As a penultimate episode of a series “The Good Wife” packed on the drama and situations in “Verdict” and fans wouldn’t be wrong to see the photo posted above and feel like the “Caution” tape applies to how we should wait for next Sunday’s finale.
It was another case of whiplash as the writers took us from considering the real possibility that Peter Florrick will do jail time to the literal destruction of Lockhart Florrick, as if it was the fall of an empire. In some ways it is. There had to be a time jump, but we weren’t told what it was, since we joined the trial Florrick trial already in progress.
There was no sight of Grace, even at the episode’s conclusion when Alicia and Peter were contemplating him taking a guilty plea. There is no way she wouldn’t want to be involved. Perhaps, as we suggested last week, the receiving line of goodbyes at the party might have been the final time we’d see many of the show’s characters; just didn’t think it would include Grace.
Alicia and Jason
We finally got a better explanation about Jason’s complex feelings about his current squeeze, after a heart-to-heart between him and Lucca. He loves her and it’s killing him that it’s occurred at a time when he has to watch Alicia put on a tender act for the jury each day at the trial. She’s got to hover over Peter, grip his hand for support on cue from Diane and generally be “The Good Wife”.
After reporting back to Alicia about info she asked him to dredge up about Peter’s alleged affair with Geneva Pine, he threw in the towel. He can no longer be that involved in the Save Peter movement. What he told Lucca was that he feared that even if he opened up to Alicia and admitted his feelings, that if Peter got convicted and went to jail, there would be no divorce and lots of visits to support him.
How does that jibe with his need to roam about the country? Even Alicia wondered what it all meant, but asked for him to be patient until the trial was done. She nuzzled him in an elevator and spoke quietly, thanking him for how much leeway he’s giving her. She knows it’s not easy to watch.
But, would Alicia really be fluttering around Peter if he went away? At the conclusion of the episode she said she would when Peter, contemplating a two-year stint in jail admitted that the worst of it would be if he felt “forgotten”. Alicia assured him she’d never let that happen. That means that those of us rooting for Alicia to get the heck out of Dodge have to hope for an acquittal if Jason and Alicia have any shot.
Lockhart Florrick and Lee
The destruction of the offices began as a mistake by a construction crew who picked the wrong floor to begin tearing walls down. When the ceiling caved in one spot, Diane got over her horror at what occurred by making lemonade out of lemons, or at least she tried.
In between prepping and trying the Florrick case she was interviewing loads of female candidates to join the firm. Her pitch is that they will remain a full-service firm but clients will get a female perspective. What does that really mean? David Lee found out and threatened a discrimination suit, crying about reverse sexism and feeling like a minority in his own firm. The look that Lucca gave him was priceless and of course, no one actually said it but you had to think either Alicia or Diane was one step away from asking him how it felt to have the tables turned.
Diane decided to use the hole in the ceiling to expand to the upper floor and have some sort of stairway between the two. Oops, bad news was delivered when a city official informed her that the entire floor was now in danger after the crew took out something that created a serious building instability. So, she’s got heavy-hitter women lawyers coming to a construction zone, promising a stairway to heaven, so to speak, and all it is at the end of the day is a disaster.
Will this force Diane to go small, particularly if Alicia rides into the sunset with Jason? Hey, maybe it’s time for her and Kurt to do the same, particularly after she pledged to spend each and every day of her life making up for the embarrassment she put him through.
Desperate to win the case, Diane asked her husband to testify, something he hates when he’s totally prepped. In this case, he did a preliminary investigation prior to the bullets disappearing. His opinion, based on a small sample size of tests was that the bullets didn’t match the gun of the man accused of the killing,
He did it to help Diane. His time on the stand went well, but a rebuttal witness embarrassed him, calling into question whtether or not he was in the tank for Florrick.
Is Peter guilty?
Peter took the bold step and decided to take the stand after he, Alicia and Diane agreed that the jury wasn’t buying the fruits of their cross-examination of the key prosecution witnesses. It became imperative after the surprise witness showed up. His reasons for micro-managing the case, including the evidence gathering was simple and actually believable.
His time in jail, for something he claimed he never did, made him humble and sympathetic to defendants who proclaim their innocence. He promised to pay more attention to that once he got back to work and the numbers back him up. His record in his second stint at the State’s Attorney’s office, in general, leaned heavily towards refusing to prosecute with questionable evidence, even more so than his predecessor Glen Childs. It made the case of his donor’s son seem more routine than outrageous.
The surprise witness was Peter’s former top deputy, Geneva Pine who questioned his judgement and testified that in her opinion he was throwing the case out to please his donor. Her motive? According to Louis Canning, who became a back channel source of info for Alicia, as long as she didn’t drag his client Cary Agos into all of it, Pine was a jilted lover of Peter’s and it was recent.
When Geneva mentioned Cary as the person who had more to do with the ballistics side of the case, Agos was put on the stand and Canning ended his friendly help. Cary’s face was etched in anger as he curtly answered questions and while he didn’t go out of his way to hurt Peter, as Geneva did, he didn’t help the case. The stare down with Alicia was classic, with Cary claiming he was telling the whole truth, wondering what Alicia’s excuse was.
When the prosecutor came down from offering eight years in the can to only two, the Florricks took the matter seriously. The jury was out and the offer had to be accepted prior to them returning a verdict.
Alicia and Peter
The couple had the first argument in a long while, that began with him denying the affair with Geneva Pine. It escalated into the two dredging up their major slights and hurts, including the affair with Will Gardner. It ended quickly since Peter and Alicia have reached a place where none of that really matters any longer, particularly when it comes to calmly and dispassionately assessing personal situations.
The marriage has been the central relationship in the program, even when Will was alive. Seven seasons of wavering about divorcing a man she rarely lived with led us to this point. She could have had a very different life, but chose to keep close, at least on occasion, to Peter, first because of her kids and perhaps to avoid the disdain of her mother-in-law, then just because it served her purposes in a business context.
She was a rainmaker at the Lockhart firm even when she was a low-level associate. When she went out on her own, the connection to Peter helped keep her own firm afloat. The name cache made many other situations much easier, while at the same time making it worse for those that despised her or her husband. She was considered a dilettante, at times, particularly when she chose to run for office on her own. At other times she stood for being an example of the stand by your man, philosophy.
The truth is that Alicia never felt comfortable divorcing Peter and the reasons varied. As difficult as it might be to contemplate, she never felt capable of cutting the cord, no matter how strong she was, how many professional risks she took or how much money she made on her own.
As the couple discussed whether to take a plea deal and somehow have Peter cope in prison, she gave him aid and comfort, no matter his choice. It was strange and made you wonder if she realized that she could truly be free if he were acquitted. It would open up the way for her to decide about life with Jason, or at whatever the law firm morphed into. She was passive, but loving to her husband, who feared that at his age and with the ten-year maximum he could get if convicted, he might die in prison.
That was when she pledged to never forget him or abandon him. When Peter decided that the smart move was to take the two years, no matter the consequences for him and Alicia, she calmly went to the phone to call the prosecutor and the final words spoken in the show were, “The jury’s back”.
Thoughts on how this will go and how we want it to go?
CBS will air the finale of “The Good Wife” Sunday night May 8 at 9 p.m. ET/PT Image credit: CBS, used with permission