The Good Wife, Season 6 Episode 13: “Dark Money”

The Good Wife is one of my favourite television shows. Currently airing, the two shows that I enjoy as much as The Good Wife are Jane the Virgin and JustifiedJane the Virgin is still in its first season, and the writing is still tight enough that it hasn’t yet begun to show the seams. It’s has a very specific tone though, so it could fall apart at any minute. The reason I bring up Jane the Virgin is because, like The Good Wife, there are 22 episodes in one season. Most of the better shows on television nowadays are on cable, where the episode number is usually between 10 and 13 per season and the schedule is less demanding. Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, The Americans, Justified and Orange Is the New Black are fantastic, well written shows (with the exception of Justified‘s fifth season) that have much more time to develop a season long arc than a network dramedy. All this is to say that I didn’t like “Dark Money” very much, and I think that there are always going to be dodgy episodes of The Good Wife due to the long season order.

It’s not that “Dark Money” was bad, but it felt like an episode from the first two seasons of the show. We’ve seen what The Good Wife is capable of, “Hitting the Fan” is a fantastic episode of television, and the biggest problem this episode is that its main ensemble was separated for the episode. Cary and Diane are busy representing Colin Sweeney, while Alicia is off securing donations and Kalinda is driving Bishop’s son home from school. I’m not entirely sure how Kalinda’s going to be written off this show, but I suspect it’ll have something to do with Lemond Bishop. What fascinates me about Kalinda is that she challenges Bishop even though she’s (understandably) terrified of him. She doesn’t want to tell him what his son said about “All-American Mike” (seriously, what a stupid nickname) because she fears that Bishop is going to put a hit on a 13 year old kid. But of course he isn’t, because he knows that raising a child is the one thing he has to get right, so that his son doesn’t end up in the drug business as well. Still, I think that Kalinda’s going to die. Before “Dramatics, Your Honor”, I never thought that a character would be killed on The Good Wife, but Will’s death sets a precedent for Kalinda’s exit from the show.

The best thing about Kalinda being off in her own storyline this week is that it meant Cary wasn’t pining after her (probably my least favourite thing about this season) because he was busy representing Colin Sweeney with Diane. Dylan Baker is fantastic as Sweeney (his performance in Selma was also great), so I’m usually happy to have Colin Sweeney around. The case of the week is that Sweeney is suing a show that seems to be a bit like Stalker for defamation, because they use stories ‘ripped from the headlines’, and one episode depicted an episode where a man killed his wife, much in the manner that Colin Sweeney was supposed to have done. Just when it looks like that Diane and Cary have won the case, somehow the onus is upon them to prove that Sweeney didn’t kill his wife. Yes, we’re going back to a case that has literally cropped up every now and again since the first season. Alicia got a settlement through a ChumHum technicality, and all is good. My problem with this week’s case is that we didn’t learn anything new. Dylan Baker is great at playing a creepy guy, but that’s all Colin Sweeney is – a creepy guy who may have killed his wife, there’s no depth there.

Over in election land, Alicia and Frank Prady’s back channel seems to be working well. Frank brings up an issue about a ‘campaign call’ from a LGBT group that is going out to conservative areas of the electorate, most likely set up by Alicia’s PAC. When Alicia goes to see her campaign staff (I just want a show about Marissa as Alicia’s bodywoman), they tell her that they need more money. The election storyline of the episode is about both Alicia and Frank trying to wrangle donations from Guy Redmayne, a man who has a lot of money, but is also incredibly sexist and homophobic. While with Alicia, he talks about how he doesn’t like fags, and Alicia doesn’t argue with him, because she really wants the donation. When Frank visits him later, he basically talks about Alicia’s ass, and Frank leaves in disgust. The episode is called “Dark Money” because Alicia accepted the money. She hates politics, but her time as a lawyer with clients such as Lemond Bishop has turned her into a pretty snow. She has that ‘Saint Alicia’ image, but she’s starting to learn (despite how much she hates the nickname) that the label isn’t as appropriate as it once was.

Other thoughts:

  • I don’t have much else to say about the episode, but this piece over at The A.V. Club includes “Dramatics, Your Honour” in a listicle of episodes that are too painful to rewatch.
  • Why was Redmayne’s daughter even there? Her inclusion seems completely pointless.

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