The Good Wife Review: “Dramatics, Your Honor” (5×15)

SPOILER! If you haven’t watched this week’s episode of The Good Wife stop now! Seriously. 

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Television has hit an odd age. It’s not the Golden Age of television that we hear so often, but the “Dark Ages” (I came up with that one). This year alone we have experienced countless shocking events and deaths that leave us screaming at our televisions and cursing the world, however we may have found the most shocking death of the year.

Will Gardner has made his way to the big courtroom in the sky. Yes, the male lead on “The Good Wife” was killed off in last Sunday’s episode appropriately titles “Dramatics, Your Honor”. Although I, and many others, were expecting the actor Josh Charles to leave the show at the end of the season.

Now, I have to try to be objective in my review of the episode. Yes, it may have contained one of the most ballsy moments of the year, but there was still an episode the surrounded that moment.

So, let’s start from the beginning. The first shot of the episode is of Jeffrey Grant (Hunter Parrish), a college student we are introduced to earlier in the season, who is accused of murdering a fellow student. A strong rock instrumental is playing in the background while Jeffrey is looking around the courtroom during the prosecutor, Finn Polmar (Matthew Goode), is delivering his opening statement.

Now, when “The Good Wife” first started out I never looked at it as an achievement in directing, however across the last couple seasons they have actually refined the look and feel of the show. Each episode is impeccably shot and scored. David Buckley doesn’t underscore the each episode, he drives the mood and matches the feelings of the characters.

Let me just say that it was a genius way to set up Jeffrey’s slow mental deterioration. Most of the episode revolved around Will’s attempts to prove his defense of touch DNA, which would explain why Grant’s DNA was under the victim’s finger nails.

This brings him across several theories from exchanging the DNA on a book, coffee shop, and gurney. However, what is more wonderful is the dynamic between Will and Kalinda and actors Josh Charles and Archie Panjabi. The actors portray the characters’ relationship and trust so well on the screen.

Another story point was Kalinda’s decision to leave the private investigator business and this is where the writing because absolutely wonderful. It was such a well placed red herring for fans who were aware of the gravity of the episode to chase. It also allowed for Archie Panjabi to have some material in an otherwise weak season for the character.

The storyline also allowed for one last drink for Kalinda and Will, where Will offers the parting words to convince Kalinda to stay in the business: “That feeling you get when you figure something out? You live for that. Anyway, I’ll miss you. There aren’t many people I like left there. Is that a better pep talk?”

This episode is also the third installment in a group of episodes that involved Peter’s voter fraud case. In this episode Alicia gives a voluntary deposition to determine what the investigator (Eric Bogosian) would ask Will if he decides to question him. And it was essentially Alicia at her absolute best. Julianna Margulies has grown so much with the character that even when she is being sarcastic, it feels in character.

This finally brings us to THE scene. Will calls for a sidebar with the judge to ask for time to pursue a new lead. The entire court begins to lose interest, the jury ignores Jeffrey, the witness on the stand pulls out his phone, the lawyers and the judge look like they’re having a conversation rather than discussing the case.

The music that played in the opening scene returns, Jeffrey begins to lose it. Hunter Parrish proves that again what a wonderful actor he is. There is so much pain in his face that you can’t help but feel for him. He notices that the courtroom officer’s gun is unholstered.

The genius of the scene comes when we cut to Diane in a different court in the same building as the first shot is fired. Then, the second. Without hesitation Diane finds Kalinda and tells her to check on Will. When she gets to the courtroom Jeffrey is still firing (exactly 6 shots, which was appreciated). The shooting ends and all Kalinda can focus on is a lone shoe and a pair of feet. This is my one gripe with the sequence. There was a few too many shots of the lone shoe and the pair of feet.

Jeffrey is behind the judges bench with the gun pointed at his throat pulling the trigger of the empty gun, which was probably one of the most heartbreaking images of the episode, then we see Finn grasping an unconscious Will as Kalinda screams for paramedics. I was a little tepid toward Panjabi’s Emmy win for the first season, but with this episode she proves she deserves to be back in the Emmy pool.

The final sequence happens in the Emergency room where Diane and Kalinda wait for news on Will and decide to call Alicia, not before finding his body on a gurney. There was no goodbye, no deathbed confessions, just the real world of death.

Kalinda calls Alicia, but before we can hear what she says it cuts to black.

What started off as a great “Good Wife” episode quickly turned into an inspired goodbye to a beloved character and an incredible episode of drama. (A)

 

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