As we rejoin The Good Wife, we learn a valuable lesson: Always password-protect your voice mail!
Unfortunately our heroine, Alicia Florrick, hasn't yet absorbed this must-do. Picking up where last season ended, Peter's campaign manager Eli takes Alicia's phone as she steps onstage for a press conference with her husband. Only we (and Eli) hear a crucial message from Will: He loves her. Eli listens in and hits "delete," leaving Alicia in the dark -- for now.
The rest of the episode (called, fittingly, 'Taking Control') focuses on two main story lines, in the courtroom and at Lockhart and Gardner. Make that Lockhart, Gardner, and Bond, because Will and partner Diane are merging with a 'boutique D.C. firm' run by slick Derek Bond (Michael Ealy, formerly of FlashForward.)
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Meanwhile, Alicia takes control of a murder case for a defendant who insists on acting as his own attorney. She not only maneuvers the prosecution into a fatal error, she stands up to the obnoxious judge with a fire that inflames Peter and impresses Bond -- who announces he's her new official office mentor.
Other evidence of a strong case for this episode includes:
Has Kalinda finally met her match? As part of the merger, a new PI named Blake (played by hunky Scott Porter) joins the firm. Rivals from the start, he's first amused when she uses her feminine wiles to talk her way into the apartment of a would-be witness. She then impresses him with her ability to break the encryption on a cell phone SIM card. Finally, they cooperate, as he tips her off to a piece of news that helps Alicia score big in the murder case.
It's rare (and fun) to see someone throw Kalinda off her game, though she tries to get him in line after he repeatedly mangles her name. Hey, Blake -- it's not "Linda" or "Leela" -- it's KA-Emmy-Winner-LINDA.
The merger with Bond's firm may have saved the financially strapped L&G, but will the corporate culture survive? Bond likes "new management" techniques, such as peer review for the associates ("Just like 'Lord of the Flies,'" Diane quips). He also says that back in D.C., the partners sit in interior offices because it's better for morale. Oh -- and there's that little matter of the official mentoring program, to replace the "unofficial' program Will says they already have in place.
But then Will and Derek begin to "bond" (sorry -- had to say it!) over the game of basketball. Seems our man from the East Coast is a bit of a hoops specialist. Unfortunately, the elegantly clad Diane doesn't look like much of a b-baller. I definitely detected a look of consternation on Diane's face out of fear she'll be shut out of the boys' locker room as the merger proceeds.
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Straight from the "you can't do that on network TV -- can you?" files: Peter and Alicia steam up the bathroom after he's gotten all hot and bothered watching her in the courtroom. Despite her protestations about preparing her case, Peter proceeds to, um, "take care" of Alicia (off-camera of course). Think what you will about their marriage, Peter and Alicia have chemistry to spare.
With a year of history and character development behind it, The Good Wife is back in fine form. Sex scandals, financial turmoil, office politics, actual politics? Guilty as charged!
(Image courtesy of CBS)