Good Wife Recap: Cash Twenty-Two

Alicia Florrick has a gay brother who happens to be one of her closest confidantes — an inconvenient truth my brain struggled mightily to suppress during this week’s installment of The Good Wife.

After all, to acknowledge the Alicia-Owen bond while big sis made not a peep of protest during a homophobic rant by a potential fat-cat campaign donor (a fantastically nasty Ed Asner) raised some painful questions: Has a heated run for state’s attorney cracked Alicia’s moral compass? Has her desire for victory and thirst for power turned her into a “bad person”? Or has Alicia always been compromised at her core — her entry into the political Thunderdome merely erasing the patina of civility that’s kept us rooting for her for six seasons?

Of course, part of me thinks those queries are too quaint for real-world situations: Maybe Alicia’s silence in the moment is a small (and ultimately smart) price to pay to gain access to Guy Redmayne’s millions. Sure, this wealthy cretin might think Alicia shares his disgust over the rumored sexual orientation of her opponent Frank Prady, but once she’s in office (or even before then), there’s nothing stopping her from aligning herself with pro-LGBT causes. And while Prady’s open outrage at Redmayne’s lecherous, sexist comments about Alicia makes him the nobler human being, does it also expose him as the weaker political candidate — a man who can’t differentiate doing the right thing from doing the greater good?

The Good Wife‘s ability to explore 50 shades of grey (sorry!) over just one aspect of the campaign trail makes it one of TV’s greatest pleasures. As a gay man myself, I wanted Alicia to swat Redmayne’s paw off her thigh, fire a pity verbal bullet or two, then turn and exit the room. (And that same part of me wanted Redmayne to stand up and cheer, then laugh and tell her his bigotry had just been a put-on to test her moral fiber.) But to a large degree I understand Alicia’s pragmatism (or perhaps her shock-induced paralysis) under fire — and more importantly, I don’t have to like everything she does to continue being fascinated by everything she’s becoming. To that end, let’s examine the meat of the action from this week’s “Dark Money”:

105860-85bMO MONEY, MO PROBLEMS | I feel like I ought to be playing Cyndi Lauper’s sublime “Money Changes Everything” as I write this paragraph. (Actually, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do!)

So, Alicia learns from Prady that her PAC is running robo-calls in suburban areas — on Prady’s behalf! — from “rainbow activists for Prady” and complete with lisping voiceover. The thinking being conservative voters will flee the slight front-runner in the race over nagging gay rumors and the idea that the LGBT agenda will be his No. 1 priority. 

Alicia’s campaign guys plead ignorance at first, until she calls their attention to a dormant Twitter account they’re using to send messages to the PAC about which regions they’re losing and where funds should be spent. It’s a legal loophole — but an ugly one — but Saint Florrick makes it clear in no uncertain terms that the robo-calls need to end.

Would that all her choices this week were so simple. During her backchannel conversation with Prady, she observes him getting a phone call from heavyweight campaign contributor Redmayne — and when she tips off Josh and Johnny, they set up a similar face-to-face for her. They prep her with brutal honesty — her initial idea for an introductory remark, “I hope you will consider,” fills them with disdain — but she arrives much more prepared to pass the cup to the fat cat at a taxidermy-friendly club.

To Alicia’s shock, the crusty old Democrat (whose bored daughter sits in the background staring at her smartphone)  thinks nothing of resting his hand on her knee and shouting, “I got the testicles of a 20-year-old!” Alicia’s droll reply — “Where? In your briefcase?” — leaves him howling, but it also turns out to be her final show of teeth in their conversation. After glossing past her substantive philosophical differences with Prady, Redmayne pledges his cool million — but not because of Alicia’s “pretty eyes,” but because“I don’t like fags.” The best Alicia can do is register mild shock and discomfort — which only eggs Redmayne onward. “Kick that fruitcake when he’s down!” he says, giddily, attributing Alicia’s PAC’s recent activities to the candidate herself. You can practically see the cartoon stars and bluebirds encircling the blindsided candidate’s head as she exits the meeting — but it doesn’t exactly excuse her acquiescence, either. 

Prady’s meeting goes a lot differently. When Redmayne lasciviously says of Alicia that he’d “like to split that little missy in half,” Prady flinches — and says he doesn’t feel the need to denigrate his rival.

