The Good Wife

The Good Wife hits the ground running (and tosses Cary in jail) with “The Line”

Last season ended on a something of an awkward cliffhanger, awkward because it hasn’t lived up to season endings of the past. Particularly of season four, where Alicia threw her hat in with Cary to form their own lawfirm. Eli suggesting that Alicia run for State Attorney doesn’t have the same effect since Alicia’s answer is pretty much assured:

No.

When the sixth season premiere “The Line” begins, it’s with Alicia giving Eli this very response. What didn’t work so well in the finale works much better as a premiere. The Alicia we have now, at this moment, can’t stand politics, particularly the invasive nature of it, a quality she’s spent every season bucking against. She doesn’t approve of the ass-kissing and the socializing and the pretending to be someone she’s not for the sake of a vote. But she is in a weird period in her life with Zach gone, Will dead and her marriage in very unique straits so perhaps Alicia may decide to take Eli up on his offer. That’s going to be where the season finds its meat, tracing Alicia’s decision to either run or not run. If she’s going to change her mind, it’s going to be something big that pushes her there.

But as Eli says, there’s a great chance Alicia could win. That’s almost a certainty, even in The Good Wife. Alicia may not always succeed, but there’s always a great chance that she will. Eli’s own polling proves the same, that Alicia would wipe the floor with Castro in an election, and is the only candidate who would do so. But while Eli and a begrudging Peter are making all these decisions, Alicia’s still adamant in her refusal.

While Eli’s polling people and convicing Peter, the State Attorney question is one largely forgotten by Alicia who has more pressing matters to deal with. There’s Diane wanting to come over to Florrick/Agos, another something to add to the mound of issues growing between Alicia and Cary. Then there’s the small matter of Cary being arrested for allegedly helping Lemond Bishop (the always wonderful Mike Colter) transport $1.3 million in heroin.

The resounding what of everyone, audience and characters alike, immediately makes this episode Emmy-worthy.

This is perhaps one of the worst cases we’ve ever seen really. Nothing‘s going right for anyone. Not for Cary, stuck in jail on a bond of $1.3 million and getting his hand sliced open by one of Bishop’s people. Not for Alicia, who gets kicked off the case due to a motion from Finn. Not even for Kalinda, whose questioning gets nipped in the bud by Bishop himself. Cary’s got a superb team of people on his side, and he’s still losing.

“The Line” certainly hits the ground running, immediately thrusting the show into a fast-paced episode that risks if not Cary’s life but at least his immediate safety and threatens to derail Diane’s move to Florrick/Agos. We don’t even have time to breathe before we’re viewing Cary’s prison sojourn through a blue filter and Florrick/Agos is counting its pennies to make bail for him.

It’s a surprisingly emotional hour, with everyone trying to help. There’s Alicia taking out a second mortgage, Robyn pooling her savings and a loan from her parents, Cary refusing to tell them about being intimidated in prison, Alicia lying about the measly contribution from Cary’s father and Diane agreeing to help him. The Good Wife isn’t an overly optimistic show so there’s no guarantee things will work out that well for Cary. Even if the firm makes bail, there’s the added strain it’ll place on the firm and its partners in addition to the legal trouble especially if Cary’s as guilty as he looks by the end of the hour.

Though there are emotionally resonant moments sprinkled here and there, the entire episode’s a stressful one (perhaps only alleviated by Eli’s haphazard machinations in Peter’s office). Just when things look like they’re going well, they’re not. Bail gets suspiciously posted by one of Bishop’s people, but when it comes under scrutiny Cary still has to stay in jail for a week. Then a recording surfaces (courtesy of another of Kalinda’s love interests) that promises to confirm Cary’s guilt.

The premiere employing one of its most reliable guest characters, Lemond Bishop, is another plus. “The Line” doesn’t feel very much like a premiere at all, more like we’ve landed in the midst of a season already in-process which I suppose, in some ways we did with its quickness to pick up where the finale left off. It’s all hands on deck immediately, threatening everyone’s security right off the bat but particularly Cary’s. He’s immediately in trouble and is still there by the episode’s end, with no indication of when this particular hurdle’s going to be cleared. It works because it’s completely unexpected. Last season ended hinting at a growing divide between Alicia and Cary, but now they’re united in the face of some other crisis, and if Cary is guilty that divide may start growing again.

Stray Observations

  • Robyn offering her savings and her parents’ loan to Cary’s bail was so, so sweet.
  • Eli’s daughter, Marissa (Sarah Steele), is so much fun. She’s also very much Eli’s daughter, and I hope she never leaves.
  • So did Cary actually tell Bishop how to sneak the shipment through? He did say he was there to check on Bishop’s status as a client, and I’m inclined to believe that Cary would have been desperate enough to do whatever he had to in order to ensure that Bishop stayed with them. And that recording has to have something damning on it.
  • Finn and Alicia have agreed that Cary’s legal drama isn’t going to cause them a problem, and I enjoy that, but I’m also eager to see more sparring between the two of them.

Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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