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The Good Wife S05E20: "The Deep Web"


If the memory games and rapid pace of last week's episode resulted in a scattered mess—as many of you seemed to think (along with being tired of Colin Sweeney)—then "The Deep Web" was organized within an inch of its life. Each story revolved around issues of deception, be they legal, professional, political, or personal. And since I've been writing for TV.com for nearly two years, many of you may already know how much I enjoy such a unified narrative. However, I didn't really find much pleasure out of it.

That's not to say the episode was bad. I reserve the "bad" label for episodes that offend my sensibilities in some way, and they tend to be "know it when I see it"-type deals. No, "The Deep Web" was simply dull. Even Veronica and Darkness at Noon couldn't inject a little looseness into the proceedings, and when that happens, you know things have taken a turn. Perhaps it's because everything was too tidy and too just so that there wasn't any room for air. 

Finn drew the short narrative straw this week, and for that I'm sort of sorry. I've been enjoying the character and Matthew Goode's work on the show so far (I have not been enjoying Finn's hair, though; it's like The Good Wife's stylists have no idea what to do with it), and "The Deep Web" had a couple of tasks to complete with Finn this week. First, it needed to show him doing prosecutor-y things, like pressuring a kid to give up the names of the top dogs of the Silk Road, visiting crime scenes, and talking to other potential suspects. It's important for us to see Finn doing this kind of stuff; should he stick around for Season 6, The Good Wife will need us to view him as someone who's at least good at his job. Second, the episode needed to get his campaign moving, which meant a local news interview and some coaching from Eli.

While the case of the week wasn't all that exciting (we'll get to that in just a second), Finn's involvement wasn't the most important aspect of it, so it felt more like the show was just going through the motions than anything else. The campaign stuff was slightly more interesting, as Eli molded this poor, generally decent-seeming human being into a person who could win and survive Cook County politics. Eli is working with completely unformed clay here, as Finn's handling of Mandy Post's surprise question about his sister's suicide played really well. He is, as Eli noted, a true politician now, and Finn didn't seem all too pleased with this new development in his life. He did only get into it, after all, to save his job.

Diane and the case of the week sat right in the middle of things, as Lyle Pollard's grandson—one of Diane's old-school liberal friends who objected to her marriage to Kurt way back at the start of the season—was picked up for being associated with the Silk Road. As the show explained, the Silk Road is a black-market Amazon of sorts that provides all sorts of illegal and illicit wares and services. The plot avoided court, instead becoming a game of lies and finger-pointings that reminded me of both the Season 2 episode "VIP Treatment" and the show's Bitcoin episode "Bitcoin for Dummies," which may explain why this aspect of Diane's plot never really took hold for me. It felt like a rehash of ideas and plot beats, but without its predecessors' sense of urgency or style. That Robbie was setting up Corsica for ordering the murder of some other Silk Road member should've been exciting or even somewhat interesting, but it fell flat.

Louis Canning and David Lee's shenanigans were just that, but at least they ended with Diane shooting Louis Canning a massive doom stare. The fact that Louis is still trying to mess with Diane's personal life even though he's dying is exactly what we'd expect from him, as he's a guy who plays all the angles. Hopefully things on this front will come to a head soon, though I would've liked to have seen them as allies in court just once, as I loved Diane prompting Louis to do his shtick to explain tardive dyskinesia to Finn. The two of them might have made for great partners if Louis wasn't such a bastard.

The episode's only legitimately good and interesting story focused on Alicia. After being excused from jury duty and making small talk with a handsome designer of batteries named Daniel (Nestor Carbonell, cranking up the charm), Alicia found herself with the day off after Cary told her to just blow off work. This led to a number of things, including Alicia not being able to work a smart TV to agreeing to have lunch with Veronica to then ditching that lunch and getting food with Daniel and being asked out for drinks by Daniel for the same night.

Despite getting her groove back a couple of weeks ago, Alicia's been going to work, even though she no longer enjoys it or sees the point in it. She expressed similar concerns earlier when she ran into Grace's YouTube dancing tutor, but those thoughts are still lingering, causing her to question her entire life. Couple that with her hesitancy to have drinks with a nice, charming man because she's not sure who she's being faithful to, Peter or Will, and Alicia is nowhere near out of her spiral.

