TV Recap: The Good Wife, ‘Thin Line’ (Season 6 Premiere)

Written by David Oliver


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Plot: Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi) and Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) race to get Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry) out of jail on a heroin charge. Meanwhile, Eli Gold (Alan Cumming) won’t let up on Alicia running for state’s attorney and definitely won’t let up on discussing Peter Florrick’s (Chris Noth) panty-less intern.

Coming off its strongest season yet with another Emmy win for Julianna Margulies (and a ridiculous snub for best drama series), The Good Wife was in a unique position: how could it possibly top last season?

The answer? It already has.

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A broadcast series in its sixth season, The Good Wife is more fresh, thrilling and captivating as a show in its second or third.

The episode picks up right where we left off: will Alicia (Margulies) run for state’s attorney? “No,” she laughs at Eli (Alan Cumming). But he’s not taking no for an answer, later in the episode revealing she’s testing well via poll studies – something her husband Peter (Chris Noth) isn’t happy about.

What’s funny is that while this was arguably last season’s biggest cliffhanger, it was the sub-plot of this episode – a testament to the show’s writing staff to keep offering twists and turns to already such a formidable canvas of character and story.

About to meet Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) for a drink (and presumably more sex), Cary (Matt Czuchry) is arrested (!) and leaves Kalinda alone and vulnerable when she conveniently gets a call from former flame Sophia (Kelli Giddish). Orange is the New Black really brought prison interest back into TV. First Shameless, now The Good Wife, but all uniquely refreshing.

The Good Wife is a huge fan of missed phone calls and voicemails. From season one’s epic cliffhanger of Eli deleting Will’s love proclamation to Alicia, to season two’s wiretaps, to Alicia hearing a deceased Will’s last words to her to Alicia and Kalinda both trying to reach Cary, not privy to his arrest. It’s so real, part of why this show works. There doesn’t have to be a bomb or plane crash to bring these characters into crisis mode – daily life can be a crisis all by itself.

Alicia and Diane (Christine Baranski) meet without Cary to discuss merging, but it doesn’t take long for Alicia to realize something is up. Cary is able to send a message through a Lockhart Gardner client (a fellow inmate) to Kalinda and David Lee (Zach Grenier) that he is in jail, and Alicia comes to his rescue only to appear against Finn Polmar (Matthew Goode) in court.

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Cary brought up his infamous mushroom episode from season one as his latest experience with drugs, which makes his arrest for 900 (!) grams of heroin that much more insane. But it’s his affiliation with client Lemond Bishop (Mike Colter) that’s put Cary here in the first place.

Meanwhile, Diane lies to Louis Canning (Michael J. Fox) and David Lee and says she is retiring at the end of the month. She ends up having to represent Cary in court after Alicia is kicked off the case due to their association with Bishop.

Despite all this mayhem, the craziest moment in the episode came when one of Bishop’s men met with Cary in prison. It looked like the man was going to cut off his finger (!). I know the 2012-13 season was the year of amputations (see: Grey’s Anatomy’s Arizona, The Walking Dead’s Hershel, American Horror Story: Asylum in general), but this was pretty poignant. Cary was losing control and what a metaphor to play it out in. On any other show it would feel gimmicky, but here it doesn’t. It made Mad Men’s nipple-gate seem like child’s play.

Florrick Agos struggles to gather funds for Cary’s $1.3 million bail (! – yes, lots of exclamation points this go-round), but receives millions in cash in a bag from one of Bishop’s goons. Too bad this backfires when Finn questions the source of the bail, leaving Cary stuck in jail by episode’s end.

A few threads still hang in the balance. Is Peter sleeping with his panty-less intern? Are Alicia and Finn going to sleep together anytime soon (because tension)? Will Alicia run? Honestly, I don’t care if it takes all season to address these. I’m still hooked for good, The Good Wife.

Rating: 10/10

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