The Good Wife Recap: Judge Dread

Watching Season 7 of The Good Wife is a little like keeping track of a tennis match — back, forth, back, forth, back, forth — except there are 17 players in the mix, the ball is on fire and the chair umpire is firing a rifle toward a random spot on the court every 30 seconds.

For argument’s sake, you could say Alicia is Serena Williams and Eli is Roger Federer — they’re sometimes down, though never, ever out — but there’s no guarantee some upstart won’t come along and bump out one or both of ’em with a singular display of power and finesse.

Ruth Eastman. Jackie Florrick. Some scrappy FBI agent whose name is up for debate. Diane Lockhart. Even Howard Freakin’ Lyman (AKA He Who Naps in His Boxers). They’re all capable of a big win on any given day — and with the ever-changing political and interpersonal seeds sown by showrunners Robert and Michelle King, there are so many possible outcomes that even the most educated guesses often fall short.

That’s my succinct way of pre-apologizing if I miss a key point or two in hitting all the important moments in “Cooked,” a twisted and deliciously twisty installment that once again puts multiple characters’ futures and freedoms on the line — while denying us the special sexual twinkle of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Jason Crouse. But let me not whine — you came here for a recap, yes?

106853_0746bHOWARD, STERN The hour begins with Howard visiting Alicia’s home office and asking her to represent him in an age-descrimination suit against Lockhart-Agos, but while our heroine’s barely concealed eye roll says “Old man, pleeease!” she magnanimously sends him away with some solid advice: Work harder. And also take notes any time his Lockhart-Agos counterparts flash their ageism. In a bit of kismet, though, he bumps into Alicia’s mother-in-law Jackie on the elevator — and their spark is almost as immediate, definitely more overt, though possibly less hot than Alicia and Jason’s was last week.

At work, Howard suddenly seems more alert — “someone had a good nap,” teases Cary, as Howard gets lawyerly and makes him repeat it in front of the entire room — and after a date-night makeout with Jackie, he’s bringing to Diane, Cary and David Lee a $33 million annual account from the Food Service Union. The fact that he scored said deal with Jackie’s help leaves us to wonder if he’s really all that into her — or if he’s so shrewd that he’d play on a lonely woman to preserve his professional fortunes. If it’s the latter, here’s hoping Howard gets flattened by the collective weight of Peter and Alicia’s rage. Jackie may be a monster — but she’s their monster, after all.

106849_D_0052bIF YOU CAN’T TAKE THE HEAT, DON’T HAVE A CAMERA IN THE KITCHEN | Ruth and her team argue that Peter needs to push a “family first” agenda — are they not aware he’s done jail time and has admitted to sleeping with prostitutes? — the better to cement a center-right tilt to balance Hillary’s campaign and make him her most likely Veep. Ruth also admits needs twice as many days as the six Alicia is promising in a two-month period, but it seems funny for her to ask Eli for his cooperation when she’s put him in a closet/office so small that the door hits his desk when it’s opened. (A little too on-the-nose/clichéd for a show as sophisticated as The Good Wife, no?)

Eli gets his revenge, though, when he follows Ruth’s wishes and pushes Alicia into an appearance — with her mother — on Mama’s Homespun Cooking. It’s supposed to show “generational post-feminist respect,” but it merely exposes the tense relationship between Alicia and Veronica (not to mention their lack of aptitude in the kitchen) in front of a large TV audience. It may be a loss for Peter’s fortunes, but Eli chalks it to the win column, and if he’s being genuine to Alicia with his advice that “You want to steer events, not have the events steer you,” maybe she’ll come out of this OK too?

106853_0075bHELL HATH NO FURY LIKE DIANE SCORNED | OK, I’m not sure I fully support that theory, but damn, La Lockhart wears a power suit and a disappointed scowl better than anyone on television. You see, David Lee overhears Howard calling Alicia to discuss (dropping) his age discrimination suit — and the news couldn’t come at a worse time for Diane.

Irked by a young female intern’s concerns that Diane’s offer of a mentorship will interfere with the girl’s current romance, she brings to Cary the idea that they should siphon off some of their overflow business to Alicia as a show of support for their former colleague but also a way to keep her from joining forces with Canning. When Diane hears Alicia has been advising the ridiculous Howard on strategies for suing them, she shows up at Alicia’s office and sighs, “are you always going to be looking for ways to get back at me?” Alicia can’t tell her former boss/martini buddy how exactly she’s misjudged the situation — damn attorney-client privilege — but when she finally offers, “Diane, this is not what it seems,” Diane’s withering “Actually, sometimes it is” serves as a very final word. Are we ever going to see these two powerhouses — in their powerhouse suits — laughing at the bar together again? One can only hope/pray/send strongly worded tweets to @GoodWifeWriters.

