The Good Wife Fall Finale Recap: The Agony of Delete

The Good Wife‘s all-time greatest episode — no, there isn’t really room for debate on this one – was titled “Hitting the Fan.” (You remember, of course, the unbearable tension and scorched-earth aftermath of Will and Diane learning Alicia and Cary were plotting to launch their own firm — and taking Lockhart-Gardner clients with ’em.)

Seven-hundred-seventy-seven days later, the less-ominously titled (for the uninitiated) “KSR” finds an even uglier secret bubbling to the surface. But riddle me this: Given the fact that creators Robert and Michelle King have made every Season 7 title a single word, how could they resist a direct line to “Hitting the Fan” by simply calling the hour “S–t!!!!!”?

OK, so I could pretend to care about recapping the other details of the hour — Lockhart-Agos-Lee’s associates threatening to jump ship to Louis Canning’s firm; Alicia and Quinn defending a pedicatric surgeon on charges of conspiring to commit kidnapping and rape; polls rising (yes, that’s a euphemism) between Eli and Courtney; Courtney hiring Jason for a two-month gig in San Jose (the better, Ruth surmises, to wash him out of Alicia’s hair) — but that would be burying the only thing anyone’s ever going to remember about the show’s Dec. 13, 2015 installment.

Eli finally tells Alicia the truth about deleting her voicemail — the one he intercepted back in Season 2, where Will follows up his “let’s call the whole thing off” with his declaration of “I love you” — after getting the post-coital brushoff from Courtney.

Much like the Grinch’s heart growing three sizes after discovering the true meaning of Christmas, Eli’s own ticker undergoes some rapid expansion after learning the true meaning of heartbreak.

As the episode ends, Eli shows up to apologize for Jason’s exit — he had no idea, he says — and the campaign guru and the candidate’s wife sit down for margaritas at her living room table. After explaining Courtney’s hasty exit due to work-related reasons and how it’s broken his heart, Eli reiterates his regret over Jason exiting Alicia’s life, then encourages her to call him. “Don’t let the campaign get in your way,” he pleads. “Six years ago you got a message from Will Gardner – a voicemail — and I erased it. You were about to go on stage and stand next to Peter for his S.A. run and I didn’t want to hurt that… I listened to the voicemail. Will said he loved you and would give up everything to be with you. And I erased it. I never let you hear it, and I’ve been sick about it ever since. And I don’t want to stand in the way of your happiness again. That’s why I’m sorry.”

And with that, an almost expressionless Alicia slides Eli’s glass away from him, and then demands, “Get out.”

Happy holidays, Good Wife fans! Hope you can hold out ’til Season 7 resumes on Jan. 10, 2016! (Oh, and yes, this was the answer to TVLine’s most recent Blind Item!)

What did you think of the Good Wife’s fall finale? Did the voicemail confession catch you by surprise? Hit the comments with your thoughts!

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. TV Gord says:

    Let the Alicia/Eli split-screen conspiracy begin! Lol

    • H says:

      Let’s begin counting the episodes where Alan and Julianna never appear in a scene together!

      • Kelly says:

        They might as well. I can’t see how the result of their last conversation will ever be resolved, and I want it to because their “dance” was a sight for sore eyes

        • Mike M says:

          This is going to be a really interesting one isn’t it. On the one hand, IF there is any truth in the whole “Kalinda perpetual separation” back-story within the show story itself, then it would be seem impossible for Alicia to ever deal with Eli again, this betrayal being right up there with Kalinda’s and maybe even worse given it will now perpetually be the FINAL thing of Will she can ever remember. On the other hand, without Eli directly in her world she loses her one last true connection to pretty much ALL the other show story threads with the exceptions of practicing law itself and Peter. I’m not sure how others feel, but I’d be totally lost without Eli, that damn matchbook office has been the highlight of my season! So I’m torn; I hope he finds a way to stay, but I’d also love for him to have an out in the story where he let go of all guilt and just went off to be happy with Courtney, after fixing things to get Jason back of course. Sadly I’m guessing JDM does leaves us here to go off to do TWD. Random thought: anyone else notice the one story thread missing in this episode that absolutely nobody misses (cares) not being there – the stupid presidency race.

          • Mike M says:

            One other thought – does anyone else read the loss off all the LAL associates as the “in” to bring back Alicia (and Lucca) to the firm? With them having also just lost Jason and no longer having an investigator, it would seem easy to write it as a win/win for both sides. IF it is the final season, it would seem fitting it ended with all the main actors “together”. Could be easier to write than shoot though.

