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The Good Wife Review: How Low Can You Go?

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It's the first episode of the new year and already we're faced with small time tricks and games to get ahead.

Yes, things have really been invigorated in The Good Wife Season 5, but it's not always pleasant to watch.

On The Good Wife Season 5 Episode 11, we had Will taking a case simply because it gave him a chance to go up against Alicia - AGAIN - and then he used every dirty tactic he knew to throw her off of her game. He must know he can't win against her.

Because she was so tussled, she changed midday into the outfit she was in when he banged her the first time to volley the confusion back his way.

To titillate everyone tuning in for a dose of Will and Alicia lovin', the former couldn't even keep his mouth open while he attempted to question his witness because he was thrown back to the time he was removing that suit from Alicia's lovely frame.

Alicia and Cary in Court

But it wasn't all about low blows between Will and Alicia. As Will's plans to grow Lockhart/Gardner (even he can't call the firm by it's new name, LG) at leaps and bounds, he's using mob attorney and general jackass Damian Boyle to threaten partners into voting with Will and against Diane -- because that's what things have come to -- Will versus Diane.

It's lovely that everyone is enjoying the new energy, but what I'm missing are the personal relationships. They are virtually missing. If it weren't for the animosity, there would hardly be any interaction at all. Diane is getting more disengaged every week, and if her final words with Will weren't foreboding I'll be surprised. It's not like her to do whatever he wants, and I don't think she'll keep it up for long. 

She had barely a moment to let him know that they have come to a psychological breaking point not just in the firm, but with their partnership. They are not who or what they once were and she's concerned. His answer was for her to support him. For Will, it's always about Will. He's lost focus of anything or anybody that doesn't immediately answer his commands and that's not a good place to be.

Cary had a great moment with Alicia where he told her not to let Will get the best of her, and from his strong words she took away from it to tempt Will sexually. She didn't get pumped to prove that she was a better attorney, or to find a fantastic angle to win the case, but to send him into a sexual frenzy. It's disappointing.

Can we believe that Marilyn's baby daddy is really Peter Bogdanovich? Other than the fact that is was one of the most ridiculous cameos in history, her stories don't add up. He was in town doing a film that week. But when Kalinda was asking about whether her baby daddy would be in her life, she said she saw him every day. Does Bogdanovich live in Chicago? 

Another disappointment with the Damian Boyle line is what it did to Kalinda. She is tough as nails, but she can fall for people as she did Jenna. She likes to think that her rough exterior makes it impossible to ruffle her feathers, but there aren't many people who wouldn't be bothered by someone like Boyle.

Matthew Lillard's guest spot was incredibly enjoyable, and the catchy tune Rowby sang was fun. I was thankful for the break from all nasty behavior that we got with his one-liners. They were undoubtedly the highlight of the hour for me. I'm well aware I'm in the minority.

The hour ended with the video about the election boxes. That's already been addressed in some capacity in The Good Wife Season 4 Episode 22, so it's not a surprise that it's coming back again. If one box was in question, the odds are pretty good there was foul play with others. Whether Peter was behind it? I honestly doubt it. I don't think he's keen on going back to prison. That won't stop the drama from playing out, however.

Bless Eli for not having had a stroke for putting up with all the garbage that comes from being Peter's Chief of Staff. If he's not dealing with Jackie Florrick, tracking down Marilyn's baby daddy or discovering who stole a gift to the Governor on Craig's list, he's dealing with real issues like the supreme court nominee and now this business with election fraud. He needs another visit from Natalie Flores and for things to go right for a change!

There isn't a question that the acting on The Good Wife is top notch. The building blocks are all here. My belief is that the series is above cheap shots, childish behavior and who's the daddy storylines. There is a lot of drama that can be mined from these incredible characters, their history and their damn smart legal tactics. Let's have more Boston Legal and less Ally McBeal.

Before you hit the comments to have your say about what's gone down, let me know your thoughts on this question. I'll tell you my hope -- NO. What's your answer?

Do you think Diane will stay with Lockhart/Gardner?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
  • 4.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (69 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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    36 Comments New Comment Subscribe

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    Usually the tried and true will last forever, bit when you start screwing up the dynamics of a tv series, you lose the characters, and the audience too.

    Go back to the old characters and the scripts on track. We need to see/hear more of Alicia's inner feelings and thoughts with her family, the firm, and Will. Bring back the old Kalinda - leave her personal side out of it - always keep the audience guessing. Let Kalinda do what she's always done best - snoop with results!

    Bring back the old Will, he's not as vicious as the new. Let his legal genius shine, his heart be out in the open, and let the neighborhood bully go. As for Diane . . she was always just a filler in the storyline.

    As I said, the tried and true always works. Bring back the bits of LA Law, Boston Legal and leave so much Peyton Place on the writers desk.

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    Imagine!! I just started watching this wonderful program this week on the Hallmark Channel. I'm hooked!! By all the comments and your critique...I sure hope they don't commit suicide..like so many of the sitcoms before them...starting way back with Roseanne. Once the writers made the characters mean to each other..beyond what should be called humor it wasn't fun to see.. I used to watch the Middle and Modern family..but the story lines go way beyond funny. I loved both shows when they first aired. The sweet baby girl in Modern family soon (in the name of humor) was doing mean/evil things to her dads. I sure hope writers of The Good Wife..don't change the tone and make it a total soap opera that lacks the realism that the average person can relate to. . One of the things I do like is the lack of profanity..and blood and guts scenes. I applaud them TOTALLY for not having to sit with the remote in my hand to change the channel if things got too graphic.

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    @ nancy lindsey

    Keep watching things will change and you will see how a cut throat firm operates and the people who can be trusted, the bottom line is that it will turn into a soap opera and you will be turning the channel.

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    The show now can be summed up in two words - character assassination. It has become more "entertaining" to watch (if you like fast, simplistic plot lines) but at the expense of what made it distinctive - the nuanced characters and their interpersonal relationships. This episode is stupid writing and if the writers can't think of better story lines for Will and Alicia, they should at least give our beloved characters an honorable sendoff (well, it'll be Will, since Alicia is the central character). The show has become gimmicky, when I always watched it for the maturity of its portrayals in both script and acting.

    With this "hate" dynamic, the writers are completely destroying two wonderful characters I have been invested in from day 1. When did Alicia become so bitchy? And I still don't get what makes Alicia want to hurt Will so badly? He always stood by her till the day she made her decision to leave. Her words/actions now really don't feel organic to the character we've seen built over four seasons, rather it seems artificially designed to push some plot agenda. And what about Will? He always lived in grey - that's what made him realistic, and likeable - but now he's so two dimensional. I disagree with the writer of this article that Will is always about Will. Sure, he's the flamboyant guy, who is occasionally full of himself, but he's shown plenty of times that he can be supportive, loyal, and considerate to everyone around him - Alicia, Diane, Kalinda, and many of his clients.

    Diane and Kalinda are a shadow of themselves. The only interesting characters left are Eli and Peter, who make guest appearances. And the character additions are positively annoying - Damian Boyle is a cartoon and that detective serves no other purpose than reminding us that Kalinda is lesbian.

    Please writers and producers - I want the old show back. I don't care about all this talk of reenergizing the show - it was always fantastic, and I'll take the old characters any day over new shallow plot lines.

    Modwild
    @ TGW_fan

    The writer of this article meant by Will being always about Will in this new, re-energized season. I've lost contact with the other seasons. They feel like they were a lifetime ago, even though we're expected to feel a connection. I find it more difficult to do so every week. That statement was only in reference to this season. In the past, Will was a different man.

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    @ Carissa Pavlica

    This has to do with all seasons, Will is all about Will and has always been one way. He is only interested in one thing and in the past used Alicia for his own personal gain and pleasure. It is about time the writers have opened her eyes to all of his BS and moved on. She saw the real Will with the election vote to get rid od Diane and his torrid explosion and remarks after he found out she was leaving, don't forget Diane was in on that BS also.

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    CBS messed with the schedule and my DVR missed the last few minutes. I can't get Uverse on demand to play the episode. What happened after Eli left the reporter's office after viewing the ballot box video?

    Modwild
    @ Judy Thomas

    Eli walked down the hallway and ran into Marilyn, who wanted to introduce him to her baby daddy who had decided he wanted to come forward. Peter Bogdanovich. A real head scratcher. Eli just walked past Marilyn, in a bit of a haze. Poor Eli.

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    I read that Josh Charles wants to leave the show. The script may be setting the stage for Will to leave, if the actor and CBS cannot come to terms for the next season.
    If Will has to go, let's hope it is not a mob hit set up by Damian.

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    @ Myrna

    Let's hope it is.

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    @ Myrna

    Sounds good to me. A good contract would fit the bill.

    Drea-xoxo

    Damien bores me and tries to hard. i ignore his scenes and play papa bear....

    overall the pace is moving better but annoyed at peter sl and kalinda!! give me back old kalinda! postives are cary/alicia partnership and robin focusing on the job again. Diane needs to realise no one respects her anymore and she needs a change in direction

    Avatar

    Great review, pretty spot on with my thinking. I'm so tired of Will/Alicia sophomoric behavior. Alicia's actions of changing clothes was sleazy to say the least, if you can't win let's use past sexual history. I loved the old format, interesting cases, Kalinda kicking butt and getting the needed evidence just in time. I don't believe Diane is just going to rol over and watch Will destroy the firm she has built. Will has always been a self centered jerk, but could show concern and empathy sometimes. Hiring Damien has totally turned me off. I can't stand him and his "friend" he's used against Kalinda. Marilyn along with Damien and his friend are unneeded garbage and should be discarded. The song guy was the only entertainment last night, in fact I got bored and starting reading, a first for this show that I used to love.

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    @ Infoplease+

    Yes, the writers are ruining the once excellent show. Enough of Will and Alicia rivalry. And enough of their hots for each other. These have been played to death. There are other cases and other people in the world. Please!

    And I'm totally with you. Bring back the old Kalinda. Get rid of Marilyn. What kind of cop or highway patrol could get away with her antics? I do like the increasing air time that Robin is getting, though.

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    @ Infoplease+

    I agree she should of put strong actions on the case and not looking back, MOVE ON.

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    I think that with the harbinger they left us with in episode 10, caused us to over think and expect too much out of this episode..I certainly believe they will pick up the pace of the show....I do not like however the way the writers are making Will into a maniacal idiot...he hasnt acted like a lawyer since "hitting-the-fan" and that has taken away from his character...More of Diane please, she is so intrinsic in TGW and since her return to "LG" she has been casted like an outsider...Enough of Damien Boyle already he was witty in his debut but now he is bordering on obnoxious, I feel like slapping him hard....I love Alicia as always, she can do no wrong in my eyes...But the petty bantering between her and Will in the courtroom makes it so obvious that he has a chip on his shoulder from an obvious affair...The writers should make their future meetings completely unplanned so we may gauge reactions from both characters un-biasedly.
    Overall rating for this episode 7/10..nothing compares to Will's terrific acting in episode 5 and 10 both which recieved 10/10.....I see an emmy in your future Will....

    Avatar

    I for one would like to see Damian and his buddy cop to go down together in a flaming blaze of get off the show; some scandal that would eliminate him as a lawyer and her as a cop. That would be great to kill two birds with one stone. Kalinda is rarely one-upped and she looks pretty pissed to me. Those two characters add nothing to the show they are like mosquitoes flying in your ear, I'm waiting for some brave writer to swat them both! I would like to see something interesting for Diane. Remember that Alicia refused to vote when they voted her out but she had no problem voting against Alicia. I think she bet on the wrong race in the Will/Alicia race and she is no regretting it. When she said do whatever to Will, I just think this is a temporary situation, she'll have some hot gun scene with her hubby and she will turn around and get back to business! Will is the odd man out here, is he looking to go back to jail (that wouldn't be a bad idea). I like Carrie and his relationship with Alicia, he brought her back to earth, he's low key but effective. Keep trying Good Wife! and for Pete's sake clean house.

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    @ Sonde+

    Will was never in jail. Peter was.

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    @ Esq.

    But he should be.

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    @ Hillary

    Right on, Hillary!

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    Nice review. I am a different opinion though about the general tenor of the show: I think it is highly on track.

    What is great about this show is that, in general, there is no "reset" button. When they set events in motion, the writers try not to go back on them.

    The animosity between Will and Alicia, especially on Will's part, is something that is genuine. Who has never had a bad "breakup", and had the other party just not be able to get over it? This is especially true when the other party never saw it coming. Will offered Alicia senior partnership right before she left - basically professional marriage: they were at VASTLY different places. It would incredible/unbelievable for him to get over it so quickly.

    (And who hasn't, after a break-up, tried to find pretexts to be around, in the vicinity or even stalking the other party?)

    I know we would like Alicia to be the better person and be able to shake it off as Cary has suggested. But Alicia is a person, and wanting to take the moral high ground versus what actually happens in life are entirely different things.

    What is interesting about this whole storyline is that it says a great thing about perspective. Will and Alicia are both people we have rooted for in the past. In the past, it was Will and Alicia, against the antics of Patti Nyholm, or Nancy Crozier, or Louis Canning. Anything slightly "dirty" that Alicia or Will would do against these adversaries seemed like fair game. There was a clear "good guy" and "bad guy". But now we are seeing that all this is fairly relative.

    The development with Dianne is both (sadly) credible and well scripted. While Will was always excited about the business aspect more than the legal aspect, Diane was a law-girl from the get go. Her highest aspiration and dearest dream was to become judge. Not only was she offerred that position, she was offered a (State) Supreme Judgeship, i.e., an opportunity to shape the law. Short of a presidential nomination on the US Supreme Court, there was nothing she could have wanted more.

    She jumped through all the hoops, and then: 1) it was yanked from her - forever; 2) because of a innate sense of loyalty to Will and the firm they founded.

    The scene in which Diane seeks the bathroom to cry out in sorrow was one of the emotional highs of this show. More touching and private and heartbreaking than any love story: while there might have been a lot of passion involved in Alicia and Will's relationship, there are other relationships. It does not compare to Diane, a woman who sacrificed everything for her career, getting her career sacrificed.

    She came back to Lockhart/Gardner completely broken. It was not her first choice. Now she is back to a firm with a senior partner who is blinded by his rage against Alicia, who not only does not respect/realize her sacrifice ("Diane you walked away" and "I didn't walk away", instead of "Diane you walked away, then because of you, because you gave up your dream job, we still have a firm, and for that I am thankful"), but who is using underhanded tactics and a mob lawyer to play dirty - not only with others but with her as well.

    She came back to L/G broken, probably with a damaged morale, and because of these shenanigans, I can very well see how she could just... disconnect, shut off.

    So I disagree, this show is very much about the personal relationships; except this season, we are exploring very different relationships than previously:

    -- Alicia/Will

    -- Will/Diane

    -- Alicia/Cary: this professional relationship has been building since the very beginning of the show, and in a credible, life-like way. It is interesting how to see how this new firm is making the dynamic evolve. There was a hint that "Cary, when did we become like this" in the previous episode, where Cary was shown getting ahead of Alicia in remnants of their old competitivity; but here we see him looking out for her, and humoring her in many ways.

    Did you notice his knowing smile, when Alicia said, "No, not yet, we're not letting them win." He smiled because he knows this determination is not about the case; he suspects there might be a very slim chance of losing, that this case could be a money loser at a time where they are in a very precarious situation, but he is not begrudging Alicia, even if he knows she has non professional reasons for fighting so hard. He does not begrudge her, and he supports her by trying his best to win the case.

    In all honesty, it is fun and fascinating to see how this dynamic is evolving to be like Will and Diane, except Cary (who was recruited/mentored by Diane initially) is the rational-tempering one like Diane, and Alicia (who was recruited/mentored by Will initially) is the brash, emotional, slightly vindictive one, as is/was Will. What is interesting is that these traits have been slowly developping through the seasons.

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    @ Jeremie

    Bravo! I really think your analysis is excellent and far more perceptive than the review. I think the reviewer did a fine job; however, some of his preferences affected the analysis keeping us from seeing more deeply into the characters motivations. Also the reviewers bias came out quite a bit making it seem far less objective than your comments; and hey, perhaps you are biased too but your tone didn't suggest it. I could read what you wrote and get where you were coming from and also be convinced by it. You were persuasive in tone where as when I read the review I could feel the writers annoyance and irritation by the almost mean spirited critique of the shows writing.

    I guess that kind of thing has its place but I think it can be managed a little better so the points and feelings can come across without ruffling fans too much. Just saying...

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    @ Jeremie

    Ok, so I agree with everything you just said! I don't agree with the reviewer, the show is on its track. And the beauty in it is that everything you see, while there is big hooplah over it being like a new show, has been building since the beginning.

    Alicia is like Will, which is why they had such a strong connection in the first place, and Cary is very much like Diane. I understand why they need to go up in court against each other. It is a build of animosity and hate and revenge that is bound to boil over.

    And people act like they've never met a childish lawyer. Lawyer's and politicians are like that, they scheme, and lie, and teether on the lines of cheating to get what they want. And what they ultimately want is a WIN! And what else would you pursue when you've lost so badly. Will wants to win, over Peter, over Alicia, and professionally over all law firms. Will he? Probably not with the decisions he has made as of late. But none the less he is striving, which is what you want in a character.

    And Alicia is a sexual being and has been from season 1, she wanted to entice Will with that suit. I mean honestly she isn't getting laid anywhere else. And I think If the writers really wanted to show a true reconciliation between Alicia and Peter, they would have them actually sit down and talk or atleast show us that the same fireworks exist between them sexually, because I have NOT seen it. That kind of stuff is important when you are reinvigorating your marriage.

    The show is phenomenally on track to me. Show some patience, trust and respect for these excellent writers and actors people.

    BTW, I will say I feel saddest for Kalinda and Diane. Both of whom are broken as characters and underused in the script. These are both smart and dynamic women who can alter the course of things rather than just going through the motions. Their motions should not be that of Will's. He is on his journey, they should act vigorously for their own journeys in this show. Honestly, we are all craving it for them.

    Modwild
    @ Joy

    Alicia and Peter have been shown to enjoy each other sexually. Remember their moment in her bedroom when Florrick/Agos was being run out of her house? She's getting sex; just because we don't always see it doesn't mean it's dried up.

    You noted that the series is exactly where the writers want it to be, but then believe Kalinda and Diane are being given the short end of stick in the story. It is obviously the plan of the writers is for them to be right where they are -- I, for one, don't like it.

    Terrie
    @ Jeremie

    Very well thought out and written...........

    Yes, it's hard to get over a bad break up(you have to remember Will and Alicia were never really officially together)....but at some point you have to suck it up and do it for your own sanity. I think they both knew from the on set it would never work. I also think these two going against one another has run it's course......... I think it will keep playing out this way......

    Diane cut her own throat by firing Alicia......she's realizing that now and she is letting that cloud her judgment regarding Will.........

    Modwild
    @ Jeremie

    I really appreciate your thorough examination of the relationships and your thoughtful approach to explain how you see things playing out. It helps me understand things a bit better, especially with respect to Diane and Cary. I have no problem understanding Will and Alicia, but my emotions have allowed me to kiss some of what you shared regarding my two favorite characters and for that I thank you.

    I've tried very hard in my own life not to let exes see my feelings, so showing them off in a professional environment is so outside personal choice, I have a hard time cutting Alicia and Will any slack. They need to get over it, or take it outside the courtroom.

    Diane and Cary, however, are collateral damage and I want the very best for them both. Here's hoping they get it.




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