Even though The Good Wife hasn't finished its premiere season, watching previously aired episodes still has probative value. Last night's "Painkiller," first shown in January, is a case in point. Certain scenes become "ah ha" moments that take on more meaning in light of what's to come. This episode, about the overdose death of a popular high school football star, follows that M.O. throughout.
And For the Record
As is typical of many Good Wife episodes, the actual legal issues in "Painkiller" are in many ways less important than what we learn about continuing characters. In particular, much of the action revolves around people not being what they seem at first--and not just the pill-popping mom of the dead boy.
Take Becca, Zach's more experienced girlfriend. Sure, she's creepily seductive, but she still seems decent at this point. (After all, she drives Alicia's mother-in-law, Jackie, to the hospital after she collapses.) But, with the hindsight of experience, we know she's playing some kind of twisted game. Her future exploits as Tweeter "Upriser7" will cause Alicia embarrassment and pain, even though Becca's motivations remain unclear. It eventually takes political operative Eli Gold (the awesome Alan Cumming) to see through her phony, sweetie-pie persona.
On the other hand, consider the case of Cary Agos, rival for Alicia's job at the firm. He puts aside the corner-office competition by going undercover to nab a drug-dealing physical trainer. His actions help Alicia save her client, making her look better in the eyes of their bosses. (Alicia will return the favor in a future episode when she covers for Cary as he comes down from a magic mushroom-induced high.)
Matt Czuchry (as Cary) also claims one of the can't-miss moments of the show: Cary's testy reaction to the dealer-trainer's remarks that he should try steroids to bulk up. He provides a light moment in an otherwise fairly heavy episode. (And a fond remembrance of Logan on Gilmore Girls.) Other highlights involve Alicia using fake power-of-attorney papers to tip off the still-imprisoned Peter that their phones were tapped. In another scene, Alicia confesses to Kalinda that she's pushing her client to take a bad deal from the D.A. just to be done with the case. Such moments remind us that while she may be the good wife, she's also smart, crafty--and human.
Offered Into Evidence
Let's take a moment to answer the key question: Is there a cooler character on TV than Alicia's chief investigator, Kalinda? Here are some facts from "Painkiller."
- She persuades a pathologist to spill the results of an autopsy to her while a cop is telling the doctor to shut up.
- She knows everything. It can be street-wise stuff--like how kids make aspirin look like oxycodone to fake out mom. It can be emotions-related, such as using just the right manner with a grieving mother to get her to talk. Whatever it is, she's cool and collected. And what she doesn't know, she finds out, as with that all-too-willing-to-help pathologist.
- She convinces Peter's arch-nemesis Glenn Childs that she's willing to testify against Peter at his upcoming retrial. How'd that work out for you, Glenn?
- She does it all while rocking black leather with a seen-it-all attitude that makes her endlessly fascinating.
On the matter before the jury, we say, "Case closed."
(Image Courtesy of CBS)