Alicia Florrick has attracted her fair share of "difficult" clients, but none as loony/creepy as the inimitable Colin Sweeney. This is the kind of reunion Alicia could probably do without.
Speaking of reunions: Will's back, too! Okay, not really Will, but Josh Charles, who directed "Tying the Knot." Obviously, no hard feelings between the actor and The Good Wife's producers, so let's tone down the anger about Will's departure, shall we?
A Millionaire in Love
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A man of many appetites, Sweeney (the Emmy-worthy Dylan Baker) has been accused of (and is probably guilty of) more than one murder. But he always manages to wiggle out of jail time, usually with Alicia's reluctant help. Will this time be his undoing?
We last saw Sweeney
in the season 4 finale, when he encouraged Alicia to jump ship with Cary and form her own firm. At the time, she balked at Sweeney's suggestion, but we know how long her resistance lasted. Now, Sweeney is one of Florrick, Agos' most valued clients.
With the clock ticking, Alicia goes to Sweeney's mansion to secure his signature on financial disclosure papers. If he signs within the time limit, his firm will merge with a big pharma company (and F/A will earn a $1 million bonus). But he's distracted -- he's in love (again) and getting married (again). Fortunately, his last marriage
ended in a plain old divorce, not the sudden death of his wife.
Sweeney agrees to sign the papers if she can convince his fiance, Renata, that the merger's a good thing. Renata's friend, Morgan -- an animal-rights activist -- tried to sway Renata against the business deal, but Alicia wins her over. Renata's no fool, though. She doesn't just want Sweeney to buy the firm. She wants a seat on the company's board herself. Alicia gets Sweeney to sign the papers.
Roping in a Suspect
Seeing as this is the Sweeney mansion, things are going a little too well. Suddenly, there's a scream. Renata has discovered Morgan swinging from a chandelier, an apparent suicide.
Alicia's questioned by the police as a witness. The investigator in charge, Detective Johnson, shows her marks on Morgan's body that match up with murder, not suicide. He's clearly trying to pin this on Sweeney (who, after all, probably killed at least one of his previous wives), but Alicia provides the rich man's alibi.
Detective Johnson and State's Attorney Castro question Sweeney and Renata in Cary and Alicia's presence. The most suspicious "evidence" is a room in Sweeney's mansion the police call a "torture room," but the devoted couple say it is for sexual pleasure, specifically a form of Japanese rope bondage. Turns out Renata and Morgan were lovers, and practitioners of rope play. That explains the marks on Morgan's skin, but not how she ended up hanging from the ceiling.
Alicia also points the Johnson and Castro to a possible suspect: Morgan's boyfriend, Demetrious, who argued with Morgan earlier in the evening. Alicia saw him going upstairs right before the murder.
But did she really see Demetrius? Alicia realizes she was so distracted at the mansion, she may have screwed up. And by distracted, I mean fending off calls from Cary (to get the papers signed), from Finn Polmar (to talk about his job troubles) and Eli (to tell her about a photo of Zach holding a bong that's going viral). So yeah, distracted.
Embarrassingly enough, Alicia may have confused two African American men at the mansion: Demetrius and Sweeney's valet. She fesses up her mistake, but stands by her statement that Sweeney was with her during the timeframe of Morgan's murder. Detective Johnson (a black man himself) sarcastically tells Alicia it's good he wasn't at the party or he might be a suspect. He tells Alicia she'd better be right or they'll be arresting the wrong person.
The police arrest their best suspect. However, it's not Demetrius. It's Renata!
Finn Polmar vs. Jimmy Castro
Since Alicia represents Sweeney, she recommends to the millionaire that Diane help out his fiance. Surprisingly, Finn's also on the case, a last-minute choice by his boss, Jimmy Castro. During the preliminary hearing, Finn has disturbing visions of the blood and bullets. He seems to be suffering from PTSD. (Can you blame him?)
The state's evidence is pretty shaky. It turns out Morgan was a willing participant in the rope play, called "shibari," and in fact was the dominant to Renata's submissive. (I know -- TMI. It was that kind of episode.) Demetrius didn't like Morgan's relationship with Sweeney's fiance, but that doesn't mean he killed her.
