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Television

‘The Good Wife’ recap: Discovering the devil’s tricks

The Good Wife: Discovery

Matt Czuchry, Christine Baranski, Julianna Margulies and Cush Jumbo in “The Good Wife." 

(CBS)

All the usual suspects are back in a new “The Good Wife,” as Alicia and Lucca work with the devil himself, Louis Canning, to defend massive search engine company ChumHum. The team battles Diane Lockhart and Cary Agos as they support jilted lawyer Monica Timmons (remember her?) and a restaurant owner who are suing the Internet giant for racial profiling. The only people missing are David Lee, again, and ChumHum owner, Neil Gross (John Benjamin Hickey, who I guess is too busy with “Manhattan”).

Turns out ChumHum has a new maps feature, and corresponding app, that warns users if a particular business is in a problematic or dangerous neighborhood. When Diane and Cary visit the restaurant in question, they find that the neighborhood, though marked as dangerous, doesn’t seem unsafe at all. Just largely populated by people of color.

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Alicia and Lucca get an up-close view of Canning’s devilish ways. He instructs his team to look for information they deem either responsive, meaning racially biased, or non-responsive. While most of the emails and sites they search through are indeed non-responsive, Alicia and Lucca find a couple of things that might be problematic—including an email complaint against the search engine’s autopopulation values, and an image-naming algorithm that marked an African American woman’s photo as “Animal.” When they bring these items to Canning, he deftly rationalizes away any misgivings the women had, and names them non-responsive. (I’d think he’d want to give it the benefit of the doubt, to make sure they’re safe.) The two women ignore the sick feelings in their guts and do what Canning says.

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They also see Canning’s other evil trick, as he later tells his team to mark nearly everything responsive so that they bombard Lockhart-Agos with a massive data dump. They send over a 50-terabyte hard drive full of material, which would take them years to go through.

Fortunately for Lockhart-Agos, their new hire (the white male who took Monica’s potential position) proves his worth by finding the “animal” algorithm on his own. They bring it to the judge, who holds Alicia in contempt and fines her when he finds that she knew about the incident and didn’t mention it. (She’d better insist that Canning cover that cost.)

Just when it doesn’t look good for Alicia and her team, they discover that the restaurateur had taken steps to try to save her failing business a couple of months before this whole ChumHum maps issue came to light. That means she can’t hold ChumHum responsible, despite whether its employees may be intentionally racist or just ignorant and limited in their perspective. Alicia wins again.

As Alicia’s working on the case, and employing Jason to investigate it, Eli is doing a little investigation of his own. Ruth notices a flirtation between the investigator and Alicia and asks Eli what’s going on. He wasn’t aware anything was going on, but he takes it upon himself to ask Jason—and then gets Nora involved. At Eli’s bidding, Nora intrudes on Alicia’s work to keep an eye on her, but then decides she’s too classy for that and refuses to humiliate herself that way again.

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Of course, Eli needs to ask for Nora’s help because neither Jason nor Alicia helps him out much. There is no reason they should, since it’s technically none of his business (it’s sad that Alicia’s life is still not her own), but they both refuse to give him any sway. Alicia implies that something is going on between the two, or will be very soon. But Eli’s interference seems to affect Jason in the opposite way: He backs off from any extra curricular activities with Alicia, and even starts limiting the work hours. There are still plenty of hints about his shady, complicated past, though nothing concrete, yet he seems almost afraid of the complication that would come from getting involved with Alicia. He prefers to keep things simple. Funny, he doesn’t strike me as the cowardly type.

Yet how simple is it to have an investigative file of your new employer-and-potential love interest? Eli discovers this—that Jason has been investigating Alicia—and reveals his knowledge of this to Jason. He also tells Alicia, who insists that nothing Eli says will bother her. Yet clearly it does.

So how about you, “Good Wife”-ers? Is Jason pulling away from any possible romance? Why is he investigating Alicia, and will it affect her feelings? Could Alicia be in danger? Is Alicia regaining her sainthood status? And what’s this new spark between Cary and Lucca?

 

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Twitter: @camusr6


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