The Good wife was one of my favorite shows. The adrenaline fueled legal-political plot-lines seemed always topical (internet piracy, spitzer-esque hooker scandals, and law-firm wranglings) and top flight actors (often on-loan straight from Broadway Nathan Lane) never failed to surprise and intrigue. Not that the show didn’t have its weak points: The show never met a court judge who wasn’t “pissed” or an legal assistant who wasn’t power hungry and corruptible, and who could ever forget (even though they always wanted to) the never interesting sub-plots feature Peter Florrick’s mother? I also had to work a bit to overcome some of my innate jealousy/prejudice to become a good fan of the show. The Good Wife’s casting agent, Mark Saks, was formerly my drama camp counselor (when I was 16) and while directing me in a production of Mame, once shouted at me and called me once a “Disgrace to the theater!” because I did not have my lines down for the first rehearsal. In retrospect being a disgrace to the theater might have been an overstatement for a simple camp play. Not to impugn his character or choice of expression in any way, though. Its probably best not to re-burn already burned bridges. In addition, I also played Josh Charles (will Gardner’s) father in the same camp’s (stagedoor Manor) production of Oliver. His career in the arts has, very obviously, surpassed my own. Although, its really neck and neck 🙂 So, in a way, I had a separate and even more complex history with the show and a couple of it’s characters.
It would have taken a lot to create a totally satisfying conclusion to the show. To give each character closure, resolution, or at least a poignant epiphany might have taken a good 3-4 episodes instead of one. But there were more than a couple of predictable beats to the final episode that I could see a mile off. I knew, for instance that would enjoy a few ghost-like visitations from Will Gardner who apparently had nothing better to, from the great beyond, than return to Lockhardt Gardner to offer Alicia some handy relationship advice…oh, and tell refer her to some obscure law case that’s immediately relevant to her husband’s legal case. What a guy!. He seemed more helpful in death than he was in life! I also predicted Eli Gold would look to Alicia Florrick and the new shining beacon in American Politics. They had only been hinting at her political viability for at least the past 3 seasons and blatantly shadowing the suffering spouse/martyr plotline of real-life presidential candidate, Hilary Clinton.
I was dissatisfied with the show’s ultimate decision to have the formerly ambitious “Carrie Agos” wind up as merely a generic college proffesor. It would have been a more interesting resolution if he had wound up as some kind of an embittered alcoholic ambulance chaser. But I guess I shouldn’t ultimately be all that surprised. Through the years, the writers have slowly demasculated and de-fanged Carrie and made him the obligatory whipping boy of his father, Kalinda, Alicia, and I wouldn’t have been shocked if they had ultimately demoted him to working for Lockhardt Garner in a strictly janitorial capacity.
I was also frustrated with the fact that a good portion of the last episode was about Alicia’s dilemma on picking a man. I’m not sure there was really all that much dramatic tension left there since Will (despite being available for occasional ghostly visitations and Bar Mitzvah’s) was quite dead and Peter Florick now being a twice convicted , scandalized ex-governor probably lost any of his last remaining sex appeal. So then there’s just the (always grinning-for-no-reason) whiskey- voiced investigator, Justin. Unfortunately, the show ended without any true resolution to Alicia’s romantic future since at the tail end of the episode Justin was conveniently m.i.a. I would have been more satisfied if, in a bizarre twist Jason’s character had suddenly run off on a romantic tryst with fellow investigator, Kalinda Sharma to the Virgina Islands. At least it would have been a clever nod to her character and her famous rivalry (both in character and in real life) with Juliana Margulies.
I also felt that when Diane vengefully slapped Alicia seemed too soap opera-like and worthy of Dynasty. Sure, Alicia had made Lucca torpedo Diane’s husband but, even so, lawyers don’t usually physically strike each other…unless they are performing the Heimlich. In fact, a lot of lawyers famously use fancy statutes and legalese because they are no good with their fists. But I would have preferred a good old fashioned tongue lashing to a predictable slap in the face any day.
The finale was also fated to be anti-climactic because a good portion of the show’s best characters had already been killed (Will) or sidelined (Elsbeth Tascioni, Kalinda Sharma) but still the show left me cold because there were too many loose strings. What ever happened to Alicia and Diane’s all female firm, Did they hire Gloria Steinem to do TV Ads? Did Alicia go onto to run for the presidency? Whatever happened to those swingin’ NSA Wire tappers, did they go on to form an acapella singing group? Well, Perhaps some plot threads are best left dangling after all.