Entertainment Magazine

Review #3258: The Good Wife 3.14: “Another Ham Sandwich”

Posted on the 01 February 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Written by Leonard Dick
Directed by Frederick E.O. Toye

Looking back, the meat of this episode (no pun intended) resided in the plot for the State’s Attorney’s Office trying to indict Will on judicial bribery. It hummed with such efficiency, had the episode’s best scenes, and completed a long-term arc that had its nascent beginning at the end of last season. That left the secondary plot of Eli sparring with a returning Stacie Hall feeling lightweight by comparison. There is the promise that this won’t be the last time those two will go one-on-one against each other so we’ll see more hilarity from Eli. I wish the writers would connect Eli more to the main narrative instead of having these petty face-offs with the characters he doesn’t particularly like.

Review #3258: The Good Wife 3.14: “Another Ham Sandwich”

The State’s Attorney’s Office comes at Lockhart-Gardner with their full arsenal here. Wendy Scott-Carr starts out small, questioning Diane about the seedy dealings that she may have seen at one of Will’s basketball games. I liked the slightly dismissive attitude Diane gives off during her questioning. She knows that Wendy is looking for specific weaknesses in the testimony so that she can tie Diane to Will’s criminal behavior. It’s like a legal chess match, where one side makes a move and the other side has to come up with the correct counter.

The strategies keep changing: Will’s attorney suggests they tie the judicial bribery to Peter Florrick, and that works for a little while until they go after Will directly. His testimony is interesting because he honestly answers every one of Wendy’s questions, showing that he has nothing to hide. It’s an interesting gambit because the possibility does exist that the SAO could find a direct connection between the favorable rulings and the bribery. Kalinda played Dana with the information she had been providing to the SAO, somehow protecting Will in the process. It wasn’t entirely unexpected because Will and Kalinda have always watched each other’s backs, and that doesn’t change here.

The grand jury investigation is capped by Wendy calling in Alicia for her testimony. Alicia is forced to reveal her brief relationship with Will, though it’s made out to be seedier than it seems. There’s a personal element at work here, as Wendy only knows about the relationship through Cary and Alicia’s withering looks at both Wendy and Cary during the revelation speak volumes without actually saying the words. Alicia storming off the stand was the absolute climax of the episode. The hilarious twist, though, comes when the members of the grand jury ignored much of the relevant testimony to re-frame the focus from Will to the judge who wouldn’t give up any information and Peter. Will gets off scott-free.

The rest of the episode had a more personal feel to it. Alicia has it out with Peter, and he stops just short of fully admitting that the grand jury investigation was a form of retaliation against her and Will’s brief adulterous affair. Peter knows now that he has no legitimate way to get at Will so he calls off all of the dogs, left alone in his office to deal with his humiliation. Alicia almost admitted her affair with Will to her kids before finding out that it will not be public knowledge. I think her kids will find out about it in some unexpected manner. That skeleton probably isn’t staying in the closet for long.

Eli battles with both Stacie Hall and David Lee in this episode, each with a personal element at stake. He finds out that Caitlin, his legal assistant for the day, is Lee’s niece so he then assigns her legal scut work as a continuation of his petty feud with Lee. He wins money from the gay-lesbian alliance that Stacie Hall was working for, proceeds to have sex with her, then finds out that she’s working on his ex-wife’s State Senate campaign. It all feels so light, especially when put up against the whole plot about the grand jury investigation. The writers seem to still struggle with giving Eli something to do beyond these pet crisis management projects. Perhaps he should go back to being the cutthroat, Machiavellian political operative. Peter’s campaign for governor is on the backburner right now, unfortunately.

One-third of the season remains, plenty of time to develop another major plot arc now that Will isn’t being investigated. It’s a big victory, but I get the sense that this isn’t really the end. What happened with Wendy Scott-Carr approaching Will and telling him that she was actually investigating Peter? This show isn’t in the habit of dropping or forgetting about any plot point they introduce in the past. There are plenty of stories still left to tell so if they can get beyond the transition episodes coming up, the real work can begin. It’s been a pretty good ride so far.

Grade: 8/10


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