'The Good Wife' season finale recap: 'Closing Arguments' opened new doors for Alicia and Will and Peter and...

The Good Wife closed out its season with a finale titled “Closing Arguments” that must have set hearts aflutter for anyone who’s spent the season hoping Alicia and Will would get together. The rest of us marveled one last time at how much storytelling The Good Wife can cram into an hour. This is, I’m convinced, the reason The Good Wife has taken off as an audience obsession, an Internet-watercooler phenomenon: Co-creators Robert and Michelle King are steadfastly sure that viewers of network, one-hour genre shows (The Good Wife is a courtroom drama-slash-romance novel for TV) can absorb a lot more plot, characterization, and detail than the audience is frequently given credit for.

Indeed, The Good Wife is fast becoming a social-realist version of Lost: densely layered mass entertainment that repays close watching, a tallying-up of clues and callbacks to earlier episodes, with a mythology that makes the Chicago of Studs Lonigan (get out your library cards, kids) seem like a flimsy travelogue.

Continuing its tradition of casting former stars of The Wire in guest roles, Seth Gilliam (Carver!) was accused of murdering a judge. The case was, more than ever, a distraction — or rather, to use the Hitchcockian term, a MacGuffin: a plot point that keeps the characters moving forward but the full understanding of which is ultimately unimportant to the audience’s enjoyment. (Briefly: A key piece of evidence was a glove that had been missing at the crime scene, but which found its way to Alicia’s desk. I never quite understood its crucial value; we saw pictures of a blood-sprayed crime scene, but the show wanted us to believe that that glove — worn by the judge, not his murderer — was the only item that might contain the killer’s DNA? I’m sure I’m missing something, but ah, it’s over now, anyway…)

Co-creator Robert King, making his directorial debut, had to choreograph much of the hour as though it was a slamming-door farce-drama. The intricacies of working in every significant supporting character (hello/goodbye, Glenn Childs/Titus Welliver!), including Eli (bringing his consulting firm to Lockhart/Gardner), brother Owen (Dallas Roberts) as delightfully neglectful babysitter, and grandmother Jackie (why didn’t young Grace leap up from the restaurant table and call her mother, as Alicia told her to do just last week? I declare, kids today…), were intrinsically pleasurable. Plus, Jane Alexander as the only superficially frosty judge? A lovely, complete, compact performance.

The downward spiral of Kalinda continued with those beautifully played moments between her and Kelli Giddish’s beautifully acted Sophia. In bed, after some warm sex, the look on Kalinda’s face when Sophia took a call from her husband suggested the permanent, new guilt she feels about her formerly carefree trysts. It was a nice detail to emphasize that Sophia had told Kalinda previously that she was married. The old Kalinda didn’t care about that, had forgotten it. Now, being the potential home-wrecker is painful for her.

The scene with Will and Peter epitomized what makes The Good Wife so different. Almost any other series would have used this moment for the men to throw down, for Peter to launch accusations and for Will, initially taken aback, to profess his support and perhaps even his love for Alicia.

Instead, the scene was a little masterpiece of silences and mixed messages. Will thought he was there to urge Peter to modify Glenn Childs’ vindictive ways; Peter assumed Will was there to rub his nose in the rubble of his marriage. Their wariness — part lawyerly instinct, part poker-player macho — became extremely tense for the audience. By the time Peter let loose with as much of a threat as he thought he could make (“It will be funny to be on opposite sides in court. But not laugh-out-loud funny”), everything that needed to be communicated between them at this stage of the game had been said. (As did the quick shot of Peter tearing up the glove-package delivery receipt.) And we were left with a tantalizing setup for what next season will be like in the courtroom. And not just Peter vs. Will; think Peter vs. Alicia as well.

From the moment we saw Alicia and Will in a bar — celebrating their court win, drinking and joking with relaxed relief — to the final closing door of their hotel room, The Good Wife took us on a rueful, often funny history of their entire on-again, off-again, ambivalent but intense relationship.

