Monday, October 19, 2015

REVIEW: 'The Good Wife' - Alicia Gets Mixed Up with the FBI While Howard Finds New Love in 'Cooked'

CBS' The Good Wife - Episode 7.03 "Cooked"

Alicia and Lucca work together on a complicated court case involving a designer drug dealer. Eli encourages Alicia and Veronica to participate in a mother/daughter cooking show to help Peter's campaign, with disastrous results.

The Good Wife is playing an interesting long game this season. The majority of it pertains to Peter's presidential campaign. And yet, the specific details surround the regular characters and how they will be affected by the various actions. Eli and Ruth's battle of the wits is very amusing to watch. He hasn't committed to completely destroying Peter and the campaign. But he is doing his best to serve Alicia's best interests at the moment. Sure, that means he can manipulate her in a way that no one else can at the moment. But it also provides valuable consequences to her that connect to both Frank Landau and Judge Don Schakowsky.

Judge Schakowsky was introduced in the season premiere as a judge used to the system and didn't want anything to disrupt the flow of something that has worked for a long time. He wasn't initially seen as corrupt. He just stood in opposition to Alicia's thinking. He was an obstacle she needed to overcome in order to better understand bond court. Now, she's able of being a good lawyer for the people she represents - even though it's very rare that she gets a low bail amount for them. However, it was apparent early on that Schakowsky let his personal feelings determine his rulings. Again, that doesn't make him totally corrupt. It's just something the lawyers have to put up with. It's not different than all the other eccentricities on display throughout the rest of the show's collection of judges. But a point is being made in saying that this character trait deserves an official investigation - one that Alicia quickly gets caught up into.

This hour initially plays as just another case-of-the-week that Alicia and Lucca have to deal with. It's a complicated case that shows off various aspects of how the law works. The two of them meet their clients who were arrested together for creating an analog version of GHB. They are pitted against each other to get a better deal, work together to present the best defense possible and then go their separate ways again. It's a case filled with twists that could easily function as is. But that's not what the show is setting out to do with this hour. It has higher ambitions than that. Ones that play directly into the long game planned for the season.

Alicia's client is an undercover FBI agent who is trying to get the judge arrested for accepting a bribe in his case. Alicia has no knowledge of what her client is doing. She's doing her best to represent him in court. But no matter what she does, her ideas and strategies keep failing. That's all a part of her client's plan. And yet, Alicia is very good at her job and demands to know the truth. At first, she fears that she is the target of this operation. The FBI is trying to get to Peter through her. That's why she goes to Eli with her concerns regarding this case. Ultimately, she's worried for no good reason. She wasn't the target of the strike. The judge was. She just happened to be the random lawyer assigned to the case. Because it was her though, the investigation didn't end how it was suppose to.

Eli has always been able to process new information quickly and get it to work out in his favor. Ruth may be undercutting him at work by placing him in a closet as his new office. Every time that door opened and hit his desk it was hilarious. But he also understands the Florrick's in a way that Ruth doesn't. He knows how Alicia and Veronica will act when they are forced to do a live cooking show together. He is aware that it will only end in disaster. That's the only reason why he lets it happen. But more importantly, Alicia trusts him with this information that could greatly impact the campaign. Instead he uses it in order to get back at Frank Landau for killing Alicia's bid for State's Attorney. Eli made promises to Alicia that soon she will be the one with power over Frank. There's still that business of the favor Frank asked of Alicia. But right now, Eli is able to warn Schakowsky of the FBI's corruption case in order to earn a favor from him. It destroys the FBI's entire case. Will that come back to hurt Alicia later on? It might. The importance in the moment though is Eli doing his best to destroy the people who wronged both him and Alicia. That is a very fun and amusing storyline this season that only promises to get more enticing as the year goes along.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Cooked" was written by Luke Schelhaas and directed by Michael Zinberg.
  • Howard wants to hire Alicia in order to bring an ageism suit against Lockhart/Agos. Alicia promptly gives him some advice about the reality of his situation. It then creates a very amusing story of him actually getting some work done. He continues to be a great character this season.
  • Also, how has it taken the show seven seasons to pair Howard and Jackie together romantically? That pairing feels like something the show should have experimented with before now. In fact, she's the reason why he is able to impress Diane, Cary and David Lee in the end.
  • Sometimes the animosity between Diane and Alicia can feel forced. So, it's a fantastic prospect to see the ice thawing a little bit with Diane wanting to give some of the firm's overflow cases to Alicia. Too bad the stuff with Howard later derailed that new working relationship.
  • Diane also can't stand this new crop of interns. She just wants someone to mentor. Because she was so good at that with Alicia and Cary, right?
  • Grace did much more investigative work than Jason did on this case. He didn't even appear even though Alicia had the conversation about hiring him for the case. Instead, the audience got Grace channeling her inner Veronica Mars and it was great!
  • The cooking show with Alicia and Veronica was always going to be a disaster. They can't even fake being a happy family for more than a minute. That's a lesson Ruth had to learn the hard way. However, Eli is starting to get asked big questions from people other than Ruth about Alicia's involvement with the campaign. People are noticing her distance.
  • It's pretty incredulous that Grace and Zach have access to facial recognition software. That was a pretty lame and weird reason to explain how she discovered that Alicia's client works for the FBI.
  • Tension started to grow better Alicia and Lucca after Alicia questioned Lucca's tactics during the case. And yet, all was well in the end because Alicia was still willing to split the work load evenly at bond court even though the judge wanted to give her substantially more.