TVLine's Performer of the Week: The Good Wife's Christine Baranski

Christine Baranski The Good WifeA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER Christine Baranski

THE SHOW | The Good Wife

THE EPISODE | “A Precious Commodity”

THE AIRDATE | Oct. 13, 2013

THE PERFORMANCE | It’s no accident that Christine Baranski is a 10-time Emmy nominee (and one-time winner), but last week’s installment of The Good Wife served as an excellent reminder why the actress is widely regarded as TV royalty.

VIDEO | The Good Wife‘s Christine Baranski Previews the ‘Alicia-gate’ Blow-Up

“A Precious Commodity” opened with a wordless scene in which Baranski’s Diane Lockhart processed the sudden flood of regret she felt after giving a damning interview to a law journal about her good friend and partner Will Gardner — a move she’d made to secure a nomination for a coveted Supreme Court judgeship. In Baranski’s deft hands, there was no need for expository dialogue to express the character’s realization that she’d compromised her principles and needed to come clean about it.

Of course, after Diane confessed her indiscretion, setting in motion a behind-closed-doors effort by Will and Lockhart-Gardner’s higher-ups to force the named partner from the firm, we saw the proud, steely side of a woman who, while she’d been disloyal in this one instance, had also guided the firm to financial stability in the wake of Will’s six-month suspension (and near disbarrment).

Baranski was devastating — and devastatingly subtle — in her scenes opposite Josh Charles’ Will: Diane practically trembled with anger as she refused to be driven out by “ghouls” like David Lee, daring her adversaries to have her escorted from the building by security. At the same time, though, we could see her processing how much her politically driven move had hurt Will, adding an undercurrent of sadness and regret to the proceedings. As Diane made the case that her package couldn’t be handled in the same way as other partners who’d exited the firm, reasoning how she’d given her whole life to its success, Will made the case that it was impossible to “negotiate appreciation.” And that’s when Baranski delivered a line as sharp and merciless as a steel blade: “That’s right: That’s why you’d better do it with money.” And with that, she exited her office, the gauntlet thrown down.

It was a reminder that Diane Lockhart, humane and lovely as she may be, is not a woman to be taken lightly. And in the same token, Christine Baranski is an actress whose brilliance cannot be ignored.

HONORABLE MENTION | For an instant, you may have thought that Scandal was setting the scene for some angry sex-on-a-table between Mellie and husband Fitz. But what followed was far more frothy. Bellamy Young never fails to entertain as the First Lady who will always place second (if not lower) in her husband’s heart. But her dandelion wine-infused testament to how her “happy ending” does not involve a certain dead Gladiator regaled us to no end. “Olivia Pope being blown to bits — that’s your dream, isn’t it?” Fitz posited. “Oh, no. That’s my nightmare,” Mellie countered, launching into a damnation of even the thought of martyred “St. Olivia Pope” and detailing how a living, breathing adversary empowers her to control the leader of the free world. “She’s the strings that, if need be, I will pull to make my puppet husband dance,” Mellie beamed. “So cheers, baby — I live to fight another day!” And then she teetered out of the room.

Which performances rocked your TV set this week? Sound off in the comments!

Comments (37)

  • She is one awesome actress in the Good Wife and also great as Leonards crazy mother in the Big Bang Theory.

    Comment by shopqvc – October 19, 2013 10:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • She is a truly great actress. Watching her each week on TGW is an amazing treat. She is long overdue for an EMMY win as Diane Lockhart. And also, her work as Leonard’s mother on TBBT is also deserving of an EMMY. She truly is television royalty.

      Comment by Dee – October 19, 2013 10:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Bellamy Young is so good and her speeches so entertaining… I hope the writers keep on giving them to her every week because i love them!

    Comment by D. – October 19, 2013 10:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Christine has always been an amazing actress. I’ve loved her since Cybill. I just hope this in’t the last season of The Good Wife, but if it is I do hope Christine finds another great show to showcase her talents.

    Comment by Steven – October 19, 2013 10:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wholeheartedly agree on both Christine Baranski and Bellamy Young. Outstanding!

    Comment by Bobbi – October 19, 2013 10:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ve loved her since I saw her Tony Award-winning performance on Broadway in The Real Thing in 1983. She could take a line like “Bournemouth? What were you doing in Bournemouth?” and make it sing. She’s American royalty, not just of the TV variety. If this were the UK she’d be a Dame by now.

    Comment by EJ – October 19, 2013 10:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree, she was fantastic. I expect that in two weeks Josh Charles will take the spot as performer of the week. Partners in everything :)

    Comment by asd123 – October 19, 2013 11:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Agree wholeheartedly. They’re both excellent. Diane and Mellie are two of my favorite tv characters.

    Comment by Leah – October 19, 2013 11:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It was a good week for the male leads on the series I watch this week- both Nathan Fillion and Chris O’Donnell had fantastic episodes on their respective procedurals.

    Comment by Apples – October 19, 2013 11:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Chris was my fav performance this week by far!!! Amazing!!!

      Comment by HEATHER – October 19, 2013 12:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • agree with you heather chris did excellent job especially at the end when he was watching the film wirh him and his dad. best episode ever!!!!!!

        Comment by barbara – October 20, 2013 06:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My favorite TV actress! Her portrayal of Diane Lockhart is the best thing about The Good Wife for me, and this week was outstanding! I just wish CBS would put it on some other night. It has to hurt their ratings that you never know what time it will begin.

