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While the title for this episode, "The Red Zone," is drawn from a specific reference, it also serves to illustrate the increasing tension generated as several of this season's major subplots move closer to resolution.
Things are looking particularly bleak for Cary, as he prepares for his upcoming trial. In the meantime, Alicia also finds herself taking a break from her campaign to represent a college girl who claims she was raped.
"The Red Zone" refers to the first few months of college for freshman girls, when they are at higher risk for sexual assault. The episode begins with Alicia's brother Owen asking Alicia to represent one of his students (who was allegedly raped) at a college disciplinary board hearing. As you might expect, the hearing does not go smoothly and Alicia ends up in court arguing that the disciplinary board violated the girl's due process rights by not providing her with a fair hearing.
Meantime, Cary prepares to take the stand in his own defense by facing a scathing, simulated cross-examination by Diane's former friend Viola Walsh. This too goes less than stellar. Things get even worse for Cary when he discovers that his lover/co-worker Kalinda is romantically involved with FBI agent Lana Delaney and Kalinda refuses to humor Cary in his hour of need by calling it off (due in no small part to her own obligations to Lemond Bishop).
College sexual assault and, more specifically, college administrations' policies for handling it, have come under increasing scrutiny. Earlier this year, the Department of Justice announced that 55 colleges were facing Title IX investigations for their handling of sexual assault allegations made by students.
To keep the show moving, legal cases in "The Good Wife" tend to magically get filed and into court mere hours after the events themselves take place, and are subsequently resolved in a day or two. In reality, the legal process can be significantly slower, both in criminal and civil cases.
When Alicia attempts to interject during her client's testimony at the college disciplinary hearing, she is instructed that she is there merely as a silent advocate and cannot participate in the hearing. Although students at disciplinary hearings can often be represented by attorneys, the attorneys may not be able to speak for the students at the hearing. At some colleges, attorneys may not even be able to attend the hearing.
Title IX: When Alicia dresses down the college disciplinary board for their lackluster hearing, she references Title IX, the portion of the U.S. Code that prohibits gender discrimination in education.
"The Red Zone" is "The Good Wife" at its best, keeping each character's individual ball in the air, plot-wise, while still managing showcasing a condensed, but relatively accurate, take on important legal and political issues.
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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