But I'm glad she's not. I'm also glad she's still able to don her mask of kick-ass determination—but without any reason to put it on, and with a TV that confounds her at every move, she has some serious thinking to do. Ever since we met Alicia, she's worn a mask and been portrayed as a saint. She got back into law because she had to, not necessarily because she wanted to. She split from L/G because of her feelings for Will (and to achieve some degree of autonomy as well), but with Will's death—not to mention the strain her departure had caused between them—what's the point of it now? Her marriage is reduced to scheduled events, and her law firm seems to be running okay without her. Does she actually need any of this? For the first time since The Good Wife began, Alicia is free to do whatever she wants, and she has no idea what to do because for five years, that's never really been an option. Her affair with Will was a brief and passionate blip on the radar, but it was still just a blip.

And all of this has to be scary and worrisome for her. She's looking for reasons to avoid making decisions, to maintain the life that's generally worked for her—including the idea that she has to be faithful to a man she's not sure she loves any longer or to a man who's dead—but she's now starting to realize that it's not, perhaps, what she wanted. It could just be the sadness and depression over Will's death (and it probably is, on some level), but it's also a catalyst for re-thinking everything, even if she's not expressing it out loud.



SIDEBAR

– I loved that Lyle is still convinced the cops are after him for his "work at the '68 convention." So great.

– "Sex... is a chimera. I saw a crack whore eat her own arm. I saw a baby drowned in a car. Sex... just keeps us occupied. Because reality can’t be endured. Even this will end in smoke." Never change, Darkness at Noon. Never change.

– Hey, look at that! Mandy Post moved from a magazine to local news! Good for her!

– Oh, and Eli's hair is now a different color! I'm assuming Alan Cumming was preparing for his return to Cabaret on Broadway at this point in the production schedule?

– "If society valued kindness and a good haircut, I'd establish that."


What did you think of "The Deep Web"?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/8/2016

End

Season 7 : Episode 22

47 Comments
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One think I didn't like was Alicia talking to herself. It felt forced, Margulies is a much better actress than that, and it felt like she was reading her lines.
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  • It wasn't a bad episode but it has been such a roller coaster recently that this just felt... calmer? Still I prefer this to another Colin-Sweeney-fest thanks...
  • Alicia should be getting dating tips from Veronica...
  • I enjoyed the Finn-Eli training but hero or no hero Finn as an elected official seems a stretch... He does not seem to have the shark instincts that seen necessary for Illinois' politics... Even as a prosecutor, he seemed just barely able to play hardball with Diane over the Silk Road case... I don't know but all the other ADA's seem more aggressive....
  • Darkness at Noon... Makes me worry about Alicia's TV taste (we already know she can't switch on the actual TV set without Zach...)
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OMG Finn's hair though
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I think I was feeling some type of way about Sheriff Alex Romero aka Daniel/Nestor Carbonell flirting with a married governor's wife like it was the most normal thing in the world to do. I get Alicia/Peter's marriage is fake, but only they and their children know that. Whomever Alicia decides to get romantic with, I was kind of hoping it was someone who had observed her situation for a minute to understand that neither her or Peter are devoted to their vows. Or it could be, sometimes I get resentful when an actor of one of my favorite character is suddenly moonlighting somewhere else.

Other than that, this eppy was good because of Eli. He now has someone new to mold. Seriously they need to give Cary more to do.
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Lol! I like the spoofs that this show has. I think they did a fake AMC show a few episodes ago. Hilarious!

I'm surprised that Alicia even got picked in jury selection. If her name is so prominent, she wouldn't have even gotten that letter.

To be honest, I found this episode to be boring. The Lockhart/Gardner/Canning case was uninteresting. It was pretty easy to guess that he was guilty. I just miss them doing actual cases that went to court.
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PS - "Shushan," I still can't help but hear it when I see him on the screen.
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I was with you on this review until you got to Alicia. I suppose it was about investment, but I really didn't feel invested in her story here, it didn't engage me the way you described, and I feel gipped for it. Perhaps it was the isolation she had from the other plots, or perhaps it was the quiet introspection that the audience only got a hint at understanding from her actions rather than words, but I never got what you did out of it, and I'm a little jealous. For me, this episode was a Diane episode with Eli playing a very good B-story,.

Then again, I never seem to get as much out of Darkness at Noon that you do.

I forgot about Mandy Post, good callout.

Eli's hair was very different, unfortunately so was Veronica's face.
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Awww. I can see the isolation being an issue, and I did have that in my notes. One the one level, Cary telling her to take the day off is contrived-ish way to get her into this story, but the reason I was cool with it was how the scene juxtaposed Cary being happily busy but thriving without her, leaving her adrift in the ways I discussed. So, yeah. Sorry that you're jealous though! Would you like to borrow my brain for a bit?

