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'The Good Wife': Good Law? - Season 5, Episode 22

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

"The Good Wife" closes off Season 5 with promises of change and evolution, but with very little action in the courtroom.

The finale, "A Weird Year," fairly captures how we feel about the show in general. Here's what happened:

Episode Recap (Spoiler Alert!):

Ah, finales. We'll give director and co-creator Robert King credit; "A Weird Year" felt measured compared to the usual cliffhanger hysterics of most network finales. The episode opens with Lockhart/Gardner and Alicia being sued by a former client in an adoption case, giving a perfect opportunity for the two firms to interact (say hi to Christian Borle from "Smash"). The hapless old white dudes at Lockhart/Gardner inadvertently leave the videoconferencing camera on, giving Florrick/Agos a moral dilemma and "A Weird Year" a quick way to advance the plot.

The Good Wife: Good Law?

Season 5, Episode 22
"A Weird Year"

Legal References:

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

Prior Post in This Series:

Cary gets angry with Alicia and upsettingly aggressive with Kalinda. Stockard Channing and Mary Beth Peil return as Alicia and Peters' mothers, only to stir the pot about their possible open marriage. And Diane finally finds a place to call home... at Florrick/Agos!

The season finale opened with a case that sounded suspiciously like the recent Baby Veronica case that was before the U.S. Supreme Court. The real-life case ended with the girl's adoptive parents being awarded custody, despite the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Florrick/Agos worries a great deal about the ethics of listening in on Lockhart/Gardner, but they forgot that it's probably illegal. Even if you're in a semi-public place like an elevator, you can be charged with a federal crime for eavesdropping. By using the video conferencing equipment to peer into the heart of Lockhart/Gardner, Florrick/Agos may have been breaking the law.

"A Weird Year" was light on legal knowledge, but the conversation about what to do with inadvertent disclosures is a real one. Most authorities advise at least notifying the party who accidentally disclosed the information of the mistake, but what happens with that information afterwards is still in question.

Zealous representation: During the "should we watch?" conversation, Cary chirps about zealously representing the client. Lawyers are charged with being very strong (i.e., zealous) advocates of their clients, but they still must abide by the ethical rules.

The Verdict:

"A Weird Year" was a pretty good TV finale, but a thin soup of legal facts. However, we cannot wait to see how Alicia responds to Eli's proposal to be State's Attorney.

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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