Last night Lockhart/Gardner chose cash—and a large sum of it at that—over idealism when lawyer Dylan Stack waltzed into their offices. Mr. Stack, a digital information lawyer based in NYC, sought the firm’s help because he feared 18 months of jail time were on the horizon. Choosing to recognize attorney-client privilege, Stack (played by Jason Biggs) refused to reveal the name of one of his clients to the Treasury Department. And as such, the department was pressuring him to submit to questioning or spend the aforementioned 18 months in jail. Thanks to Alicia’s previous run-ins with the Treasury and Gordon Higgs (the returning Bob Balaban), Stack knew just the lawyer for the case.
Now on to this mysterious client who will henceforth be referred to as Mr. Bitcoin. Mr. Bitcoin invented a digital currency, bitcoin, which can be traded and spent online. One bitcoin is worth $3, and you can mine for it. Is it a currency or a commodity? No one knows! So like the title of the episode suggests, I’m in the market for Bitcoin for Dummies. According to the FBI, any individuals who create private coin on currency systems are in violation of the federal law. The Treasury Department was never really after Mr. Stack. They just wanted his information to take down the real Mr. Bitcoin.
The Treasury Department worried that bitcoin was being used in a digital black market by money launderers, drug dealers, and child pornographers—all of whom could get away with their wrongdoings due to the anonymity of bitcoin. Since the Treasury couldn’t find the real Mr. Bitcoin, they decided to up the pressure and arrest Mr. Stack for being Mr. Bitcoin. (Seriously, someone get me that book!) Instead of 18 months, Stack was now looking at 10 to 30 years behind bars. In another blow to their case, the judge ruled that bitcoin was, in fact, a currency and not a commodity like Alicia was arguing. Even Mad Money’s Jim Cramer couldn’t help them! (Tell me you didn’t laugh at this: “And do you use various beeps and honking sounds on your program and sometimes clinch a knife between your teeth?”)
Lockhart/Gardner put Kalinda Sharma (St. Mary’s High) on the case, and off she went to find the real Mr. Bitcoin. Her entire investigation had me going back-and-forth on who Mr. Bitcoin really was. At first, I was convinced Mr. was really a Ms. when Kalinda found Elaine Middleton. Then, the blame was shifted to Bao Shuwei. And finally, it appeared that Mr. Stack, himself, was actually the culprit. This confusion ended up working in their favor. They firm realized they just had to prove Higgs was still looking for Mr. Bitcoin and never believed Stack was responsible. Thanks to some perfect Kalinda scheming, Alicia and Co. did just that. Mr. Stack was off the hook. In the real twist, Kalinda revealed after the trial was over that Mr. Bitcoin was not just one person, but three. Mr. Stack came up with the idea. Elaine created the manifesto. And Bao wrote the code. You can fool me, Mr. Bitcoin, but definitely not Kalinda.
NEXT: Elsbeth and Will take on Wendy Scott-Carr