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 are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. shopqvc says:

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

    • Dee says:

      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.

  2. D. says:

    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!

  3. Steven says:

    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.

  4. Bobbi says:

    Wholeheartedly agree on both Christine Baranski and Bellamy Young. Outstanding!

  5. EJ says:

    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.

  6. asd123 says:

    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 :)

  7. Leah says:

    Agree wholeheartedly. They’re both excellent. Diane and Mellie are two of my favorite tv characters.

  8. Apples says:

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. Jen says:

    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)

  11. Morgan says:

    Good choice! Christine definitely deserves an Emmy win for this role!

  12. Leslee says:

    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.

    • GHFan says:

      Agreed, playing the subtleties of two different characters, and a wide range of emotions in one episode! Prime-time worthy performance!

  13. HEATHER says:

    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!!

    • DL says:

      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.

  14. DL says:

    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!

  15. ilona says:

    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!

  16. redjane12 says:

    Christine Baranski (and TGW) are massively underrated – good to see her getting some recognition… I agree wholeheartedly this week!!!

  17. Juan says:

    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.

  18. rachelle says:

    Very well deserved! Christine is a fantastic actress!

  19. Chris says:

    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

  20. nikki says:

    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.

  21. jeff says:

    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.

  22. Truefan says:

    I’ve enjoyed her acting on TV as well as films. She is good in dramas as well as comedy. What a terrific lady!

  23. Shaun says:

    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.

  24. Gigi says:

    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.

  25. Guest says:

    Damian Lewis deserves mention for Homeland… he was excellent!

  26. Maureen says:

    I love Christine Baranski! She’s a Goddess!!!

  27. barbara says:

    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

  28. barbara says:

    wow what a good fast paced episode. get to see will clean off the desk next week

  29. Mary says:

    I can´t say anything about Christine Baranski because I haven´t seen The Good Wife, but Bellamy Young? Fabulous! That is acting!