After a uncharacteristically weak offering last Sunday (March 19) to close out the middle act of Season 1, “The Good Fight” came roaring back March 26 in “Not So Grand Jury,” which fleshed out Mike Kresteva’s (Matthew Perry) motivation for not only going after Reddick Boseman but also how the Rindell case ties in.
It turns out that not only is Kresteva heading up “D.O.J.P.A.T.C.T.F.” — he also has his sights set on Lockhart Gardner (or whatever they’re called now, it’s impossible to keep track) and specifically Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski), killing two birds with one stone.
Kresteva dangles a plea deal in front of Henry Rindell (Paul Guilfoyle) to get him to testify that Diane and her firm were culpable in the Ponzi scheme, as the lawyers for the hedge fund and employers of several Rindell clients. Kresteva seems to think that by implying Diane got Maia (Rose Leslie) a job at Reddick Boseman to hide her own culpability, he can get Reddick Boseman indicted by a grand jury — and ultimately bankrupt them, as a legal mess of that magnitude will make them hemorrhage clients.
It makes for a fun set-up of dueling trials when Reddick Boseman sues Kresteva in civil court for tortious interference, which a previous episode reminded us is where one person intentionally damages another’s business relationships with a third party (or parties) to cause economic harm — which is of course the very definition of what Kresteva is doing, because if Reddick Boseman goes belly up, the number of police brutality cases goes down.
It’s a totally Krestevian plan — and it brings back Perry in a great way. Not to mention, of course, having him interact so much with Elsbeth Tascioni (Carrie Preston) is an ultimate stroke of genius; they’re wonderful foils for one another, practically polar opposites while still operating just similarly enough that they can throw each other off.
Elsbeth is random because she is a random person, and Kresteva is random because he is a huge liar, and both of them disarm the people around them by keeping them totally off-balance. We expect people to follow basic social cues, and neither of them ever do. We were reminded of Kresteva’s mindblowing lies recently with a Lucca (Cush Jumbo) interaction that pretty much exactly echoed Alicia’s (Julianna Margulies) first realization that he is the devil, back in the day.
And on the other side, of course, half of law school and becoming an officer of the court is training the mind to be “legal” — dispassionate, logical, minimalist — which is why any attorney who has to deal with Elsbeth either melts down or falls in love with her, depending on how well they can follow the patterns and connections her mind makes. They are the perfect pair, because they both naturally upset that delicate balance: Kresteva ignores the rules of engagement, while Elsbeth ignores the rules of like… Physics.
In the end, the grand jury is totally derailed because Reddick Boseman leans hard into the racial motivations behind the prosecution (terrible PR for the state’s attorney, as it should be) — and then, news of Henry Rindell’s plea deal is the last straw. Too many powerful people lost their shirts in the Ponzi scheme to let Rindell get away with only serving 10 years.
Of course, Kresteva tells Elsbeth that this isn’t over, which hopefully means this isn’t the last we’ve seen of him on “The Good Fight.”
But that raises a question of just what the show is going to do with the final three episodes of Season 1: Will Kresteva explore other tactics to sink Reddick Boseman? That feels a bit played out at this point, and not characteristic of the show. He would make a more effective guest star if they held off on his reappearance until Season 2, so perhaps that’s the plan, and we’ll have a true final act in this season.
And we haven’t solved the actual mysteries, of course: Henry may have irreparably damaged his relationship with Maia by being willing to go after Diane, and there’s still the question of whether either man (or Bernadette Peters, for that matter) is the Ponzi mastermind… In the end, what we know is that this episode felt like one of those that came down every five weeks in “Good Wife” Season 5: Tangible moves, satisfying conclusions, game-changing permanent changes. And as far as we’re concerned, there is no higher praise, or more flattering comparison, any show could hope for.
“The Good Fight” drops Saturdays at midnight PT on CBS All Access.