Life is weird, isn’t it? I mean, think about it, human existence is a trip. And it just gets weirder as we get older. And that goes for the world as well. Sharing similar existential waiting room chit-chat are Maia and Lucca. Oh, did I mention what waiting room they’re waiting in? Yeah, it’s the FBI. The world, man. It’s a trip.
Maia is there to talk with federal agent Madeline Starkey about the Rindell Ponzi Scheme. And, wouldn’t you know it, our wily investigator is played by none other than our very own Jane Lynch. She is more Joyce Wischnia than Sue Sylvester here, with just a touch of that folksy lesbian purebred dog owner pragmatism from Christy Cummings thrown in for good measure.
Agent Starkey starts them off with a joke about NSA spying on her emails, because nothing makes an American citizen feel more at ease than the reminder of our federal government’s seemingly limitless ability to track even our most minute activities at any second of any day. Makes me feel safe. You know, like a warm blanket is slowly choking the individual liberty out of me to protect me from the beyond infinitesimal chance foreign-born terrorists will come into my home and murder me in my sleep.
Lucca reminds Agent Starkey that Maia is there under the terms of the “proffer” from the U.S. Attorney’s office, and cannot be prosecuted for any truthful thing she says. That sounds great. But, like the poor birds that keep flying directly into the office windows would attest if they weren’t dead, not everything that looks like clear, open skies in fact is clear, open skies.
Back at the Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad law offices, Adrian asks Diane to join him on the way to meet their latest police brutality client. So I guess he won out in the power struggle with Reddick? He has been tipped off that a well-known dirty cop, Officer Throeau, was the arresting officer in the case. Adrian and Diane are both excited about the prospect of finally kicking him off the force, until they come face-to-face with the victim.
Because he is not the young black man waiting in the holding pen. It’s the rich white guy who is whining about blood on his Egyptian cotton tuxedo shirt instead. The Good Wife watchers will also know him as the very wealthy, very creepy former client of Lockhart/Gardner who may (or let’s face it probably did) kill his wife, Colin Sweeney.
I get that race-swapping of the police brutality victim here is supposed to point out the absurdity of the reverse racism and All Lives Matter set. But I think that message gets muted for all of us who weren’t already TGW watchers and instead need to Google “Colin Sweeney” just to to figure out what a pretty terrible human person he is in the first place. Granted, comparing himself to Rodney King certainly sets the scene. And then there’s Diane calling him “the devil.” But still, there is such a thing as a spin-off show dipping back too much into its original source material, I think.
At the FBI, Agent Starkey is trying to jog Maia’s memory about Sept. 15, 2008. That’s the day Lehman Brothers collapsed. Some people remember it as the day their family’s multi-million dollar investment fund began to illegally embezzle money, others as the day everyone’s 401K went into the toilet and they realized they’d have to work until they were 85. Potato, potato.
Maia’s memories are a jumble of her dad freaking out while watching the stock market crash, investors crying at their door and her Uncle Jax telling them to keep their money in the fund. Only problem is that it doesn’t jive with what Agent Starkey has found on Mama Rindell’s computer calendar. It says Maia was at the gynecologist, so she couldn’t have seen Jax there.
Maia is still insistent that she remembers Jax that day. So Agent Starkey goes into a folksy story about her own childhood memories of being a contestant on the Bozo show. But then years later photos proved it was her sister, not her, who was actually the one who did all those things. See! Memories can be faulty, she comforts, Maia. Also isn’t “meme” a horrible word destroying our world?
Please, we all know “bigly” is the worst new word in the world and the real enemy of a free and open society.
But Lucca isn’t fooled by Agent Starkey’s folksy, I’m-on-your-side act. She takes Maia aside to tell her just that, and to not protect her parents. Maia says she isn’t trying to, probably. Maybe.
