The Good Wife Season 4 Finale Review: The Deciding Factor

The Good Wife S04E22: "What’s In The Box?"

Much in the same way that I don't think a bad season (or series) finale ruins the run of episodes that preceded it, I don't think it's impossible for good finale to salvage a lackluster season. Either type can influence how you end up anticipating a show's return, but it cannot erase all the highs and/or lows that came before.

"What's in the Box?" puts us (or at least me) in such a position. It was a damn fine finale, and it was probably one of the most entertaining, invigorating, and surprising episodes of The Good Wife's run thus far. But it capped off an uneven fourth season full of of ill-conceived and half-baked plots. The episode didn't make me forget any of it—in fact, it reminded me of one of the season's worst annoyances—but it did leave me brimming with anticipation about the show's future in Season 5.

Since we don't cover the show regularly on TV.com, you'll have to excuse the following rundown of Season 4's highlights and lowlights...

First and foremost was the Kalinda and Nick debacle. I'll admit that at first I thought the show was setting up an interesting parallel with Kalinda's inability to escape Nick mirroring Alicia standing alongside Peter, and choosing to do so time and again. That just never materialized. Instead we got sexually charged violence and defiled ice cream cones, with nary an insight into why Kalinda would tolerate this schmuck sticking around. At least it was nipped in the bud fairly quickly; while it did leave Kalinda a tad rudderless until the introduction of Robyn, a rudderless Kalinda is better than an anchored-to-Nick Kalinda.

Oddly for The Good Wife, the political campaign was sort of wishy-washy, but for that I place at least some of the "blame" on NBC and its decision to pick up Go On. I suspect the plan was for Peter to cruise through his primary and just keep campaigning against Matthew Perry's wonderfully smarmy and horrible Mike Kresteva. Since Perry was busy with Go On, we got Maddie Hayward (Maura Tierney) as a feminist challenger in the primary. It was a neat idea to pit Hayward's feminist politics against Peter's moral failures and past history, but it never really came together, and long gaps in Hayward's appearances sort of undercut her threat. Toss in the rushed "We're friends, and now we're not" plot with Alicia, and Maddie was a bit of a mess.

More egregious for me, though, were Eli's various plots, which also felt like the result of Perry's unavailability. T.R. Knight's Jordan Karahalios never actually seemed to do, well, anything even remotely impressive, despite being called a wunderkind by other characters. There was no evidence of him as a threat to Eli beyond his very presence on the campaign, and then the show even dismantled the idea the he was this brilliant campaign manager in the debate episode. His arrival as the campaign manager for the third party candidate in tonight's finale only locked in this idea that Jordan was nothing but an empty suit.

So while Jordan was lurking about, Eli dealt with that bizarre campaign finance corruption case. It was more of an entertaining bit of filler than a real conflict, between Elsbeth's quirky presence and Kyle MacLachlan's even quirkier Josh Perotti. I did appreciate that the show sort of acknowledged this with the musical chairs witnesses to prove the case—it very much said, "Yes, even we know this is kind of silly." At least it was a fun silly.

But while these elements had varying degrees of success (or none at all), at least Season 4 did a decent job with the ups and downs of Lockhart/Gardner. Nathan Lane as Clarke Hayden was an inspired bit of casting against type, and it paid off handsomely for the show. Lane hit all the right notes of pragmatism, loneliness, and zealousness, and all with a restraint that you don't typically associate with the actor. He was never a bad guy, or even an antagonist. He was delightfully more subtle than that, and it helped to give the first half of the season a solid dramatic core.

After recovering from bankruptcy, the show managed to pivot nicely to a new arc about labor issues within the firm. It highlighted the clashes between equity partners and the fourth-year associates led by Alicia and Cary... until the partners promoted Alicia in an effort to break the spine of the rebellious associates, and (again) Kalinda's place in the firm, and her value to them. Unlike past threats to the firm, be it Derrick Bond in Season 2 or the corruption charges against Will last season, this one pitted the show's characters against each other in ways we hadn't seen before, even when Cary was in the state's attorney's office.

All of which brings us to the finale.

"What's in the Box?" was timely (voter fraud and election rigging!), funny (Judge Abernathy! Judge Lessner! Patti Nyholm! Colin Sweeney?!), and surprisingly suspenseful in its final few moments. It also managed to tie up the labor issue surrounding Lockhart/Gardner in a way that promised to really shake up the show in Season 5. It didn't make me forgive any of the bad stuff we saw this season (only lots of drinking will make me ever forget about Nick), but it left me so completely excited for the next one that I cannot wait for the fall season to begin.

The big bombshell, of course, was that Alicia had decided to cast her lot in with Cary and the other fourth-year associates and leave Lockhart/Gardner. Alicia's fielded offers from other lawyers and firms before, the most notable and persistent being Louis Canning, but this time the offer coincided with a couple of factors that I think motivated her to finally accept. The first one is something I think we can all probably agree on, and the second is me perhaps reading too much into Alicia, though it's hard not to do that since she's so damn stoic.

The thread of Season 4 that I opted not to mention above was the Peter-Alicia-Will triangle. Part of the reason is that it's the aspect of the show that I find least interesting, but it's also a part of the show that it'll never give up, so I've generally decided to just take a wait-and-see approach with it.

