The opening scene of "Double Jeopardy" initially felt like a reminder of Alicia and Cary's new places in life: Alicia triumphant after successfully defending an accused murderer, with Cary the ASA glowering from the other table and seething "He killed her, you know," at Alicia. "We don't know anything," Will reminds Alicia, but Cary's righteous belief seems to unnerve Alicia. I weirdly didn't get that the case that had just transpired was obviously going to be the focus of the episode, thinking instead that we were just being eased into the new pattern of things, with Cary on the other side of the bench. "Double Jeopardy" turned out to be one of those cases where the accused murderer who everyone thinks did it is actually an innocent, saintly man, but the episode worked anyway because of the fish-out-of-water concept where the case is retried in military court.
Last season's episode "Fleas" featured Will trying a case in Federal court and highlighted the differences between that and his normal city courtroom scene, but putting him and Alicia in military court really amped up the farcical aspect of it all. There was much saluting, a stern-ass lady judge who is going through some sort of intestinal cleanse, witnesses and suspects who are either deployed in Afghanistan or already killed in action. Probably the best example was when Will objected to a juror during voir dire, and the judge just ORDERED him to not be biased. The message was clear: this isn't Chicago, you shyster! You better learn to play by the rules!
So the most fun parts of the episode were watching Will and Alicia try desperately to get around the rules and get some evidence to clear their guy. They were accompanied by a court-ordered JAG, Lt. Hicks (played Patrick Breen, an "oh, that guy!" kind of actor) who initially feels like a cold fish but it turns out he's a good guy AND a silver star war hero even though he's all reedy and nerdy! Ah, irony. Watching Will and Alicia think on their feet is always fun. Desperately seeking a continuance, Will baits the judge by accusing her of bias to get himself thrown out of court, granting Alicia one day to come up with a strategy. Her gambit, putting Cary on the stand to confirm that which a witness will not, was the best scene of the episode -- Matt Czuchry did well in playing Cary as equal parts pissed that Alicia was using him to win her case and that it looked like he was wrong about the case all along.
Even though Randall Simmons turned out to be a good guy all along, the show got to play his release with a little bit of emotional ambiguity for Alicia, as it means that he has to deploy to Afghanistan, something Cary notes with only the tiniest hint of triumph in his voice. Since Simmons' wife died because she was sleeping with her husband's CO to try and get him out of being deployed, it's pretty bittersweet for him, I guess. But at least he won't go to prison for the rest of his life!
I liked the legal plot a lot but the rest of the hour was hit-and-miss for me. Eli Gold stumble-running around the office to prevent Peter from completing an ambush interview was as amusing as it was completely ridiculous (why was the door locked?) and I was not happy to see the return of Zach's sociopath girlfriend Becca. Gold's bemused conversation with her wasn't bad (he seemed equally annoyed by her and impressed at her gumption) but watching her charm her way back into Zach's good fortunes was just unrealistic. Sure, I know he's a bit of a dopey kid and she's a girl and so on, but she's really more creepy than she is pretty, and if he still doesn't understand that she's serious about smearing Glenn Childs' kid on Facebook, then he really is an idiot.
In the office, the unexpected cameo of Lou Dobbs, supposedly a client of Derrick's, served as a nice little mini-showcase for Diane; first she bitched Will out for not backing her up in shedding Dobbs as a client because of a conflict of interest (Will was entranced by the amount of times Dobbs gets sued every year). Then Dobbs has a one-on-one with her to make sure she's committed to him, and her cadence impresses him enough to make Diane his attorney. On the one hand, it's always funny to have Diane's liberal cred challenged but Gary Cole's character did that way better last year. Also, does this mean more Lou Dobbs guest appearances? I don't know if I can handle that much Dobbs.
Will bangs a sexy girl journalist this episode, having been named 16th most eligible bachelor. I'm a reporter in my day job and I'm getting sick of watching us have sex with the people we're interviewing on screen all the time!
Also on that note, I didn't get to touch on the deflating of the love triangle last week but I think Will is gonna see other women for a while after Eli deleted his voicemail to Alicia. Which is fine by me. Their sexual frisson in court cases is all I need; them kissing in the office is a little too rote.
As usual, Eli gets the best lines of the week. "I do not need Encyclopedia Brown on my staff."
This week also continued the rivalry between Scott Porter's new researcher Blake and Kalinda. Last week was better, when Kalinda actually shoved Blake away from her, seemingly pissed at him for being good-looking as well as taking some of her job responsibilities.