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The Good Wife 5x2: The Bit Bucket

In case you’d forgotten about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden (as I had), tonight’s episode of “The Good Wife” is here to remind us. The creators always keep current with exciting law cases, and this is no exception, as they bring this national matter directly into the hyper-local lives of Alicia and Peter, Will and Diane.

The episode opens with a montage of random phone calls, visually represented by soundwaves on a screen. Pull back to reveal two NSA workers (one played by Zach Woods, Gabe from “The Office”) listening in to conversations held by members of the firm. They’ve been following Lockhart/Gardner—Diane and Alicia specifically—because two years ago the lawyers represented Danny Marwat, an Afghan translator suspected of working with the Taliban.

At the office, Alicia and Cary busily defend Neil Gross (played by the brilliant Tony-winner John Benjamin Hickey from “The Normal Heart” on Broadway, and Showtime’s “The Big C”), the owner of the search engine Chumhum, whom they’ve represented before. The NSA apparently pesters Gross constantly to reveal private user information. He’s refused, but a gag order prohibits him from reassuring his users that their information is safe. The legal team suggests that he sue the NSA, and as Cary calls Kalinda for help with the case, the two NSA guys listening in on the calls learn of the impending suit.

Alicia and Cary go back to court with Gross and, before the same judge who tried last week’s Death Row case (played amusingly by Jeffrey Tambor), work tirelessly to win against the federal government, represented by Robert Hortense (Brennan Brown, whose deep voice sounds like Kevin Spacey and doesn’t seem to match his innocent-looking face). Hortense has the upper hand on everything they try, from prior restraint to selective enforcement, to interfering with economic gain, pulling aces out of his sleeve to win against each new approach.

We eventually learn that the NSA is specifically targeting Gross because he had met with some North Korean pro-democracy nationals. In court, the firm uses one of Hortense’s techniques against him, requesting a SCIF, or Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility—aka, a private room (oh these government lawyers)—to talk to the judge without Hortense’s team hearing it. In his final ruling, the judge decides to maintain the gag order against Gross, but orders the government to pay Chumhum $14,000 in monetary damages (the amount it cost Gross in speaking to the North Koreans), and places a gag order on the discussion of said damages.

Despite winning Chumhum money, Alicia grows deeper in debt, and potentially deeper in trouble with the firm, as she and Cary get closer to starting their new practice. They’ve found a beautiful space and placed a deposit, but the bank insisted on talking to their current employees—Will and Diane—before co-signing the loan. To prevent this, they have to pony up another $140,000, or they lose their initial investment. Alicia’s mother (the legendary Stockard Channing) pops in and, overhearing this problem, provides Cary with the money. When David Lee gets wind of it while assisting Mom with her estate planning, Alicia is forced to lie to him again.

Back in the governor-elect’s office, Eli and Peter have their own problems to deal with. They meet with the Chief Justice, played by “The Walking Dead’s” Dale, Jeffrey DeMunn, who asks them about the engraved gavel he gave them as a gift. Eli learns that Zach’s ex-girlfriend Becca (Dreama Walker, late of “Don’t Trust the B—”)—with whom Eli had run-ins before—somehow got hold of the gavel and is selling it online. This forces Zach to defend himself, to Eli, to his mom, even to his more recent ex, Nisa (Rachel Hilson), who wants to get back together with him. Turns out it’s not Zach, but Grace, who is the current connection to Becca.

Meanwhile, “Frik and Frak,” our buddies at the NSA, are called into the office with their counsel, who instructs them to find a more recent terrorist connection than Danny Marwat from two years ago. Because Alicia is related to the governor-elect of Illinois, they need the more recent connection in order to have a third degree of separation—I mean, a three hop warrant, from terrorism. Counsel says they can thank Edward Snowden for that. The two NSA boys (one wearing a “Bazinga” t-shirt) discover their potential third connection in Nisa’s phone calls to Zach, which seem to come from a Somali Muslim. They just can’t understand why a girl is sobbing on the line.

The Chief Justice tells Eli and Peter that he’ll only support their choice of Diane for Supreme Court if she disavows Will—‘scuse me, Will’s past. Diane refuses, but Eli, who can really be a jerk sometimes, puts additional pressure on her. At episode’s end, Peter meets with the justice again and tells him that he stands by his choice, regardless of the justice’s concerns, but by the time Eli calls Diane to tell her the good news, she is just finishing her second interview with journalist Mandy Post (played by the brilliant Miriam Shor, late of “GCB”). Presumably she made complete road-kill pie of Will by rolling him under that proverbial bus. Boy, is that gonna blow up big next week!

What do you think? Are you excited to see the sparks fly when Will finds out next week? Will Peter’s presumed dealings with a possible Muslim radical affect the entire season? How long do you think before David Lee hooks up with Alicia’s Mom?

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