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The Good Wife Review: "Rape: A Modern Perspective" (Episode 4.20)

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<i>The Good Wife</i> Review: "Rape: A Modern Perspective" (Episode 4.20)

After a rocky first half, The Good Wife is poised to end its season on a creative high.

Leave it to the CBS drama to take a ripped-from-the-headlines story and turn it into a nuanced storyline. In “Rape: A Modern Perspective,” Alicia and Will represent Rainey (guest star Makenzie Leigh), a high school student whose rapist got off on a technicality and is going to Princeton. She’s suing him in civil court. Jason Biggs returns as Internet activist Dylan Stack. Dylan ostensibly wants the firm’s help in a class action case, but he ends up bringing Alicia’s case to the attention of the Internet hacking group Anonymous. The final moments of the episode imply that Kalinda was the person behind the video and photo leaks all along. I’m not so sure I believe that because I don’t think there’s any way Kalinda would involve Alicia’s children. But could Kalinda be part of Anonymous? Absolutely.

Clearly this episode was inspired by the recent Steubenville case. But it never felt as if The Good Wife was exploiting that case. It more used it as a jumping-off point to explore the role modern technology plays in legal cases and how the social media can be more of a hindrance than a help. It also allowed Will to marvel at Rainey’s idealism and courage of conviction.

Back at the firm, Diane continues to be vetted for the Illinois Supreme Court position. She announces, rather slyly, that she and Kurt McVeigh (Gary Cole) are engaged. What? I totally read that wrong. I took her pushing Kurt to marry her as her way of pushing him away since he clearly didn’t want that level of commitment. But now they are engaged? It turns out it’s not Kurt Diane has to worry about. It’s Will. Another Supreme Court Justice is not a fan. “Your partner is a scoundrel,” he tells her. The partners at the firm also learn that Diane is in contention for the position and are rightly outraged. They don’t believe she can advocate for the firm’s best interests while worrying about advancing her own career. They are right, of course, since she already asked Will to drop Dylan Stack’s case. The scene also allowed David Lee to be at his snarky best which always adds panache to any The Good Wife episode.

As we all suspected, Cary is busy preparing to start his own firm with the other fourth-years who were promised partnership. First he blatantly lies to Alicia and denies that he’s planning anything. But the partners are suspicious because the fourth-years are all taking their vacation days (how dare they?) and Alicia asks Robyn to investigate. Robyn discovers that Cary has taken out malpractice insurance. When Alicia confronts him, he asks her to join him. “You and I are the new Will and Diane,” he tells her. Hmmm . . . I’m not sure that’s actually a good thing since Will and Diane led their firm to bankruptcy. You can see Alicia’s conflict—she’s enjoying all the perks of being partner at Lockhart/Gardner but leaving the firm would get her away from the ongoing Will temptation. But everyone always offers Alicia a job and she never takes it. The bigger issue will be if she tattles on Cary and tells the partners what he’s plotting.

While all this action is unfolding, Alicia is still pining for Will. The woman is having a physical reaction to having to keep her sexual desire at bay—she spent half the episode shivering. And, once again, she’s realizing her career and her personal life have taken a toll on her parenting. “I wish I were a better mom,” she tells Grace. So true, Alicia. But if you were a better mom, The Good Wife wouldn’t be nearly as interesting. Alicia’s flaws make her one of the most intriguing characters on television.

Other thoughts on “Rape: A Modern Perspective”:
• This is one of the show’s more blunt episode titles.
• Once again no Eli. I miss Eli.
• The episode made me look up the word “sophistry” which means “a plausible but misleading or fallacious argument.” I’m so prepared for the SATs now.
• That was Brian D’Arcy James as the detective who gave Kalinda the rapist’s taped confession. He played Frank last season on Smash. Nice to see him again on another show.
• I’m still suspicious of Robyn. I’m not buying her sweet, comfortable-clothes-wearing, I-make-up-stories-to-sound-interesting shtick at all.

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