During a recess, Castro tells Finn he's thinking of stepping in to the case. Finn believes he's being set up to take the fall for the disastrous Grant case. Castro denies he's out to get Finn -- who was a good friend of his in the past, after all. He says Finn isn't over the shooting and needs to take a break. As we saw, Finn isn't over the shooting, but he's not ready to step away from his job just to save Castro's neck.
Finn suddenly announces he's running against Castro for State's Attorney. Earlier, Alicia recommended this tactic to Finn as a way to protect his job, but Polmar refused. Now, he realizes she's right. Now all he needs to do is file paperwork -- and get 7,000 Cook County signatures. Fortunately, Eli assures Alicia that he can handle that. In about an hour. (That's the Eli I like to see!)
Back in court, Castro indeed steps in. His first move is to call Alicia as a witness.
Diane Lockhart vs. Alicia Florrick
Before Alicia takes the stand, Castro visits Peter to ask for his endorsement. After all, the governor's the one who appointed him in the first place to fill Peter's unfinished term. Eli wants Peter to go ahead and endorse him, but Peter's worried that Castro has a beef with Alicia. The new State's Attorney leaves the office without an answer.
As Alicia waits to testify, Sweeney approaches her. He makes it clear that it would be okay if she lied on the stand to protect him and his future wife, especially if F/A wants to keep his company's business. She shoos him away.
But the damage has been done. Diane asks if Sweeney asked her to lie on the stand, essentially bribing her. Alicia admits he did, but her testimony is truthful. Ms. Lockhart then brings up how Alicia confused Demetrius with Sweeney's employee. Alicia looks like a fool.
Outside of the courtroom, Sweeney admits to a furious Alicia that he talked to her beforehand on purpose just to muddy the waters. Worse still, it was Diane's idea!
Alicia asks, "So who did it? You or Renata?" Now that's just rude, Sweeney sneers. "Let's let the judge decide."
A Stunning Revelation
That night, Alicia spends the evening with her brother Owen. (Earlier, he and Alicia had an "intervention" with Zach, for what's apparently a non-existent drug problem.) They share a sweet moment on the couch. He's worried about her and wants her to be happy -- he knows she's missing Will. She tells him she's doing okay, despite her "Bill and Hillary" marriage to Peter. After giving him a goodnight peck, she goes to her bedroom, fighting back tears.
The next day, Peter decides to give his endorsement after all. Much to Eli's chagrin, it goes to Finn. Suddenly, Eli's interested in this Finn Polmar guy.
At Renata's preliminary hearing, the judge does decide -- that the state doesn't have enough evidence to bring the case to trial. Renata's free, and the wedding's back on. After thanking Diane and Alicia, she asks to speak to Alicia alone.
Renata's grateful to Alicia for "saving" her upcoming marriage to Sweeney. Alicia's baffled -- what did she do? Renata explains she worried about keeping Colin's interest because they didn't have enough in common.
But now, she explains, we share the experience of watching the life drain from someone's eyes. We have that in common now. "Please come to the wedding!" she implores Alicia.
Our heroine watches, stunned and sickened, as a gleeful Renata and Colin Sweeney clasp hands and walk off together.
At the very end, I found myself asking if I'd just seen an episode of Hannibal instead of The Good Wife. That encounter between Alicia and Renata (a perfect Laura Benanti) gave me the shivers. Colin Sweeney may have actually met his match.
A few more observations:
- I enjoyed the murder storyline, but the episode was somewhat inconsistent. The "Zach is a pothead" subplot clearly existed just to get Owen back to town. Not that I'm complaining -- I love the dynamic between the two siblings -- but I'm not sure why it took a cooked-up crisis to get them together.
- Although Castro is definitely trying to throw Finn under the bus, he's right about one thing: Finn isn't over the shooting. Maybe he should take a break. Castro isn't just a sneaky bureaucrat/politician -- he's more complicated than that. I hope they explore this a little more.
- Very little Kalinda or Cary in "Tying the Knot," but also no Louis Canning, so I'm calling that one even.
- For all the flaws in the plotting, this was a well-directed episode, Since Will can't return, The Good Wife should definitely bring back Josh Charles behind the camera.
Only three more episodes to come in season 5. Based on the preview for next week, could someone be interested in romancing Alicia? Let's all tune in and find out!
The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9pm on CBS.