TGW_703_01bSOMETIMES THE CASE OF THE WEEK ISN’T JUST THE CASE OF THE WEEK |  Alicia’s bond-court client this week — a designer drug manufacturer named Roland Hlavin — puts her intermittently on the same side and then the opposite as her pal Lucca (who represents the distributor). It all gets more confusing than AP Calculus, but suffice to say Lucca gets pissed when Alicia decides they should split up their cases — after convincing Lucca to give up a plea deal that would’ve given her client only a year in jail rather than a possible 25.

What she doesn’t know is that Alicia’s client is actually an FBI agent whose case is all part of a sting operation to take down that cantankerous bond-court judge who’s been giving her hell all season. And since Alicia kinda sorta encouraged the agent to perjure himself under a defense scheme Lucca cooked up, she has no choice but to go along with his plan (or maybe wind up prosecuted herself).

Alas, though, Alicia tips off Eli about the wonkiness with her case before she realizes it’s a full-fledged FBI sting, and we learn at the end of the hour — after the judge rejects the bribe — that Eli had tipped him off. “I certainly owe you one,” says the judge. “Good because I need a little help with Frank Landau,” Eli says — and suddenly, Eli’s speech from earlier in the season (the one about not being Alicia’s friend, but just the help) comes flooding back to mind. How ugly will this all get for all parties involved? How much is Eli out for revenge — and does he care if Alicia is caught up in it all? These are questions — along with “Is Cary gay?” — that had better be answered between now and the holidays. Stay tuned!

OK, your turn. What did you think of this week’s Good Wife? Are you more anxious about the future of Alicia-Lucca or Alicia-Diane? And can anyone really trust a vengeful Eli Gold? Sound off below!

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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51 Comments
  1. Blurgh says:

    I love Stockard Channing and hope to see much more of her on ‘The Good Wife.’ There was disappointingly little of her in this episode.

    • TJ says:

      I would enjoy having her around too…… too bad she doesn’t look like herself anymore. I hope that is just too much plastic surgery and/or fillers going on with her and not some serious medical condition. I love the woman and she is a great actress but she looks horrible.

    • Jess Hahn says:

      Her line, “I had a little wine at lunch, but I haven’t been drinking” killed me! Lol!

  2. TDXI says:

    And we still haven’t found Robyn……….

    • robandco says:

      You should get over her. She is no longer relevant to the story. She was back when there were 2 law firms, but now she is longer needed since we no longer see cases from Lockhart Agos perspective (at least for now). She doesn’t work for Alicia nor is a friend/family hence she’s not needed.

    • Jess Hahn says:

      The actress who plays Robyn has commitments on the other side of the country. The Kings have said they’ve love to have her back, but it’s not in their control. I assume they are leaving the door open for her to return.

  3. abz says:

    Damn, The Good Wife is getting its groove back. I’m loving this season so far. The humor in this episode was great. I was laughing throughout. It was so good.
    One downer though, I hate that they keep finding a way to drive a wedge between Alicia and Diane. I don’t want to see any more of that. Come on. These two are great together. They’ve been through so much. They grieved the loss of WIll. They’ve battled each other. They’ve aligned with each other. Why can’t they maintain that friendship for more than just an episode or two? I don’t get the need to constantly have them at odds when there’s so many other sources of drama and conflict to choose from on this show.
    I’d also love to see more of Alicia’s friendship with Cary. Have them partner together on one of Alicia’s old clients perhaps. Or show them getting drinks together.
    Stockard Channing was amazing once again. It could have only been topped if they made it a family affair and brought back Owen.
    I like that they keep referring to Zach, but hate that we haven’t see a resolution between him and Alicia actually happen ON SCREEN. I’d love to see a reunion.
    Peter’s campaign is still uninteresting, although I still love mischievous Eli. I want to see Marissa back too.
    I don’t get why they reduced Mackenzie Vega to recurring status considering Grace is pretty much in almost every episode so far.

