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Jess Weixler, Matt Czuchry and Julianna Margulies in The Good Wife
When you mention politics to most people, they make a "eww" face and regard it as a concept they neither want to be a part of or believe affects them. But the truth is that politics, whether it be the capital "P" kind of governments or the little "p" type of relationships, permeates throughout society. Almost all interactions are to some degree built around influence and the use of that influence to further an agenda, whether personal or professional.

No other show on television explores that dynamic as well as The Good Wife, created and run by husband-wife team Robert and Michelle King. This season has seen the biggest changes for the characters, as the law firm of Lockhart-Gardner divided, a major character left the show and the personal relationship/professional partnership between Alicia Florick (Julianna Margulies) and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florick (Chris Noth), became something different. And, simillar to Law & Order's "ripped from the headlines" style, no other fictional show on television has delved into, explained and used the issues around NSA surveillance, net neutrality and income inequality as well as this one.

Last night's season finale had a theme of endings and new beginnings. The episode offered a conclusion as to the direction the competing firms of Lockhart-Gardner and Florick-Aggos will take. But it also set up a major professional shift for Alicia.

Follow beneath the fold for more ....

Alicia's decision to leave Lockhart-Gardner with Cary (Matt Czuchry), the chaos and antagonism that caused, and the death of Will (Josh Charles) were major impetuses that drove the narrative this year. The really impressive thing about season five is that all of the conflicts are born out of slights in which every character had a legitimate reason to feel pissed at the other. As Lockhart-Gardner divided, and Alicia and Cary walked out the door to create Florrick-Agos, the show balanced their desires to create their own path with Will's and Diane's (Christine Baranski) feelings of betrayal. But the murder of Will shifted everything in the Alicia storyline and the character's overall outlook on her life, as well as set the stage for power politics as everyone scrambled to control as much as they could in the new landscape.

Instead of Alicia seeing the situation as being one of her rising to create something of her own, Will's death and the direction of her life came to symbolize regret. Regret over how things ended with Will. Regret about her situation with Peter. And that regret permeated through all other aspects of the plot. Alicia's passion for Florrick-Agos went out the window, as well as her desire to be Peter's wife in anything but name only, and she developed a (so-far platonic) relationship with Finn Polmar (Matthew Goode) through Will. And over at Lockhart-Gardner, David Lee (Zach Grenier) and Louis Canning (Michael J. Fox) slowly but surely moved against Diane.
  • Zach graduating and the mother-in-laws from hell: Zach's (Graham Phillips) high school graduation plays into themes that have been in play the entire season. Zach moving on to college is symbolic of things ending, a new beginning and change. And having Jackie Florrick (Mary Beth Peil) and Veronica Loy (Stockard Channing) in the same room allows all of the resentments of Alicia's and Peter's marriage to come out into the open and be spoken aloud.
  • The lawsuit that hangs over Alicia's head: The $6-million suit that's on the periphery of the episode and gets the central story rolling has been a recurring plot point this season. Alicia is being blamed for David Lee's attempted bribery of the Chippewa Nation, which screwed up an adoption. Why? Because Lockhart-Gardner bribed an associate with a partnership to secure his testimony pinning the blame on Alicia. Some of the facts of the case are based on Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, in which a couple from South Carolina adopted a child in 2009. Two years later, the child's biological father, a member of the Cherokee Nation, contested the adoption on the grounds that he wasn't properly notified, and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) set guidelines for how parental rights for members of Native-American tribes can be relinquished. In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the relevant sections of the ICWA do not apply when the parent in question never had custody of the child. In 2013, the adoption of "Baby Veronica" was finalized.

Rule 4.4 (b): A lawyer who receives a document or electronically stored information relating to the representation of the lawyer's client and knows or reasonably should know that the document or electronically stored information was inadvertently sent shall promptly notify the sender.
  • ABA rules on inadvertent disclosure of privileged material: According to Robert King, the inadvertent eavesdropping on Lockhart-Gardner was based on the production staff's own experience teleconferencing between New York and Los Angeles. The eavesdropping was also consistent with the theme of the NSA episodes this year, except this time it's Florrick-Agos listening to others. Clarke (Nathan Lane) paraphrases the ABA's model rule 4.4(b), while Carey (Ben Rappaport) argues the information should be used as part of a zealous defense, and Cary gives the decision to Alicia as the client. However, Clarke is right that the professional rules of conduct require that Florrick-Agos "promptly notify the sender" of what's happening. However, since none of the information was used to help Alicia win her lawsuit (as far as we know), I'm guessing it's a moot point. What the eavesdropped info does do is create chaos at Lockhart-Gardner and Florrick-Agos.
  • Finn Polmar drops out: Eli (Alan Cumming) is adamant that Finn must withdraw his candidacy for Cook County state's attorney. Finn horse-traded to help his sister. In exchange for leniency on drug charges against her, Finn cut a deal to lessen charges on another case. In the grand scheme of scandals, it's not the sexiest case of misconduct, and leads Alicia to think it's Peter still miffed about the implication of her infidelity. However, Peter's and Eli's plan is to encourage Diane to run for the state's attorney office, since she's already been vetted. Diane feels slighted by the idea. While intrigued by it, Diane still remembers how she was treated when offered what she truly wants—a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court.