I do enjoy Darkness at Noon, but I think the joke has also run its course. Its appearance before this episode, during Alicia's "I'm not leaving my room!" episode was perhaps the pinnacle of the joke. It's still funny to me, but it's going to hit diminishing returns any episode now.
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Sorry, no room at the inn for extra brains.

Cary told Alicia to take the day off, because neither of them had one. The previous episodes had Alicia taking a day off, right? He was all cheery and happy on his headset, reminded me of a wall street trader, that whole thing felt out of sorts for the startup feel of Florrick-Agos of the past.
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I agreed it was not the best episode for TGW. However, an average TGW episode still brings me much delight and fun.

1. Alicia inability to maneuver her TV remote was hilarious. It is so true now we have so many remotes I just wish there is one for everything.

2. Diane using Louis Canning's disability. Why not since Louis himself use it so many times.

3. Eli doing his job preparing Finn for TV. It is always fun to watch Eli work and we do not get much of that this season.

Some people commented last week that Alicia had recovered so fast from Will's death. It is clear this episode that she has not. One night stand sex with a charming man would definitely ease the pain. If she have taken that road, many viewers would have objected. In the end, she stop herself though she does not know who she is being faithful to. That was a really nice scene when she was leaving the restaurant.

(Nestor Carbonell who plays Daniel is doing good work on Bates Motel)

It seems she is using work to ease her pain like many people do and without it, she has no direction. This is the part I wished she was still good friends with Kalinda and could have given her a call. I do wish the Kings could somehow find a way to make these two friends again maybe next season.

To people who do not want MJ Fox as a regular here - well you are getting your wish since he is dying, he will probably not be around much longer. I loved MJ Fox here and I am a little sad he will be gone from this show.
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Your first sentence is something I should've included. Even a lackluster-ish episode of Good Wife is still better than most episodes of TV. They're just a very confident show (have been since Season 2, really), and it shows.
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Not the best episode - too bad, it being so close to the finale. And the juror interest wasn't too exciting.
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I think Finn may be the first guy who gets Alicia and what she has gone through (trying to be the Good Wife at least in public). That phone conversation the 2 had near the end had a lot of irony in it with Eli trying to mold Alicia into the saint and Finn into the hero.
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The only two people that I believe can truly understand Alicia are Cary and Finn.
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Eh.. that felt meh overall. It had the beats of a good TGW episode - the technology focus, the quirky score that carries over several scenes, etc but the result just was less than the sum of its parts.

Despite the promos, I hope they're not setting up Finn Polmar as Alicia's love interest. That's hasty, tacked on and entirely not needed after the four seasons plus we've had of the Alicia/Will/Peter shenanigans. If they must, I'd take the development of Cary and Alicia as friends and partners (because I miss the Will-and-Diane banter, really) any day. In that sense their "You're a good man" "I'm a good partner" exchange was spot on.
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I'm very much not in favor of a Alicia/Finn romance.
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You do realize those were 2 DIFFERENT men on death row on Season 2 and Season 5???
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Really oops. I just assumed it was because I wanted it to be :-( , I never checked and obviously not paying enough attention. Where does Peter get his money from?
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I am still grieving over Will, don't know if I can move on from that EVER. After the shock and horror of his death I didn't want to watch the show again, but decided to continue watching. It's still good, but in my opinion Will just added something extra to the show that is missing now and cannot be recaptured. It's like a spark is gone in the show :-(
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Is it just me or are their not tons of undertones that being referenced? Before Will left I had the feeling that Diane and Alicia would somehow get back together. Diane seemed to mention many times how she missed the "starting out" feeling! Then there were the series of events after the death of Will, clearly, there is going to be a major power struggle at LG! To the actual discussion of joining forces. Then, there seems to be a rift in the loose alliance that Cary and Alicia have anyway. Cary was not happy that Alicia had the discussion with Diane. This week, if you pay attention, there is unquestionably the possibility that the power struggle at LG will result in a MAJOR shift over there and I didnt think that Cary was sincere in keeping Alicia at bay, out of the office and no laptop! Is it possible that he is fuming over her initial discussion with Diane after Will's death? Could he have needed her laptop to get access? I think that Cary would not want to be part of an Alicia / Diane team and I think there are clear references that Diane and Alicia miss their team and they have so much respect professionally for each other. Cary is from the beginning not one to be trusted, David Lee certainly would sacrifice his mother for advancement and the "new Will" well his intentions are to cause a trainwreck for Alicia and Diane! Just my thoughts anyone else feeling the same?
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I agree the episode was kinda slow, but I still enjoyed it. Canning and David Lee are not my favorites and I roll my eyes a bit at their shenanigans, but I really hope this is a way for Diane and Kalinda to become closer allies. If it is, then it will be worth it, if not, then it will seem like a waste of time.
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I usually agree with the reviewer, but not this week nor last week. This was not a dull episode to me. It wasn't exceptional, but it wasn't lacking in any way. The Alicia story was better than ever, and I was so pleased she didn't further mess up her life by meeting Daniel for a drink. She needs to go through a lot more self-examination and grieving before she takes new steps. Good job by the writers on her story line and terrific acting by Margulies.

