Sunday, January 12, 2014

REVIEW: 'The Good Wife' Gets Alicia, Cary, Diane & Will on the Same Side but Still Arguing in 'We, the Juries'

CBS' The Good Wife - Episode 5.12 We, the Juries

Alicia and Will each represent one-half of a couple accused of smuggling drugs, but the courtroom becomes mired in confusion and legal technicalities when they insist on separate jury pools; Cary attempts to woo a Lockhart/Gardner client; Kalinda tries to repair a damages relationship; and Marilyn begins her investigation into possible voter fraud during the gubernatorial election.

Last week, I asked The Good Wife to attempt something new to make these episodes feel different and distinct than just another case of Alicia facing off against Will in court. "We, the Juries" did deliver on that promise - even though both sides were once again in court and often arguing against each other. There was a qualitative simplicity to the plots of this episode. Each one had its goals and ambitions and didn't get muddled down by some morally ambiguous character or development.

Things were straight-forward and yet also very compelling. Alicia & Cary and Will & Diane are each representing half of a couple charged with smuggling drugs and ask for both clients to be tried separately. The judge - played by Victor Garber, who seems like he's done this but apparently hasn't been on this show before - presides over one trial but with two juries. Let the hijinks commerce! It was a nice twist on the legal format and to the new dynamic on the show. Each side has to decide if any line of questioning should their jury be allowed to hear - which also causes more infighting between the former colleagues. The resolution didn't quite live up to what came before it though - the younger lady was found not guilty while her older gentleman took a plea deal.

Surprisingly though, the much more interesting stuff this week came from Peter and Eli's side of the universe. That stuff has understandably taken a big back seat to the high skates drama happening between Alicia and Will. The show still gave it stuff to do but it was boring and seemed like a big misuse of Melissa George. This week is the type of material that George should have been doing since the beginning. This was the first time her character actually seemed good at questioning the ethics of Peter's administration. I wish the moment where she told Eli she wasn't going to back down was a bit stronger but it's also the first time I've had interest in that character. Will complicates things a lot here - with a lot of things fueling his decisions in regard to this scandal. It's just really delightful to behold.

This has been a really strong season for Alicia but when she goes to Peter to tell him to fix this was just another strong emotional highlight. Bringing up Zach and the potential that he might have to talk to federal investigators was the strongest way the show has ever touched on her family life that seemed interesting. Peter has done a lot of things to Alicia - to the point where I'm still not entirely sure on why she's still standing by him other than his political ambitions - but if this investigation develops into something much bigger, I'm really looking forward to the implications it would have in that relationship.

Some more thoughts:
  • Welcome back Matan Brody and Geneva Pine! It seems like it's been forever since we've last seen you. Looked like you guys had a lot of fun just letting the other sides argue against each other.
  • Loved the Bailiff's little outburst at always having to shuffle the juries in and out as well as their frequent complaining about trivial stuff like folding chairs and Chinese take out.
  • Also really enjoyed that brief moment when Alicia told Diane she needed Will to get on the same plan.
  • Stuff also happened between Cary and Kalinda - which is just so much more interesting than any of her interactions with Jason O'Mara or Jordano Spiro. It was fun watching Cary get the upper hand on her even though I don't believe for a second that she would not find out that the woman he named was the Paisley Group head's granddaughter.