"Kalinda, just shut up. I’m not one of your women. I’m not going to go slow when you want me to go slow."
  • Kalinda's betrayal in living color: I've had the displeasure of having someone I love dearly lie to me, and for me to know they're lying to me while they do it. Even as it's happening, there's a piece of you, the piece that loves them so much, that wants to believe their lies. But that feeling is dwarfed by disgust, not only with them but with one's self for being in the situation and caring about the person. The scene where Cary sees how deep Kalinda's (Archie Panjabi) exploitation of him reaches (i.e. Diane knows about it and orders it) is great acting on the part of Matt Czuchry. The scene is important since it not only sets up the conflict between Alicia and Cary over a possible merger with Lockhart-Gardner, but it probably dooms any meaningful relationship between Kalinda and Cary. And the sex scene between them gets very close to assault as Cary let his anger out just a bit.
  • A place with walls and doors: According to the Twitter feed for the show, all of the jokes about the lack of walls and doors at Florrick-Agos was the writers' commentary about the decisions made by the production designer in creating the Florrick-Agos office space.
  • War in Heaven: I was totally on Cary's side during his arguments with Alicia, since Alicia's position about the merger was absolutely selfish. It would be one thing if Alicia said, "Hey, I want out because I don't want to do this anymore." But that's not what she does; in fact, Alicia explodes when Cary suggests that her feeling "tired" and it being a "struggle" is a reaction to Will's death. I think Cary had every right to be pissed that less than a year after forming this partnership, Alicia is ready to end their firm and basically screw over her other partners, while putting most of their staff out of jobs. What did Alicia expect it to be other than a struggle? Although, I can also understand why Alicia is so pissed by Cary's decision to inform Canning about Diane's plans, and it might be a situation where they can never trust each other again.

"This is a notice of dissolution. As partner, I have unilateral right to dissolve the firm with cause ... Acquisitions were made without the full consent of the partnership. The west-coast, east-coast offices were acquired."
  • The nuclear option: Both Diane and Canning maneuver for position to gain the managing partner position at Lockhart-Gardner. First, by fighting over the vote of Howard Lyman (Jerry Adler), and then by either advancing or fighting against a merger of Lockhart-Gardner and Florrick-Agos. Canning eventually deep-sixes the deal by threatening to dissolve Lockhart-Gardner entirely. Using Will's unapproved acquisitions to build a massive interstate firm, he can issue a notice of dissolution. It's a fascinating portrait of Canning's villainy. It's a situation where a character says, "Either I get my way or I destroy everything." Canning justifies it by saying he needs the work to make his last days livable. But when Diane calls him on his treachery, Canning shifts the blame to her and says the decision is in her hands, and if she fights, it is she who will dissolve the firm. Also, in the long-run, David Lee is sitting pretty. If Canning is dying within a year, it's going to be a short wait before David can assume the managing partner position. And by allowing Canning to be the one that takes it from Diane, he keeps the blood off of his hands.
  • Florrick-Agos-Lockhart: With the choice of being stabbed or shot, Diane chooses a third option. She takes her $38 million/year in client billing to Florrick-Agos. In an interview, the Kings were asked why Diane would throw in with people that left Lockhart-Gardner? They argue she would rather start over working with them than Canning, whom she doesn't respect. Also, the dynamic between Diane and Cary will be antagonistic next season, resembling the relationship between Diane and Will in the early seasons. They also imply in the interview that the firm formerly known as Lockhart-Gardner may not be a "major character" next season.
  • What?: After all of the dust settles, and Alicia can sit down and enjoy a glass of wine, the biggest character shift of the episode occurs. Eli decides to solve the problem of a candidate for the state's attorney's office by asking Alicia. In some ways, it's a natural progression of the character and true-to-life in that many "good wives" of politicians become politicians themselves. Plus, the possible dynamics of Alicia as prosecutor open some interesting avenues.

From Ileane Rudolph at TV Guide:
Why would Alicia say yes to that offer?

