The Good Wife: “Anatomy of a Joke” (Episode 4.07)

TV Reviews The Good Wife
The Good Wife: “Anatomy of a Joke” (Episode 4.07)

Well, well, well, everybody showed his or her true hand in “Anatomy of the Joke,” didn’t they?

Court-appointed trustee Clarke Hayden, who until now has been more of an annoyance than a true threat, revealed his endgame is to find a buyer for Lockhart/Gardner.

And, as long suspected, viewers learned that Indira Starr and Maddie Hayward are collaborating to ruin Peter’s career. After seeing Indira leave Maddie’s townhouse, Kalinda realizes Maddie is the mastermind behind the entire scandal. Now Maddie is leaking the story that Indira has proof of the affair. She can describe an identifying mark on Peter’s penis, a birthmark shaped like Brazil. It is, as Eli points out, the perfect political trap.

While these two long-term story lines continue to simmer and unfold, Alicia and Cary try to help Therese Dodd (guest star Christina Ricci), a comedienne who is being sued for removing her shirt on a national talk show and performing a breast self-exam. The storyline gave the show a fantastic opportunity to address the double standards that exist on TV. “So hypocritical. You allow yourself to show naked bodies just as long as they’re bruised and covered in blood,” one FCC commissioner tells the network’s lawyer Burl Preston (a great returning guest-star turn by F. Murray Abraham). And it can’t be a coincidence that in the same episode, the series humorously bleeped out the word “tit” but could say the word “penis.”

Ricci did a great job of portraying an in-your-face comedienne prone to potty humor, inappropriate jokes and cringe-inducing remarks. But about half way through the episode, I couldn’t figure out why Cary and Alicia were still continuing to help her since she seemed intent on self-sabotaging herself. If viewers had gotten a glimpse into what was behind Therese’s brash exterior, it would have been a more compelling storyline. But given the fact that she and Cary shared a mutual attraction, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ricci popped up on the show again.

Amanda Peet returned as Laura Hellinger. Laura has resigned from the Army and is now looking for a new job. Alicia asks Peter to interview her for Cary’s old position in the District Attorney’s office and Peter, appreciative of Alicia having to deal with the whole Brazil birthmark thing, hires her on the spot. It’s great to have the chance to see more of Peet, even if this is a series already too full of intriguing characters.

Cary finally got some well-deserved screen time. John Shea guest-starred as Cary’s estranged father Nestor Agos. Shea, who played Lex Luthor years ago on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and most recently was Blair’s father on Gossip Girl, is perfectly cast. The man oozes insincerity and deviousness. At breakfast Nestor tells Cary that he is proud of him and makes vague mentions of not knowing how much time they have left. Cary fears that something is wrong with his father. But, in another example of how the series frequently eschews predictable plot developments, Nestor only wants Cary’s help in securing a job. He needs Cary to ask Diane to put in a good word for him. There will be no father/son heartfelt reconciliation here. The look on Matt Czuchry’s face as he realizes his father only is using him truly emphasizes how underutilized the actor has been this season. Let’s hope this increased screen time is a trend that continues.

The Good Wife is better anytime Zach Grenier’s David Lee is involved. This time Will and Diane need his help to stop Burl Preston from acquiring the firm. This allowed Grenier to do what he does best—deliver smug, snarky one-liners with panache.

When Clarke discovers what Will and Diane have done he screams, “You’re cutting your own throat. You are losing this firm.” With both sides vowing to not step back, this series is poised to take this throw down to a very entertaining level.

Kalinda’s husband Nick was notably absent from the episode and not even mentioned. Perhaps the writers will decide to treat the storyline like some drunken one-night-stand. They’ll just do a walk of shame and never mention Nick again. Can viewers be that lucky?

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