There are shows on the air right now that are having troubles developing plots for its show (I’m looking at you Glee) or can’t seem to develop the supporting characters either by focusing on them too much (and having weak development) or not at all (I’m looking at you Mike & Molly.) The Good Wife is a perfect example of excellent writing and character development with a main plot and sub plots I am very interested in. I’ve never written for a TV show (and judging by my writing on here you can see why) but I would imagine it is a difficult web to weave….balancing moving the main plot forward while interjecting sub plots and supporting characters that invoke their own interest but still don’t take away from the main characters and story. But great writing and a stellar cast will make it look seamless and effortless.
The Case/Michael J Fox
A class action lawsuit against a major pharmaceutical company whose drug was causing people to commit murder and/or suicide. Lockhart Gardner Bond (LGB) were looking through the plaintiffs who were filing the suit and Will asserted himself into the discussion by making the decision of who would be the test case for and individual suit. They pick a young girl whose mother killed her stepfather and herself. The defendant’s firm dropped out at the last-minute and they hired a firm from New York. Diane thinks this is great news because they will come in with 10 lawyers and look like Goliath while just her and Alicia will be on their side and will appeal to the local jury as “David.” However, opposing council is not Goliath with 10 lawyers. It is one lawyer with a “condition” as he calls it, and he immediately appeals to the jury with his charm, charisma, and intelligence. All while playing his condition to a tee causing Diane to lament: “we just became Goliath.” The lawyer, Louis Canning, is played by the incomparable Michael J. Fox. I like how the show keeps finding all these great characters that oppose LGB. It’s easy to just make their opponents “the bad guys” while always having the lawyers at LGB being the winners and the “good guys.” But what is happening is that some of these lawyers are really manipulative and crafty but they are so darn likable. The 2 best examples before Fox were Nancy Crozier (played by Mamie Gummer) and Patti Nyholm (played by Martha Plimpton.) All very intelligent but ruthless lawyers that will do anything to win a case. But even though they can be beguiling, they are all very likable in their own way. Fox was no exception. When he made Alicia late because he asked for her help in finding his ID which he believed he dropped outside by the coffee stand, you knew this was going to be a solid chess match. And he was kicking their ass. Even though they had the facts and the science on their side, Will was right (and that pains me to say), they didn’t have the “sexy” part of the case that the jury could be on board with. Canning had nothing, but used what he could to win over the jury. So LGB decided to turn up the “sexy” and they started to introduce testimony that was factual yet interesting to the jury and Canning began to get frustrated and the jury started leaning towards LGB. Canning also sees this when he slips a note to Alicia that reads “Game On.” Canning brings a psychiatrist from Wisconsin to the stand to discuss the victim’s state of mind at the time of the murder/suicide. I was with Diane on this. I thought that was doctor/patient confidentiality. apparently not since some of the visits happened when he moved to Wisconsin. Who knew the laws for that were different depending on which state you lived in! The doctor revealed that his patient thought her husband was cheating on her. And not with any old woman, her own daughter!!! Back at the offices of LGB, they question the daughter and she admits that her stepfather was very inappropriate with her but that nothing ever happened and her mother never believed her. Will is so pissed off, he sends Blake out on a mission to destroy the doctor’s credibility. More on that later. They were able to secure a witness who did in fact ruin the doctor and Canning decides to offer a settlement to LGB. Later we see the firm celebrating because they were awarded a $35 million settlement of which $7 million goes to them. Diane thought they would come in at $10, (they would have settled at $20) she asked for $40 and they countered with $30. They settled at $35. They are thrilled about this because it makes the firm solvent again. When Canning shows up, Alicia is surprisingly smug which seems a bit out of character for her. Although if someone used their handicap against me to win a case, I would be a little bitter too. But when she tells him better luck time, he mocks her ” Mrs. Florrick you think you were my equal in that courtroom. You were new math and I was advanced trigonometry.” “Too bad trigonometry lost” she counters. “I didn’t lose. LGB stumbled their way into a $90 million class action suit and my client asked me to get you down to $50 million. I landed you at $35. I am going home with a bonus of $1.3 million and stock options. That’s not losing. Have a nice party.” Ha!!! Touche Marty McFly!!! MJF was fantastic and I really hope they decide to bring him back.
Will and Blake are my 2 most hated people on the show. Let’s start with Blake. One of the things I liked about Kalinda and her job is that she isn’t afraid to push the envelope to get what she needs but she knows when not to cross the line and she isn’t nasty or dangerous. Blake is the exact opposite. He’s a bad seed and a complete jerk. The only thing I like about Blake is his story with Kalinda. What is up with them? Now in my review of S2 E1, I predicted these 2 will sleep together at some point. Wow was I way off base about that on so many levels!!! But he is still calling her Leela. Why? He also seemed to know about her sexual orientation where no else did. Except…Alicia did ask her about it last season and it went unanswered by Kalinda. So how does he know her from before? Maybe he doesn’t. Maybe he investigated her before coming to the firm to size up his competition. Kalinda doesn’t act like they knew each other from before so I have to think he was able to dig up dirt on her. And now, with Carey’s help, she able to find out some information on him as well. Looks like he worked for Derrick Bond’s firm but he also worked for MI-6 which if I remember correctly is some drug cartel. He got himself in some trouble and Derrick bailed him out. Makes you wonder if Derrick is a bad seed also. At this point I am leaning towards no. But this whole Blake/Kalinda storyline is really intriguing. And I can’t wait to know more.
