As season 3 begins, Alicia is back with a new found confidence and a fresh start. Will and Alicia are working on a tough case that puts them both in unknown territory. Peter searches for a law firm to represent the country's civil needs, but he may not end up going with Lockhart/Gardner, leaving Diane questioning Alicia's true loyalty. Eli is working hard for Peter's next campaign as Governor of Illinois. Will is reunited with his old lover on a new case, which leaves Alicia feeling a little jealous.
A new, more confident Alicia takes center stage in defending a Muslim college student accused of assaulting a Jewish student during a campus brawl. At first, the case seems relatively easy – there’s no physical evidence linking their client to the crime, and the trumped up hate crime charge they’re fighting smacks of Peter trying to make a statement during his first week back in the job. When Kalinda finds a photo that seems to prove their client was elsewhere at the time the crime was committed, it appears that Lockhart/Gardner has secured the win. The trial takes a turn, however, when Cary and the prosecution reveal their plan: this new evidence may have exonerated Alicia’s client from the assault, but it makes him the primary suspect in a murder investigation.
When Alicia wins a verdict in a libel case involving a British businessman, she must quickly learn to navigate English Law when the case is retried in British court via satellite.
Will and Alicia are stuck together in a hotel for a week of mandatory mediation in Lockhart/Gardner’s latest case. Their client is suing her doctor for implanting a surgical device of his own design in her back during a medical procedure. She claims she had no idea she was being subjected to experimental medicine and has been in constant pain ever since. Complicating matters is that opposing counsel is Will's old flame Celeste Serrano (Lisa Edelstein). She knows all his tricks, and her strong connection with Will seems to spark a little jealousy in Alicia. Meanwhile, Eli takes charge of a crisis management case when a batch of tainted cheese leads to a listeriosis outbreak in an elementary school.
Alicia works a pro bono case, defending a man who stands accused of committing murder during a convenience store robbery gone wrong. Even though her client is innocent, a witness has identified him as the shooter. Matters are complicated further when Diane, trying to keep the firm afloat during hard economic times, tells her to plead it out – she wants all of her attorneys on paid cases only. When Diane discovers that Celeste’s old firm has gone under and his former partner is looking for a new place to take her lucrative bankruptcy division, Will attempts to get her on board at Lockhart/Gardner. Celeste, however, has other plans: she wants Will to leave the firm and come work with her.
Lockhart/Gardner’s case against an aviation company takes a huge hit when their key witness commits suicide and his testimony is ruled inadmissible. The only other person with inside knowledge of the plane’s design flaw is Colin Sweeney, a venture capitalist that Alicia defended on a murder charge two years ago who has been in jail ever since. But his testimony comes with a price – his freedom. And Cary won’t let him go unless he agrees to wear a wire and get a jailhouse confession from one of the most dangerous killers in the Illinois prison system. At the same time, Eli tries to get Peter the keynote address at the upcoming DNC while Alicia is told that she can take part in the hiring of a new first year associate.
Cary clashes with Lockhart/Gardner yet again when two male students are accused of murdering a female classmate on a college booze cruise. Complicating matters is that both of the accused men are sons of foreign dignitaries and appear to be protected from prosecution thanks to diplomatic immunity. While one of the suspects walks, the other must stand trial because his father is from Taiwan – a country not recognized by the US thanks to our close ties with China. As Cary attempts to pin the murder on Lockhart/Gardner’s suddenly vulnerable client, Alicia and Caitlin look for a way to prove that the other diplomat’s son was the one who did the deed. Meanwhile, Eli is approached by his ex wife in a professional capacity – she wants him to vet her in preparation for a possible state senate run.
