I kind of like it when the case of the week takes a turn for the weird, and this week was just that: Will and Alicia set up shop in a morgue instead of a traditional court room for an inquest into the death of Roger Ludwig, an Illinois Supreme Court Justice. We heard the car crash in the episode’s opener, but didn’t see how it all went down. Ludwig’s insurance company, led by Wilk Hobson (Frederick Weller), was looking to pay only a small portion of Roger’s life insurance policy to his wife, Janie (Jessalyn Gilsig). Janie called in Alicia for help to prove that the car accident was, in fact, accidental, and that Roger wasn’t at fault. That way, Janie could rightfully collect the $2 million the insurance company owed her.
Hobson warned Alicia that Roger’s accident pointed to recklessness on Roger’s behalf, and offered Janie 10 percent of the $2 million to avoid uncertainty. Alicia obviously stood by her client, and they went forward with the inquest – a sort of faux-trial held in the morgue and presided over by Coroner Claypool (Rene Auberjonois). There were six jurors from the regular jury pool, but Claypool again reiterated that it was not a regular trial, but merely a fact-finding proceeding to determine the cause and manner of death. But as Alicia started to question the first witness, she learned the hard way that each witness could only be asked three questions. (Perhaps they keep it short because it’s so cold down there?) She had her work cut out for her, so Janie called in Will for backup.
Roger Ludwig’s actual cause of death was bleeding and trauma due to massive internal injuries. But the cause of the accident was still undetermined. Various details were thrown around to the jury: Mr. Ludwig was driving 10 miles over the speed limit; he was using his cell phone at the time of the crash; black ice was present. Wilk Hobson used this information to argue that Ludwig’s driving was reckless. (Anyone else totally infuriated by insurance companies?)
Kalinda and New Kalinda went out to search for evidence at the scene of the accident that wouldn’t point to recklessness. (Ed. note: I’m not sure how long Robyn’s going to be around. But for now, I’m choosing to call her New Kalinda until she really proves herself.) Kalinda noticed that the street lights were different on the stretch of road where the crash occurred. The county had been replacing the lights with brighter LED lights. That meant on the night of the accident, Roger Ludwig entered a darker stretch of road, which could have caused his last-second course correction.
With that new evidence, Wilk Hobson took on a new angle: suicide. He showed that Ludwig had been calling his voicemail at the time of the crash. The message was from someone in the anticorruption unit of the Illinois Attorney General’s office. That particular unit investigates public officials for corruption and ethics violations. And apparently, Roger Ludwig was being investigated for bribery. So Hobson cried suicide.
NEXT: Kalinda and New Kalinda make an important discovery about Mr. Ludwig’s whereabouts…