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The Good Wife Round Table: "The Art of War"

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On "The Art of War," The Good Wife ended with several shockers: Alicia was blindsided not only by the sexual assault decision, but Maddie's decision to run against Peter for Governor.

Our Round Table panel - of TV Fanatic staffers Carla Day, Carissa Pavlica and Christine Orlando, along with Tiffany Vogt of the TV Addict - discuss those surprises here, as well as what Alicia should do about Nick and the mysterious FBI investigation.

Agree or disagree with our opinions? Join in the conversation! 

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What did you think about the sexual assault case and the way it played out?
Tiffany: I was annoyed that they got me so invested in the case and then didn't win. We knew from the get go that it was a hard case with the perpetrator protected by a loophole in the law; then all they did was emphasize how there are so many ways an assault victim is not protected by the law. We know that victims have a hard time winning; it just would have felt better to give us a win this case.

Carissa: I found it upsetting. It seemed the entire episode was painting women in a negative light and this case was no different. Firstly, I hated opposing counsel using a woman's normal defense mechanism to "laugh off" an attempted assault against her. If he had any idea just how often women were made uncomfortable and needed to feign humor to get out of a situation he'd be shocked. Secondly, Judge Abernathy using Mrs. Florrick to Brian Dennehy's personal "Bucky" really showed his preference for a friend, and made light of the case. 

Christine: At the end I kept hoping the military would reopen the case for court martial since there was now new evidence against him, so I was pretty disappointed.

Carla: I also was disappointed in it. The last minute realization that he was activated at Midnight didn't make sense. Why wouldn't his lawyer have argued that from the very beginning? Also, I agree that it should have ended with a court martial trial pending.

Good Wife Round Table

Should Alicia tell Nick about the problem with the winning bid?
Tiffany: Not if she is not legal required to, then she should keep it to herself, particularly as she knows he poses some kind of physical threat. For the sooner Nick leaves town and pursues business elsewhere is preferred.  But if Alicia can find a way to tell him and then entrap him into doing something shady so that he returns to prison in the process, then I'm all for telling him.

Carissa: No. That he's still a client at all remains a mystery to me. 

Christine: She's walking a fine ethical line on this one but she's got enough wiggle room to keep her mouth shut. I like that Cary feels the same way. And Tiffany's right. Since Kalinda admitted that he can be dangerous, keeping this information to themselves is a no brainer.

Carla: Definitely agree that she should keep her mouth shut. That's what Kalinda would want and it's also what's best for the firm.

Do you believe that Maddie's intentions were initially to support Peter? Or, was she playing Florick's from the very beginning?
Tiffany: Maddie was definitely playing Alicia, Peter and Eli from the beginning. There was no reason for her to really befriend Alicia, or to support Peter's campaign. She absolutely played both to get information for her own campaign. No business person just suddenly decides to run for public office. She must have be planning something for a very long time and then strategically moved to make it work out. Brilliant, but very underhanded and shady.

Carissa: She's been playing them all. Second storyline painting women negatively. I never got the warm fuzzies from her and it's so sad to think if Alicia and Kalinda still had the friendship they once shared Alicia wouldn't have fallen so easily into Maddie's trap. I hope they crush her.

Christine: This was a plan from the start. She actively looked to get close to Alicia and that may be her undoing.  Peter is more than willing to fight dirty, especially when it comes to somebody who has used his family to get to him.

Carla: I don't know that she had the plan from the very beginning. She could have befriended Alicia without agreeing to financially support Peter's campaign. Perhaps, I'm too trusting, but I don't think she knew she was going to run for Governor at the very beginning. 

Did Eli make the right call by using Peggy to discredit Mandy? Or did he go too far?
Tiffany: I actually loved that Eli took such maneuvers to discredit Mandy after she showed that she was willing to use false information to derail a political campaign. Bravo Eli!

Carissa: Absolutely. It was Mandy who went too far. She wanted to pull a THG story out of her hat so she made it clear that she has no regard for the personal lives of others. Her own is then up for the same scrutiny. I was happy to see Kristin Chenoweth back after her earlier set injury that made way for the Mandy part in the first place! Third storyline painting women in a negative light.

Christine: I'm not sure there is such a thing as going too far in Eli's position. If it's not against the law, then he did his job which was to discredit a story that was a lie from the start.  