Lockhart/Gardner takes on the United States Government on behalf of a military contractor who claims that he was imprisoned and tortured by the army in Afghanistan. While Diane and the team plow through boxes of censored documents looking for evidence, Alicia must meet with a government monitor whose authority overrides attorney/client privilege. When opposing counsel reveals damning new evidence about her client, Alicia is asked by the monitor to reveal information that would lead to his imprisonment…and if she doesn’t, she could end up in jail herself. At the State’s Attorney’s office, Peter decides to follow up on a fifteen-year-old case claiming that Will Gardner stole $45,000 from a client at his old firm in order to fund his gambling addiction.
An interview with a gang member on death row leads Cary and the SA’s office to two dead bodies that had been buried in a vacant lot. One victim was another gang member, but the second was an innocent young woman who went missing several months ago. Ballistics evidence points to the woman’s boyfriend, Lockhart/Gardner’s client, as her killer. Will, Diane, and Alicia, however, believe that the murders were related and both victims were probably shot by a third gang member who is still at large. Because the only person who might know the truth is a vicious killer slated to be executed by the state in 36 hours, the Lockhart/Gardner team must find a way to get a stay of execution for a guilty man before time runs out for their client. Campaign manager Mickey Gunn comes to Eli for help. He has a promising young politician with a humorous skeleton in his closet: a drunken Facebook picture showing his client stooping in front of a Santa Claus statue, as if performing fellatio. Eli must figure out a way to spin the story before it sinks Mickey’s client’s campaign hopes for good.
Will and Alicia are back in military court, this time defending a young female remote drone operator accused of murdering twelve civilians in Afghanistan. The prosecution argues that the order to fire the rocket was remanded, but the defendant fired anyway. When their only witness decides to testify for the prosecution, Will and Alicia must find a new way to persuade an all-military jury of their client’s innocence. Faced with losing the cheese lobby, one of their biggest clients, Lockhart/Gardner turns to Eli in the hopes that he can convince the FDA to reinstate the food pyramid and promote cheese consumption. But in his counterpart for the fruit lobby, Eli finds an opponent who always seems to be one step ahead of him. The state’s investigation into Will Gardner heats up when Peter assigns the case to Wendy Scott-Carr – a woman who will stop at nothing to weed out corruption.
Alicia mentors Caitlin through her first arbitration case, defending a college professor who claims she was laid off after refusing her bosses sexual advances. But when Alicia learns that opposing counsel is Martha, the associate that she wanted to hire over Caitlin in Ep. 305, the proceedings swiftly become more antagonistic. When testimony reveals another possible cause for the defendant’s job loss – her staunch right wing beliefs – the case becomes an issue of freedom of expression. This twist removes the damages cap originally imposed by the arbitrator, making it potentially far more lucrative for Lockart/Gardner. With so much more at stake, Martha’s boss Louis Canning starts taking a more active role in the case. It’s Alicia vs. Louis once more, this time clashing as the puppet masters of their first year associates.
While Alicia meets with Louis Canning, she checks her phone and realizes that she has twelve missed calls from her daughter Grace. When all attempts to track down Grace fail, Alicia fears the worst. As the hours pass, Alicia wonders if she’s been prioritizing her work and her relationship with Will above her family.
When the jury in a murder case comes back with a guilty verdict after the legal teams on both sides assumed there would be an acquittal, Will, Alicia, and Diane work to figure out what went wrong. With Kalinda’s help, the firm learns that something made over half the jurors change their mind during deliberations. With time running out before sentencing, it’s up to Lockart/Gardner to convince the judge to vacate the ruling. Her romance with Will over, Alicia looks to rekindle old friendships in order to find some companionship. When she learns that Kalinda played a major role in finding Grace, (Ep. 310), she realizes that a friendship she once thought was dead forever might be worth salvaging.
Alicia, Will, Diane, and David Lee are being sued by a couple whose divorce Lockart/Gardner handled during Alicia’s first year with the firm. The couple, having now reconciled, claim that the firm deliberately split them up in order to make a commission on the liquidation of the company they started together. Their argument has some merit, too – David Lee used some less-than-savory methods in order to get full custody of the children for his client. But as the partners squabble over who was really at fault, the onus falls on Alicia, who as a first year associate was assigned to get their client to sign the crucial document that would let Lockhart/Gardner off the hook. A document that is now missing. As Wendy Scott-Carr’s investigation of Will heats up, he hires Elsbeth Tasconi to represent him and fight back.
