The countdown to The Good Wife‘s send-off continues with “Targets,” a powerful episode about the ways of war, the woes of wiretapping, the wiles of womanhood and the wonders of wooing. Not necessarily in that order.
This episode has all that and more, including clues to the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Peter. Or is it Eli? Or is it Alicia? Add in the return of probably our favorite guest star ever and you have a show that hits the mark.
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We begin with a mystery. Alicia’s escorted into a black limo by a US Marine, taking her to parts unknown. Eli calls her to warn that the FBI is after Peter (probably), which she already knows after Ruth’s visit. Better get a lawyer!
Fortunately for The Good Wife fans, that lawyer is none other than the beloved Elsbeth Tascioni, played by the beloved Carrie Preston. She’s kooky as ever but ready to take on the feds.
Back at Alicia’s new/old firm, we learn that a journalist from the American Bar Association will be writing an article about the firm. We also learn that Lockhart, Agos & Lee is Chicago’s third biggest law firm. Not sure when that happened, but it certainly explains the dozens of minions running around.
Cary’s worried that the magazine’s paying a little too much attention to the women partners. This worries David so much that he covertly hires Jason to investigate whether Diane plans to make Lockhart, etc. a firm run solely by women.
Who Deserves to Die?
Mystery solved. Alicia’s been called into a confidential Pentagon meeting to discuss the legal justification for killing an ISIS recruiter, Massoud Tahan. The mix of high-level military and civilian lawyers includes her old ally Terrence Hicks from way back in season 2. She’s fortunate to have a friendly face in the room because the proceedings are about to get pretty heavy.
The confidential meeting will decide if an ISIS recruiter rises to the level of an enemy combatant. Where do you draw the line? Alicia — hardly a right-wing conservative — actually provides the rationale for why you could put the man on a targeted kill list: Tahan provided the bodies (his recruits) to carry bombs that murdered civilians.
When the group votes on whether to put Tahan on the kill list, only Hicks votes no. Even for Alicia, it seems straightforward. Until the lawyers open a second dossier, which reveals that Massoud Tahan was born Lance Hopper, from Philadelphia. In other words, he’s a US citizen. Now do you kill him?
If Tahan is a citizen, then he’s entitled to due process. Alicia temporarily withdraws her support for a targeted air strike so they can continue the discussion.
Elsbeth Digs In
At the governor’s office, Elsbeth investigates the investigation. Gold wants his boss to tell Elsbeth everything, including details about trying to fix Alicia’s election. They soon learn that the FBI has also questioned Nora, Eli’s Gal Friday. Though she gave up little information, the guys decide they’d better mention the vote rigging.
The Hopper/Tahan case continues. The once nearly unanimous group starts raising new questions about the appropriateness of killing a citizen. The head of the committee suggests they take the night to think things over and reconvene tomorrow.
Elsbeth is camped out in Eli’s old broom closet. She wants to know: who knew about the vote rigging? And why did the FBI try to ferret out info from Marissa Gold?
Lights Out, Defenses Down
Late that night, Alicia’s in the office trying to catch up on her work. Jason comes in, just in time to see her struggling with the cap on a bottle of booze. After asking whether she knows anything about Diane making the company female-run, he pops the lid. Before Alicia can get her much-needed drink, he asks her to stop and take a breath. She’s hesitant but complies, closing her eyes and matching his breathing.
The lights go out suddenly — standard security after 11pm. In the darkness, Jason leans in to Alicia, who responds just as thousands of Jalicia fans would hope. As the pair pulls off each other’s clothes, the camera discreetly pulls back, giving them some privacy. (Darn it!)
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Who is Elsbeth’s Mystery Client?
Elsbeth quizzes Marissa, who really didn’t tell the undercover agent much. While reviewing her notes, Elsbeth has a flash of insight — she can’t be Peter’s lawyer anymore! But she won’t say why. She exits the broom closet, much to Eli and Marissa’s bafflement.
Eli begs her to explain why she can’t work for Peter. Though she’s reluctant, she hands him a photo. It’s her ex-husband, Michael Tascioni, also a lawyer.
When he’s summoned to meet Peter and Eli, he appears to be just as eccentric as his former wife. (Among other things, he’s currently carrying around the former couple’s cute dog in his arms.) The three men figure out that the reason Elsbeth bolted was to protect a client. Michael is clearly still enraptured by his ex but willing to help the governor.
After returning the dog — now with a GPS chip in its collar — to Elsbeth, Jason is able to track her to a cafe where she meets with a client who’s also a big donor to Peter’s campaign. This could be bad news for Peter, the donor or both.
When the NSA Listens in, Leaks Happen
The next morning, Alicia returns to the secret proceedings with a decided bounce in her step. (I swear, even her hair looks bouncier.) Her mood shifts when she discovers that Capt. Hicks won’t be joining them — he’s been dismissed from the proceedings. He’s being questioned for leaks related to the case.
The group needs to vote about whether Hopper poses an imminent threat. Alicia and another attorney vote no, but they’re outvoted.
Jason reports back to Cary and David that there’s no evidence Diane’s trying to put the firm under all-female management. That’s still not enough for the two partners, who may or may not be paranoid.
Alicia defends Hicks to the group’s leader, saying he’s as honest as anyone she knows. The leader says they wonder if she’s leaked some of the information, which we know isn’t true. What Alicia doesn’t know is that the NSA is still tapping her phone, and their special “hot bugs” are picking up everything, even when she’s just near her phone. Back at the NSA listening station, her regular monitors become concerned for her, even though she probably is the source of the leak, thanks to them. Aaagh!
When we next see Alicia, she’s watching a news alert revealing that a drone strike has killed Massoud Tahan. It’s out of her hands now. Lucca and Jason welcome her back and bemoan the craziness at the firm. Then Alicia and Jason talk. She’s worried things are complicated between them. He says no, he’s just confused by her marital situation. That’s her problem to deal with, she says. The simple truth: she wants him again. “Don’t you want it?” she asks.
As he answers (um, that’s a big yes), the NSA guys are listening in. But one of them might be the source of the leak from the hot mike, which would be a big no-no. He’s taken away for questioning by the higher-ups. Is the NSA finally going to cut Alicia loose?
First of all: Wowza. Finally, Jalicia is a thing. For a moment, I flashed back to the magical Doug/Carole days on ER, with Jeffrey Dean Morgan playing the Clooney part. But really, JDM is his own man, and his chemistry with Julianna Margulies has a unique power of its own.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, what about the rest of the episode? “Targets” showed that when The Good Wife departs the scene, there won’t be a show on the air that deals in real-life, real-time, political, social, and legal topics this way. If for nothing else, the show would be missed.
But there’s so much more, of course. For the final episodes, the producers have a lot of ground to cover, and they’re doing it in style. In this episode, we came closer to discovering Peter’s fate and hopefully seeing the end of the NSA snooping into Alicia’s life. We also got a return from eccentric legal genius Elsbeth.
If the rest of the run is as good as the last few episodes have been, The Good Wife will bow out on the highest of high notes.
The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9pm on CBS. The show is taking a week off because of the Academy Awards and will return on Sunday, March 6.
(Image courtesy of CBS)