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TV Review: The Good Wife – “The Wheels of Justice”

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The opening scene of this week’s episode says a lot about why I like this show so much. Diane is showing Alicia the fancy new office our Good Wife has earned with her recent promotion. Alicia gazes in wonder.

That’s it: Someone gets a new office. It doesn’t just sound boring, it sounds like it could well be downright depressing, especially to someone like me who doesn’t like offices on principle.

But how many shows can give you a little thrill with a scene like that? This one can. QED.

Speaking of Diane, I’d observed only last week that she’d been without a love interest for a while, and who should turn up again this week than Curt (Gary Cole), the forensics expert she had a thing with awhile back. Diane calls him in to refute expert testimony that incriminates the firm’s client, Colin Sweeney (an almost demonic Dylan Baker), a truly bad person who happens to be innocent of the charge Alicia is defending him against: shooting a gun during a chaotic, bacchic orgy of a party.

 

 

This encounter with Curt frees Diane to drink more than usual and show a rarely seen coquettish side. It’s done to excess, perhaps, but does show us an interesting new facet to her. Seems to be a theme here: all the main characters working at the firm are basically good people, however flawed, yet so many of their clients and other outsiders are slimy at best. In addition, the show gives us characters who don’t quite fit any mold: in recent weeks we’ve had, for example, a murderous drug lord who loves his son and can evoke our sympathy; his meek personal lawyer with a heart of ice; and so on.

“The Wheels of Justice” doesn’t lack for humor, some of it from Sweeney’s mystifying, gorgeous girlfriend (Morena Baccarin, late of Homeland but always memorable to me from Firefly), but more of it courtesy of the seen-it-all judge played by The Sopranos‘ Vincent Curatola. Every damn thing this guy says is funny.

And while this week’s actual story is a notch below the best of The Good Wife, the script sparkles. Its one flaw is a too-quick-to-follow explanation of why the defense team has to hurry this particular trial. But that does give us more fun moments from Judge Polito, as well as some delightful development of the character of Robin, the new investigator, who first presents a comically serious face helping Cary interview a job candidate, then flirts the guy up when he turns out to have some valuable information pertaining to the case at hand (the kind of nutty coincidence that keeps TV writers in business, but also happens now and then in real life). Here’s hoping for more Robin.

As usual, the script juggles multiple plot lines. Speaking of judges, Diane engages Kalinda to look into her own (Diane’s) past to see what Peter’s political enemies might dredge up on her if the election goes to the Democrats and Peter names Diane to the State Supreme Court. The results range from painful (something Diane hadn’t known about her idolized father) to ridiculous (erotic vampire fanfic written on Diane’s computer by her housekeeper).

The Alicia-Will-Laura triangle has one leg unexpectedly pull out from under it when Laura quite sensibly walks out on Will after sensing, despite Alicia’s unconvincing denial, that there’s still something between Alicia and him. “Unexpectedly” because they’d been setting us up for her to be his real new love interest and then suddenly she pulls the plug. “Sensibly” because, well, who’d want to get into that kind of emotional tangle, especially against Alicia Florrick, and even if you are played by Amanda Peet? So will we see more of Laura?

One thing we know: Next week a long-simmering confrontation between Will and Peter over Alicia will come to some kind of fruition.

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About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is an Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases. He writes the blog Park Odyssey, for which he is visiting and blogging every park in New York City—over a thousand of them. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. By night he's a working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.