The Good Wife: Free Speech and Dirty Tricks

Things were busy on The Good Wife last night, with two major cases that tested Alicia’s patience, her faith in the law, and—of course—her ability to multitask.

The writers took a page from Law & Order's Ripped from the Headlines! handbook and tried their hand at roasting Glenn Beck. OK, not Glenn Beck exactly, but a conservative commentator with Beck-like, er, charm. Popular talk show host Duke Roscoe (Craig Bierko) was being sued for his role in the death of Cheryl Willens, a woman who killed herself after Roscoe accused her of murdering her daughter and faking a kidnapping. Heavy stuff, made heavier by the fact that Roscoe said he was just exercising his right to free speech. Straight from the headlines! Or at least, straight from other legal dramas, who took it straight from the headlines.

But I can’t fault The Good Wife too heavily for a derivative plotline, especially since it was handled deftly. Besides, the show gave us an equally intriguing B-plot, with Alicia representing Carla Browning in her divorce from Glenn Childs. Yeah, that’s Glenn Childs as in the DA who helped put Peter Florrick behind bars. I’m no legal expert—shocking, right?—but the conflict of interest seemed pretty glaring. Actually, that was the point. Carla wanted to use Alicia as leverage by threatening to air Glenn’s dirty laundry unless he agreed to a fair settlement. I wish Alicia had shown a bit more backbone here: I can’t really imagine a worse husband than Glenn Childs, but exploiting our heroine that way was pretty unforgivable.

I guess Alicia had other things to worry about. In order to prove Roscoe was liable for Cheryl’s death, Stern, Lockhart, & Gardner had to show that he recklessly disregarded the truth. Meanwhile, Roscoe went into attack mode, lambasting the firm on his show. A photo of Alicia and Will at a hotel together? Scandalous. When Roscoe threatened to reveal more secrets about the firm, I’ll admit I felt conflicted: Boo to sensationalized journalism, but can I help it that I wanted to know the gossip?

While Will wasted time flirting with the defense attorney, Kalinda tried to pinpoint Roscoe’s sources. It wasn’t difficult to find the woman who falsely reported Cheryl’s attempt at a late-term abortion, then recanted. The trouble was proving that Roscoe knew his source had made it up. The jury ruled against the TV host, anyway, but Judge Abernathy (the perpetually awesome Denis O’Hare) overturned it. Ah, well. Grieving husband Tim was reunited with his kidnapped daughter, which was about as happy an ending as I could have hoped for. Free speech cases are rough no matter how they turn out.

And more good news: Carla got her divorce from Glenn Childs. We didn’t learn much more about Peter’s imprisonment, but we do know that Glenn was responsible for those photos slipped under the Florrick door—you know, the ones of Peter smoking crack, which his precocious kids dismissed as Photobooth trickery. I’m sure we’ll be seeing much more of Glenn as we finally discover what Peter did and didn’t do. Though, frankly, I’m less concerned about the drug use than the rampant cheating. Hey, if Alicia can forgive him—and last night it looked like she was headed that way—then maybe I can, too.

What did you think of the episode?

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