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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Good Wife: “Waiting For The Knock”

Illustration for article titled The Good Wife: “Waiting For The Knock”

Sometimes, The Good Wife is just so busy, it never really settles down into a coherent episode. “Waiting For The Knock” has a clear through line: Set over a single day as Lemond Bishop waits for the Feds to take him away, we’re watching Alicia as she’s torn between the moral ambiguity of her job and Bishop’s unambiguous fear of letting down his young son. But considering the episode focused on Lockhart/Gardner going after Bishop’s illegitimate business, there wasn’t really enough time devoted to the shadiness of the situation. And the material with his son is just a little too mawkish, especially since it isn’t balanced by Bishop being scary at all. And a lot of other side-plots and legal mumbo-jumbo end up distracting—not as seamlessly integrated as usual.

In theory, Bishop is a terrific character for this show. He’s quiet, but he’s scary, and while he’s obviously a good businessman who mostly just needs legitimate legal help, he’s also guilty as sin of all kinds of crimes and everyone knows it. Undoubtedly the best moment in this very flawed episode is when Alicia gets a tip-off from Kalinda that the FBI is coming to arrest Bishop, and she has to decide whether or not to tell him so he can get a jump on destroying evidence. It’s the clearest sign that she knows just how guilty he is. But she tells him anyway, because it’s her job, and plus she looks at his son (which is a little cheesy, but in line with the whole tone of that plot).

“Waiting For The Knock” begins as Bishop gets the news that his accountant has been arrested—and he’ll be next. He summons his two lawyers, including Lesli Rand (Annabella Sciorra), who deals with the much more profitable, but risky, side of Bishop’s business, the drug trade. Will hopes to use this as an opportunity to poach that $20 million-a-year chunk, although he expresses reservations to Clarke about the risk factor. But Clarke tells him to go for it, even though it’d put further stink on the firm. “Money respects money,” he muses, perfectly wisely. They already are corrupted by representing Bishop, why worry what side of his affairs they cover?

There’s a lot of boring grunt work for Kalinda and Cary et al. to do, and apart from a fun scene where Clarke gets to pitch in using his accounting brain, it’s a lot of exposition and dull walk-and-talks, and it clutters up an episode that already has a lot going on. I suppose we had to know just why there’s the body of a dead woman in a car by the end of the episode, which feels like a good reason for the Feds to drag Bishop away, but honestly, I was paying attention and I still couldn’t keep track of everything. We already know he’s guilty, and since the end result is him being arrested, does it really matter what cost him in the end?

Still, it’s nice to see Kalinda doing her thing, and the scene where she and Diane (and Lesli) intimidate Cary into getting arrested so the Feds will unseal their documents is hilarious. Alicia, meanwhile, does her thing at Bishop’s house by relaxing his son and generally being the benevolent/wise mother avatar so many clients mistake her for. There’s no doubt Bishop wants her around as a buffer because of her relationship with the state’s attorney, but still, the whole mommy complex is very present. The episode just hits the nail on the head a little too hard. Sure, Bishop likes his kid, and their lives in a big suburban house are nice and boring. What’s the difference, aside from where he’s getting the money from, right? The kid is cute, and Bishop is appropriately sad, but the whole thing came off a little trite.

Also problematic is Kalinda’s plotline this week, which is dominated by Nick and Lana and makes things even worse by attempting to humanize Nick. Now, if I hadn’t just read an interview where Michelle and Robert King admitted to the failure of this plotline and said they were wrapping it up sooner than expected, I’d really be worried. Because the idea here seems to be that Nick is actually more of an ally than Kalinda thinks. Even though he’s controlling, sexually violent, and hires brutes to come intimidate her, he’s really on her side! Or something. At one point, he reassures her that he’s a bit of an old-fashioned man, but everything he does is for love. It’s a ridiculous sentiment and it doesn’t make sense because this storyline is so hodge-podge and intentionally, destructively mysterious. So, no offense buddy, but I hope you’re nixed very soon, because I can’t take much more of this.


Lana isn’t much better. Even though she’s a competent federal agent doing her job well, she always comes off as petty and bratty every time she spars with Kalinda. The revelation that she’s looking into Kalinda’s work with Eli (and possibly Peter) is vaguely intriguing, certainly more so than the arrival of Nick, but I don’t know that we really need her around either. Kalinda’s best times are with Alicia, Cary, or Will. Let’s get them back together.

Over on the political side of things, Peter wins the straw poll handily but is damaged by the blog post that was teased last week. Watching Eli run around like a headless chicken and bark at people was funny, but this is very much a C-plot, stuck in a holding pattern since the coming twist (which is obviously that Maddie is going to run against Peter for the Democratic nomination) is too big to waste on an episode that ends with Bishop being hauled off in cuffs. Really, the failure of this storyline typified the failure of this whole episode. It was competently done, but plot-wise it felt shoehorned in and not at all cohesive. This whole episode exists in a bit of a holding pattern, even though it gets a bunch done plot-wise—next week will hopefully bring more satisfying conclusions to this odd assortment of half-decent storylines.


Stray observations:

  • When Eli needs to write a number down, he just uses an intern’s back.
  • Two Wire alums this week—Hassan Johnson (who played Wee-Bey) and J.D. Williams (Bodie). We’ve seen them both before, although Johnson was just a picture.
  • Maddie’s obviously running against Peter, right? With Matthew Perry unavailable, they have to give him someone to butt heads with.