As for Will, I have lost all respect for him as a lawyer and a human being. I can understand being ambitious and doing everything you can do to save your company. But he and his methods are unscrupulous. First he decides to “sexy” up the case. Ok, nothing wrong with that. But when their doctor goes on the stand and talk about how the drug had shown to not only have violent side effects, but sexual ones as well. And when the doctor discusses oral and anal sex being of particular focus, Will gets hysterical laughing in the gallery. What is he 8? How unprofessional!!! Then when he realizes that the test case HE picked is failing, he tasks Blake to find ANYTHING he can that they can use in court on the defendant’s psychiatrist who drove a huge stake through their case. Blake finds a witness who can discredit the doctor and when Kalinda asks Will (they are sitting together in the gallery) who found the witness, he tells her Blake found her. When the witness does her job, Canning says his preference is to call the psychiatrist back to the stand to rebut. However the doctor is in the hospital after a break-in at his office. Kalinda realizes it was Blake who put him there and her look of disgust says it all. If you notice, Will looks over slightly at Kalinda when Canning announces this, to gauge her reaction. This is where I lost the respect for him as a human being. It’s one thing to have your investigator get you information on a witness that can discredit them and help your case. That’s your job. It’s another to condone the violent actions of harming said witness in the act of getting the information. It was obvious by the look on Will’s face that he was neither surprised, nor upset by this bit of information. I haven’t liked Will since the beginning but was still keeping an open mind. My mind is now shut and my opinion cemented.
Again, another storyline I am really fascinated by. At first I thought Peter’s re-election campaign was going to be boring. But since Wendy (played by Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose) entered the race and Eli (played by another Tony Award winner Alan Cumming) has been in scramble mode ever since, there has been nothing but interest, humor, and scandal!!! Wendy seems to be the perfect candidate. “She even has perfect pitch” Eli cries when watching her sing the National Anthem. Um, did you see her in “Caroline, or Change?” That girl has a gorgeous voice!!! Anyway, after doing some digging, there is nothing to be found on Wendy Scott-Carr. She has a spotless record. Eli claims there has to be something. His partner finally finds something…doctors appointments. Turns out Wendy had breast augmentation to the tune of $19,000. Now before I knew where this was going, I was a little disappointed. Maybe it’s me, but I could give 2 craps if a candidate I liked for State’s Attorney had a boob job. If she’s good for the job, what do I care if she had breast augmentation surgery. How dumb. Buuuuuut…this is where it gets clever and interesting. Eli realizes that Peter would never go for this (using the surgery against Wendy.) So he does the next best thing. He calls Childs’ campaign manager and starts shouting about how he had the information first and he better not use it!! Then he hangs up. Next, they go out the door of the copy room to spy on one of the Florrick volunteers who just so happens to receive a phone 3 seconds later. He is a Childs’ campaign plant and Eli knew it. He asks his partner to go ask the kid to make a photo copy of the information they just found out. It ends up, Childs’ campaign make a really tacky but somewhat amusing cartoon video about Wendy and her “assets” and Childs’ campaign leaks the story. Eli is back in his office watching a TV interview of Wendy with a local reporter and they are playing the video. As soon as Wendy lowers her head and get serious, I know exactly where this is going. She announces that the reason she had the surgery was because she had to have a double mastectomy because she was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer. If Eli had a gun, he would have shot the TV and then himself. But since he was smart enough to not have it come back on the Florrick campaign, once Wendy’s interview is released, Childs’ campaign manager resigns.
While all this is going on, Grace Florrick was caught on video at a Wendy Scott Carr rally and she is quoted as supporting her candidacy and talking about between her running and Obama in office, politics is cool again! Really, Eli is going to need some serious yoga and massage time at Eden West (see the movie Couple Resort) after all this stress. Eli tells Alicia about the incident and she says she’ll have a talk with Grace. At Casa Florrick Alicia and Grace have a chat about what happened. Grace says that she only wanted to hear her speak and Alicia tells her that is fine but she did more than that, she spoke to someone and she knows because they video taped her. Grace seems like a pretty smart girl. She HAD to know that if she showed up at a Wendy Scott Carr rally, there would be cameras. And if those cameras spot her opponent’s daughter there, that could be a problem! Use your head Grace!!!! Grace tells her mom that it’s a free country and she should be allowed to answer a question truthfully. Alicia reminds her that her doing that can hurt her father and if she were Wendy’s daughter, she can talk in public about how good she is. “So I can’t say what I think?” Grace asks her mom. “Sure you can…here at home” Alicia replies. “But not to other people?” “When you are 18.” Ha!!! Good one Alicia. “Mom this is politics, it’s different.” “No this is FAMILY, it’s not different” Alicia firmly reminds her daughter. And I say BRAVO!!!! But Grace shows Alicia the cartoon video of Wendy and Alicia asks her where she found it. When she says online, Alicia told her it could be anyone’s including the other campaign. “Is it?” Grace asks. And we find out later that Grace is part right and part wrong. Other campaign leaked it and was responsible for it, but it was Peter’s campaign that found it and leaked it to them. But, Peter had no idea about it. So her dad did not condone this at all. I’m not saying Peter is a saint, but he is in the clear on this one. Grace eventually finds that out.
Yes people, this all happened in one episode!! Are you as exhausted reading about it as I am writing about it? But that is what makes the Good Wife special. All characters are developed so well that I am riveted by every line of dialogue. Although I wish we saw Cary more and gave him more to do. At this point ass face Blake is more of a regular character than he is and that doesn’t sit well with me! And guess what, I didn’t really get talk about Kalinda and Donna (played by Lily Taylor!!!) Next week I will discuss that further. The ratings aren’t as strong as last year and I can’t figure that out at all. For those of you who are fans of the show, pass on to your friends why they should be watching. If you are new to the show and aren’t sure if you should be watching it, I HIGHLY suggest you tune in to see one of the best shows on TV. And if you never miss a week, do your best to watch at 10pm vs. the DVR. See you next week at LGB!!!