The Good Wife Recap: When One Door Comes Unhinged... Walk Through It?

I’m not going to lie to you: I’m a lot more excited than I ought to be about the prospect of The Good Wife‘s seventh season focusing on Alicia Florrick tackling daily home-renovation projects as a bridge to her 5pm one-woman happy hour.

But lest network television’s most consistently challenging drama turn into a home-furnishings fantasy (directed by Nancy Meyers and guest-starring Diane Keaton), I’m happy to report that this week’s installment, titled “Don’t Fail,” could’ve just as easily been called “How Alicia Got Her Courtroom Groove Back.” (No, this doesn’t mean Taye Diggs’ quickly forgotten Dean Levine-Wilkins returned to the mix in the wake of Alicia’s fall from grace. Where is that dashing attorney, though, come to think of it?)

Quite the contrary, a little bit of kismet, a push from “drinking buddy” (is that the proper term for “forbidden lust puppy” nowadays?) Finn Polmar and a few bitchy words from opposing counsel sent The Lady Florrick back into delicious, morally ambiguous battle mode — seemingly changing the course of her life/career in the process. Without further ado, let’s recap the decidedly contained hour — complete with a brief but beautiful Alicia-Kalinda drinking session (!!!!!!!!!!!!) (in flashback, but still…).

OK, so I’m going to attempt to sum up this week’s episode in a handful of paragraphs:

Alicia gets a call from an old client (Southland‘s underrated Dorian Missick) whom she’d cleared on an attempted murder charge back in her associate days — learning he’s now being prosecuted for murder of the same man, who recently died from injuries related to his prior assault. Our protagonist, who’s been spending her days sanding down an old door and fending off phone calls from telemarketers, decides to join the case alongside a novice attorney (Aya Cash of You’re the Worst — a genius FX sitcom everyone should be watching) and winds up reviewing old audio tapes and reminiscing about arguing/researching the initial case with Cary, Kalinda and even Diane.

In perhaps my favorite scene from the hour, Cary hand delivers to Alicia a box of old notes he took on the original case — where he was tasked by Diane with playing second chair and coming up with alternative case theories. When he learns (over glasses of wine) about Alicia’s plans to travel the path he’d laid out — he grins and abandons his earlier sentiment that Alicia “always thought I was more competitive than I really was.” Instead, he’s simply delighted his theories will have their day in court — “like a director’s cut.” (Alicia and Cary’s innate/overlapping love of the law — and legal strategy — makes them such terrific allies… and this brief waltz between the two gave me an endorphin rush that took me all the way back to “Red Team, Blue Team.”)

Anyhow, Alicia ultimately learns from Finn (who’s been pushing her to get back to work) that ADA Matan Brody’s case rests on a witness who’d fingered her client based on a photo array pushed on him by an unscrupulous cop. That detective had since been subjected to an Internal Affairs investigation for exactly this kind of misdeed. The judge presiding over the trial, however, tells Alicia to give up her source (since internal affairs hearings are supposed to be sealed) or face time in a cell for contempt of court.

As Alicia thinks back on one of her first times knocking back tequila with Kalinda — and remembering a time when she thought the law was actually good, not just neutral — she remembers a key bit of advice from her former bestie/recently disappeared investigator: If you believe in your client, do everything you can to defend him/her — up to, but not including, lying under oath. And so, in a sweet, poetic moment, Alicia tells the judge the next day that it was Kalinda who gave up the info about the crooked cop — “I answered your question, your honor,” she notes, in a moment of carefully worded perfection — and her client goes free.

“I want to learn from you,” grins her young co-counsel. “No, you don’t,” sighs Alicia. But shortly thereafter, she and Grace are turning Zach’s bedroom into a makeshift office (naturally, right before mother and son call a truce and he decides to come for an overnight the following day). And then, sharing some hard liquor with Finn — and no longer hiding under a baseball cap in a darkened booth — Alicia asks her sometimes partner in thinking about infidelity (while only lightly brushing limbs against limbs) if he wants to be her partner… in starting a law firm devoted only to clients in whom they can believe.

