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The Good Wife: "A Defense Of Marriage"


The Good Wife

"A Defense Of Marriage"

Season 4 , Episode 9

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It almost seems obvious, but I have to say it: Nick Saverese died on the way back to his home planet. That’s maybe a little unfair. Nick’s long-hoped for (but apparently accelerated) departure from The Good Wife wasn’t quite as jarring as Poochie’s farewell from Itchy & Scratchy. There was even a little mystery into just how Kalinda finally got rid of him to give the air of a dangling story thread. But I don’t think Nick will ever be coming back. His farewell was as ridiculous, confusing, and needlessly dramatic as everything else he ever did on this show.

Honestly, if I didn’t know that Robert and Michelle King had decided to speed up Nick’s farewell in response to fan complaints I wouldn’t have guessed this was a hastily-assembled plot twist. That’s not to say it felt logical and earned, it’s just that nothing with Nick has ever remotely made sense. There’s too much bullshit to run down the whole season, but let’s just think on the last few episodes. Nick saw Cary talking to Kalinda through a window, and suddenly decided that they were in love. So he has his man assault him—assault HIS OWN ATTORNEY—and Cary retaliates by suggesting he knows Nick is running drugs through his business.

Nick is alarmed so he goes to Alicia and threatens her re: this whole business. What Alicia has to do with it, outside of being a colleague of Cary’s, is a mystery to me. At this point, anything would make sense, since Nick was already stupid enough to have his own lawyer beaten up. So Alicia tells Kalinda, and Kalinda reacts by driving her car into Nick’s lot, kicking his poor assistant’s ass with her car, and shooting open a trunk filled with drugs. Then, SEVERAL HOURS LATER, he finds her in the firm’s office and she tells him the cops are coming to his lot. A wise man would maybe have gotten rid of the drugs in those several hours, but as we know, Nick is no wise man, so Kalinda suggests he take a map of Canada and a key to a storage locker and get the fuck out.

Nick keeps up the whole 50 Shades Of Grey terrifying sexual Jedi act so Kalinda gets up and we cut to black. Did she kill him? Eat him in one gulp? Toss him out a window? Disassemble his mind with some sort of psychic attack? Logic would suggest she did nothing of the sort, because killing Nick in the Lockhart/Gardner office would certainly be frowned upon. Most likely, he took her advice and ran back north of the border. But there’s that ominous cut to black, and Kalinda’s even more ominous words to Alicia — “he’s not coming back.” I’m taking it as a Poochie thing—Kalinda might as well look into the camera and present a sworn affidavit promising that Nick will never return. I pretty much refuse to ponder the possibility that she murdered him. At least let this show keep a shred of dignity.

Well, that’s 500 words on Nick’s goodbye, but I think he earned it. No real disrespect to Marc Warren—he bugged the shit out of me, but I think the character is to blame. Michael Fassbender would have sucked in that role. It was just so hare-brained from start to finish. The rest of the episode was a little better, but hardly a standout (and overwhelmed, happily for the last time, by the stink of Nick Saverese).

The concept of the firm arguing for one defendant in a murder case and helping the prosecutors from a county in the boonies going after a different defendant accused of the same crime (whose speedy conviction would get their dude off the book) was a fun, nutty legal premise, classic Good Wife. The ensemble of guest stars was great—the return of Stephen Root as salty Judge Murphy Wicks, the steely Jane Alexander as his Chicago equivalent, Becky Ann Baker as the county defense attorney. Plus, there was a fine moral quandary—Alicia et al. realize that their dude is guilty, and while of course they’ll continue to represent him, do they have to help the county prosecutor convict an innocent man?

The problem was, that development came pretty late in the episode, and before anyone had any time to dwell on it, both juries rendered guilty verdicts, and Will is telling Laura (Amanda Peet, back again for more flirty time with Mr. Gardner) that they’ll happily help with the innocent man’s appeal now that their dude is locked up. It all makes sense, but I like it when Alicia has to really get deep into the muck, and there just wasn’t room for that here.

The episode was just too busy for that. After weeks of teasing over just why Eli was being spied on by the feds, Hamish Linklater dropped in from the Department of Justice sniffing around Peter’s campaign finance reports. There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing about Eli’s wife’s campaign and playing the accordion, and while Linklater was as adorable as he always is, it was quite a lot of teasing for the ultimate revelation that Peter’s campaign could be in trouble. Which once again feels like stalling. This seems more like an inconvenience than anything else—campaign finance mishaps are way less sexy than adultery accusations, which Peter has already dealt with. The show is hampered by the fact that it has to stretch this campaign out for a whole season, and doubly hampered by the fact that it already did that once.

The most fun plot of the night was easily Alicia’s auto-fill discovery on ChumHum: One of her kids has been searching the web for info about condoms (specifically “what are types of condoms,” a fairly ludicrous phrasing). Or so she thinks. Zack points out to her that he’s a web genius who knows what a “cache” is, so he can cover his tracks. The lovely Christian Grace is equally horrified, even though she’s got her European model boyfriend Connor now (although she’s intrigued enough to ChumHum “sex” in an equally ridiculous, later scene). It seems The Good Wife can’t do anything without tying it to the Internet, but Julianna Margulies still has good chemistry with her kid actors and the dual awkward conversations were nicely handled—just awkward enough. The final revelation that Jackie Florrick was the one doing the Internet searching (guess that answers my question from last week re: her helper-man) was enough to jack this episode’s grade up a notch. Because that’s a twist for the ages.

Stray observations:

  • I know Black Sabbath has reunited, but do you really think that meth addict testifying on the stand thought they were “killer?”
  • Kalinda does good work in the courtroom for Will’s theatrical questioning of a concert security guard. “I’M NOT BEING MURDERED! I’M JUST SCREAMING IN THE HALLWAY!”
  • Alicia enters Grace’s room. “What’s wrong.” “Nothing! Why does everyone think something’s wrong when I come into their room!” “Who’s everyone?” “My children. My various children throughout Chicago!” 
  • Alicia and Zack know how to deal with the Jackie revelation. “We never speak of this again.”