The Good Wife Review: Are You Serious?

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"A Defense of Marriage" was about more than just the rights of same-sex spouses. The episode was an opportunity to look at the institution of marriage through the character's distinct relationships.

Before we get into the case, let's talk about Cary. After the brutal beating he got at the end of last Sunday's episode, there wasn't much follow-up. He showed up to work with a black eye and lied about how he got it. Plus, he had a confrontation with Nick about the city contract case, which ended with Nick threatening Cary.

Given the intensity of the situation, it was disappointing that it was barely addressed. I hope this gets resolved in the winter finale.

Alicia and Her Mother

This week's case was an intriguing one, especially when it came to the evidence. The CEO and his wife's wiretapped conversations were protected by the spousal privilege. The firm's defendant, who was in a same-sex marriage, was not afforded the same protection due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which states that same-sex marriages are not recognized by the federal government. No legal marriage means no spousal privilege.

Since the evidence was kicked out, the CEO walked and testified against his collegue. At that point, the case became about much more than a criminal case. It became a fight against the constitutionality of DOMA and taking the case to the Supreme Court. 

The firm brought in a proven Supreme Court lawyer, Jeremy Breslow, to fight the case, which created conflicting goals. The firm wanted to win for their client, while it was in Breslow's interest to lose, so he could appeal. 

The defendant and his husband decided not to take the offer and continue the fight. They were willing to take the court's punishment, if it meant they could appeal the decision and potentially get to the Supreme Court. Alicia and Diane still needed to make sure their client was properly defended, went against Breslow to make sure it happened, and won the case.

Breslow was upset and claimed their actions meant DOMA would be around for at least 10 more years. Should they have lost the case for the greater good? Or, would that have been malpractice? It was hilarious to see Breslow on TV proclaiming victory after all that happened.

I appreciate when The Good Wife addresses some of the major legal questions of the day and this case handled it well. When the couple had to decide whether to settle or not, there was no right or wrong answer, just a difficult decision based on personal convictions. 

The legal case set the stage for the underlying theme of the episode: What is a marriage? During the court case, we had a CEO married to a woman, who had numerous affairs. The defendant and his husband had a limited open marriage with Free Fridays. And, outside of the case there were marital woes as well. 

Peter and Veronica

Alicia's mother, Veronica, arrived in Chicago for Thanksgiving and brought with her probate issues with her deceased husband. Did Veronica cheat? Was the step-son right in telling his father and getting the will changed? Or, did it even matter? 

For the story, it mattered because Veronica's marital history provided insight into Alicia's marriage. Veronica had a point when she said that Alicia was afraid of being with Will because that would be like following in her mother's footsteps. With rare exceptions, Alicia has always done the "right" thing, not necessarily what would make her happy. Is that an admirable trait to have? Or, is it a sad one? The look on Alicia's face showed the sacrifices that she has made.

Then, Veronica overstepped by confronting Peter. Everything she said to him was spot on, but it wasn't her place to say it. Ultimately, it had the opposite result from what she wanted. Instead of pulling Peter and Alicia apart, she pushed them together ... at least for the moment.

Alicia's reaction stunned me as much as it did Peter. What the heck was she doing? Peter nailed it though, "Is this about your mother?" And, her quick response, "Yes," said it all. This wasn't about Peter or her marriage at all. It was about control, defying her mother, and even about Will.

Alicia seems to hit a certain threshold of restraint and then in a split second releases it in a moment of passion. She's done it before with Peter and with Will. Does this mean Alicia and Peter will get back together? No, because the sex wasn't even about Peter. And, it definitely wasn't about their relationship or marriage.

Throughout the season, a few readers have commented that Alicia is the "good wife" and since Peter's reformed, she should reconcile with him. At this point, I don't agree. If he wants her back then he should woo her and he hasn't done that. He's been almost all business with her about his campaign, her career, or the kids. 

There was nothing "good wife" about Alicia's actions. They are two consenting adults and married, but they both used poor judgement given their relationship and especially since their kids were right outside. I've never had much respect for Peter, but if he would have stopped Alicia's advance that would have changed.

It will be intriguing to see what happens next. Will either Alicia or Peter take Veronica's words to heart? Will Alicia decide to find happiness? Or, will Peter let Alicia go? Before the bathroom escapade, their marriage was in a stalemate. It wasn't moving in any direction. I'd love to see them both take Veronica's words to heart. 

