A The Good Wife Community
CBS (ended 2016)

The Good Wife S05E13: "Parallel Construction, Bitches"

Is it just me, or did the break between this new episode and mid-January's "We, the Juries" feel way longer than the break between seasons? After yielding to NFL games, the Grammys, the Winter Olympics, and the Oscars, I'm just glad CBS was like, "Oh, no, we're not running away from Neil deGrasse Tyson. We have limits, people."

In any case, The Good Wife is back, and with "Parallel Construction, Bitches," it kicked off what CBS is billing as a three-episode "event." Now, pretty much all episode promos try to make their subject matter look as riveting and exciting as possible, even if the actual episodes don't stack up. But the recent uptick in multi-episode "events" on shows that may already be quasi-serialized—I'm thinking about what Person of Interest did with Carter earlier this season, or what Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is doing now—is interesting. The promise of an "event" certainly raises expectations, regarding both the episodes' importance to the show and their overall quality. That The Good Wife and S.H.I.E.L.D. are both staging "events" as they return from hibernation demonstrates just how much catching up the TV networks think audiences need in order to get back into the groove of tuning in every week. 

It appears that The Good Wife's big arc, at least for the moment, is centered on how the National Security Agency (NSA) is doling out hints about life, the universe, and everything to other organizations within the U.S. government. These include the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and, more importantly, the Public Integrity Section (PIN) of the Department of Justice, a.k.a. the federal agency that can bring down a very big hammer on the Florricks for engaging in voting fraud and stealing a state-wide election.

Ever since "The Bit Bucket" at the start of the season, I've been curious as to how The Good Wife would bring the NSA back into the narrative loop. I figured it would involve the stuffed ballot box, but I wasn't sure how, since the NSA probably couldn't care less about voting irregularities in Illinois. Enter Nelson Dubeck (Eric Bogosian of Law & Order: Criminal Intent fame) from PIN, who is way, way more skilled at the act of parallel construction—which was helpfully, if clunkily, explained to us through Cary—than the DEA was in its effort to get something solid on Lemond Bishop.

The structural pleasure of "Parallel Construction, Bitches" was in its parallel plots, which demonstrated how the NSA's information was used. The DEA engaged in an act of musical witness locations, and Lester and Bishop's game of "Catch the leaker!" ferreted out the wiretap, leaving the DEA's plan looking half-baked and without the necessary legal legs to stand on. But Dubeck and PIN were a touch more methodical. They knew there was a video, so they made sure to get it first by coercing Marilyn. ("You have no attorney-client privilege. Everybody else is a lawyer, the world is full of lawyers. You're the type to go to jail.") Dubeck going to Alicia and then Will was also a smart move. They both represented Peter's interest in court, but while Alicia couldn't be shaken—"I used to be like you: Certain. Deferential to authority." "Is that what I am?" "Thinking everyone being investigated is obviously guilty. It's just a matter of time. You should be investigated. It changes you."—Dubeck, thanks to the NSA tipping him off, tried to rattle Will with a grand jury summons, despite the fact that Will didn't seem interested in budging.

I'm not sure what to make of Will's reticence on burning Peter to the ground. I think part of the reason is that, while Will is very much a slash-and-burn kind of guy, he'd rather destroy Alicia professionally for hurting him both personally and professionally than see everything in her life, including her kids, suffer the blowback. He may hate both Alicia and Peter, but there's some inkling of a conscience in that litigator's brain, one that wants a contained but harmful burn instead of a conflagration. Maybe I'm giving Will too much credit?

Overall, "Parallel Construction, Bitches" was a tight episode. The Good Wife has craftily incorporated the NSA into its narrative by using both one-off characters from previous seasons and recurring ones like Bishop and Lester to propel the story forward, instead of just introducing new clients every week. This helps The Good Wife maintain its particular sense of realism, and Bishop and Lester's amusing little leak hunt in "Parallel Construction Bitches" allowed The Good Wife to reasonably lead its characters to certain conclusions without it feeling like convenient plotting just to move the story along.

In the end, though, this was just table-setting for the next two episodes. So, unfold your napkins and grab your forks. I think we've got a tasty meal on the way.



