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'The Good Wife' recap: One man's torture became our pleasure

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The Good Wife

type:
TV Show
genre:
Drama
run date:
09/22/09-05/09/16
runtime:
43 minutes
performer:
Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth
broadcaster:
CBS
seasons:
7
episodes:
156
Current Status:
Off Air
tvpgr:
TV-14

As The Good Wife season proceeds, plot lines are being wrapped up and showdowns long-promised are finally occurring. Tuesday night’s legal case, featuring my favorite Lost cast member, Ken Leung, also managed to continue the social-networking theme that’s threaded through numerous Wife hours, and brought back Rita Wilson for a welcome, lengthier chunk of time.

The lawsuit had Leung in a toned-down demeanor utterly unlike his volubly sarcastic Miles in Lost. Here, he was a Chinese dissident who’d been tortured by the Chinese government for posting on an American social networking site. Lockhart/Gardner & Bond sued the site for releasing the dissident’s IP address to the Chinese. Part of the plot hinged on a “water treatment simulating drowning” — the show was careful not to use the term water-boarding, perhaps because it used a fictional Bush Administration figure to parse that administration’s definition of “torture.” Wilson reprised her role as opposing counsel Viola Walsh, managing to be smashingly appealing as a shark worthy of taking a bite out of the hide of Christine Baranski’s Diane in particular. Add some unexpected marital twists involving the Leung character’s wife, and the case was twisty and satisfying…

…but not nearly as much as the law firm’s maneuverings to expel Derrick Bond from the firm. In scenes alternately comic (Diane, Josh Charles’ Will, and Zach Grenier’s David Lee, shivering in the Chicago cold to conspire) and dramatic (the final vote, with Michael Boatman’s Julius pulling a convincing double-cross), Bond was ousted. I thoroughly enjoyed Diane’s scheme to bring in semi-retired firm members to gain a majority vote (Jerry Adler is always a most welcome sight) even as I had some misgivings about Derrick Bond’s arc in this series.

The firm’s most prominent black member was most directly betrayed by the firm’s second-most-prominent black member (that we’ve seen, anyway). The point the show was making, of course, was that treachery knows no race when it comes to law firms such as this one. Except for some scenes with his then-pal Will early on in his run, Michael Ealy’s Bond was always seen as a cold, aloof, arrogant SOB. Boatman’s Julius has been presented in a different but negative light, as a supercilious, shameless opportunist. For all I know, both Bond and Julius will yet be seen in some typically clever plot turn that renders them more fully-rounded, but right now, it looks as though it’s pretty difficult for black men who are, at bottom, no more ruthless than Will or Diane are to succeed and retain much of a sympathetic image in this firm.

Finally: How about the downfall of Glenn Childs? Once again, anything that brings Alan Cummings’ Eli together with Dreama Walker’s Becca is pure fun, and all the better this week for the way their deviousness was deployed so successfully. Much as I like Titus Welliver’s Childs (and unlike Bond, the door is clearly open for him to remain active in the series, I hope, I hope), I also relish the idea of the two-person race between Chris Noth’s Peter and Anika Noni Rose’s Wendy Scott-Carr. And that late-in-the-hour hug Peter gave son Zach was both warm and chilling: The kid has graduated into the realm of back-stabbing politics, and one can’t help but think his mom (oh, hello, Julianna Margulies!) isn’t going to have some misgivings about this new father-son bond.

What did you think of this week’s The Good Wife?

Twitter: @kentucker