Opting to make real their long mutual fantasy of what it would be like, as Will said, to have “good timing just for an hour,” what followed was a series of little comic mishaps culminating in dead-serious passion. Confronting a booked-to-capacity hotel, an elevator to ecstasy that made lurching stops at nearly every floor, and a recalcitrant key that would not open the door — this wasn’t mere delayed gratification, but multiple opportunities for either of these people to call for a time-out, a return to logic, a halt in the walk toward new pleasure and possible heartbreak. The producers felt it important to emphasize just how much Alicia now wants this to happen: She was the one who made the key fit in the door, if you catch my drift.

As for what it portends for the future, I’ll let you hash it out in the comments below. Well done, Good Wife, well done indeed.

Twitter: @kentucker


Comments (347 total) Add your comment
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  • Jenn

    I replayed the ending a few times. It was so good. I love this show.

    • Jenn

      P.S. To Mr. Tucker…I love your recaps.

      • tvlover44

        word to both of your posts, jenn!

      • Tyler

        I love this show! It’s such a refreshing thing to find something so smart and grown up on TV. And it’s not even HBO! An excellent end to a superior season. Great casting all around including the supporting actors and guests. I love how nuanced everything is, a standout amongst all the noise and shouting and drama of reality shows and poorly written series. Bravo, The Good Wife. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for the future.

      • Yo

        Yes, this was perfect, wonderfully well-written.

      • Dart

        It was a delicious end to an amazing show but I was agonizing over every little mistake Will and Alicia were making; classic tryst errors that will surely come back to bite them next season. The camera lingered on Will’s credit as he paid for the room, people watching them at the bar; I’m guessing Peter and his mother will be giving Alicia payback, and that an investigator will have no trouble tracking Will and Alicia; totally worth it though! Looking forward to the fallout next year.

      • @Dart

        I was thinking the same thing. They probably should have been much more discreet about it. But it was pretty intense.

    • lauren

      me too!! the way Will kissed her in the elevator. so much love and respect in that kiss. hot.

      • Terry

        Love and respect, I guess you have sloppy boyfriends who take advantage of you. That was pure lust and laided plans.

    • wtfnyc

      If by “a few” you mean “six,” then: right there with you. *Fans self*

    • Dana

      Speaking of the ending…Did anyone notice the long hallway shot at the very end? I thought that must have some kind of meaning, since the logical shot would have been of their hotel door. What do you think that shot means? Is someone watching them? Something else?

      • Willy

        YES, WATCH SEASON 3 TO FIND OUT, IT WILL BLOW YOUR MINES.

    • KwadGuy

      Gee…Am I the only one DISAPPOINTED that Will and Alicia went for it? Too soon…and it’s her boss…I know they’ve had chemistry for a long time. I know that’s where the plots been heading.

      But I was still hoping it wouldn’t happen. I don’t like where it moves the show.

      • bobbi

        I have been waiting got a long time for Will and Alicia to get together. Alicia is separated and can do what she wants now.

      • Jen

        Yeah, I think you’re alone on that one. I for one would have been livid if they had NOT hooked up! Go Alicia and Will. TLA :) I just ADORE this show! Thanks to all who make it happen!!

      • WP Wily

        I’m not happy either, although I knew the way these shows are written it was going to eventually happen. I guess I’m more of a Chris Noth fan, and I like the interplay between the legal and political story threads.

      • arben

        No, I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed in how careless they were — she’s a known face in Chicago; a celebrity even if she doesn’t want to be — and they were hardly discreet. And I’m disappointed that she would do this while still legally married (not from some absolute moral perspective, but that she wouldn’t maintain some moral high ground above Peter), as well as that Will couldn’t be strong enough to help Alicia come to that decision if necessary.

      • Patty

        Separated doesn’t mean you can do anything you want, that would happen after the divorce and not before. She could lose custody of her children for this stupid act, there is already a investagator on them, what do you think he will bring forward that will send her up the creek.

      • creekside2

        I agree! Some of the enjoyment of the show was the tension of the relationship between Will and Alicia. I think Alicia will pay for their carelessness when her husband & his mother find out. And I don’t think I really like Will. Alicia has been the Good Wife up until now. She deserves better.

    • alex

      Awesome ending! Icant wait till next season…

  • Lisa

    Boo! I know a lot of people love Will, but he has always seemed like a weasel to me. Can’t wait to see what secrets are hiding in his past. Looking forward to Eli at Lockhart/Gardner next season & here’s hoping for more Cary!!

