The Good Wife "Goliath and David" Review: Illegally Yours

By Noel Kirkpatrick

Jan 06, 2014

The Good Wife S05E11: "Goliath and David"

After reading the episode description for "Goliath David," and watching the promo for it, I was totally prepared to rake The Good Wife over some coals. Will going after Alicia in court? Again? And in a case that he wasn't not originally involved with? "Let us move on," I was ready to whine over and over, "Let's have Alicia and Cary face down someone who's not from L.G., and everything will be okay! The narrative world will continue to spin!"

Then the episode happened, and there were a number of delightful, fun, playful moments, and the "Will versus Alicia" aspect faded into the background and it stopped mattering as much (I'm still going to talk about it, though). Instead, there was Matthew Lillard having far too much fun, and that out-of-left-field celebrity cameo that resolved the Marilyn baby plot in a way that almost made me okay with all the baby silliness we had to endure in the earlier episodes.

Oh, and there was also some Kalinda/Damian/Jenna stuff, and I'm totally inves— Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz... 

So the case-of-the-week was a riff on the whole Jonathan Coulton/Glee tiff from very early last year in which a popular TV show—in this case, Drama Camp, about "a summer camp talent show"—appropriated a musical duo's melody of a cover of a rap song in both the show and in the iTunes version. Thus we were treated to the myriad copyright entanglements involved in that, complete with derivative copyrights, transformative work arguments, a Ryan Murphy stand-in (who wasn't as much fun as The Good Wife's Aaron Sorkin stand-in from Season 2), and two musicologists fighting in court. It was all a lot of fun. The case certainly didn't have particularly high stakes, but it moved along at a brisk-enough pace, and featured enough clever legal strategy, that it was entertaining, and after weeks of next to nothing on TV, I don't mind something being just entertaining. Hell, any week I don't mind that.

The Good Wife has been a series that has, in the past, managed to absorb criticisms and make them a part of the show, like the whole bribing-judges arc as a way to make hay out of the "Wow, Lockhart/Gardner wins an awful lot of cases" observation. I feel like the show is acknowledging that the two firms always being in court against each other is becoming forced—"It's just coincidence that we keep opposing each other on cases?"—but the next question will be whether or not the show moves away from this structure going forward. Certainly it's providing a dramatic purpose, as Will and Alicia's private war in court feeds the notion of the hurt/revenge Will is going through, but did the instances in this episode, apart from providing some great burns on Will and showing how Alicia can be flustered in court, really do anything to change or enhance what we already experienced in "The Decision Tree"? I don't think so, and as such, they felt like gentle—but extraneous—reminders.

On the law firm front, Diane was attempting to pump the brakes on the expansion plans as Will, emboldened by the (apparent) success of the opening of the New York branch, wanted to expand to Los Angeles as well. Will's been using Damian to sway votes, and so Will is very much running Lockhart/Gardner less like the family the firm has often been described as and more like The Family. It's typical of Will's commando attitude, but the show may be pushing it too hard and too fast, or maybe it's just the association of Damian doing his enforcer thing that I'm having a negative response to. Maybe both.

Diane is backed into something of a corner here, since, as Will pointed out, she "walked away" from the firm, and Will had to step up. It's still something Will can use to outflank her, but only for so long, since Diane is still a name partner and has a number of partners who are loyal to her. Her side-eye and unwilling support of Will lifting the client solicitation ban spoke volumes, however, and so I won't be at all surprised if she goes looking for a home elsewhere before the season is finished.

Meanwhile, since the episode picked up right where "The Decision Tree" left off, Eli sent Kalinda off to find out who the father of Marilyn's baby is in an effort to make sure that it wasn't Peter Florrick, and just some other, random Peter. It was a nice plot for a couple of reasons. The first was that Kalinda got to do something resembling what she normally does: investigate things. So even though it was interrupted by Jenna a few times (she is the least busy cop/detective ever), it was good to see Kalinda out in the world, lying to people and getting information.

The other reason was that it lacked the drawn-out timeline that I was half-expecting the show to give to the paternity issue. I figured it would take a couple of episodes for this arc to be resolved, but Eli behaved exactly as Eli would: He confronted Marilyn very aggressively and it hurried things along, which I'm very happy about. That the baby's daddy was Peter Bogdanovich, well, that was just icing on the cake. I honestly don't remember the last time I let out such a loud laugh in the middle of an incredibly devastating moment for a show.