The Devil Sweeney is now in court and being a fairly horrible entitled rich white person, as is expected. The judge in this case is Judge Don Linden (played by the actor who wasn’t Balki from Perfect Strangers). He really isn’t much of a factor in this case, but I do mention it because they make a big show of him struggling to get up to the judge’s bench in his wheelchair. I don’t know if this is some callback to his guest spot on The Good Wife before, but without reference it seems like a cheap joke made at a disabled person’s expense. And, uh, this show is better than that, right?
After their break, Lucca and Maia return to the place birds go to die. Seriously, show, I get the metaphor. Free as a bird, until – blam. Agent Starkey keeps probing Maia’s increasingly faulty seeming memory and then confronting her with the facts. Like, no, her mom wasn’t really worried about Maia’s reproductive heath when she scheduled all those gyno visits. She was using Maia as cover to have her affair with Jax. Little stuff like that, is all.
A flashback shows a teenage Maia walking out of the exam room and through the haze of memory seeing her mom and Uncle Jax kissing. Did she know all along? Agent Starkey says her mother and Jax have been having an affair since 2008. But to be fair, economic collapse is so romantic it often leads to love.
When they return from a lunch break, Agent Starkey offers them some See’s chocolates. She offers up some relatable story about her husband eating all the good ones out and leaving her with the coconuts. But, ah-ha! Now Lucca has her. Because anyone with eyes knows Jane Lynch is as gay as a window (though, again, preferably not the kind that lure birds to their death). Kidding! Not about the gay part, Jane Lynch is always gay. But Lucca knows because she Googled Agent Starkey during lunch and found out she isn’t married.
I would also like to note that, while possible, it’s rather unlikely Agent Starkey was enjoying a box of See’s because they’re a mostly West Coast brand. You guys get to watch Saturday Night Live while it’s actually live and we get In-N-Out, See’s and to never have to scrape ice off our windshields in the winter. It only seems fair, at least for us.
Isn’t it great how Jane Lynch has become America’s go-to sharp elbowed actress? And how she can play it either way: disarming charm with stealth sharp elbows or unmasked rage with obvious sharp elbows. But, either way, boy are you gonna catch an elbow.
Agent Starkey shakes her head knowing that her “nice lady” ruse is up. From here on out it will just be a brass knuckles chess match between her and Lucca. God, isn’t it thrilling when smart women are allowed to show each other just how smart they are on screen without any thought or cares about male approval? So they cut the act and get straight to what she wants: Info on the Rindell Foundation.
As a person who has watched television before in your life, you realize this means a lot of trouble for Maia. The foreshadowing breadcrumbs have been leading to her on this because she was its figurehead. The foundation was actually given to her as an 18th birthday present with the appropriately white guilt assuaging fundraising mission of ending malaria in Africa. Maia remembers asking her dad how much money they’ve sent to Africa, and him deflecting. So that’s not great.
In their deal with the devil, Adrian and Diane have the dirty cop on the stand. He is claiming he was attacked, and has the bruises to “prove it.” Small problem though, those bruises perfectly match the mouth guard he used while sparring earlier in the same day as the arrest. Well, here’s an interesting chicken and egg question. Do you think this cop boxed and then sought someone to beat up because he had bruises to use as a cover up, or beat up someone and then realized his boxing bruises could be used as a cover up? Same outcome, either way, I guess.
Now in Maia’s minds-eye, it is her 18th birthday. There’s a big party and the big gift is the paperwork for the Rindell Foundation. Sorry, scratch that. The big gift is Amy. They met at her 18th birthday party. Maia had a boyfriend and Amy was just starting law school at the time. But all books and boys were clearly forgotten. Ahem.
Hey, who among us hasn’t snuck away from our own lavish birthday party where multi-million dollar foundation deeds are being gifted to go make out amongst the valet parked cars – or whatever the poor person proximally is to that.
Cue Maia getting lost in two hours of day-dreaming about all the making out she did with Amy when they met. Join in, won’t you? It’s nice here. So many neck kisses.
