The Good Wife Review: Passing Judge-ment

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Forget who you would take on a desert island for a moment. This week's episode of The Good Wife left me asking a different question:

"The Penalty Box" was the penultimate installment of season three? Really?!?

Alicia, Cary and Diane

It was a quality hour of television, I'm not saying otherwise. Cary is back, which opens up a number of avenues, starting with wondering just why Peter called near the end.

And the standalone case of the week was one of the best in awhile. David Paymer stood out as the veteran judge who lamented his life as a poor father and, in order to clear his own name, a disloyal friend/colleague. It made Alicia question the morality of the occupation she has chosen, certainly an interesting tact for a show about attorneys to take. Diane and Will, and Cary for the most part, have accepted that it's necessary to do whatever one can to win a case.

But Alicia still struggles with the outcome sometimes. If you win for your client by destroying the life of a seemingly good man, did you really win?

But, overall, I felt far more of an anxious pull following last week's episode of The Good Wife than this one. The sight of Peter and Alicia back as a team, fighting against that meany Mike, left me dying to see what happens next.

So it was surprising to see the answer, when it came to the Gubernatorial race, was... nothing. No mention of it at all, no interaction between Alicia and Peter, no Mike sighting. (Semi-spoiler alert: next week's season three finale promo doesn't make it look like a focus, either.) It was definitely disappointing.

Instead, the show is shifting its season-concluding drama to the issue of Kalinda and Lamond Bishop. And while Mike Colter is downright scary as the latter, and while we were treated here to another sexy Good Wife scene (Kalinda and Lana followed in the hot footsteps of Alicia and Will, and Alicia and Peter, in their pin-you-against-the-wall-and-make-you-writhe maneuver), there hasn't been a great deal of build-up to this storyline.

One minute Kalinda has tax problems... the next we see her confront Lana... and then suddenly Bishop is involved, threats are made and the series latches on to this arc as its main cliffhanger. I'm not loving it. It feels a bit rushed/contrived just to get Kalinda in the spotlight.

So, yes, I'm glad Cary is back. And, yes, it was fascinating to watch Kalinda's steely demeanor broken for a change, as tears welled up in her eyes when facing off against Lana, actual tears, not ones used for any kind of manipulation. And I'm always happy to see Stephen Root guest star on any series.

But I can't say this episode made me especially excited for next Sunday's finale. What about you? Are you all in on Kalinda's arc? Or would you prefer the crux of the finale to return to Peter, Alicia and the race for Governor?


Editor Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (114 Votes)

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


I have been an avid follower of the GoodWife series from day one, but I believe when you moved the program from Tuesday Nite to Sunday you made a BIG MISTAKE. If you have lost fans, that would be one reason (You have actually lost me, my sister & 3 friends). It is being shown on Channel 12 (KSLA) in Shreveport, LA and the majority of time the show never comes on when advertised (8PM). Every sunday at 8PM I would call the station to find out what time the show would come on and it was a different time each Sunday. All other programs were given top priority (Great Race, Football, Basketball, etc). There was one night when The Good Wife didn't come on until 11:45PM. That is when you lost us as viewers. Move it back to Tuesday nite!!


Alicia's character is beginning to confuse me. She is a such a do-good person and questions the ethics of everything, yet she readily lends support to a husband who investigated another attorney (and put a serious wrench in his career) for his personal reasons and fires a deputy simply because he is considering a move to another firm, after that deputy does all his dirty work for years. Talk about an ungrateful, power-abusing boss-man. How exactly does Alicia think Peter is good in office without questioning any of this? I am not against Peter (I like his character... it's a very real portrayal of people in power), but I am amazed that the show does not question any of this because it would be so natural and central to Alicia's character to do so? I am not sure she has grown... she feels sometimes like she's receded or worse, become someone else.


The scene with lana and kalinda was hot and you also got to see fear in kalinda eyes when she was talking about lamond bishop...and that former investigator laura was hot to.


Alicia's work & career growth now seems more secure and has options to her and to others. Her children are so so and yet need keen attention during their teenage years. She seemingly has put her love life on the backburner for the sake of perhaps a step into a political power position . I wish the writers had focused more on Alicia's personal life in season 3. They for me went off in so many scattered directions and personalities with less interesting arcs which distracted from the core relationship concern (A?W) existing for 2 full seasons. Season 3 by midway had dived for me as silence in both character and plot development walked away from this core A/W relationship which tied the legal world aspect into more of a realist type realm. .....too much, too little, too diminishing to the main character's overall forward development......too many writers most likely.....regretful as the main actors are so very outstanding. Continued hats off to creations of Alicia, Will, Diane, and Kalinda roles. Hopefully next season will focus on them especially. Bringing back to the forefront and increasing Alicia's womanly goodness characteristics certainly doesn't require her to stay in a less love-alive marriage since Will in action supports her growth development and Peter focuses foremost on Peter's advantages. These factors coupled with the many showing interruptions of this series strongly suggests a time and/or station production change and writers reduction. Good luck to Good Wife season 4.


But on one thing Scarlit is right, about the first season there are still loose ends from there... If I remeber right the FBI arch started with Mock... and was never really fully solved - was it not that it was an investigation about Childs and Peter? Alos some other littles things mentioned during that and the following seasons...


@Scarlit Like you, you are funny! :)


@Foo You won't be disappointing me it will be you who will be disappointed. I have the inside track !


@Scarlrt Sorry to disappoint you and you will see why ;) Or not, cause you will not like it judging by your comment! :-D


Alicia and Will really over? YES Stay tune for season 4 and see why, the storyline will be a total reverse back to the past before season 1 and it is about time.


I would tend to agree with much of what has been said - too many story arcs that went unresolved. When did Kalinda do work for Lamond Bishop other than the work the firm did with his divorce. Was she set up with those receipts by Blake (last season?) The whole Kalinda tax fiasco that Will gave to Alicia without seemingly talking to about it is strange. You had the sense that the checks had to do with work Kalinda did for Peter Florrick and Glenn Childs but that has not come forth. Why is Peter so angry with Cary? Cary was demoted and seems very unhappy at the States Att. office so looking for better pay and better situation seems fair. The house? Jackie? Once again, too many story arcs for too few episodes. And, are Alicia and Will really over? It seems so, but once again, not really resolved. Alicia and Kalinda have moved forward and we can see that from the preview but what is Louis Canning after with Patti Nyholm? Also, the last preview showed Peter Florrick getting off the elevator with Will Gardener and Alicia meeting them at the front reception. Then, that scene never happened. My guess is there was plan to depose Peter Florrick in the Cuesta case but it never happened. Too bad. He has never been to her or Eli's office which also seems strange somehow given their relationships. I am all for Diane being in the middle of things, as well. Will offering Cary a clean slate seems generous and Diane seems a bit out of touch to think that Will should so easily move on given the role Cary played in his near demise. Not sure about that. And, that Cary knows about Will and Alicia will somehow play out, I suspect but not sure how. And, always expected the hotel scene from the end of last season to figure in this year's plots but not so much.

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