With shorter seasons becoming de rigueur per HBO, AMC and Netflix, it’s rare to find a network television drama which isn’t a procedural. The Good Wife, now in its fifth season, is a little bit procedural but a whole lotta rebel.
The drama has toed the line in terms of content, bringing some of the sexiest scenes to a CBS show in quite a while and last night’s episode “Hitting the Fan” proves the creators of the show aren’t afraid to shake things up a little (or a lot.)
Although Alicia is now partner at Lockhart Gardner, she decided at the end of the fourth season to jump ship and form her own firm with Cary Agos. In the past four episodes, Alicia and Cary have been plotting their escape, keeping the new firm carefully under wraps from Diane and Will.
Diane found out about Alicia and Cary and informed Will. “Hitting the Fan” was the fallout of their secret keeping. Not only did the episode change Alicia’s professional life, but her personal life may be irrevocably changed as well.
Will, her boss at the firm, has been a friend since they were both in law school at Georgetown. When Alicia decided to come back to the law after thirteen years away, Will brought her into Lockhart Gardner. Will and Alicia have always had “will they or won’t they” tension—they were briefly together during season three—and it seemed they might eventually end up together, even though Alicia was in the midst of trying to repair things with her husband Peter.
After last night’s episode, though, it seems unlikely their relationship, whether in the personal or professional realm, will ever recover. Alicia kept her decision to leave the firm a secret from Will. As understandable as they might be, to not want to tell your current boss you are leaving your job, Will has fought for her professionally multiple times: he brought her into the firm when her reputation was tarnished by her husband’s political scandal, he touted her work ethic and winning record to Diane in order for Alicia to become a second year associate over Cary, he made Alicia partner and asked her to replace Diane when Diane decided to leave the firm for a judgeship.
While understanding the shake up from a plot stand point, it’s a little unclear what Alicia’s motivation to leave was. For Cary, it was close to revenge. The firm fired him once, then brought him back, and he’s racked up more billable hours than his fellow associates without much acknowledgement. Cary seems to view Diane and Will as making the associates do the brunt of the casework and then swooping in at the last minute in court to save the case and take all the credit.
But with Alicia, the audience has never gotten so much as a hint that she might feel this way, so it’s a little disconcerting to realize there’s no solid reason she should want to leave the firm. While The Good Wife is known for its subtle storytelling, but this decision by Alicia is a little too subtle.
If the Kings wanted to create a rift between Will and Alicia, they’ve certainly done so. But how many friends will Alicia lose before she has no one? Kalinda and Alicia’s friendship was one of the best parts of the show but after the season two revelation about Kalinda, their friendship has never quite repaired itself. It seems Will and Alicia’s relationship is on the same road. While it’s understandable the Kings wanted to break away from the usual will they won’t they tension of many television couples, it’s a crime there will be less interaction between these actors (Josh Charles and Julianna Margulies.) Without their chemistry and friendship, the show becomes a little less interesting.
On the other hand, Will and Alicia both become more alive when they’re fighting for something they believe in, so setting them up as competitors might be a genius move by the Kings.
For now, it’s too early to see how the fallout from this episode will play out over the season. Hopefully the Kings can mine good stuff out of it, rather than falling into weak story lines, like the return of Kalinda’s husband, an unsuccessful venture from season four.
- The Good Wife Watch: This Means War (entertainment.time.com)
- What’s Next For ‘The Good Wife’? After The Shakeup Secrets Revealed (huffingtonpost.com)