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'The Good Wife': Good Law? - Season 6, Episode 11

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By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on January 05, 2015 2:11 PM

"The Good Wife" returns for the second half of the show's sixth season with "Hail Mary," which as the title suggests, involves some last-second heroics in an attempt to save Cary from his impending imprisonment.

December's midseason finale left off with Cary accepting a plea bargain, agreeing to plead guilty to conspiracy in exchange for a four-year prison sentence. "Hail Mary" picks up with Cary being advised by a prison consultant on how to survive the next four years inside.

Episode Recap (Spoiler Alert!):

On the advice of the prison consultant, Kalinda goes in search of someone Cary can count on for protection during his first weeks of prison. In the process, however, Kalinda discovers a potentially fatal flaw in the state's case against Cary: The drugs he is accused of conspiring to import were in fact being exported.

The Good Wife: Good Law?

Season 6, Episode 11
"Hail Mary"

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With the clock ticking (literally, courtesy of a ticking clock sound effect playing in the background during the episode) on Cary's sentencing later that afternoon, Diane goes to court to convince the judge to allow the withdrawal of Cary's plea while Kalinda and the rest of Florrick Agos & Lockhart get to work trying to find evidence that the prosecution knew that the drugs were being exported. And wouldn't you know it, just in the nick of time, evidence of police misconduct (both real and fabricated by Kalinda) is found, and the charges against Cary are dismissed.

Legal Roots:

When Kalinda learns that the drugs were being exported, she and the rest of Florrick Agos & Lockhart go on a desperate search for a potential Brady violation. Brady violations occur when the prosecution suppresses evidence that may be favorable to an accused person. How often do these sorts of violations happen in the real world? One judge on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called Brady violations an "epidemic" in a 2013 opinion.

Legal Fiction:

One of the episode's twists involved email metadata, falsified by Kalinda and accepted by the judge as being legitimate. In reality, offering email evidence generally requires authentication or stipulation from the opposing party.

Legal Fact:

Under Illinois law, conspiracy requires an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime, the plan for which was known by the conspirators who intended to carry it out, and an overt act by at least one of the conspirators to make the crime happen. In Cary's case, the new evidence would show that the alleged conspiracy Cary was a part of was never intended to be carried out, and never was carried out, as the drugs were being exported, not imported as alleged.

Legal Babble:

Entrapment: Entrapment occurs when a government agent induces a person to commit a crime he otherwise would not have committed. It acts as a defense to criminal charges. In Cary's case, it turned out there was evidence that he had been entrapped. Unfortunately for Kalinda, this evidence was introduced after her falsified evidence of a Brady violation had already been offered as evidence by Diane.

The Verdict:

"Hail Mary" certainly answers the prayers of those who were hoping to see more of Cary in future episodes than the occasional prison visit. But the episode also comes across as a convenient way of jettisoning what had become a dead-weight storyline.

What did you think of this week's episode of "The Good Wife"? Is the show guilty of making any legal mistakes? Check back here for more legal recaps of "The Good Wife," and send us a tweet at @FindLawConsumer with the hashtag #TheGoodWife.

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