Maia is still standing, stunned, in her parent’s house still looking at her gross, hobbit-footed Uncle Jax standing next to her panicked, nightie-wearing mom. Jax tries to make small talk but Maia’s jaw muscle twitches the twitch of righteous indignation and she storms out. Mama Rindell follows with her magically appearing Mary Poppins umbrella. Seriously, who has the presence of mind when running after your daughter who just caught you nearly in flagrante with the enemy, to grab an umbrella? This lady, apparently.
She swears she is only trying to get Jax to change his mind – with her body. Maia is disgusted and doesn’t know who to believe and I am disgusted and don’t know who to believe.
In our Case of the Week, a Chicago surgeon is guiding a makeshift medical staff performing open-heart surgery on a victim in Syria. Timely! Important! Holy crap can people really perform surgery using Skype?! But, as they are finishing up, feds in black trenchcoats rush in and arrests the doctor for aiding and abetting a terrorist. Timely! Important! But, really, Skype surgery? Crazy.
The partners at Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad are going over the firm’s finances. Lots of six- and seven-figure numbers are being thrown around. It all looks great and like they can buy themselves new Benzs (well, minus Diane who has yet to come up with her capital contribution on account of being broke as hell). But there’s one tiny problem. A huge cellphone tower company the firm represents hasn’t paid its retainer yet putting them $12.6 million in the hole. I don’t know much about money, but that seems like a lot.
Marissa is still happily employed as Diane’s assistant, dubious racial politics of the decision aside. She’s greeted by a man who introduces himself as the firm’s investigator, who is a little miffed she stepped on his investigating toes on the class action case. I know, I know. We’re all incredibly disappointed he is not Kalinda Sharma.
Diane has to leave the money meeting to deal with her Skyping doctor. He works with Doctors Without Borders and because of how terrible the situation in Syria has become they provide assistance via Skype. She is handling his pre-trial release hearing, and feels confident it will go smoothly. But then Lucca arrives because this show wants us to be happy and anytime Lucca arrives I am happy.
Barbara has assigned Lucca as second chair, ruffling Diane’s feathers. The power dynamics between these two is gonna make for some excellent wine-sipping viewing. Yes, friends, we have ourselves a good, old-fashioned alpha-female off.
Now they’re in court and facing off with handsome (if you’re into that sort of thing, which is totally cool because love is love and same goes for lust) Assistant United States Attorney Colin Morello. He is played by Justin Bartha, who you might remember as the half of the gay couple on The New Normal who was not Andrew Rannells.
Fireworks fly immediately, both the legal kind and the other kind. You can tell Colin is interested immediately because Lucca calls him on his “idiocy.” Though, come on, who wouldn’t fall for Lucca if she called you an idiot?
Adrian and Barbara go to see the cell tower executive. You know things are going badly when he changes the subject to fresh baked rolls. See, there’s a new administration in town and they are looking for a more Trump-friendly firm. If you were hoping to get away from the shitshow Cheeto Hitler has made daily existence in America, this is not that show.
The exec then refuses to get on an elevator with them as they leave because nothing is metaphor in Trump’s America. It’s all just in-your-face horrible. Barbara wonders aloud if this is because she spoke at an anti-Trump rally. Adrian says lots of people (and 2.86 million more voters) did that. But he has an idea and sends the elevator back up so he can snap a picture of the next person the exec is meeting with.
The man is Andrew Hart, one of the only African-American businessmen to run a Trump PAC. He has just moved from D.C. to Chicago to start his own small law firm and cash in on that sweet, sweet minority-owned business tax credit. Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be more ways for Trump and his reign of hate to ruin your life, boom, another one pops up.
Maia, and her lawyer, go to visit her dad, and his lawyer, back in jail. Their conversation is awkward because no one likes making small talk on billable hours. But just as they are going to part, Papa Rindell grabs Maia in a bear hug and whispers something in her ear as their lawyers freak out. Back at her car she scribbles something on a Post-It as her lawyer gives her the what for. I only took one law class in college, so I don’t entirely understand why this is a problem if both are being covered by attorney-client privilege. Just to repeat, I don’t know anything about money or the law, so I therefore am the perfect person to recap this show.
Adrian and Barbara are trying to manage their Trumptastrophe. One partner, Michael Boatman’s incredibly named Julius Cain, claims it is no big deal. But Adrian knows better. They’re not exactly part of the MAGA crowd as a black law firm that specializes in police brutality cases. His only option is to look, desperately, for a Trump voter within their ranks. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Ha.
So Diane and Lucca are back in court because the Skype doc tried to be a Skype doc again, but got caught again. They decide a two-pronged defense is the best option, with one of those options being Lucca’s devastatingly sexy brain – and the rest of her. She and Colin spar and the judge wonders if they’re a couple. Foreshadowing!
