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'The Good Wife': Good Law? - Season 6, Episode 18

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Religious freedom accommodations, falsifying metadata, and email privacy. This week's "The Good Wife" tried to cram too many issues into one episode.

Here's what you need to know from last night's episode, entitled "Loser Edit":

The Good Wife: Good Law?

Season 6, Episode 18
"Loser Edit"

Legal References:

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

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  • Season 6, Episode 19 (Airs 4/12/15)

Episode Recap (Spoiler Alert!):

Alicia starts the episode out with a puff piece interview with journalist Petra Moritz. It seems the interview will promote "Saint Alicia." But, Petra received the Alicia's hacked emails (see episode 17), and her puff piece becomes a tawdry expose of Alicia's affair with Will Gardner instead. Alicia and her minions then spend the rest of the episode running around, trying to put the kibosh on the email expose.

Back at the law firm, Internal Affair's Andrew Wiley is investigating Detective Prima for possibly deleting an email that would have exonerated Cary. It turns out, Prima didn't delete the email. Kalinda faked metadata to make it look like he did. Now, she may have gotten both her and Diane in dangerous ethical territory.

The third, and arguably most important, plot line focuses on the recent Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. R.D. is considering funding the defense of a wedding planner sued for discrimination when she refused to plan a wedding for a gay couple because of her religion. In a mock trial, Diane represents the plaintiffs while members of R.D.'s think tanks argued for the defendant.

The show mentioned a case where a baker refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, citing her religious beliefs. This refers to the case of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which actually happened in Oregon. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries ruled that the bakery violated Oregon's laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Even though this episode was probably filmed months ago, it is eerily appropriate considering the recent hullabaloo about Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Proponent of the act claim that it protects an individual's rights to exercise their religious beliefs. However, since Indiana has no law specifically banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, opponents of the laws believe it will allow businesses to refuse service to and discriminate against the LGBTQ community.

Attorney-Client Privilege: In the metadata debacle, Kalinda goes to Finn to for legal advice, phrasing her question in a hypothetical so as to not implicate herself in wrongdoing. However, when Finn realizes Kalinda may be in legal trouble, he asks her for a dollar. When she gives him the money, he tells her that he is now her lawyer, and their conversation is protected by attorney-client privilege. Does the privilege really start by Kalinda handing over a dollar? No, but given some crazy real life situations, it's close enough.

Attorney-client privilege protects communications between the attorney and his clients. The attorney cannot be compelled to disclose or testify about any information the client told him either orally or in writing. The privilege also protects any discussions the attorney and client had together. This is to encourage clients to be completely honest and frank with their attorneys. However, the privilege can be waived if the communications between the attorney and client were made in the presence of a third party. The privilege also does not apply when the lawyer and client discuss ways to break the law.

It was highly appropriate for the show to facilitate a discussion on religious freedom accommodations and sexual orientation discrimination at this time. However, the show unnecessarily crammed it in between two other irrelevant plot lines and glossed over the issue too quickly.

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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