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Each week, the writers of “The Good Wife” seem to become more and more adept at blending storylines and introducing new characters without making the show seem overcrowded or jumbled. The show began as a look into the life of a publicly-shamed politician’s wife, but it has morphed into a compelling legal/political/family drama. The latest episode, titled “Poisoned Pill,” is a perfect example of how the legal, political, and family storylines are skillfully woven together:
Alicia Florrick’s (Julianna Margulies) firm takes on a class-action suit involving a woman who committed suicide. They want to secure an eight-figure settlement from the pharmaceutical company that produced the anti-depressant the suicide victim took. The pharmaceutical company is represented by a highly-skilled lawyer with a neurological disorder (played by Michael J. Fox, a highly-skilled actor with a neurological disorder). It soon becomes apparent that the attorney, Louis Canning, is using his condition to his advantage in court, distracting Alicia and her team as well as eliciting sympathy from the jury. Canning’s tactics are not enough to prevent an expensive settlement, but as Alicia’s firm is celebrating a lucrative victory, Canning tells her that avoiding a settlement was never his intention. The pharmaceutical company had asked Canning to knock a potential $90 million settlement down to $50 million, and he was able to get it down to $35 million, earning millions in stock options for himself in the process. In Canning view, that amounts to a victory.
Peter Florrick’s (Chris Noth) chief hatchet man, Eli Gold (played superbly by Alan Cumming) discovers that the upstart third candidate in the race for Chicago State Attorney, Wendy Scott-Carr (played by Anika Noni Rose), spent $19,000 on breast augmentation surgery. Gold, on the lookout for ways to discredit the popular Scott-Carr, sees immense value in this information, but knows Florrick would never allow him to make it public. Instead, Gold cannily leaks it to the camp of Peter’s arch-nemesis, Glenn Childs. When the information goes public, Scott-Carr reveals that she had the surgery after a double mastectomy, which she needed to combat Stage 2 breast cancer. The revelation only increases her popularity, and Childs’ chief lieutenant (who is blamed for ridiculing Scott Carr in a political cartoon) is forced to resign.
While the status of the Florricks’ marriage remains uncertain, Alicia has agreed to publicly support Peter (who does not appear in this episode) during his campaign. However, their daughter, Grace (Mackenzie Vega), is captivated by Scott-Carr and makes a public statement to that effect. When Alicia talks to Grace about it, she learns her daughter is angered by Peter’s role in the dirtier aspects of the campaign. When Scott-Carr reveals that she had cancer, it only strengthens her hold on Grace’s imagination.
Kalinda and Blake
The rivalry between the firm’s investigator, Kalinda (Archie Panjabi), and new hire Blake (Friday Night Lights‘ Scott Porter) is heating up as the two continue to search for dirt on one another. Kalinda finds a tidbit from Blake’s past with the help of former Lockhart-Gardner associate Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry), while Blake unearths a bitter, jilted former lover of Kalinda’s. At this point, their clash is a draw.
All these plots weave together to show why “The Good Wife” is one of the best dramas on television.