CliqueClack TV

The Good Wife – The one with Mrs. Chanandler Bong

Here’s a question: if Peter’s running a clean office (which I’ve never believed), what was Eli doing in a meeting to determine whether or not the State’s Attorney’s office would be pressing charges in a minor (or any) case? Is Peter really naive enough to violate the rules so blatantly?

- Season 3, Episode 19 - "Blue Ribbon Panel"

I’ve always said that The Good Wife plays second fiddle to no show when it comes to taking a new spin on an old format, and this week’s episode did nothing to dissuade that perception. Alicia stood in for Diane on a Blue Ribbon panel — led by guest star Matthew Perry (as attorney Mike Kresteva) — along with a number of judges, a pastor (Charles S. Dutton!), and various other citizens of high standing. Instead of a courtroom or an arbitration, we got to see a hearing board led by a dictator and a crew off “yes” men out for nothing other than an easy close to a highly complicated and controversial case.

And it was a great plot … to a point. I enjoyed how Alicia the outsider butted heads with everyone else on the panel, and I’m looking forward to the firm getting taxed by Judge Dunaway (Kurt Fuller) and Judge Winter (Peter Riegert); that continuity will be very interesting.

But two things negated much of the good that the story had done. One was how unpleasant Perry’s guest spot was. It wasn’t because he was the “bad guy,” since Louis Canning and Alicia have a contentious relationship, and he’s treated her awfully on more than one occasion. So I can’t necessary pinpoint what it was I didn’t like, but I was very not into the guest spot. Shame, too, because I’m a huge Matthew Perry. I understand that he might be coming back, but who wants him if his character’s going to be like that?

The second thing was how the entire thing dovetailed back to Peter, leading Alicia to recuse herself. It felt like a cop-out, although why they would have felt the need for one is beyond me. Why couldn’t the case come to a resolution, whether or not the State’s Attorney’s office got dragged into the mix? Why wouldn’t Alicia fight for the little guy here? What possible reason would she have to protect Peter, considering he’s both her estranged husband and an opposing attorney? The ending made no sense, and it robbed us of a potentially interesting close to what had been an interesting case.

As little of a Will fan as I am, I must admit that I enjoyed this week’s continuation of the round robin game to fill Will’s seat … for all of five or six months (sounds crucial, right?). Eli and Julius are very funny together, while even David Lee was enjoyable to watch as related to this plot. And I loved how Will decided to plop Howard Lyman (Jerry Adler) into his seat. Here’s a guy who was brought back the last time Will needed some extra votes on a firm matter. Now he’s a name partner, and all for the low, low price of a corner office closest to the bathroom. Score!

For a reason I can’t articulate, I had the biggest laugh when, after Howard stood up in the partners’ meeting, Eli said, “Who is that?” It was the perfect thing to say in the moment. Keep up the good work, Eli!

Photo Credit: CBS

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