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'The Good Wife' recap: Fishing expedition

January 30, 2012 | 10:18 am

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So far, the ongoing investigation into Will’s alleged gambling ring has provided “The Good Wife” with its overarching narrative this season. While it’s not quite as juicy as Peter’s campaign was last year, the investigation has been an efficient way to develop all of the show’s major story lines, and it’s also given Josh Charles the chance to show off his considerable acting chops. The one thing the investigation hasn’t done is to eliminate our suspicions about Will, a character who’s right up there with Kalinda in terms of elusiveness.

In this week’s episode, Wendy Scott Carr finally brings Will’s case before a grand jury. Until now, Alicia had been in the dark about Peter’s investigation, and she’s understandably miffed to discover that her estranged husband is pursuing very serious allegations against her boss/ex-boyfriend. During a private moment at her apartment, Alicia accuses Peter of targeting Will for personal reasons. Peter counters that he’s just doing the right thing. “Peter, your problem wasn’t that you did things that were wrong, it’s that you did things that were wrong against your family,” Alicia replies. It’s been a long time since we’ve had such a tense Peter-Alicia moment—or any Peter-Alicia moment, for that matter—and I was perversely happy to see them fighting once again. I was also pleased to hear Peter admit, however indirectly, that his case against Will is motivated by personal animus.

As for the hearing itself, Elsbeth’s strategy is to tie the investigation back to Peter as much as possible. Her theory is that Peter will stop the indictment if it looks like he will be implicated because, as we know, Peter has also participated in Will’s sketchy pick-up games. It’s a smart move aimed directly at Cary, who likes his new boss too much to get him into trouble.

One by one, the Lockhart & Gardner team takes the stand and drops Peter’s name. First up is Diane, who makes sure to mention Peter’s participation in the basketball games and, when asked why she didn’t take part, coolly replies, “Oddly, it was because I don’t play basketball.” Then it’s office scene-stealer David Lee’s turn, and he’s sure to mention working on Peter’s trust paperwork.  Through the course of their testimony, it becomes clear that Wendy’s team is most interested in Will’s relationship to Judge Parks, particularly in regards to the McDermott case.

Which leads us to Kalinda, whose tactics this week are even sneakier than Elsbeth’s. When last we saw her, Kalinda was handing the McDermott file over to Dana. At the time, it appeared as if Kalinda was ratting out Will in order to save Alicia’s hide, but, when Will testifies, we discover that the folder actually included a fake email from Will to Judge Parks. Realizing that she’s been had, Dana confronts a defiant Kalinda. “Go ahead. Hit me. It’ll make you feel better,” she urges Dana, who promptly does just that. Dear Internet, Please make this into a GIF right now. Your friend, Meredith.

Clearly, Dana is no match for Kalinda, and it was impossibly satisfying to see her get her comeuppance, but here’s my question: Did Kalinda choose Will over Alicia? Now that she’s been screwed over, doesn’t it seem likely that Dana will go after Alicia’s forged rider for everything it’s worth.

 With the McDermott case effectively off the table, Wendy chooses the nuclear option, targeting Will’s “real vulnerability”—his relationship with Alicia. By now, Alicia’s a pro when it comes to testifying in court, but she is blindsided by Wendy’s badgering questions about Will. She’s trying to establish that Alicia used her relationship with Will to move up in the firm, but this strikes me as a pretty dubious tactic; after all, Will’s affair with Alicia has nothing to do with his (possibly sketchy) basketball games. It doesn’t much matter, though, because Alicia defiantly storms out of the courtroom in the middle of her testimony, telling Wendy, "Fine arrest me" when she threatens to hold her in contempt. This might be Alicia's greatest "You go, girl!" moment to date. 

Wendy’s hardball tactics backfire, and the grand jury decides not to indict Will. Perhaps feeling contrite after his argument, Peter chides Wendy for calling Alicia to the stand and dismisses her from the case. “Thank you for your service. My assistant will validate your parking,” he says, in what may be the best kiss-off line in the history of television. Refusing to accept defeat, Wendy vows that she will take the evidence to the bar association, but Peter doesn’t really care. With eight episodes left to go this season, I’m willing to bet that we haven’t heard the last from Wendy Scott Carr. The question is, is she going to target Peter, Will—or both of them? 

This episode also serves up a B-plot that’s funnier than 90% of network sitcoms. When a gay-rights group looks to hire a new strategist, Stacie Hall (Amy Sedaris) and Eli once again find themselves competing for the same job. Their cat-and-mouse game continues, but this time Stacie ups her game by propositioning Eli over a glass of hot, creamy mulled wine. “I desire you,” she says. “Every part of you. Your eyes. Your hair. I want to take you right now on the floor of this bar.” For good measure, Stacie covers Eli’s fingers in whipped cream and proceeds to suck them clean. Her seduction certainly lack subtlety, but it’s also effective. He wakes up after a night of “fishing” with Stacie, only to discover that she’s working on his ex-wife’s senatorial campaign. Alas, Eli is foiled again! Alan Cumming and Amy Sedaris are two brilliantly talented comic performers with terrific chemistry together, and they both bring their A-game to this episode, so I hope we get lots more of them together. The next round of mulled wine is on me, guys. 

Other thoughts:

--The envelope red herring was pretty goofy. If Will was actually paying off Judge Parks, would he have been stupid enough to do so during a brief recess from his bribery hearing? Why not just put a giant “$$$$$” on the front of the envelope?

--A sure sign that Cary has forgiven his old nemesis? Cary urges Wendy to drop the questions about Will and Alicia.

--Alicia to Wendy: “ I believe you lost to my husband.” Ouch.  

--Eli to Alicia: “ You’re one of those spurned wives. Your suffering has made you iconic.”

--I am really enjoying the David-Eli catfights.

--“You know what’s wrong with Sun Tzu?  He never fought the Jews.”

 

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— Meredith Blake

twitter.com/MeredithBlake

 

Photo: Alan Cumming as Eli Gold

Credit: David Giesbrecht/CBS 

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