      • Mike M says:

        And add the obligatory “was she really acting in the last 30 seconds or not?” debate!

    • Christine says:

      I had the same thought. No way this scene would have been this explosive without the actors playing off one another. Which only reminds me how much I miss Kalinda.

    • Sally McLinn says:

      I’m just glad that Eli is gone. His character stayed wayyyy past his usefulness.

      • JosiahBartlet4President says:

        I don’t think this necessarily means Eli is gone. He’s almost obsessed with the Florricks. I don’t think he can quit Alicia and Peter cold turkey when they’ve been a part of his life for so long. I have a feeling he will weasel his way into their lives somehow.

      • rowan77 says:

        You’re jumping the gun. I haven’t heard anything about Alan Cumming leaving the show. Eli’s a resourceful guy. He’s going to hatch a plan to deal with this and get back in everyone’s good graces.

      • Castlefan says:

        I don’t see why Eli needs to be permanently gone – for me he’s the highlight of the show!

      • Kasey H says:

        This doesn’t mean that Eli is gone. It does mean that he is on the precipice.
        There is one way he can save himself with Alicia; by telling her about Peter’s rigging the votes so that she would win the State’s Attorney race.

      • luli101 says:

        No way!! He’s a main reason I watch the show. The more Eli, the better for me!

  2. Leejay says:

    What the h*ll just happened? Did The Good Wife just snap back to form or what? Did not see this one coming despite The Blind Item’s vague-ish warning. Can’t wait until January to see how this reverberates!

    • Sally McLinn says:

      The Courtney-Eli romance was ridiculous. I didn’t believe it for one minute, esp with Eli/Cummings being such a “gayish” character. I don’t know the point in bringing Vanessa Wms in for only 3 eps and then having her leave?

      • rowan77 says:

        Eli doesn’t remotely come off as Gay. You’re taking what you know about Alan being married to his husband and conflating it with Eli.

        • Marcie says:

          Not true. He certainly does come off as gay. I didn’t know anything about Alan Cummings, but I thought Eli was gay.

          • sanford943 says:

            Well Eli does have a daughter. Not that means anything. But I don’t think he comes off as gay. Most gay people in real life don’t.

      • smartysenior says:

        Eli’s character on this show is divorced and has that great daughter who worked with Alicia on her campaign. The real Cummings is a much nicer person than Eli could ever be but so what? It’s called acting folks.

      • Kasey H says:

        Are we watching the same show? Eli has been chasing skirts since he’s been on the show. Remember him with Amy Sedaris’ character? or when he was enamored with America Ferrara’s character?
        Eli is a HUGE flirt. And he’s into women. Has been from the start?

  3. H says:

    Had to go back to the blind item to look at the clues. “Long dead and buried” = Will. “Hello” = voicemail. Well-played, sir, well-played.

  4. TV Gord says:

    By the way, Michael…now that I’ve read it, this is a beautiful recap!

  5. Oh my god this episode!!! This show is just the best, by the way Michael, was there no review/recap of the previous episode “Discovery”? It was totally the weakest episode of the season so far but I wanted to see what you thought. However, tonights episode blew that one out of the water!

  6. Rob says:

    The whole time I was watching this unfold I just kept thinking BLIND ITEM BLIND ITEM and it made me happy okay that’s all back to work.

  7. LadyDee says:

    And now she knows…WTH can she do with it now?? All the “could have, would have” sceneries to wrap her brain around!! Whaaaaa!! Love this show!!

  8. Margaret says:

    Yes it took me by surprise. January 10 to is way to long to wait for the show. Love it!

  9. Steve Baker says:

    When you write Alicia is “ALMOST expressionless” as she hears Eli”s confession– what’s SO scary is that Alicia remains silent & still. Her eyes are totally wide, totally frozen– and we can read EVERYTHING in her face: shock, horror, regret, heartbreak anew, and above all: COMPLETE outrage & sense of betrayal at Eli! And Eli (too late) reacts & sees the damage that he’s now done to their relationship! What a great finish to a great episode!

