Well, everyone, it’s season 6 of The Good Wife, which is season 100 in TV years, but somehow this show manages to reinvent itself every year in a way that keeps us on our toes. After the insanity of last year (I can’t even say the name Jeffrey Grant without a chill going up my spine), we find Alicia in a new world order. Will’s dead (I had a really hard time typing that), Alicia’s marriage to Peter has gone full-on Bill/Hillary, and she’s not even sure if she wants to be a lawyer anymore. Enter Eli Gold, who never met a scheme he didn’t like. In another direct pickup from the last moment of the season, Eli’s all, “Run for State’s Attorney, because you have lady parts. Oh, and people respect you,” and Alicia’s all, “Gurl, bye,” but this is Eli, and he doesn’t let go of things easily, so you just know this is gonna be a mess. More on that later.
Cary’s just minding his own business, doing his Cary Agos thing, not really wanting to join forces with Diane, heading toward his parked car in a shady neighborhood in the dead of night, when all of a sudden, he’s thrown to the ground by the cops in a totally insane way with lots of guns and screaming. All of this just after he gets off the phone with Kalinda, who has to be the most underutilized character in all of television. The show hasn’t known what to do with her for some time, and the show hasn’t figured out how to make us care about Kalinda’s romantic entanglements, whether they’re with Cary or Sophia, the Hot Blonde Investigator Woman. More on that later.
Cary’s in jail, so he can’t make that really classy breakfast with Diane and Alicia. Diane’s offer to join Florrick/Agos was one of the more titillating turns in an already firecracker season. Diane is not screwing around. She’s playing every card she’s got – Kalinda, $38 million in billables, and the whole “this’ll be the biggest, baddest, lady-lawyer-est lady law firm in history” argument. Hard to pass that up. Cary manages to find a bumbling Lockhart/Gardner client in lockup, and he uses said client to get a message through to Kalinda that he’s been arrested. The Good Wife could have turned that story beat into perfunctory shoe leather, but instead, we get Bumbling Client, Kalinda, and David Lee in a three-way scene that resembles something out of Laurel & Hardy. Fantastic stuff.
Kalinda reaches out to Alicia, and Alicia reaches out to Finn Polmar, who was also wounded in last season’s thing that happened that is still too soon for me to talk about openly, but it becomes clear that ASA Polmar & Co. are going for a big fish. Cary’s arrest is part of a strategy from the State’s Attorney’s office to bring down Lamont Bishop, a Florrick/Agos client who is basically the biggest, wealthiest, dressiest, most obvious drug dealer who ever lived. And as strategies go, it’s a good one. Rich boy Cary is not cut out for jail, y’all. Kudos to director and series co-creator Robert King for his work in those jail scenes. It’s not a place you want to be holed up in for very long.
Bail’s set at the insane amount of $1.3 million, and Alicia’s off and running, doing damage control with Lamont Bishop to keep Cary safe while simultaneously attempting to raise the money to get him out. And Eli’s still in her face trying to get her to run for State’s Attorney. Mad props to David Buckley for his great music throughout.
Eli’s chatting it up with his cheeky daughter Marissa when all of a sudden, Lauren the Commando Intern happens. Why is Peter’s office always full of distracting women? First, Marilyn, now the intern who doesn’t wear panties. Is Peter that much of a horndog? Does he really have that much trouble keeping it in his pants? I like the Eli-Peter dynamic, but can’t we trust Peter not to have sex with his intern? I get that the central conceit of the show is that Peter has a hard time not having sex with other women, but I figured by season 6 we’d have moved past that.
Kalinda comes to see Cary in jail and pledges her help, even tracking down one of Bishop’s lackeys to see if he’ll testify on Cary’s behalf. It’s very clear that the show wants us to invest in Cary and Kalinda and whatever thing they have going on, but for some reason, I just can’t believe in it. However, I am a die-hard ‘shipper, so I’m gonna keep trying. Kalary? Carlinda? Eh, I’ll figure it out.