What’s telling, though, is that The Good Wife‘s most uncorrupted, morally grounded character — the always fascinating Grace — is the one who poses the toughest question of all about her mom’s new business plan: “Can you make money doing that?”

That might be a question that won’t be definitively answered ’til next fall (or winter, even), but if Julianna Margulies’ alter-ego returns to fighting the good (or something close to it) fight against those who underestimate her doggedness, I’m definitely intrigued.

Your turn. What did you think of this week’s Good Wife? Were you happy to see Alicia back in the courtroom? And is it a good idea for her to be business partners with Finn — or were you hoping for a different kind of coupling? 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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55 Comments
  1. EJ says:

    The early shot of Kalinda and Alicia was obviously taken from an episode in an earlier season. And in the “scene” between them later in the episode each actress simply spoke to the camera lens-they didn’t shoot that scene together.

  2. Angie says:

    The fact that they didn’t even share a frame together means that these two (Archie on Julianna) are obviously not on good terms. It’s just ridiculous that they couldn’t be in the scene together.. no other show would do this.

  3. Steven says:

    It’s ridiculous the way they tried to trick us into thinking they were in the same room, when it was obvious they weren’t. I absolutely love Aya cash and if she isn’t too busy with You’re The Worst I’d love her to join Alicia’s new firm. Though I do wish she could go back to the firm she helped found instead of starting a whole new one. Especially when Matthew Goode isn’t even signed on for next season yet.

  4. Hayes says:

    Lol after that Kalinda/Alicia “scene”, I now have reason to believe that the touted “that scene” in the finale would be the same. Shot separately but edited as if they’re together. The Kings dragged out the lack of Kalinda-Alicia scenes for so long that they couldn’t undo it. I wonder if they just hoped no one would notice.

  5. rowan77 says:

    I had really hoped for more than a six second shot of Kalinda and Alicia in the same room and they didn’t even try to make it look like they were in the same scene later. Did they not have body doubles to stand in for “over” shots? I get that the two actresses do not get along, but how unprofessional is it that they won’t be in the same scene at the same time – even in the last episode one of them will ever be in? I think less of Margulies. This is serious prima donna behavior.

  6. Jammy says:

    ‘You’re the Worst’ is the worst…please don’t perpetuate that myth any further…

  7. James says:

    Is someone ever going to tell us the truth about the feud between Archie and Julianna? I’m looking forward to it more than the season finale. Actually, I’m almost waiting for them to address it at the season finale as a post-credits scene…

  8. Doo Bee Doo says:

    It was so blatant in this episode that I’m beginning to think the writers are trying to make a running joke out of never having Kalinda and Alicia in the same shot. Or they’re trying to say something about Julianna Margulies’s relationship with Archie Punjabi without actually saying anything in public about it, letting the shot compositions speak for themselves.

    • kn1231 says:

      I’m definitely thinking it’s more of a running joke thing between them. Regardless about there being issues between Julianna and Archie, I can’t see it getting in the way of their scenes unless the King’s let it (which obviously they have allowed it).

  9. kn1231 says:

    Everyone is freaking out about the Alicia/Kalinda scene, saying it was a cop out. But the big scene that the King’s were teasing about is going to be in the finale. I think the rage everyone feels is being dredged up by the King’s on purpose. Hope the being scene is actually worth it!

  10. TaMara says:

    That felt more like the show I enjoy. But it sure took a long and ugly road to get back there. I’ll miss Kalinda, but I sure won’t miss all the conspiracy commenters who seem to “know” that Julianne M is a total unprofessional beyoch. And Archie P is a doormat. They’ll just have to find some other reason to malign a professional actress who is amazingly good at her job.

    • rowan77 says:

      I don’t think anyone is saying Archie is a doormat. I don’t know where you get that idea. But as far as Julianna goes, when the titular star of a show (who also is a producer) puts her foot down and refuses to work with someone, the showrunners generally do what the star wants to keep the show on the air. Now, I’m not saying that I know that is what happened here, but all signs point to it.

