The Good Wife – KSR (07-10)) Has a Best Episode of the Season Event

I caught The Good Wife today via on-demand. This is Season 7 for TGW and for the most part, I’ve been disappointed by the show’s direction, as in what the show was about, where it was heading, the new characters, and the various plot strands this year. Until now.

This episode was called KSR, and in my estimation, as well as those who cast votes or ratings on IMDB, this episode had the season’s highest ratings – that is in terms of viewer appeal as opposed to how many viewers.

And the timing was perfect as this was the show’s Winter Finale and it has just began its Holiday Hiatus. The next episode, called Iowa, will not air until January 10th

I hope the show runners, Michelle and Robert King will appreciate my efforts in giving this show and alternate title. I’m calling it Bet You Didn’t See That Coming.

That’s because almost none of the story lines ended as expected as the episode began. If I am to discuss the particulars, allow me to issue a STRONG SPOILER ALERT, in case you haven’t watched the episode yet.

I’ll begin with Eli Gold. As played by Alan Cumming, the character has always been something of a cold-fish. Borrowing from Star Wars, Gold, to me, came off as something like the human version of C3PO. Likeable and smart, yet he often was kind of overly prissy or maybe fussy might be a better term. Then, in 2011, we met his daughter Melissa Gold, and that improved his status immensely for me. This year, with the appearance of Vanessa Williams as Courtney Paige, for Eli, it was a jackpot.

They met casually at Peter’s office, and eventually there was some sparks and some chemistry, and in this episode, Eli and Courtney are shown as lovers. Eli is on cloud nine, and why wouldn’t he be? Courtney was both beautiful and rich.

After the post-sex cuddling, interrupted by a phone call, Courtney says, Well, that was fun…

Eli’s heart-about-to-break sensor immediately switched on, And the bad news would follow. Paige was returning to California, and she said she wouldn’t return for about a year. Eli was crushed. Bet you didn’t see that coming, at least while they were still in bed. But common sense should have told you that Vanessa Williams was too big a star, meaning too costly, to be on the payroll for an extended period of time. But still, it was really impossible to have seen that coming right then and there.

Meanwhile, the associates at LA&L (Lockhart, Agos & Lee) have decided that it’s no fun working there. Too much O.T., no freedom to choose their own cases, the culture, and the lack of upward mobility were all contributing factors. So, instead of pulling an all-nighter on a hugely important case, en masse, and under the cover of night, they flew the coop. Who knew?

Certainly not Cary Agos. He was the first to discover that the associates had not only become the departed, but they’d also erased all the files and work product. Again who knew? The reality is that they had never even started work on the case, or even looked at it, meaning this had been preplanned. So Agos tracks them down, naturally at a convenient watering hole near LA&L. and asks for the why, and the rest of the details.

Naturally, David Lee and Diane Lockhart are fit to be tied. David Lee pronounced them The Devil’s Spawn, and then Typical Ivy-league morons, let them in the door, they foment a rebellion. Even the perennial altacocker, Howard Lyman stated, with absolute certainty All young associates are snakes.

Diane wanted, no, demanded of Cary – You need to make this right! Now!

So Agos goes back to the bar, not prepared to go war, instead he comes in armed with huge bonus checks ($80K each), and a promise to beat the Canning offer by 20% plus a promise of them becoming full equity partners in five years. And that gets their attention. The condition is that they have to agree right then and there, and get back to LA&L and start work immediately.

So moments later, with Agos at the head of the pack of oh-so-pleased associates, they are in the 28th floor LA&L foyeur. Agos tells them the case strategy (infringement of core technique) he’d worked out. Then – Agos: You know what? I’ve changed my mind. We’re not taking you back. And because you just heard about our side of the case, now you can’t go to work for Canning.

A knock out punch for the ages. Pow! Zoom! I’ve got to admit, I never saw that coming. Well played Cary. When one of the young, now ex-associates said – You can’t do this, Diane was right there – We just did!

Then there’s the wily Ruth Eastman, Peter’s campaign manager, and a thorn in Eli’s side, who is worried about a possible romantic fling between Alicia and her investigator Jason Crouse. Ruth thought she saw some smoke between Alicia and Jason, and it would follow that where there’s smoke, there’s also some fire. So Ruth suggests to Courtney Paige that if she needs a top investigator, Jason might fit to a T.

