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'The Good Wife' recap: A series of showdowns

November 21, 2011 |  1:23 pm


The headlines from Sunday night’s episodes of "The Good Wife:" Diane confronts Will, Alicia confronts Jackie, a special prosecutor from the state attorney's office confronts Diane, Will holds back on  Alicia, Zack gets a new car and ... well, I can't begin to explain what's going on with that good-time threesome of Cary, Dana and Kalinda.

The business side of the episode ran along two tracks: Will and Alica returned to military court, where Will so distinguished himself last season, to defend a woman who sent a drone aircraft to bomb a suspected Al Qaeda hideout but instead killed 12 Afghan civilians. Patrick Breen returned as the dorky but legally savvy Cpt. Hicks and Linda Emond returned as the frightening military judge. She liked Will as much as she did last time, which is to say, not at all, and Alicia and Lt. Higgs did the heavy lifting in court.

In comic counterpoint to the show's second take in three weeks on the military justice system was Eli’s efforts to make things right for the cheese industry after that unfortunate listeria outbreak. That quest included a trip to Washington to testify before a congressional committee on the unfairness of a new “My Plate” graph that replaced the old government-conceived pyramid of nutrition, and has shunted dairy products to a separate plate.

But Eli, a political op who is trying to remake himself into a one-stop campaign-managing, crisis intervention and lobbying firm, ran into a true Washington insider who got one over on him. By "true Washington insider" I mean that one day she was the chief of staff for a congressional committee and the next day, literally, she was representing an industry that the committee oversees. By the end of the episode, after ill-fated but quite wry attempts to form a cheese and fruit alliance against a common enemy -- vegetables -- and another gambit that would have extracted the corn industry from the vegetable lobby by declaring it a “grain,” Eli was back in Chicago questioning his role in the firm.

Diane was quite the lioness this week, and it was great to see Christine Baranski with more to do than usual. First she was visited by Wendy Scott Carr, the candidate who lost to Peter Florrick last season, who has been appointed by Peter as a special prosecutor looking into Will Gardner … or rather, into judicial corruption with Will as a way in. They want to crush Will and call it a judicial corruption scandal because Wendy thinks it will make a bigger splash. She's got the pieces of her career to pick up, after all.

Wendy basically tells Diane they won’t go after her if she’ll help them nail Will, but Diane raises one of her expertly sculpted brows. Their exchange was a gem of smiles and pleasantries masking threat and counterthreat. Diane closes the door behind Wendy, locates Will and, in that spot outside their building where the partners met during the Derek Bond ouster, lets him have it.

When Will protests that Scott Carr’s theory that Will’s pick-up basketball game is cover for introducing bookies to judges, Diane all but shouts, "I know it!" and then pins him to the wall with her intimidating glare. “Peter Florrick is coming after you because you’re sleeping with his wife,” she hisses. "Even if it's not wrong, it's not smart. Stop it. Make this go away.”

The only Will-and-Alicia action was when Will slid into his chair at the defense table after his conversation with Diane. He stared straight ahead and did not speak to Alica, but there was no mistaking his dread of having to explain some things to Alica. But not in this episode.

Alicia supporters cheered her discovery that Peter's mother, Jackie, had been going through her things at the apartment and trying to look at the contents of her computer. That led to new door locks and, when Jackie tried to enter with her old keys, an exchange between the two with Alicia standing at the door preventing Jackie from entering. When Jackie made disparaging remarks about Alicia's mothering skills, Alica smiled an amused, pitying and quite inauthentic smile and said, "You no longer have the power to wound." Because Jackie drives Zach and Grace to Peter's apartment when they stay there, Alicia had the impulsive idea to buy Zach a car.

"Good Wife" viewers -- at least the ones who really care -- have hoped to see more of Kalinda than we've seen so far this season, and, let's face it, we've hoped to see Kalinda and Alica sort out their difficulties and toss back tequila shooters again. But, no. Kalinda is now doing shots with Dana, a fellow prosecutor who is sleeping with Cary, who made out in last week's episode with Kalinda, who described the thrill of seducing a woman to Dana .... Where, you might ask, is this going?

The only thing I know for sure is that I snorted when Dana claimed to Wendy Scott Carr that she had a "source" inside Lockhart, Gardner: Kalinda. That woman doesn't know the first thing about who is whose source and who isn't.

Questions for the week: What does Cary think about the state attorney's assault on Lockhart, Gardner? He says the things his bosses want to hear, but I don't think he's that crazy about it ... maybe I just want to believe the best of that character.

How -- and when -- is Will going to come clean to Alicia? 

Diane is clearly forging a closer relationship with Eli -- how does that bode for Will?


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-- Kelly Scott

Above: Juliana Margulies as Alicia Florrick on "The Good Wife." Credit: Jeffrey Neira / CBS