    • PeternAlicia

      Agreed

    • jc in nw

      Couldn’t agree more, Lisa.
      I saw the promo clip for the show and prayed it was a bad dream Alicia had.

      • Yo

        Will is a weasel, but Alicia has needed some good sex and it is high time she got some.

      • @Yo

        But isn’t that what Cary should be for?

      • Anne

        I love Will. Loved that scene, too.

      • Soz

        I agree Yo. Fine. He’s weasely. Alicia also deserves to get some. She also doesn’t have illusions about him. Also, he’s really, really sexy.

    • Kayelle

      Will is a weasel! I so hate that storyline! I do not see the tension/chemistry.
      Who’s redeeming themselves: Kalinda, Peter, Cary–love them all.
      I’m thrilled to see Eli coming back–wasn’t there a question whether he’d be renewed? Owen is a hoot too, of course.
      Jackie is losing it. The kids have “grown so tall”? … in what, like a couple of weeks?
      Love the show (still annoyed with the main romance story) …

      • WP Wily

        Maybe now that Alicia has also cheated she can stop being so sanctimonious about it. I can always hope. At least Peter appeared to be really trying to atone.

    • Jay

      I agree, more of Cary and his wicked smile in Season 3 please! Eli rocks, can;t wait to see him at Lockhart/Gardner…..I also do not like the Will/Alicia pairing, wish they had shown a bit of Tammy.

      • Dana

        Oh, good grief. I can’t stand Tammy. I’m thrilled they didn’t show her.

      • Ben

        The actress who plays her – she was also Karev’s psycho ex-whatever on Grey’s Anatomy – is very annoying.

      • asher

        I find her annoying too, and found myself glad she did not show-up last night. Also, Cary is sexy as all get out, much sexier this season than last!

    • susela

      The beauty of this show is that everything is shades of gray. Peter is a cheating weasel who seemed to ignore Will’s plea to look at the case, but he’s the one who sent the incriminating glove to the firm. Eli is a calculating political operative, but unexpectedly rescues a woman about to be deported. And Will is a seemingly good guy, but is also a sharp lawyer who has often made morally questionable moves. We’ll see if it’s true that women only like Will until they get to know “the real” him.

    • seattleellen

      I like Will, but we know he has some skeletons in his closet from the one attorney that came in & is now gone along with the devious P.I. that is also gone. Plus IMO
      yes, the kisses were hot, but it didn’t seem in all reality that now that it was finally happening somehow the chemistry seemed different. Not as hot as when Alicia was thinking back to with Peter and her ring put a big old scratch in the headboard and they both started giggling because of that and the kids.
      Still, can’t wait to see the reprecussions to everything next season. Anyone else notice how perfect the ending song choice was in addition to yes, the long shot down the hall…Hmmm….
      Oh and love the Eli put his foot down to Alicia and said this was a business decision.

    • Julie

      I don’t find Will physically attractive, but I find him sexy…if that makes sense. I have never seen weasel with him. He seems to truly care about her and always has.

    • Jill

      I completely agree. Will is weaselly, as most everyone on the show, is, since they’re lawyers! And Will is no better and I’m ready to know his slick, greasy, weasely secrets. I don’t get the tension/chemistry between Will and Alicia, and I just don’t see him as a father figure to Zach and Grace.

      I’m read to see more Cary and in the new state’s attorney’s office. It’s going to be fun.

      • seattleellen

        Jill, I agree about Cary – that will be a kick & he has got GREAT chemistry with Kalinda – so you never know what could happen between those two! It is just a wonderfully written, acted show.
        also love how the grandmother showed up at the dinner – as remember when she got drunk with Alicia’s brother – that was a hoot!

    • Tim B

      I agree. I never really got the chemistry, I never felt it. And with her and Peter just split up isn’t she committing adultery just like him? Did not dig it. Did not dig it all. I didn’t rejoice in Peter’s adultery, and I certainly don’t celebrate hers. BOO!

  • Gaby

    That was a fantastic season ender! When did we last – or ever – see Alicia laughing like that? Genius episode!