I can't find fault with the rest of the show. Diane had good moments, especially when she didn't fall for Canning's illness just because he told her he is dying. (Actually, though, the reason Canning gives for coming to L/G is a bit flimsy, I think). Watching Finn start his political career against his will was interesting. Really, there weren't any missteps and there was plenty to make one look forward to the next episode.
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Soon, McCovey, we'll be reunited, running through a meadow and into each other's agreement embrace once again. Soon.
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I can hardly wait!
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Usually when reviewers wax on about how characters are or should be feeling or thinking, I get annoyed. I assume that I have that reaction because I don't agree with their perception of the show. However, Noel seems to understand the general essence of TGW, and all of his analyses are so accurate and eloquent that when I reach the end, I'm usually sighing, "Yeeeeeea. That's true." I read reviews at another site, and often wonder if the reviewer that's assigned to TGW is even watching the same show.
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Can you say more about when reviewers talk about characters are or should be feeling? I often struggle with making that sort of thing make sense sometimes, depending on the show, especially when I feel like the hand of the writers in some actions the characters take because they have a larger plot to serve.
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Well, first, let me say that I, too, view many of the actions of characters with the mindset that the writers have a larger plot to serve. I hold this viewpoint especially with shows like TGW because the writing is always so good and well thought out ahead of time. So because of such great strategical planning, it can be difficult, as a viewer AND a reviewer, to speak to where story lines might be headed or to character motivations. That is why it often annoys me when reviewers even attempt to do so. Such attempts lead to disappointment and gut punches like Will's untimely death.

To further explain my irritation with such attempts at decrypting character motivations and story line movements, I have to elaborate on this other reviewer from this other site. I didn't want to, but she's a prime example of the problem. My main issue with her is that she fell into the 'shipper trap contained within TGW - Will/Alicia vs. Peter/Alicia. 'Shipping, by itself, is not a bad thing. I even detected some of it in your reviews. I, too, shipped a little during the show's run. However, you and I have not allowed our chosen 'ships to completely color our perceptions of the show. The other reviewer can't see past hers. Even though half of her 'ship has died, she gives it much too much weight in how she views story lines. So much so, that she misses important details during each episode because she seems to be trying to will events to happen according to her liking or is just flat out imagining things. She has already decided that the writers are attempting to ship Finn with Alicia and has herself in an outright uproar about it. Without fail, near the end of each review, she let's the reader know how Alicia feels about this or that or who, and, like a meddling mother, what Alicia should or should not do in any particular situation (usually to divorce Peter, but now she's turned her 'ship focus to any man the writers throw in Alicia's path). I usually end up thinking I need to rewatch the episode because I can never recall Alicia stating how she feels about anything or anyone (until a few episodes ago). Like you have said, Alicia dons a mask much of the time.

Where you differ in this respect, Noel, is your ability to be objective in your reviews. Your analyses focus mostly on what the writers give us week to week with a mind on what's been done in past episodes. IMHO, you have a firm grip on the story we are being told and the characters that are being represented in the TGW universe. You, like any other viewer, have an idea of the way you would like a story to flow, but it does not directly affect how you receive what is actually delivered each week. Therefore, your reviews compliment each episode and add to its enjoyment.

Wow, I've said a lot. Does this help, or at least make sense?
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No, it totally makes sense. I'm mostly just horrified that you're detecting hints of 'shipping in my reviews! ;) I promise that I honestly don't 'ship anyone on Good Wife (or, really, any show), except for, MAYBE, my long-declared feelings about Team Alicia/Large Bottle of Red Wine. OTP 4EVAR.

