The Good Wife
Episode 18: Death of a Client
By: Carlos Uribe
The Good Wife is a show about Alicia Florrick and her career and scandalous personal life.
I loved just about every single moment of Death of a Client. It was simply a fantastic episode. There was a weekly case but then there really wasn't. There was no legal case. There was no-one that Alicia had to beat in any legal system. For one episode, this show stopped being a legal drama. What this episode is about is right there in the title. One of Alicia's clients is killed. She's taken from the black-tie party she was attending to support her husband so that she could help the police solve the murder. He was involved in eighteen lawsuits so it could have easily been one of them. The solution turns out to be the first case that was mentioned: a barking dog one. He was suing a dog owner over his dog and the owner killed him over it. This twist works because it was planted early in the episode. For most of the time, the police seem to suspect that it had something to do with a mobster and a corrupt cop. If this episode had a flaw is that the mystery never really came together like it should have. The threads linking them were pretty weak and the writers seem to have realized this. That's probably why they shifted the blame to the dog owner rather than actually putting together the plot pieces. It's a weakness and it's technically a pretty big one but I don't really find myself caring because it did just about everything else right. The way the case was solved, the way the police tried to navigate the attorney-client privilege, and the flashbacks were all pretty amazing that it excuses how the weekly case was actually pretty flimsy.
When Alicia is brought into the case, she feels free to share any information she feels could help them catch the killer. The only problem is that the client had a lot of enemies. This is revealed in a clever moment where the writers have Alicia write down all of the names that might have wanted him dead. The detective realizes that they're going to have to narrow down the search so he asks her a bunch of questions to try and see which names would have actually gone after him. The writers get the point across that almost every single person on the list could have done it through clever use of flashbacks and having her add an asterisk to almost every person's name. It's that kind of clever plotting that elevates this episode. What's even better is how the flashbacks are more than just a gimmick because of how they're employed. They're used in cuts and pieces that aren't necessarily in chronological order. This allows the viewers to really get a sense of who the client is through snippets. John Noble is able to make the most out of the role and really makes you feel sad that he died. The flashbacks do more than provide these snippets but it goes back to the affair. This is because during some of his court cases, she was still sleeping with Will. The way that the affair permeated through the flashbacks and into her mind was really clever. It makes sense that Alicia would do more than just encourage Laura to ask Will out but to basically break up with him all over again. The flashbacks are one of the strongest elements of the episode simply because they felt less like a gimmick and more because they were completely crucial to the plot.
The way that case was solved was pretty strong. It was solved through flashbacks and through Alicia's help. It was solved because Kalinda eventually got involved. It was also solved because the police lied to Alicia. They led her to believe her family might be in danger because they claim the killer's GPS listed Alicia's neighborhood. Alicia broke her attorney-client privilege because her life was reasonably in danger. They had actually lied to her to get the information that they needed. Kalinda managed to figure it out. This whole case did lead to Alicia's mom taking Zach and Grace to an Irish pub to keep them safe. Since this is St. Patrick's Day, there's a whole bunch of drunk people at the bar. Grandma has a little too much to drink and she accidentally spills some secrets. Secrets like Alicia got married after she was pregnant with Zach and that Grace might have been an accident. Alicia is able to make her daughter feel better by pretending that she did want a second child. It's a pretty great way to work Zach and Grace into the episode without feeling forced. They might have never been in any believable danger but the episode didn't really pretend that they were. It merely used the “danger” as a plot device to get the grandmother drunk enough to cause problems.
What was also great with this episode is the politics sub-plot. We get an appearance by Krescheva at the black-tie party. This might be the only appearance that Mathew Perry gets to make this season and the writers take advantage of that. When Alicia goes with the police to help solve a murder, Krescheva tries to poison a cardinal's mind by claiming that it was related to drug charges and Zach. This cardinal tends to shake the hands of one candidate and hug the other. The person he hugs basically wins the catholic vote. Peter is upset with this lie but his solution to the problem is epic. He punches Krescheva when they're alone in the bathroom. When Krescheva is shocked that Peter would punch him when they're political opponents, Peter replies that it doesn't make any sense so he mustn't have done it. Peter makes it look like Krescheva had been drinking a little bit too much so that he had fallen and given himself a bloody nose. It's simply a grand solution. The cardinal doesn't hug either of the candidates, which leaves the Catholic vote wide open. In a dangling plot thread, Diane is offered the spot of Supreme Court Justice by Peter. She only has two hours and a half to decide and she seems to want to take it. Will she? How will she fit into the show if she does? Will she be forced to stick with the firm for the sake of her continued appearance?
Death of a Client is simply a fantastic episode of the Good Wife and it's one of my new favorite episodes. The weekly case might not have been perfect but the way it was solved, the flashbacks, and the way the police manipulated Alicia was top-notch work. The family plot fit into the episode well and it didn't feel forced in. The black-tie party politics and Diane's decision were well executed as well. Overall, I've got state that this is so far one of the best episodes of the season-only “Red Team, Blue Team” or “Runnin' with the Devil” might better.
The Good Wife is getting another season! I'm so happy!