Sunday, October 11, 2015

REVIEW: 'The Good Wife' - Alicia Searches for an Investigator While Cary Battles Howard Lyman in 'Innocents'

CBS' The Good Wife - Episode 7.02 "Innocents"

Alicia argues a complex museum vandalism case that involves photographs a mother took of her son, and considers enlisting the help of investigator Jason Crouse. Also, Cary must deal with Howard Lyman's inappropriate conduct towards the younger associates at the firm.

Alicia is slowly but surely rebuilding her legal career. Working in the bond court is very difficult. The process is arduous. But it also brings her back to her first few days out of law school. She's doing the work that needs to be done in order to keep the system afloat. She has gotten much better at it than she was in the season premiere. That needed to be done. Both she and Lucca have a system that works and is shown effectively at the top of the hour. And yet, that's only one part of her revitalization this season. Her new law firm is making some serious hires. Lucca is proving to be a valuable friend. Grace has never been better than she is right now as Alicia's mature assistant. Plus, Alicia now has an investigator she can trust in Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Jason Crouse. Things are starting to line up well for Alicia at the moment. And yet, things are still ripe for conflict in the future.

Eli is officially onboard as Alicia's chief of staff for Peter's presidential campaign. Dropping the incredulity of Peter running for this particular office, it's a move that builds on the friendship of Eli and Alicia. Sure, Eli is primarily concerned about taking Ruth Eastman down after Peter choose her over him. And yet, Eli is helping Alicia navigate a world after running for office and being destroyed by a scandal. Alicia in politics was never a story that worked all that well. The show is still lingering on those consequences. Alicia is no longer the saint that Eli first painted her as to the people of Illinois. She changed because she stepped into the public spotlight. She needs to be seen differently now because of Peter's campaign. And yet, Alicia is fighting for her independence. Changing the way people see her can only do good things for her business. So, she goes along with Eli using her to hurt Ruth. She's even aware of what Eli is doing. Awareness of her surroundings is the first step of making her a fun character again.

Alicia doesn't have to do anything that she doesn't want to do. Eli does convince her to go apologize to Democratic chair Frank Landau. But that only allows for her to be taken more seriously in a world that is all about perception. She can still make her own decisions when it comes to the management of her new business. But she also trusts Eli's opinion. She believes that he wouldn't do anything to compromise her or her values. That's an important bond of friendship that has been developed over the years. They do trust each other even though Alicia doesn't really want to know what all Eli has planned for her. She's much more focused on doing well in her law career. She's building herself back up. The future is already starting to look much better for her too.

Of course, the legal case-of-the-week isn't that great. Alicia runs into a young adult in bond court accused with vandalizing a piece of art at the museum. She takes over the case because it's his image on display and it has seriously effected his life. It's perhaps a little too complicated. Alicia and Lucca team up and face off with Nancy Crozier. They go back-and-forth over the tiny details regarding the law in this case. It ultimately leads to the mother and son learning to listen to one another and respect their opinions on this matter. But that only comes about once the lawyers have spent a lot of time with arguments that show how passionately each side really is about these photos. The case is largely an excuse for Alicia to realize that Jason is the best investigator for her right now. The other two just aren't that good. With Jason, they already have a fun banter. It's amusing - even though it's not entirely clear what his character is besides mysterious. Can this show's investigators only be mysterious for some reason?

And lastly, there's the most enjoyable story of the episode with Cary and Howard Lyman fighting it out. Those two characters have such drastically different perspectives. Howard has always been a partner the show can go to for an easy joke. He has proven his worth on occasion. He's more than just the partner who sleeps in his office all day. But here, the show actually does address the fact that he isn't so great with the associates or the clients. That's a problem that Cary believes needs to be addressed. The rest of the partners believe they can continue to just write off his behavior. It's not until the war between the two escalates and effects the business that Diane and David Lee intervene. Cary plays it very smart by being able to keep his cool. He's known Howard long enough to know how he'll react to certain situations. Howard may be a formidable opponent but he doesn't really know Cary that well. In fact, he falls directly into the trap that Cary sets. Who knows if this will lead to a major change at the firm. But it was enjoyable nevertheless. Plus, it seemed like the show was having a lot of fun with those characters. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "Innocents" was written by Craig Turk and directed by Jim McKay.
  • I'm perfectly fine with the show never addressing why Grace isn't at school. She works much better as a character when helping her mom manage the business. Plus, their interactions seem much more mature this season.
  • Judge Dunaway has always been a reliable judge on the show. His conversion to the Muslim faith was a peculiar detail though. It did effect the case but it was largely just an amusing tick to give the case a different kind of energy.
  • Ruth tries to recruit Eli's assistant Nora to spy on him and report back to her. And yet, she's too loyal to Eli to ever betray him like that. She has never been more than a glorified extra over the years. But the show is at least acknowledging that she too is important in this transition. Too bad her allegiance was blown the second Ruth found out about Alicia visiting Frank Landau.
  • How long until Alicia and Lucca officially become partners? I give it another couple of episodes. They just work so well together.
  • Also, how soon until a conflict emerges from Jason working for both Alicia and Lockhart/Agos comes up? If Louis Canning keeps giving Alicia cases against her former colleagues, it could become complicated very quickly.