Entertainment Magazine

Review #3185: The Good Wife 1.11: “What Went Wrong”

Posted on the 14 December 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Story by Keith Eisner
Teleplay by Robert and Michelle King
Directed by James Whitmore, Jr.

I’ve written in past reviews that my goal for any episode of “The Good Wife” now is to virtually ignore the Case of The Week and concentrate on other things. That isn’t possible this time around, as the Case of the Week takes center stage. The interesting thing is that both sides don’t focus on the nuts and bolts of the case, but rather the verdict that came out of the case. Each episode, it seems that Lockhart-Gardner’s resolve and resourcefulness is tested in different ways. This one required a delicate dance in dealing with possible jury tampering, jury misconduct, and even the possibility of judicial misconduct. So with the focus on the main case, other subplots took a back seat, though they did have some developments of their own that will affect the season down the line.

Review #3185: The Good Wife 1.11: “What Went Wrong”

By throwing the audience into the end of the trial without showing the evidence or testimony, it forced the perspective of the trial to favor the defense. I don’t think that was intentional on the writers’ part, but it’s a smart play. Sympathy is played more for the person Lockhart-Gardner is defending. We have to believe that something went wrong during trial because both sides didn’t really expect the guilty verdict to come in on first degree murder. So Lockhart-Gardner works hard to get the police officer off on a mistrial or something else to avoid prison.

The jury becomes the focus for Lockhart-Gardner. Diane, Alicia, Curtis, and Kalinda try every angle they can to poke holes at the verdict. They resort to some pretty low tactics, from digging through the jury’s trash (I’m amazed at the fact none of the jurors tore up the votes after writing them down) to innocently asking jurors about their verdicts. A couple of questions from Kalinda lands her in trouble, as Cary places her under arrest for juror harassment.

That bit was amusing to me. It led to a cooling of tensions between Kalinda and Alicia when the latter bails the former out and finds out that she found her daughter in the previous episode. I still think that Alicia hasn’t fully forgiven Kalinda for what she’s done, but this goes a long way towards getting them to work together like it was before. The whole mess presented here coupled with Diane’s subtler-than-subtle offer that Alicia basically succeed her as a partner could drive her to seriously consider what Canning offered last episode.

Back to the search for a mistrial declaration, I thought that juror number five would figure heavily into the final resolution since they kept coming back to her at various points of the episode. She was the first to hesitate with the guilty verdict and her quirks are just bizarre enough that it seemed like it would be very obvious she would cave. The way the mistrial came about though (the juror goes as far as to befriend the judge online) felt very odd. It’s too transparent a way to go about deliberations in a murder trial. I wouldn’t be surprised if that judge was disbarred for his actions here. Up until that point, though, there was a question as to whether or not Lockhart-Gardner engaged in misconduct by buying off the judge to change the verdict.

That case has no teeth given what was revealed at the end with the conversation between Will and Wendy Scott-Carr. It seems that Wendy doesn’t care about Will and his shady backroom deals. She wants to take down Peter by working as a double agent working from within. It would explain her rather blasé attitude the past few weeks in trying to take down Lockhart-Gardner. Perhaps this is payback for the nanny scandal that Eli used in last season’s campaign for the SAO to take Wendy out of that race.

So Peter and maybe Eli should watch their backs. This kind of twist takes some bit of thought and reviewing of prior episodes to see if Wendy’s past demeanor gave away any of this. It’s not as obvious a twist as last episode’s bit with Grace, but one that seems to be brewing in the background. The writers have elected to take this risk, a well-worn trope by today’s television standards (although you see it mainly in spy dramas, not legal ones), and it could pay off or blow up in their face.

Is Will going to help Wendy to bring down Peter? How is that going to affect his relationship with Alicia? It would be supremely ironic if they both come after Peter and that strengthens the relationship between Peter and Alicia. It has looked in the past few episodes as if they were more of a couple than Will and Alicia were, so much so that I openly questioned during this episode whether Alicia was really going through with the divorce. There are a lot of things to consider for the future of this show. The writers recognize the weaknesses and don’t dwell on them. It feels like the show is back on track and running very smoothly. I want it to continue.

Grade: 8/10

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