SIDEBAR

– I appreciated The Good Wife's acknowledgment of how much Alicia and Cary keep running into Diane and Will during various cases. It set up an episode that would seemingly focus on the battle for Bishop, only to have Diane and Will fade into the background after the initial round of testimony. Such a relief.

– So was there anything better on TV this week than Darkness at Noon, the send-up of "quality" cable dramas? It totally felt like a jab at all those "The Good Wife is the best show on broadcast TV" lines that came out around the start of this season. "You can't cross the line and then act like you didn't cross the line." "Then shoot me. Shoot me." Love it.

– Man, Kalinda. You get some sexytimes with Cary and you just assume he's lying to you in bed. Give the guy some credit.

– Sad to see the Judge Kluger thing kind of fizzle out. Also, is it just me, or are they going to federal court a lot more often lately?

– I love the NSA employees treating their wiretaps like a show. "It's almost fun to watch." "I think Will and Diane end up getting it on." Terrific stuff.

– "Okay. I think this will make sense if I get more wine." This is how I approach all things.


What did you think of "Parallel Construction, Bitches"?


48 Comments
Comments (48)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Since watching the episode, I have been mulling over why Kalinda thought Carey was lying. It just occurred to me that, he WANTED Kalinda to think that he was lying. If Diane and Will believe that he was lying, then perhaps they will slip up in some manner, if they are also being tapped, and lose a client or two.
2
Reply
Flag
it's great to have The Good Wife back! Finally, felt like forever ago , been on withdrawal. Each single episode is huge for me. Love Alicia & Will , am hopeful Will won't be written off.
5
Reply
Flag
Every episode of The Good Wife is an event for me :)
4
Reply
Flag
Prediction: The phone call Alicia gets in the 'event' previews is from one of the NSA guys, warning her of something imminent. Those two are getting rather fond of the Floricks, esp. Alicia.
3
Reply
Flag
This break did feel very long, I had entirely forgotten who Wallace Shawn's character was when he showed up at the front door, what the overarching storylines were, everything.

Honestly, this is no more an "event" than SHIELD's murdering of strangers who were doing their job simply to save Skye. Alicia and Peter are both being investigated? Not an event.

Will does ultimately care for Alicia in that way, but he also has no love for the system, he's been jerked around by subpoenas and accusations, I have to believe some of that reticence stems from there.

While this was a tight episode, I didn't see the disbelief between Kalinda and Cary this time, it's as if Kalinda just assumes everyone's lying now, and that is its own type of faith - which is not useful to an investigator.
1
Reply
Flag
Staff
How can you forget Wallace Shawn's character?! BAH. ;)

No, the details of things were hella fuzzy, and I likely would've benefited from re-visiting "We, The Juries" and "The Bit Bucket" before writing this up, but only so many hours in the day (and I really didn't want to re-watch "We, The Juries", because, urgh).

Also, just let you know, I'm covering the Lost Missions season of Clone Wars which ended up on Netflix last week. Second arc (which was suuuuuuuuper boring) will be hitting the site sometime this week.
1
Reply
Flag
Loved this episode! What I hope happens is both firms unite and fight the NSA evidence. Since that was illegally obtained, the case against Big, (he is still Big to me), gets dropped. Both firms are so kick ass and to see them fighting side by side together and maybe healing a few wounds, would be awesome. I love the change of direction this show has taken. Breaking up the band was such a great idea.
2
Reply
Flag
Such a great episode. I kept thinking all shows shouldn't be written like this.
  • The NSA nerds are hilarious, scary and probably quite realistic.
  • I really liked Will at the end. I'm giving him even more credit and thinking maybe he will actually do Alicia some good, despite everything that happened. I'd like to see some growth from him.
6
Reply
Flag
Great way to welcome back TGW. I'm a bit confused on Will's obligations as a lawyer concerning Peter. The NSA guys were a lot of fun to watch. Why did Kalinda think Carey was lying? I wonder how that will play out.
Great review for a great episode.
Reply
Flag
Staff
WAIT. Kalinda slept with Carey, too?! ;)
2
Reply
Flag
It really did feel like a long, long time, especially since this season has been so good and I wanted more! The NSA guys are so delightful and it's great to see Lemond Bishop again.
But I think we can all agree we're still waiting for Colin Sweeney to make his retun, right? He's just the kind of character who would revel in the chaos that's going on right now!
2
Reply
Flag
Staff
As much as I love Sweeney, I sort of don't need him to come back just now. That said, they still have 8 or 9 (!!!) episodes or so left, so there's still time!
1
Reply
Flag
I am so happy TGW is back. It really felt like a long long time. While many full season shows are at episodes 15-18, TGW is only showing episode 13. Well, I hope the good news now is that there is no break til the end of the season.

