The Televangelist: 'The Good Wife,' Season 3, Ep. 9

Smaller portions of Alicia and larger portions of Eli and Diane are necessary for a healthy Good Wife diet.


  • CBS
  • NEITHER RIGHT NOR SMART: Do NOT make me cut you

In my review of "Hell On Wheels" this week, I mentioned that though the show has introduced a large cast to start the series, which will probably benefit it in the long run, it would possibly be a better idea to focus a bit more on the main protagonist to start (especially since he is definitely the favorite character). "The Good Wife" shows how this approach works a few seasons in, once the main character may no longer be the most interesting person, and the world that has been built around them begins to overshadow them. This happened with "Grey's Anatomy" - can anyone honestly say Meredith Grey is their favorite character? The problem with focusing on one character without developing any others has been the creative downfall of certain Showtime series like "Weeds" or "The United States of Tara," or even "Dexter." But on the other side of that, grand ensemble pieces (such as - yeah I'll say it - "The Wire," and also what "Hell On Wheels" seems to be toying with) can start out leaving the viewers feeling jarred and unable to connect with any one character. "The Good Wife" may have begun by introducing us to Alicia and her point of view during the political scandal of her husband, but as the show has grown it has expanded into so many other areas that Alicia - who to me is the absolute Meredith Grey of the series - has nearly been relegated to a "series regular" rather than the show's star. And I, for one, am ok with that.

You see, "The Good Wife" is quite a bit like that food pyramid problem that Eli dealt with in "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot." Alicia is the bread, anchoring the triangle. But now some of the other players - Cary, Eli, Diane - are getting more space (as the vegetables and fruit, or what have you), taking away some of bread's share. I'm not going to carry this analogy any further, but I think you get the idea. After last week's questionable "Law & Order" ripoff, "The Good Wife" returned to its A-game, giving Eli more time to play with another great guest star (Amy Sedaris) while dealing with a very current issue (the food pyramid and, even more pressing, pizza being declared a vegetable). We also saw the return of military court, one of the weirdest and most fun places the show chooses to vacation from time to time. But even aside from the great moments the court provided, there was a dark and sobering lesson at the end of it. Lockhart Gardner lost (always nice, to keep it realistic) because their client was certainly guilty - she was ultimately responsible for the deaths of twelve civilians, six of whom were children. This is something the show always does well: balancing politics. Though it poked some fun at the almost absurd rigidity of the military court, at the end of the episode it allowed the court to demonstrate genuine compassion for those who were needlessly slaughtered, and the desire to bring to justice those who abused the military's power under the guise of national security. Like most of the show's legal issues, it's a deeply complicated one. But by giving time to both sides, it handled it justly.