That moment, of course, was the reveal that the surveillance footage of stuffed ballot boxes being carried into a polling place from "What's in the Box?" has been obtained by a newspaper reporter, and the paper is about to post it online, with or without a comment from Eli. So the hunt is on for who leaked it. Will has a copy. Kalinda has a copy. But who else? And who would leak it? It's for sure not Kalinda, but it doesn't seem like it would be Will either, because frankly, it's too covert an action for a guy who's fonder of blowing things up to make sure you know it was him. Am I missing someone?


– I enjoyed Cary's little pep talk to Alicia after Will knocked her off her game in the first round of testimony. I need Cary do more things on this show.

– Silent Musician awkwardly attempting to hug Cary at the end? I died.

– "I'm getting so sick of this song." IT'S STILL IN MY HEAD. Club-hopping, booty-popping, drama-making...

– "Into what I wore the night you banged me the first time." "I was less discriminating then." Alicia is harsh.

– "Can I just say that I love this stuff? I mean, I don't understand a word you guys are saying, but this is awesome!" Later: "It's like legal jazz!" Lillard kind of deserves an Emmy for this performance.

– I'm really glad that Robyn got a "Kalinda moment" and saved the case.

– After Bogdanovich's cameo, I'm half-expecting Godard to show up as Damian the old mob boss in the season finale, just because.

– Jonathan Coulton was apparently watching the episode, and even tweeted about it. I'm sure he's joking.

– Judge Marx is my second favorite judge after Abernathy, so I'm always happy to see him.

– I know I made light of the Kalinda plot above, but once again it feels like she's in another show-within-a-show situation, and once again, I'm struggling to really care. That being said, I have no problem believing that Kalinda has absolutely no idea who Katy Perry is.

What'd you think of "Goliath and David"?

  • Comments (60)
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  • zsandmann Jan 10, 2014

    Go Team JoCo!

  • ludoTV Jan 09, 2014

    Yep, the whole Jenna thing sucks... Makes no sense for Kalinda to have a relationship with someone she can't trust, considering what her job is and how guarded she is as a person. Hook up (behind the scenes, please, we've seen it already and frankly not very interesting scenes) sure but nothing worth an arc... Totally bored of Damian too who seems to be employed more as a thug of Will's than a lawyer...
    The song case was fun and the court room drama with Alicia getting snarkier and Will obviously enjoying the game was slightly repetitive but I suppose it is just closing the Will-Alicia romance forever...
    But the best was the Eli-Marilyn duel and how it seemed to keep pointing to Peter Florrick as the father and then bang! Vote tampering video finally resurfaces... And Peter Bogdanovitch is the daddy!!! Poor Eli... His face was incredible in that final scene and makes him deserving of a few acting awards...

  • JT_Kirk Jan 07, 2014

    Thank you for calling out the Kalinda/Damian/Jenna stuff as snore-bait. Holy crap am I already tired of that plotline, it's like they took Nick and split him into two annoying people, and it's going nowhere even faster. I thought I loved Kalinda, but how long has it been now since they've given her an interesting, relevant story? Two seasons at least, so maybe I don't like Kalinda anymore, maybe she's hollow and the writers are accidentally exposing that; I hope that's not the case though.

    The apparent success of the New York branch really felt like a leapfrog, it's a success in what way? We barely have seen it discussed and already we're calling it a home run and moving on? "Too hard and too fast" indeed.

    I think Diane is looking for an out, once she gave her carte-blanche approval to Will after his rant I think that was her sign that she's checking out, she has half the firm already on her side and she'll just walk. This also felt a little fast considering she was just champing at the bit to take down Cary and Alicia.

    Overall, I liked the episode for the moments you highlighted, and tolerated it for the rather pat Perry Mason ending to the case and the second time we've ended on an Eli Gold cliffhanger in as many episodes.

  • ripleyisabadass Jan 07, 2014

    To me the breaking up of the show was a good idea and produced some really high quality episodes but its like the story is running on fumes it just doesn't seem realistic that every case their involved in revolves around the two firms. Its like someone comes up with a good idea but then six months later they didn't see there could be a problem splitting up the show. I can't stand the Boyle character you can almost imagine the writers coming up with someone "edgy" no basis in reality. He's there two weeks and he's now running the law firm, painfully ridiculous.

  • ben45tpy Jan 07, 2014

    A lot of this episode seemed off but the rest of it was entertaining enough. The worst of it is Spiro's character - I do not get her at all, bad writing or bad acting or both. And I'm not generally precious with this stuff, I was one of the few people to have no issue with the Nick storyline.

