The Good Wife: Oppo Research and Developments

The Good Wife (Screen: CBS)
The Good Wife (Screen: CBS)

Seriously, Alicia, would you SHUT UP AND START THE CAMPAIGN already?

This episode takes a break from The Good Wife’s usual pattern, with no true case-of-the-week. Instead, we focus almost exclusively on Alicia’s campaign, and the preparations she (and others) are making ahead of a formal campaign announcement.

The Plot

Alicia has invited Eli to her apartment for a meeting about her potential campaign. She’s a nervous Nellie at the beginning, acting like it’s a first date, debating about whether to pour wine and then making WAY too much food.1 Eli reassures her that she doesn’t have to make a decision RIGHT NOW, but that things move quickly, and hey look he invited a campaign manager for a job “audition” with her. If she doesn’t like him after 20 minutes, they can send him packing. (He tells the potential manager, Johnny Elfman, essentially the same thing about Alicia.2)

Eli begins to lay out Alicia’s strategy. She needs to embrace the governor, to put the public’s memory of her supporting Peter to good use, even if it’s not the current truth, and even if Castro can use their separation against her. Johnny challenges Alicia to come up with a positive reason for running; saying that the current guy isn’t doing a good job won’t cut it. After some brief verbal sparring, Alicia is honest about her motivations: she likes a set of rules that tell her what is right, and what is wrong. She doesn’t so much care about using the law to help people, she just likes the law itself. Johnny decides he’ll take her campaign on, and after checking to make sure Alicia is actually okay with moving forward, they begin to present the opposition research … on HER, not on Castro. Here’s what they found:

Zach got his girlfriend Nissa pregnant; she had an abortion. Zach not only never shared this with Alicia, but lied to her on the day of the procedure, saying he was going to visit Boston College. She flips out about the fact that he lied, vows to cut him off financially, and then lays into him over the phone even though he’s apologetic. Alicia is as bad a mother as she is a lawyer; she’s not concerned about his feelings, and instead gives him detailed instructions about what to say if he’s ever approached by a reporter.3

Grace is turning tricks after school and … HAHA nope just kidding. She’s too busy hosting choir practice in her room, calling her friends to show up in fairy princess outfits, and setting up Google Alerts on her mom’s name to do anything actually illegal or even immoral4.

Owen has been sleeping with “a married Palestinian man who does barebacked gay porn under the name Phil.” Eli points out that “it’s the affair with the married man that’s the most problematic.”5 Alicia tries to couch the issue as her being concerned for his health, but when Owen seems not to know what she’s talking about, she ultimately can’t stop herself from being a prudish Judgy McJudgerson. Without another word, Owen pours out the rest of his wine and leaves.

Veronica spanked a five-year-old in a department store, and it was captured by surveillance cameras. The kid was being a brat, and Veronica can’t keep a straight face when Alicia forces her to apologize. The mother asks for money, Veronica responds snarkily, and the situation devolves. But wait! Additional surveillance footage proves the kid knocked down, among other things, an 87-year old woman. Her fall resulted in thousands of dollars in medical bills, and Alicia uses this as leverage to keep the mother quiet.6

Peter … well, Eli stops Johnny from getting into Peter’s skeletons (including the possible affair with Lauren the Intern), but Alicia seems unphased. She even provides Eli with information he didn’t have: that Kalinda slept with Peter. Eli is incredibly discomforted by this information, and even Kalinda’s assurances that she won’t talk don’t seem to calm him. Meanwhile, Eli finally gets permission from Peter to fire Lauren, instructing him to find her another job. Eli appears to just straight-up fire her, but somehow (Peter’s doing?) Lauren ends up working at the Senate. Her mother, a long-time friend and political ally of Peter’s, thanks them both for the help. I’m not convinced this explanation — that he was keeping her around as a favor to an old friend — absolves Peter of the suspected affair, but it’s a reasonable cover for political purposes. For now.

Other potential speedbumps include Alicia’s affair with the now-deceased Will Gardner, as well as a photo of Finn Pollmar leaving Alicia’s apartment at 8:30am. She was prepping him for testimony, and he’s willing to tell the truth about it, but warns her that Castro is out for blood. Immediately after leaving Finn, Alicia gets pulled over for a suspected DUI. It’s a setup: the cop knows her name without seeing her license, and forces her to take a full roadside test (which naturally gets recorded by passersby) even after she volunteered to take a breathalyzer. Spurred on in spite of (or, perhaps, because of) the lives of those closest to her, Alicia makes a final decision to run for State’s Attorney. Now all she needs is a campaign team, and some money.

Grace’s Google Alert on her mom’s name7 turns up a political action committee that has raised $83k … no wait, $84k … nope, now it’s over $100k … for her campaign. Lemond Bishop, savvy businessman that he is, pressured Kalinda for an explanation after Alicia, Diane, and Cary tried to fire him as a client, using a “conflict of interest” between Bishop and Cary as a cover. Bishop initially refused to move on, but once he discovered Alicia’s real motivation, he wasn’t going to miss out on having a high-ranking government official in his pocket. After talking with Kalinda, he took his legal business elsewhere, publicly stating his unhappiness that Alicia had fired him to cover his tracks, and quickly established the PAC as a way to funnel money into her campaign. Because Chicago!

Missing in Action

Yet again, Robin is nowhere to be found. While I’m not sad, I do think she deserves a better sendoff than the one Kalinda’s ex got. Still no word from the other members of Florrick Agos Lockhart, or from Canning & Associates, although Diane and Cary do show up very briefly for discussions about Bishop. I also find it very hard to believe that Eli turned up plenty of dirt on Alicia’s blood relatives, but nothing on Jackie worth mentioning.

… of the Week

Supporting Actor: Owen, who refuses to put up with his sister’s meddling and walks out on her without hesitation. GOOD FOR HIM.

The Good Wife (Screen: CBS)
The Good Wife (Screen: CBS)

Kalinda Moment: Eli’s discomfort is written all over his face and body; she is impenetrable, as usual. I want to see an Eli Gold / Kalinda Sharma spinoff.

The Good Wife (Screen: CBS)
The Good Wife (Screen: CBS)

Eli Moment: After having to tell Alicia about Owen’s sextracurricular activities.

The Good Wife (Screen: CBS)
The Good Wife (Screen: CBS)

Cameo: Grace’s friend Jennifer, played by Anne Marsen. Would that we all had a friend who is willing to prance around in a fairy princess outfit upon request.

The Good Wife (Screen: CBS)
The Good Wife (Screen: CBS)
  1. Her refrigerator appears to have the magic ability to make appetizer platters on a moment’s notice. Have we ever actually seen Alicia use her kitchen beyond the corkscrew?  
  2. Oh Eli, always with the political maneuvering.  
  3. Because lies are okay when they benefit Alicia or her campaign.  
  4. That we know about. Yet.  
  5. “Well, that and the barebacked gay porn,” adds Johnny.  
  6. Am I the only one who did a quick calculation in my head, and determined that “a few thousand in medical bills” would be easily covered by the $50K the mother originally asked for?  
  7. Isn’t the tech-related stuff Zach’s job? Oh wait that’s right HE’S A LIAR.  

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About Ryan Brazell 135 Articles