The Good Wife and Secrets: “Were we up to Something Naughty?”

13 Oct

When we first met Alicia Florrick she had been thrust into the spotlight as a result of her husband’s dalliances; a casualty of a political scandal that hit at the personal. Before this she had lived in complete obscurity in Highland Park as ‘the good wife’ having lunch with her tennis chums, picking the kids up from school and drinking a glass of wine at five o’clock. When Peter’s indiscretions became a matter of public record, this anonymity was no more. Alicia has since restarted her law career and gone on to start her own firm, remaining somewhat in the public eye. There has been attention from the press of course as her husband is the Governor of Illinois, but now Alicia has come around to the idea of becoming a politician herself, despite her numerous attempts over the past few episodes to claim otherwise. The final push coming courtesy of a flattered ego (word up real and imaginary Gloria Steinem) and a not so veiled threat invoking the personal.

The Good Wife 6.04Alicia claims she is still unsure whether she will run at the start of the episode (even though it’s pretty clear she will) and she reverts to her long ago hostess role preparing food and making sure there is wine. So much wine. Alcohol becomes important later on in the episode and while I don’t think Alicia has booze problem, it is easy for the opposition to spin it in such a way suggesting she does. If she had done the reckless thing and stayed in the bar for another drink with Finn and got a cab home instead of driving then there would have been no story. Or maybe a more salacious one.

The oppo research Eli has undertaken is extensive revealing deep dark secrets including Zach’s girlfriend Nisa’s abortion the previous year, her mother Veronica spanking a 5-year old boy in a department store and her brother’s affair with a married guy who also happens to be a porn star. Each of these things could have a negative impact on the campaign, but it also reflects how in politics even the people who aren’t directly involved are a target and represent a risk. Alicia’s personal life became fodder for the press when Peter slept with prostitutes and now her family will be placed under the microscope if she runs. The reactions vary greatly as Owen at first jokes about his mother’s actions and then is so disgusted by what Alicia tells him they have discovered – and I think he is far more annoyed at Alicia than Phil – that he dumps his wine in the sink and leaves without saying another word. Veronica plays along with Alicia’s demands and attempts to apologize to the mother of the child she spanked until she can’t exclaiming how she “should have spanked you, you bitch!”

Zach is the one who prompts the greatest reaction from Alicia as she can’t believe he would lie to her about something like this and the use of Zach memory pops in this episode underlie the feelings of betrayal, but should Alicia really be this surprised? There is no context as to what was going on with Alicia on August 5th the previous year and at first I wondered if this was when the Will shooting happened, but nope if Finn was seen leaving Alicia’s apartment on March 18th with his sling on, then this was long before Will’s death. Maybe it was around the time Alicia first decided to start a new firm, regardless it is easy to believe that Zach would and could keep a secret like this from his mom, no matter how open she has tried to be with her children. Everyone has secrets. Well everyone except Grace – Christianity 3 Atheism 0 – and her role in the episode is to provide the comedic interludes with her school choir practice and her old tutor/street dancer Jennifer.

A combination of playing voicemail tag and ignoring his calls means Alicia doesn’t have the conversation with Zach until the end of the episode and by this point Peter has alerted him to his mother’s rage. Alicia is angry at Zach for lying and she’s hurt not because they had an abortion, but because she was left out of the loop and it stings further because Nisa’s parents were there (in part because at 16 they have to legally be informed). It is likely this story will come out and if so Alicia wants Zach to tell a different story of how it went down; Alicia knew about it and told them she would help raise the baby, but they went for another option. This reeks of hypocrisy and it shows how Alicia can spin a story that has hurt her personally into a positive for her campaign “I need you to say I am a good parent.” Is she a bad parent for not knowing what Zach did? No of course not, teens can be sneaky and as Zach wasn’t the one who underwent the medical procedure it is something he could easily cover up with a story about visiting a college. She might not be a great parent for asking him to lie the second after she has yelled at him about lying to her, just so it will help her campaign.

The Good Wife centers on the education of Alicia Florrick and over the time we have spent with her we have seen multiple moral quandaries and compromises she has made whether in the courtroom or in her personal life. This is a show where the grey area is expansive and while words like ‘good’ and ‘bad’ get thrown around every character is complicit in some manner (yes even Grace Florrick). Darkness at Noon (Alicia’s favorite TV show) now has an accompanying post discussion show (so much AMC shade throwing in the episode) that’s not even a little subtle in its Talking at Noon title and includes guest star Joe Weisberg (creator of The Americans) discussing the symbolism of an elk (ha!) and who is the biggest badass on the show. They are talking in definitives and the question of whether someone is good or bad (or a badass) is in part redundant as these terms are abstract and can mean different things to different people. The middle ground messiness and flaws is where the fun is and while these digs at cable prestige dramas might come off as a touch petty, the sheer brassiness of these references adds to the hilarity.

