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The Good Wife Review: The Ex Files

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On a lesser show, Celeste Serrano would have come on board as the ex of main character. That character would have been flustered and confused and perhaps a little flirty. That character's girlfriend would have been jealous and full of questions.

On The Good Wife, however, Will reacted to the introduction of Lisa Edelstein's Celeste with nonchalant focus. There may be a lot more ahead for these two, but come on, Celeste. You thought you could throw Will Gardner off his game during a case? You thought he'd care about anything other than the success of his firm?

I thought you knew this lawyer well.

Lisa Edelstein on The Good Wife

"Get a Room" was mostly dedicated to the debut of Edelstein, and I enjoyed the episode for the reasons hinted at above. It avoided the cliche of an ex coming in and immediately causing problems for Will and Alicia.

Quite the opposite took place, in fact, as Celeste's presence simply drew these two closer, Alicia reacting to Will's admission that he dated Serrano for two years with acceptance, sex and scheming. This is a mature relationship, even if Alicia and Will are still keeping it a secret. It's also one isn't above workplace manipulation, as evidenced by Alicia playing the fake jealousy card and walking out of the mediation room.

That was pretty cool.

Of course, Alicia didn't think so, not when later called out for her action by the mediator (the always-enjoyed Isiah Whitlock Jr. from The Wire and Cedar Rapids). Between her professional secret (Will) and her personal secret (Will) and her discovery that Peter was actually honest with Zach about his dalliances, Alicia is swimming in moral greyness these days. Will is comfortable there. Alicia is not.

She's also not prude, Owen. Trust us.

Elsewhere, I prefer my Eli Gold to be sarcastic, laid back and snarky. He was too angry this week, although I can never get enough of intelligent professionals having heated, adult arguments that lead to mutual respect and not petty bickering. That's where we were left this week between Eli and Diane. It also might be the fact that I'm an attorney's son (and brother... and nephew... and grandson), but I actually find the nuances of the law interesting, such as what words a client can or cannot say in public.

Overall, this installment mostly planted Celeste-related seeds. She'll be back for at least two more episodes in a role that's a fun departure from Edelstein's hospital administrator on House. Whereas Cuddy typically reacted to that title character's behavior, Celeste is far more proactive. She's strong and confident and will likely shed interesting (shady?) light on Will's past, which was first teased in his interactions with Blake as not always being above level.

Prepare yourself, viewers. And Alicia.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (112 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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I've noticed something else which didnt mention over there, Alicia and Kalinda, they both learned something that "you cant always trick people with your game of love, somebody'll get hurt and upset with that"

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No one is being the morality police on here. Perhaps the point is missed. Any discussion on infidelity were comparing it to Peter. It seemed 90 percent of the people posting made Peter the rat because of that particular moral issue. .Most thought Will was a saint and he has never been that. Neither has Alicia. Just commenting that Alicia is also capable of being self serving as she is obviously capable of infidelity also. It is also true that it does not make things better or justify anything if you do something just because someone else does. She just admitted in the last scene of the latest episode that this is not love. Others posted that her kids will understand as adults will do these things, but based on what happens in the real world, kids don't and that's a pretty well known if you deal with a lot of kids. Most people know this is just a show, and offer their point of view on the situations. No one has to stop watching or quit commenting anymore than anyone else. There can still be reasons one might want to watch the show even though they don't see everything as entertaining. Telling people to stop watching and commenting on certain issues because they make comments one does not agree with is just as much intolerance only in a different direction. Anyone can post whatever they think on here, and anyone can read it or not.

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I agree that I did not like Eli in the angry role. For me, as a fellow professional, it would be very imappropriate to be yelling at my colleagues and clients because I wasn't happy with the way something went. I like the sarcastic Eli much better. I am enjoying the morally gray area that Alicia is in, and seeing her character change. And I have to briefly vent about the "morality police" that post also. This is a show for entertainment. It is not supposed to be agree or disagree with every decision or action a character takes. If you are uncomfortable with things that are depicted on the show, don't watch it. I don't watch "Dexter" because for me, a show about someone killing people is not entertaining to me. That's my personal decision. I'm sure it's a great show, just not entertaining for me. I don't watch it and then post about how morally inappropriate it is. I am pretty sure 99% of people oppose murder. The point is that it is entertainment and if people are entertained by it, then it has served it's purpose. Same thing with The Good Wife. The basis of the show from the start is sex. And I'm sure most people would agree that infidelity is wrong. But the show is not meant to be a dissertation on the rights or wrongs of sexuality. If it is not entertainment to you,stop watching it. There was no guarantee that Alicia was always going to be Saint Alicia and seeing as everyone else on the show is far from a saint, I find it weird that so many people expect Alicia to be one too.

