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TV Review: The Good Wife – “Long Way Home”

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In last night’s installment of CBS’s The Good Wife, “Long Way Home,” Alicia (Julianna Margulies) must once again represent Colin Sweeney (Dylan Baker), this time as he faces the outcome of a sexual harassment suit. Unfortunately, Colin is keeping her guessing as to whether he is committing perjury or not, making her job more difficult. And, of course, she has plenty else going on, too, learning that she will soon need to find a new place to live, and also having difficulty with her mentee, Caitlin (Anna Camp).

Baker’s Sweeney is always a pleasure. He’s a manipulative, borderline psychotic troublemaker, so it’s not like he’s a nice character. But Baker plays hm with such talent and grace, constantly keeping viewers guessing what Sweeney’s real motivations are. It’s a prime part for the actor, and one that he excels at. “Long Way Home” is no exception to that recurring performance.

In “Long Way Home,” Sweeney is trying to wrest control of his company back from his rival. This power play is interrupted when a young woman named Isobel (Morena Baccarin, V, Homeland, Firefly) steps forward with a child that she says is Sweeney’s, and accuses him of improper conduct. He denies it all. The rush for Alicia, Caitlin, and the firm is on to prove that Sweeney’s competition is behind the stunt. Except, Sweeney begins lying under oath. Then so does Isobel, to the dismay of her own attorney, Victoria Adler (Kate Burton). And then Sweeney and Isobel come to an amiable agreement, raising the child, who is, indeed, his, together. What’s going on?

Well, it’s pretty clear that Sweeney has once more gamed the system. If a connection between Isobel and Sweeney’s foe can be established, which is what appears to happen during the machinations, then Judge Friend (Bebe Neuwirth, Cheers) must rule in Sweeney’s favor, removing the competition from the game. So there is plenty of motivation for Sweeney here to stage such a connection for his own benefit. Add to that, Isobel is a softcore porn actress, meaning, she can fake things decently, and how comfortable Sweeney is with his son, it looks like Sweeney used Lockhart / Gardner all over again.

Which is fine. After all, Lockhart / Gardner gets a big payday. Being oblivious to Sweeney’s plans, they are not culpable in the illegal activities. And other than a suspicion, the lawyers can prove nothing. Nor do they have any desire to do so, as it would simply lose them money and get them into trouble. Not to mention, if they turn on him, Sweeney would go to someone else next time, costing them even more. And with a devious, intelligent mind like his, there is sure to be a next time.

All told, “Long Way Home” is a fantastic return for one of The Good Wife‘s best recurring characters.

Too bad Caitlin won’t stick around to enjoy the spoils of the victory. She chooses to give up the legal life to be a stay-at-home mom, a decision that baffles Alicia, perhaps because Alicia sort of regrets having done so herself. Alicia tries to convince Caitlin to stay, to no avail. It might be a good thing for Alicia that Caitlin is leaving, considering a rivalry seems to be building between them. But The Good Wife fans will definitely miss Camp’s terrific presence.

Hopefully Caitlin’s uncle, David Lee (Zach Grenier), won’t continue to blame Alicia for running Caitlin off, as he begins to this week, as it is very clear that Alicia has nothing to do with the resignation.

Adding to the office chaos, Will (Josh Charles) is treading carefully, now that he’s back at work. He still cannot have any involvement in the legal proceedings of the firm, and Lionel Deerfield (Edward Herrmann, Gilmore Girls, The Practice) is on hand to make sure that Will doesn’t cross a line. Will’s return calms the power vacuum, but will he be able to keep his nose clean for six whole months, resisting the career that is his calling?

In “Long Way Home,” Alicia learns that she must find somewhere else to live, as her rental unit will soon be sold. She can’t really afford to buy the place herself. Peter (Chris Noth) suggests impropriety is afoot, in that they are not giving her enough notice. This is something Alicia may end up fighting in court, but she is still likely to have to move eventually, and so, not wasting any time, she begins looking.

One possibility is buying back her old house. Grace (Makenzie Vega) and Zach (Graham Phillips) are all for this plan, as it is back on the market, but Alicia isn’t so enthusiastic. She claims it would be a financial hardship for her, which may be partially true. But then Alicia asks Diane (Christine Baranski) for a raise, so the money thing might not be an issue, long-term. No, there’s more to it than that.

Alicia’ visit to the house reveals a vulnerability, as she is overcome emotionally with memories of her time there. At first, those memories are happy, as she recalls her children. But when Peter’s image is evoked, they turn upsetting. It may very well be that Alicia doesn’t want to remember her marriage any more than she has to, now that it has fallen apart. This is reason enough not to return to the home. Alicia has moved on and built a new life for herself, and getting back her old dwelling is a step backwards, not forwards.

While no reconciliation seems imminent, Peter has his own troubles in “Long Way Home.” He orders Cary (Matt Czuchry) to investigate reports that two co-workers had relations on Peter’s office couch. When Cary comes forward with the guilty party, Peter fires them. But then Cary confesses his own indiscretion. Peter wants to slip it under the rug, but Cary tells him this is not possible, especially because others in the office know. What to do now?

Would Cary have come forward if Geneva (Renee Goldsbury, One Life to Live) hadn’t pressured him to? It’s hard to know. Geneva wasn’t going to turn him in, so Cary could have escaped consequences, other than the damage to his reputation. But Cary is a stand up guy, and so one would like to think that he eventually would have confessed anyway. Cary understands that one must admit their mistakes and suffer the consequences, and that’s what he does. Now he can move forward proudly, rather than hide this shame.

Peter has the tougher choice, and that’s deciding what to do with Cary. Peter can’t stand to loose his right-hand man, but neither can he let Cary continue on, unpunished. How much discipline is needed to satisfy the rest of the staff, but not damage Cary’s standing too much? It’s a fine balance, to be sure.

Next week’s episode features the return of Tammy (Elizabeth Reaser), and so , like most installments, it’s one not to miss! Catch The Good Wife Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com