"What is going on with my life?" Alicia moans at one point in "The Good Wife" Season 4, Episode 8.
Her law firm is in financial straits. Her marriage is basically in name only. A friend betrayed her. Another friend is estranged after a past betrayal. People are spreading rumors about her husband's anatomy. And her children are growing up and engaging in activities she has no control over.
"Here Comes the Judge" is a quiet episode (some might even call it filler), but it moves pieces into place for bigger developments down the road.
Will and Diane possibly burn some bridges to try to win a big monetary case and get their firm out of bankruptcy. Grace and Zach emerge from wherever TV kids sometimes disappear, and introduce complications in the campaign and in Alicia's state of mind.
And Nick's jealousy boils over onto Cary, who gets savagely beaten in the parking lot.
Pride and prejudice
Will is defending Gwyneth Van Zandt, a woman who is accused of coercing her Pilates instructor to murder her husband. The Pilates instructor has admitted his guilt, but is testifying as part of a plea deal. He says that Gwyneth promised they'd split her husband's money after he was dead.
Opposing counsel is none other than former captain Laura Hellinger (Amanda Peet), who undergoes a little bit of ASA Hazing 101 from Will. She soon overcomes her nerves and holds her own.
Later, Will and Kalinda share a drink at a bar (love to see this friendship onscreen again!), where he runs into Judge Creary and an old colleague named Giada. Creary tells Will that he's arguing a losing case and that his client is guilty.
A stunned Will asks the judge to recuse himself, but Creary brushes him off by bringing up Will's suspension.
Back at the office, Will and Diane decide to go after Creary for prejudice because this case could bring in enough money to save them from bankruptcy and even get the 27th floor back! (The 27th floor must've been an amazing place.)
The partners assign Alicia to argue for recusal. When Creary refuses, she asks for a substitution hearing from another judge. Creary is apoplectic.
"I'll give you one last chance to step back over that line," he snarls at her, but has to accede to the request.
"We're in it now," Will sighs.
The kids are all right?
Grace finds out that another girl named Grace at her school killed herself. The mean girls gossip about the other Grace's ex-boyfriend Connor.
Grace Florrick finds herself drawn to the smoking, earring-wearing, class-cutting bad boy. "Girls don't come here to talk about God," he tells her meaningfully when they hide in the hedges from a teacher. Uh-oh ... is it time for Alicia to have the sex talk with Grace?
At Peter's campaign headquarters, Eli is stunned to learn that they'd gotten a big bump in fundraising from online. He's told they've got a new wunderkind helping them ... who turns out to be Zach!
But will Alicia allow Zach to expand his role on the campaign? Well, Eli does his Eli thing and shows her a video of Grace and a smoking Connor.
He notes that the kids are already part of it since they're being tracked by the opposition. Might as well let them help out, right?
Zach also argues to his mom why he should keep working his IT magic for the campaign: He truly wants to help Peter win. Awww ... Zach!
Back to the case, Will and Diane decide to pull out all the stops to get Judge Creary dismissed -- even if it means burning bridges.
"If you go nuclear, you don't leave missiles in the silo," Diane says.
First, Will goes to Giada to see if she'll testify about Creary's comments in the bar. She won't -- though she does fall into bed with him.
Then, they get Cary to pump his poker buddy, one of Creary's clerks, for info. They even subpoena Creary's Alcoholics Anonymous friend.
Lockhart Gardner fires enough ammunition that the hearing judge rules in their favor. But their victory may be short-lived: Creary thought Gwyneth was guilty because he saw her on a website for cheating spouses. Hellinger encourages them to take the 25-year plea deal, as she means to dig into the site's logs to prove that Gwyneth solicited murder.
This case is far from over, and it's looking less likely to be the financial boon that Lockhart Gardner needs.
The green-eyed monster strikes
After a welcome absence, Nick returns to cause more trouble. He goes to the office to discuss his failed tow-truck bid with Cary, who's seen laughing and talking with Kalinda. And you know Nick doesn't like when Kalinda laughs or talks.
At home, when Kalinda takes a call from Alicia, he asks if she was talking to Cary. When a suspicious Nick dials back the number, Cary answers ... because he and Alicia share an office!
Later, Kalinda and Will have another drink (all this bonding warms the heart) and she asks how to stop being jealous.
"Stop caring ... start seeing other people," he says. Or, tell the other person you don't want him or her to see anyone else, but you have to back that up. Seems like Kalinda still isn't ready to cut Nick out of her life.
But what happens next might just be the catalyst for her to do so. As Cary leaves the office in the pouring rain, he's set upon by Nick's henchman and gets a brutal beating.
Once Kalinda finds out, Nick's a dead man (we hope).
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"The Good Wife" airs Sundays at 9 PM on CBS.