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It's good that the "good" wife is seeing that things are not just black and white. I didn't like the way Peter treated her either. And I, too, think the deal breaker was the lies and deception and not just sleeping with Kalinda. I think she's seeing that Peter is trying to be honest with his children and himself. He knows he's the reason she left. She's starting to see that she also has a less than honest side. I think her scene with Zach showed her that she can be as manipulative as any other lawyer. Will knows he can and he embraces it. Can Alicia be seduced to the dark side. Didn't like Eli in his angry tantrum role. Want to see something positive with Kalinda.

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@ Bill, I feel the same as you do about Peter. And I thought one of the highlights of this week's episode was the shock apparent on Alicia's face when she found out that Peter had ben honest with Zach and admitted to sleeping with someone else. Additionally, they have been giving a few redeeming qualities to Peter. I can't remember which past episode it was but Peter was asked by Lockhart and Gardner to look into a case, where evidence had been suppressed. Hey presto, it's sent anonymously to them and they manage to trace it back to the State Attorney's office, where they assume that Cary sent it. It turns out, it was actually Peter, after he said that he refused to look into things until he officially starts his new job, which definitely showed that he valued justice over petty discrimination against his ex-wife's and her lover's law firm. Another highlight this episode was Cary finally standing up and tell Kalinda a few home truths. I think the fact that he's put up with so much, with their relationship having been sexual (thus far) and the fact that he's stood by her after finding out about Peter added weight to what he said. Hopefully, Kalinda will start caring about his feelings and how she can help him a bit more from now on, rather than all the caring and help being one way from Cary to her. ~ Trina ~

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I have to admit to finding Alicia very tiresome in this episode. I generally haven't been as big a fan of her as most other people seem to be, preferring Will's complete nonchalance of being morally grey at best, Diane's passion for her causes, which actually allows her to stay morally white for the large part, Kalinda's seeming amorality and generally the rest of the cast. Which was why it irritated me a huge amount when Alicia had the gall to be shocked, appalled and bewildered when accused of playing the negotiator as much as everyone else. Didn't we SEE her scheming with Will? Didn't we hear her suggest that maybe she should act jealous? Didn't we see her actually initiate the manipulation, compared to Will being the usual instigator? Yet she is shocked when called on it - why exactly?! That's what I dislike about her character - she seems to have zero insight into herself. She can judge and disdain her husband for his infidelity as much as she likes. She's justified in being peeved with Kalinda. But why does she seem incapable of realising that she's not very moral when it comes to legal practice? I'm not suggesting that's a bad thing - for her clients, it's a very good thing. And like the negotiator said, 'if I needed a lawyer, I'd probably her you [her] too'. But why does she constantly seem shocked when somebody recognises that she isn't straight and narrow as she seems to believe herself to be. On other notes, I definitely enjoyed seeing Lisa Edelstein in this episode. I saw strong nuances of Cuddy, in the form of a total absence of timidity, similar wise-cracks and banter but I definitely saw differences as well. She definitely lacks a certain sympathy and warmth she had on House, although I did appreciate the tender face-stroking scene right at the end. And she definitely has a wilder, irresponsible slant on her character! Can't imagine Cuddy gambling on a medical or legal case. So I can't wait to see how she plays in the other episodes. And I'm seriously hoping she does become a recurring character in the least. I'm a little tired of Saint Alicia and it would be nice to have a character who is her opposite and revels in it. ~ Trina ~

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This week, for me, this show was simply ok.
I didn’t care much for the introduction of new character, a bit too much screen time for a minor role (in my opinion) and I hate flashbacks.
I liked Owen and his moments and love the outrageous Jackie, that walks in... to clean up?? We haven’t seen the last of her.
The beauty of Eli is always hard to determine, sometimes it’s just enough to keep you engaged, sometimes it’s simply too much. I don’t care for the screaming fits, but I like how Diane is dealing with a clever, efficient new professional figure.
I like that Kalinda is now holding the shorter straw, she must develop or stay that way for good. Either way, Cary could be the clue to exit relationships based on sex only and real friendship (I simply don’t see them as a couple). I am starting to think the whole deal with Grace’s tutor is just product advertising: the phone, the computer, the program... it adds nothing, it isn’t funny o entertaining and doesn’t even give us a peek on the girl’s character development. Looking forward to next week! @bill
Isn’t that what you were saying last week?
because it feels like I read the same thing over and over again,
you have an opinion, and you’ve expressed it.
Please start watching the show again, you will find new levels of disappointment,
and change a couple of sentences.
Reminiscing is really boring.

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I liked the Kalinda/Celeste double-takes & Celeste's "who is she?" comment.

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what about alicias brother and friend? the kids are coming home soon and he is fooling around. not he kind of "sitter" any parent would want

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The reviewer didnt mention the Cary/Kalinda scene. I love anytime these two share screentime because the chemistry is sizzling; I love Matt, and he makes Cary seem vulnerable even when he can be a jerk. I do want to see more of him though, he's so underused!