'The Good Wife': Good Law? -- Season 7, Episode 21

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on May 02, 2016 3:42 PM

We've got an intriguing court case with a major player facing serious jail time. And we've got Alicia torn between what she has, what she wants, and what's expected of her. With just two episodes left, "The Good Wife" is getting back to what it does best.

And we've got a couple fantastic cliffhangers setting up next week's series finale. Here's what you need to know about all the legal angles of last night's episode, "Verdict."

The Good Wife: Good Law?

Season 7, Episode 21
"Verdict"

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Next Post in This Series:

  • Season 7, Episode 22 (Airs 5/8/2016)

Episode Recap (Spoiler Alert):

There's only one case that matters at this point -- Peter's corruption trial. And the writers have done a great job of giving us, and the jury, enough evidence on either side to keep Peter's guilt completely in question. Are there legitimate reasons for Peter's micromanaging of the murder case and the disappearance of the key forensic evidence? Or was Peter really covering for a key campaign contributor? The jury is back with a verdict even before Peter can accept a plea bargain, and though it didn't take them long to decide, we have to wait until next week to find out what it is.

And thank god for Lucca Quinn -- the legal, emotional, and sartorial hub of the season. It's so often been Lucca's obligation to explain what's going on in the courtroom and in Alicia's heart. She puts it on a platter for Jason Crouse and the viewers: if Peter is innocent, Alicia will divorce him; if he's guilty and goes to jail, she won't.

Legal Roots:

What happened to the Lock case? We've heard a lot about Peter's influence on the forensic evidence, and some of the reasons why. This week, we hear about Peter's influence on the investigation, and some more reasons why. As the state's attorney, Peter showed up at the crime scene, ensured the defendant was Mirandized, and sent the bullets for extra testing, all seemingly unnecessarily. Then he explains he was only trying to make sure that any convictions were 100% legitimate after his own false conviction and exoneration. But until those bullets show up, we may never know the truth.

Legal Fiction:

Assistant U.S. Attorney and arch-villain Connor Fox tells Alicia he's got a surprise witness, and Louis Canning confirms there's a witness not on the prosecution's list. There is no way this would happen, especially at a trial this big. The prosecution is obligated to disclose all evidence and witnesses it plans to call at trial. While circumstances can change, and additions may need to be made, a federal prosecutor would never be able to simply announce a witness he intentionally left off the witness list and have her testify that day or the next.

Legal Babble:

"Beyond a reasonable doubt." We hear this phrase a lot on criminal and legal dramas, and we heard it just before the jury in Peter's case began deliberations. But how, exactly is that a reasonable doubt defined, and how beyond it does a jury need to get before it can find a criminal defendant guilty? The general standard for beyond a reasonable doubt is "that no other logical explanation can be derived from the facts except that the defendant committed the crime, thereby overcoming the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty." Either this jury got there very quickly, or realized very quickly they would never get there.

Legal Verdict:

Knowing that Alicia's future (as well as Jason's) is tied to Peter's trial means the verdict will set the stage for the final episode last week. Could Alicia surprise Lucca and all of us by divorcing a prison-bound Peter? Will Jason finally lose his cool and admit his love for Alicia? We've a week to wait and an hour to find out. And then...

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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