Sunday, March 26, 2017

REVIEW: 'The Good Fight' - Mike Kresteva Presents His Case Against the Firm to a Grand Jury in 'Not So Grand Jury'

CBS All Access' The Good Fight - Episode 1.07 "Not So Grand Jury"

Mike Kresteva takes his case against Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad to a grand jury, but the firm devises a strategy of their own to hamper his efforts. Colin finds himself in an awkward position in court.

"Not So Grand Jury" finds a way to connect everything that has happened in the series so far to the grand jury that Mike Kresteva has put together against the firm. This hour provides a ton of resolution to all of the main stories. It's surprising in that way. This is only the seventh episode of a 10-episode season. On one hand, it feels like it's incredibly too soon for this amount of resolution to come to the season-long narrative. But there are only three episodes left this year. That's just enough time to show how this attack against the firm will unify the characters while also affecting their business. Or perhaps things aren't as resolved as they seem to be by the conclusion of this hour. That's a distinct possibility as well. Right now, it's just important to see all of the main characters unified against Mike Kresteva and how that stance will affect their personal arcs for the season.

For as much as it has been built up, the grand jury against the firm wasn't as great as it could have been. The first third of the episode is about the characters strategizing to make the case all about race. That was already a major component of this story and the overall show. This season has done a fantastic job in showing the fight that women and people of color have to do at all times while white man can be a source of "villainy" simply because they believe themselves to be smarter. That's what makes it so enjoyable when Elsbeth is able to defeat Mike in this battle while Lucca is able to distract Colin in civil court. It shows the flaws and complications of white male privilege in some interesting ways. It just didn't need to be spelled out so definitively throughout this episode. Barbara notes that the case is about race. It's not just a strategy to be used to stop an indictment. Though it is pretty amusing to watch as the characters take the stand and pivot the question to race with every answer. That's a nice source of levity while still addressing a serious issue.

Elsbeth suing Mike for tortious interference of the firm's business is a solid idea for the characters to learn what's going on in the grand jury. It's certainly a better strategy than Eli eavesdropping through a bathroom vent. The Good Wife had quite a history with grand juries. But it also had an affection for quirky details to break up intense personal drama. This show has that quality as well. Elsbeth is still the main lawyer bringing this case against Mike. She brings her own quirks to the table which the judge doesn't totally understand. It's hilarious to watch she tells her Alexa-like device to purge all information but instead it brings up the IMDB page for the film The Purge. Of course, that plot beat brings a swift end to the trap that Maia laid for Mike that exposed her father as working against the firm. That's weird and anti-climatic. But largely this civil case is fun to watch. Yes, it's Elsbeth and Lucca just fishing for information which then leads to the other characters investigating and then changing their own testimony. But this is also where the story finds its big resolution.

Now, Maia's personal story hasn't been all that interesting so far. It's questionable why the show just doesn't let her be a lawyer. The Rindell scandal is important at certain times when it can be used for plot. But it's disposable most of the time. It defines Maia's whole story. It's what caused this friction between her and Henry. It's great that they are both being honest with each other now and turning their recording devices off. But the reveal that Diane's old firm helped some of Henry's clients commit tax evasion didn't land as well as it could. It should be a huge implication that could possibly ruin Diane's career. She could be made the scapegoat in all of this. She would be disbarred for helping Henry run his Ponzi scheme as well as giving privileged information to Adrian about the police brutality case from the series premiere. Those are damaging accusations. And yet, Diane is such a minor part about this episode. Plus, the relationship between her and Maia hasn't been defined well enough for it to motivate Maia's action later on. Once she discovers what Mike is doing to Diane, she forces her dad to reveal what kind of a deal he made in the first place and why he did it. It's some pretty familiar stuff of him taking the deal to protect his kid while also selfishly not wanting to die in prison. It's a little too generic. Plus, was he right to fear that Maia could be charged for her involvement in the scandal? All of it is a little too murky to really work.

And yet, Henry does testify that he made a deal with Mike - which promptly gets him fired. That's a satisfying victory for this story. Mike was the person coming after the firm. And now, he has been taken out. Elsbeth and company outplayed him. But then, there's that final scene between him and Elsbeth. She is happy that this case is over. And yet, he teases that it's not over yet. What exactly does that mean? Does it mean he'll still target the firm and these characters somehow? He doesn't have an official position to do so but he could easily find a new way I'm sure. Or does it mean that someone else will take up the case and come after the firm again? It's very curious why Aaron Tveit suddenly shows up here as an ally for Mike. He's in the grand jury room helping with the testimony. He's never been seen before. Plus, it turns out to be such a small part in this episode. That's a little suspicious considering Tveit worked with the Kings on BrainDead. So, it seems unlikely that they would cast him in such a minor part here. Of course, crazier things have happened - just look at what they did to Sutton Foster on the original series. Right now, it's just important to celebrate this victory. The firm is still going strong. It has taken down this threat with the story teasing just a few more complications heading into the end of the season.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Not So Grand Jury" was written by William Finkelstein and directed by So Yong Kim.
  • Lucca and Colin make a great couple. Of course, their relationship has been running really hot so far. It's largely about sexual attraction. And yet, why should the audience see Colin as good enough for Lucca considering he is so easily distracted by her in court? That's weird and makes him seem a little too weak and one-dimensional.
  • Speaking of couples, why hasn't Amy been seen more this season? She represents a personal connection in Maia's life that isn't connected to her family scandal. She could provide some comfort for her as she faces all of this uncertainty. And yet, this is the first she's been seen since early on this season. Plus, she quickly steps away so Maia and Henry can talk.
  • Diane told Adrian about the new evidence in the police brutality case as a way of saying "Fuck you" to her old firm and "Thank you" to Adrian for welcoming her in. It's easy to understand why that could get her disbarred. And yet, it's also great to see Adrian stand by her and commit to fighting alongside her.
  • Marissa and Jay continue to make an impressive investigative team. And yet, does Marissa just walk around with her old tax forms? That's weird. And also, who is most likely to have worked with Henry on the Ponzi scheme at the old firm? Is David Lee too obvious?
  • Andrew Hart pops up once more as the rival lawyer trying to poach clients from Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad. He successfully lured Julius away from them. However, it doesn't seem like he got any clients from Barbara and Adrian. But his insider knowledge of the grand jury proved very beneficial to the civil case. 
  • Kevin Pollak is a pretty amusing new addition to the judges bench in this universe. Judge Gallo simply doesn't want to be disrespected in court. Of course, there are other judges who get annoyed when the lawyers start yelling over each other. But there was still a nice frankness to Gallo as well.