Also, am I the only one who had a moment of panic when you found out it was uncle Jax who introduced them that Amy was part of some incredibly long-game con having to do with the Ponzi scheme? But only for a second. Just me then? OK, back to kissing.
Maia snaps out of her smooch daydreams long enough to remember Diane gabbing casually with her parents about the Bernie Madoff scandal. She asks Lenore whether she thinks Bernie’s wife knew. Ah ain’t hypocrisy a hoot? Like isn’t it fun comparing anything the Trump does now with anything he tweeted within the last eight years? And by “fun,” of course I mean “maddeningly horrifying.”
As Lucca and Agent Starkey argue over the finer points of Maia’s interview, she remembers something else amid the haze of kissing. She signed those papers at her 18th birthday party. But, she didn’t actually turn 18 until three days later, the following Tuesday.
In celebration, Lucca takes one of the See’s chocolates with a smile. And then the women share a high-five on the way out. Whew, well at least all that Rindell business is behind us now, right? We can all just go eat chocolates in peace, right?
Speaking of cases that aren’t entirely closed yet, the Devil Sweeney’s case continues with surprise testimony from his date for the evening, who is from what I can gather an Israeli dominatrix of some sort. She swears he got out and hit the cop unprovoked. They figure out it’s because officials threatened her with deportation because she had drugs on her. Sheesh, it’s like people can’t go to school or church or court or chem-sex parties without ICE being all up in their grill. (But seriously, ICE is insane right now – so insane.)
Hay tracks down a potential witness via the dash cam footage. But he turns out to be a Florida billionaire real estate developer sent up to Chicago by that other Florida Man in the White House to vet potential ambassadors. So that Devil Sweeney won’t allow them to question him and blow his shot at an ambassadorship (not to mention waste the $1 million he donated to Trump’s campaign PAC). The partners all bust out laughing at that the prospect because, really, at this point it’s really one of the best coping mechanisms available to us. That and donating to the ACLU.
Maia and Lucca return to Agent Starkey’s office to finish up. She is now drilling into the brass tacks of her case. When did Maia know about the Ponzi scheme. She says not until it was reported on the news. But was it earlier?
Cue flashbacks to her law school graduation in 2016. Her happy parents and Amy’s somewhat less happy parents were both there. Amy and Maia were living together by then and it’s unclear whether their less than thrilled faces were because of the gay or because they hadn’t been allowed to invest in the Rindell Fund.
Agent Starkey zeros in on Amy’s parents wanting to join the fund. Maia says she told her they needed to have a minimum investment of $200,000, which they didn’t have. But then did Maia ask her dad to make an exception for them, as Amy had requested? And therein, my friends, lies the rubby rub rub.
Maia is riddled with Catholic/plain-old guilt about her knowledge of the Ponzi scheme. She’s unclear on why she waived Amy’s parents off the fund. And why she never asked her dad to make an exception. And why she lied to Amy about asking. Why why why?
Lucca knows they’re in trouble and Maia is ready to “admit you killed Biggie.” Did that reference just come out of insane left field? Sorry, maybe I was daydreaming about neck kisses, too.
On the police brutality case, Adrian and Diane finally figure out how to get soon-to-be ambassador Sweeney off without bringing Hess to the stand. And then they remember the young black man who was in the holding pen with him, who was also there for a trumped up charge. They put him on the stand and case closed. Now it’s time for a celebratory $6 million lawsuit. Except Sweeney promptly drops the suit because now he wants to be ambassador to the Vatican. Poor misunderstood white billionaires are the real victims, America. Remember that.
So now Lucca and Maia are back at Agent Starkey’s office for the final day of questioning. She is here to answer why she never recommended Amy’s parents invest in the fund. She tells her it’s because she didn’t want to mix family and finances. Agent Starkey doesn’t buy it. She likes Maia, she thinks she’s smart, but she also thinks she committed a crime. So she will be recommending prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Well, shit.