I’ve known for a long time that The Good Wife is a great show, but last night’s episode finally made me realize what makes it so great. The characters are all strong and the stories are surprisingly fresh, but it’s The Good Wife‘s sense of whimsy that makes it more than just another show about lawyers.

That sense of surreal wit came out in what will hopefully be remembered as the Talking Lion Scene. Cary met with his old friend and stay-at-home private investigator Andrew Wiley, who was getting closer to uncovering Kalinda’s secret about her one-night stand with Peter. Wiley (played by Tim Guinee in a performance so good it deserves its own spin-off) tries to intimidate Cary by calling up his boss, Glenn Childs, and hooking the phone up to a voice-activated toy lion. The result was an absurd scene as Cary seemed amused and confused while watching the toy lion speak to him, like a lost scene from the brilliant but shirt-lived show Wonderfalls. Watch for yourself and enjoy.

This kind of strange scene is what makes The Good Wife so good. The show has a biting sense of humor that can both diffuse the tension and increase it at the same time. When I first watched the Talking Lion Scene, I could barely get through it I was laughing so hard.

The episode had more than just a talking lion. Kevin Conway had one final appearance as Alicia’s former boss Jonas Stern and Alan Cumming chewed up every last bit of scenery he could when Eli Gold literally choked a man. The Good Wife also brought Michael J. Fox back for a third time as rival lawyer Louis Canning, who offered Alicia a job. Maybe I’m being selfish, but I hope she takes it, if only to give The Good Wife an excuse to hire Fox as a series regular for season 3.

The Good Wife has excellent recurring guest stars, interesting cases and a genuinely exciting political campaign thanks to Cumming’s explosive performance, but it’s things like the talking lion, the little things, that make the show the best drama on network television.

(Image and video courtesy of CBS)

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