Last summer’s revelation that the National Security Agency is monitoring millions of people’s phone calls and emails was the inspiration for last night’s episode of “The Good Wife,” titled “The Bit Bucket.” It was both a hilarious and a terrifying exploration of the potential ramifications of a single phone tap.
Two hipster, slacker types at an NSA center were monitoring Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Diane’s (Christine Baranski) phone calls.
They have been secretly doing this because two years ago Alicia and Diane represented a man named Marwhat, who was suspected of terrorism.
This was a gross invasion of privacy in general, especially since it meant lawyer-client confidentiality was breached for all of their clients.
Specifically it meant that the NSA knew Alicia was planning to leave the firm and, that Lockhart-Gardner’s client search engine Chum Hum founder Neil Gross planned to sue the NSA because he was upset that he was given a gag order forbidding him to discuss the NSA’s attempts to get access to Chum Hum’s user data.
The NSA geeks realized they were spying on the future First Lady of Illinois. They discussed the situation with their boss who decided they needed a more recent "terrorist contact" to continue monitoring Alicia.
Unfortunately, Zach broke up with his girlfriend Nissa. She kept calling Alicia's house begging to get back together. Her dad, a Somali native, was on a terrorist watchlist for being a Hamas sympathizer. The NSA, unaware of the actual situation, decided to expand the warrant. If this is how things actually work, then pretty much everyone in America really is at risk of having their phone calls monitored.
The New Firm
Cary (Matt Czuchry) found great office space for the new firm. A fourth year associate finally bought burner phones for everyone to use when they talk about leaving Lockhart-Gardner. Little did they know that they were thwarting the NSA by taking this basic security measure.
Will told Alicia she needed to take the Chum Hum meeting with Neil, who expressed concerns about Cary being up for the job. Alicia didn't tell him what Will said about Neil questioning his competence, but asked if he's sure Chum Hum will follow them to the new firm.
Cary was confident. When the building’s owner unexpectedly demanded a bigger deposit for the office space, Alicia’s mother overheard her conversation with Cary and decided to make up for a lifetime of bad parenting by paying for it herself.
Unfortunately, she hadn't thought about the fact that David was handling her estate planning. He grilled her about why she suddenly purchased $140,000 worth of office space. He also noticed that Alicia had two cell phones, which seemed like it would be pretty standard for a lawyer who wanted to separate her business and personal lives.
It seemed like a matter of days before he figured out Alicia plans to leave the firm with Cary.
Diane Turns on Will
The Chief Justice of Illinois was opposed to Diane joining the state Supreme Court. He claimed he had issues because she worked with Will (Josh Charles), whom he believed should have been disbarred for the sports betting scandal. Eli (Alan Cumming) thought he actually just didn’t want a woman to join the court. He advised Diane (Christine Baranski) to win him over by trashing Will in an interview. Instead, Diane defended him. Eli was upset. Peter told the Chief Justice he’s going to appoint Diane whether or not he approves, but Diane, unaware, had already done a second interview about Will which could make him look bad.
Becca Steals Peter’s Gavel
The engraved gavel that the Chief Justice gave Peter as a gift went missing from his office, It turned up on Craigslist. Becca (Dreama Walker) was the seller. Zach’s (Graham Phillips) evil ex-girlfriend wormed her way back into the Florrick family by befriending Grace (Makenzie Vega), who welcomed advice on being cool from a college student. Becca stole the gavel from Alicia’s apartment after Zach brought it home.
Chum Hum Sues the NSA
Alicia and Cary filed a lawsuit against the NSA on Chum Hum's behalf. It was a difficult case because the NSA declared it doesn't have to present its case in public due to security issues.
After having their initial suit dismissed, they learned that the actual reason the NSA targeted its CEO was because he met with North Korean dissidents to whom he planned to supply technology at a low cost.
Since the Koreans got cold feet because they were scared of being caught by the NSA, Lockhart-Gardner sued the NSA for the money that Neil lost. The judge awarded him a minuscule settlement, but placed a gag order on the NSA which allowed Neil to grandstand about his major victory.