Sometimes when I start watching TGW, it felt like I had tune into the wrong channel and the wrong show by mistake, I had to double check. It happen again this week, maybe it is just me but its kind of funny.

Someone might want to help me here. I do not really understand about how the US law system works. If one is bound by attorney-client privilege, does it mean he/she still have to spill the beans when they are summon by the grand jury?

So am I right to say a lawyer can hold on all the secrets but have to spill them if they are ask to appear infront of a grand jury. How does that help the client?

And why does a drug lord need to tell his lawyers he is moving drugs at a specific time? I have never seen this before till now.

I am both surprised and glad Will is showing some resilience. I agree with Noel that as much as he hate Alicia now, he draws the line in hurting her family and kids.

NSA employees are really two funny dudes. We should get this guys on more often.

While Kalinda often gets it right, I am glad this time she got it wrong.

Again fantastic performance for all the guest stars. For some reasons, I liked the delightful Wallace Shawn (Charles Lester - Lemond bishop's lawyer) this week better than anyone else.

My only complaint is that I am a little sad that it seems the call from the judge was really just about him asking for help with his book. They kept the mystery for a while now and it amounts to nothing much.
More+
3
Reply
Flag
Lawyers may not violate attorney/client privilege, even on the witness stand, unless the client agrees to waive privilege. Period. End of story. It's grounds for disbarment at best.

Will is holding back because of Alicia's kids. He's shown in the past that he will not involve her kids in any of the conflicts he has with their parents. (Wonder if his own parents involved him in their problems...)

I think the judge was hoping the lunch with Alicia was a date. When he realized Alicia genuinely thought it was a professional if casual meeting regarding a book, he backed off before he was rejected.
1
Reply
Flag
So Will cannot go to jail as suggested by the guy who was interrogatiing him?
1
Reply
Flag
Will could go to jail for contempt of court if he refuses to violate privilege, but it doesn't happen often.
1
Reply
Flag
Staff
My understanding is that the lawyer isn't the one who gets to waive attorney-client privilege, only the client has that option, and Peter has instructed Will not to say a single word.

A lawyer friend of mine on Twitter is slightly confounded by all of that maneuvering since it can't really lead anywhere, legally speaking anyway.
3
Reply
Flag
If that is the case, our theory of Will not wanting to hurt Alicia might to stand true as he does not really have a choice. That guy interrogating him makes it sound like he have.

So even in front of a grand Jury does Will have to say anything if Peter do not waive it? And if so, how can he go to Jail since he is following what his client instructed him?
2
Reply
Flag
was Will still Peter's lawyer at the time of discovery of the fraud? If so and if Peter did not waive attorney client privilege then Will can't say anything (just my guess). I agree--How can he go to jail since he is following what his client instructed him to do (keep silent)
1
Reply
Flag
He was Peter's lawyer. That was a scene some episodes ago when both of them actually talked about it. I can wait and hopefully the show will address this at some point.

What I really want to know is WHY does a drug lord need to inform HIS lawyer if he is going to move drugs??

THAT really bothers me !
1
Flag
The ABA has several outs for lawyers to break confidentiality without client authorization. One out is a lawyer can break confidentiality by court order.
1
Flag
Staff
Answers to those questions, sadly, I do not have since, well, I don't know! :) Hopefully next week's episode will clear things up on this front a bit.
Reply
Flag
Thank you for reading and trying to answer. Sometimes the show just assume we all know the legal system. I thought it was only me that don't
Flag
It's a pleasure to get The Good Wife back. I really liked the episode. And I could definitely watch a webserie about those two guys at the NSA.
9
Reply
Flag
I'm so glad to have The Good Wife back! So, yeah maybe this episode was a bit clunky, but I liked it. I like where they're heading, and I think it will be interesting to see how Alicia handles Lester. Lester is one of those people who look so harmless. I'm glad Alicia is cautious about him.
1
Reply
Flag
Staff
As someone I follow on Twitter noted, Lester is scarier than any zombie on The Walking Dead.
9
Reply
Flag
I'm guessing Will is going off to jail. I know the actor's contract was up last season and stuck around for this season sooo unless things change this is how he is being written off. Which for me is a much better way then him taking the NY branch (or wherever that other branch was) and it is an easier way to write hm back in and give him guest spot appearances.

