“The Good Wife” recap (6.21): Don’t Fall

Sitting down with a ghostwriter, unemployed Alicia is asked an unfortunately loaded question: Are there any friends the ghostwriter can talk to to fill out her memoir? You can see Alicia wondering which go-to friend she should give a call – the ones who kicked her out of her own firm after a few days of mutual backstabbing or the one who just fled Chicago, and probably the country? Marissa would probably give some good quotes, but no one remembers Marissa. But it’s when he asks about Will, specifically his death, that she really seems to reconsider this whole memoir thing.

And then it’s time for an Alicia’s sad and unemployed montage. This unfortunately doesn’t involve a Game of Thrones marathon or even a return to the video game she seemed to enjoy so much on election day, but woodworking that eventually lands her in a hardware store in not only a sweatshirt, but a baseball cap, obviously trying to convey through completely normal human fashion choices that Alicia has hit bottom. Next on her list of busy work is calling a list of campaign donors, which must be the political equivalent of returning your wedding gifts post cold-feet incident, and finds one man on the list wasn’t a donor at all, but a man she got off for attempted murder six years ago, Brett Tatro, begging her to defend him against what is now a murder charge since the victim has recently died. Alicia insists she’ll find him another lawyer, but she must know deep down that this is all that’s keeping her from signing up for a decoupage class.

The lawyer Alicia wants to tap in is, no surprise, Finn, but when she meets him at a bar (still wearing the baseball cap, which has the same metaphorical weight as Buffy Summers’ I’m so sad overalls) he insists she take the case instead. When she explains she’s still embarrassed by the election scandal, he gives her a barely altered version of the pep talk moms across the country are giving to their middle schoolers—everyone’s too focused on themselves to be too concerned about your mistakes.

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So Alicia decides to check out the pretrial, where her former client’s current lawyer is super nervous and kind of bumbling, as this is her first criminal case. It’s obvious Tatro wants Alicia to come back, and a burn from opposing counsel comparing her scandal to Peter’s is just the push she needed to agree to jump back into the ring.

And with a call to Cary to get the old case files and the door that was her unemployed woodworking project becoming her makeshift desk (does she really not have a desk in her apartment?) she’s ready to get started. She’s listening to the six-year-old interviews with Tatro, who swears he didn’t fight the victim in the parking lot where he was arrested, and Lexie, the stripper who acts as his alibi. She’s looking for the hole in the case opposing counsel referenced when the tapes throw her into full flashback mode, remembering when Diane made Cary her second chair on the case. He volunteered to interview the victim, but the tapes reveal he actually sent Kalinda, who through the magic of flashbacks, is back! It was definitely during the brighter Alicia-Kalinda bestie era, because when Alicia pokes a hole in the victim’s story (he says he was watching TV when Tatro says they had a fight at the hotel, but there was no TV in his room), she tells her they’re going out for drinks.

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Another tape featuring an interview done with Alicia, Cary, and another stripper named Dakota reveals Dakota was about to contradict Tarot’s alibi before Cary not so subtly tells her it would hurt Brett. When Alicia goes back to interview Dakota, now a fashion designer with a much better haircut going by Dani, she parrots the same wink wink lie suggestion she was so mad at Cary using six years ago before Dani says she has no intention of testifying since she doesn’t want her stripper past to be public knowledge. She also lets Alicia know Lexie died of a drug overdose two years after the trial. Opposing counsel is still holding onto the supposed hole, insisting if Alicia doesn’t take a deal, she’ll lose. She decides to go to trial anyways, where she’ll be working with bubbly, inexperienced Amber, who insists on taking a selfie with Alicia to send to her mom.

Opposing counsel brings out his trump card, saying Lexie lied about Tatro’s alibi. He puts another former bouncer on the stand who testifies that Lexie was high on the night of the alleged fight. When Alicia goes back to find her interview with the bouncer, it turns out Zack (with a little nudge from his grandma) taped over it for a school project. Alicia calls Cary for help, who, missing Kalinda as much as the rest of us, briefly thinks she might be back when he spots a woman in a similarly badass black jacket. He snaps out of it to agree to look for his notes on the other bouncer.

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Listening to Jackie praise Zack’s public speaking skills and general character seems to remind Alicia’s she’s pretty fond of her son, too. She leaves him a quick voicemail before Cary shows up, files in tow. They enjoy some day drinking and Alicia gets nostalgic about the good old days when she thought the law was a tool for good. Obviously she never watched many legal dramas before passing the bar. Back in court she’s pointing her finger at the other bouncer when Cary strolls in for moral support, just before Alicia gets the bouncer to contradict himself on the stand.

Back at the scene of the crime, kind of, it turns out what was a strip club is now a charter school. And because nothing ever goes smoothly for Alicia’s cases, it turns about Tatro’s alibi, that he was with Lexie at the time of the fight, was false. He was actually in the parking lot getting drugs for Dakota. But he still holds that he’s innocent. Back in court Amber wants to come clean with the judge about the false alibi, but Alicia points out they’re under no legal obligation to do so. And a little of the light goes out of Polly Anna’s eyes. The judge rules they can use the 2009 testimony, but opposing counsel puts a new witness on the stand, someone who was working at a nearby gas station at the time of the fight who claims he saw Tatro beat the victim. When prodded he explains he IDed Tatro in a photo array, and Finn lets Alicia know over lunch that Hardy, the detective on the case, has been known to nudge witnesses to the suspect on photo arrays and was actually the subject of an internal affairs investigation over it.

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Alicia puts Hardy on the stand and questions him about the investigation, and when opposing council practically strains something objecting, the judge calls them all to the bench to ask Alicia how she found out about the investigation. Rather than give up Finn, Alicia stalls, saying she needs the night to consult with her own lawyer, which the judge begrudgingly grants.

Back at home she quickly dismisses her ghostwriter and starts taking her case picture off the kitchen wall, letting one trigger a flashback to an ethics discussion she had with Kalinda over whether it was wrong that Cary basically told a witness to lie. Kalinda urges her to do everything legal to help her client.

At her apartment, Alicia asks Grace what she thinks about her starting her own firm from the apartment, and with a quick glance into her oldest’s now vacant bedroom they quickly take down the skateboarding posters (though that would have made for some unique law office decor) and his bed and move in the door desk. The last vestige of teenage guy decor is barely gone when Zack calls, saying he might be back as soon as tomorrow night. Hope he has a sleeping bag.

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Back in court the next day Alicia names Kalinda as the source of her classified info, figuring since she and the city of Chicago are never, ever, ever getting back together, it doesn’t matter. The judge dismisses the case, and at the bar for a celebratory drink, Alicia invites Finn to join her super just and pure firm for the innocent. But it looks like we’ll have to wait for the season finale for his answer.