“I’m not talking about denigrating!” roars the money man, clearly buoyed by a lifetime of unchallenged locker-room boastings. “I’m talking about bangin’ that bitch ’til she screams like a $5,000-per-night whore!” Prady — a man whose sense of black-and-white is perhaps a little more sharply defined than Alicia’s — tells Redmayne he’s disgusting, but the man’s response (and Asner’s hideously unapologetic delivery) turns out to be the last word: “Yeah, but I’m rich, so it really doesn’t matter, does it?”

When Prady later swings by Alicia’s office and it’s clear which way the money is headed, Alicia’s comment that Redmayne is “quite a character” tips off her rival that perhaps she’s seen his true colors. “Campaigning is a lonely profession,” he reminds her, hoping that their odd and secret friendship still holds some weight. But the best Alicia can do is to tell him, “We took down the robo-call. The PAC did.” Later, at home with her wine and her daughter, she breaks down in tears and acknowledges in almost childlike terms (“I was bad today”) how compromised she’s been by her quest for an office that will allow her to do good work. These probably won’t be the last regretful tears she cries before the season ends, methinks.

Message DisciplineADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING | Kalinda remains at Lemond Bishop’s beck and call — his opening question to her this week (“Why does it take you eight rings to answer?”) showing the total imbalance of power in the relationship.

Turns out he wants her to transport his son from school back home every day for two weeks — a job that’s less straightforward than it initially sounds. “All-America Mike says my dad killed my mom,” Dylan says plainly, as Kalinda asks him to crouch down in his seat after spying an SUV that’s tailing their car.

Kalinda keeps this detail from Bishop, even as he informs her it’s a “big part of the job” to report back what Dylan tells her. “I’m not really a kid person,” she shrugs, in one of the most delightful pieces of understatement of the 2015 TV season.

Later in the week, though, the sexy-booted investigator intervenes when Mike pushes Dylan to the sidewalk after school — and at the boy’s request, she once again withholds said intel from her unlikely new boss. He calls her back to his house once he spies Dylan’s black eye — and it’s clear he’s already gleaned whodunnit. What’s great about the moment is the way Archie Panjabi lets us see Kalinda’s deep hesitance to speak freely — she doesn’t want a middle-schooler physically harmed or even killed on her say-so. But she’s also a self-preservationist at heart, so she doesn’t dissuade Bishop’s line of inquiry fingering All-America Mike.

What happens next, however, shifts the Kalinda-Bishop power dynamic in a subtle but definitive way. She marches back to his front door — uncertain of what she’s set in motion — and he’s already on the phone… to Mike’s parents. “You will speak to him?” Bishop says to Mike’s dad. “Good, that’s all I ask.”

Bishop knows why Kalinda couldn’t walk away — and so he shares with her how his own father ran off when he was six, that if nothing else, he’d never do the same to his son. Dylan is “the only thing I’m proud of — the only thing,” Bishop adds — maybe free to be real for a moment with someone who has no other connections to his world. Whether the confession will endear Kalinda to Bishop or cause him to resent/despise her, we’ll just have to wait and see. But my guess is this beloved — and soon-to-exit — character won’t wind up dying at the hand of the notorious drug dealer or a member of his crew.

105808_d0318bA LEGAL STRANGLEHOLD | The “C plot” for the week involves the return of Dylan Baker’s creepy Colin Sweeney, this time suing a “ripped-from-the-headlines” crime procedural for basing an episode too closely on the death of his wife (which he’s widely suspected of committing despite having been cleared in a court of law).

The story arc allows us to see Cary and especially Diane back in business in the courtroom, while reminding us of the ethical compromises they face in their defense-attorney roles. The case swings when the defense claims that they’re not culpable because, in fact, Sweeney did kill his wife (voiding any notion of defamation). But it’s Alicia — repulsed as always by Sweeney, though agreeing to consult on his case after he threatens to expose the fact that Bishop finances her PAC — who’s able to send the plaintiff running. She seems multiple shots of the Chum Hum sign-in screen throughout the “Call It Murder” episode – forcing the series producers to apologize to Sweeney or risk a defamation lawsuit from the Google-esque search-engine powerhouse.