I'm wondering how Kalinda's belief that Cary was lying is going to bite Lockhart&Gardner and in return Kalinda.
1
Reply
Flag
yup! bye bye Will! not sure how he would go to jail over peter but this is how they ship him off the show. That's why the show has been saturated in Alicia/will flashbacks They are donezo! Weird way to send off an emmy nominated character but this "season's shocker" is pretty obvious 2 me.
Reply
Flag
Don't get me wrong, I love The Good Wife, its writing is incredible, but I felt that this episode was a bit off. I think that the way Cary explained the Parallel Construction to us was a bit clumsy, it felt artificial, forced. I think that no-one could be that intelligent as to figure out this parallel Construction plot so easily just by having read an article on Reuters about it days earlier... How convinient that he had just read that, and all of sudden he's involved in a NSA plot like that.

Also, Kalinda used to be one of my favourite characters, but now she's totally a plot device, she's a robot, existing only to investigate, but putting aside all her feelings. I think this is the first time that we've seen her actually having s*x with Cary and there are no emotions involved? Just for the sake of getting information? It doesn't seem right.
3
Reply
Flag
I think that is very in tune with Kalinda's character. I am a fan of Kalinda too but she use sex a lot of times through out the last few seasons (not with Cary though) to get information. That is totally Kalinda. She is quite a cold, ruthless character. I would say that she only have genuine feelings for Alicia and maybe Will.
1
Reply
Flag
Maybe with other people, but with Cary it doesn't seem right to me at least! They've been co-workers and more importantly, friends. It's odd that she would "betray" him like that, especially when she already pretended to Cary to join Florrick-Argos just to get some info.
1
Reply
Flag
Thank god, new episodes are back and most importantly Noel's review is back.
I like giving Will too much credit too. Hope he doesn't betray Alicia.
Can't wait for Louis Canning [Michael J. Fox] to make an appearance. Also can we please have Judge Abernathy back.
2
Reply
Flag
Thank goodness this show (and Noel's reviews) are back, I was serious withdrawn (withdrawaled?). And it was a thoroughly entertaining episode, possibly the busiest TGW episode yet. First of all the cable spoof: it was a very specific parody of Low Winter Sun, right? Who knows what led to that writing decision. Then we had Alicia blowing off George Bluth, which seems almost trivial, no doubt there'll be more on that in the next episodes.

Speaking of guest actors, this episode was chockers, including but not limited to the Nagus (too geeky?), Cap. #2 from Criminal Intent and the guy from Weeds. If I did have any misgivings about the episode then they would be that it didn't have the strong resolution most TGW episodes have, no doubt because it's the beginning of a trilogy. Instead we get more serialisation. The episode through many balls up in the air which presumably won't come back down for a couple of episode. Serialisation is generally a good thing so this is a tricky balancing act. I just hope they don't forget to resolve the subplots eventually, remember Will's burgeoning murder trial with that other guy from Weeds, whatever happened to that?

Of course the main part of the episode ended up being about the NSA. I have no doubt the parallel construction thing is based on fact but boy it really opens a Pandora's Box for narrative expediency in tv and the movies. Now any criminal-ish secret will be able to be revealed effortlessly using the NSA investigating something purely tangential device. For example ****MILD HOUSE OF CARDS SPOILER ALERT**** they had no issue of House of Cards having a season-long subplot about finding traces of phone calls. In that show they used hacking and the dark net and so on. They could have replaced all of that with a quick parallel construction story instead. ****END SPOILER**** NSA parallel construction is ripe for deus ex machina-dom that I'm imagining a future where its over-use drives me crazy. Potentially something to which we can look forward.

