Screen / The Good Wife

Fix It: The Good Wife ‘We, the Juries’ Review

There have been a lot of off things about The Good Wife in its five season run, and even this season the show has been plagued by some relatively minor issues, but “We, the Juries” effectively went around those problems.  Some of the fixes are permanent, like Marilyn’s new function investigating the voter fraud in the election, and others are temporary, like Damien’s absence.   Tonight’s episode featured an unlikely couple being accused of transporting cocaine who enlisted Lockhart/Garder before Florrick/Agos came into being.  Naturally, this put Alicia and Cary with the dorky guy and Diane and Will with his beautiful girlfriend with two juries for each of the defendants.  Though The Good Wife has stumbled some, “We, the Juries” was a welcome trip back to the early days of the show’s run where a recognizable actor as a judge, some quirky court happenings and interpersonal character drama could make any run-of-the-mill law show a genuine treat while also throwing itself into the new political intrigue of the season. Part of the charm of the “We, the Juries” was in the careful manipulation of a formula the show was getting a bit too comfortable with: pitting Will and Alicia against each other in court.  Instead the two of them were on the same side, though that didn’t mean all proceeded smoothly, and Diane and Cary were first chairs to keep the episode from veering back into an examination of how overemotional and ridiculous Will can be when faced with Alicia.  Despite the welcome inclusion of Diane and Cary, Will still got to get his Big Baby points in by lying about  juror misconduct to the judge despite Alicia’s correct claim that he saw it, too. The entire exchange could have been left out of the episode since it added nothing but reaffirm Alicia’s growing disappointment in Will as a human being, but The Good Wife  can’t get through an episode without giving some nod to the new state of Alicia and Will’s relationship.

If The Good Wife wants the audience to question our reasons for liking anything about Will then they have plenty of material.  With the voter fraud and Peter’s election now at the forefront,  Will got brought in to answer some of Marilyn’s questions which led to a chat between him and Peter where Will promised he’d tell Marilyn that he informed Peter of the voter fraud, essentially condemning him to an impeachment or at least a very scandalous resignation after a mere month as governor.   However infuriating Will may be (and his smarmy little face when he’s waxing about morality to Peter is definitely infuriating), it’s in his character to make this threat especially on the heels of Alicia’s betrayal and the loss of Diane’s judgeship. And Will did tell Peter about the 30,000 votes being fraudulent in last season finale “What’s in the Box?”, just like he said.  Either Peter has a shoddy memory or he’s a liar (guess which one is more likely).  Through their entire exchange I wondered how such an ethically-minded Alicia ended up torn between those two.

When Alicia found out about the voter fraud and its implications, especially after Zack’s testimony, Julianna Margulies proved why her performance as Alicia is consistently nominated for awards.  Alicia’s such a cool-headed character that when she has moments of breaking down, they’re very effective.  Her cracking voice when she demanded that Peter tell her he’s going to fix it was phenomenal.  

Also having a tough time is Eli who was frantic after seeing the video and found Moody to assure that he wouldn’t implicate Eli when he explained why he fabricated the votes.  This is the dirtiest we’ve ever seen Eli get in the political sphere.  He’s always danced around it in one way or another, leashed by Peter or Alicia or someone else, but Eli frankly telling Moody that he would ensure that the voter fraud stopped with him lest Moody wreck all of his friendships in Chicago, lets us know that Eli’s game for some heavyhanded wrangling to get out of this particular mess.   With a genuine issue on their hands, one far more serious than whether or not Peter is capable of not cheating on Alicia, The Good Wife is going down a more serious political route than they have since the first season with Peter’s attempts to get out of prison and clear his name.  If this goes badly, Peter could end up back in prison, and this time he’d actually deserve to be there.

The turn in political story also gives Marilyn something to do which is fantastic since the  character is much more appealing doing the work she was said to do when she was introduced instead of drowning in baby-daddy plots.  She was formidable and capable with her investigation, reaching her peak in a determined march down the hall to Peter’s office where she demanded he waive his attorney-client privilege so Will could tell her exactly what he and Peter discussed regarding the video.   Though Marilyn’s stalled by the stubborn refusals of the people she’s investigating, her inconclusive report and her assurance that things will go the Feds without Peter’s cooperation, makes her a much more engaging character than she was previously.  Now she has a real ethics violation to handle instead of throwing out hypotheticals and nagging everyone as she did in the early episodes, and now it looks like The Good Wife has figured out what they want to do with the character after the season’s earlier flailing around, first with Peter’s attraction to her and then with her pregnancy.

“We, the Juries” revisited the thought-forgotten Kalinda/Cary dynamic.  After Kalinda outing Florrick/Agos and their office space to Lockhart/Garder earlier in the season, the two had been on bad terms, but for some reason (apparently because the plot demanded it) Kalinda wanted to repair the relationship and set out to do so.    As I’m partial to Kalinda and Cary running around together and drinking, this wasn’t an issue for me, but it’s emblematic of the show’s greater Kalinda issues which I’ve detailed before so I won’t repeat, but it would be nice to have some context behind why Kalinda suddenly “misses” Cary when she hasn’t before.  Personally, I’m pretending it’s because she called it quits with Jenna and is looking for some company, whether it be sexual or boozy.  Whatever the reason, watching Matt Czuchry and Archie Panjabi giggle over Cary’s successful ruse to get Lockhart/Gardner to push away a huge client which involved taking advantage of Kalinda’s cemented loyalties to the firm and a bribed bartender, elicited some warm and fuzzy feelings.

Random observations:

  • This week without Damien was really nice.  I feel refreshed.
  • Hello, Victor Garber!
  • Where are Zack and Grace? What are they doing? Now that I’ve typed that we’re sure to go back to the ridiculous storyline of Grace growing up and that being great cause for alarm.
  • If things end up getting really bad for Peter and Eli maybe Elsbeth Tascioni will be back to fix things? Fingers crossed.
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