Alicia and Lockhart/Gardner face off against the US Treasury Department once again, this time aiding Dylan Stack, a lawyer who represents the creator of Bitcoin - an online currency with mysterious origins. Alicia’s client is being pressured to reveal the name of the anonymous Bitcoin creator so that the government can prosecute him for creating what they believe to be a currency in direct competition with the US Dollar. But when the judge rules that attorney/client privilege prevents Stack from having to reveal the name of his client, the Treasury Department changes tactics and decides to prosecute Stack himself as the creator of Bitcoin. Wendy Scott-Carr’s investigation into Will continues. When Dana Lodge discovers some damning information that could send Alicia to prison, she approaches Kalinda with an ultimatum: help the SA’s office prosecute Will, or they’ll go after Alicia.
A grand jury has been empanelled, and it appears to be a foregone conclusion that Will Gardner will be indicted for bribing a judge. As Lockhart/Gardner circles the wagons and prepares for the worst, Alicia is brought into the fold and learns how bad things have gotten for the first time. Will’s strategy is to try and tie Peter in as much as possible, hoping that Cary will persuade him to see that he might hurt himself by going after Will, but the SA’s office has a secret weapon – inside information provided by Kalinda in exchange for keeping quiet about a document that might send Alicia to jail. With the future of the firm in the balance, Alicia herself is called to the stand and asked, under oath, to answer a tough question that she was not expecting – has she ever had a sexual relationship with Will Gardner? Eli’s feud with David Lee continues when he realizes Caitlin’s connection to his nemesis and decides to bury her with meaningless clerical work. His feud with rival crisis manager Stacie Hall also takes an interesting twist when she admits to having feelings for him while the two battle over a lucrative account.
Lockhart/Gardner represents the families of three Americans who were detained and killed by the Syrian government during the revolution. They claim that the tech company ChumHum knowingly sold infiltration and decryption software to Syria in violation of US law – software that allowed the government to track down and murder its enemies. But if ChumHum knowingly sold their software to Syria, proving it is another matter entirely. And when the defense produces a photograph that shows that one the missing dissidents may still be alive, Will, Diane, and Alicia must decide whether or not it’s worth jeopardizing their case for the chance to bring her home. The mood at the firm is exuberant following the grand jury’s decision not to indict Will. But as a parting shot, Wendy Scott-Carr tipped the Chicago Bar Association off about Will’s indiscretions 15 years ago in Baltimore. And, Will learns, there is no statute of limitations on disbarment
Alicia defends a documentary filmmaker who is accused of being responsible for the suicide of a college girl while making a movie about people who kill themselves. But their path to victory is blocked by old nemesis Nancy Crozier and a judge who seems to buy Nancy’s folksy, innocent act at every turn. When the firm again turns to Caitlin in order to try and win over the judge and jury, Alicia begins to wonder if her protégé might be her biggest competition at Lockhart/Gardner. As Will serves out his suspension at home under the watchful eyes of his two nosy and manipulative sisters, the power vacuum at Lockhart/Gardner draws the attention of Eli, Julius, and David Lee, all of whom want their name on the company letterhead. Meanwhile, Peter struggles with his political campaign as he realizes that his decision to hire people based solely on merit has cost him many of his former allies.
