Every iconic TV law program had its specialty. In "Boston Legal," that was cunning ways to win. "LA Law" delved into personalities. And of course "Perry Mason," so primitive, was about justice. Tonight "The Good Wife," which has a shot at iconic, confirmed that its focus is the political - all forms of it.
There's the politics which help send Alicia's husband Peter to prison for 10 years. Two weeks ago, former founder of the firm told Alicia the whole thing had little to do with sex. The reason Peter was in prison and would probably stay there forever was that he was set up by his political enemies. The politics theme got much more convoluted tonight.
At the top of the food chain was the politics involved in Diane's being selected to run for a judgeship. If that had come to pass, then the lawyers she had brought into the firm would probably be driven out by Will. The handlers of all this hammer Diane with the rules of the game. Increasingly, we can see she isn't cottoning to those. Yet, being human, she wants to be judge. It's the handlers who pull out, though, not her.
Then there's the politics of a friendship between Will and a judge, one who has been dealing out harsher sentences than he had been doing a year earlier. One sentence sweeps up Alicia's client, a young boy of color. Upon investigation, the reason isn't racial. The judge turns out to have a gambling addiction. Surprisingly, Will The Human Scum turns on him. The client goes free. The Chief Justice, who was the leader of the handlers who sidelined Diane, personally apologizes to the boy. That CJ had warned Diane to stay clear of pressuring that particular judge.
In the background is the politics of relatives of jailbirds who are convinced their kin are innocent. Long story short, prim and proper headband Jackie winds up spraying with a hose a woman who accuses her son of sending her innocent husband to jail.
The good news about all this is not that Will wound up doing the "right thing." It's that with intelligence, emotional strength, calm, and cunning, human beings can navigate the political riptides. They will not always do as well as fictional Alicia. But they can avoid despairing of the human condition.
Carey the preppy associate has developed a crush on the firm's from-the-other-side-of-the-tracks private investigator. That's another side of politics: The personal kind. Right now she's not letting him in. But it doesn't seem that he will give up. Although he doesn't understand the complex game he wants to play, he has the arrogance and smugness to want to play it.