The Good Wife
Episode 19: The Wheels of Justice
By: Carlos Uribe
The Good Wife is a show about Alicia Florrick and her career and scandalous personal life.
The premise of the episode is this: Alicia and the firm have to conduct the fastest trial in history so that they could win their case before an imminent Illinois Supreme Court decision is released that would sentence their client to life in prison. The stakes are high and it's a race against the clock to conduct this trial as quickly as possible. It should in theory work but there are a couple of problems that the Good Wife faced in it's execution. The first is that it never really felt like the characters were in a rush. There were signs we saw of them trying to do the preparations as quickly possible but the sense of urgency never really came through. Not even the final act, which imposed an arbitrary deadline, created that sense. Why? It's due to two reasons. The second is actually related to the second problem on why he theory didn't execute properly. The first reason is that we never really got a sense of what time it was or how much they had left. If there had been timers or anything to show that they were running out time then it would have created that sense of urgency a lot better. It doesn't help that the pace of the episode doesn't really match with what's happening. The editing and narrative should be moving at a brisker speed than normal but it doesn't. The second reason and the second problem with the execution is that it feels like a normal case in the Good Wife. This is because most cases take up only a single episode. Okay, we usually drop in at the end or the middle of the case. We don't go from opening statements to closing statements. Heck, sometimes we start with the closing statements. There are other times where we do go through the trial process. It's difficult to convey that the characters are moving faster than normal when they're taking as long as it takes for a case to normally get solved in this show. So you would think that with a premise of the weekly case that didn't really pan out that this would be a weak episode of the Good Wife. You would be wrong.
A large aspect of the case is who the client is: Colin Sweeney. It's to the show's testament that Sweeney has yet to hit the point of diminishing returns despite his numerous appearances. He's being sued for firing a gun in the middle of the party. Nobody died or got hurt but it did violate local gun restrictions. This could in theory sentence him to six years in jail but if the district attorneys wait long enough they might get a ruling that allows them to jail him for life. As the lawyers and investigators rush to figure out when the ruling comes out and how to win the case, Colin remains as fun as ever. He's such a great character because he's sociopath who likes to mess with people. As he remarks, he loves it when Alicia is forced to defend him when she doesn't believe that he's innocent. Life is just fun for him. There's a whole sub-plot where his girlfriend wants to marry him. She pretends that the reason she's hesitant is because Colin (allegedly) killed his first wife but it's really because he wants a pre-nup. The couple get a somewhat happy ending at the end of the episode. Colin might have won the firearm charges but the judge sentenced him to a month of prison for disorderly conduct. It sure beats life in jail. The two couple are able to get past the pre-nup when Colin decides that he doesn't need it. When confronted that she's going to cheat him out of his money, he non-nonchalantly claims that he can always kill her. It might be a joke or he might be serious. Overall, Colin made this episode fun as he remains one of Lockhart-Gardner's most entertaining clients.
There are a couple of other plots running as well. The first has to do with Cary when he's given something to do. Remember when Alicia was made to hire an associate? Cary is trusted to do the same but that sort-of combines into the weekly case when one of the applicants is clerking for the Supreme Court judge writing the majority opinion. At least Cary and Alicia have separate offices now. Alicia does discover the advantages of being a partner when she's given a large office, a budget of $10,000 to decorate it, and access to the firm's art collection. It pays to own part of the firm. The office politics is fun but it's what happened with Diane where the episode worked really well. There were two plots with Diane. The first has to do because Diane has Kalinda look into her past. There are three stages this plot goes. It starts with the funny where Kalinda finds erotic Vampire Diaries fan-fiction originating from Diane's computer. The real author is Diane's housekeeper. It's funny but it does have a sad ending for the housekeeper as she's going to have to be fired so that people can take Diane seriously. The second is more serious in relations to Diane's background as it knocks her father off his pedestal. The final stage is when things get complicated because it converges with the second plot. This second plot being Kurt's reunion with Diane. She not only employs his services but the two get together once more. It's pretty good but it does lead to a scene where Diane just wants to stop running away from him and marry him. Bad move because he takes the decision seriously just as Kalinda tells Diane to wait six months before continuing her relationship with him. Only Diane doesn't care for the consequences because she pushes to marrying this conservative character. A small complaint is that the writers might have gone a bit too far with Diane using political issues to push Kurt's buttons. It feels like they were trying to keep the script relevant when it didn't really need to.
The Wheels of Justice is a pretty great episode of the Good Wife. The weekly case's premise might have failed in execution but just about everything else worked. Colin was a lot of fun as he brought a lot of energy into the episode. The offices given to Cary and Alicia were pretty great in their comparison as was Cary's assignment to find an associate. Diane reveals her decision to pursue the Illinois Supreme Court spot was great and the whole background check turned out to have some pretty great results for her character.