Robert King: She wouldn't at this moment. There's a long road for her to travel.
Michelle King: Approximately 22 episode long.
Robert King: More interesting is who Alicia would be if she ran.

Being state's attorney could pit her against many of the people she cares about, couldn't it?

Robert King: That's right. (Laughs)
Michelle King: We had Cary doing that work for a season and a half.

Finally, Peter and the sexy intern. Did they do the deed?

Robert King: The intern will be back next season. We wanted to lay out the temptation of the office. We left it up to the audience to figure out which way this would go. We won't tell you what we think.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (20+ / 0-)

    Other entertainment stories making news:

  •  Best show on TV right now (14+ / 0-)

    For me.

    Yes, I love Game of Thrones.
    Love Mad Men.

    But this season of The Good Wife is one of the best of any series, like a Mad Men Season 1/2 high mark.

    The way this show manages to handle technology in a way that is accurate and gets to real serious issues from Net Neutrality to NSA to copyright manipulation is fantastic.  

    SImple cases suck you in and it has a wide cast where secondary characters all have purpose.

    Love it.  Love it alot.

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Mon May 19, 2014 at 07:06:26 PM PDT

    •  The Mentalist is good too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      susans, FarWestGirl

      And I'm so glad they decided to renew at the last moment.

      Lost Girl was my favorite show--until Season 4 happened. Ugh.

      And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

      by Pale Jenova on Mon May 19, 2014 at 08:17:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Season 4... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        susans, Pale Jenova

        What a mess.  But once they new 5 was renewed before they started you had a feeling they were going to try and figure our some 2 season story.  Lots of potholes

        Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

        by Chris Reeves on Mon May 19, 2014 at 08:45:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Obvious why Kenzi sacrificed herself (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          "It's the only way I can make Season 4 end!"

          They lost so much after seasons 1-3. But I'm looking forward to both the Good Wife and the Mentalist this fall. Yay!

          And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

          by Pale Jenova on Tue May 20, 2014 at 07:19:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  you know she comes back (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BvueDem, Pale Jenova

            She's under contract so..

            Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

            by Chris Reeves on Tue May 20, 2014 at 09:53:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I certainly hope so. She makes the show. (0+ / 0-)

              I was never a big Bo/Lauren fan (known as "Doccubus," LOL!), but Bo/Tamsin had sparks. Oh yea. That was season 3, the last good season. :(

              And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

              by Pale Jenova on Tue May 20, 2014 at 06:52:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  I like GW and Mad Men (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But I think MM is more a work of art, as last nights episode showed   The characters are more complex and the plots more interesting (and comprehensible)  truly an amazing show.

    •  Definitely the best season (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmservo433, OLinda, susans, FarWestGirl

      all kinds of drama and tension.  Margulies is so right for the role it's uncanny.  Just brilliant.

      Steve Gilliard Lives.

      by Bethesda 1971 on Mon May 19, 2014 at 09:28:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'll have to keep an eye out for it! No TV @ home. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      •  Sunday night (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        And afternoon is really my day of rest.   Or I try.  But I need to just zone out and do nothing.. and this to me is great for that, especially in winter..

        Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

        by Chris Reeves on Tue May 20, 2014 at 05:07:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I have from the start. But now that they've killed (0+ / 0-)

      off Will, it's kind of devolving into a backstabbing soap opera, which interests me much less.

      I understand that this sort of jockeying happens all the time in their world, at that level, but there's a reason I chose not to live there. So I'm not at all sure if I'll keep watching through the fall.

       I totally understand Alicia being so very tired, and I'm interested to see if she finds something to refocus her and allow her to go on being a lawyer, but the show is on the edge of losing my interest. I think that Diane will come over to Florrick Agos, and that there will be a lot of growing pains for the new firm. There's nothing that holds either Diane or Alicia at the old firm anymore, with Will gone and all the power plays happening, I don't doubt that they will drop into the background except as occasional adversaries.

      A lot of lawyers quit being lawyers and go do something else. And after watching The Good Wife from the beginning, I can definitely understand why. It's not the work, per se, it's wading through all the power struggles, betrayals, reverses and BS surrounding it that would wear me out, too.

      Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
      ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

      by FarWestGirl on Tue May 20, 2014 at 03:47:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Really good season (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doctor RJ, kerflooey, susans, FarWestGirl

    The only odd thing was how the NSA thing ended so completely and tight in just one episode. Did not really make sense, but oh well.

    Outside of The Good Wife universe, but with an actor in a previous roll, Matt Czuchry - This current NYT situation makes me think this is what would have happened if Logan Huntzberger got power in his dads organization, and he would have. #GilmoreGirls

    What would Bulworth do?

    by Progrocks on Mon May 19, 2014 at 07:30:54 PM PDT

  •  Cary (5+ / 0-)

    "Kalinda, just shut up. I’m not one of your women. I’m not going to go slow when you want me to go slow."

