The Good Wife: “Invitation to an Inquest”
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The Good Wife: “Invitation to an Inquest”

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The Good Wife

“Invitation to an Inquest”

Season 4, Episode 17

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I very much enjoy The Good Wife’s little mysteries. The cases of the week aren’t always predicated on lies and deceit and the truth of the case coming out with exciting twists and turns, but they often are, and this week was a prime example. Until the end. What was with that final reveal, folks? Kalinda and Robin do all that legwork, interviewing nervous hotel clerks and whisper-threatening creepy truck drivers and the like, and you win the case by submitting the car’s black box? Why did I waste an hour on that? I ask ya.

I found “Invitation To An Inquest” perfectly enjoyable, mind you. It was another classic legal fish out of water episode—this time, Alicia and Will have to argue in a freezing morgue in front of a very skeptical medical examiner played by Rene Auberjonois who limits them to only three questions per witness. Three questions! Can you imagine! What does that lead to? Well, a lot of run-on sentences, and not much else, because that’s a pretty weak idea for your episode’s logline. “This week, Alicia will only get three questions PER WITNESS.” Cue the dramatic CBS promo music.

For some reason, I can’t stop making fun. I don’t know why I was particularly irked by the resolution of this case, but it just didn’t come together in the way so many legal mysteries do on The Good Wife. A judge died in a car accident, but the insurance company won’t pay out, saying it was suicide, and it turns out he had an affair, but no, he was just swerving to avoid a drunk driver. His poor widow (played by Jessalyn Gilsig, much-despised on Glee but I always liked her on Friday Night Lights) has to suffer through the affair stuff being dragged through the public record, but hey, she gets $2 million, and she doesn’t seem that shaken up about it, so it could be worse.

There was a lot of tension to everyone’s relationships too, and while justified, none of it paid off, possibly because there’s more to come, but it was a little unsatisfying. I enjoyed Alicia and Will’s interplay, although the show unnecessarily struggled to explain why he joined her on the case. Heads up, writers—it’s a legal show, and I’m not a lawyer. Put Will on the case from the beginning, I won’t question it. Don’t have Diane or someone toss off an excuse about the whole thing needing more attention.

Alicia and Will are still being awkward because they kissed; a late night office encounter just reminds them of the better times. “I don’t want to be wary of you, Alicia.” “I know. I don’t like it.” “Feels like we’re avoiding each other.” They agree to be friends, but Alicia avoids getting in the elevator with him, knowing that on The Good Wife an elevator is basically a little sex cell. Who hasn’t had a romantically tense moment in there with someone at this point?

Robin and Kalinda are still getting to know each other—Kalinda is kind of frosty, but for no particular reason since Robin obviously doesn’t pose a threat to her. So there’s some funny little moments, like Kalinda’s whispered, unheard threat, that don’t really click or get followed through on. Oh well. I like Robin fine, and it was about time the show addressed that there’s no way Kalinda can do as much work as she does, but she’s either gonna have to be a friendly helper or have an interesting plot devoted to her. Right now, the show’s trying to have it both ways.

Finally, as if Cary hasn’t been through enough, his mean dad (John Shea) shows up again to throw him a helpful bone—a big pharma client trying to screw over the medical marijuana industry. Diane and Will are thrilled, but the moment Cary pushes back on his dad’s wishes, Jeffrey Agos tries to pull the plug, and Cary has to launch his own power play, go over his dad’s head and box him out. I liked this development for several reasons. One, it was nice to see Cary do well and have the firm (Diane in particular) respond to that. Cause that kid doesn’t get enough love. Two, I liked how weary Cary was at doing so. He’s got his dad’s shark brain, but not his shark heart, and he only screws him over when he has to. Before then, he was happy to entertain the idea of the two of them working together. But such things are not to be. Oh, Cary, you walk away with episodes so easily.

On the campaign side, Peter defeats Maddie—poor Maura Tierney is an afterthought at this point although the show does her the kindness of having her lose by only five points. Chris Noth doesn’t even appear, unless you count a ridiculously hammy phone call with Eli (we don’t hear his voice, but Alan Cumming inserts such realistic long pauses, you’d think he had). But as we move on to the campaign against Mike Kresteva (I wonder if we’ll ever see Matthew Perry again), there’s one more dangling, useless plot thread to cut—young gun Jordan (T.R. Knight), another recurring cast member who really didn’t click this season.

It’s not Knight’s fault—he was handed a particularly useless character who spoke only in buzzwords and barely counted as an archetype of the new guard. Nothing went into that character, so little goes into his removal—he makes some fuss about Zack’s girlfriend’s uncle, and Alicia shuts him down angrily. Eli looks on, but his game here is just not intervening at any point, which is dull to watch (if nominally clever). As with much of the campaign stuff this year, it just doesn’t grab me by the lapels, and that’s because we’ve seen it all before.

Stray observations:

  • Fred Weller was great returning as Wilk Hobson, this time the evil insurance company lawyer—I miss him from TV since In Plain Sight left us. Come back, Fred!
  • Will tells Robin to make it quick. “We have to get back to… the morgue.”
  • So Zack broke up with his girlfriend. Not too surprising considering this was, what, her first appearance this year?

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