This season as a whole ramped up the Alicia/Peter stuff, and continued to show Alicia's dedication to Peter, and his to her. The second half, though, brought that absurdly unmotivated kiss between Alicia and Will. While I wasn't a fan of how that played out, the ramifications of it—Alicia dreaming and daydreaming about her time with Will—brought me around on these emotions resurfacing for her enough so that the conflict didn't feel completely tired.

It's this conflict within Alicia, this concern about slipping further with Will—a man she doesn't see much of a future with—that I think led her to accept Cary's offer. The temptation will ease, the frustration will perhaps lessen if she doesn't have to see him every day. Out of sight, out of mind. It's an emotional decision for a woman who has tried to avoid making too many emotional decisions in recent years, but it speaks volumes about just how serious she is about making things work with Peter.

The other reason is a more business-oriented one and again this is just me spitballing. One of the reasons Lockhart/Gardner have kept Alicia on, and eventually offered her a partnership, and what attracts clients to her as well, was her connection with Peter. I think all this talk of being "management" sank in a bit, and now that she's the First Lady of Illinois, her standing has increased that much more. Why shouldn't she step into a firm where she can control and benefit from the influence much more directly? I do still think that, ultimately, the decision was one of emotion, but I given how much emphasis this season has placed on business and managing resources, I couldn't help but think about it.

I just hope it all sticks. One of my quibbles with the show has been its treatment of Cary, and how he was sort of a pinball, bouncing back and forth between L/G, unemployment, and the State's Attorney's office, and I really hope this big narrative shift isn't undone by Episode 2 next season. I want this plot to play out, I want to see the tensions we saw in "Red Team/Blue Team" occur over the course of a season, and I want to know where it all ends up for these characters. 

Even before that final scene, "What's In The Box?" was firing on all cylinders. The issue of a tampered ballot box provided a way for the case-of-the-week to intersect with a larger story in the show, and that was refreshing. Normally the cases rely on twists and legal maneuverings to maintain interest, but with this one's connection to the election, it had a real sense of urgency. In typical Good Wife fashion, the legal proceedings ended up being undercut by something else, in this case the votes not mattering in the final count. That the show does this a lot (see last week's episode about the unionizing software coders) is supposed to be one last twist in the case to surprise you, but it also serves to exemplify the occasional futility of the legal system. This time, it was just a much happier ending than they normally have.

While that ballot box issue would be interesting enough, the reversals, the witnesses (poor Nana Jo, poor Buckley), the careful and restrained uses of the quirks of Patti, Abernathy, and Lessner, and the running back and forth also served to elevate the episode beyond a standard Good Wife-quality case.

There are still some stories lingering for us as we go into Season 5 beyond the law firm one. There's the video of Jim with the stuffed ballot box that does not look good for Peter or Eli (and possibly Alicia, since she was in court over the issue); there's the matter of Kalinda and Robyn and which of them ends up where (Kalinda's employment issues have never been the strongest element of the show, and it also only strengthens my conviction that the show never developed a strong baseline for Kalinda, which is why the character struggles with stories that don't involve Alicia); and finally there's Jackie and Cristian and whatever the hell is going on there. 

We'll just have to wait for Season 5 to see where it all ends up.



SIDEBAR

– Alicia's smirk as Abernathy was not going to be swayed by Patti's babies ("Is this a new one?") was priceless.

– Totally forgot about Amanda Peet as Laura Hellinger. I thought she was very good on the show, but sort of like Maddie, her friendship with Alicia just sort of faded in and out so that it never really went anywhere for me.

– "This kind of stunt went out with Perry Mason." "And yet I enjoy it every time."

– "I have dedicated my life to not predicting what Jackie knows."

– "I just want to go home!" "Can you remember your address?" Will is such a bastard.

– Dylan Baker was in full-on scenery-chewing mode. The way he was drawling out Alicia's name was killing me. 

– "I love horror movies. You know why I love horror movies?" "Why?" "Because they’re awesome."

– "Can I ask you a hypothetical?" "Nope."

– "She's my wife." "Then punch me."

– "Okay, so, I was thinking over my earlier determination, I thought of a story. Uh, it's about a very young boy, um, an old man, and a donkey. Uh... what the hell, I'm too tired. Judgement in favor of the defense." I like how this indicates a degree of performance in Abernathy's slightly kooky demeanor.

– The appearance from New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg was a nice nod to the show being shot in New York while being set in Chicago.

– Alicia leaving Lockhart/Gardner did make me think of one other thing: She's never getting that equity stake back from L/G, is she?

– The emphasis on the door in the final scene kept reminding me of the Season 1 episode "Hi." And I thought for sure when Alicia called from the campaign suite that were revisiting the Season 1 finale with the cellphones and the voicemail.


What'd you think of "What’s in the Box?" and the season as a whole?

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More Lana Delaney in season 5!
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Awesome finale with some of the best recurring judges, lawyers and clients all in one episode! I laughed so hard at Will cross-examining the old woman! I can't believe Alicia is quitting L/G. My heart really goes out for Will if he loses both Diane as a partner, the 4th years and Alicia all in one go - as it is setting up for now. How can they do this to him? :(
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love it!

