'The Good Wife': Good Law? -- Season 7, Episode 10

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on December 14, 2015 10:00 AM

Sometimes, you just need to hit the reset button and say goodbye to all those new and complicated things you introduced into your life. And that's how last night's episode felt.

All those new associates causing trouble at Lockhart, Agos & Lee? Jason Crouse's complicated relationship with Alicia? Courtney Paige mucking up Eli's love life? Even Alicia's beef with Judge Schakowsky -- all getting reset to zero. But not without some fireworks in between. Here's what you need to know about last night's episode, entitled "KSR."

The Good Wife: Good Law?

Season 7, Episode 10
"KSR"

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  • Season 7, Episode 11 (Airs 2016)

Episode Recap (Spoiler Alert):

Cary comes into the office on the weekend, expecting to find all the new associates having pulled an all-nighter prepping a patent case filing, only to find a conference room full of phones. The associates have decided to leave the Lockhart, Agos and Lee for Louis Canning's firm and the promise of a better firm culture and more upward mobility. Cary blocks the move by feigning a re-hiring, setting up a conflict of interest, and then firing all of the associates en masse.

Alicia and Lucca appear for their client's criminal trial, only to find their client still in heart surgery. Their client is charged with conspiracy to kidnap, sedate, and rape (hence "KSR"), the mother of a patient after posting a fantasy about it on an extreme sex website.

And Eli is expecting to continue his relationship with $185 millionaire Courtney Paige, only to find her decamping back to California, and taking investigator Jason Crouse with her. Only it was Ruth Eastman who masterminded Crouse move to get him out of Alicia's life.

Legal Roots:

The case against heart surgeon Joseph Portnow hinges on whether he intended to actually abduct and sexually assault someone, or if his Internet chatter was idle fantasy. As the doctor himself points out, you can go to jail without doing anything, if you planned on doing it and took certain steps. Conspiracy to commit a crime is a crime in and of itself, and requires only an agreement between two or more persons to engage in a criminal act. However federal law and many state statutes require an "overt act" in furtherance of the agreement in order to get a conviction.

In this case, Portnow did have an agreement of sorts, with another commenter on the sex website, and the prosecution pointed to items in his trunk as the "real world evidence" of intent to go through with the plan. That was enough for the jury to convict, but the infamous Judge Schakowsky vacating the verdict, saying there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction.

Legal Fiction:

Throughout Portnow's trial, both sides argue about what evidence will be allowed in, most of these arguments taking place in front of the jury. The prosecution wants all two hundred-plus messages between the doctor and his trucker co-conspirator entered into evidence, some read by the target of the crime herself. Lucca wants the trucker's schedule and manifests entered as proof he couldn't have assisted with the alleged abduction. And Jason discovers that the prosecution plans to call the trucker as a witness in the first place.

While these arguments do happen, they're normally all hashed out before trial begins, so there's no surprise to either side. In fact, criminal cases can be tossed out of court and convictions overturned if prosecutors withhold evidence from the defense.

Legal Babble

Big Firm Culture: The whiny associates fleeing Lockhart, Agos and Lee complain about the corporate culture and lack of upward mobility. Well, kids, welcome to life at a big firm. If their educational credentials and prior experience are to be believed, these new hires should've been under no illusions about what their professional lives would look like: limitless hours, little recognition, and a long road to partnerhood. I don't think anyone is going to miss a bunch of mewling Millennials who don't even have the guts to start their own firm because it's "too hard."

Legal Verdict

"It's odd that someone could be so good and think things that are so bad." Alicia and Lucca's conversation about compartmentalization resonates throughout the episode. Alicia and Jason have to keep their relationship professional. Attorneys often have to represent clients they don't agree with.

And the fall season finale waited until the final moments to reveal that Eli deleted Will Gardner's "I love you" voicemail to Alicia from six years ago, perhaps ending Alicia's relationship with Eli. Sometimes we all need a restart, as Alicia told Eli, "My life is my life and I want you to back the hell up."

We can't wait to see how everything resumes when the series returns next year.

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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