Diane calls Marissa to get a witness, but she has learned her lesson about centering the black characters on the show and goes to the investigator for help. Also, she tries to describe him to Maia as “about this tall, black” before realizing that – unlike basically every other show on broadcast television – that is not an identifier that works here.
Adrian and Barbara are flummoxed. Out of the 80 lawyers and 50 staff, none will admit to voting for the Hate Pumpkin. Reminder: 89 percent of African-American voters were with her (and 94 percent of black women). But then Julius confides in Barbara that he owns one of those stupid red trucker hats. He wants assurances he won’t be ostracized. Oh, a Trump voter needing a safe space? That’s cute.
Adrian and Barbara bring up the Kanye defense, but get fact checked that Kanye only said he would have voted for Trump if he voted – but didn’t actually vote. My God, the only way this episode would be more amazing is if they included his beef/non-beef/beef again with Taylor Swift.
So now Lucca rushes in to get a bite before court, but there isn’t time. So Colin Lady and the Tramps his burger with her, figuratively. I’ll admit, I like their chemistry. Sure, they’re setting up a James Carville/Mary Matalin situation, but without the geopolitical implications. She relents and accepts half the burger and steals some of his fries because she isn’t here to coddle the patriarchy. She also maybe agrees to drinks after the case because she is also a human person.
They spar again in court. Witness, counter witness. Also, props to Marissa for trying to give credit to the investigator where it is due (and that’s twice now Marissa has been used to showcase Diane’s well-meaning though ultimately unsuccessful navigations in a black space).
By the way, the government’s counter witness is dimpled actor Christian Campbell, who you may remember as the cute gay boy from 1999’s Trick. Yes, my life goal is to identify as many LGBT and LGBT-adjacent TV and film references as possible – why do you ask? Anyway, dimples messes up on the stand and identifies the victim as an “ISIS fighter.” So this gives the defense an opening to find out his identity – an American citizen who went to Syria to stop his brother, a terrorist on America’s most wanted list.
Maia goes to see Uncle Jax to confront him about the Ponzi scheme. He blames the dad, saying he wasn’t intentionally trying to steal people’s savings but instead just wanted to be seen as a “winner.” Maia’s slight nostril flare tells us all we need to know.
Jax’s phone rings (it’s Marissa, hey girl!), which takes him from the room. So Maia springs into action, accessing his computer. Unlike Lost in Translation, we actually get to learn what her dad whispered in her ear. It was the password and file to look up. This sort of plot device always makes me so nervous despite its silliness.
Her father wants her to find some “Schtup List,” which sounds really dirty. She does and luckily it’s not a bunch of sex tapes. Instead it’s what looks like names, dollar amounts and bank account numbers. Oh, and I checked, Diane’s name isn’t on there. Maia takes pics of each and then returns to end her confrontation with Jax and storms off.
The firm’s sole Trump voter is being prepped for their meeting with the cell tower people. But he doesn’t want to be defined by his decision to pull the lever for the Cheeto. Adrian asks Julius if he really gave money to Trump, and we don’t get an answer.
Marissa and the investigator, whose name I’m not sure we’ve been given yet, tack down the Syrian-American victim’s mother, who takes the stand in his defense. There’s a lot more legal wrangling, over the semantic of “material support” and airline tickets and Supreme Court precedent. But Diane and Lucca lose, at least for now.
But then the Syrian medical staff call back, desperate for help and the victim’s brother barges in threatening to kill them if they don’t perform the surgery. This is brought before the judge, who now has the emergency workers lives on her head as well. And Colin does not dispute it.
The firm has notched its own victory. Julius and his Trump love have prevailed and saved the company’s cell tower contract. We won’t discuss how disgusting it is that businesses must now prove their loyalty to that Angry Creamsicle. But before Julius can go get himself an Orange Julius to celebrate, Andrew Hart is in his office offering ominous warnings about the sad, lonely lives of Trump voters. He says when he starts getting the cold shoulder from mean liberals, he should give him a call.
Lucca joins Colin in the bar for that drink. But she swears he and his gelled hair aren’t her type. She gets up to leave, but he gets a call. And then it’s on the news. The U.S. bombed the hospital where they were treating the victim to kill his brother – and everyone else – inside. The military was using the court delay, and all its legal players, to lure out the brother. So now 34 innocent people and one terrorist are dead. Strange how thousands of miles can turn human beings into collateral damage.
Maia returns to visit her dad, and brings the Schtup list with her. She gives it to him and asks what it will do? Take down Jax, he says. But how about her mom? Well, we’re not sure. I’m not sure of anything either, except that this show has gotten realy, really good.