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'The Good Wife' recap: 'Dark Money'

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Jeffery Neira/CBS

The Good Wife

TV Show
Current Status:
Off Air
run date:
Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth

They say good things come to those who wait. And while I would have preferred not to wait for a new installment of The Good Wife, I’m glad it’s returning with seven all-new episodes. And “Dark Money” was a light, fun one to return with. So let’s jump right in.

In the case of the week, Diane and Cary are representing alleged wife killer Colin Sweeney (Dylan Baker) in a defamation suit. Call It Murder, yet another television show within the Good Wife universe, happened to feature Bernard Loomis, a character very similar to Colin Sweeney. Bernard has the same job as Sweeney, met his wife in a similar fashion, and dresses the same. Oh, and the fictional Bernard definitely killed his wife, and he even looks like Colin Sweeney. (In a stroke of brilliance, The Good Wife cast Dylan Baker to play both characters. Robert King, the show’s co-creator, told me that it was a nod to the old movie Kind Hearts and Coronets, where Alec Guinness famously plays eight characters. Baker nails both roles.) So the real Mr. Sweeney sues the producer of the show, Greg Tierney (Bill English), for defamation.

In court, Tierney’s lawyer Selma Krause (Julie White) argues that all of these similarities are merely a coincidence. Suing for defamation is always a difficult task, but Cary and Diane seem to be up to it. Unfortunately, Sweeney doesn’t have the same confidence in them. He wants Alicia. Because of course he does. But Alicia doesn’t have time to deal with Colin Sweeney because she’s busy with her never-ending state’s attorney campaign. (Anyone else kind of over it? Just have an election already!) Alicia agrees to consult on the case, but only after Sweeney threatens to reveal to the press who funds her PAC. She won’t make an appearance in court, but she will consult.

Anyway, back in court the actor Jerome Morris (Dylan Baker as his look-alike) says he created an entirely original character based on other accused killers, but not Colin Sweeney. But then Diane and Cary present evidence that inclines Judge Parks (David Fonteno) to agree that they have proved likeness and that Call It Murder does, in fact, defame Colin Sweeney. But it’s too early in the episode for this case to be over! Selma Krause has something else up her sleeve: She’s ready to prove that Colin Sweeney did murder his wife. The defamation issue is moot. So, that’s not good. (Understatement.)

Diane present emails in court showing Det. Crowell’s (Andrew Dolan) emails in which he threatens to get Sweeney eventually, but the judge throws them out after Krause shows they were obtained illegally. (Read: Kalinda & Co. hacked the detective’s email account.) And that means, someone is leaking to the defense, because no one else knew about the emails. The leak just so happens to be Colin Sweeney’s current—and very-much alive—wife Renata (Laura Benanti, who, like Dylan Baker, plays her counterpart on the fake television show). If Colin Sweeney loses his seat on the board, Renata would still retain hers.

Their suspicions about Renata are confirmed when she testifies for Selma Krause in court. Eventually, Colin Sweeney gets put on the stand and questioned about his sexual proclivities, and Renata seems to enjoy it a little too much. Those two! Colin Sweeney and Renata make up—after Renata gets an additional $2 million holding deal on her board seat.

But Sweeney still doesn’t have the judge on his side, for obvious reasons. Diane and Cary renew their motion for a direct verdict, but Judge Parks denies it. Left without a strategy, they scramble to find a way to get a win for Colin Sweeney. Thankfully, Alicia notices something to save the day: In the Call It Murder episode, the Chumhum logo can be seen five different times. It’s a registered trademark, and shown multiple times with this disparaging Sweeney-esque murderer. It’s a case worth at least $50 million. So that makes all of this go away.

But here’s the issue I have with that: In the last episode, Neil Gross fired the firm! Meaning that Florrick/Agos/Lockhart wouldn’t have been the ones handling this trademark case anyway. Weird! I don’t know if it’s just a continuity error or what, but if not, hopefully they’ll explain this in a future episode. Maybe Chumhum isn’t gone for good. The case would have still been valid, no matter what firm was representing the case, so they could have easily passed on this information. But that’s not how they presented it to Krause. Maybe I’m just splitting hairs, though.

NEXT: Guy Redmayne is a dirty old man![pagebreak]

On the campaign front, Frank Prady (David Hyde Pierce) alerts Alicia to a robo call sent out, presumably, by Alicia’s team. The call is an effort to piss off conservatives so they’ll send money to Alicia’s campaign. But before Alicia can get to the bottom of the call, she notices Prady receives a call from a “Redmayne.” More on Redmayne later.

