The Good Wife
Episode 20: Rape: A Modern Perspective
By: Carlos Uribe
The Good Wife is a show about Alicia Florrick and her career and scandalous personal life.
This is an interesting episode of the Good Wife as it revolves around how social media is affecting the legal realm. It all begins when the firm's client sends out a tweet accusing the defendant of raping her. She gets arrested for disobeying the judge's gag order. She refuses to apologize so she remains in jail for being in contempt of the court. She does have idealistic reasons for refusing because she doesn't want to have it on the record for apologizing for telling the world that the defendant raped her. There is never any real question of whether the defendant did it or not but he does have a top defense lawyer to the point where Lockhart & Gardner might actually lose a case. This act by their client to send out a tweet only turned the judge against them. This would be enough for most shows to display how social media is changing the world around us. A girl gets in trouble for speaking her mind on twitter. It makes sense but the Good Wife decides to take a deeper look into how the internet is changing the fate of cases. It does this through the hacker group Anonymous. This is a real hacker group that has been known to fight for what they believe is social justice. In this show, the fictionalized group sought to help our lawyers by providing them with key evidence from the cell phone servers. They get this proof illegally which makes it fruit from the poisonous tree. This doesn't stop our characters from doing their best to get the evidence submitted to the court but they find obstacles every step of the way. In the end, a mistrial is declared. This basically means that our lawyers didn't lose but they didn't win either. So it's still an off episode for them. They do manage to get their client out of jail when they prove that the comment she made was true by using a leaked video of the police confession of the rapist. Once again, the leaked video is a sign of the changing times. The weekly case was a strong look at how technology is forcing the world to adapt to it. My only complaint? The real-life anonymous supporters that show up to the court ended up sounding silly-like they didn't really believe in what they were protesting. It's a small flaw in an otherwise top-notch case.
What was happening around the case was pretty fun as well. The firm is being affected by Diane's decision to go for the Supreme Court seat. This is because the head of Bitcoin wants to invite the firm to join them in a class-action lawsuit against the government for prosecutorial misconduct. The head of Bitcoin is actually the conduit between the law firm and the Anonymous group trying to help them. This is all complicated when Diane learns that associating with this head is bad news for her. Why? The head has been known to hold controversial beliefs about the government. Diane has to get the firm to drop out of the lawsuit so that it doesn't become an obstacle in her nomination. Only this isn't in the best interest of the law firm. She might have claimed so when justifying her demand to Will but this was putting her desire on top of the firm. She might be willing to do that to Lockhart & Gardner but what about her partner? She learns that the Supreme Court chief has a problem with Will because he's a sleazeball. Will's past actions are now coming back to haunt her. She can distance herself from Will to get the nomination or she can stand by him and jeopardize it. So basically she finds that she might have to sacrifice her firm's interests and business partner for her own goals. This is different from last week when she tried to figure out how her personal life might come up in the process. It's definably interesting for the show to follow all of these angles that are affected. Most shows might settle with just the personal side but it's the business one that always makes it feel like an accurate representation of Illinois politics.
The firm has other problems than a name partner getting nominated and that's with Cary Agos. Cary is still planning to leave. In fact, he's going to do it in a month. He's bought malpractice insurance, has clients on board with him, and the fourth-year associates plan to join him. The partners aren't oblivious to his actions but they aren't convinced that he's serious. They think he's bluffing or still acting out for not being made partner. It is a serious threat that could seriously shift the status quo. The one person who finds out is serious is Alicia. She wants to protect her friend, Cary, from being fired so she's staying silent but she does get the evidence from Robyn. It's interesting that she went to Robyn for this and not Kalinda. It might have been a matter of convenience but I wonder if there's more to that. I'm not sure. Robyn does find out but she does get in trouble with Kalinda because she doesn't feel like her partner should keep secrets from her. It doesn't stop Kalinda from approving her but it might be because she had also just discovered Cary still planned to leave. Is Kalinda planning to leave with him? Alicia might join the two as she got offered the chance to be a name partner. The firm is definably facing an unknown threat with Cary as his mutiny could have damaging results to his career or it could irreparably harm the firm. Whatever happens, I do like the idea of the status quo changing and I hope the show follows through with at least one of them: Diane becoming a judge or this new law firm starting up.
Rape: A Modern Perspective presents a rape case in the modern world where social media has gained such prominence. It really is a critique of this new technology as the well-intentioned hacker group and the client speaking her mind both mean well but just end up hurting the case. While the weekly case was strong on it's own, the firm politics is starting to boil as we get closer to the finale. Cary's idea to leave his firm might become a reality and who knows who he'll take with him. Diane might be becoming a judge. A lot of potential change but the series also makes a move that seems to indicate a new status quo. Robyn is kept as an investigator after a review hearing which means she's going to be sticking around at least until the end of the season. The episode is pretty brilliant and it serves well to build up to the next episode.