Eli is so fun to watch--> "I love horror movies. You know why I love horror movies?" "Why?" "Because they’re awesome."
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It's that pause that Eli took that made the joke land, like he was searching for some profound reason and then he settled for the most honest.
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The "Alisssia" thing was killing me, it was like nails on a chalkboard.
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I really enjoyed this episode! It was, indeed, one of the GW episodes that kept me on edge.

Alicia leaving L/G is a major "twist" in the plot. When she signed on as a partner there, didn't she sign papers? Won't there be any legal or financial troubles on the way of this "separation"?

Me wants more Sweeney! The writing for this character is amazing and it is amazingly portrayed by Dylan Baker!

Peter's look was worried when he hugged Alicia after the results so I believe that he knows Alicia is not totally with him and I think this was the reason he asked her to renew their vows. I'm not saying he doesn't want it, but I think that he partly did it because he feels her slipping away.

I must admit that I - too - thought the final scene was parallel to the finale of the first season (and I really really wanted it to end with Will and Alicia...) but I was somewhat pleasantly surprised to see Carry at the door!

And who/what tells us that she isn't going "away" not in order to be away from Will, but to be able to be with him without having to answer to the firm? (I wish...) [I was so mad when Diane interrupted them!]

Or maybe she wants to feel sure that she has earned everything because she is good and not because Will favoured her...

I really need to see her and Will having a true chance at a good relationship. I don't want to see it rushed or hidden or anything so if the writers want to make those two work things out, I know they're going to take their time. I hope they'll end up together. I don't believe that they want each other just because it is the "forbidden fruit". We need more info on what happened between them and how she ended up getting knocked up by Peter (thus making her marry him). Right now, I'm on team Will & Alicia. Peter had his chance and he screwed her over. I'm not saying people don't deserve a second chance but after such a public humiliation it is next to impossible to trully recover (no matter how some women want to make it look). And I'm sure that back when the first season started, Peter's character would be happy to continue getting money or prostitutes etc if he hadn't been caught red handed. Yes, jail was a big lesson for him and maybe he did find God (or Buddha or whatever) I can't say that he's really convinced me. The stunt he pulled with the home probation was just dramatic enough to make Alicia go back to him. The fact that he had agreed on a voting scam shows me that he hasn't turned the page 100% and I'm afraid of what that means about his relationship with Alicia.

I know, I'm babbling... Sorry! :-p
Let's wait for season #5 and see just what the writers have in mind!
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The site should have the option to unlike something! I accidentaly like my own comment two times! (I'm not that smug...) :-p
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I loved the finale! Not only it was a great hour of TV (even if the final fake out felt a bit gimmicky) but it set lots of great drama for the 5th season... The most obvious thing is the aftermath of the 4th years (now inc. Alicia) stepping out to create their own firm. Alicia's departure will be felt as the biggest betrayal since she was just made partner and for Will it will be even more bitter since he gave her an opportunity when she was an inexperienced lawyer back in Season 1. Plus there is all the unresolved tension / feelings between them...

Although it seems as if Alicia is staying with Peter, this was not explicit so whilst this is the most likely scenario, it still feels open to me... Not just because she was making out with Will again but also Peter's look once the results were announced seemed worried... At the very least, it seems as if Alicia is now more concerned about her own career than about his husband's governorship win. And of course the video that Will now has could be a real issue in Season 5 and if Alicia finds out in the wrong way, it could be a source of much drama...

Yep, this season had some useless plots (though I would have liked to see the full development of the Kalinda-Nick weirdness but I think it was a bit too insane for network TV) but overall a 'bad' episode of TGW is still amongst the best network tv has to offer...
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This is exactly what I was waiting for from along time ago... I was hoping that Alicia had left L/G by season 3. I think that Cary & Alicia make a great team and I'm looking forward for season 5, just hope the writers don't screw up this thing.

By the way, I think that Kalinda will be pissed off when she founds out that Alicia is leaving L/G (if she really does it) and she stick with Will and Diane. I guess that she looks to much for Alicia's attention.
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Yeah, but what happened to Nick? What did Kalinda do to him? Anything? It wasn't so much "nipped in the bud" as it was something of a cop-out or a giving up on it without a real explanation simply because people supposedly did not like the storyline.

What happened to Micheal Boatman, the black lawyer of the firm??

I'm honestly sick of the whole Alicia and Will thing. I actually liked Will with that long-haired brunette actress whose name escapes me. They had a relationship, then she left for her job to Europe, I think, then came back for an episode or something. She was also on Grey's Anatomy one time as the Jane Doe patient who lost her memory and was so banged up as to be unrecognizable. I think her and Josh Charles had better, more believable chemistry.

I don't think Go On will be renewed, so if not, maybe Matthew Perry will return.

I always liked Cary and Alicia's professional relationship except for that period when he was not liking her very much. I always thought they could have developed them to be like Will and Diane and maybe be the future of the firm in that regard, but if they join against that firm now, maybe we'll see that anyway, just on a different path. Please keep it from being romantic in any way what-so-ever though!
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That ending was very surprising. It doesn't really make sense to me. A few hours earlier she was making out with Will, and they were both hinting that she should dump Peter and be with Will. Instead she stabs him in the back. Well, not really, but that's how he will take it.