We have similar feelings about 'shipping as a whole, and I'm not a fan of it as the primary lens with which to view a show (I left fandoms as a result of, among other things, 'shipping) but understand its value as a form to take pleasure from a show that may, otherwise, not offer a whole lot/enrage you. Sometimes it can be used progressively as way to critique a show (see: Kirk/Spock as a way to inject homosexuality into an otherwise gay-less universe), but the political or representational ramifications of 'shipping have largely fallen by the wayside as TV loosens up about who can be paired off and as showrunners become aware of the fandoms...sometimes to the shows' detriments.

I certainly wouldn't consider myself objective, per se (in no small part because I reject the idea of 'objectivity', but I get where you're positioning this), but with The Good Wife, unlike with, say, Arrow, I don't have a big lens that I look at Good Wife through. The problem with any way to view a show, regardless of what it is, and especially in cases where you're doing weekly reviews, is that you sometimes get stuck in that mindset. Sounds like this other reviewer is stuck in hers -- and I think I know who you're talking about -- but maybe that works for her site's readership, and works for her as a reviewer. Certainly I've been accused of missing forests for trees for other shows, so I'm not immune to it, either. :)
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I agree that this was a transition episode and I think your analysis of Alicia's psyche is right on the spot. And I am relieved to see that Alicia's distress goes much deeper than the previous two episodes might have let us believe and that the show takes the time to dwell on it. This is really great writing (and acting) in my opinion.
But I really enjoyed the other parts of the episode as well. For me it was the best since Will's death. The case is nothing new, granted, but it has potential (or will we leave it at that?) and the parallel between Lyle's grandson's and Canning's conditions was interesting.
Canning's maneuvers are also the start of a new arc that could give us more insight into Diane's fighting skills, motivations and ethics. Where is she ready to go against an opponent who has one year left and whose sole motivation is to ensure his family's future?
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Speaking of Alan Cumming there, how awesome is he knowing what he does on Cabaret (and I'm only basing this after seeing him perform on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon) and then seeing him as Eli? So awesome...

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This is actually his...third (I want to say third) time in Cabaret as the Emcee. Which surprises me not on iota that he'd be great for that role.
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I saw him in that role on Broadway (I want to say it was 2001), and he was fantastic. What's more surprising to me is how well he inhabits his role on The Good Wife.
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I didn't think it was dull at all, but I see where you're coming from Noel...

To me though, the one thing that works so much better for the show: Alicia as a lawyer, doing what she does best, killing it in and out of court...
So since this episode was lacking that aspect, i do get it, and was thinking it while watching....but still did not think it was dull. I enjoyed every minute...
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Your review is right on the spot, Noel, as usual. I also remained with the impression that this episode was much more about setting up te season's finale, rather than standing with anything on its own. This doesn't mean it was bas, as production values on this series are still very much top notch. However, there wasn't much point about it, rather than show some characters do something.

naturally, the only exception is the Alicia storyline, and I keep loving how Alicia's representation is very down-to-earth. You can truly believe that a person like Alicia could exisit in real life; she is never larger-than-life, she has weaknesses and has done things out of necessity that she wouldn't normally like. Cudos for Julianna Marguilles for playing the character so well, but that would have never been easy without such excellent writing.
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I think that the episode seemed boring unless you have been getting the little hints all season long. The episode was intended to set us up for the next chapter, a rift and power struggle at LG and a rift between Cary and Alicia. I think somehow, we will see Alicia and Diane against Cary once again! The Alicia day off was too much of a focal point of the show. Remember the ruthless character that Cary has been in the past. Remember that Diane has been referencing her longing for the days of starting out. Even more importantly, Diane and Alicia already have gone down the, lets join forces talk, WITHOUT Cary! Could Cary not have been keeping Alicia out of the office for other motives than caring that she has a break? We know there is going to be a battle at LG already, and it seems unlikely that Cary would want to be part of a possible power team of Alicia and Diane! Diane with her righteous beliefs and years of respect. Alicia, the wife of the governor and the colleague that fast tracked past him for years! This episode seemed boring unless you think about the possibilities that were being set out for the audience. And the fact that it did take a seriously slow turn for a season that has been super charged only raises more suspicion as to why the would hit the breaks if not to be reserving energy for an explosive turn of events.
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I agree with the second paragraph in this post. The character of Alicia and the acting by Margulies in that role are terrific.
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