Alicia asks Johnny (Steven Pasquale) and Josh (David Krumholtz) about the robo call, and they swear they have nothing to do with it. But Alicia points out a campaign Twitter account that they use as a loophole in the campaign laws. They can release random data to the public, and then PACs can act. So even though Johnny and Josh didn’t organize the actual robo call, their Twitter account was the catalyst. Alicia isn’t too happy, but she’s got bigger campaign fish to fry. Prady received a late influx of cash, and Guy Redmayne (guest star Ed Asner), a Democratic mega-donor might be responsible.

In an effort to win over Redmayne before Prady does, Alicia goes to ask Redmayne for campaign money. She begins with a hard pitch, but things go off the rails pretty quickly when Guy makes it clear he’s most interested in Alicia’s… assets, particularly her legs. Awkward! Alicia tries to just deal with his advances and inappropriate remarks, but she’s truly floored when Redmayne says he doesn’t want to support Frank Prady because he’s a “fag.” (This totally awful situation is in the grand tradition of The Good Wife casting really beloved actors as totally despicable humans. See: Michael J. Fox and Matthew Perry. Ed Asner, behave yourself!) Also, The Good Wife writers tweeted that they had to get clearance from CBS Standards and Practices to include that word in the episode. Anyway, Redmayne wants to back a candidate who shares his values, so he offers $1 million in “dark money” (episode title alert!) to Alicia.

Later, Prady makes his own plea for money to Guy Redmayne. It does not go well. Redmayne makes more inappropriate comments about Alicia. Exhibit A: “Did you see the ass on that broad?” This is a family website, so I won’t even type his other remarks. And also my mom reads these recaps. But basically, Redmayne is trying to bait Prady into making sexual comments about Alicia. When Prady takes the high road and doesn’t, Redmayne continues to operate under the assumption that Prady is gay. So no money for Prady. But if he doesn’t have to deal with Redmayne anymore, I think he’s probably the real winner of this situation. In the end, Prady goes to see Alicia and they effectively end their back channel communication. It was bound to fail.

Meanwhile, Kalinda has to finally pay her debt to Lemond Bishop (Mike Colter). And I have to say, it’s pretty mild. He wants her to pick up his son, Dylan, from school every day for the next two weeks. Her job is to be a bodyguard, of sorts. “My son means everything to me. I’m trusting you with the most valuable thing in my life,” Bishop tells Kalinda. No pressure.

But Kalinda’s glorified babysitting gets off to a rough start because a black SUV follows them home. On another one of her pickups, Kalinda sees a kid bullying Dylan, and she scares him away, but not before he manages to give Dylan a black eye. Dylan doesn’t want Kalinda to tell his dad about the scuffle, and she obliges. But eventually Bishop forces her to come clean about the bully. Bishop calls the bully’s dad, and settles it in a very non-Lemond Bishop way. It’s all very civil. And that leads me to believe that the writers are just luring us into a false sense of security. The hammer’s got to drop sometime with Kalinda and Bishop, right? Surely he—in some way—will be responsible for her leaving the show, right? I just can’t possibly predict how it’s going to all play out.

The episode ends with Grace and Alicia sharing a sweet mother/daughter moment, as Grace comforts her mom. And I promise I’m not tearing up. And also that last sentence was a lie.

Best lines and moments from “Dark Money”:

  • Josh, asking about the Twitter account: “How do you know about it?”

    Marissa: [Raises her hand]

    Josh: “Of course. The chatty bodywoman.”

  • The campaign Twitter account @TobyZiegler44, a reference to The West Wing.
  • Colin Sweeney’s reactions to Jerome Morris in court.
  • “Apologies, your honor. I did Inherit the Wind.” —Jerome Morris  
  • “Does it matter to me that you’re unhappy? Umm, not so much.” —Alicia, to Colin Sweeney
  • Marissa: “Hi. Marissa. I’m the bodywoman.”

    Colin Sweeney: “Really? The whole body? Or just parts?”

  • Marissa bonding with Renata
  • Alicia: “You are pretty fresh, aren’t you?”

    Guy Redmayne: “It’s my best feature. I’ve got the testicles of a 20-year-old.”

    Alicia: “Where? In your briefcase?”

  • Alicia’s lookalike in Call It Murder (played by Annalaina Marks)

I thought this was a pretty solid episode, but perhaps that’s just because I’ve missed this show so much. I’m ready to see how the second half of the season plays out. I think we should all start preparing ourselves for Kalinda’s exit. And if “Dark Money” is any indication, we should be concerned about Ed Asner’s return as Guy Redmayne. He’ll be back for at least one more episode this season, and that guy will say anything