I guess that was the point. In her somewhat twisted mind, staying with Peter is the "right" thing to do, so she wants to put distance between her and Will, both physically and emotionally, because she thinks that she won't be able to resist him as long as they're friends and working together.

I think it's a very weird choice. If she really isn't able to resist him, then she should just be with him.
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I forgot to say I'm dying to see season five. I'm sure it will be greater than this season, because of the great changes that are right around the corner. It'll be fun seeing Will & Diane face Cary & Alicia. I don't think I can have enough of that. I'm mostly curious about Kalindas reaction to Alicia leaving and how hard Diane and Will are going to take it. They most certainly will see it as a betrayal, which it is in many ways, and I don't think they're getting over it anytime soon.

The Will and Alcia chapther will have to wait much longer than I expected. I'm not optimistic about them getting back together during season 5. It may be some pecks here and there and sexual tension but I don't Alicia will let herself or hurt her kids. Will don't seem like someone that's capable of forgiving her easily and even when he does, I don't think he's ready for a relationship that's not consisting of hotell visits. Let's see if Alicia will even see a future for the two of them and if she can get over tha fact that she once again gave up on them.
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I just love this show and early on in Season 4 I realised I was addicted to it. I've loved every minute of this season, it was captivating throughout. Then I come here and read Noel being a killjoy and picking it apart. I read all of his criticisms and yeah I guess there's merit to most of them (interestingly I had no issue with the Nick storyline) but in experiencing each episode moment to moment none of those things bothered me, it's only in hindsight that might appear to be shortcomings in a holistic sense. As they weren't issues for me when I was watching through the show I can't hold the season to be weakened because of them. The content of the episodes never ceased to be gripping and entertaining for me and that's my standard for a successful season. Maybe for this show I'm subplot proof.
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Yeah, when you watch the episode you don't think badly about it. It's always entertaining and you can't wait to see more.
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I agree with you Noel, this season didn't have enough excitement. But even when it was sometimes so-so it always was good enough.

Alicia-Peter-Will triangle was handled even better than I could've imagined and I really enjoyed the fact that TGW sprung Robyn on us. I'll miss Kalinda-Robyn partnership, but it'll be fun seeing how she grows into herself.

I actually somewhat disagree with you Noel. I think that, besides the obvious reason of escaping Will and her emotions, Alicia is also tired of the many comprimises she has had to make because of the equity partners rules and ways. I think Alicia's looking forward to being able to start deciding more things for herself rather than being led. She may want to exceed more than she's able at L&G but I think she most of all wants to escape the unreasonble things she has had to do, because she was told to do them.
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I think that this episode is an excellent introduction to Season Five and we will be aiting with some anticipation.Unlike others,I think that the real battle will be between Robin and Kalinda, with Robin the student outclassing eventually her master.Fights are always lost and won by soldiers on the battlefield and not by strategy if Waterloo taught us anything.
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I love Cary.
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Yep and I think Season 5 will finally give him more screen time & interesting plots beyond daddy issues and shenanigans with Kalinda
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ME TOO.
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This season finale has left me very excited about Season 5. The Kings' gave an interview in the Daily Beast and next year will be the year of Cary and Civil Wars. There are so many intertesting twists that can come about now. My best guess is that Kalinda stays at Lockhart&Gardner and Robin joins Argos&Florrick, Peter is going to be ecstatic and Diane and Will are going to hit the roof. However Diane is still in play for a judgeship now that Peter has won. She was told that it was hers if she disowns Will. She will have a tough decision to make. Also I like the love triangle (Team Will) and am ready to see Will and Alicia spar with each other. She thinks that leaving the firm will quell her desire for Will wait until she has to meet him in Court and they go head to head. I see more kissing in their future.
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It'll be fun seeing Will and Alicia be "real" opponents. And it'll be fun seeing the resentment from Diane and Will. They won't hold back.

I'm also Team Will and I can't see an ending where Alicia and Will aren't together.
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I'm very much an Alicia/Big Glass of Wine 'shipper.
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To me season 4 has its up and down but this is still among the top 3 best show on TV and certainly the BEST TV show that is on network TV. I enjoyed the regular cast like Kalinda and Eli and also the guest stars very much in particular Carrie Preston, M J FOX and Mamie Gummer. I too am not really into the triangle relationship of the show. Whoever Alicia chose, I just want her to be happy. I do know many female fans who are into it and tonight finale might have piss those on TEAM Gardner because it now seems Alicia truly wants to DRAW the line.

Whether you like Will or not, he had been the gentleman in their triangle relationship but next season once he found out that his business (at least part of it) and woman are both gone, I really wonder if he will go all psycho.

I wonder if he will get very angry with Alicia !
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How could he not? She betrayed him business-wise and chose not to give their relationship a chance.
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That ensure more drama ! only thing is Will for so many seasons seems like a very reserved and subtle person. We hardly see any big moves from him. I hope the writers will really exploit his emotions next season. A big betrayal like this changes a man !
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I'll be honest Noel, I did finally forget about Nick & Kalinda; I didn't mind the absence of a solid enemy for Peter because that's how it should be sometimes, a number of small hurdles to overcome, first a primary then an election, they are the opposition and are beyond arm's length; I accepted Jordan as being not as good as he claimed based on Eli's and Alicia's observations, so when he came back here and lied, that cemented the character being crap; and I accepted that Peter wasn't in the scene because Alicia has been living her own life. So for me, the season may have been uneven, but none of it weighed down my enjoyment of the later episodes, especially this rather satisfying season finale.