On that note, I turn things over to you. What did you think of this week’s Good Wife? Where do you stand on Alicia’s ethical compromises? Share your thoughts 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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53 Comments
  1. Outis says:

    I’ve been a big Dylan Baker fan for a long time and he’s been great as Colin Sweeney (the name itself a lift), but man it felt like a jump the shark moment to watch him lamely do a double performance as the Euro actor. C’mon, TGW. That’s beyond camp, it’s just goofy.

    Good to see Ed Asner still kicking around and Laura Benanti is smoke. The campaign storyline just isn’t winning for TGW. After a long hiatus, this episode felt stale and was disappointing. Hopefully, next week will rally.

    • Somes rt says:

      I actual (respectfully) disagree first of all the campaign storyline has given us what in my opinion has been the best episodes 4 and 9 (though ep11 still is my favorite)
      And In this episode the campaign storyline was my favorite thing because it makes us see how far Alicia would go to win ..it’s not “likeable” to watch but I loved seeing her a flawed human being. Besides Marissa and Johnny are always a welcome presence. It was a A- ep for me.

      • I respectfully disagree with you, Somes. The campaign storyline has been one of the worst in TGW history — not as bad as Nick the Husband, but close. Definitely bottom 3 by far.

        The trial was the most interesting part of the episode, and it felt shoehorned in. This was a very, very lackluster episode. If this campaign isn’t over soon, I will be finding something else to occupy my 9 pm Sunday slot.

        • Gerald says:

          I agree. Please make the campaign be over and have Alicia lose. When she stood buy with the old guy spewing those horrible things she took the “Good” out of “The “Good Wife” I want Prady to win and I hope Alicia sees that too and drops out and gets back to HER law firm.

          • fan1am says:

            if she is elected Alicia has the opportunity to put away similar slimeballs to those she defends like Lemar and Colin. As a defense attorney her name and morality have been used to win for the defense now she can use her name and beliefs to walk the moral highground.

            As for her firm- they are not consulting directly with Alicia but rather the clients are!

      • B says:

        agreed, I like seeing a flawed protagonist who makes unlikeable decisions, it adds more depth to the character

  2. summerswing says:

    This episode felt stale to me as well. This has been my favorite show for a long time – even after the body blow when Will died. But, this event really took the life out of the show. The show just jumps around. I really do not like Alicia as a politician. She’s not believable. She spent months feeling her way in the dark after Will died and now she is for the most part on her own with new characters who we really don’t care about and who manage her campaign. She is at her strongest and the show is at its best when you have Diane , Cary and Alicia with Kalinda investigating and they are in court or in their firm lawyering.I’m sinking fast. And, Mathew Goode really would be wonderful if they ever used him. We spent all that time in the new office trying to survice and with Cary in jail and there is no story now just a bunch of jumping around nothing that furthers the plot or the characters.

  3. SarahWyv says:

    Dylan Baker and Sarah Steele was so good. But that’s all. This episode was a little disappointing because too much on Bishop and Prady. I think writers need to focus on Alicia and main characters. The one thing I can stand this epsiode was no Finn. Please no more Finn. I’d rather watch Peter than Finn. At least, Peter always gives us fun or tension, but Finn does not. Anyway, I hope next episode will be better.

  4. Jenna says:

    The show seems to be trying too hard to slide into the slot that Breaking Bad vacated. So hard that it has lost its way and a lot of its appeal. Everything feels like a look at me stunt. I miss Finn as he is welcome contrast to all the gray, unethical souls that occupy the show. I am so rooting for Prady although I guess it’s a lost cause. Alicia has plenty of options in life..she doesn’t have to sell her soul..she’s choosing to do it..so why should I feel sorry or have any empathy for her?

  5. pecola says:

    While I found the Colin Sweeney storyline interesting, I thought the resolution was a terrible cop-out. The writers of this fictional show meticulously researched Sweeney’s history but didn’t notice the Chum Hum search engine in multiple shots? They could’ve come up with some other way to settle the dispute…

    • g says:

      the fictional show didn’t meticulously research Sweeney – they basically just dramatized the court transcripts

      but also the Chum Hum shots in the background (technically legal as they’re not fully shown) – are only relevant because they are also represented by Florrick, Agos & Lockhart

      basically what Alicia did was leverage their other client (totally unrelated to the Sweeney defamation case) against the production company of the fictional show. If Sweeney had any other lawyer – that little chink in the armor wouldn’t have mattered.

