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Review #3225: The Good Wife 3.13: “Bitcoin for Dummies”

Posted on the 18 January 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Story by Courtney Kemp Agboh
Teleplay by Robert and Michelle King
Directed by Frederick E.O. Toye

This episode satisfied the needs of the show’s creators to stay hip and “cool” and in-the-know about what’s new in the technology world. While in the background, there was an ongoing plot that I enjoyed much more than this headline case. “The Good Wife” has always been a fairly well-balanced show, but there are times when I wonder if the writers have their priorities straight. Here, the somewhat goofy nature of the Case of the Week threatened to overwhelm the episode, nearly pushing the serialized elements to the periphery. The back and forth between Lockhart-Gardner and the State’s Attorney’s Office is what draws long-term viewers like myself, not the present procedural side. They should build on that.

Review #3225: The Good Wife 3.13: “Bitcoin for Dummies”

The case in question involved the invention of an online currency. As this is the purview of the U.S. Treasury Department, the lawyer goes directly to Alicia and Lockhart-Gardner since they have had past dealings with them. This brings back the Treasury monitor from “Executive Order 13224″ and has him face off with Alicia in court. The bits in court between Higgs (the Treasury monitor) and Alicia were amusing, in part because I don’t think Higgs is comfortable being in court and questioning witnesses. Higgs is the one who’s used to being in control and the case seems to tip more towards Alicia, especially with the judge acting in constant disbelief that he’s actually having to rule on a case involving online currency and commodities trading.

The resolution of the case was intriguing, if a bit too pat for my taste. It turns out that all three of the featured suspects — the lawyer and the two hackers — were in on creating the online currency and this was a way to get the Treasury officials off of their backs. I would think that Diane and Alicia and company would feel a little more indignant at first being possibly framed for a federal crime (as Higgs does warn after one testy deposition), then being bamboozled by all three suspects. Then again, Kalinda seemed to be the only one who figured out the scam in the end so there’s no harm, no foul in the proceedings.

That brings us to the ongoing situation with Will’s indictment. It’s a tense one, and that’s reflected in Will’s demeanor and conversations with Elsbeth, his lawyer. He knows the SAO will attack him, but he’s unsure of where they will attack him. Kalinda is tasked with finding out what exactly that is, though it did take some deft legal maneuvering on his lawyer’s part to determine which judges’ cases they were looking at. Will’s facial expressions give away nothing (his ice-cold demeanor makes him a tough opponent in many instances), but he admits fear for the first time when he tells Elsbeth that he doesn’t want to go to jail. It’s a weakness that the SAO could exploit in the future.

The team locates the case Will could look bad in, and Kalinda provides it to a desperate Dana in the end. I think this is a setup for some kind of misdirection. Kalinda is working both sides, yet she seems to lean towards protecting Alicia and Will more than helping Dana. Perhaps she knows nothing will come of the evidence in that folder and that she is just ascertaining as to how weak a case the SAO really has. Dana may have shown their hand early by telling Kalinda that all they concretely have is a forged signature by Alicia on a document from last episode’s case. If that’s all there is to it, it isn’t much to go on a full indictment. That could tie in to the actual reason behind the indictment: Wendy Scott-Carr is playing a shell game to get at Peter through indirect means. So Will really doesn’t have much to worry about.

Balance is key here. Most episodes, I don’t find the case being featured to pique my interest. The serialized elements are the main draw of this series. They should run with that much more than everything else. There was a third subplot in this episode involving Zach and his girlfriend that barely warranted notice. They have to clarify what is happening with Will’s indictment before moving on to other things. Are they going after him for real, or is it more about getting Peter? How does all of this then affect Alicia? These are major questions that need answering, though the writers are saving it for future episodes. That’s an understandable and wise move. The fluff around it is unnecessary at this point.

Grade: 7/10

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