Cooked, episode three begins with Howard Lyman (Jerry Adler) coming to Alicia (Julianna Margulies) for representation on his ageism case against Lockhart-Agos. Remember, in the previous episode the C-plot involved Cary trying to coax Howard into retirement. “They’re pushing me out, Cary, that little gerbil, told me to take emeritus status,” explains Howard to Alicia. In response, Alicia diligently explains to Howard that they can’t fire him without cause, therefore the solution is, “Don’t give them cause to fire you.” Elements from this conversation between an attorney and her client resurface throughout each story thread in this episode. The A-plot involves Alicia and Lucca (Cush Lumbo) working on a very complicated designer drug deal case; B-plot includes Ruth (Margo Martindale) and Eli (Alan Cumming) wrestling for power over Peter’s campaign; C-plot consists of Diane trying to bring Alicia back into the fold and Howard pursuing Jackie Florrick (Mary Beth Peil). At one point, or another each story thread leads to two characters finding themselves in a dilemma due to their co-dependent relationships.
While, Alicia continues to make both friends and enemies in bond court, Eli defends her honor at Peter’s campaign headquarters. Paralleling Howard’s desire to pursue an ageism suit against Lockhart-Agos, Eli finds himself locked in a closet now that Ruth’s running things. During the opening sequence Ruth introduces Eli to his new workspace, it’s a closet, and they both understand the power dilemma in this situation. Eli wants to run Peter’s campaign, but that’s Ruth’s job. Ruth needs Alicia’s participation, but she won’t promote Peter without Eli; catch twenty-two. This leads to a campaign meeting, where Eli eyes Ruth’s seat at the head of the table. Then some campaign workers start to question Alicia’s involvement in the campaign as she’s only agreed to six days, “We need more days Eli, twice as many.” Ruth suggests that Alicia and her mother make an appearance on the Mama’s Homespun cooking show. Ruth believes that it will help promote their family value campaign platform, “Like, Hilary with the chocolate chip cookies.” Eli convinces Alicia to go on the show, because it will blow up in Ruth’s face. This plotline subtly illustrates that Eli will look out for Alicia, but only if it services his revenge plan.
“I think we should severe our cases, separate trials, separate juries.”
This episode’s case of the week, took things to a whole new level. Alicia meets Roland Hlavin (John Magaro) in bond court after he’s arrested for making GHB and selling it to his dealer (represented by Lucca). Initially, ASA McGrath (Luke Kirby) offers them an exploding plea deal, “Oh, come on we’re not turning on each other,” says Alicia. They both rush back to convince their respective clients to take the deal. During this conversation Roland explains to Alicia that he made a GHB analog, convincing her that this case should be dismissed.
Both Lucca and Alicia have their clients decline the deal, unfortunately the analog defense only works for Lucca’s client especially after Roland perjures himself, “I never told you to lie, in fact I told you explicitly not to lie.” Then Alicia really finds herself in a bind, after discovering that Roland is an undercover FBI agent working a bribery sting operation against Judge Schakowsky (Christopher McDonald). “Now Alicia, you have no choice in this…move for dismissal,” explains Roland. Please note, the scenes between Roland and Alicia mainly took place in an interrogation room, reinforcing the thematic undertone of deception found throughout the episode. The sting operation ultimately fails after Judge Schakowsky denies Alicia’s motion to dismiss all charges. Did someone tip him off about the sting operation? The only people who knew were Roland and Alicia…oh, and Eli too.
Eli sold out Alicia’s client, because he needs Judge Schakowsky to do him a favor. At this point we are not exactly sure what Eli needs him to do, but it does involve Frank Landau (Mike Pniewski). Meanwhile, the advice Alicia gives to Howard during the opening sequence circles back to a misunderstanding between her and Diane. Yes, she advised that Howard work harder, so that the firm wouldn’t have cause to fire him, but she’s not his lawyer on an ageism suit, “Diane, this is not what it seems,” explains Alicia. Legally speaking, there’s a fine line between the truth and a lie, show-runners Michelle and Robert King are willing to criss-cross both lines, as creatively as possible.
By Sarah Belmont