By Ken Tucker
November 06, 2011 at 12:00 PM EST

This week’s The Good Wife offered up a fine confrontation between two familiar faces: Josh Charles’ Will and Chris Noth’s Peter went toe-to-toe over Alicia a legal dispute. But two other faces brought us bigger smiles this week: Bob Balaban as a punctilious Treasury Department official, and True Blood‘s Carrie Preston as Alicia’s slyly dithering lawyer.

Balaban’s twitchy Gordon Higgs, with his cupcake fetish and precise diction, really met his match in Preston’s ditzy-like-a-fox Elsbeth Tascioni. Balaban’s excellence is no surprise, given a career of terrific movie and stage performances (all of Christopher Guest’s comedies, and Netflix him in Catch-22, willya?). But given how one-note her character Arlene has been written in the latest season of True Blood, it was bracing to see Preston let loose once again on The Good Wife. Preston was playing, as she has here in the past, what could have been a stock figure — the crafty person who masks the craft in eccentric hesitation, what might be called The Columbo Role — but she imbued the role with a quirky rhythm all her own.

The Good Wife is always reliable for its superb casting — Jay O. Sanders was impeccable as a genially peeved judge — but this week, Preston and Balaban nearly upstaged the stars.

My colleague Melissa Maerz has a complete, eloquent recap of this episode. Can we agree that this was a particularly strong week for The Good Wife (with the possible exception of bafflingly re-introducing Grace’s Bible-study/crush obsession)?

Twitter: @kentucker

Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles, and Chris Noth star in the legal/family drama.
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  • 7
  • 156
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run date
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