The Good Wife Season 3, Episode 21: The Penalty Box
Since Will’s court case, this season of The Good Wife has felt more like a winding down than a building up. After last season’s killer story arc, that played Peter’s election to States Attorney alongside his crumbling marriage, it’s been something of a disappointment, and it’s meant that the cases-of-the-week have been asked to bear more weight than they’d usually have to. This doesn’t mean that The Good Wife has had a dreadful run in the back half of its season – it remains sharp, engaging storytelling – but it does mean that it’s lost some of its urgency. This week’s case was a little muddy and underdeveloped, with Lockhart Gardner defending a judge whose determination to put a man behind bars twenty-odd years ago for the murder of his wife led him to overlook evidence that he was innocent. It’s the typical sort of moral grey area the show works best in, but I’m not sure that the heavy-handedness with which the show chose to treat this judge’s decision to implicate a former co-worker, who from the looks of things was actually to blame, gave this the gravity it seemed to be aiming for. Meanwhile, Eli continues to be sidelined, this week attempting to lure Howard into ousting Will as partner, although presumably this will change come Peter’s gubernational race next season. The real action took place elsewhere, with Carey being reinstated at Lockhart Gardner, and his thawing relationship with Alicia continues to be one of the series’ better-realised pairings. However, and whatever the faults of this episode elsewhere, there’s no denying the pleasure to be had from seeing Alicia offer up an empty chair at the bar to Kalinda. It’s a sight that everyone has wanted to witness for some time now, and the pay-off was hugely satisfying.