What else did I take out of this episode. The Cary/Kalinda thing stood out and not really in a good way. I feel like that was far too significant a development to be delegated to the 5th or 6th subplot of the episode and rushed. It was a really thing to occur at this stage of characters' arcs. Maybe it was yet another case of quickly changing tack on a dubious Kalinda story (I was NOT enjoying her Jordana Spiro relationship). It was also very strange that after going to such lengths she didn't even get the result, something I don't think we've ever seen before. This story was definitely a victim of the multi-episode arc.

I don't want to sound like I didn't like the episode because I did, it was terrific and I can't wait for next week.
More+
Reply
Flag
It does say AMC in the beginning and I thought I tune into the wrong show. I believe it is Low Winter Sun but it is not a direct rip off.
Reply
Flag
I was so happy yesterday when I realised The Good Wife was back on, and it was just as good as always. Looking forward to seeing the wiretap story unfold and more of the NSA guys please cos they are awesome. Also I'm not actually sure that Kalinda believes that Cary lied to her about the wiretap, but maybe that she's lying to Will and Diane about it.
2
Reply
Flag
Brilliant show!
1
Reply
Flag
I am a bit confused as to why Judge Kluger is giving Alicia the brush off.
5
Reply
Flag
I do hope there is more to the story there than just because "he had decided to take on Mandarin instead of writing his book".
3
Reply
Flag
I was wondering whether he knew about the NSA wire taps, or Alicia had somehow offended him.
3
Reply
Flag
That is quite possible.
1
Reply
Flag
Staff
Ooo. Good call on the wiretaps. I'm leaning that way now that you've said something.
3
Reply
Flag
So carefully crafted, this one. They're simultaneously lighting several fuses--some quick , some more slow-burn--to bring Alicia back into the center of the show: Judge Kluger v. Alicia (too many knowing references to be a throwaway), Cary v. Alicia (when Judge Kluger remembers everyone's name except Cary's, and Alicia's aside to Cary, "that was almost Will-like"), and Alicia v. Agent Dubeck, to add to the litany of existing conflicts (Will v. Peter, Kalinda v. Cary, Kalinda v. Damian, and of course, Alicia v. Will).

My only concern is that the show may be letting the conflicts (and resulting melodrama) spiral out of control. Yes, the higher conflict quotient this season has made the show more exciting to watch, which has improved its viewership and critical response. But the reason Good Wife is my favorite show on TV has been their ability to temper the melodrama with emotionally resonant relationships and thoughtful inquiries into legal and political issues.

I really hope the show-runners don't lose their emotional and intellectual grounding as they let these fuses explode this season, but all the meta references this episode were not reassuring. The fake AMC show clips ("I think this will make sense if I get more wine") and the NSA's very own Rosencrantz and Guildenstern ("The Florrick lady? Don't worry, she'll be alright") were kinda fun, but absurdist meta jokes are no substitute for good writing.

More+
3
Reply
Flag
BigBrother bitches!
Reply
Flag
It feels like forever since I've seen a new episode of The Good Wife, so glad it is back. I liked seeing the NSA guys again. I wonder where they are going with this stuffed ballot storyline, are there going to be more permanent repercussions? Will Peter go back to jail? I think that at least part of the reason Will didn't say anything to the man from PIN was because he was protecting Lockhart/Gardner. He represented Peter and it could damage the firm if other clients (Bishop for example) found out that he gave incriminating information about a client to the authorities so easily.
13
Reply
Flag
Your reviews are great as is the fact that you post them so fast :) The NSA guys were so fun and cool even though it is kind of scary to think in what ways they can invade our privacy. I don't think Will hates Alicia. I think he still loves her and maybe that's the reason he didn't reveal anything? Anyhow there is a thin line between hatred and love and apart from that it will be very interesting to see how this election-thing will play out.
From the sidebar: - I immediately remembered one of your previous comments on how the show addresses things that the fans comment on.
-Exactly how much wine does Alicia consume in every episode?
12
Reply
Flag
Staff
The speediness of the reviews hinges entirely on whether or not I have advance copies. In this case (and next week's), I already have the episodes, so they can go up right after their air. Otherwise, it takes me a couple of hours to write them after the episode airs on TV.

And I imagine that half of Alicia's salary goes to supporting her wine habit. Same as mine. ;)
19
Reply
Flag
Follow this Show
Members
6,990
  • 9:00 pm
    What Would You Do?
    NEW
    ABC
  • 10:00 pm
    20/20
    NEW
    ABC