I was confident when we got to the end scenario that it had to be Cary, mainly because the idea that Alicia would leave that party for more Will content was too soapy (it doesn't make any more sense that she'd leave for Cary, but at least it wasn't the same level of self-destructive selfishness). I did have a moment of fear that Coln Sweeney might show up, that would have been beyond unacceptable, but was pleased that the show kept its head and made the reveal something realistic rather than ridiculous.

Your reasoning on why Alicia would be moving makes sense, I didn't get the feeling that she'd bother leveraging the win to get there, she's smart enough that if she felt that'd work she'd have set it up earlier. However, if she realized that half the leadership at Lockhart/Gardner was leaving for a judgeship, and that it'd now be Will and David Lee running the show, that'd make a solid reason for her to pull out in that moment.

I agree that they need to stick to these things, Cary's shifts being undone so much is a great example of where the show likes to undermine itself in service to the status quo.

This must have been a beast of an article to write.

Anyway, I voted for Red Team, Blue Team, but Death of a Client was good (and not just because Mike Krestiva got punched out) too, and I feel like there was a mid-season episode that really hit a homer but can't remember which one.
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I apologize profusely for drudging up Kalinda & Nick for you. Really, I do. I wish I could forget.

I do think the odds were, in hindsight, 80/20 in favor of Cary, but she and Cary hadn't said they were going to talk in this episode, and she had made that mention to Will, so the episode does a nice job of setting up the fake out. And I admit that I just got caught up in it that when it turned out to be Cary, I was thrilled.

Right, right, and David's style of management is so not Alicia's, so too much friction. She can now sort of run things how she wants, correct those errors in the same way that the fourth years feel they're correcting errors.

Speaking of the fourth years: I have to think they're going to be furious that Alicia's coming on board since I have to think that does something to their respective financial pie, even if she can bring lots of clients (but wouldn't she have a non-compete? Ah well.)

It was a beast. I was glad I had the time to do all the season-in-review elements, though, because it was helpful to think through things leading up to the finale. I was lucky that I had blogged about the show off and on at my own blog, so I had stuff to refer back to, didn't have to think and think about the season to sort through elements. And I still forgot about Amanda Peet.

I hadn't intended for that to be a poll, it was just a list of the episodes I really liked this season, and we turned it into a poll. I'm a bit surprised that "Dead of a Client" is in fourth (right now), figured folks would've latched onto it. I think it, the finale, and "Waiting for the Knock" would've been my top 3.
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On another series, the Nick & Kalinda memory would have been a drag, but since The Good Wife is a quality show, I feel it's gotten past it and earned me back. I do feel like they learned the wrong lesson, that they can't show Kalinda's past or anything deeper about her personality, when the real lesson is that the whole Nick story arc had awful writing with no redeeming qualities.

I kind of like David vs. Alicia for control of the heart of the firm, that'd be a good story arc, but it makes a lot more sense to leave now if she can. The 4th years need to suck it up and quit whining, they are portrayed as so childish and petulant, it's hard to get what Cary sees in them, he's trusting his whole future to them.

The show's brush-off of Amanda Peet's character was probably the singular disappointing element of the finale, it's easy to forget her in all of this because she had 2 arcs and the second one evaporated.

Death of a Client not only has very strong performances, but Peter knocks his opponent on his ass.
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It also has Bach! I don't know what else the people could want.
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How many episodes before Alicia and Will square off in court before Diane?
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Pretty sure that'd be a recuse, but I'll say 5. ;-)
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And if Diane meets the recusal threat with publicizing Will & Alicia's history (she did see the kiss in the car...) that would be one way she ends up hearing the case. They'll find a way somehow; they HAVE to. Delicious opportunities here!
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Somebody's maid is posting The Good Wife fanfic from their computer. ;-)
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Agree, re: recuse, but I say it'll be the November sweeps, into winter hiatus episode, so about around 8, 9, or 10. OR ALL THREE. MULTI-EPISODE CASE.
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The sweeps weeks are such a joke as they get us all keyed up to not watch the shows we love because they will be going on hiatus. May sweeps is just around the corner and The Good Wife is done at 22 episodes - a travesty. If any show should be getting 25, it's this one.
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Would LOVE to see that scenario! I just hope Diane doesn't dial down her wit because she's wearing a robe. Wait -- what am I saying -- most of the judges on TGW have personalities/issues...Diane will fit right in!
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I liked it. i think joining the new firm does 2 things. It distances Alicia from Will and gives Kalinda a rival investigator, who has seemed very capable in the episodes she has been in.
I do wonder what happens to the money Alicia invested in Lockhart Gardner (especially as most of it was from Peter) - does she get the money back, will she have to go to court to get it (probably), where is she getting the funds for the new firm, how will Peter react, will Eli go with her and will Alicia get sued for breach of contract.
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Good questions! ;-)
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I am seriously excited for Season 5. The finale felt like the writers looked at the show and realised, we need to shake this up. There are so many new directions for the show to go in for next season; first and foremost Florrick/Agos - Alicia/Cary scenes are my favourite second only to Alicia/Kalinda scenes. The two have a great respect for each other and together work fantastically well so I'm hoping they (along with their firm) become a force to be reckoned with.

