The Good Wife: Bad

E: Hee hee!  They made a funny with the title.  Because, you know, Good?  And Bad?

Yeah, right, I guess it wasn’t that funny.

I’ll tell you what IS funny, though; the movie From the Hip.  Have you ever seen that?  If you’re a fan of David E. Kelly, and like quirky lawyers, well, that one’s a peach.  The central dilemma?  How attorneys live with defending a murderer. And not just any murderer, but one The People love to hate.  A vile elitist lizard prone to wearing turtlenecks under blazers, talking down to those around him and toying with their reactions to him.

And if you don’t know why I’m bringing this up, well, you missed this week’s episode, in which Dylan Baker plays the titular baddie who managed to escape conviction for murdering his wife.  Perhaps he got off because her body was never found?  Colin Sweeney (like Sweeney Todd, only with a snooty first name) is now being sued for his late wife’s estate by her daughter.  It was Peter who brought the unsuccessful murder charge, so Alicia is drafted to second chair the defense in the civil suit.  Do you think I’m guilty, he asks her.  “Of course,” she replies.

We have two additional plots this week; Diane flirts with her most strongly held convictions, and Peter’s appeal gets underway.

“This is not about sex,” Peter’s lawyer clarifies for the appellate judge.  What it’s about, of course, is money.  The prosecution essentially claims that Peter was paid in sex and call girls to ignore certain cases in a real estate scam.  Good to have that stated frankly from the start.  Peter claims the cases were dropped for lack of evidence, not for any nefarious reason.  Golden claims that with new evidence, the judge will see that Peter isn’t corrupt.  Or at least, that the charges are false.

Diane and Will have words over taking on Colin Sweeney as a client.  They’re civil and cool, but there’s an ugly undercurrent.  Sweeney’s company would be great business for us, Will asserts – better than the gun lobby class action suit Diane wants to take on.  And indeed, Kalinda and some associates have filled a conference room with guns bought on the street, to see whether retailers or manufacturers are circumventing gun control laws.

Will and Alicia meet with Sweeney in their office and his apartment.  He starts right off with some supercilious black humor: “don’t worry,” he says, offering to shake, “I killed her with my other hand.”  He complains about the cramped quarters of his massive apartment, with modernist white walls covered with oversized manga paintings showing brutalized, weeping women, and then excuses himself so he can show some sort of leather-clad rentagirl out the door.  He’s going to make some witness, this one, and you can’t keep a defendant off the stand in a civil case.  Interesting to know, that.  He doesn’t believe in fidelity (again, charming witness) and says his wife was cool with it since that meant she didn’t have to “do tricks”.  Nice.  When they head to probate court, we find another quirky judge and a would be Elle Woods (played by Meryl Streep’s daughter Mamie Gummer) in what may be her first case as opposing council. We go way back, says step-daughter/plaintiff Charlotte, and I’d rather have her than wait for someone with more experience.  “M’am,” the judges replies, “you’re too young to go way back.”

Kalinda and Diane head to a swanky gun shop, where gleaming weapons grace the stainless steel walls.  The sales clerk wears silk.  If Diane doesn’t have a gun license and doesn’t want to wait, the clerk wonders, why doesn’t Kalinda buy the gun?  There’s the case in a nut shell – except, Kalinda lets us all know, Diane has already passed on the lawsuit.  Oh. The lawsuit was a smokescreen. Diane had a client who threatened to kill her after she lost his case, and he’s up for parole.  She spoke against him at his hearing.  He saw her do it.  And now she doesn’t know what to do.  Her father wrote the first gun control law in Illinois (old political family, didn’t know that, you’d think it would have come up in the whole judgeship-fiasco, no?) and she’s always been for it.  But now she might need a gun by Friday, in case one Jeffrey Spellman comes calling.  Ah.  So we’re all about the crisis of conscience this week.

