning is Misunderstood

At Lockhart Gardner, Louis Canning showed up as the merger partner for the law firm, after Cary Agos took the reins from the absent Alicia and rebuffed an offer from Diane. Cary and Clarke are of the belief that it is the merger idea is a trap to get Florrick-Agos business, with the lawyers disposed of in short order. When he demanded a guarantee of three years for his people should a merger come about, Diane said a polite no and Canning was substituted after David Lee arranged for him to be available.

Canning began with his typical style, using all his vocal and physical quirks to talk around things rather than just speaking the truth. Kalinda and Diane suspected he was on a quest to wrest the firm from Ms. Lockhart’s control and were pleasantly surprised that he wanted the situation to work out for the best…at least for now.

NSA and State’s Attorney No Match For the Florricks

The NSA boys were upended by one of their own. Jeff, one of the private contract “listeners” on the phone taps of the Florricks took home a flash drive that included personal matters but also confidential/restricted info from the job. During the regular once-a-week lie detector tests Jeff was asked if he had done so and lied. Realizing he was in deep doo-doo, he needed a lawyer and lo and behold he showed up at the office of Florrick Agos. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

That fateful decision set off the chain of events that revealed the phone taps. That was all Alicia needed to hear to get the creative and angry juices flowing once again. She learned that the taps began after Lockhart-Gardner employed a translator suspected of being a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer. Since at time she was the wife of a candidate for governor the NSA thought there might be a juicy connection in store.

It was what Jeff called a “three-hop” warrant. As he explained, “It’s anyone you talk to…three hops from you,” so it ensnared Peter and his contacts, Alicia and the firm’s and of course Lockhart Gardner, since the taps were begun prior to Peter being elected to office. That also means that the ballot box mess is part of the phone tapping. Burner phones didn’t matter since it was a personal tap, not attached to a phone number.

It was then that she informed Peter and he sprung into action, getting a Senate pal on the Intelligence Oversight Committee to check and see if he was on a list. The Senator denied it and Peter set him up by trying to discuss a potential illegal contract/graft matter on the phone. The taps disappeared quickly.

The best of Alicia returned as she took the threat against Finn right back against his boss and his colleagues at the State’s Attorney’s Office, leaving them exposed from emails they sent intra-office.

The NSA had stonewalled answering any questions that would keep Florrick-Agos’ client from losing his job. Clarke, relieved of his duties on the Finn case by a rejuvenated Alicia, was available to second-chair with Cary on the NSA whistleblower case and he demonstrated and he was able to turn the case from one that folded under the use of classified federal information, to one that would be open to scrutiny. Using what they knew of the NSA’s methods, they set up one of Jeff’s supervisors by having his number called by members of a Muslim group on the agency’s list of suspected terrorist sympathizers.

At episode’s end, the Florricks were back matching each other’s schedules for pubic appearances they were to make with each other for the next few months, emotionless and all business. Alicia is still in grief but functional and back on her legal game, but the couple is clearly estranged in every way, despite keeping it secret from everyone, including Eli. How long can they last like this?

CBS airs new episodes of THE GOOD WIFE Sunday nights starting at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT    Image credit: CBS

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