  6. anonymous says:

    I was very disappointed that Alicia took that guy’s money. Prady is obviously a man with a moral compass and Alicia just lost my vote.

    I loved the brief scene with her daughter. That pinged her conscience I’m sure.

    Wow. They really humanized Bishop in this episode. I also now think that she won’t wind up dying at the hand of the notorious drug dealer or a member of his crew. Maybe she’ll die saying his son though.

    I hate Sweeny. And he always wins. Dylan Baker is great in the role.

    I thought I was going to have trouble getting back into this again as I wasn’t a fan of the campaign, but tonight’s episode kept me interested the whole way through. It was a great ep for me too.

  7. Victoria says:

    Happy to see the mini ‘Go On’ reunion with Laura Benanti and Julie White! Still miss that show!

  8. lmjo says:

    Was I dreaming, or did they mention “Toby Ziegler” on the show tonight? Wasn’t that Richard Schiff’s character on “The West Wing?” I only saw a five minute scene tonight, but that stuck out as I was walking by the TV.

    • Rita says:

      No I think they were talking about the boy who was bullying Bishop’s son, Mike Ziegler.
      I think..unless there was something I missed.

      I liked the episode and thought that Alicia wants to win but I sat thinking as I watched it OMG your brother is gay etc. but again she is in it to win it and sadly is losing some of what was best about her character..

    • Sonja says:

      Yup- a total West Wing reference!! Although, I do think TGW needs to go back to being a show about law and not try to become the next west wing!

    • zoz says:

      You weren’t dreaming. The campaign used a @TobyZiegler44 Twitter account to send coded polling data to Alicia’s PAC. Alicia called them “your “West Wing” tweets”.

    • g says:

      yep – it’s a straight up reference to the West Wing
      remember TGW takes place in the “real world” – with only minor differences – ie the Gov. of Illinois, a huge search engine called Chum Hum and other stuff like that

  9. Jose says:

    I just love everytime Colin Sweeny graces us with his presence. He is HILARIOUS!!!!! his testimony about how he likes to dominates while Renata was getting off was just too much!!!!

  10. Gwen says:

    Alicia has become a HUGE hypocrite. She’s not a good wife, not a good mother, nor a good politician…and worst of all, not a good human being. I’ll finish out the season, but unless she has a proverbial ‘come to Jesus’ moment and gets her morals screwed on straight, I’m done at the end of the year. Can David Hyde’s character get his own show? I’d watch that. Love his character/Prady.

    • abz says:

      Alicia has always been or at least for quite some time now become a morally gray character. I think that’s part of what makes her so interesting.

  11. JustMeMike says:

    I was greatly disappointed by this episode. We waited so long for this show to return and what we got wasn’t very compelling.

    a) horrified by the actions of Ed Asner as a fast handed old fart letch. Surprised that Alicia took bis stuff in order to get his money.

    b) Kalinda is like another person – she’s so docile and complying with Bishop.And this Kalinda is useless.

    c) Tired of Dylan Baker’s sex perv slash killer. Haven’t we seen enough of him?

    d) Cary Agos – almost invisible in this episode. I mean he was there but had very few lines

    e) No Eli????

    • Former TGW fan says:

      Said everything I was thinking. Not a fan this season

    • Pretty much +1 to all of that. Docile, compliant Kalinda is pretty effin’ useless.

    • abz says:

      Considering that so many witnesses have ended up dead during Cary’s trial and its pretty clear Bishop is behind, I think it’s understandable that she is quite intimidated by Bishop. I do hope she stands up to him soon or finds a way to bring him down.

  12. Former TGW fan says:

    We waited two months for this? Show is done. Stick a fork in it already . Been a fan since day one – lost interest this season. Hate what they did to it .