    • Kim R says:

      I agree. This felt like a Good Wife I could recognize. This season has been my least favorite by far! I don’t think it was mentioned in the recap but the scene where Matt’s character thought he saw Kalinda at the firm was so touching. This may not be a term but boy, can he “face act!” :)
      I really like the idea she is going to start over with a door for a desk. This made me look forward to next season. If one person say “election” I may turn the channel. :D

    • DW says:

      I loved this episode from start to finish. For me this is the most enjoyable season especially now that the election arc is over. My favorite scene, in an hour with several great scenes, was Alicia and Cary in her apartment. They are simply terrific together as was pointed out in the recap. Another great episode. Totally entertaining.

      • Jeri says:

        Alicia and CARY working together, he hates office politics & BS, that’s why he wanted to leave in the 1st place. I hope this is so, it would be great. It was a real let down when they just restarted the old firm under a different name,

        • Kathy says:

          I want this too. I never liked Finn and truthfully don’t get why anyone does, but GO!!!! Cary and Alicia should work together and get back to what they originally wanted.

  11. Josh says:

    Alicia starting another law firm! YAY!! I was thinking “I’d love to see this storyline repeated without any sort of emotional investment”…ANd given that it’s not even a sure thing Finn is returning do to Matthew Goode’s schedule, this could be another dead plot

  12. abz says:

    I’m really interested in Alicia starting a new firm with Finn. And to answer your question Michael, I’d prefer both (partnership and coupling). They’re both great together. I’m not too keen on Alicia returning to her old firm with Cary and Diane. This new direction, since they unfortunately decided to have her lose the SA position, is much preferrable in my opinion. I don’t have an interest in seeing them continue the office politics with Alicia returning and conflicts arising with David Lee and co. and more backstabbing and firm name changing, which is basically what would eventually happen if she went back. It’s time for her to start fresh. I like the moments and nostalgia that came from the Kalicia friendship, although if the show were trying to dismiss any rumours of any behind-the-scenes drama, they completely failed with the way that bar scene was shot. It was beyond obvious that the two weren’t even in the same room together. I kept hoping to be proven wrong. Let’s hope they keep their promise for next week. It better be Kalinda at that door. Lastly, I really enjoy Alicia spending time with Grace and I’m really glad she’s mending things with Zach. Now, if they can bring the hilarious Owen back, i’d be thrilled.

  13. Eurydice says:

    Wow, this is the first episode in a long time that I’ve been able to watch without feeling like I’m going to get slapped around by some horrible plot twist. Yes, I’ll be happy to watch Alicia build her home office, maybe she can try a case while trying to put together an IKEA storage system.

    As for the Alicia/Kalinda flashbacks, I figure it’s revenge against all those folks who were so smug about Will’s gruesome death, who were all “Hey, horrible bad things happen in real life all the time, so suck it up.” Well, friendships are irretrievably broken in real life, too – I guess this is one of those times.

  14. pecola says:

    So, according to the Kings:

    Kalinda sleeping with Alicia’s husband = Alicia lying and blaming Kalinda for a crime she didn’t commit and for which she could be prosecuted

    Okay. *eyeroll*

    • kn1231 says:

      Kalinda is on the run, and they assume she is not coming back. I thought it was a smart play on Alicia’s part. I’m thinking this could also lead back to the note Kalinda left Alicia. I don’t think Kalinda would care about what Alicia did/said, given the circumstances.

      • pecola says:

        @kn1231: For years, we’ve been told by Marguiles and the Kings that the reason that Alicia and Kalinda haven’t been in the same room together for YEARS is that Alicia can’t forgive Kalinda for sleeping with her husband.

        But, based on TV Line’s reporting from last week, we know that the characters will interact next week, so I guess Alicia’s overcome her disdain by blaming Kalinda for a CRIME.

        Whether Kalinda cares or not is not the issue.

        • Marc says:

          Alicia did not blame Kalinda for a crime. She misrepresented to the court who had told her about the IAD investigation. It would only be a crime for Kalinda to reveal the investigation if she had learned of it while employed by they SA office. The fact that the SA said that the source must have been either Cary or Peter means that the investigation happened after Kalinda worked there. Therefore, at worst, Kalinda could be asked who had told her of it. 1) She’s gone, and 2) she has bigger concerns. Alica did exactly what KKalinda would have told her to do, what Kalinda taught her to do.

