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'The Good Wife': Good Law? -- Season 7, Episode 2

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on October 12, 2015 11:21 AM

As the Machiavellian political machinations keep turning on Peter's presidential campaign, Alicia is assembling quite the team for her nascent law firm. Could Cary be the next to flee Diane and David Lee, poaching a bunch of young associates in the process?

Here's what you need to know from last night's episode, entitled "Innocents."

The Good Wife: Good Law?

Season 7, Episode 2
"Innocents"

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  • Season 7, Episode 3 (Airs 10/18/15)

Episode Recap (Spoiler Alert):

Still getting most of her clients from bond hearings, Alicia is nevertheless putting a talented team together. She again works with fellow bar attorney Lucca Quinn on the episode's main case. And after a swing-and-a-miss on an investigator that reminds her of Kalinda, Alicia hires heartthrob Jason Crouse, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Unbeknownst to her, Alicia's old firm offered him almost triple the salary, so the pay cut certainly predicts some romantic sparks around the corner.

And Alicia's political maneuvering continues with Eli -- she is possibly trading votes for a seat on the election board, and has already lined up a major interview and endorsement from the Democratic Party.

Legal Roots:

The central case of the episode involved a man whose artist mother took nude photos of him as a child, and now is planning on a permanent exhibit. The man is now trying to stop the exhibit by any means necessary, beginning by vandalizing one of the photos in a gallery.

There is also a civil war brewing at Lockhart, Agos & Lee as Cary and elder partner Howard Lyman lock horns after younger associates accuse Lyman of billing for their work.

Legal Fiction:

In many cases, you can sue if your photo is used without your permission, especially if someone else is trying to make money off it. This episode did a great job of muddying those waters by having a parent take the photo of her child, which raises issues of parental consent, and having the photo be nude, which raises issues of child pornography. In general, the show got the law correct in this area, even if it took some odd turns from Judge Dunaway to get there.

The other legal subplot involved Cary vs. Howard Lyman, a dispute sparked over young associates complaints that Lyman was billing clients his partner rate for their work. While Diane seems to say the practice is commonplace, there are ethics to billing, and firms are not allowed to falsify work and billing rates to their clients. But the temptation is always there - most partners can bill up to $200 an hour more than associates. We'll see if Howard's refusal to go gently into that good "partner emeritus" night will cost him in the end.

Legal Babble

Right of Publicity: After Alicia and Lucca fail to assert their client's lack of consent to the nude photos as a means to block the exhibit, Lucca turns to their client's right of publicity. Many states have right of publicity laws that prohibit using of "any aspect of an individual's persona for a commercial purpose" without the person's permission. This may come in handy if an author uses your photo for the cover of a football player fan erotica e-book, but may not cover you if an artist is selling blown-up versions of your Instagram photos.

Legal Verdict

Alicia, Lucca, and Jason (along with Alicia's daughter Grace) are becoming quite the formidable mini-firm, and we can already see the splinter firm of Cary's tearing away from Lockhart, Agos & Lee.

Until next week, we should all take a note from the mother and son at the end of this week's episode and take a moment to hold hands.

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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