Carla: Oh, Eli. I almost felt bad for Mandy. She played a dangerous game of risk-reward and she lost.

Have we heard the end of alleged affair with the campaign worker? Did the storyline work in the end or did it fall flat?
Tiffany: We have not heard the end of the alleged affair with the campaign worker. That storyline is just too juicy to not use for the remainder of the campaign.

Carissa: Personally,  I'm done with the Peter is a cheater fall back story. Enough already. And that's exactly why I think it will come back again, and again, and again. Fourth negative story about women.

Christine:  Since the entire series was predicated on Peter cheating on his wife, I don't think this storyline will ever go away but this chapter of it fell flat for me.

Carla: If it's over, it fell flat for me. It feels like it was a contrived plot device to get Maddie to run for Governor. I hope there is more to the story, just because as it was left, it didn't work.

Speculate: Who is under investigation: Eli or Kalinda? And for what?
Tiffany: Kalinda is definitely under investigation, but I can't guess for what. Intrigued to find out, though.

Carissa: Kalinda. The only good thing Nick has given to her since his return is the information he gathered from Lana's apartment by way of the photographs she's been taking of Kalinda. Kalinda initially suspected Lana of spying on her, but gave way to lust. She should have trusted her instincts.

Christine: I'm going with Kalinda.  She seems to have a lot of skeletons in her closet. I'm wondering which one will come to light next.

Carla: I'm not sure. Kalinda would be the more interesting target, so I hope it goes there. She did create a fake identity. She's crossed the ethical and legal line in investigations, so it could be about either of those things.

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

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CONTINUED FROM BELOW...None of the stories "painted" any of these "women" as anything other than fully-formed humans IMO. Women have fought to be allowed to compete on the same playing field as men. Please don't cheapen their efforts by saying they should play on a prettier, more elevated, awe-inspiring field over in some other corner that won't get as dirty as the real one. Ladies can handle real life. We don't need it handed to us on a silver platter.

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Really enjoyed this episode. But, this round table leaves a lot to be desired. "Painting women in a bad light?" SERIOUSLY? Heads up, ladies. Females make up more than 50% of the U.S. population. It is entirely appropriate that they be depicted as something other than whores or nuns. The term I believe is "human" - with all the complexities that entails, women are HUMAN. They are capable of deceit, ambition, loneliness, fear, desire - everything that men can do or feel, women can as well. Please stop cheerleading the erroneous assumption that women need to be shown in a favorable light in order to be found inspiring. They don't. Men aren't depicted that way. Men are shown rising above struggles and flaws, and are considered stronger for doing so. Why not allow female characters the same dignity, earning the valor that comes with the struggle, and not demand that the "win" be a given just because a woman is involved? None of the stories "painted" any of these "women" as anything other than fully-formed humans IMO. Women have fought to be allowed to compete on the same playing field as men. Please don't cheapen their efforts by saying they should play on a prettier, more elevated, awe-inspiring field over in some other corner that won't get as dirty as the real one. Ladies can handle real life. We don't need it handed to us on a silver platter.

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I TOO ENJOY THE ROUND TABLE PANEL AND I AGREE THAT MADDIE WAS SCHEMING FROM THE BEGINNING. yOU REMEMBER SHE STATED THAT SHE HAD NEVER BACKED A MALE BEFORE AND ALWAYS SUPPORTED WOMEN. I AM SURPRISED ALICIA DIDN'T CATCH ON TO HER.

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On the Maddie take of behind the whole affair story don't be surprised if she has info on Alicia and not Peter. Don't forget the Maddy file folder with Will's picture in it, I wouldn't be at all surprised if she pulled that one.

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I enjoy these Round Table panels each week. I felt bad for the client, but the sexual assault case ended as I expected. Most plaintiffs do not prevail against the military. That text message did seem like a weak reason for dismissing the case. It could have been argued that although she thought the assault was over when she was walking back to her office, the assault was ongoing because the perpetrator followed her with the intent of continuing the assault. Actually, Alicia does have an obligation to tell Nick about the problem with the winning bid. In general, attorneys have a duty to tell their clients about anything significant to their case. That is pretty significant. Maddie played the Florricks and Eli. I wouldn’t be surprised if Maddie was behind the whole affair story. What gives me pause is that I would expect Maddie to pick someone more skillful than Indira.