      • B says:

        Lots of people have been saying Alicia was throwing Kalinda under the bus. But if Kalinda comes back, she has problems a whole lot bigger than this. Even if she didn’t, I can’t see Kalinda taking issue with it anyway.

    • schmed says:

      Isn’t it criminal only if someone who had legitimate knowledge of the proceedings leaked them? In other words, identifying Kalinda doesn’t get Kalinda in trouble; it merely means she would be questioned about “her source”??/

  15. Tj Todd says:

    Archie Panjabi left the show because she will be starring in her own show next season. There are no problems between the two women. The way they had her leave the show was smart. If her new show doesn’t make it, they can bring her back.

    • EJ says:

      Uhhhh, sure, keep believing that. Please.

    • marnie says:

      I think you’re absolutely right. I think this got people talking and watching and speculating-oh god, so much speculating. The actresses get along fine, according to a friend who works on the show, but what would he know…

      • EJ says:

        You’re either lying or your “friend” is. It’s common knowledge among NY crews here that something went very wrong between Margulies and Panjabi over 3 years ago. Some in the TV press are kicking themselves that they didn’t pressure the Kings to at least admit it.

  16. lkh says:

    Wow, just when I was about to give up on The Good Wife–she’s back practicing law, lying and cheating…but I repeat myself. Actually, liked it a lot, much more interesting than the last few months. Felt good to see her back.

  17. Gwen says:

    I feel like I’m watching a different show than the other commenters here. I see this as more proof that the Kings are playing mind games with the fans. (and that’s the nice, PG term for it.) Either they are going to give us what many want (more courtroom, Alicia fighting for justice, and fighting it as a partner with Finn), or they are just toying with us to make us think that. Either way, I feel like I’m/we’re being played.

  18. robandco says:

    I feel like I am the only one who does not care at all (and really did not noticed until you guys started pointing it out) that Kalinda and Alicia are never in the same room (on screen). The writing is good, just let it go guys.
    The episode was good, and got me even more excited for season 7. I wish Aya Cash weren’t busy with You’re The Worst (and movies) because I’d watch Alicia mentoring her character.

    • Vivi says:

      You are not the only one. If it weren´t constantly mentioned I probably never would have noticed at all that they hadn´t had a scene. Not as if it hurts the narrative or anything like that and I thought of it as realitic that Alicia wouldn´t forgive Kalinda just like that.

  19. MJ says:

    The writing’s on the wall. Archie won an Emmy during their debut season and Julianna did not. Kalinda became a fan favorite and taking the thunder away from Alicia. The best years of the Good Wife was when Kalinda was such a badass. Oh how I missed those seasons.

    • jinx2014 says:

      Someone finally hit the nail on the head, that is exactly why the feud started. Alicia’s ego demanded that Kalinda GO, she was furious that she did not win and Kalinda was becoming the favorite. Thanks MJ I agree 100%, and I also know this from someone on the STAFF.

  20. Susannah says:

    I feel differently than others who are liking the plot development with Alicia starting her own firm. My favorite characters are Diane and Cary and I feel like they’ll be sidelined next season in a show that’s all about Alicia’s startup law firm with Grace as her intern.

    • Gwen says:

      Grace could NEVER EVER be Marissa. sad. just sad.

    • DW says:

      I can understand your concern here. I bet that Alicia and Finn will start a rival law firm in season 7. Then the challenge will once again be: how to keep the show from falling back to the “Saint Alicia” beats everyone every week scenarios of the first 4 years. Since TGW has the best cast on television it would be very unwise to diminish Cary and Diane. They finally gave Matt Czuchry a good story arc this year and look what happened. Well deserved critical acclaim and EMMY buzz everywhere. As long as we don’t get a superhero Alicia next year I’d be okay with the split law firms.