    • Mark

      That was my first reaction to Alicia’s laughter, too – although I extended it to Juliana Margulise’s entire career (she was always so serious during her time on “ER”; most of her feature films have been strong dramas). Unsolicitied advice, Ms. Magulise: when TGW has run its course, and your bookcase at home collapses under the weight of all your Emmy awards, do a sitcom. A sitcom where you play a very happy character who displays that radiant, bursting-with-sunshine smile at least once a week.

      • soonerwife

        Totally agree!!!!

      • ziggy

        well-written post! I totally agree.

      • JoeC

        Want to see Marguiles cut loose a bit (kind of)? Check out her beautifully modulated performance in the indie dramedy CITY ISLAND. Terrific performance, terrific little movie.

      • MIKE

        JoeC beat me to it, so I second his idea- CITY ISLAND is terrific, and she’s very funny in it.

      • Amy

        She guest starred on Scrubs so she’s not a total stranger to sitcoms.

      • Mark

        Thanks for the “City Island” tip, gentlemen. To NetFlix I go!

      • @Cy

        Like @Amy said, she did do Scrubs but on that show she played a really straight role as a domineering Lawyer!

    • susela

      She’s always a revelation on late-night talk shows—funny and loose, with an infectious laugh.

      • Jujubee

        agreed – I’ve happen to catch her a few times on talk show interviews, and she is fantastic. I want to hang out with her in real life.

      • lesliemd

        So glad you mentioned CITY ISLAND! It was oe of my absolute favorite movies og last year, and one of the only films I saw a few times, especially after it came out on DVD. Check it out – JM is terrific, funny and sevy, and Andy Garcia is wonderful, too.

  • Jen

    A truly amazing episode, totally agree with Mr. Tucker that it’s a job well done to pack so much material into 43 minutes of television. Love Will and Alicia ending up together for this season at least, and looking forward to Alicia vs. Peter in the courtroom!

  • KD

    This show ROCKS. The biggest moment for me was Peter ripping up the envelope receipt. After all of that–I had not even thought about or CARED who had sent the glove–it was HIM?!?! Man! I can’t wait for next season!

    • Caracticus

      And they managed to leave Peter’s motivations ambiguous: one last dig at Childs, or helping Alicia/LG/Innocent defendant… if Peter is TRULY redeemed, it’s to help an innocent man get off from a crime he didn’t commit. If he’s marginally redeemed, it’s to help Alicia. If it’s no redemption at all, it’s to mess with Childs.

      • @Cy

        I thought it was because the prosecutors were trying to set that guy up and Peter didn’t want that (possible) scandal hanging around to blow up during his watch.

  • David

    Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Dexter, and Fringe the bar has been set.

    The Good Wife “in my opinion” ;) has now beat the competition in being the best drama on television, what a wonderful show this is.

  • Charlotte

    Loved the ending and the possibilities it sets up for next season. You are so right about the confrontation between Will and Peter, it was mature, but extremely tense-filled. I actually do like Peter. I think he will do a good job as states attorney again. I just think he’s a lousy husband.

    I’m glad that Alicia and Will had good timing, at least for one hour. ;-) I hope that Kalinda and Alicia will be able to patch things up next season.

    • Becks

      I like Peter too, he’s 100 times sexier than Will. I kept thinking that if Alicia thinks Peter was a bad husband, Will would be so much worse.

      I love Alicia, but i don’t think she’s a lot of fun in the sack. Her character is very much the lady in public, but can never be the whore behind closed doors.

      • Caracticus

        I don’t see Will as a good father-figure to Alicia’s kids, but I see him as a loving and devoted husband / friend to Alicia. There is deep love for Alicia there, I think: any one who is friends with Alicia becomes a better person. Alicia’s goodness rubs off on other people, and I believe that’s going to come into play with the estrangement with Peter: Peter will only become less noble without Alicia’s positive influence.

      • JenR

        Alicia’s kids have a father who isn’t a very good father figure. Besides, they are pretty much grown. Alicia should have some fun.

  • Liam

    I love reading your recaps, Ken!

    And the show has been outstanding this year. It really is the best show on television. The performances of the actors, the writing, it’s unpredictable. Just give it an EMMY already!

