Please tell me you hung in there during the seemingly endless game delay before this week’s Good Wife. If you did, you saw one of the strongest episodes so far this year. If not, go watch it on CBS.com and then come back here–because there are plenty of spoilers ahead.
In “What Went Wrong,” Alicia sets out to right what she perceives as past missteps–neglecting her kids, dating her boss, losing touch with old friends, providing harsh advice to a client. But as we soon learn, things–like people–aren’t always as they seem at first.
The Case in Evidence
Though this week’s case drives the entire episode, we only join the action at the very end. Alicia, Diane, and Justin (the Legal Aid guy) have defended a cop accused of killing her husband and are they’re feeling pretty good. They believe the prosecution–led by Cary and Dana–haven’t made their case. And, in fact, the judge seems sympathetic to the defense, enough that Peter tells Cary to cut a deal. But the woman, Lauren, claims she’s innocent and wants to wait for the jury.
Unfortunately, the jury–much to the Lockhart-Gardner team’s dismay–finds her guilty. Even Judge Dunaway (the always-reliable Kurt Fuller) seems shocked, later calling it an “unjust verdict” to Dana. The L-G team vows to find out, eh-hem, “what went wrong,” so they can get the verdict overturned.
The rest of the episode revolves around them finding bits of evidence, being rejected by the judge, and going back to try again. We in the audience certainly see enough to think that something hinky was going on among the jurors. BUt it’s never quite enough to change Lauren’s dire situation.
In the end, the crucial element turns out to be the judge himself: He accepted the “friend” request of one of the jurors without realizing that she was a woman right there in his courtroom. His defense: He’s running for re-election and just accepts all invitations. Nevertheless, he realizes Alicia and Diane are right–this constitutes inappropriate contact with a juror, He declares a mistrial.
Dana and Cary, frustrated at Kalinda and Alicia’s efforts to find out if someone coerced a juror into changing his or her vote, threaten them with legal charges if they harass a juror. Though the women clearly aren’t overstepping, Cary pulls a fast one and accuses Kalinda of bothering a juror.
Kalinda gets cuffed and hauled off to jail. Cary admits that the charges probably won’t stick, but it will take her out of commission for a crucial day or two during the post-verdict period.
When Alicia goes to bail her out, she’s told that Kalinda has already been transferred, supposedly to a hospital. A furious Alicia confronts Cary about the bogus “transfer,” which she recognizes as a ruse to keep L-G from finding their prime PI. She claims she can prove a similar pattern of abuse involving other clients, and threatens to sue him, big time. For millions. Including personal charges.
Not so strangely, Cary springs Kalinda a few minutes later.
Still not convinced that the kids are all right, Alicia attempts to get Zach and Grace into a tony prep school that they attended when they were younger. Unfortunately, it’s mid-term–too late for this year. Alicia plays the “my husband, the State’s Attorney” card and manages to get an interview anyway.
Peter and Alicia present a united front to the school’s headmistress. But despite Peter’s charm, the woman says she can’t set a precedent by allowing the teens to start in the middle of the year.
Peter takes things into his own hands. Without informing Alicia, he visits the headmistress once more and makes it clear that the State’s Attorney has certain powers, including the power to perform background checks on teachers. With a menacing glare, he tells her that you don’t say no to the State’s Attorney, especially when it comes to his kids.
Suddenly we see a glimpse of an earlier, pre-jail Peter–one who will do whatever it takes to get his way. This scene will reverberate through the rest of the episode.
Friend of the Court?
Wendy Scott-Carr pushes her investigation into judicial corruption by approaching Judge Dunaway. She reminds him that he used to play basketball in Will’s weekly game, which she’s identified as the nexus of gambling and corruption among the legal crowd. But Dunaway throws it back in her face that she’s trying to use undue influence to affect the final outcome of Lauren’s case.
She has no better luck approaching Will himself while he’s shooting hoops at the gym (how appropriate!). You have no evidence–only accusations, he tells her.
Then talk to me, she says. And then she drops the bombshell on him: She’s not actually investigating him, that’s just a cover. She’s actually after Peter!
“Wow–only in Cook County,” Will chokes out. “Peter puts you in charge of an investigation into me, and you turn it back on him. I’m speechless.”
Wendy says that she believes Peter is clean now, but not in his previous term, and she thinks Will can help nail him. But he won’t take the bait. The next time we talk, he says, I’ll have an attorney. And that means the next time they talk, she replies, it will be in front of a grand jury.
Episode title aside, not much went wrong with this episode, which was solidly paced and filled with several important plot developments.
Many of the best moments belonged to our own good wife. To name just a few: Alicia tearing Cary a new one over his “Kalinda’s-not-here” scam. Alicia and Kalinda bonding over her rescue of Grace last week. Alicia sharing her troubles with her brother, Owen (they’re so cute together). Alicia making strides toward partnership with Diane, without denying her family’s place in her life.
But in the end, the real scene-stealer was Wendy. I did not see that revelation coming, did you? And based on Peter’s behavior at the prep school, maybe she’s onto something. We’ll have to wait till January to find out.
(Image courtesy of CBS)