    Comment by gonzosgirrl (@gonzosgirrl) – October 19, 2013 11:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i wonder if this means she will be leaving the good wife. what role will they have for her if she is not a lawyer at the firm? they can only have so many cases go before her from either firm… something else big is going to happen with she goes to carey and alicia’s firm.(before judge job)

    Comment by Jen – October 19, 2013 11:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Good choice! Christine definitely deserves an Emmy win for this role!

    Comment by Morgan – October 19, 2013 12:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Good choices this week! I have another honorable mention for you: FInola Hughes hit it out of the park this week on GH when Anna was trying to get Faison to tell her if Robin was alive…and where she might be.

    Comment by Leslee – October 19, 2013 12:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Agreed, playing the subtleties of two different characters, and a wide range of emotions in one episode! Prime-time worthy performance!

      Comment by GHFan – October 19, 2013 02:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Amazing choice!!! She was brilliant this week… As she is most weeks. My stand out performance this week was Chris O’Donnell on NCIS LA. He was insane and went further then I had ever seen him as an actor… In anything!!!! The end scene had me in tears!!! Beautiful performance by him!!

    Comment by HEATHER – October 19, 2013 12:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • His final scene was probably the most moving moment of NCIS: LA ever. Props to him. My first experience of him was as D’Artagnan in The Three Musketeers with Charlie Sheen, Oliver Platt, and Kiefer Sutherland. To say that he has grown leaps and bounds as an actor since then is a vast understatement. Always heartening to see actors continue to work at honing their craft.

      Comment by DL – October 19, 2013 12:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ve loved Baranski ever since she played baby mama to Robin Williams in “The Birdcage.” Speaking of which, I’m tickled they’re both on CBS now!

    Comment by DL – October 19, 2013 12:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Finally! I was waiting for this to happend. After Damages and Glenn Close there is no one who deserve to win emmy and performer of the week mention! Christine is just fantastic! Diane is by far my favorite. I’m also TeamDrunkMellie so I’m glad she had 2nd place! Bellamy can win this war!

    Comment by ilona – October 19, 2013 12:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Christine Baranski (and TGW) are massively underrated – good to see her getting some recognition… I agree wholeheartedly this week!!!

    Comment by redjane12 – October 19, 2013 01:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thank You for having Bellamy Young here. That scence was just amazing and her delivery was fantastic. I hope she gets recognized come award season.

    Comment by Juan – October 19, 2013 01:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Very well deserved! Christine is a fantastic actress!

    Comment by rachelle – October 19, 2013 02:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wish the good wife would move back to Tuesdays at 10. Great episode, it has reminded me why I started loving this show to begin with

    Comment by Chris – October 19, 2013 02:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • She was good but definitely “not performer of the week” good. Why doesn’t TVline recognise The CW shows more? They aren’t all just pretty faces. The Vampire Diaries, Arrow and Supernatural casts are always top notch.

    Comment by nikki – October 19, 2013 02:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • they did ackowledge Nina dobrev when she had that amazing “shutting down her emotions” scene last season

      Comment by Kevin – October 20, 2013 02:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Um. Okay, I’ll play along. Who on a CW show this week held a candle to Christine Baranski? No, really.

      Comment by Danyelle – October 20, 2013 05:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Cynthia Stevenson was brilliant as a distraught mothert carrying a bomb on her body on Scandal ! One of the most versatile actresses I ‘ve had the pleasure of knowing both professionally and personally.

    Comment by jeff – October 19, 2013 03:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ve enjoyed her acting on TV as well as films. She is good in dramas as well as comedy. What a terrific lady!

    Comment by Truefan – October 19, 2013 07:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • That dialogue about the ‘appreciation’ and ‘money’ was so good. I hope after The Good Wife, Christine Baranski gets more drama roles! She so deserves to win a drama award.

    Comment by Shaun – October 19, 2013 07:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I loved Diane’s scenes this week. I’m glad she’s pushing back against Will. He is such a donkey’s butt.
    Also, Mellie was drinking hooch, not wine. There’s a huge difference. It’s basically moonshine and super potent, which explains her very frank openness in the scene. Had it been real life, I’d be surprised if she even remembered the conversation the next day.

    Comment by Gigi – October 19, 2013 08:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Damian Lewis deserves mention for Homeland… he was excellent!

    Comment by Guest – October 19, 2013 09:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love Christine Baranski! She’s a Goddess!!!

    Comment by Maureen – October 20, 2013 10:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i also luv christine she was also in episode of ghostwhisperer anything she does is excellent. i’ve read jasonomara from past shows vegas terranova joining cast for an upcoming arc luv him. the best tho tonite carrie preston elsbeth the lawyer they have on sometimes will be on. she acts flaky but she is one excellent lawyer. she is also ib real life married to finch from person of interest just wanted to throw that in. this season of goodwife so good this season fast paced so you don’t want to miss a minute

    Comment by barbara – October 20, 2013 07:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Punctuation! ;-)

      Comment by Boseleski – October 20, 2013 11:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • wow what a good fast paced episode. get to see will clean off the desk next week

    Comment by barbara – October 21, 2013 06:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I can´t say anything about Christine Baranski because I haven´t seen The Good Wife, but Bellamy Young? Fabulous! That is acting!

    Comment by Mary – October 25, 2013 01:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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