    • I think Mackenzie Vega has been listed as a regular this season and not as a recurring character on the show. And if Julianna Margulies’ relationship with Archie Panjabi was was as toxic as it apparently was, I have theory that the reason why Alicia Florrick and Diane Lockhart as well as Cary aren’t seen together is because Julianna’s relationship with Christine Baranski and Matt C. are as fractured in real life as their characters. To the point where I’m a little doubtful that their scenes tonight (Alicia and Diane) weren’t done with stand-ins, since they always had their backs to one another and never stood side-by-side (although I could wrong) to me anyway. Lastly, I’d like to see more of Peter and bring Connie Nielson back. I don’t believe he would ever throw Eli over the side.

      • abz says:

        I disagree. I think more Peter would only hurt the show. His storyline is uninteresting and he takes up valuable screen time that could/should be given to Cary or Diane.
        Not sure I believe your theory about those actors, but who knows. I love the show and will stick with it till the end, but they clearly need to work on things like getting better publicity for the show and giving some of their beloved character meaningful screen time.

      • Sally McLinn says:

        Juliana was seen with Christine in several scenes so far this season. What are you talking about?

      • cp1945 says:

        And I suppose this entirely speculative fracture between cast mates is JM’s fault as well? It’s amazing how a terrific actress performing from a script has been turned into Malificent on this site!

    • Rowan77 says:

      She’s less expensive as a recurring guest than as a regular.

  4. Marc says:

    Still the best drama on TV!!!

  5. The show has gotten SO bad! Best to cancel it after this year. The ratings are not good either.

  6. bridyyc says:

    Another disappointing episode, but at least some signs of life. When you’re pushing Diane and Cary aside (not even to mention poor Robyn) for Howard Lyman, you gots some problems!

    That scene between Diane and Alicia in the Alicia’s living room was everything! 2 great actresses and they delivered! Such a simple scene, but in those couple of minutes, all of the history, the admiration, love, and everything that has gone unspoken between them was there in the room with them. What a powerful scene and one that made me long for a reunion, and let that powerhouse firm get back together! You want to know what is missing from this season. you look at that scene!

    Eli scheming? The future looks promising!

  7. Jake says:

    Tonight’s episode was amazing but I’m frustrated by the coldness between Alicia and Diane– they’ve been through so much

  8. Saabgirlatx says:

    Cracking up at the fact that Howard made a play for Jackie! I knew Howard was just being lazy!!

    I was happy to see Jackie this week since I caught part of an old episode of law and order with Jackie and Chris Noth in the same scene.

  9. Castlefan says:

    Another really good episode, although I wish we’d seen more of the cooking show – very funny! We still need a bit more Diane, too, but loved Eli and Veronica.

  10. I was happy to see Alicia back in court again but already frustrated is this FBI sting really just a vessel for Eli to elicit revenge or is something else going on? why does David Lee always hear and misinterpret phone calls getting tired. What does the revenge on Landau get for Alicia so it is really just personal for Eli. Hate when I can’t see the path coming and wish Alicia would get back in a real courtroom with a big case.
    Is this the last season by choice of the Kings if not they need to punch up the episodes takes too many episodes to get to a significant event. If they want more seasons make it fast moving and get that investigator onscreen why do they need him if we are seeing Grace find out all this info on an undercover FBI too many things just making me SMH.

  11. Viv says:

    I love this show. Always so funny.

    But, can someone remind me what’s the deal with Frank Landau and what the problem with Eli is? I’ve lost track of all the secondary charactors…

    • Doo Bee Doo says:

      I don’t remember Eli so much having a problem with him, but with Alicia there is the whole thing that he basically blackmailed her into forfeiting the election at the end of last season. Maybe Eli’s mad about that too, I dunno.

      • TJ says:

        I always thought Alicia got blackmailed to cover up Peter’s voting fraud. Was it Landau who did the voter fraud to get Peter into office? I can’t remember if Peter knew anything about it or not. So if Landau did it behind Peter’s back, Eli could be pissed because it hurts both Peter and Alicia (as well as Eli’s reputation too)

        • Castlefan says:

          As far as I recall, the voting machines turned out to have been tampered with far earlier than anyone had thought, so it was a much earlier election which had been stolen by a very senior politician – so Alicia was blackmailed to protect someone more important to the party.

  12. Thought this episode should have been called, “Everybody Hates Alicia.” I mean seriously, everyone was yelling at her or stabbing her in the back.