  21. B says:

    I get that people don’t like the way the Kalinda/Alicia scenes have been handled. I don’t love it, but it certainly doesn’t ruin the show for me. I think it’s realistic for Alicia not to forgive Kalinda for the thing with Peter. Not because it means he had another affair, but because it would make it feel like their whole friendship was based on a lie, or on Kalinda’s sense of guilt.

    If it’s true that the actresses refuse to work together, yes, that’s unprofessional. But we’re not going to get a definitive answer on that, so I don’t see why we can’t just let it go and focus on other aspects of the show. Especially since we already know she’s leaving.

  22. Stefan says:

    Wonderful episode! Getting back to the roots. However I am not excited at all about Alicia starting yet another firm. Way too repetitive. Besides, having two firms again is so not cool. I sincerely hope something will happen in the finale that will make Alicia go back to Florrick-Agos or whatever it’s called now. We want them together. Cary and Alicia – the dream team! Of course, I am also looking forward to the promised Kalicia closure. I can feel fans will be SO mad if the Kings disappoint with it. I enjoyed the flashbacks in this episode, although it was obvious they didn’t shoot together. And also, I hope we get some closure about Bishop – is he going to jail for real? Or will that storyline be coming back next season (hopefully not, I think they’ve exhausted it).

  23. Datya says:

    Anyone catch that one of the names on Alicia’s list of donors to call was Mark Green? ER shoutout perhaps??? ( (Michael, any way to confirm this??? Even though I think on ER it was spelled Greene)

  24. Celesta says:

    Only the Kings would let such unprofessional behaviour (which I’m pretty sure is mostly Julianna) go on for over 6 seasons. I mean what kind of showrunnners pander to their lead to THIS extent? Filming seperately? REALLY? So unprofessional.

    • c'mon!!!! says:

      I COMPLETELY agree. It does ruin the show for me in some way to see them shooting their scenes completely separately. I don’t care if you do not like each other and/or something happened–you are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to be on an incredible show–get over it and be professional like all of us have to day in and day out at our jobs! I think JM is such an incredible actress, but them not having one scene together in 2.5 years is insane! While I understand the character reasons for their friendship ending, their professional relationship should have kept existing as it does with all of the other lawyers and staff. Maybe the people who don’t understand why fans like me get annoyed by this matter would understand if they shot JM completely separately from MC, CB, CN, MG, etc IN EVERY SEASON FOR 2.5 SEASONS. IT IS WEIRD AND TO COMPLETELY IGNORE IT IS LIKE TRYING TO IGNORE THE PINK ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM. I think the Kings, JM, and AP would be much wiser to release some air from the balloon and address it in a more honest capacity. This is a smart show with smart viewers–DO NOT PATRONIZE US.

      OK…end rant…lol

  25. Saabgirlatx says:

    Ok, Am I the only one who missed something here… I thought at the end of the last episode Alicia went to see Diane about the misconception of her wanting/not wanting to return to the firm?

    I know this show doesn’t always spell everything out but not having that closure was distracting. On another note, happy to see a COTW back!

    • Puchinsmom says:

      I believe you missed the scene where that rich client, Oliver Platt?, told the partners that Alicia’s notoriety from the election scandal would have him drop the firm if she came back. Hopefully that is helpful…..?

  26. Annie says:

    Are we going to learn who is behind the door during the finale or it is a cliffhanger for season 7?
    In that case, it can´t be Kalinda

  27. I quit watching when she no longer was “The good wife”. TV is so bad no
    one can be good.

  28. S. Green says:

    Can someone tell me when they are going to put an end to this marriage? Yes, Peter did all those horrible things to her, but either fix it or let it go. To say we are staying together because of the kids, is worst for the kids. Be a good wife and make a decision. If you want the story line that it is ok to have an affair, but Peter can’t this is stupid. I do like she is putting on her big girl panties and going on a different route in her career. Also, save Bishop, let him take his son for a better life.

  29. Matt says:

    I would totally watch Alicia and Finn start their own firm with the “novice lawyer” and Grace as the secretary! This would be such a refreshing way to go into the seventh and maybe final season. Kind of like returning to the basics and showcasing how much Alicia has grown as a person and a lawyer. They better get Matthew Goode back for good!