It turns out that Eli’s idea to run Alicia for State’s Attorney is not altogether unreasonable. The very businesslike polling woman with glasses (whose name is apparently Bonita) lets us know that Alicia’s got great name ID and beats ASA Castro in a head-to-head. But Eli’s got other things to worry about, namely the intern who can’t afford panties. Because Eli’s daughter Marissa is just hanging around his office with nothing to do, and because her years with the IDF have made her a general bad-ass, she’s the only one with the stones to go to the intern and ask her straight up, “So what’s your deal? Do you wear panties or not?” And then the intern just lifts her dress, right there in the Governor’s Office. It’s one of the more ridiculous things I’ve seen all year, and the show’s at its weakest when it tries this kind of broad humor, but I’ll let it slide because The Good Wife is so good at so many other things.
Cary’s wealthy dad will only put up a measly $8,000 toward his bail, and so everyone is scrambling to come up with the full amount. Alicia’s even considering a second mortgage on her condo when she’s called back to court. ASA Polmar successfully moves to have Alicia removed as Cary’s counsel because she’s also Lamont Bishop’s lawyer. A smart move, and one Alicia didn’t see coming. And Alicia sees everything coming. Always. Do you all think the show is trying to plant a seed of something between Alicia and Polmar? I can’t tell. I know, I know, he’s married, and Alicia is anything but a homewrecker, but the woman could use some lovin’ is all I’m saying.
Eli maneuvers behind the scenes, telling ASA Castro that Peter wants to meet with him about running for State’s Attorney, and telling Peter that Castro wants to meet with him about running for State’s Attorney. All of this is to get Peter mad enough that he warms to the idea of Alicia running for the office. Sometimes, y’all, Peter is just too gullible for words. As all this is happening, I was left wondering, “What does this matter? Are these just scenes to fill time?” But alas, The Good Wife knows what it’s doing, and it won’t be long before this spills over into Alicia’s case.
Then, as if it wasn’t getting bad enough for Cary in jail, his fellow inmate comes to him, shiv in hand, and tells Cary he was instructed to CUT CARY’S FINGER OFF on Lamont Bishop’s orders. He won’t do that, because Cary gave him legal advice and shared some of his knockwurst and gruel (or whatever they feed you in county jail), but he still has to get the message across to Cary that squealing on Bishop = death. So before you can even blink, the guy cuts Cary’s hand, like, all the way open. That The Good Wife is still capable of such jaw-dropping moments is a testament to the show’s integrity. It’s so much better than network TV deserves, and that’s coming from someone who loves network TV.
Kalinda puts pressure on Sophia (Hot Blonde Investigator Woman) to give up the CI who helped the police get Cary. Then Sophia drops a bomb: Cary’s on tape (or 2014’s digital equivalent of tape) coaching Bishop’s guys on how to get around the law. It’s gonna be really hard to keep Cary out of federal prison, everyone.
Diane and Alicia keep working to try to get Cary out of jail, and they’re helped by Lamont Bishop, who comes by the office with a few of his peeps and a million and a half dollars in cash. On any other show, that would have saved the day, but when Alicia uses the money to try to get Cary out, ASA Polmar (who is now getting help from ASA Castro, who is newly burned by Peter) moves for a “source of funds” hearing, which I didn’t even know was a thing. So Eli’s machinations to get Alicia to run for State’s Attorney have wound up indirectly screwing Cary, who has to stay in jail until the judge has determined that the bail money is clean. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see where this story goes.
Next week: Taye Diggs. That is all.
About the author: Josh’s television writing credits include Hostages (CBS) and the upcoming Empire (FOX). His plays include Boy in a Blue Tweed Suit, Chrysalis, and The Last Pair of Earlies. His work has been seen at Primary Stages, Ars Nova, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. A resident playwright at New Dramatists since 2011, Josh is also a proud graduate of the University of Southern California and the Juilliard School. His Twitter is @joshofanarchy.