After being released from prison, Lockhart/Gardner client Colin Sweeney attempts to convince the shareholders of his former company to vote him back in as CEO. At the eleventh hour, however, a former employee publically accuses Sweeney of sexually harassing her, going as far as to produce a baby who was allegedly fathered by Colin. With time running out, Alicia and the firm have 72 hours to prove the allegations are false before Sweeney is forced out of his company for good – a task made more difficult due to the fact that Sweeney will lie to anyone, including his own lawyers, to get what he wants. After getting engaged, Caitlin decides to leave Lockhart/Gardner and give up her career in order to start a family. At the state’s attorney’s office, Cary is forced to investigate employee fraternization on Peter’s behalf, putting him in an awkward position thanks to his own transgressions with Dana Lodge. When Alicia’s apartment building decides to convert to condos, she is faced with the possibility of having to move.
Lockhart/Gardner represents a client who suffered severe injuries and lost his wife when a snowmobile malfunctioned and struck a tree. With a sympathetic judge and video evidence, the case seems like a slam dunk. All of that changes, however, when the opposition argues that our client’s ability to maneuver the snowmobile was impaired during a fight on the ice when he was a professional hockey player. In order to counter, Alicia and her legal team decide to add the hockey league to the lawsuit as well. Unfortunately the league is represented by Lockhart/Gardner nemesis Louis Canning, who never goes down without a good fight. Without enough money to make a down payment on her old house, Alicia begins to take Canning’s job offer overtures much more seriously. Things heat up between Diane and process server Jack Copeland. When Will’s old girlfriend Tammy comes back to cover the hockey trial, Alicia realizes that she wronged Tammy in the same way that Kalinda wronged her.
As Diane scrambles to keep the firm’s partners placated while they attempt to fill the power vacuum created by Will’s suspension, she delegates one of her responsibilities – a seat on a blue ribbon panel that’s investigating alleged police misconduct – to Alicia. The case involves a police officer who shot and killed a man on a subway platform. When Alicia begins to suspect that the other members of the panel are unwilling to get to the bottom of what actually happened, Alicia goes toe-to-toe with some of the most influential judges and politicians in Chicago in order to find the truth. Meanwhile, Kalinda’s tax audit takes a turn for the personal as she learns the motivation behind the IRS investigation may be about more than money. When Alicia’s offer on her old house is rejected, she re-lives both pleasant and painful memories of her old life with Peter in the process of writing a letter to the seller in the hopes of changing their mind.
Alicia and Diane represent one of a trio of girls who was convicted of murder at a summer camp five years ago. Recently, however, it was discovered that the crime lab mishandled the DNA evidence and a judge has overturned their sentence pending a new trial. Not wanting to face a wrongful conviction lawsuit, the state has offered the girls an Alford plea – they can go free, but only if they all sign a statement admitting that they were guilty of committing murder. While the girls weigh their options, Alicia and Kalinda work to try and prove the girls’ innocence before the window to accept the plea runs out. Mike Kresteva (Matthew Perry) kicks off his candidacy for the governorship of Illinois by blatantly lying about an interaction with Alicia that makes Peter look bad. Infuriated, Alicia starts to realize that she really does want Peter to run. Meanwhile, she and Jackie duel over control of their old family house.
Alicia and Diane are put in the odd position of representing a judge, the honorable Richard Cuesta, who has been accused of misconduct in a murder trial he handled for the state as a prosecutor twenty years earlier. New DNA evidence has overturned the conviction, and Cuesta faces removal from the bench if he’s found guilty. With Cuesta backed against a wall, the Lockhart/Gardner team realizes that they must stretch the truth in order to mount their best defense. With tensions rising, Alicia and Diane realize that Judge Cuesta’s adherence to the truth might make him his own worst enemy. When FBI agent Lana Delaney approaches LeMond Bishop, the drug dealer blames Kalinda for the federal attention – an accusation that might have grave consequences. Meanwhile, as new named partner Howard Lyman grows increasingly erratic, Will and Diane discuss hiring a new litigator. After two years, in the state’s attorney’s office, Cary Agos returns to his old home at Lockhart/Gardner.
Will and Diane scramble when Louis Canning and Patti Nyholm team up to bankrupt the firm. Also, Alicia faces conflicted feelings regarding her relationship with Peter, and Kalinda's past catches up to her.