Let me start off by saying I fully understand that Will Gardner is a fictional character. That Josh Charles is alive and well and off looking adorable somewhere.
But last night was the first time it truly hit me that his character was gone and that this is the new The Good Wife and it might not work. Something seemed off the entire episode.
The merger with Louis Canning happened way too quickly—before the opening credits. And because Michael J. Fox was tied up with his own comedy for most of the season, we haven’t seen Canning on the series since January 2013. That left many characters having to remind us how awful he is. “Dear God, are you really thinking of putting the fox in charge?” Diane wonders. (And, by the way, a clever, clever pun by the writers. Nice work.)
When Kalinda threw the baseball at Canning and said, “You’re not the new Will,” all I could think was “No, he’s definitely not.” And I’ve always liked the Canning character but having him merge with the firm has a square peg in a round hole feeling. Also unless Fox is joining the series full-time, I don’t see this merger lasting.
I still haven’t given up on the idea that Diane will join Florrick/Agos. But the problem with that is it leaves us with no one at Lockhart/Gardner/Canning (or whatever they would call it) that we care enough about. I love David Lee (as you know) but he’s not enough of a presence on the show to be a true adversary for Florrick/Agos.
My main issue with the episode is that NSA employee Jeff Dellinger (returning guest star Zach Woods) would choose to go to Florrick/Agos with his case. To paraphrase Casablanca,—of all the law firms in all the towns in all of Illinois, he walks into theirs. Why would he chose a law firm that he knew he and his colleagues were actively listening to? Unless he subconsciously wanted to confess to them that they were being spied on? And once Cary and Clarke started representing Jeff in front of his bosses, wouldn’t they find it odd that he was being represented by a firm whose calls they were listening to? The whole thing didn’t track for me and made it impossible for me to truly enjoy the episode.
Not that there weren’t some highly enjoyable moments. Peter’s brilliant way of putting an end to the taps was pretty great. As Eli said, “I am not worthy.” And I love Cary finally asserting himself as a true partner in the firm. “You are mismanaged,” he tells Diane.
But the best was Alicia channeling her anger at discovering she’s the target of the three-hop tap and her grief into defending Finn Polmar, who the State’s Attorney is trying to blame for the whole Jeffrey Grant debacle. Her take-down of the State’s Attorney using the “GD” acronym was fantastic, and it was nice to see Alicia providing the show with some levity. Also, I really loved her asking Canning, “What do you think of Al Queda?” The cheeky, flippant, take-no-prisoners Alicia is the best Alicia.
Overall, however, this wobbly episode left me concerned.
Other thoughts on “All Tapped Out”:
—I’m a little sad about the NSA investigation coming to an end. The casting of the NSA techies has been the best—Zach Woods (The Office), Maulik Pancholy (30 Rock) and, last night, Michael Urie of Ugly Betty. I have to think Urie is a big enough star that he’ll be back again. So perhaps we haven’t seen the last of the NSA.
—Did you catch all the t-shirts on the NSA employees? Sons of Anarchy, It’s Always Sunny in Philadephia and I’m pretty sure that was a Chumhum shirt.
—Alicia uses a day planner???
—I was never the biggest fan of the Clarke Hayden character, but he’s really grown on me.
—Josh Charles directs next week’s episode. It’s not enough for me to have Will Gardner behind the camera.
What did you think of “All Tapped Out”? Are you worried about the show? Do you think we’ve seen the last of the NSA or Jeffrey Grant? Talk about it below.
Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.