  13. Redgunner11 says:

    The whole mess up except for Alicia and Grace’s scene. That scene was everything and made me cry. Alicia is lonely and struggling with everything now, which is exactly what the Kings intended IMO.
    And where was Eli? Please take him back! I love Eli and Johnny work together because they are the two horsemen of the apocalypse.
    I really do expect better next sunday.

  14. It’s too bad the Kings don’t read these messages … they’d have a good idea that they’re possibly on the verge of losing a lot of viewers due to the terrible job of orchestrating TGW they’ve done this season.

    I used to say I’d watch anything they were head writers of. I am rethinking that promise now.

  15. Lucy says:

    The campaign stuff is killing all my interest in that show. I don’t care about it at all. And, really, they spent months showing Cary going throught that nightmare and now it’s like nothing never happened. His first case in court since the season’s premiere and he had really nothing to do. Also let me know when he’ll get a client who wants him as layer and first chair and is not there for Alicia. I’ll hail as a miracle.

    • Jenna says:

      I totally agree about how marginalized everyone in the show is now except Alicia. It’s as if they are all suddenly incompetent and incapable of functioning without her. If they have to cram the neverending campaign saga down our throats – could the B story, at least, be about the firm and the other characters and possibly, a new case of some kind with new guest stars? The show feels so tired and dull now. As a fan since the beginning, it’s a bummer.

      • abz says:

        They’re not incompetent. Sweeney is just a client who has always dealt with Alicia and we’ve seen over the years how he has this weird relationship with Alicia.

      • abz says:

        They’re not incompetent. Sweeney is just a client who has always dealt with Alicia and we’ve seen over the years how he has this weird relationship with Alicia

        • Pam says:

          They looked incompetent by comparison.They spent the whole episode trying to find ways to defend Sweeney, but then it takes about five minutes for Alicia’s to find the Chumhum thing. And it had nothing to do with the fact Sweeney was her client. We all got after 6 seasons that she’s the hero of that show but could they stop to picture her like a Deus ex machina once in a while? Because it’s becoming tedious. I’d like to see Cary winning a big case by himself once in a while for istance. Especially after what happened to him.

    • abz says:

      Considering he was heavily focused on during the first half of the season, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal that he took a backseat this episode.

      • g says:

        exactly – the remainder of the season will focus somewhat focus on Kalinda as the current storyline is her swan song – as well most likely for Bishop as Mike Colter is now going to be starring in TWO shows on Netflix as a lead character

        here’s a few likely ways the show will go:
        1 – Kalinda will die or disappear – due to something that will happen to Bishop
        ie. killed by Bishop and/ or witness protection against Bishop or she flies in the wind to escape him

        2 – Alicia wins or loses (obviously) – but either way Prady will be around for a while
        if Alicia wins – she’ll then ask Prady if he wants to join their firm (to replace her)
        and/ or Peter will end up leaving/ ending his Governorship – and eventually take her place – and then will basically be sparring against Alicia in court (in his old job)
        and if Peter did join the firm – it would still be Florrick, Agos, Lockhart

        OR … Prady wins – they keep him around for future criminal court cases – including may be finally trying Bishop for a crime – ie. Kalinda’s murder or something like that

        3 – all the supporting characters will get stuff to do but as the B-story

        • abz says:

          Yeah I agree. Cary had his chance in the spotlight this season. Obviously not saying to get rid of him. Have him present. Have him shown in court cases, law firm stuff, etc., but this half of the season should be mainly about Kalinda and Alicia. Everyone else is secondary. We only have what 8 or 9 episodes left with Kalinda :( so they should definitely put some heavy focus on her and aside from that wrapping up this campaign storyline soon. In the promo for next week’s episode, Johnny says “we’re one week away from election day” so hoping that means it will wrap up the next 2-3 episodes and start the next chapter for Alicia and the show.

    • Pam says:

      The campaign storyline is lasting too much. And I don’t like how they structured the all thing. Besides that surface and poorly written conflict between the partners, Diane, Cary and Kalinda are completely peripheral to Alicia’s campaign adventure. And now that Cary’s trial is done it’s even worse. And I don’t care about Alicia’s “staff”. I don’t care about all the guest stars who are there just for the campaign. And I hate, hate, that they moved F/A to the old LG office space to make room for the campaign quarter.

