For weeks now we knew it’d be coming and in the last few seconds of The Good Wife last night it arrived, care of Andrew Wiley, Glenn Childs’ daddy- investigator played by the wiley Tim Guinee. He’d been hounding Alicia all day for a moment of her time – to ask her why Blake Calamar (Scott Porter) had been interviewed by an AUSA with Alicia’s name as the subject line. Being that it was the eve of the election, Alicia was busy – she had a case involving a Courtney Love-obsessesed Hugo Chavez, Eli pressuring her to be interviewed, she just didn’t have time for Childs’ or Wiley’s games. But he finally caught up with her at Peter’s (Chris Noth-free?) victory party. He told her that the information he was looking for was simply a rumour, and then he asked Alicia if she wanted to know it. I don’t get why Alicia said yes… was she feeling invincible from Peter’s win? From her kick-ass interview with Erica Hill? Wiley told her that the rumour was that Peter had slept with a co-worker – someone who he’s checked into and doesn’t exist, someone named LEELA**, who Alicia knows is Kalinda.
The next scene bit could have gone a lot of way but to the huge credit of Julianna Margulies and the episodes writers Robert & Michelle King (also the series creators) it was one of the single most heartbreaking moments on TV this year. Alicia, upon realizing her husband had slept with her best friend, quietly and composed she leaves the party and walking down the hallway her heartbreak creeps up and losing her composure, she cries. And maybe I did too a little.
This is a game changer folks, one of The Good Wife’s strongest relationships is the growing friendship between Alicia and Kalinda. They’re co-workers, girlfriends, drinking buddies, and now it’s probably over. Alicia’s not stupid, and seeing as it only took Cary two seconds to make the assumption that Kalinda befriended Alicia out of guilt, it should have crossed her mind in the hallway.
The rest of the episode was fun but a little complex and distracting. The firm represented a Venezuelan drilling contractor suing a US oil conglomerate, half way through the depositions Chavez decides to nationalize the drilling company effectively removing L/G’s clients from their company. And in came Fred Dalton Thompson as the actor turned lawyer (in a nod to his real life professions as Actor/Lawyer/former Congressman) representing the Venezualan dictator. Thompson used his charm and celebrite to charm the usually fickle “In my opinion” Judge Lessner (Ana Gasteyer). Chavez was seen from the chest down and played like a rambling foreign comedian, leave it to the Good Wife to play a ruthless dictator for laughs. My personal fave was; “Where is Courtney Love’s Oscar? WHERE?”
That plot also gave way for America Ferrera’s Natalie Flores to be written in the episode as an intern at the firm and translator on this case. In the end she was hired away by Thompson’s character to be a translator in DC. I actually liked America Ferrera in the Good Wife world, and within a different context her character could have flourished, but her and Eli as a couple never really felt right to me, there was simply just no chemistry.
The oddest thing about the episode is how the election results came in in an episode without either candidate making an appearance. I doubt it was by choice, sometimes schedules don’t work out, and Peter did make an appearance, but only as blur being introduced into a crowd in the background as Alicia made her exit. It felt weird, like the digital Livia Soprano in season 3 weird, like CBS needs to put Chris Noth on some sort of contract (he’s been busy lately starring with Kiefer Sutherland, Brian Cox nad Jason Patric in That Championship Season on Broadway), worst of all it felt cheap.
Despite my feeling cheated and not totally loving the funny dictator gag, I still felt like this was a solid, but by no means great, entry into a stellar season.
There’s no new Good Wife until Tuesday May 3rd, when it returns for it’s fianl three episodes, the first is called “In Sickness” and it brings MARTHA FRIKKIN PLIMPTON back to the show. Martha Plimpton, currently starring on Fox’s Raising Hope has guested twice on the Good Wife as Lockhard/Gardner rival attorney (and future client???) Patti Nyholm, who used her pregnancy and newborn as props in her previous cases against L/G. Plimpton was the thing I was most thankful for last year after great turns on How To Make It In America, The Good Wife, Fringe and Raising Hope. And now she’s back on The Good Wife – May 3rd can’t come soon enough. CBS says of it’s next ep: