'Good Wife,' Good Law: 'Going for the Gold'

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on March 04, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Thankfully football and awards season is over so we can get back to watching "The Good Wife" every week. But legally speaking, how did the show do in its depiction of the law?

The recap: This week the attorneys of Lockhart & Gardner dealt with a lawsuit involving none other than Eli Gold. Turns out the Department of Justice hasn't just been harassing Eli; the feds want to charge him with conspiracy.

There was also tension from Alicia and Will's kiss in the last episode, Josh Perotti's failed attempts to woo Elsbeth, and Alicia's struggle to "be nice" in her new role as partner. Plus, did Peter ask Alicia on a date? And what was going on with that civil lawsuit?

Good Law

Perotti's attempt to pin Eli on conspiracy charges offers great insight on how a good defense team pokes holes in the prosecution's case.

First, they used a picture of the senior citizens at the straw poll to discredit Landau's assertion that Eli bought their votes for Peter. Then when Jackie took the stand, Elsbeth's cross-examination revealed the stroke, making Jackie's testimony less powerful.

For the first time, the bankruptcy played in the firm's favor since Dianne couldn't approve the discount without the trustee.

All of those pieces make the prosecution's case weaker, which is all the defense needs to do. The prosecution had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Eli did it. Elsbeth, and a reluctant Alicia to some extent, made that impossible to do.

Bad Law

But let's go back to that side case with Frank Landau for a moment. Elsbeth's attempt to uncover what he knows by suing him in civil court seems devious, and it is.

Her lawsuit is a sham and it's clear that Perotti, and thus the DOJ, knows this from his actions in court. In real life, this would be dangerous for the attorneys and for Eli.

Lawyers are prohibited from bringing lawsuits that are not supported by the law, and can lose their license for doing it. But it's also a civil offense to use a lawsuit for an ulterior reason.

If Landau had realized they were using the lawsuit to find out what he had to say, he could sue Eli and Lockhart & Gardner for doing that.

Closing Arguments

It looks like Eli's legal troubles are gone for now, and the bromance between him and Peter is back after a victorious debate.

But the firm is still grasping for funds, after they were turned down in a bid to get some business from the state's attorney's office.

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 @FindLawConsumer with the hashtag #TheGoodWife.

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