  • PeternAlicia

    Well wasnt that predictable?? You know i do hope this romp does get it out of their system and then we have the last of this Will – Alicia to and fro. Personally it was a disappointing ending for a show that usually gets it spot on! Last scene was too contrived and cliche presidential suite in a hotel? C’mon!!Kalinda..im not entirely sure whats happening there!I do hope they dont make this into a Peter/Alcia fight!! i will stop watching if that is what this show becomes.

    • dontcallmepete

      I have to agree because I was a bit disappointed last night too. Much too contrived because let’s remember Alicia is a public figure too and in all of this she’s unrecognized headed upstairs with a man other than Peter? In fact it’s been a bit contrived since the investigator revealed the name Leela to Alicia. He’d been following Cary and asked Cary why he was protecting Kalinda.

      • Flyer

        I always wondered why that oh-so-smart investigator didn’t take the natural leap and figure out that Kalinda and Leela were the same person. The names are even fairly similar.

    • creekside2

      I would actually love to see Alicia happy with her husband. Yes, they’ve been through a lot of crap but I don’t especially like her with Will or Cary. Peter could actually be more understanding and forgiving of Alicia than his mother. I think she’s the one Alicia better look out for.

  • PB

    An ebullient finale that should set up for some fireworks next season. Alicia and Will get to indulge in their and a large portions of the audience’s fantasy. Good for them, but I’m sure there will be a cost for their sweet, but ultimately poorly thought out tryst.

    Peter gets a bit of redemption in the audience’s eyes by doing the right thing. However, as Diane described, he’s looking out for his own interests as well. Love that Eli will be part of the firm. Great character. Very little kid scenes — always nice. And poor, broken, lost Kalinda. She’s a shell of her former self, full of doubt and a new emotion — guilt. Truly a nice send off until next season….

    • KikiD

      Agree! The less of the kids the better.
      NOT a fan of an Alicia-Will combo at all. I’d rather see Alicia and Carey entertaining too much wine at a gathering and sharing a questionable embrace to lead us off into the Summer.

      • Anne

        The kids are necessary. They tie Alicia to so much…Peter, guilt, Jackie, her conscience. I’m not sure why people don’t enjoy them; they’re both really good actors.

      • Deb

        Carey is NOT right for Alicia. He’s too young and immature. I don’t know if Will is right for her either, but she does deserve some fun. As for Peter, I don’t think he’s sexy at all. He’s sleazy and manipulative. He was sexy as Mr. Big on SaTC, but not on this show. Yuck.

      • asher

        The thought of Cary and Alicia grosses me out…they are both attractive in their own way, but he is way too young and immature for her.

    • madeleine

      Agree entirely, PB. I even thought Kalinda looked much smaller this week. She was always walking with much taller, bigger people. She suddenly looks so vulnerable. Great show!

    • Jelana

      The Will/Alicia hook-up means that Alicia either now HAS to divorce Peter or leave the firm. She’s too honest not to tell Peter about Will if they do get back together, and Peter would never be ok with her returning to working for Will if they stay married.

      • Sarah

        Seriously! Affairs make people do crazy things. Alicia will not tell Peter and she will continue to work with Will.

  • PeternAlicia

    Oh and by the way how come no one one metiones Peters tearing of the receit? that was preety good of him even if he was furthering his career…Oh what a class act is Alicia – so cool and collected – last scenes were perfectly executed by Margulies!

  • eliza

    i thought that the ending was pretty brilliant. i wasn’t expecting any “will/alicia finally get together, if only for an hour” moment to be so lighthearted, but it really worked. throughout all the mishaps, they both had ample time to dissect what they were about to do and made the logical step to do it. and it was wonderful to see their friendship-of-last-season awoken again in the bar scene, with all the subtext this time coming to the forefront.

    i have to say, though, that will sure didn’t waste any time making his move on alicia, which is funny considering last week he was demurring that there were too many issues.

    • Textumbleweed

      Well, remember it was only perfect timing for an hour or so.

      • elena

        also, they’d had a lot of tequila

    • asher

      I was a surprised the show had them getting the hotel room so openly in public…that is the only part that seemed unrealistic to me. Then again, they had been drinking, and Alicia just seems tired of doing the “right” thing. I loved how they did the elevator scene with the doors opening and closing.

