Pardon the pun, but something queer is happening with The Good Wife‘s Cary Agos in Season 7 — and we mean that in every sense of the word.
During the CBS drama’s Season 7 premiere, Matt Czuchry’s character had a moment — an out-of-left-field moment that might’ve been sexually charged, or might’ve just been a misunderstanding — with a young associate played by Phillip Shinn.
Their connection began after Cary encouraged Lockhart-Agos’ junior attorneys to come to him with their concerns, then wound up getting Shinn’s character a few minutes in front of the firm’s partners to present an idea for new management software. When the pitch ultimately got rejected, Cary swung by his underling’s office at the end of the workday to break the news, pulling up a chair, leaning in, and adding, “I don’t want you to give up on pitching new things, so just come to me and I’ll walk it in with you, OK?”
The young lawyer definitely heard the part about “pitching new things,” placing his hand atop Cary’s as his boss smiled and offered to be there if Shinn’s character “ever needed anything.”
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Cary promptly pulled away — the way you’d expect from a character who, despite the series’ limited focus on his personal life, has always appeared to be straight by virtue of his long-term physical (and sometimes romantic) relationship with the now-absent and sexually fluid Kalinda. “It’s just the way you were talking,” offered Shinn’s character, to which Cary replied, “No. No, I wasn’t.”
The “what the heck is going on here?” subplot continued in last Sunday’s installment, as Shinn’s character lingered in Cary’s office at the end of a meeting to apologize for the misunderstanding and then drop this peculiar tidbit on his supervisor: “I want you to know I’m not gay.”
Before you accuse us of making a big gay mountain out of a heterosexual molehill, let’s remember that Good Wife creators/showrunners Robert and Michelle King are nothing if not efficient storytellers. When they introduce an idea or a random plot thread, you can bet it’ll somehow be woven into the larger fabric of the show.
And that raises the question: What’s the endgame for Cary and the puppy-eyed brunette? We can only imagine a handful of plausible scenarios:
* Cary is gay, bisexual or at least questioning his sexuality — and the Kings have introduced Shinn’s character as a means of exploring that territory. The idea shouldn’t be entirely inscrutable to anyone with a fleeting awareness of the Kinsey Scale; lest we forget, Cary spent most of Season 6 in jail and/or desperately fighting to stay out of the clink. Major trauma has a way of jolting people into pursuing unexplored truths and pushing them to live their most authentic lives. Could Cary have had a same-sex romance in high school or college? Might that explain some of the iciness between him and his father? Did his handsome employee’s advance awaken something dormant in his psyche? Stay tuned!
* Conversely, Cary might be as straight as a Steven Seagal movie — and the Kings have introduced Shinn’s character for some other purpose. A number of TVLine readers commented on TVLine’s Episode 2 recap that perhaps the young associate is setting up his boss for some kind of sexual harassment lawsuit. What if the arc is more about Cary taking the time to mentor a young man who’s struggling with his sexual orientation? Or maybe the Kings are secret fans of the Beyoncé-Idris Elba campsterpiece Obsessed — and Cary is about to experience some scary and unwelcome romantic overtures.
* A third and least likely/least appealing possibility is that the Kings merely threw a couple of random scenes into their first two Season 7 installments to stir the pot, make viewers go “huh?” and prompt TV writers such as myself to fuel the publicity machine with “Is Cary going gay?” headlines. That would be a massively disappointing stunt for a show that — even in its least successful moments — has always been meticulously written and impressively committed to genuine character motivation.
I honestly can’t think of any other way to explain what’s going on in Cary Agos’ world in Season 7, but perhaps you can.