By Ken Tucker
May 26, 2010 at 12:00 PM EDT
  • TV Show

It was couples-night on the season finale of The Good Wife: Not just Alicia and Peter and Alicia and Will, but also Will and law-student Giada, Diane and Gary Cole’s McVeigh, Kalinda and FBI agent Lana, and even Eli Gold and{C} Peter’s mother, who proved to be two peas in a pod, give or take a little veiled antisemitism. How did you react to the Alicia-Will-Peter cliffhanger?

The Good Wife into another level of domestic drama; you just don’t see adults grappling with such a familiar nighttime-soap topic with the sort of terse realism that somehow makes the entire scenario seem even more romantic.

Well, let’s get down to business. You don’t book Amy Acker for a guest spot and not expect her to prove to be significant to the plot. Sure enough, the former Dollhouse/Angel co-star played the wife of a cop, clients of Lockhart, Gardner. Her husband was killed while in the process of exposing police corruption. The case managed to get Kalinda to do some investigative work with the FBI agent, leggy Lana, and their investigations included examining each other’s eyes closely, in an amorous manner. When episode director James Whitemore, Jr., and a Good Wife camera shot contrived to hide what we presumed was a kiss between them, the coyness was punctuated by a very funny-in-context line from Will, who called Kalinda soon after and said, “You sound like you’ve been running.”

Did I think The Good Wife would wait until next season before having Cary, who only last week joined the States Attorney’s office, go toe-to-toe with Alicia? Foolishly, I did. Happily, the producers plunged right in, with a crackling deposition scene in which Matt Czuchry was so intelligently oily, I thought for a moment Logan Huntzberger had reinhabited his body and he was looking around for a Rory Gilmore to seduce.

And the characters just kept on coming. Squeezing Gary Cole’s gun expert McVeigh back in to provide antagonistic testimony only to be met with equal antagonism by Diane ended up turning the pair on. Having Alicia’s mother-in-law Jackie pay a visit to Pastor Isaiah and tell him to back off from her son with all this God-talk was hard to beat… and then it was beaten, by the scene between Jackie and Eli (“Mr. Golden, is it?”), in which the two sparring partners (the WASP-ish matriarch, the Jewish wiseguy) realized they had to unite to get Peter to announce his candidacy quickly.

But in all this, let’s not short-change the stars. Chris Noth moved through the episode like a sleek shark. It may have looked as though his conscience was making him waver, but his killer smile and his killer instincts made sure he kept moving toward his political goal. Still, his Peter also mingled ambition with sincerity when he told Alicia, “I want to be a great [state’s attorney] and I can’t be without you.”

And Julianna Margulies’ Alicia was pulled in every direction while maintaining her mask of composure (except when sharing beer and pizza with Will — who could not giggle at the charms of pizza and Will? ). The Good Wife reminded us of Alicia’s high standards when she was repelled by the outcome of the legal case: client Amy Acker proved to be a villain, but still walked away with a half-mill settlement, thanks to Will and Diane. “At what point is our job wrong?” Alicia asked them, and yet the character never comes off as priggish or naive.

And for viewers, the bigger, unstated dramatic question — “At what point is our flirting wrong?” — remained the rapidly-beating heart of The Good Wife. Our hearts will be with it until the show returns next season.

What did you think of the finale?

Follow: @kentucker

Episode Recaps

Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles, and Chris Noth star in the legal/family drama.
  • TV Show
  • 7
  • 156
  • TV-14
  • 09/22/09-05/09/16
  • Off Air
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