      • Betty says:

        “And I hate, hate, that they moved F/A to the old LG office space to make room for the campaign quarter.”

        They didn’t move F/A to make room for the Campaign HQ, they moved F/A because they needed the space with the additional staff that Diane brought from LG and she held the lease to the space. Besides, they had leaky pipes and mice that freaked Diane out.

        They only put the Campaign HQ there because they had a signed lease on the space.

        • g says:

          it also just a production decision – much cheaper to use the long standing set and base all the “office” stuff there, so then they could have more budget avail for various locations related to the campaign (ie. various stops, meetings with donors, etc)

          every new location is a budget item
          and anytime they can reduce the locations – especially offices they work out of it makes it easier on production & budget costs

          as well sometimes reducing locations allows for budget to be moved around to have more money avail for multiple big name guests stars in one episode: ie. Dylan Baker & David Hyde Pierce

  16. EJ says:

    I’m really sick of Lemond Bishop. I realize that he’s probably being used as a device for Kalimda’s exit but he’s been allowed to take up way too much of the show this season.

    I love Dylan Baker but man, his Brit/Euro accent was terrible.

  17. abz says:

    I don’t have as big a problem with the campaign storyline as some people. I think some great episodes have come from it (see Oppo Research). I mean of course it isn’t the best storyline, but it isn’t that bad either. Most of the whining I see on the internet is about wanting the show to go back and become a full-on procedural and I’m so thankful the Kings don’t listen to them. I am hoping the campaign story wraps up over the next few weeks though and they start the next chapter of the show and where they plan on taking Alicia’s character.
    I like the Colin Sweeney character, but I have to say this wasn’t his best episode. Laura Benanti was amazing though.
    Still interested in seeing what’s in store and the promo for the next episode looks pretty good.

    • Kyrie says:

      I totally agree with you. Oppo Research is the best episode in this season. The problem is not the campaign storyline.
      This show is the stage for Alicia Florrick. As she evolves or moves on, so does this show. Viewers as well as Alicia are experiencing growing pains this season, that’s all.
      Look forward to next episode.

  18. liame says:

    Please put Sweeney to rest, please give Alicia the brains to quit this ridiculous campaign and lets get The Good Wife back on track to more interesting cases.

    • g says:

      you’re missing the point of the show – TGW has always been a character drama – not a procedural show

      by making Alicia decides she wants to run for political office – including being urged by big name real life people (guest stars last season or earlier this season) it shows the development of a real person who wants something more in their life and that her core personality as someone of good heart & good intentions who sometimes makes “gray” decisions or acceptances in her life – ie. a fraud marriage to her philandering husband

      all adds up to a portrayal of a “real person” – who justifies her actions as being for the greater good

      heck she even tells Sweeney she doesn’t like him, tells him to leave and not use her – but then he drops the bomb he knows about Bishop’s secret money and it’s now a game of cat and mouse

      and now Redmayne (Ed Asner) is a new player and Alicia’s breakdown at the end of the episode was a sign that she may be regretting wanting to become the white knight (AG) of Illinios – as the game of politics is extremely nasty and something she may not have a stomach for

      like I said – TGW is a character drama the back drop of the court room is just the setting they chose to put it in –

      as well having a lawyer run for office is not uncommon and definitely makes the show stand out that they’re not afraid to try something different and explore all the ugliness that goes with it

  19. Yo says:

    I am surprised at the disappointment in Alicia, because I have viewed her as ethically challenged for some seasons now, starting is season 2. I was very disappointed then, because I thought she had a core, but I really didn’t anticipate the character putting the donor in his place. Now what she needs to do to redeem herself is endorse her competition: he has not yet lost the soul she should spend years searching for. Sorry Michael, it happens.

  20. Morisot says:

    They are handling it like an anvil. But maybe it is getting people to think about power, position, agenda — and what one does to further his or her own goals and dreams and wants. And how one lives with those decisions. Is there redemption when we really cross the line? Can we ever be who we were?

  21. gortezy says:

    “I don’t have to like everything she does to continue being fascinated by everything she’s becoming.” This. The reason why I’m still hooked to this show.

  22. TGW fan says:

    Random point here – but how did Dylan grow up so fast? His voice changed and he looks like he could shave?