As for Lockhart/Gardner, if Diane does become Supreme Court Judge where does that leave Will? If Diane does leave, Will is on his own.

And when it comes to Kalinda I think she'll be playing both sides of the fence, she'll be helping both firms because she's truly in the middle now. She has tremendous loyalty to Will and Diane, that's been made clear but it's also been made clear how much she respects and loves Alicia and now with her developing romance with Cary she's going to be pulled back and forth.

P.s. I'm excited about seeing all those wonderful guest stars back again too.
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Alicia and Cary really do have some great scenes together, though I've liked him a lot more ever since he stopped "hating" on Alicia so much or seeing her as the enemy.

Also, my favorite interactions have to be way back when Cary was on shrooms. Between Alicia covering for him and him "waking up" and wondering WTH is going on... it was a great episode.
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Agreed - the show writers have done a great job at showing Cary & Alicia as rivals most of the time but they also worked well in teams and never backstabbed each other. So the perfect foundation for Agos & Florrick & Assoc.
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To me, this episode seemed more like a filler show, with some setups for next season. I enjoyed Sex Dolls and Videotape a LOT more—why isn't it in the poll, maybe it had another name?

I think Will is going to use the video against Alicia to try to prevent her from leaving L&G, especially after losing Dianne and Carey too. And that new investigator might be a wiz with number crunching, but Kalinda knows the game way better. It'll be interesting to see how she deals with both firms not appreciating her as much as they should.
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Loved this episode! I too enjoy it the most when it is all the main characters and the drama between them. I think everyone love Cary. I feel bad for Kalinda, but she was so inflexible for a start up. I think Cary and Alisha starting a new firm is going to be so fun and add an entirely new dynamic to that show. The show is called the good wife not Lockhart Gardner, so it is about her, not the law firm. Fun ahead!
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Hmmm, just started watching this towards the end of last season so I don't have the perspective that you do, but I felt the finale was exceptionally contrived and pandering. [SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW]. Didn't get why wunderkid was voting early and the odds of the candidates kid catching that box drop are astronomical. A non-addled Estelle Parsons as the witness would have been much more believable, provided more plot options (better scenarios and much better acting) and countered the ageist themes that run rampant through this show. And while the TR Knight twist was interesting, whether he was in charge or not would never have turned the verdict with that laughably lopsided count. The biggest stretch were the box plots (put in the fix and then forget to reseal the box when the Poll Watcher is in your pocket???only copy of surveillance tape??, originals turned over to K ??, and of course the Poll Watcher showing up at the victory party, c'mon).... Enjoy the legal portions of the show (best since Boston Legal) but could do without the slant that Lockhart/Gardner is the white knight and the rest of the world is darth vaderiish. Would really like to see some plots that wipe the smirks off of Lockhart/Gardner/Florick's faces. The Good Wife without The Good Wife would be a better show IMO.
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(SPOILER): Since it was the work of one of Peter's men, he'd know that Zach was going vote early and where he was going to vote. The guydelivering the box made sure he was noticed by zach so he'd "investigate" the box.
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You are right... I just remembered I thought it was weird the douchy looking guy bumped into Zach on purpose... But who would have wanted him to find them & investigate them? And to what end? To have something covered up and against Peter? Someone from his own party? I am feeling all conspiracy theorist now...
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Voting early is an excellent way to avoid lines...? I don't see why Zack voting early is a hang-up...? And, yes, those odds are astronomical, but they are lower than getting roped into a case with Hugo Chávez (which happened in season 2), so between those two aspects, I'm not seeing a real stretch for how the show typically operates.

I'll concede the ageism, but, sadly, not outside the realm of possibility within even a real world setting.

And if you're looking for the show tackling the issue of the firm winning all the time you should watch all of S3 as it deals heavily with that perception.
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Voting early on Election Day is not suspect, but in order for the events to have happened I believe he would have had to have voted on the day prior to the election. I've never heard of polls being open before 6am on election day much less the day before. A Chicago thing?
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Possibly. Or just an example of "did not do the research"
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I don't know about the TR Knight thing, it kind of makes sense. At that point, the most damning evidence was TR Knight's bit about "Eli suggested we stuff ballot boxes"

Prior to that, just the word of a kid saying that it was brought in from outside... an observation he might have been mistaken about... vs the word of the Poll Manager saying he accidentally ripped the sticker... an observation he might be lying about. So the scales are kind of even at that point.

TR Knight's bit kind of adds malice and fore-thought against Peter's campaign and thus tipped the scales into the thought it was a stuffed box. But finding out that it wasn't true... well that tips the scales back to even.
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Will is not going to be a happy camper next season. With Peter in, there is a good L/G will lose Diane (reliant upon her distancing herself from Will...which will make make him even less happy), as well they may lose their new investigator, a bunch of 4th years, Cary AND both Will's love interest and one of their best lawyers. Yikes. He'll be all alone at the top of a mountain that is much shorter than it was before.
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Agreed, hence why I think he'll use the video tape as a screw-you to the Florricks.