Back at Pete’s appeal, ASA Brody testifies.  Golden and Peter met with him earlier, trying to buddy up and somehow unsettle Childs.  Brody (Alicia’s adversary from the first episode and several others) said earlier that he sees Alicia as Peter’s puppet, and claims this new development broke their mentoring relationship, though we see in his testimony that he had some sort of deal going on with Childs back when they were colleagues to spy on Peter.  He watched to see which real estate cases were dropped, and passed the info on to Childs.  Hmm.  Why ever would he follow instructions from someone who wasn’t his boss?  Golden swoops in for the kill.  Whatever happened to the cases that Peter allegedly dip sixed?  Surely you reopened them?  No?  Hmmm. Your witness, Golden says, and the camera shifts (smooth!) to Elle Woods in the civil case.  She’s so wholesome and stuttery, I’d call her Bambi if that didn’t imply something worse than the Disney movie.  Sweeney’s spiteful, slutty sister-in-law testifies to their affair, which was based on a a desire to hurt her sister and also to get drugs.  Elle tips her hand, and Alicia is convinced the wholesomeness is an act.

Oh, now that’s fun news in the commercial break.  Remember that teen pageant contestant – where was she from, North Carolina, maybe? – who became a youtube sensation a few years ago due to her appalling ignorance of geography? She’s now a contestant on The Amazing Race!  Excellent.

The Florricks discuss their living arrangements, high from the success of the cross examination.  Alicia, who has been relaxing with Peter, freezes up and talks rationally about moving him into the “maid’s” room in the apartment, and other such domestic arrangements.  Peter clearly assumed he could move right back to her bed (and I confess, even I was a little surprised by how different her demeanor was) and asks her if she loves him.  She responds with a cool, measured “I do.”  “You sound like a lawyer,” he observes, looking almost hurt. “I am a lawyer,” she shoots back with the same reserve.  I suppose it was easier for her to think about him leaving prison when she had more time and space.  Now it’s turning from an idea into a likelihood, and that chilled their reconciliation.  He seems so open that it’s easy for us to forget that this is what he does; he’s wholely present with her when he’s with her, but can compartmentalize that so he can be with the likes of Amber Madison.  Alicia can’t wall her life off that way, so she’s got to shut it all down.  And she’s rather be in control than just tell him she’s uncomfortable and scared, because that’s it’s own level of intimacy, and she doesn’t trust him even that much.

Will they actually let him out of jail?  The Powers That Be have let it be known that he’s going to be considered a Special Guest Star next season, too.  How long do they string this out?  He’s serving a ten year sentence; isn’t he more useful to the show in jail than out?

We skip on to Diane at Kalinda’s favorite shooting club.  Spellman is out, and Diane is armed. Yikes.  (I didn’t think they’d let him out – I actually figured it would all be just an exercise to let her confirm – or fail – her values.) Kalinda explains where to aim.  Can’t I just maim him, Diane wants to know.  “You pick up a gun to shoot to kill, or you don’t pick up a gun.”  We’ve often wondered about that, watching cop shows.  Why can they never shoot to just take someone out of commission?  Kalinda and Diane discuss the way you need to dehumanize an adversary to shoot them.  Rather like Alicia, becoming rational with Peter, or like defending someone you believe murdered their wife.

While they’re talking to an opium dealer about his potential alibi (good luck with that one), Sweeney boasts to Alicia about how he’s gotten the best tables at every restaurant now that people think he killed his wife.  Is it worth it, she asks contemptuously.  Sure, he says.  What’s the difference if your wife is dead and everyone thinks you did it?  That one hits her right in the sympathy solar plexus.  She knows all about the dubious perks of notoriety.

Our old friend Amber Madison – real name Loretta Krispinski – arrives to testify against Peter, now that the mobster he was going to rat her out to has been murdered, and she’s pissed.  He knew I was a gift, she says.  I don’t know who, but he did, and he knew what he needed to do to keep having me.  Hmm.  That makes them both hookers in a way, doesn’t it?  If it were true, of course.  I say if because Golden produces a smoking gun – bank records of Peter’s which proves that he was in fact paying  her for sex (so if someone else was, she was getting paid twice).  Am I alone in wondering why they didn’t whip this out during the last trial?  It pretty much decimates the prosecution’s case, right there.