  10. abz says:

    I don’t want this show to end. It’s still sooo good. I actually thought Eli was gonna tell her about Peter sabotaging her campaign (I wonder when that bomb will drop?), I wasn’t even thinking about the voicemail. And going back to the Blind Item and reading the clues. Very clever TVLine. I especially love that “Hello” clue.
    Sad to see Vanessa Williams go, but in the end I have to admit she wasn’t used very well on the show. I feel like they could she could have been a force to be reckoned with on this show. So much potential. Eli is one of my favourites, but frankly I didn’t find the relationship with Courtney to be very believable.

    • Sissy says:

      Courtney was jumping on the first plane back to San Jose, duh, that’s where hunky Investigator Jason was headed. Eli. Jason. Hmmm, well girlfriend, not a tough decision.

  11. Adrianna says:

    Great recap!! How I love this show. Best episode this season. I’m already having Good Wife withdrawal. I hope this is not the last season.

    Makes you wonder what would have happened if she had heard the voicemail…

    Now all they need to do is bring Zach back for one or two episodes and I’ll be happy.

  12. CBK says:

    So Luca is slowly, but surely becoming one of my favorite new characters of this season and I’d watch Jeffrey Dean Morgan in anything even Watchmen again. I thought the episode handled all of their plotlines well and for once, I was ready for them to jump back to Cary and Diane land. I’m warming up to this split focus, but I do wish they would find a way to bring them under the same roof more often.

  13. P.F. says:

    I love this show! It seems to get stronger every season – best cast around!!!

  14. carterfrancis says:

    I’m shocked by how unlikable and frankly, unattractive, Alicia is becoming. I find myself cringing whenever she’s onscreen.

    And that wig has got to go!

    • JosiahBartlet4President says:

      Julianna wears a wig because her hair is naturally curly. Apparently, she wanted a
      WASP-y look for the Alicia character.

      I agree it’s getting harder to like Alicia. She’s becoming just as conniving as Peter. But seven seasons in, they’re trying to keep things interesting. I guess playing good all the time isn’t compelling. But I wish she could grow as a character without becoming so unlikable.

    • Jeri says:

      Agree with you Josiah. Julianna is no longer capable of facial expression & her wig is too perfect all the time. Not natural looking. She is now an evil character actor, simply a reminder of what she once was.

    • I also think she is not likable.

  15. carterfrancis says:

    I’m shocked by how unlikable Alicia has become. I actually find myself hoping that they give her less screen time.

    And that wig has got to go.

    • Kelly says:

      Hi! I can understand how shocked you are. I liked it when she finally got real with husband Peter and her ex-firm, but when she said that derogatory remark to Eli before the VM confession, I thought that was too much.
      As for the hair, I’ve noticed that many female characters are parting their hair in the middle, from where did they get that idea?

    • Ddddd says:

      I do think they are setting up for a finale where she effectively switches places with Peter.

      In the end, she’ll be the high powered spouse who sleeps around.

    • lori says:

      I actually agree and felt that way last year as well. It’s hard to watch if there is no one to root for.

      I hope Eli isn’t gone, he’s one of my favorites on the show and Luka is just great!

  16. Kelly says:

    What acting-bring on the Emmys! Eli’s heart really got slammed on this episode. When Eli and Alicia are seen sharing a conversation I thought, awe. Then before Eli’s confession about Will’s deleted voice mail Alicia reacted so mean when Eli said something like, You like me or you are so nice to me–that was uncalled for and I don’t like that “new” side to her. After that I was surprised Eli confessed because since Alicia’s comment was so mean, callis… did he think she would react? In my opinion, it would have been more realistic and/or better if Alicia was sweet to Eli for what he was going through, then him telling her about Will would have made more sense.

    I want to see more of Eli’s vulnerable side but now that Alcia understandably went crazy eyed I wouldn’t doubt it if Eli goes psycho. Also, I loved “The Dance” between Alicia and Eli but now that has “hit the fan” with, I believe, no reprieve in sight–I’m in mourning and my heart is broken–it seemed so realistic, Emmy nods for both–long time coming for Alan Cummings, BRAVO!

    • Agreed. Alan Cumming is definitely getting performer of the week for this. I still feel heartbroken for him.

