The case: An entitled bajillionaire mountain-climber with, as it turns out, a penchant for looting the bodies and supplies of other mountain-climbers. The titular Death Zone lies above the 26,000 feet where oxygen stops being able to support life, but the metaphor is solid: at some point in your rise, you are going to have to do things you never thought you’d do, in order to sustain yourself. The law of the mountain.
How they get there is very twisty: There’s a book coming out that alleges these things, and within the first minute of the episode, Alicia gets a libel suit thrown out. But then — thanks to Eddie Izzard’s quick use of Amazon to buy copies of the book for British use — the whole case comes back up in UK court. Much like the NCIS episode last year, it involves a shy lawyer with experience of the realm of British law that Alicia eventually comes to respect, etc., but mostly it’s just a great way to get Eddie back on our TVs again.
Meanwhile, Eli gets a possible new client that he’s not allowed to know about, managing a crisis that he’s not allowed to know about, for a political candidate whose aspirations he’s not allowed to know about. Enter Kalinda, who works a brilliant case and fascinates Eli exactly as much as you would’ve hoped. They solve the wrong case, but in getting the wrong answer they find the right one: The operative who approached Eli is actually hopping to a GOP candidate and didn’t have the money to vet him himself, so he set up the investigation as a way of testing Eli’s skillz. Or, in our version of reality, as a way of introducing Eli and Kalinda to each other so that the foundations of the world might tremble.