By Susan Toepfer
Oh, joy! Peter’s “reputation manager “ Kya Poole is back and meeting her match in this brand new post-Olympics episode, which also features amusing guest star turns by Alan Cumming (“Cabaret,” “The L Word”) and Gary Cole (“Entourage”).
The hour opens with an emotional reunion between Florrick and his kids as he enters Alicia’s apartment, a house arrest officer trailing behind. One step into the foyer, and Peter’s ankle will blast loud enough for a five-alarm fire. More: He’s not supposed to use a cell phone, the internet…communicate with the outside world in any way.
Back at work, Alicia helps Diane defend Brad Broussard, who is charged with shooting a Mutual Fund manager. Of course, half the city is happy to see Miles Wagner dead—he was a prime feeder to Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. But Broussard was at the scene, covered in blood—“Way to go, Brad!” yells a court room spectator—and had the motive of losing his $98,000 life savings.
Diane, incidentally, is looking beyond spectacular in red jacket and black pearls (this week, a matching bracelet!) while spewing sardonic one-liners. When a cop testifies that Brad had been administering CPR to the victim, she raises an eyebrow: “Is that a common M.O. for a suspect?”
How long will Peter stay off his cell? Oh, maybe the space of a reality show or two—then he’s summoning Golden and Poole, who arrive to help him try to locate the source of an annoying beeping in the kitchen.
Peter is called away by Zach, who shows Dad the incriminating, photo-shopped pictures he has been hiding from his mom. Peter immediately calls for Eli Gold (Cumming), despite Kya’s objection that he is a “wartime consigliere” (isn’t it wonderful how much “The Godfather” taught us?).
Gold is a piece of work, sneering at all, quickly solving the beeping problem with a quick tug (“you need to replace the drainer”), and dismissing Kya as “Shiksa Bambi.” Presented with Zach’s surveillance photo of the guy bugging the Florrick entryway, Gold immediately recognizes him as “a Federal investigator doing scut work for a possible indictment.” He also suggests that Peter “fire Bambi—and hire your son.” But in the meantime, just why is Florrik under investigation by the Feds?
Work must be a respite to Alicia by now, but she is taken aback when she is taken off the Broussard defense and replaced by Cary. Her pal Kalinda wants her to confront Diane—there is only one month and 8 days to go in the associate bake-off, so why is Di favoring the guy?
Reluctant Alicia catches Diane in a good mood—she has just interviewed a new ballistics expert, Kurt McVeigh (“Entourage’s” Cole).
“Oh my goodness what an unfortunate name,” Diane responds. “Hopefully no relation.”
McVeigh—a veritable Marlboro Man, as Diane puts it—is also rigid in his principles. If he finds out a defendant is guilty, he quits. Refuses to testify. (“You’re like something out of Melville,” she marvels.)
So Diane is still coming to terms with her mustachioed new hire when Alicia asks why she has been tossed off to a tax case. “I don’t know,” Diane answers. It was Will’s idea.
Something, teases Kalinda, to do with unrequited love?
But first, we get Santa Claus—making a court appearance to testify that he saw Broussard enter the parking garage just before Miles Wagner was shot.
“Take down Santa,” Diana whispers to Cary as he rises for cross-examination.
He does—Santa’s a drunk, apparently. Also supplements his seasonal income with extra work in porno movies.
With Cary saving the day in court, Alica pins down Will, who mumbles some scarcely credible excuse about wanting to give her a break with all the “complications “ in her life.
“Peter can take care of himself,” she retorts. “He’s irrelevant to this.”
The encounter ends with Alicia insisting “I want to be here” and Will answering “I want you to be here, too” and some intense, smoldering looks.
Back on the court case, Alicia travels to the house of Wagner’s partner, Martin Knox, who had plenty of motive to kill him. When quizzed about Knox’s whereabouts that night, his wife gives him up at once. But Rachel cannot testify because, well, she’s his wife. (“Marriage is an institution fraught with ironies,” says Diane, who by now should be writing her own Wit and Wisdom book.) The Lockhart, Gardner team go to work to find a way to get Rachel on the stand.
Eli Gold, eating Grace’s pineapple upside down cake back at the Florrick apartment, listens to Kya’s threat that, in a fight for Peter’s allegiance, she’ll win, then starts to undress: “I’m lowering my pants so you can kiss my ass.”
But more important to the story, is Kalinda still working for Florrick? She approaches her FBI contact with the Zach hallway photo. The female Fed says to meet her for dinner—whoa!—and we have a fairly hilarious scene where they’re eating in an outside garden in winter (the waiter is wearing a down jacket), probably in hipster Williamsburg. While caressing Kalinda’s hand, the lady lawman offers her a job “working under me” and feeding her info on Peter. Kalinda declines.
Diane visits McVeigh’s house—with its many hidden, locked chambers—and he convinces her Broussard could not have shot Wagner; he was shot in a car. But Broussard’s found gun says he did the shooting—was it planted?
Alicia enters her office to find Eli lounging on her couch—just how do all these random people gain entry to an elite law firm? He tells her they will be good friends “because you’re cautious and so am I. Your husband is not.”
With the help of McVeigh’s testimony—and a sneaky, financial tactic to get Rachel Knox on the stand—Broussard is freed to join his pregnant girlfriend.
Diane returns to her office to find a beautifully wrapped box from McVeigh. Inside: Sarah Palin’s autobiography, “Going Rogue.” With her trademark throaty laugh, Diane sends a thank you—and an equally elegant package containing the Palin parody, “Going Rouge.”
Sadly, Alicia’s return home is not nearly so fun-filled. Peter, for whatever reason, informs her of Zach’s secret investigation. “How could they hide this from me?” she asks. “I can’t even absorb this.”
Peter tells her to drink her wine. “We’ll work things out tomorrow.”
Judging from the preview of next week’s episode—not bloody likely.
Susan Toepfer blogs at The Bumpy Ride.