'The Good Wife' Fan Columnist: Can't Get You Out of My Head
'The Good Wife' Fan Columnist: Can't Get You Out of My Head
Alison Stern-Dunyak
Alison Stern-Dunyak
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Can you look into the face of evil and not be changed? Alicia finds out on this week's episode of The Good Wife as her anti-death-penalty sentiments are pushed to the limit by a very, very bad man.

Things aren't all death and despair in "Death Row Tip," however. A put-upon Eli must find a way to quell a looming crisis for a new political client, and Cary faces off with Kalinda in one of their most intimate encounters yet.

The Case in Evidence

Immediately before his execution, an Indiana death-row inmate named Ricky Packer reveals the location of a murdered Chicago gang member to a documentary filmmaker. When the police dig up the remains, they also discover the body of a missing woman. The state's attorney's office charges her former boyfriend with the crime. Diane and Alicia get the case.

The L-G team believes the woman was collateral damage from the killing of the gangbanger. But Packer, the only person who can help them identify the real killer, is less than two days from death. Coyne -- the Legal Aid attorney Diane is providing office space to -- goes to court to argue for a stay of execution. (See? I told you Romany Malco would be back!)

The team races the clock as Kalinda sets out to identify the woman's killer. She approaches Cary's new squeeze, Dana, to get information. Dana tells her they already have a solid suspect -- a juvenile gang member -- so that leaves the boyfriend as the dead woman's murderer.

Kalinda doesn't buy it, but persuades Dana to trade footage from traffic cameras near the crime scene. But to get it, she has to agree to give Dana information on Will for their new investigation. What she doesn't tell Dana is that she's also planning on warning her boss to beware.

No Friend of the Court

Coyne and Alicia search desperately for any mitigating factors that will get Packer a stay of execution. Unfortunately, Ricky's hard-luck story turns out to be bogus -- he was raised in a loving, well-to-do family. His family's minister tells Alicia that Ricky was always a mean kid and probably committed the gruesome double murder he's in prison for.

Despite her disgust at Packer's crimes, Alicia agrees to interview him if it will help her client. Packer identifies the man in the traffic-cam photo -- and, as Kalinda suspected, he's not the juvenile taking the rap. The boyfriend's innocence is proven once and for all when the police try to arrest the murderer and he starts a shoot-out. The police recover the murder weapon.

Though Diane and Alicia's client gains his freedom, Packer loses his appeal. In a stunning confrontation with his mother and brother at the prison, the unrepentant killer both curses his family and laughs that "it was fun." Alicia looks on in horror.

In Chambers

During the shootout Cary and Kalinda get caught in the crossfire, and Cary shields her with his body. Though neither is hurt, she's grateful to him for protecting her. But he's suspicious about her motives in befriending Dana. When she denies any negative motives, he tells her he doesn't like her being in his head. "Then get me out," she says.

 He touches her face -- they kiss. They pull apart -- and kiss again. "What are we doing?" he asks. "I have no idea," she says, looking at him expectantly. But rather than continue, Cary pulls away again and walks out.

The Jury Will Ignore that Last Remark

I can't believe I'd ever type the words "servicing Santa." But that's what Eli has to deal with when political operative Mickey Gunn brings him a crisis communications case. Gunn's client, a young politician named Mulvey, once went on a college spree and was caught on camera doing the nasty with a giant statue of Mr. Claus.

Before it gets out and ruins Mulvey's chances at public office, Eli and Alicia recommend that he get ahead of the story by releasing the photo himself. Things backfire during a TV interview (nice cameo from MSNBC's Chris Matthews), but the politician recovers by claiming to be an alcoholic who must go to rehab.

Gunn agrees to withdraw his guy from contention for a congressional race, but thinks he'll run Mulvey in something a little lower-profile -- a state senator's seat. Oops, that's the same seat that Eli's ex-wife is vying for, too.

Legal Briefs

The writers packed "Death Row Tip" with plenty of classic TGW moments. Here are a few:

  • Will tells Alicia that Diane keeps looking at them as if they were "a lawsuit waiting to happen." Despite the scrutiny, they agree they're not ready to "pause" their relationship.
  • While watching the kids, Grandma Jackie starts snooping through Alicia's things. After finding sexy lingerie in the laundry, she pulls out Alicia's laptop. Fortunately, Jackie can't even find the power button. (Do the writers know my mother?)
  • When Alicia tells Mrs. Packer's minister that the condemned man is "not a good person," the reverend readily agrees -- he only testified because he's against the death penalty. Alicia then asks him, "What if the case was about releasing him?" Then we'd be having a very different conversation, he says. (A fine performance from Mark Margolis, better-known to Breaking Bad fans as the mute, wheelchair-bound Tio Hector.)
  • After noting that Dana and Kalinda looked like they were getting along a little too well, Dana assures him that "I'm not a lesbian." Cary retorts that he's known a lot of people who weren't anything till they met Kalinda.

Summary Judgment

A top-notch episode. With the possible exception of Peter, I'm hard-pressed to think of a major character who didn't get some showcase moments. Even minor ones, such as Eli's charming daughter Marissa and Grace's oddball tutor got screen time. And yet the balance between serious and humorous moments, plus emotional breakthroughs and political shenanigans, felt just right.

As we approach the "fall finale" (code for "we don't want to burn off new episodes before the holidays") how do you think things stand on The Good Wife? Should Will and Alicia take that "pause" after all? Does the investigation against Will have legs? Can Cary and Kalinda keep things purely professional? Are you glad we don't have to wait till Turkey Day to give thanks for the next Good Wife?

(Image courtesy of CBS)