      • JenR

        The elevator bit was genius, teasing us with will they won’t they, giving them chances to back out and then when they finally start kissing, breaking that up too just to tease us again.

  • Sina

    I also agree for me the best moment was seeing Peter rip that receipt. I love Peter. I like how the show has written Peter. Yeah he’s a villian but he also has a good heart. The whole end scene from the bar to Alicia opening that door was good. For a moment I thought Alicia was going to tell Will we shouldn’t do this but as soon as he grabbed her hand, I knew she wouldn’t stop him. I love the case. I love all The Wire actors. There is so much storytelling in one hour. I think that’s why Grace didn’t call Alicia. They had so much story to tell, they didn’t have time to break into Alicia cussing out “Evil Grandma”. I really wish they would bring Kelli on full time. I didn’t watch her other shows but I’m loving her on this show. Since she’s working with the State Attorney Office, hopefully we will be seeing Sophia v Kalinda on some cases.

    • Sarah C

      I don’t think Peter sent the glove out of the kindness of his heart and the wish to do the right thing. I think he sent it to further his own career.

      • PeternAlicia

        whats wrong with that? who doesnt want that. We’ve seen Will do that time and again.

      • Sarah C

        I wasn’t necessarily saying something was wrong with that, just pointing out that he was possibly doing it for a different reason than Sina thought. And for the record, I’m not pro-Will/Alicia. I have a feeling next season we will be shown just how not-perfect Will is, and it will possibly disabuse us of thinking that he is perfect.

      • Jill

        EVERYONE on this show is out to further their careers, and they’re all out for themselves. What show are you watching? If something good gets done in the process, then that is a good thing. Peter did something good; not anyone person on this show is either good or bad; they’re all gray.

    • Cathy

      Peter does not have “a good heart”!! He’s a dawg, similar to a few politicians in the news today. I didn’t get the trial. Where was the big bucks in the case? It didn’t make sense for them to invest all that time and money in it. Can’t wait til next season sparks to fly.

  • anonymous

    The awkwardness between Alicia and Kalinda was actually a little amusing this episode. But I hope they repair the Kalinda/Alicia friendship next season. They have such an interesting relationship.

    • J

      Me too! This season has been amazing and the last four episodes have been incredible exploring how Alicia deals with this betrayal BUT my favorite part of the show was always their friendship and the way these two women are so close and work so well together. Already in the season finale they were working together more than I would have expected based on Alicia’s smackdown in the episode before. I hope that points to Alicia forgiving Kalinda throughout next season. Put the blame where it belongs: on Peter.

      • RetinalScan

        Yes. I agree with you.

      • conventgirl

        Kalinda is fantastic and I’m looking forward to her next season. I also enjoy Eli’s role and Carey’s, too. Next season will not come round soon enough as I think this is such a well written show that treats it’s audience as having some intelligence.

    • Dyan

      Alicia needs to get real, Kalinda didn’t know her back then and she’s been trying to make amends and protect her ever since because she cares for a respect Alicia.

    • jazzmin

      I have not seen what you state to be the case at all you have your iomirfatonn dead wrong.When one shows up early for GAs it is IMPOSSIBLE to get iomirfatonn and this is true any other time you show up.It appears TUES some of these issues will get addressed. My point is simple:COMMITTEES ARE CURRENTLY STRUCTURED AS DYSFUNCTIONAL TOP-DOWN, DO-AS-YOU-ARE-TOLD entities. They do not in any way represent the 99 percent .Most, actually, literally represent NOTHING

  • PeternAlicia

    Jackies a nutter!

    • Chris1215tine

      I love, love Will and Alicia together. I thought it was very well done and epitomized “hotness” and sexual tension. So glad they finally got together. I hate it when shows do nothing but tease.

      Peter was/is a cheating sleaze.

      Who cares whether Will is a good father figure for Alicea’s kids, they have a father figure. He will still be in their lives, he hasn’t died.

      Disagree with people who want less of the kids – I think both Grace and Zach are wonderful actors and I like it when they are in the show.

      It will be a long summer. Also agree that all the foreshadowing will come back to haunt Will and Alicea.

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