TV Recap: The Good Wife, “Verdict”

Written by Matt Taylor

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And just like that, the penultimate episode of The Good Wife has come and gone. While it may be a cliché to say so, the stakes have never been higher, and Alicia is being put through an emotional wringer as she deals with her husband’s trial, her new all-female firm, a complicated relationship with Jason and some surprising revelations that force her to reevaluate the decisions she made over the past seven seasons. And while not all the dramatic twists worked well, “Verdict” continued the season’s tradition of delivering suspenseful, humorous and intelligently written hours of television.

This week’s episode found both Geneva Pine and Cary taking the stand to testify against Peter, with some startling revelations being revealed about the former’s relationship with the Florricks. Unfortunately, Cary’s involvement in the case feels like a bit of a last-minute attempt to make his character more relevant after largely being ignored this season. But bringing back Geneva Pine is an interesting twist, especially since Renee Elise Goldsberry has become something of a Broadway sensation, thanks to her phenomenal work in Hamilton, since her last appearance on the season. While one particular twist about her character felt random and could have used a bit more build-up, it was still great to see the actress back on the stand, and her involvement in the storyline paved the way for some fascinating scenes.

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From the very first shot, “Verdict” was clearly about Alicia’s status as, well, a “good wife,” with both the character and the audience wondering if she should have stood by her man all those years ago when his infidelity charges first arose. While Alicia and Peter shared more screen time than usual this season, Julianna Margulies and Chris Noth faced off in a number of seasons, all of which were acted perfectly and revealed a lot about their characters. It’s fascinating to see these characters grow, and it’s admirable of the writers to allow their characters to exist in a gray area, morally speaking. Viewers could watch these episodes and feel differently about the characters, which allows for fascinating discussion. But anyone watching would, most likely, be in agreement that the acting was top notch.

Speaking of which, all of the performances were particularly strong today, with everyone being put to good use as the finale approaches. As mentioned above, this was another strong hour for Margulies, but Christine Baranski also turned in her finest work this season. While it doesn’t quite make up for how much she was wasted this season, she should still have enough material in this episode to earn another Emmy nomination. Similarly, Alan Cumming and Cush Jumbo did some strong work, with the latter delivering a monologue that could have been cheesy in the wrong hands but actually worked. Also, in a brief appearance that may be his last, Michael J. Fox’s devious Louis Canning shared a hilarious scene with Alicia that would certainly constitute a high note for the pair.

It’s hard to believe that, within a week, this series will come to an end. But, in a way, “Verdict” helped ease the pain: it’s clear that The Good Wife has probably gone on for a bit too long, as shown by its inability to juggle supporting characters and occasionally outlandish plot twists. But, when The Good Wife is, well, ‘good’, it’s really good. Let’s hope next week’s finale is great.

Overall rating: 8 out of 10.