Sure enough, Courtney rings up Jason, and makes him an offer that he can’t refuse. $50K for two month’s work in California. No way Jason can turn this down, so he informs Alicia that he’s getting on plane tomorrow. Now while we didn’t see this coming, nor imagine that he could be pulled out of the story so easily and quickly, I’d be shocked if this story line gambit sticks, meaning I expect Jason to be back in play quite soon.

Now I can hear you asking – what about Alicia and Lucca’s case of the week? That’s where the KSR comes into play. KSR is sort of acronym, or at least a shorthand for Kidnap, Sedate and Rape. A respected local thoracic surgeon is on trial on a charge of conspiring to KSR the mother of one of his patients.

The first surprise comes when the Dr. has not appeared in court. Judge Shakowsky, aka Bad Judge Shakowsky sought an explanation from attorneys Alicia Florrick and Lucca Quinn. Dr. Portnow is in surgery. The surgery has gone long and a young child lies on the operating with her chest open. Only Shakowsky is not having any of it. He bellows – Sheriff, arrest Dr. Portnow just as soon as he puts down his scalpel. 

I expected a temporary adjournment, didn’t you?

Later in the trial, Shakowsky denies a few objections from Lucca Quinn, and sustains some from ADA Matan Brody.

As a parting gift, or gesture, Jason suggests that Lucca and Alicia bring in Portnow’s wife. Who, in no uncertain terms is simply a disaster. You’d want a wife to offer unbound enthusiasm in supporting her husband. What she is – is the dictionary definition or poster girl for Mrs Anti-warmth.

So the trial goes forth, and in an unexpected turn of events, the jury returns, in just 15 minutes, a guilty verdict. Then in a huge surprise, Judge Shakowsky who has exhibited nothing but negativity towards Alicia Florrick since the beginning of the season, sets aside the jury’s guilty verdict and declares that the trial is an acquittal for the ‘good’ doctor.

I didn’t see that coming either. Okay,  just two more.

Did you catch the fact that this episode clearly had an overnight factor to it. After the trial ended on day one, Jason meets Alicia and Lucca at bar. He gives them some info, and then tells Alicia about his job offer that he accepted. When he leaves the bar, you can tell from the angle of the shadows in the street that it is clearly late afternoon.

Now I know that ‘name partners’ in big time law firms don’t pull all-nighters.  But either Lee, Lyman, Argos, and Lockhart did exactly that , or – Diane was wearing the same clothes two days in a row. Which would be shocking.

Was that just a continuity error, or did Diane not only pull an all-nighter and then, she did not rush home for a change of clothes. Alas, we will likely never know.

The last and most surprising event happens at the end of the episode. First, Alicia has believed that the meddlesome Eli Gold had maneuvered the Courtney Paige job offer for Jason. In fact, he hadn’t, at least not directly. But surely Eli had done nothing to dissuade Ruth Eastman from thinking that Alicia and Jason as a possibly stumbling block for Peter Florrick’s campaign.

So Eli, already despondent over Courtney’s pull back from their relationship, goes over to apologize to Alicia. Alicia correctly tells Eli that she didn’t sleep with Jason, and if even if she had, it was her business, not his . So back the hell up.

But Eli, now properly chastened, still had more to say. So he and Alicia are having a tequila, when he pulls back the lid on a secret he’s been carrying around, (and feeling guilty about) for six years. He then proceeded to tell Alicia how he had deleted a loving voicemail message from Josh Gardner six years ago. He had listened to it, and had heard Josh say how much he loved Alicia and that he would give up everything for her.

But he hadn’t let Alicia hear the message because Peter was running for State Attorney and his campaign was in a crucial time.

Alicia is shocked, furious, and as the camera is up close – you can easily feel the fury, the hatred, and the utter desolation. Alicia reaches forward, and pulls the tequila glass in front of Eli away from him. She then says just two words.

Get out!

And the episode ends. Talk about shocking and surprising turns and events. No matter what the King’s have said about Eli’s admission since airing, there’s no doubt that I didn’t, you didn’t, and no one saw that coming!

 

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8 thoughts on “The Good Wife – KSR (07-10)) Has a Best Episode of the Season Event

  1. OMG! I am so glad you wrote a recap for The Good Wife. I also loved this episode. There were so many unexpected twists and turns that I clutched my pearls so tight they almost broke. Lol. I have a renewed interest in the show. I can’t wait for Jan 10th. 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by and offering a comment. I’ve written at length on TGW n previous seasons – but not so much lately. But this episode stood the series right side up which was good because it had mostly been wrong headed, or upside down. Howard and Jackie? Grace pulls in three huge accounts on her first day of cold calling. They didn’t hire that Monica the first day she stepped into the office. And Judge Shakowsky running his little courtroom as his own personal fiefdom – good god. They did the right thing by bringing Martindale as Ruth, then underused her. On the other hand, they overplayed the joke of Eli Gold’s miniscule office far too often.

