The Good Wife emphasized the personal lives and feelings of its protagonists this week, and after last week’s tense Kalinda’s-secrets outing, Tuesday night’s edition, titled “Silver Bullet,” was an hour that let us catch our breath and catch up with other characters.
Most prominent among these was Christine Baranski’s Diane, who still goes all swoony at the sight of Tea Partying, gun-loving ballistics expert Kurt McVeigh, played so well by Gary Cole. (The secret to Cole’s performance, I’ve realized, is that he plays McVeigh as though he was a character in a Western, while all the city slickers around him gawp — it’s a shrewd acting choice.)
The plot involved revisiting an earlier case at which McVeigh may have given false or mistaken testimony. Getting the stubborn, prideful McVeigh to admit on the stand that he may have made an error was the challenge. The sub-plot was Diane and Kurt’s attraction to each other. Middle-aged love affairs are so rarely seen in prime time that I congratulate The Good Wife, even as I envision, with irritation, sniffy young ad-buyers lowering CBS’ rates for skewing “old.”
Back at the political campaign, Alan Cumming’s Eli was drawn in to the plot that gave the episode its title. Campaign workers thought they’d found the “silver bullet” that would wound Wendy Scott-Carr’s campaign: The fact that she’d hired an illegal alien as a nanny. The latter was played by Ugly Betty‘s America Ferrara as a smart, charming, intelligent young woman who was working on her citizenship as well as what looked like a future takeover of Wall Street, so adept was she at financial strategizing.
While I didn’t quite buy the idea that Eli himself would pose as a potential nanny employer in order to gain evidence of the young woman’s immigration status (wouldn’t he have had an underling do that?), the purpose of this part of the story was to show us that, when it came time to shove her under the politcal bus, Eli was guilt-ridden and remorseful — he liked her, as who would not, given Ferrera’s glossily charismatic performance?
As for Alicia, she was primarily caught up in the religious fervor that has taken root at home. And I do mean “taken root”: Grace is wearing an “I Am The Mustard Seed” t-shirt, preaching that “Jesus was the first rebel” and “Jesus… wants anarchy.” Me, I thought she just had a crush on the cute Christian evangelist she gazed upon as he preached on YouTube-ish videos, but my wife thought I was being cynical. Still, if Grace wants to be a radical Christian, I think Alicia should not only take her to a church, as this Good Mother promised she would, but might also steer Grace to some books about Liberation Theology.
Back to Diane and Kurt: Their extracurricular activities led to an added layer of tension in the courtroom scenes, a tension soothed by the presence of guest judge Jerry Stiller. Looking like a sleepy frog, he dozed on and off, and sustained or denied counsel’s objections at random. I wanted to hug him, he was so cute. Bringing up the Kurt’s affiliation with the Tea Party and admiration of Sarah Palin, complete with debate about whether or not it was a racist organization, could have entered David E. Kelley, cute-current-events-mongering territory, but the teleplay by Wife creators Robert and Michelle King avoided exaggeration or comic absurdity.
What did you think of the romance, religion, and rootin’-tootin’ straight shootin’ of this week’s The Good Wife?