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'The Good Wife': Dirty Deeds

October 21, 2009 |  7:52 am
98019_D0010B Finally! Ever since “The Good Wife” premiered, I have been waiting for the inevitable sexual tension between Alicia and Will to percolate. At long last, it appears my patience has been rewarded. In last night’s episode, Alicia and Will were forced — forced, I tell you — to work in close quarters on a case dealing with the wrongful deaths of three freight train operators. We witnessed the stirrings of what I can only hope will become a full-blown affair by November sweeps (though I realize this might be a tad overly optimistic).

Naturally, I am not the only one who noticed this development. Jackie, Alicia’s mother-in-law, is obsessed with the possibility of a romance between the two. On a visit to Peter in prison, Jackie provides one of the richer double entendres I have heard in a while, saying, “Will needs to give Alicia a break. Day and night, he never stops.” I can’t tell if Jackie is just a busybody, or if her meddling comes out of some genuine desire to see her son and daughter-in-law happy together, but she is effective at making Peter jealous. In a spectacular display of hypocrisy, he confronts Alicia about the not-quite-budding romance, warning her that Will is not what he seems. He’s probably just playing games, but I would like to know more about Will. For all we know, he could be a serial killer.

One of the more ingenious and surprising aspects of this show is the way the writers find new angles on Alicia’s predicament, and the way they tie her situation to even bigger, messier questions about women, workplace politics and privacy in the era of the Internet. Sort of like “Sex and the City,” in each episode “The Good Wife” tackles one central question; luckily for us, these themes do not arrive via irritating voiceover as Sarah Jessica Parker licks her lips and pretends to work out the answers on her laptop. This week, that question seemed to be: When do you put personal beliefs ahead of your job?

For Kalinda, this meant performing a cryptic background check on Malcolm Overby, a big-time lawyer at another firm, at Diane’s behest. Initially, we’re made to believe that Diane is scouting Overby as a potential new partner at their firm, but eventually we discover that Diane has more personal motivations: She is spying on her boyfriend. Though Kalinda is wise to Diane’s scheming, she doesn’t openly question the propriety of the mission; in fact she exploits the sensitive situation to get a raise. Is Kalinda a shameless mercenary, or is she just looking out for No. 1? It’s hard to say.

Alicia also had to do some serious soul-searching this week. Investigating the crash, she discovers that Sarah, an employee of the freight train company, was having an affair with a co-worker. Even worse, the indiscretion has to come to light for Alicia to win the case for her clients — a group of grieving, broke widows. Ultimately, she forces Sarah to testify. It probably cost Sarah her job, maybe even her marriage, but it leads to justice for the widows. Does that make it OK?

Lest we forget, the amazing Martha Plimpton guest starred this week as Patty, a ruthless attorney defending the freight train company. In one scene, Patty shamelessly fakes labor pains in order to stop a disastrous deposition. It was hilarious, but I think her antics also proved a larger point. Just like everyone else on this episode, Patty stops at nothing to get the job done; she just has fewer qualms about doing it.  She also seems to have a friendly relationship with Will — that is, when they’re not going head-to-head in the courtroom — which makes me think that’s kind of the point. No matter how nasty or manipulative they get, they’re both “just doing their job.”

What did you think? Was Alicia wrong to force Sarah to testify, or was Alicia’s daughter right when she said, “You have to. It’s your job”? Is Peter just playing head games, or do you think Will might be harboring some secrets? And do you think Peter and Alicia will actually get together?

-- Meredith Blake


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Photo: Juliana Margulies stars as Alicia Florrick. Credit: Eike Schroter / CBS