This week’s episode picks up right where last week’s left off: Alicia & Co. have to put their sexual discrimination suit on hold so they can team up with Elsbeth (Carrie Preston) to fight off criminal charges brought on by AUSA Josh Perotti (Kyle MacLachlan). This was a smart turn of events; I’d much rather see Alicia and Elsbeth on the same side.
Elsbeth goes to the FBI for a meeting with Perotti, but it’s been rescheduled. She just missed the memo. Elsbeth barges in on Perotti to yell at him for telling everyone but her, only to learn that it was her assistant, Fantasia(!), who failed to pass on the message. She’s clearly flustered, but Perotti assures her that this case has nothing to do with her—and his desires to take her to lunch. He insists that their client, J-Serve, plagiarized their software from another company. She tries to get away, avoiding the sidewalk grates in her escape route. Perotti calls her out on her “adorable” behavior. Later he pretends to fall in one of the grates, and she saves him. But not before he smells her baby lotion and she gets a whiff of his Old Spice. (An Elsbeth/Josh spinoff would make fabulous TV. Someone get on that.)
I also love when Ana Gasteyer guests as Judge “In My Opinion” Lessner. It always adds an element of humor to the courtroom. Anyway, Perotti puts an app designer on the stand, and Alicia quickly becomes aware of what he’s really trying to accomplish. This case isn’t about trade secret charges. It’s a Trojan horse prosecution to bring economic espionage charges against Camilla Vargas and J-Serve. While Camilla was CEO, she sold proprietary software to a Chinese civilian company with ties to the Chinese government. If convicted, there’s a minimum sentence of 10 to 15 years. Alicia and Elsbeth have their work cut out for them.
Elsbeth tries to use Perotti’s infatuation with her to their advantage. And it works, at first. Perotti is distracted by Elsbeth’s hands while he questions the witness, Mr. Fong (Johnny Wu). But when Elsbeth goes to question him, she freezes up, and Alicia has to take over. Fortunately, Alicia uses Fong’s testimony from the case last week to prove that he went over Camilla’s head and kept key information away from her when brokering the deal. Therefore, she couldn’t have known that the Chinese company was going to sell the software to the Chinese government. Needing another big break, Alicia sends Kalinda in search of other evidence.
Things may be stalled in the courtroom, but they’re just beginning to heat up between Elsbeth and Josh Perotti. Elsbeth is dancing to “Call Me Maybe” in her office when Perotti shows up. Things escalate quickly. They briefly make out before ripping each other’s clothes off and having sex on her desk. Keeping it classy, guys! And again, somebody get me that spinoff!
The next morning, we see Elsbeth covered by a blanket on top of her desk. Her office is in total upheaval. Get it, girl! But she’s got a case to focus on. Kalinda finds that the same Chinese company in question bought a firewall program from a Boston firm that was actually a CIA front company. Unfortunately, Kalinda needs a little more time to gather the documentation. But don’t worry, Elsbeth’s got this covered: “I’ve got his buttons.”
She means literally, of course. Elsbeth goes to see Josh and they return each other’s buttons from their sexcapades. But she’s here for work. She tells him about the invoice from the CIA company that sold firewall software to the aforementioned Chinese company. He thinks she’s lying about having proof. But when she pulls out said invoice—which is, in fact, likely a fake since Kalinda said she’d need more time to find documentation—Perotti decides he doesn’t want to risk it. He takes the invoice and shreds it. But Perotti has been spending too much time in D.C. Illinois requires only one-party consent, so Elsbeth records the whole thing on her phone. She then, awesomely, tells Josh to call her, maybe. And Perotti withdraws all of the charges against their client. Woot!
Meanwhile, Alicia has to deal with her less-than-popular religious beliefs. She’s on the record saying she’s an atheist, and Johnny knows that won’t get her elected. So he attempts to do some damage control by arranging an interview with Pastor Jeremiah Easton (Frankie Faison). Alicia isn’t comfortable pretending to be someone she’s not, but she’s stuck. If she wants to win, she has to address the elephant in the room. Alicia turns to Grace again for religious guidance.
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