  13. Larc says:

    Based on last night’s show alone, I would determine that Alicia isn’t a very good lawyer. For one big thing, her telling Eli the judge was the FBI’s target was a gross violation of attorney/client privilege. If she got jammed into a corner, it’s because she painted herself into it. It was a mistake for writers to use that as a vehicle for advancing the storyline, IMO.

  14. cccloc says:

    I like your assessment Slezak. It was good writing again. Love the bit players like Stockard Channing and Howard.

  15. Nan says:

    I agree with a lot of the commenters here regarding Alicia and Diane’s relationship. I’m pretty sure there have been enough upheavals with these storylines and it was the relationships on this show that made the show…now is all over the place. Peter is boring and that whole area is boring…can Alicia just divorce Peter already…why the hanging on here…Alicia needs to show up for 12 appearances instead of 6. Are we to assume that the voters of Chicago are idiots and don’t know that these people don’t live together and lead separate lives…come on….I’m so over that storyline…move on already.

  16. RR says:

    Eli Gold is also a lawyer. That was revealed in an earlier season. So, Alicia will say she did not violate AC privilege. Just saying….

    Anyway, I enjoyed this episode. I know people are hating on the show this year but I still think it’s one of the best shows on TV.

  17. I used to like this show a lot. Now it has become like watching a ping pong tournament, all over the place. I wish they would do a story and follow it through and bring back Kalista the investigator!

  18. Doo Bee Doo says:

    I forgive The Good Wife for the last two episodes, purely for giving me drunk Veronica on a cooking show with Alicia (something I never realized I needed until it happened). And I looooove Eli and I’m glad that his storyline this season has been epic. But on the other hand, it’s still sidelining Diane and Cary wayyyyy too much, and not explaining what happened to the other players from Florrick/Agos.. I mean, I was okay with giving Cary a break this episode because I was getting so tired of his s***ty story, but they need to give him something else to do, something that isn’t so cliche and cringeworthy. Howard Lyman was funny but not enough to justify the lack of Cary and Diane.

    Also, I was okay with lack of Jason. Already tired of how the show is shoving the idea of him and Alicia down our throats. Jason does not equal Will or Finn.

  19. Christian says:

    GW seems to be getting itself back on track after the trainwreck that was last year. I still do not understand what season 6 was supposed to be about. Nice to see Jackie and Veronica included in the goings-on – never will understand why these two ladies were not more prominent in Alicia’s political storyline last year. Are the Kings going to overlook Alicia’s rift with her brother – the last we saw Owen was him walking out in dead silence after she told him he had to end his relationship with a married Arab bareback porn star. Like her rift with Zach, this will probably never be resolved properly and just forgotten. I am beginning to think last year was just a bad dream Alicia had.

  20. Soo says:

    Cary might be gay? I must have missed that. The show is on so late because of stupid Football plus I had the Mets on my laptop because they only show them on cable and I was tired and just wanted to go to sleep and now I missed Cary being gay.

  21. HomelandSux says:

    Seriously? “giving her hell all season”. I wasn’t aware that two or three episodes constitutes an entire season. LOLS The writers for TV Line need to proof read their own articles. LOLS

  22. robandco says:

    This season is really off to a very good start. I really enjoy Alicia’s new bond court lawyer friend. The actress is really cute and fun.
    Diane and Alicia’s relationship is so fragile. There so much bad timing and and so many misunderstandings betweens the two of them.
    Howard and Jackie. HOWARD AND JACKIE. Who opened the gates of hell and forgot to close them?

  23. Sam says:

    I had given up on the show after what was a crappy season finale but this third outing has me back in.
    So good great drama.

  24. Rod Brown says:

    I know it is early, but I am not sure if this year is going to be as good as last year! It hasn’t started off very well for me! One thing that hurts your show is you do not make enough shows each year! The year ends early and doesn’t start until October! I remember when shows started in very earlie Stept. and ran until very late April and then there were reruns throughout the entire summer!

  25. Jess Hahn says:

    I loved the running gag with Eli’s office door. Seeing them struggle throughout was a great comedic break from the intensity of the twists.

  26. AS says:

    I was confused about the case – why would a bond court judge have been hearing that case beyond the setting of bond? Shouldn’t it have moved into a criminal court after bond was set? I’m not a lawyer, but they seem to have established on the show that bond court is a place that is just for the setting of bonds and nothing else.

    The FBI had a 2 year investigation and sting operation running to catch a possibly corrupt bond court judge. If it isn’t plausible that a bond judge would have that much involvement with the case, then the sting (and that story) doesn’t make a lot sense.