If Peter moved forward and let Alicia go, then perhaps they could actually find their way back to each other. She could choose him. Love him. And, be happy.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (119 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Its about time Alicia showed her true spirit and where her heart is, after 4 seasons that has shown Peter in the right place where she wants him to be. A true husband and father and not the sleez everyone puts him out to be, she has only one thing she gave up was an affair with a man she admitted that she doesn't love and still doesn't. The writers and producers are finnally getting it right putting family values first and office BS out of the picture. PS Anne is right.


Is it possible that Matt Czuchry is working on other projects thereby limiting his exposure in the show? Just a thought. If it's not that, it's a "crime," the way he has been used this year. He had much more exposure in the first few years of the show.


continued: if she is not going to be with Will at least divorce Peter and be with someone else.


I too was disappointed with the follow up on Cary. I was proud of him for going to confront Nick, but then that was it. Hopefully it will be pursued in future episodes.
Eh on the case. I was sorta bored with it.
Loved Alicia's mom and particularly her scenes with Jackie. The 2 of them are a pair of dysfunctional people if you ever saw it. And of course, not happy with the last scene. Has anyone else seen the spoiler rumors that Alicia will end up pregnant this season? And at this point, that means it would be Peters baby. Desperately hoping that's not true. In this episode, it was definitely played that Alicia does not want to end up like her mother, and is therefore, making an at least partial attempt to repair her marriage. I do think that plays into her hesitancy with Will-not wanting to end up on her 3rd failed marriage like Veronica. But it poses interesting questions of if she'll ever be truly happy with Peter again. I love Will and want her with him, but if she is not going to be, at least divorce Peter and move on with someone else.


Continued. No, I don't think Alicia's losing out on anything. And the fact that Veronica, who is not even 1/10th the woman Alicia is, is trying to judge her for her principles, for her loyalty? Now that's sad.


Have you ever considered this: maybe doing the right thing makes Alicia happy? Alicia's nothing like her mother. She realizes that there's more to life than catering to the latest whim and absolving yourself of any and all responsibility the way her mother did. She's never going to abandon her children to go do whatever the new man in her life wants for years at a time. She's an adult, and that's admirable. That strength and nobility is admirable. The look on Alicia's face doesn't show the sacrifices she made, it showed that she realizes SHE'S one of the sacrifices her mother made. And really, what has Alicia given up? The right to pulverize the heart of a man who's trying to do the right thing and give her the time and the chance to make the ultimate decision about their life? The right to have her own life, her independence, and her conscience? No, the only thing she gave up was an affair with a man she admitted that she doesn't love. No, I don't think Alicia's losing out on anything at all. And the fact that Veronica, who is 1/100th of the woman Alicia is, is trying to judge her for her principles? For her loyalty? Now that's sad.


I am not excited at all with the direction this show is going. It seems to be all over the place. I dont understand Cary's storyline this episode. The court drama is not particularly exciting. Lastly, it seems to me that every time Alicia got together with Peter it is because of something or someone. This time it was her mother. Come on, it is about time Alicia decides whether she wants to be with Peter or not.


I'm afraid that this is the sort of thing that really irritates me about tv writing. After the beating Cary took, he'd have have more than a black eye. He'd have been lucky if his cheekbones were intact. He'd also have broken ribs and probably soft tissue damage - and he'd almost certainly be weeing blood for a few days. He would not be back at the office the next day with just a black eye. As he had no reason to know who beat him up (apart from the suit remark) why on earth wouldn't he have reported the assault to the police? He'd know enough friendly police officers from his time prosecuting that he'd have been given help. To treat the storyline so lightly and dismissively (I don't care if there is resolution next week) was just plain wrong. People (like it or not) learn from tv - and sometimes they need to see that beating someone up has serious consequences.


Are you serious, was my reaction to that tomfoolery by Alicia at the end with Peter. She belongs with Will. If they can't be together now, give her someone else. Not Peter. I am thinking Will is going to get with the Amanda Peet character and that will cause issues for Alicia and her new friend. It seems obvious to me and I want it to happen.


Are you serious? It's the exact thing I want to tell those writers. A black eye? Please!You don't have a major character beaten up and just devote to it something like a 4 minute plot full of holes, nonsense and incongruity.
Winter finale? I don't give a damn, really. Cary's character deserves more than that rubbish they're giving him with no exposure, no decent writing and no screentime.

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