In one swoop he's losing his partner, a bunch of 4th years, a bunch of THEIR RICH CLIENTS, an investigator, and Alicia. And the "betrayal" of Alicia is going to sting the most.

No doubt about it, his firm is going to take a big hit. And since he's confronted Alicia about the exodus a bunch of times he's probably going to think she was lying to him the whole time and/or BEHIND the exodus in the first place.
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This is one of my favorite shows. I love it best when it focuses on the court room, and Alicia's interaction with Kalinda and Carey. I really don't like Peter, so this season was kind of a bummer for me, because he was in it so much. I don't care too much about Alicia and Will either, but Will is much more interesting than Peter. I think it will be great for Alicia to go to the new firm with Carey. Maybe we'll get a season that doesn't focus on her romantic involvements too much.
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Will really has a nuke in the form of that video.

He will see Alicia's leaving as a major betrayal and I doubt he will take it very well. And while he is not a "scum of the Earth" type of lawyer... he's not beyond playing dirty. After all, like he used to say a lot in Season 1... this is CHICAGO.

So, I could see him releasing it as a major screw-you to the Florricks.
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But is it still "Chicago" if it's that deeply personal? I don't know.
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I missed a couple of minutes. It looked like just before the closing scenes, Alicia was looking into the room and saw something that made her decide to go with Cary.

What was it?

Unfortunately I've since deleted the episode on my DVR and can't check. I recall a guy in the center of the frame: was it the polling guy?
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SPOILER: Yes, it was the polling guy.
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Wasn't the polling guy. It was just some random dude that had a haircut like Will's and wore a suit similar to his.
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What an incredible finale. It was fun, had a lot of suspense and drama. And the ending was amazing, I don't think anyone expected it. But I think the last few episodes compensated the beginning of the season, in a way. I hated all storylines about Kalinda this season, I'm starting to find her unbearable (especially with her toying with firms to finally get pissed off at Carry for seeking another candidate). I love Robyn, I hope we'll se more of her next season. I'm not sure about Alicia's decision to go with Carry, given that he seems to be the only one who likes her among the four-years. It clearly was emotionnal and I feel sad that she's taking once again Peter's side. He's not a bad man but something has always felt off about him. It's not because Alicia thinks that she has no future with Will that it is necessarily the case. I'll just have to believe that they're endgame, for now. Anyway, I can't wait for next season!
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All I want to say is that they'd better no wimp out on this direction.
I've wanted to see this transition for quite a while and I will be really upset if she doesn't leave.

This is setting up some great courtroom drama. I am excited for next season!
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They've already showed us they have the balls, so count on it...
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Coming into this episode, I'd heard that the final moments were worth the wait....They did turn out that way....but during the anticipation phase prior to the final moments, my mind thought of a disturbing possibility. Could Collin Sweeny have attempted to Murder Alicia alone in her apartment? Not that he was the one she'd called, but because he'd been following her. That storyline would have amped the dramatic score to 12 with everyone coming to her beadside whie she recuperated emotionally and physically.
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This is still the best drama on network TV period. Season 4 was good except for the Nick thing but it didn't really piss me off like it did you. I think you're overthinking it too much. It seems to me that TV critics sometimes zero in on a shows very best episode and want them to all be that good. Well, that just ain't gonna happen. I read all the time that Supernatural just isn't as good as it once was and season 5. But it is as good. They're still Sam and Dean and they're great to watch. I don't know if Jensen Ackles can do anything else but he definitely can do this. Oh, and my favorite season 4 episode of The Good Wife: Je Ne Sais What...
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Agree with noelrk. The Nick abomination may have put me off soft-serve ice cream for the rest of my life. It was 50 shades of vomit. Just a deplorable decision by the writing team. And it nauseated so many people that they killed it.
And (over)thinking about it is what the reviews and the comments are all about. Thinking about it more than the writers did is not overthinking; it may mean they underthought it in the first place. "Overthink" is most accurately applied to a situation where analysis prevents you from action; not the case here because the reviewers pull the trigger without hesitation.
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Even Margulies came out and said it was a terrible plot.
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Ah, "I think you're overthinking it too much." My least favorite phrase in the world as it offers very little in actual engagement, and instead chooses to just dismiss an argument someone doesn't agree with as being overthought. Heaven forbid we overthink.