    • Emily says:

      Really sucks that Alan is finally nominated now when he should have been all along, yet doesn’t deserve to win this year over Tobias Menzes. I am a humongous Cumming fan and it is, unfortunately, really no contest because of how amazing Tobias was in Outlander.
      Anyway, as I’ve said for years, Eli is the best part of TGW, and this episode was heartbreaking around him, but damn am I sad Jason is gone. If Alicia never gets to kiss those magical lips after never getting satisfaction w Finn…I will be super disappointed in the show for keeping Alicia stuck unhappy while Peter still gets to go misbehave.
      I don’t get the people saying Alicia was mean to him when he said she was nice. All she said was “no, I’m listening,” (but not in a mean manner or anything) which to me showed how sad Eli’s life is that a basic human courtesy seemed rare to him.

    • Jeri says:

      The VM was uncovered previously in the mass wire tapping episode and Alicia discovered her phone had been tapped also. She discussed the VM with Will at that time. It’s not a new issue.

      • Kasey H says:

        Alicia knew that Will left a second voicemail. She did not know what the message was. That’s what she learned from the wiretap.
        Will told her to forget it when she asked him about it.
        It didn’t have to be a new issue. It was an unresolved one on Alicia’s side.

  17. Kasey H says:

    I knew that blind item had to be about The Good Wife! All those Grey’s people seemed to be in the land of wishful thinking.
    It didn’t matter which secret came out (the Will voicemail or the vote rigging), Alicia was going to be rocked to her core. But I have to say I am so much happier that it was the Will voicemail that came out first. This way, she knows that she was loved (truly loved) by Will; it was not lust. And that what she felt for him was love too.

    I guess I’m not understanding why some seem to be criticizing Alicia for her behavior at the beginning of that scene. She had already told Eli earlier in the episode that she really had no more f***s left to give. Eli knew Alicia was mad at him because she did not believe him about Jason (although I think she came around on that). He knew she was tired of the campaign and people in it trying to run every aspect of her life. He was lucky that Alicia let him into her space. Eli deserved every bit of coldness that Alicia gave him. He will be lucky to get out of her condo alive.

    All we need is for Josh Charles to come back for one episode so Alicia can have a dream about what might have been had she actually gotten that voicemail.

    Now the other thing that needs to happen is Peter’s role in the vote rigging getting out. Since it’s a whole new world, the best way to start it is by cleaning up all the garbage from the old one. And Peter is the biggest piece of garbage of them all.

  18. Jenn says:

    I just had to go back and find that episode from season 2 (thanks AmazonPrime!!). I remember how awesome that scene was and now it is just so sad. Oh how I miss Will!!!!!! Loved her since Georgetown….waaaaaaaaaa. I had forgotten Eli had done that. Great episode! I dunno if Jason is coming back, but unsure how I will feel about him after seeing him on The Walking Dead.

  19. JosiahBartlet4President says:

    I didn’t like Courtney and Eli together, yet somehow I still felt bad for him when she broke things off.

    I have hope that Eli and Alicia eventually reconcile. Otherwise, it’s basically Kalina 2.0, which doesn’t need repeating.

  20. JJ says:

    This show is ready to go bye, bye.

  21. patricia caputo says:

    i did not want the investigator to leave. he was very sexy and would be great with alicia. I hope you bring him back because there is not one good looking man on that show. we need more relations with stories . I love the show but I really think you should start something up with Alicia and the investigator.

  22. Nan says:

    Loved this episode! I couldn’t believe Eli confessed OMG after all this time…now if she could just divorce Peter and end the charade I would really love it.

  23. Tony says:

    Underwhelming episode, and then in the last minute – BANG! upside the head. There it was: the GW I know and love. Classic, beautifully crafted jaw-dropper. Never saw it coming. Funny how the thing that always makes a satisfying pay-off is the Will and Alicia angle. I suspect Alicia will go downhill from here … an escalating drinking problem will now take center stage. The Kings are quite an enigma – they write a show into the ground only to salvage it at the 11th hour.

  24. Luis says:

    I believe this is the part where all H-E-L-L breaks loose

  25. robandco says:

    Classic Good Wife here. So good!!
    That last scene was everything. I can’t wait for everything to implode. Her marriage, her relationship with Eli, her mind. It’ll be great. I think we’re in for a nice treat.
    Diane and Cary’s storyline was nice. It was good to see Cary get what he did to Diane and Will. And that high five was sooooo funny.

  26. Jeri says:

    Good episode. Eli is the best, most interesting character on this show after the mass exodus of so many original cast members. If he leaves they may as well bury what is left of the show. I still miss Will, Kalinda and all the other cast members with smaller roles which added to and made each episode so interesting. I still mourn TGW in its glory days. So glad we still have Diane & Cary.

