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

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on November 16, 2015 11:59 AM

'The new me ... just doesn't care.' No kidding, Alicia. Mrs. Florrick was not messing around this episode. Gone was the 'Excuse me' Alicia, cautiously trying to navigate her varying roles as mom, attorney, wife-of-a-candidate, and candidate herself. Replaced by 'Watch it' Alicia in charge of her firm, her family, and her life.

We may end up remembering this episode as the one where Mrs. Florrick went from being a passenger to directing traffic. Here's what you need to know from last night's episode, entitled "Driven."

The Good Wife: Good Law?

Season 7, Episode 7
"Driven"

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  • Season 7, Episode 8 (Airs 11/22/15)

Episode Recap (Spoiler Alert):

Once again, Louis Canning tosses Alicia and Lucca a client. This time it's a coder who was behind the wheel of a self-driving car when it slammed into the back of another car, putting the other driver in a wheel chair. Via a deposition that pitted Alicia against Canning and her old colleagues Diane and Cary, and featured lengthy diatribes on the relationship between humans and technology, we learn that the coder's coworkers hacked the car and caused the accident.

In the foreground, Alicia's relationship with Jason Crouse takes a pause when Peter moves back in for a week, but it means a big new campaign donor for Peter, and her battle for independence on the Election Board hits fast forward as she must choose between two equally corrupt power brokers.

Oh! And Howard Lyman pops the question to Peter's mother -- the young-at-heart lovebirds are engaged!

Legal Roots:

Much of the episode centers on a deposition regarding an accident with a self-driving car. Depositions are a necessary part of the discovery process in any civil lawsuit, as lawyers from both sides are allowed to ask questions of the parties involved in order to understand and build the case. As the episode astutely points out, depositions can get contentious, with lawyers representing three clients (the injured, the driver, and the driverless car company) all vying to make their case.

Testifying at a deposition can be tricky -- witnesses are sworn in and all questions and answers are recorded -- so many witnesses prepare for their depositions beforehand. In this case, the parties were trying to determine who was at fault for a car accident. And if you were wondering why the head of the self-driving car company was so angry at the end when it was the driver's friends who cause the crash, you should know that vicarious liability holds employers responsible for the actions of their employees in some cases, so the company's insurance policy will likely be handing the victim a hefty settlement.

Legal Fiction:

Lucca has a pretty harsh view of life at a big firm: "Pressure to bill hours; kowtowing to clients; wrangling personalities." While this is a handy stereotype of large law firms, and while most stereotypes have a little bit of truth to them, this is not entirely true for most lawyers. While almost all attorneys charge by the hour, not all are at firms that live and die by the billable hour, and even some of those are throwing out billable hours as an evaluation for associates. And while Alicia tells Lucca she is "much calmer now" that she left her big firm, I'm not sure Louis Canning would agree, saying she "used to be a nicer person."

Legal Babble

"There's nothing better than a good cross": Alicia is referring to her cross-examination of the "genius" behind the self-driving car. While direct examination is generally performed by the side friendly with the witnesses, cross is much more adversarial, and is a chance for attorneys to poke holes in a witness's testimony, or, in this case, tear it down entirely. And as any trial attorney can tell you, Alicia is absolutely right.

Legal Verdict

While the collisions between Alicia's old life, family, and firm continue, we're starting to see the emergence of a woman more in command of the proceedings and less likely to let those events control her. We're eager to see "the new me" as this transformation continues; we're all, like Louis Canning, on notice to "Watch it."

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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