      Well things like this happen in a seventh season. So this episode was a delight

  2. Good recap, but you left out two important pieces of info in my opinion.

    First, and more importantly, is the fact that the judge who reversed the jury’s decision did so because Alicia knew he was guilty of negotiating a bribe concerning ballot tampering during the election of Peter Florrick, As she stated, he was warned by Eli that the Feds were on the trail, so he never actually took the bribe money. Nonetheless, Alicia held higher cards and thus the judged leaned in the direction of her KSR client.

    Which brings us to the second point of information, the fact that the surgeon Alicia defended in this episode is played by the actor, Josh Stamberg, who has been giving a peak performance as the Solloways’ best friend since The Affair began last year. Coincidentally, his character, Max Cadman, is my personal choice as the one who killed Scotty Lockhart, putting him at the center of the mystery that’s been driving The Affair for the past two seasons.

    If you’re interested in watching more of Josh on the witness stand, and you don’t mind spoiling TV’s most enthralling mystery drama, the Lockhart murder trial concludes Season 2 of The Affair this Sunday night at 10:00 pm.

    • I’m not sure that you are correct about Judge Shakowsky and the bribe business. In the Episode Cooked (07-03), Alicia is defending – Hlavin – who is also an undercover FBI agent trying to work a bribery sting. Which she doesn’t know yet. Hlavin holds Alicia’s ‘defense advice’ over her head by stating he will tell the judge that she advised him to lie, or in legalese, she suborned perjury. Which she didn’t.

      Alicia had a sense that she was being set up. She tells Eli. He wants to help thinking that it might be a plot to bring down Peter Florrick’s campaign. So far neither Alicia nor Hlavin have mentioned Peter Florrick. Only Peter mentioned Peter, and it was an assumption.

      Grace Florrick uncovered or discovered that Hlavin’s records at Stamford and so forth were bogus.

      Alicia goes back to Hlavin and gets him to admit that he is indeed an FBI undercover. But she is not the target. It is the judge and they’ve been working for two years to get Shakowksy. But Hlavin does not tell Alicia why. Alicia is told by Hlavin that a bribery attempt is already in play – and we then get to see it. The Judge is offered a corporate board seat for his son if he dismisses the charges against Hlavin.

      Per Hlavin, as soon as Shakowsky accepts Alicia’s motion to dismiss the charges, the trap is sprung. Shakowksy had taken the bribe – that’s the plan.

      Only Shakowsky had been warned by Eli Gold and when that happened again there was no mention of Peter Florrick. Instead Eli tells Shakowsky that he needs help with Frank Landau.

      Now it may be the case that Landau had some involvement with Peter Florrick which I can’t recall at the moment. But if you correctly recall the ballot tampering, it involved Alicia ‘s being elected State Attorney… which wasn’t two years ago, it was at the end of Season Six, which was aired last spring.

      • Well we already knew that Landau was involved with rigging the voting machines. That’s old news.

        The writer at e-online stated that Peter was involved as well. And that’s after the fact reportage, as that was revealed in the Episode called Lies (07-06). It turns out that Shakowsky knew of this and he’s the one that told Eli. Now Eli intended to blow up Landau, and then backed off when he realized that Peter would be taken down as well, but his primary concern was never Peter – it was Alicia.

        But your point was that Shakowsky reversed the decision in KSR because (in your words)

        Alicia knew he was guilty of negotiating a bribe concerning ballot tampering during the election of Peter Florrick.

        Sorry – Peter is running to secure the Democratic Presidential nomination this season. So I don’t know what election you are referring to. The only one that connects is Alicia running for State Attorney last season. Which means I don’t see or cannot determine when Judge Shakowsky might have been guilty of negotiating a bribe re the ballot tampering. All we have in Lies (07-06) is Shakowsky telling Eli that Peter was in cahoots with Landau to tamper. I’m fairly certain that Shakowsky did not attempt to coerce a bribe from Eli. From that point, Shakowsky, played by Christopher McDonald, does not appear again until the most recent episode KSR.

        So when exactly did he negotiate a bribe, and with who…?

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