    • Kasey H says:

      What “mass exodus”? Last I looked, only Josh and Archie have left. Josh’s contract was for 4 seasons, and he stayed around for most of the 5th. Archie left at the end of her contract (whatever issues she might have had, it was still at the end of her contract).
      Who else has left? We still see Christine Baranski, Matt Czuchry, Chris Noth, Alan Cumming, Makenzie Vega, Zach Grenier. We still see Mary Beth Peil and Jerry Adler. We don’t see Graham Phillips because he (and Zach) are in college, but he is mentioned from time to time.

      Actually I find it rather amazing that TGW has been able to keep much of its starting cast now that we are this many seasons in.

  27. Eli’s Confession: Didn’t see it coming1 I. Could. Not. Breathe. I started balling. Then I replayed it several times, to watch the subtle acting details. OMG, great ending to this season! To naysayers: Alicia never heard the complete deleted voicemail from Will, only Eli did. Then it was slowly forgotten… until the last words Alicia heard from Will on the day he was murdered at the courthouse… “Alicia, we need to talk….” So unheard/unfinished voice mails from the real love of her life, Will, are a huge deal for Alicia, and I suspect she will come back with a vengeance and sabotage Peter’s campaign, then hopefully divorce his sorry ass.

  28. Vikki says:

    Don’t care for this season at all. The writing is disjointed and skips from week to week and Alicia’s hair is so awful! The romantic relationship seems trite and unbelievable and I like the actors. Compared to last year – this year is not as well written as well as shallow.

  29. vikkigreen says:

    The writing is bad as compared to the other seasons. The relationships are shallow and interactions are trite and disjointed. Week to week the story jumps without characters so you are left wondering what is going on… Alicia’s hair??? Did the hair wig budget get cut???

  30. abz says:

    I can’t believe how much people harp on and on season after season about Alicia’s hair. Do you people pay attention to anything else?

  31. Mm says:

    Can someone explain to me the big deal?

    In season 2, I would get Alicia being angry with Eli over this. I would get the big deal if this had actually robbed her of love.

    But in hindsight, all his deleting did was delay her relationship with Will for a few months. It was her decision not to divorce Peter, to break it off with Will, to betray Will by stealing his clients, and now Will is dead. Water under the bridge. And Alicia heard part of the voice mail, and she and Will even discussed it.

    If this is the vehicle for her to decide to finally divorce Peter and live for herself, then I’m all for it, but a better choice would have been the voting fraud scandal to achieve that.

    I just really don’t want to see Alicia irrationally angry and a constant Eli mea culpa playing on my screen, so I’m hoping logic prevails and she gets over it after another finger margarita.

    • Deion says:

      That voicemail was left on the day that Alicia re-entered her political marriage for the sake of her family. She’d chosen Peter. (For the brief amount of time until she found out about he and Kalinda.) After that, Will said things, but it was too late. That voicemail came at a time when it would have mattered, and her choice might have been affected.

  32. Dee Vavrinec says:

    I was totally surprised by Eli’s confession and yelled at the tv for him to confess before he did. I had forgotten about his rottenness. I enjoy his acting, he’s good and the Good Wife is my favorite show ever. I bought all the years and watch them over and over to see Will again, the best, with Alicia, number one actress of all time. Love the show, hoping Jason will come back–so we can get to know more about him and he and Alicia can be together. I would like her to have some happiness.

  33. Sherry White says:

    Why did my tv not record “The Good Wife” episode on Sunday, Dec. 20th? Did I accidentally delete it or did CBS not show it? CBS advertised that it would be on that night right after Madam Secretary.

    • JosiahBartlet4President says:

      If there was an episode, it was a repeat. Depending on your DVR settings, it wouldn’t have been recorded if it wasn’t a new episode.

      • Sherry White says:

        To JoslahBartlet4President-Thank you for your answer. I did not think my comment was recorded the1st time because I had not entered a website. I was notified that it did go through. I appreciate your responding to my question. I miss Will and Kalinda. I think Jason is a great addition to spice up the show. I enjoyed seeing him long ago on”Greys Anatomy”. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  34. Sherry White says:

    What happened to the episode of “The Good Wife” supposed to air on 12/20/15? It did not record on my tv. Did I delete it by mistake? CBS advertised that it would come on following “Madam Secretary” on Sun. 12/20/15. Thanks for your input.