'Good Wife': Matthew Perry's 'Blue Ribbon Panel' sees Alicia go Juror No. 8

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good-wife-matthew-perry.jpg "The Good Wife" has pulled out all the stops this week, folks. This might be our very favorite episode of the show so far and that is saying something.

The Case of the Week, or 7 Angry Blue Ribbon Panelists

Alicia is asked by Diane to take her place on a blue ribbon panel being presided over by Mike Kresteva (Matthew Perry, in a wonderful guest-starring turn). The panel is reviewing a police investigation into an officer-involved shooting on an EL platform in which the officer is white and the shooting victim is black.

The panel is clearly phoning it in, but count on Alicia to put on her Hat of Righteousness and go all Henry Fonda on their butts - she's investigating, she's questioning witnesses, she's finding new evidence. It's really wonderful to watch.

Except.

The twist this week (isn't it always about Peter?) is that the State's Attorney passed on prosecuting said white police officer even though there was evidence the officer may have planted the gun he claimed the victim was brandishing.

When Mike Kresteva wants Alicia's input as to which report he writes for the panel - the "compromise," where they support the findings of the original police investigation, or the more forthcoming one, where they talk about discrepancies, the planted gun and Peter Florrick's looking the other way on a race issue - Alicia recuses herself from the case. And this is where we remember we're watching a nuanced TV drama and not Alicia the Superhero does good things.

Honestly, we were initially surprised and a little mad that Alicia didn't stick up for the family of the victim and the work she had done. We thought her moral code would win out over her protecting Peter, but the show ain't called "The Good Wife" for nothing. It was a wrap-up that was simultaneously satisfying and not satisfying, which is the mark of a good television program. We cannot wait to see how Matthew Perry's Mike Kresteva pops up again, because what a delicious character for him. We smell another Emmy guest-star nomination.

One excellent piece of synergy the Case of the Week provides is that Alicia's fire from getting all worked up over the lackadaisical panel spills over into her other work and her personal life.

Kalinda's federal trouble

Kalinda's investigation by the IRS turns out to be FBI agent Lana Delaney back in her life - it's unclear exactly what Lana's motives are. They could be to try to find dirt on Lamond Bishop, but they could also be just to stir up trouble for Kalinda, who turned Delaney down on a job offer. This storyline didn't advance much this week, but it did afford both Alicia and Kalinda opportunities to be awesome - Alicia at the initial IRS meeting and Kalinda when she met with Delaney.

The Homefront

Alicia makes an offer on the Florricks' old house, which is rejected. Also rejected is her letter of sentimental appeal. Because guess what? Jackie bought the house. Of course she did. Alicia confronts her at the end, but the full confrontation we will have to wait several weeks to see. It will be sorely disappointing if that happens off-screen.

Lockhart/Gardner

Julius and Eli finally put their heads together to get Will replaced as a named partner by flipping a coin for which one of them will throw his weight behind the other (Julius wins and gets Eli's support). Will and Diane's countermove is to nominate Howard Lyman, the old decrepit partner who's still around for ... well, to look at porn, apparently.

Overall, it was a masterful episode. There are weeks on this show where not every storyline gels, or one is boring, or one is resolved too quickly. But this one was expertly woven into one of the tightest hours of TV we've watched in a long time.

Thoughts & Tidbits

  • How wonderful were those flashback scenes when Alicia was writing her letter? It's incredible how those small moments of Julianna Margulies' just make us a teary mess.
  • Curious to see Dunaway and Winter, two of the judges Will was accused of bribing, on the blue ribbon panel.
  • Also nice to see Charles S. Dutton as the pastor Alicia sways first on the panel. When he gave Alicia his five minutes, we wanted to shout, "You're five-foot nothin'! A hundred and nothin'! And barely a spec of athletic ability!" If you don't know it, well, look it up and then get on Netflix, stat.
  • It's so interesting to see pragmatic Alicia win out over saint Alicia. Was it all to protect Peter? Because she seemed to care very little about her career or the firm when she was bullheading along with her independent investigation of the panel's evidence.
  • The next new episode isn't until April 15 (nooo!), but which also features Matthew Perry. Can't wait.

What did you think, "Good Wife" fans?

Photo/Video credit: CBS