The Televangelist:Pan Am 'The Good Wife,' Season 3 Ep. 4

Lockhart Garder finds its conscience, and Will says those three little words ... "I love work" (and Alicia).


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  • "You're seriously going to play the race card? I'm sitting right here!"

?Ah, what a refreshing and satisfying feeling to switch off from "Pan Am" to "The Good Wife." I was a late-comer to the series (full disclosure, I still haven't see most of the first season), but picked it up last season and haven't looked back. The show has plenty of flaws, many of which played out last year (the Kalinda and Blake storyline being the main offender), but it hasn't stopped it from being a premiere network drama. One of the most interesting things heading into this third season (which is more like Season Five given how networks run their series - instead of a 10 or 12 episode arc they opt for around 20 episodes per season) is that the creators never planned for the show to go past Season Two. The advertising campaign for Season Three focused on a seductively posed Alicia with the tagline "don't let the title fool you." Like "Cougar Town," is "The Good Wife" poised to make a fundamental story change? There are many fans who have argued, rightly, that Alicia leaving Peter would have nullified the title. But so far this season we've seen Alicia carry on an affair with Will, which seems just as compromising. Most viewers of the show are either "Team Peter" or "Team Will," and both come with complicated arguments (and is something that gives the love triangle a more unconventional side). To me, the love triangle is the least interesting part of the show. There are other aspects that elevate "The Good Wife" out of the realm of procedural and into the that of compelling drama.
I am, I should note, a fan of procedurals. Maybe as a creature of habit I am drawn to their comforting structure. "The Good Wife" adheres to a certain narrative construct, but it isn't afraid to go out of bounds. This week, "Feed the Rat" did something the show typically doesn't do - it played out the crime at the beginning, "Law & Order" style, so that we could spend less time on the particulars of the case (which was an interesting one nonetheless) and more on some of the machinations within Lockhart Gardner. As I mentioned, the love triangle does very little for me, and aside from the COTW (case of the week), the best parts of "The Good Wife" usually come from the inner workings of the law firm, or in how and why they make the choices they do with and for their clients. The show has always been politically savvy, giving us a behind-the-scenes look at how campaigns work (through Eli Gold, Peter Florrick and Glenn Childs), but also in regards to spin tactics (such as Eli's dealings with the cheese lobby). I'm not sure there's another show on TV today that understands so thoroughly the significance and control of "the back room." Moreover, "The Good Wife" likes to embrace technology - last night Kalinda downloaded the police sketch and looked at crime scene photos via her iPad (or tablet, the brand was never shown) - and, rightfully, makes it a big part of how the characters do business.