Friday, March 22, 2013

The Good Wife

The Good Wife
Episode 16: Runnin' with the Devil
Episode 17: Invitation to an Inquest
By: Carlos Uribe

The Good Wife is a show about Alicia Florrick and her career and scandalous personal life.

Spoilers Ahoy!

Runnin' with the Devil:

This episode's weekly case has to do with Lemond Bishop. He's accused of killing the criminal informant. The law firm has to find a way to prove his innocence but they're forced to work with Charles Lester. Charles is a lawyer who doesn't really work for any firm nor does he have an office. He works from his apartment and he's only had two clients. His first client was a well-known mobster and now he's working for Bishop. He doesn't really offer a lot of legal advice but every witness testifying against Bishop seems to recant their testimony after he talks to them. It's heavily implied that he's an enforcer but he's the person you would least suspect capable of doing so based on his personality and appearance. The casting director found the perfect person for the job, Wallace Shawn, as he's able to completely throw people off at first. He basically manages to get rid of any evidence against Bishop but this frustrates our characters. They have the respect for the law that allows them to be good at their job and they don't appreciate breaking it to win their cases. What makes matters worse is that Alicia not only thinks Bishop is innocent but that they could win without breaking any rules. She believes in the merits of the case. That she doesn't get to argue her brief in front of the judge is frustrating partly because she's proud of it. The weekly case was really solid and it was just entertaining to see Charles' impact on it.

The firm politics are starting to heat up against. They are now out of bankruptcy but they have to decide what to do for the future of the firm. Will and David want to lease back the two floors they lost but Diane is more cautious. She's afraid of expanding too fast because that hurt them last time. She wants to be more conservative in how they use their money. The two partners are tasked with trying to predict the economical future of the firm so that they can make an informed choice on the matter. The problem is that the two have a different vision on what to do because the firm doesn't have a clear mission statement. They need to be able to look at their mission statement to determine where to lead the firm towards. Since they don't have one, they have to come up with one. Crafting a mission statement proves to be a difficult task on it's own until the two decide to actually celebrate getting out of debt. The two are on the same page after that as they decide they're going to expand into the two offices. This likely means that Alicia and Cary will no longer have to share the same office. This basically means that the status quo is going to change ever so slightly and they will now be further separated.

The plot also develops with Kalinda and Cary. The two basically share a drink together but she rejects his kiss. There is a slight hint that the two might have slept together but it's not really clear if that happened or not. The two have their own separate plots as well. Cary is now serious about potentially starting his own law firm as he's talking to clients who are unhappy with the firm. His act of rebellion might cost him his job. Kalinda herself isn't happy with the firm because they're hiring another investigator. She doesn't feel like she needs the help and she's frustrated because she's not put in charge of the department. Her disbelief that she's now a part of an investigative department that she's not in charge of is a great moment from the show. The new partner they hire to help Kalinda does make a good impression as she's competent.

Runnin' with the Devil is a pretty great episode of the Good Wife due to the weekly case, the firm politics, and what's happening with the Kalinda and Cary plots.

Invitation to an Inquest:

I just love it when the Good Wife delivers a classic twist on the weekly case. This twist could be adding an enforcer to the team or it could completely changing the scenery. Invitation to an Inquest is an example of the latter. This episode there really isn't a court trial but an inquest. What's the difference? The first is the location as it takes place in a morgue. It also operates differently from a court. There's only six jury members and a coroner acts as the judge. They aren't trying to find out whose responsible for a murder but rather the actual cause of the death. Our characters are involved because their client's husband has just died and the insurance company doesn't want to pay her money. The insurance company claims that there was reckless driving before they move on to suicide. Alicia and Will have to prove that it was an accident or that he was killed. They first go with murder before moving on to intoxicated manslaughter. The case is made more interesting because of the limitations that the inquest places on the lawyers. There are no objections and both sides are limited to only three questions per witness. Since this is not a court, they are allowed to ask questions that would be overruled by a judge. They can't introduce evidence by themselves as only the coroner can. These rules and change of setting take our normally confident characters and throws them into a situation they have to adjust to. The actual case has a lot of good twists and turns that allowed it to stand on it's own without the special gimmick. This created a weekly case that was pretty strong and entertaining that worked on just about every level.

There is also some drama back at the firm. Cary is surprised to learn that he brought a new client into the firm. He's caught a bit off guard but he gets his explanation when he finds out it's a company that his father is representing. His dad has hired the law firm to help draft a medical marijuana bill as an alternative to one already being offered. The idea is that this would confuse people and neither would pass. It's dirty politics but Cary is up to the task. Only he gets into conflict with his father because they have a different idea of how the bill should be. Cary wants to make it a realistic alternative so that there is no suspicion towards it. His dad is seeking to make it as limited as possible so that if it passes then there's minimal damage. When his dad doesn't get his way, he basically tries to take away his business from the law firm or tries to get more partners into the case. Cary manages to outplay him by going to the CEO of the company. Cary not only manages to keep the client but he basically kicks his dad out of the negotiations. It's nice that Cary is being given something to do and his dad's presence is appreciated but it really wasn't the most interesting drama. It felt more like typical business, which is rarely interesting on it's own. It could have benefited if they had managed to somehow bring Eli on board so he could consult on the bill. His perspective and character might have made the plot slightly more interesting.

Alas, Eli was stuck in the campaign plot. Peter manages to win the primary and Eli has been cleared of all charges but he still has to contend with Jordan. He tries to get rid of him directly but this doesn't work. Peter thinks Jordan is useful to keep around so Eli decides to change Peter's mind. Jordan gives him the perfect opportunity when Jordan thinks Zach's girlfriend might hurt the campaign. Eli kills two birds with one stone when he allows Jordan to talk to Zach while keeping himself separate. Zach breaks up with her. Political blowback is averted and it leads to Jordan getting fired. This is because Alicia isn't happy that Jordan talking to her son without her permission. She wants the kids to be able to lead their lives without worrying about the campaign. She gets angry that Jordan broke the strict family rule so he leaves. Eli managed to manipulate Jordan into getting himself fired. It's a pretty genius move. So now the campaign plot is moving towards the general. Invitation to an Inquest is a pretty good episode but it could have worked to make Cary's plot more engaging.

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