Except for the occasional missteps, The Good Wife makes wonderful use of its guest stars—often having its actors turn in surprising, unexpected performances. The use of Wallace Shawn in “Runninn’ with the Devil” was downright inspired.
Shawn guest starred as Charles, Lemond Bishop’s (Mike Colter) long-time lawyer. Remember when we last left Bishop (one of my favorite recurring characters), he was arrested for the murder of a confidential informant who worked at his gym. When it seems that he is losing his criminal case, Bishop asks Alicia to bring in Charles. And, at first, we are left wondering why Bishop would want the star of The Princess Bride and Clueless on his legal team. Charles appears to be bumbling and disorganized—until it’s revealed that Charles is quietly and disarmingly issuing veiled threats to everyone who plans to testify against Bishop. I’ve never seen a better use of Shawn’s disheveled shtick. He was the personification of the threat you didn’t see coming.
The episode also highlighted just how morally ambiguous Alicia is becoming. With no outright proof that Charles was threatening witnesses, she can convince herself that no witness tampering is happening. She tells Charles she “won’t stand for it” but that’s clearly not the case. It’s a subtle turn that cannot be overlooked. When the show began, Alicia was solidly on the right side of everything—she was the wronged woman. But now she’s backstabbing friends to get ahead in her career, overlooking witness tampering and kissing other men while ostensibly working on her marriage. These days, she’s more like the situationally good wife.
After spending the better part of two seasons in financial crisis, Lockhart/Gardner is swimming in money—there’s flowers, furniture, artwork—even pastries! That means the firm can hire another investigator and reclaim the floors they had to give up when they were in bankruptcy. Diane is reticent to start spending money again, and I don’t blame her. The firm’s financial trouble is not a storyline we need to revisit any time soon.
One of my favorite storylines on The Good Wife occurred when Scott Porter guest starred as private investigator Blake. As Alicia reminds everyone, that did not go well. But I’m intrigued by Robyn (Jess Weixler, who began a multi-episode guest star arc). Robyn is smart (twice she helped Kalinda out) and seems sweet and beguiling. But on The Good Wife, nobody is exactly how he or she seems. Additionally the drama continually reminds viewers of what a charged work environment the law firm remains. Will tries to tell Kalinda they are expanding her department, but she’s not easily fooled. “I don’t have a desk but I have a department,” she retorts.
The show is also returning to explore the potential romance between Cary and Kalinda, and their scene at the bar was sweet and funny. And, when we see the duo the next morning, we don’t know exactly what transpired between them the night before (although if I were going to take this bet to Vegas, I would say they slept together). But the bigger reveal of that little storyline is that Cary is thinking about forming his own law firm. Kalinda warns him to stop, but I don’t see that happening, do you?
Other thoughts on “Runnin’ with the Devil”:
• I’m always happy to see Audra McDonald, and her turn as Alicia’s law school nemesis was quite delightful. “Do you know what I’ve thought of you since school? Nothing.” Awesome putdown Alicia.
• Will singing the theme song to Growing Pains may be one of my favorite The Good Wife moments ever.
• I thought Bishop was going to have his sister killed, didn’t you?
• So many storylines were on hold this episode—there was no Eli, no Peter and no mention of the Alicia/Will romance. In a conference call last week, producers said the gubernatorial election will happen this season and that the show will explore Alicia’s “attraction to two men” until the end of the season. We have a lot to look forward to.