In portraying a lawyer who used his “neurological condition” to distract and sway jurors, Michael J. Fox used the fact of his Parkinson’s disease in an artfully witty way on this week’s The Good Wife. Fox’s wily Louis Canning made distracting moves and noises in the courtroom, hijacking attention away from Julianna Margulies’ Alicia and her legal team.
It was a clever idea and performance, and typical of the way The Good Wife constantly merges fiction with real life. The central case involved a woman who’d committed suicide — Alicia’s firm hoped to score an eight-figure settlement from a drug company that manufactured anti-depressants that, the firm claimed, spurred suicidal behavior in this episode titled “Poisoned Pill.”
The hour also carried two sub-plots. The political career of Peter Florrick’s new opponent, Anika Noni Rose’s Wendy Scott-Carr was placed in jeopardy when news spread of a $19,000 breast augmentation operation. This was supposed to be damaging to Scott-Carr’s rep as a champion of the down-trodden, which seemed a bit of a stretch to me, but, hey, crazier things have happened in real-life politics, I suppose. What really seemed like a stretch was that no one spreading the rumor discovered Scott-Carr’s redeeming twist: that she’d been diagnosed with stage-two breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. Which she revealed in an interview on CBS’ The Early Show. (CBS’ The Good Wife never misses a trick.) This wasn’t even the story line’s most clever touch: The Good Wife found a way for Rose, a skilled vocalist, to sing. The National Anthem, no less, with Alan Cumming’s Eli sighing, “Of course she has perfect pitch.”
For fans, though the key sub-plot was Kalinda’s special relationship with a public defender played by Lili Taylor. Taylor’s Donna and Kalinda had a history — Kalinda had broken Donna’s heart by kissing and disappearing, in an effort to protect what Donna called “your secrets.” Scott Porter’s Blake tried to blow Kalinda’s cover, even as Kalinda, working with Matt Czuchry’s Cary, dug up some dirt on Blake that will doubtless play out in future episodes.
The Good Wife even managed to make Alicia snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as Fox’s Canning explained in the final seconds of the show. Once again, we had experienced more plot and character development in an hour than NCIS, Castle, and Law & Order: SVU can muster for an entire season combined.
What did you think of this week’s Good Wife, and Michael J. Fox’s performance?