Oh, The Good Wife, how I missed your complicated heart. Returning with a new episode titled “Nine Hours” on Tuesday night, Wife was tense, dense, and immensely satisfying. The central plot turned on the scant few hours Alicia’s law firm had to get a stay of execution for a condemned man, but the show also worked its time-management magic by cramming in stories that included Peter Florrick’s live, televised campaign debate; Kalinda investigatin’ and prevaricatin’; a “moment” between Alicia and Will; and everyone being worried that daughter Grace might be getting religion. (The Good Wife is the only series on broadcast television in which a glimpse of a girl at prayer is cause for shocked alarm by the show’s humanist heroes.)
At the start of the hour, Alicia received a call from a clerk asking about a detail regarding a death-penalty case her firm had lost. She correctly interpreted the brief conversation as a coded tip-off that there was something else the law firm could do to prevent the execution. In a nice bit of book-ending, the conclusion of the hour found Alicia on the phone again, making what would otherwise have been a summation argument in a courtroom, articulating a passionate plea for the man’s innocence. Once again, with its ceaseless ingenuity, The Good Wife managed to have Alicia, who would never have led this defense under other circumstances, become the dynamic protagonist for whom we rooted.
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