    The baby stuff was no better than usual but at least it's resolved. The case had its moments but was one of the weaker ones the show has done for a while. Will's actions are starting to drift from fascinating examination of an extrovert dealing with pain to tedious and cartoonish. The whole expansiony stuff is being done poorly - we're seeing Will boast about stuff but not seeing its fruition which makes the whole thing a bit vacuous, plus the Terra Nova guy changing the voting bloc stuff is not effective.

    But Alicia's conversation with Will outside the court room pretty much made up for everything else and I'll repeat it here because Noel's trimming didn't fully capture its meaning:

    Alicia: "Into what I wore the first night you banged me."
    Will: "That's a low blow."
    Alicia: "You're right. I was more discriminating then."

    Finally whatever happened to Will's ongoing murder case with the Weeds guy?

  • JT_Kirk Jan 07, 2014

    "less discriminating then" Great exchange, especially for the use of "bang".

  • ben45tpy Jan 07, 2014

    Can't believe I screwed that up, thanks for the pickup.

  • paris_slim Jan 07, 2014

    Brilliant episode! Again, ripped out of the "news", the Coulton vs Glee song thing, great fodder for TV, especially since few people probably heard about it? (Except maybe millions of Glee fans.)

    Question: Is the killer hilarious ending twist going to be a weekly feature now? I'd like to to think so, it's a scream. And Eli involved in both, he's the perfect fall guy for these.

    Great line from Alicia "I wasn't very discriminating then" - and a visible torpedo tot he b__ls of Will.

    I agree with those who say more Cary, dude is brilliant, charismatic and someday will have his own show, I'm sure. We all probably want Kalinda to nuke her nemesis soon, too, it's getting old, and he needs to be taken down. Diane, also a fantastic character, could use a win against Will, since her judgeship went away.

    For those getting tired of Will/Alicia, think about how tired you'd be watching Law & Order SVU, NCIS, or the other procedurals. TGW, best show on TV with the worst name.

  • KiraguGichuri Jan 07, 2014

    The Alicia/Will "revenge-thingie" is getting old.
    Not even gonna discuss the Kalinda/Damien whatever!!!
    Love that Eli is getting more screen time.

    More Diane and Cary PLEASE!!!

  • ElainePinto Jan 07, 2014

    It's a really good episode, very entertaining, no doubt. But I wish I could see more of Cary. I think the FA X LG thing is rapidly becoming really forced. If Michael J. Fox's show doesn't survive, it would be really cool to have his character back on TGW for a court battle against Florrick/Agos.

  • NasiaVoulieri Jan 07, 2014

    Ok... if Godard comes into action I'm all for it! Hahahaha!!! Can you *imagine*??????????

    So... Will is the one who leaked the video and I've got the dialogue from last season's finale to prove it:

    Will: That's outside the polling place.

    Kalinda: Yeah... a surveillance camera across the street. Jim Moody. He works for the Florrick campaign.

    Will: Where'd you get this?

    Kalinda: Talked to the mini-mart across the street.

    Will: Are there any other copies?

    Kalinda: No. Just this one.

    If that was, indeed, the only copy and Will was in possession of it... who else could have done it? This is a whole new low for Will and (if it is his move... which I seriously hope is not) it will most definitely tear Will and Alicia's connection up once and for all! :'(

  • ludoTV Jan 09, 2014

    TGW loves misdirection and red herrings so I can't believe it will be as simple as Will leaking the video but I can't come up with many alternatives other than the NSA having gotten access to it somehow as they got permission to become more invasive... Perhaps one of the NSA agents had a 'political activist' moment and leaked it for the good of democracy? Or Will's blonde yoga lady? She could have seen it and felt it was the 'right thing to do'?
    Or Perry's Matt Kristeva somehow has links to Damian (since he's the king of dodgy) and Damian got Jenna to steal stuff from Kalinda who could have kept a copy?

  • NasiaVoulieri Jan 12, 2014

    I've thought about Will's new girlfriend as well... time will tell!

  • Gonzai Jan 07, 2014

    If it was Will who leaked it, I'm sure it had (almost nothing) to do with Alicia and everything to do with the phone conversation Will and Peter had in 'Hitting The Fan'. Will hates Peter more than Alicia, and there's no lust involved to blunt the hostility.

  • NasiaVoulieri Jan 12, 2014

    I don't know about that... I think we've seen worse hatred in the show! ;)

  • rodrigokirchner1 Jan 06, 2014

    Absolute great new season! Never loved it more! And I loved it before! Great writing, acting and directing! This is just a great job! All departments that make this show happen did the best job ever!

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