by Matthew Thompson
(I don’t quite have the time to do weekly reviews, so with this new feature, TV Check-In, I hope to chime in on a show or a few shows each week depending on how in-depth I decide to go. I will talk about the season so far or since the last time I checked in.These will contain spoilers of course so beware!)
The fifth season finale of The Good Wife left a lot in flux. But despite having several big questions to answer, the writers weren’t afraid to throw a wrench in things in a big way in the season premiere. Said wrench was the arrest of Cary Agos. It wasn’t exactly comfortable to see Cary in prison, but it made for some riveting TV. What landed him in there was a card the writers had in their back pocket for a while now: Lemond Bishop. Not to say he hasn’t caused trouble for his defense lawyers before, but there was always the opportunity to go nuclear. And that feels like what they have done here. The result is that Bishop is affecting all the ongoing plotlines this season.
For instance, look at Diane’s move from Lockhart/Gardner/Canning. I thought she would move over to Florrick/Agos after last season. It made sense for many of the reasons within the fiction, but also from a television perspective. With so few of the main cogs left at LGC, keeping main storylines there didn’t seem to make a ton of sense. So pushing her over to Florrick/Agos along with Kalinda does make sense. Especially with Alicia’s looming run for State’s Attorney. Going back to LGC to check in with Diane and David Lee was certainly an option, but with the new firm and Alicia’s campaign to take up airtime this works better. Things turning out the way I thought doesn’t mean that this season’s big move didn’t affect the way they played out. Cary being in prison gave Alicia a bit more power as the named partner on the outside (she was the one in support of Diane coming over). But it also put the whole firm in a tough spot. However brief it was the future of Florrick/Agos was not looking good at all and while it didn’t seem like a move they’d go for, the writers could have blown things up there too.
Alicia’s reaction to Eli asking her to run for State’s Attorney also played out similarly to how I’d have guessed. I could see her eventual reaction in the premiere in my mind after watching last season’s finale. A firm no, shaking her head because Eli was being silly… and still you could see her considering it in the back of her mind. And you knew eventually she was going to give it a go for one reason or another. I wasn’t sure exactly how long she’d be able to hold out, but she did so on the surface for about as long as possible I suppose. This storyline also felt the influence of the Cary/Bishop plot. Tangling with the current SA James Castro over Cary’s arrest has added fuel to Alicia’s fire to run. At the same time, her partner’s legal troubles could work to hurt her campaign. And if the final reveal of the latest episode is anything to go on, Bishop will continue to have a role in this storyline going forward.
Of course, those are the big things. I find myself very impressed with the smaller details as well though. Take the way Grace’s choir would chime in at just the right time during Eli, Alicia and her potential new campaign manager’s sit down. Or how about not just bringing back the wonderful parody Darkness at Noon but adding new aftershow, Talking at Noon? There was even a cameo by Joe Weisberg, creator of The Americans, playing himself talking about AMC’s gritty dark prestige drama. It may be the big things that leave my mouth agape, but these little details can often leave me just as impressed with the talent guiding The Good Wife.
A few more things:
- My favorite episode so far this season was probably the premiere. This week’s was pretty close, but I think “The Line” did a better job of featuring more of the cast.
- Only thing I didn’t really love so far this season was the church arbitration thing. It wasn’t bad, but I guess it didn’t feel as good as everything surrounding it this season. I do like the way The Good Wife does weird takes on trials though, so I can appreciate that.
- The titular Oppo Research was nuts. That plus the sobriety test stuff shows just how messy things will get for Alicia in this campaign.
- Was I being overly cynical when it popped in my head that Lauren the intern could be Peter’s daughter? Or was that the intention? I don’t know, but it did cross my mind.
- Even though I like Diane going to Florrick/Agos, I do miss David Lee. Hopefully he finds a way to poke his head in plenty still.
- I would have liked to see the new firm just be the new firm a little longer before Alicia ran for SA. I know she will still work on stuff while running, but I love the vibe of the new place. I suppose timing-wise this makes sense though especially if the 7th season is its last.
This was the show I was most looking forward to coming back this Fall and it has been my favorite of the young season so far, so it certainly lived up to my anticipation. I’ll be back to check in with the show throughout the season. Have you been keeping up with The Good Wife this season? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading!