Tuned In

The Good Wife Watch: Third Party

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Quick spoilers for last night’s The Good Wife coming up:

In my print-magazine piece about The Good Wife last week (full version should be online within a week or so), I wrote that one way that the show has managed to tell sophisticated stories within the constraints of keeping a CBS-sized audience is by combining its serial and political elements with well-executed case-of-the-week stories. In fact, though I’m not personally a big fan of legal procedurals, The Good Wife is the rare show on which I often find the cases-of-the-week more compelling than the ongoing serial stories, which are what I usually sign up for.

In last night’s excellent “Cleaning House,” though, the ongoing stories were absolutely riveting, as characters’ past actions and interactions had some interesting repercussions.

On the legal front, Alicia’s accepting Peter’s help on the suppressed evidence in one of the series’ earliest episodes comes back to haunt her, and him, as former colleague Cary attempts to compel a confession from her. Will and Alicia’s lingering attraction—not always the most compelling part of the show for me—put them in a difficult spot as he showed up at the bar dinner with his new girlfriend, but clearly, still with eyes for Alicia. The already twisty run for state’s attorney got more complicated, as a third candidate (Anika Noni Rose) used Childs’ embarrassing deposition against him. Even the weekly court case—complicated, as usual, by the dynamics introduced by an unpredictable judge—hearkened back to the show’s history, as Alicia re-encountered her now-co-counsel, using her savvy-naif act to undermine her.

All this and the mysterious, and steamy, rivalry/history between Kalinda and Blake. It may be playoff time, but I’m going to put that subplot down as the most compelling handling of a baseball bat of the night. If you know what I mean.