Peter’s maybe recent dalliances are not discussed with Alicia and Eli finally gets his wish to fire Lauren, the intern with an aversion to panties and penchant for flirting with Peter. Eli’s raised ‘oh fuck’ eyebrow gets a later workout when he sees Peter flirting it up with Lauren’s mom who happens to be an ‘old family friend’ and also super hot. Eli’s putting out fires all over the place when it comes to the Florricks and their extra martial affairs with Alicia coming up with suitable answers for both surveillance photos of her with men who aren’t her husband. The one with Will cuts like a knife and that wound is still very fresh; it’s a picture from the hotel five years ago at the end of season 2 and if this one exists then surely there are more from their other hotel ventures. The second is another we have seen before and it was used by Castro last season to stop Finn from running as it shows him leaving Alicia’s apartment at 8.30 am. It’s all completely innocent as this was the day she was helping him prep for the disciplinary hearing.

The Good Wife 6.04 Alicia and FinnFor a brief moment Alicia contemplates staying for another drink with Finn and as with all their other interactions the chemistry is palpable – even when they are yelling at each other in court it is underscored with sexual tension – plus there is the natural warmth between them that has been present since their first meeting. Instead Alicia does what Alicia tends to do and go for the sensible hesitation option; it’s what we saw her do last season when she didn’t go into the bar to meet Richard Alpert from Lost and it is what she did on multiple occasions with Will. Alicia guards her heart for better or worse and even though it makes sense for her at this point to avoid any further messiness with personal entanglements I have to admit I was disappointed (though not surprised) to see Alicia not indulge in anymore witness prep.

One thing worth noting is how Alicia’s costuming goes from the high necked Jason Wu blouse, signifying an aspect of feeling guarded and covered while she is undertaking a personal undressing of sorts with Eli and her potential campaign manager Johnny Elfman to the slight décolletage revealing purple blazer in the bar. It’s not like she’s suddenly opting for all the cleav and nor would this outfit look out of place in court, however the contrast to her outfit in the first half of the episode is significant. Alicia’s relationship with Finn is already complicated considering his role in the Cary case and yet there are no hard feelings at this point. Finn is also a pair of eyes and ears on the inside with Castro as he warns Alicia that Castro will hit her where she is vulnerable. This isn’t exactly brand new information as Castro has already invoked the words ‘lover’ and ‘Will’ in the skeeziest of ways, however it is good to know that Finn is very much Team Alicia. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear if he is one of the people who has donated money on the page set up by another Alicia supporter. Finn like Alicia has a habit of joking about matters that can be taken out of context and his comments about doing something ‘naughty’ is enough to give Eli all the eyebrow reactions.

Nothing is completely clean on The Good Wife and Lemond Bishop is no longer a client of Alicia’s instead he has set up a PAC that has raised a lot of money in just a few days and before Alicia has even announced. If there was a source of funds hearing on this money (legal Q – is this even a thing or is that just for bail?) then this would be problematic even if Bishop is a few people away from the source and it looks like Bishop is hoping to have the future SA in his pocket. Corruption follows everyone. Alicia has a more current problem to try and quell with the rumors of alcohol issues thanks to the DUI stop that just so happened to get caught on camera. This race has already hit the smear levels and she’s not even officially a candidate; just how low is Castro going to sink and will Alicia join him in the mud? Saint Alicia no more.

3 Responses to “The Good Wife and Secrets: “Were we up to Something Naughty?””


  1. Sucking it Up on The Good Wife | TV Ate My Wardrobe - October 20, 2014

    […] as we have already seen how much this decision has impacted those closest to her by essentially alienating her son and brother. Pushing people away is something Alicia is very good at as a form of self-protection – and […]

  2. Who is the Hypocrite on The Good Wife? | TV Ate My Wardrobe - November 3, 2014

    […] over the phone a few weeks ago regarding the abortion that Alicia only became aware of during oppo research. The abortion is referenced this week during interview prep and rather than giving the restrained […]

  3. Here’s What ‘The Good Wife’ Taught Me About Life | beautifullyneurotic - November 14, 2015

    […] Source: […]

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