“Good job, keep blaming Tim… it’ll split ’em up,” explains Louis Canning (Michael J Fox) to his client, during their deposition at Lockhart-Agos. Throughout the weeks I have wrote about how mischievous Eli Gold’s (Alan Cumming) character is, but nobody does it better than Louis Canning. He makes sure to catch the elevator with Tim Brewster (Steven Boyer), a disgruntled Lockhart-Agos client… now watch him reel in a client for Alicia (Julianna Margulies). “But get yourself your own lawyer, because they’re not going to defend you. Your business means nothing to them… call her.” The season seven premiere sets up Canning to serve as an unwanted resource, an ally for Alicia; a plotline that has been neglected until this episode, Driven. Louis serves as one of the several drivers in Alicia’s life, each pushing her to take action; as long as it coincides with his own agenda. Throughout this episode we see how Peter’s a driver in her life, as he crashes at her place, to dissuade public opinion that their marriage is on the rocks. Meanwhile, Alicia attends her first Chicago Election Board meeting; remember she’s in board leader Frank Landau’s (Mike Pniewski) pocket. Each plot thread subtly woven through the “case of the week” as arranged by Louis Canning, “A three way… with Lockhart-Agos and Louis Canning, it should be fun,” says Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo)… fun indeed.
“Is it legal for this car to drive it-self in the state of Illinois?” asks Alaica, after agreeing to represent Tim Brewester in the lawsuit against the T-Port manufacturer, Charles Ephraham (Peter Woodward). Pause; yes this lawsuit involves a car that for all intents and purposes drives itself. Showrunners Michelle and Robert King continue to employ satire in the writing; much to my delight. This cases’ nature allows lines such as, “Look it’s human drivers making the roads more dangerous, the T-Port is just adapting,” to serve as a metaphor for the politics driving Alicia’s life. She continues to be pressured by both her fellow Chicago Election Board members, Frank Landau and Craig Hallman (Ned Eisenberg) to vote on one particular agenda item; involving the state’s voting machines. “I would like you to speak for yourself,” pleads Mr. Hallman after she refuses to vote during the first committee meeting. Later, Mr. Landau drops by to threaten Alicia into voting ‘no’ on the issue. Remember, he rigged the State’s Attorney election last year, on Peter’s behalf. “I can hurt you,” states Mr. Landau; yep, the knowledge that Peter was behind her political scandal would destroy Alicia. He also mentions that Mr. Hallman hasn’t been entirely forthright with his reasons for wanting her to vote ‘yes’; talk about being pushed into a corner. “Whenever I see an equation and it doesn’t add up. I know where the problem lies. It’s with humans,” explains Anthony Dudewitz. After watching this episode it makes us question if Alicia controls any part of her life… both professional and personal.
“But I can assure you the Florrick marriage is solid,” claims Ruth Eastman (Margo Martindale) after a magazine releases an expose on the Florrick marriage. Great… a marriage scandal is on the horizon, right after Peter announces his bid for presidency and he needs campaign donations. Enter Courtney Paige (Vanessa Williams), a Democratic supporter who would like to meet the Florricks, “Yes, at the birthday party,” suggests Eli. Too bad Grace’s birthday isn’t until March. Now after Peter interrupts Alicia’s first date with Jason Crouse (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) she has to put on a fake birthday dinner for her daughter. The campaign is definitely a driver in both Alicia’s professional and personal life; emphasis on the personal with all the politics disrupting her delightful flirting with Jason Crouse. Especially revealed after Jason delivers Alicia some background information on T-Port engineer Anthony Dudewitz. She returns to the deposition, leaving Jason to look on outside the conference room. Then Alicia asks Mr. Dudewitz about his opinion on artificial intelligence. Needless to say his answer discredits him as an expert for Lockhart-Agos. After she delivers the knockout cross against Mr. Dudewitz, she looks to see if Jason is still watching and in an instant the disappointment washes over her; he’s already gone. Can Alicia ever move on if she continues to uphold a sham of a marriage out of political necessity?
Guest star, Joey Slotnick gives a great performance as Anthony Dudewitz, the disgruntled T-Port engineer. Fingers-crossed that he returns later on in the season as Alicia’s client in another lawsuit. This brings me back to the one who started it all, Mr. Louis Canning. Over the weeks I have grown tired of Eli’s political games with Ruth; please continue to offset this nonsense, with Louis pulling Alicia’s professional strings. I cannot be the only one who smiled after Alicia began to depose his client, “Nice job blaming the victim… you used to be a nicer person, you know,” yells Louis after Lucca and Alicia abandon him in the elevator. He maybe a driver in Alicia’s life, but he always steers her in the right direction. Where to next week? That destination lies with Alicia’s vote… ‘yes’, or ‘no’… cut to black.