    I swear, as I watched this I thought it might be a dream sequence.

    I don't know what's worse, the getting older or the getting wiser. -- G. Callen.

    by OLinda on Mon May 19, 2014 at 07:35:41 PM PDT

  •  my favorite show. (6+ / 0-)

    Sure a lot of changes.

    Would like to see more of Eli and the woman he likes.

    Would like Nathan Lane to have more of a part. Just like watching him.

    I don't know what's worse, the getting older or the getting wiser. -- G. Callen.

    by OLinda on Mon May 19, 2014 at 07:42:40 PM PDT

  •  Spirit's got a pretty good case (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doctor RJ, susans
  •  Let's You and Him Fight (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doctor RJ, susans, FarWestGirl

    It's great TV, but just every now and then I wish they'd give one of these characters a little peace.

  •  The Cast (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doctor RJ, OLinda, VTelder, susans, FarWestGirl

    is absolutely amazing.  Stockard Channing is exactly right for her role.  Michael J. Fox is cast against type and it works like a charm.  And I agree that Nathan Lane's character should be expanded.

  •  they set up the Diane "surprise" weeks ago (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doctor RJ, susans, FarWestGirl

    the twist at end of the show was a lot more unexpected

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon May 19, 2014 at 08:49:23 PM PDT

  •  Thoughts (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doctor RJ, OLinda, susans, PHScott, FarWestGirl

    I thought the last two shows were very impressive, both in writing and in direction.  Some high points...

    The next to last show had a wonderful, if subtle analysis of the Ayn Rand philosophy.  Not only was the CEO the perfect Rand antagonist, but the fired executive suing him was almost certainly a Rand disciple as well: After all, he was going to sell trade secrets and, when caught, had the nerve to sue on a false pretense, knowing the company could do little but settle.

    That, in synopsis, has been a concern of mine with Rand supporters for some time. If I owned a company, I absolutely would not hire anyone I was aware of being a  Rand supporter: If I did, I could only expect exactly that type of betrayal; the very moment there was an advantage in doing so.  I really enjoyed seeing exactly such a scenario played out in that show.

    Alicia's assessment of Rand's book and the value of it as a philosophy was also impressively sharp. The death blow is delivered with perfect sarcasm: "It’s like basing your philosophy on the books of John Grisham."

    The last show was also amazing in so many ways, but I was especially impressed (as mentioned above) with the evil of the Canning character. Wouldn't David Lee and his supporters (who brought Canning in to allow them to wrest control from Dianne) be so wonderfully surprised at the aftermath of Canning's dissolution, assuming he does that?

    But I don't think it's going there. Instead, I can't wait to see Canning's face when Dianne withdraws from the firm, leaving him to take charge of an insolvent shell.  As he has cause to dissolve the firm, she also has cause to withdraw; but the payout of her shares and the loss of her clients and income will almost certainly bankrupt the firm.  It would be a lovely Pyrrhic victory for Canning...and should leave David Lee and his supporters utterly befuddled, recriminations flying in all directions.

    I don't think next year's biggest conflicts will be Carey-Dianne, though there will be some of that; I expect the major conflicts to come from other sources. Dianne will, as a matter of course, bring her protege Kalinda along and the Carey-Kalinda conflicts should be something to see, given the betrayal in this show. I also expect the Carey-Alicia conflicts to escalate, after his equally ugly betrayal of her.

    Should be great.

  •  Love the Good Wife but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doctor RJ

    I was overwhelmed by the last episode. They attempted to rap up too many plot lines in one episode as if the writers looked up and realized it was the last episode and they had the unfinished stories to tell.

    That said, I still love this show and teared up when Will died.

    It's the Central Limit Theorem, Stupid!

    by smartdemmg on Tue May 20, 2014 at 04:51:28 AM PDT

  •  Nicely done! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doctor RJ, OLinda, FarWestGirl

    I love this show, and the final episode, as with all of the Kings' final episodes, are real barn-burners. I also sided with Cary in their extremely loud argument, since it seemed unrealistic that Alicia would really go ahead with a merger. I don't agree, however, that Cary's scene with Kalinda bordered on assault. These two have always played rough with each other.

    I was just in Tel Aviv, and they love The Good Wife! There are billboards announcing it, and it was a real kick to see the Hebrew subtitles.

    Life is a shipwreck. But we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. — Voltaire

    by agrenadier on Tue May 20, 2014 at 09:28:12 AM PDT

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