Sunday, March 24, 2013

'The Good Wife' Review - 4.18 Death of a Client

        On the newest episode of CBS' The Good Wife, an erratic and litigious client (John Noble) of Alicia's is murdered and she is convinced to waive attorney/client privilege to help the police when she learns that the killer may also be targeting someone close to her; Peter and Mike Kresteva vie for an influential endorsement; and Diane receives a stunning offer.

        CBS' The Good Wife is one of the smartest and most inventive series on broadcast television. It does not simply bind down to the typical structures and aspect of episodic television. It takes risks. This episode brings all of its major character together for one large event and then majestically rips them all apart as they are forced to tackle new issues while simultaneously keeping up a good face at the event and for the public - which is also the true dichotomy of the whole show. Similarly, many shows employ flashback style narratives now but The Good Wife's take on the narrative device was unique. It was memory-based and really eased with the mindset and the personality of the main character. Flashbacks, usually, are separate from the main events happening in present day that evoke similar themes or strengthen the overall hour's message. Here, it feels organic and natural. They occur in a non-linear to harken back to Alicia's memories of this man. She first needs to recall the cases this man has brought to her to deal with in order to help the police solve his murder. Afterwards, she is allowed to reflective - recalling how she first meet him and where she was in her life back when she was doing all this work for him. That time period was back when Alicia and Will were an item. A time when she was happy but now in hindsight she sees it as a more of a distraction from she morally is like in life. But there still is an immense attraction between her and Will - which is why that kiss a few weeks back brought all these issues back up to the surface. Their "break-up" scene at the police station is one that's been played on the show before and yet there's new elements at play here that also makes it different plus Julianna Margulies and Josh Charles were phenomenal in that moment. In the end, all of this inventiveness may have limited the resolution but it was a risk that, for the most part, paid off.
        Part of why the political race has been dragging on throughout this season has been because Matthew Perry found "success" on his NBC comedy, Go On. The final part of the third season built up the conflict between Peter and his Mike Kresteva as a major focal point - which unfortunately was sidetracked for the first seventeen episodes because Perry became unavailable. Kresteva was this grand and devilish villain - wonderfully portrayed by Perry. His ability as Alicia stated to psychopathically lie and believe that it's the truth is one fantastic characteristic. One that gives intrigue and depth into this story and his role in it and his relationships with both Alicia and Peter. Battling a lie with an even bigger lie may not be the morally right but dang was it fantastic to see Peter and Kresteva sparing with each other - both passively and physically. If only, Matthew Perry could be on this show every week for the rest of the season. I'm sure we'll get at least one more appearance but I also feel like this plot has been undercut by the lack of a consistent opposing threat.
        This series is a legal-based show. There is a case-of-the-week every episode. But unlike other legal dramas, the cases-of-the-week aren't just the focus for a week and contained to just that episode's layout. A case-of-the-week one episode builds into events and character traits and decisions in future episodes. Just last week, Alicia and Will represented the wife of a deceased state Supreme Court Justice - in the morgue. That case was inventive as well but it wasn't just processed and then discarded. Instead, the show is using those events to move Diane into a bigger story of the inner conflict of choosing her own political ambition and her partnership and the value of her business.

So what did everyone think of the episode? How will Alicia saying that she loves Peter - and breaking up with Will - now effect things? Will the political race returned to being more dull without Perry on a weekly basis? How about that covered up expletive from Alicia? Share your thoughts in the comments.