In a series of quick and crazy twists, Mrs. Sweeney’s head is recovered from the garden in their old apartment building.  Cary (woefully underused) uncovers a dummy corporation that step-daughter Charlotte used to pay for her aunt’s rehab, and the team decides to cast suspicion on the two of them.  Evidence discovered on the head leads everyone to Charlotte’s farm, where the rest of her mother’s remains are discovered.  She’s arrested, and Sweeney is off the hook.  Alicia ping pongs back and forth; is he guilty? Is he not?   When the head was found, she thought yes.  When the evidence appeared damning Charlotte, no. When a tv crew broadcast pictures of Charlotte being dragged away in chain screaming that Sweeney had framed her, not so much.

Diane wakes, deep in the night, to the sound of tinkling glass.  Is it Spellman?  She pulls a handgun from her nightstand, frantically loads it and spends a few panicked seconds with it aimed at the door, which opens to reveal – her little dog.  Huh.  I didn’t have her figured for a little dog person.  Christine Baranski, yes, but Diane Lockhart, not so much.  (Anyway, I also thought that he might come in after the dog, when her defenses were down – was that just me?) The next morning she gives the gun back to Kalinda.  “Did it scare you?” Kalinda wonders with characteristic impertinence.  “I’m liking it,” says Diane. (I thought they’d go with the more obvious and parallel structured response “I’m scared of me” – kudoes for being less predictable, writers.)    I have to admit, I expected where this plotline would end up, but I thought that he wouldn’t get out of prison and it would be more of an exercise about her willingness – or not – to compromise her belief structure.  Is she always going to be under threat now?  Will anything happen to this plot thread?  I suppose it’s an out if Baranski wanted to leave the show, but I sincerely hope she doesn’t.

Anyway.  Two unsettling bits to end with.  First, Childs showed up in Peter’s courthouse conference room, offering to set him free on “humanitarian.”  Seriously?  I can’t believe he could actually do that.  His price?  Let the conviction – and your disbarment – stand.  In other words, I’ll let you out as long as I can neutralize you as a political threat.  Peter appears to be thinking it over.  The scene shifts to Alicia’s office, where Sweeney arrives with one of his large, disturbing manga paintings rolled up in a tube as a thank you present.  Alicia is back to thinking he’s scum.  Sorry – specifically, guilty scum.  “You just have to trust people,” he wants her to know.  Right.  She’s got so much incentive to!

I’m not sure how I feel about this episode; I love the deeper emotional themes, as always, and I thought Dylan Baker did a good job, but I thought his character (as well as that of Krosure, the Elle Woods-esque lawyer) weren’t as original as I’d have preferred.  I can’t wait to see how it all works out, however – will Peter get out of jail?  (I can’t think that’s likely, at least not yet.)   How do things change for her if he does?  Is the job changing her in a fundamental way?  Wills he ever forgive him? Is he really corrupt, or not?  If he is, is that worse than the cheating?  Would she leave?    I’m hooked.  I am good and hooked.

Scenes from next week? Youch. Peter trouble is in the forefront, and the Kalinda double agent stuff hits the fan.  Kalinda tells Alicia to stay away from court while she testifies, and the voice over promises that this will be a shock to dwarf Peter’s infidelity.  Hmm.  Is that possible?  Unlikely, anyway. Will Kalinda sell Peter (back) down the river?  Is she just exposing his true corruption? Or does Kalinda just not want Alicia to know that she and Peter (maybe) had an affair?  Just thinking out loud here.

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3 comments on “The Good Wife: Bad

  1. […] customary, multilayered relevance.  Usually we have pretty simple words: Bang.  Boom.  Bad.  They don’t get much more complicated than Threesome (which, granted, is complicated […]

  2. […] the person who pops up to meet her isn’t the older fellow from the morning, a Mr Baylen, but perky blonde Miss Crozier, in a grape colored dress with a square neckline.  You remember her; the deceitful one whose  […]

  3. […] who is?” the rich tones of Bond-like oddball bad guy Colin Sweeney inquire, and Alicia spins, black hair flying over her camel colored coat. […]

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