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Closing Arguments

You can never accuse The Good Wife of making the law seem like a noble, glamorous profession. No matter how attractive you may find its lead characters, what most of them did last night was what we’d expect and probably hope lawyers would do if they were defending us: They lied and slithered and weaseled out the best deal they could for their client, even though things didn’t turn out the way they’d hoped. {C}The central case of the hour titled “Breaking Up” was about two young lovers, Alexis and Jonathan (played by Leelee Sobieski and Oliver Smith), accused of murdering a pharmacist. Jonathan’s dad is a big-shot client of Lockhart, Gardner, so once the two were put in separate rooms for holding and counsel, Will tried to get his boy a better deal. For the prosecution, Cary was trying to do the same thing, but for different reasons.

The episode title also referred to a subplot involving the welcome return of Alicia’s brother, Owen (how much do we love Dallas Roberts in this role, and how many of us will miss seeing him in the canceled Rubicon?). Owen showed up with a broken heart and an African wig for Alicia (don’t ask). Pretty soon, he was ensconced in Alicia’s apartment, swilling red wine and debating “Homosexuality: Nature or Nurture?” with Alicia’s mother-in-law, Jackie.

There was a lot of good Kalinda versus Blake in gathering clues and evidence for the case, a nice scene in which Alicia and Will discovered the murder weapon near the crime scene and debated the ethics of what to do about it, and many fine little Cary moments, the best of which was his exclamation when he was surrounded by all the heavy hitters in Lockhart, Gardner: “Hey — it’s a reunion!”

We saw how power trumps all when Will decided to break up the accused romantic couple with what he knew to be lies. But then again, it did backfire on him, and he was responding to lies set up by Cary’s office.

It was not a good week for Will. He finally discovered that Diane had been plotting with David Lee and Julius Cain to form their own firm, and that Alicia had been asked to join them, not because they love Alicia, but because they’ll get Eli Gold into the bargain, and what’s a party without Alan Cumming?

“Breaking Up” was one of the rare editions of Good Wife in which Alicia was pretty much relegated to observer status. I expected her to intervene in the midst of the double- and triple-dealing being committed by Cary and Will, to pull out some final twist that would send the accused lovebirds winging homeward. But nope — by the end, Alicia simply went to her home, to curl up beside her brother and talk about his love life, partly to comfort him and partly to take her mind off her grungy job. And it’s a measure of The Good Wife‘s excellence that I didn’t mind an Alicia pushed to the margins — made, in fact, a pawn in the bigger game of Diane vs. Will: Who will Alicia remain faithful to when and if the promised breakup of the law firm occurs? That final scene between Diane and Will was tremendously tense and satisfying. Diane did seem paranoid, as Will accused her of being. And Will did seem two-faced, a guy who might plot with his pal Bond to shunt Diane aside.

Everyone has his or her reasons in The Good Wife.

Some Good points:

• I am now officially not sure whether I think Elizabeth Reaser is playing Will girlfriend Tammy as obnoxious because that’s the way the role is written, or that’s how she’s unintentionally coming across. I guess we’re never really supposed to like a Will girlfriend, because in some convoluted way that honors this delightfully convoluted show, that makes him unfaithful to Alicia, doesn’t it?

• Frederick Weller, as ferret-faced lawyer Wilk Hobson, is a marvelous foil for Will. I want him hired by Diane, too.

• That whole Jackie-thinking-Grace-is-gay thing: She’s referring to seeing Grace praying with her female friend weeks ago, right? And didn’t Jackie know that it was praying, not affection, that she’d glimpsed?

• “The heart needs steering.” I don’t care what Owen said; I think that was reasonably incisive of Alicia, if not quite profound.

What did you think?

Twitter: @kentucker

P.S. Check out the latest EW TV Insiders Podcast as Dalton Ross, Mandi Bierly, Adam B. Vary, and I tackle subjects ranging from The Bachelor (thank goodness Mandi watches that) to Adam’s exclusive scoop on the new American Idol judges panel to what mid-season TV shows are worth watching (that’s where I come in). You can hear it right here.

Episode Recaps

Closing Arguments
The Good Wife

Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles, and Chris Noth star in the legal/family drama.

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