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'The Good Wife': Good Law? - Season 5, Episode 12

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

It's been a while since "The Good Wife" tackled a thorny criminal issue, but this week's "We, The Juries" gave us a double dose of just how complicated co-defendant trials can be.

Here's a breakdown of how the combined forces of Florrick & Agos and Lockhart & Gardner muddle through this week's episode:

Episode Recap (Spoiler Alert!):

Both Alicia's former and current firm are representing co-defendants in a drug smuggling case, and the judge (insanely) decides to sever the cases -- but also decides to have two juries hear both cases in the same courtroom.

Kalinda is still trying to figure out whose side she's on in the whole firm battle, and proves why no one should have the "preview" function on their text messages. Meantime, at the governor's office, Eli is very nervous about evidence of election fraud ("Scandal" did it first) and Will ends up holding some leverage.

The Good Wife: Good Law?

Season 5, Episode 12
"We, The Juries"

Legal References:

More Legal Analysis of CBS' "The Good Wife":

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The "Beautiful Mind"-style math professor who is represented by Florrick & Agos is likely drawn from this real life physics professor from the University of North Carolina, Paul Frampton. He was arrested in 2012 for carrying a suitcase with two kilos of cocaine in a suitcase he thought he was carrying for his online girlfriend, reports The New York Times.

Frampton, 68, was duped into thinking he was corresponding with international model Denise Milani, who asked him to pick up her bags in La Paz, Bolivia ("Catfish" anyone?), and he was nabbed by Argentinean police when his flight connected in Buenos Aires.

While you might think that double juries are a legal fiction, they actually do occur in some cases, though it's rare. What is a bit more ridiculous is the idea that Diane thinks that throwing the word "circumstantial" at the jury is a legal argument. Circumstantial evidence of a crime is still evidence, and the fact that the female co-defendant only had money on her is not crippling to the prosecution's case.

And this may be a small point, but Alicia called the judge "Judge" about three times in this episode. Big no-no, Alicia. It's "Your Honor" or "The Court." Associates know not to make this mistake, much less partners.

Severing trials with co-defendants can often clear up many, many of the legal headaches that this episode presented, like dealing with hearsay.

Normally, a witness would be allowed to testify to something she heard a defendant say, under an exception to the hearsay rule. But if there are two separate defendants, one jury could be hearing a hearsay statement (since there is no exception to the rule) while the other is hearing admissible evidence. Confused yet?

Peremptory challenge: Our favorite (seemingly only) female prosecutor used one of the prosecution's peremptory challenges to eliminate an elderly juror during jury selection. There are a limited number of these and there does not have to be any reason behind using them.

Waiver of the attorney-client privilege: The still-pregnant Ms. Garbanzo got increasingly frustrated with Peter at the episode's close when he refused to waive his attorney-client privilege with his former attorney, Will. This privilege only applies to statements used in court, but it was a good way to cap the episode.

The Verdict:

This episode tackled a procedural nightmare in a fairly reasonable manner, and even managed to correctly deal with hearsay. We'll call this a high note to end on before the show's hiatus. See you in March!

What did you think of this week's episode of "The Good Wife"? Is the show guilty of making any legal mistakes? Check back here for more legal recaps of "The Good Wife," and send us a tweet at @FindLawConsumer with the hashtag #TheGoodWife.

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