I don't expect a show to hit the same level each week, it's just not possible. What I did here was highlight characters and arcs, meaning stories that spanned multiple episodes, and highlighted how they really weren't all that well developed over the course of the season. So it wasn't like I "zeroed in a shows very best episode" and expected it to happen every week.
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Fair enough and you do clearly love the show. I guess I'm just really saying that I go into each episode of a show I like with only one expectation that the people I like will be doing something interesting and when that happens, I like it. Fortunately, for me, I don't have to look for cracks and therefore don't find as many. I do remember thinking the whole Nick/Kalinda thing a bit over the top. And your review was fair, giving Nathan Lane and Cary their due. You didn't mention Jackie and she's really grown on me and I think it must be the writing. The kids have fleshed out nicely too. So yeah, your review was more than fair and I'm glad I read it. The complexity of this writing is often subtle and there are some pretty great nuances in most episodes to enjoy. I can't say I miss Matt Perry all that much as Maura Tierney picked up the slack nicely. All the characters are smart whether they really are or not and even the Nick character was well done and believable. And, what can I say, I truely enjoyed season four.
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I did not mention Jackie! You are so right. Like you, she's grown on me as well, and I think a good chunk of that is the writing, but it's also where the show positioned her this season, and it wasn't as an antagonist to Alicia (because that was getting supremely tiring) but more as a wildcard in the plot, sort of like Veronica (who I also failed to discussed, but I didn't really care for the character too much).
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Exactly what I was saying and very well put. Wild card, that is exactly right.
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I don't agree with you for the part that tv critics overthink stuff. The Kalinda/Nick storyline was upsetting in so many ways that I always skipped the scenes with them together. And Supernatural definitely went downhill this season.
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Yay my favourite courtroom procedural is being reviewed. I'm not a lawyer by any chance, or American, but I enjoy this show purely on the legal battles. Its also a great insight to law firm drama.

The twist and turns in the last episode were really entertaining. At the end though, I'm quite disappointed because (SPOILERS) Peter cheated in the election even though the votes didn't matter much. I wonder if its grounds for corruption if he gets busted. I'm pretty sure they will explore it in the next season.

Next season, 'LockhartGardner' will become 'Gardner' since Diane will become a judge. And with Alicia assumingly going to Cary's firm, Will be left alone. That is just so sad. I don't care what people say about the show, but its really good. If you can ignore the love triangles and affairs, the legal surprises and office drama are really entertaining.
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To be perfectly accurate, Eli and Co. cheated. Peter didn't know about it until Will produced the video. And there's plenty of precedent for electioneering in Chicago and Illinois; I'm not sure the citizens would blink at it anymore.
As for the firm, I expect it will become Gardner Lee. David Lee has too much pull; Will only was able to balk him when he and Diane stood together. And the combination of Will angry with Alicia and Kalinda angry with Cary will be explosive.
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I'm actually wondering where the hell Julius is. He was involved in those high level, rooftop meetings and then he just up and disappeared near the end of S3.
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Well, Well...Interesting twists. While I really enjoy the cases and how they gather evidence and so many of the characters and dynamics, I am most intrigued by THE triangle. I think Alicia needs to be true to herself and go with Will 100%. She's obviously not in love with Peter though of course she cares about him and wishes him the best. There's no chemistry there, and yes, he's done his time, and it's time for both of them to move on. Peter has won; he doesn't need Alicia to bolster him anymore, and the kids are old enough tor realize that sometimes you have to be true to yourself instead of staying in an fulfilling relationship because it seems the "correct" thing to do. Leaving Lockhart/Gardner paves the way for a legitimate romance, although her reason could indeed be not having the daily temptation of seeing Will--but that won't make the feelings go away.
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I quit watching this show recently since it was getting too political. I has always been kind of that way, but watched since I enjoyed the characters. I watch the Mentalist now and had watched both of them before, but for me personally, the Good Wife just lost it's luster. I actually liked it pretty good in it's previous seasons.
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So, you traded way down...
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Love this show -- but the love triangle must stop. Peter is a governor now, he's paid for his transgressions, he's a governor now, he's better-looking than Will, he's a governor now, he's apologized, AND HE'S A GOVERNOR NOW! Alicia, now is the time to live up to the title of the show and keep it moving!
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You'd think with Alicia being a lawyer 'n'all she'd be familiar with the Illinois statute forbidding Governor's wives from coveting their bosses.
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Omg, it's so awesome to see TGW being covered here! Thanks Noel for a great review/rundown on the season!

I too have been lukewarm on a lot of this season. I like to forget Nick existed. Clark Hayden's bromance with Cary was great. Jordan just made me miss when Grey's Anatomy was good. But dammit, if I wasn't cheering during those last two minutes, "PLEASE LET IT BE CARY!" And then it was! Way to go Kings, I'm so excited for next season, and Kalinda better be in on it because there is so much potential in the friendship of CaryxAliciaxKalinda. Ship that friendship so hard <3

Colin Sweeney can come back anytime. Love him. So much. (And Elsbeth)
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My pleasure, allielisa. Positive reception to the show appearing occasionally in the FTW/WTF for the the past couple of months indicated that there'd be enough interest for a post on the finale. :)

And, yes, when I watched that last scene, and it was Cary at the door, my arms shot up in joy. Could not be more pleased with the very organic reset (most resets are so contrived) of the show. I love, love, love Cary, so I'm very eager for the show to, hopefully, put him front and center next season.

Julianne Margulies gave an interview saying that the Alicia-Kalinda friendships likely never going to be repaired (and I can only imagine that it'll be more strained after this), but the Kings gave an interview saying "never say never." So we'll see. It'll be an exciting tension going forward.
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I totally agree about the reset! I feel like Alicia and Cary just leveled up. "New Will and Diane" is so much closer to fruition. Cary's my favourite, not just because he's Logan Huntzberger, but it's been so great to see him come into his own. My Kalicia hopes will never die :(
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Julianna* Good grief, AutoCorrect. You're fine with Margulies, but Julianna gets your red flag up?
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