Sunday, November 10, 2013

REVIEW: 'The Good Wife' Pulls Some Ethically Questionable Maneuvers in 'The Next Week'

CBS' The Good Wife - Episode 5.07 The Next Week

Alicia and Cary suspect that Lockhart/Gardner is spying on them when Zach discovers that the webcam on Alicia's computer is being accessed remotely. Meanwhile, Will takes on more than he anticipated when he comes to the aid of one of Alicia's old clients, and Clarke Hayden returns to offer financial advice to Florrick/Agos.

Perhaps the best thing about the breakup of the law firm has been how the show can tell its stories. It no longer can tell its plots the same way that it did before the big split. Everything now is so drastically different. So, how the show goes about telling its episodic stories has to be different as well. That's an exciting shakeup and one with a pretty big break from form in "The Next Week."

This hour showcases two big legal plots - one with Christian Borle's lawyer bringing a malpractice suit to Lockhart/Gardner that pulls Alicia into it and the other with Will trying to prove the innocence of a college student being held for murder played by Hunter Parrish. And neither operate under the guise that they will be wrapped up by the end of the hour. A legal case that carries over multiple episodes isn't a narrative device The Good Wife has ever used. So, I'm very excited about the prospects of the murder trial of Parrish's character. It would appear to be quite black-and-white in the details. But largely because of Parrish's performance, depth is added to the story. You immediately get the sense of innocence from him even though everything from Geneva is confirming his guilt. I'm intrigued to see how it all ends up.

The other case was very much keeping in the vein of the civil war between Lockhart/Gardner and Florrick/Agos. And both sides made some very big ethically questionable actions. Alicia blackmailed Diane and David Lee in order to testify to what they needed. Then, Diane and David Lee offered Anthony a partnership at their firm in order to implicate Alicia as personally liable. Those are some pretty drastic actions that seem a tad out of character. Didn't Alicia form the firm with Cary to not make decisions like Will and Diane? But both sides also have this great animosity towards the other so it feels believable for them to do those things in order to get what they think they are entitled to from the other while also hurting them.

However, one story I just did not get was the computer surveillance story. It had interesting implications when Zach discovered it and everyone immediately thought it was another trick employed by David Lee. Cary and Clarke's line reading was pretty amusing. But then, it just took this very uncomfortable turn as it divulged into a Zach and Grace story about someone spying on Grace. So, it lost my interest but I was then left with a few questions. If Zach could track who was spying, why didn't he do that on Alicia's computer when he first caught it? Why didn't he tell someone it wasn't Lockhart/Gardner when he first discovered who it was? Did he really walk away from that fight at school without any kind of punishment or without Alicia getting word of it?

Some more thoughts:
  • Nathan Lane was probably my favorite addition from the fourth season even though I didn't really enjoy the overall impact from the bankruptcy plot. I love the amount of restraint Lane brings to the role and that the show remembered that character had larger ambitions than simply being the guy to look over the numbers. His "I like.... the law" was an amazing moment.
  • Do I believe that Alicia would willingly not tell Owen about leaving the firm? No. Do I believe that her life got too hectic very quickly and she simply didn't have the time to tell him? Yes.
  • And I like Owen a lot but he's a pretty big inciting factor to the Will-Alicia-Peter love triangle which at this point is not something I truly care about in a big way.
  • I loved Parrish on Weeds but here he clearly is given something big and weighty to play that immediately pulls your attention.