‘The Good Wife’: How Terrible Was Alicia’s Thanksgiving?

If you have ever wondered why Alicia (Julianna Margulies) stood by Peter (Chris Noth) and let her relationship with Will (Josh Charles) fizzle, meeting her mother explains it all. This week’s episode of “The Good Wife“, “A Defense of Marriage” is chock full of both insights about marriage and dialogue about genitals. This is truly a show that has it all.

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But first, Cary (Matt Czuchry) is alive and reasonably well after enduring a brutal beating from Nick’s henchman Bill last week. He is sporting a manly black eye. He pays Nick a visit while he is in his often-mentioned tow truck.  his ostensible purpose is to offer legal advice, but he is subtle letting him know that he is on to him, and that he better check himself before Cary hits him back… with the law. It’s pretty hot. He warns Nick about Bill, saying that Bill’s drug convictions may hurt his appeal. He also mentions that 80 grams of heroin were found in a car that was towed by Nick’s company, which might make it look like Nick is using his company as a front for drug dealing, though of course nothing can be proven. If this story ends with Nick taking the fall for Bishop’s dealing, I will find a way to legally marry the show.

The case of the week involves two executives, a CEO and a CFO who are accused of white collar crimes. The judge rules that an incriminating wiretap of the CEO and his wife cannot be used because of spousal privilege.  There’s another wiretap between the CEO and his husband, but since federal law doesn’t recognize gay marriage, the judge must decide whether the wiretap is admissible. a famous lawyer named Jerry Breslow offers to help Lockhart-Gardner for free because he thinks that this case could overturn DOMA. He is a good old boy who has pledged to help gay people in honor of his dead brother. Will (Josh Charles)  thinks he will take over the case, but the judge drops the charges against the straight guy in exchange for his testimony against the gay guy and Will realizes they need the extra firepower. A government official testifies that the government is not enforcing DOMA right now.Opposing counsel points out that gay spouses are not entitled to Social Security benefits. He also gets the gay couple to admit that they had an open relationship. It’s a Dan Savage column come to life!  Alicia introduces evidence that the straight CEO also cheated on his wife. If his marriage is still valid, then the gay guy’s should be as well. The judge rules that the gay guy’s wiretaps are admissible.  Diane (Christine Baranski)  realizes Breslow wants to lose so he can take the case to the Supreme Court.

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The CEO claims it was the CFO’s idea to commit fraud. Over Breslow’s objections, Alicia plays footage from the CEO’s wiretap to prove it was his idea. It’s admissible since he is no longer a defendant. The justice department offers a plea bargain of four months in jail and a half million dollar fine. Breslow advises him not to take  it, so he can appeal to the Supreme Court and they can be responsible for legalizing gay marriage. There are plenty of other legal challenges to DOMA that  don’t involve criminal cases. It’s preposterous that anyone would risk years in jail for the cause, but the CFO is persuaded. Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) discvovers that there were two clicks on the wiretap. Someone bedsides the feds were investigating the case. They get evidence that the state investigated the CEO and had evidence of him admitting to all sort of things. The charges against the CFO will be dropped. Breslow angrily says that Diane stuck them with DOMA for a decade, which will come as a surprise to all of the people working on much better legal challenges to the law.

Alicia finds her mother Veronica (Stockard Channing) redecorating her house. She has legal troubles stemming from the death of her third husband who left her nothing in his will because his son convinced him that Veronica was having an affair. Alicia gets David to look at the case.  Veronica flirts with the Jewish David by saying, “I always thought a penis never looked quite right unless it was circumcised.”  When Veronica is introduced to Will, she thinks he is Owen’s boyfriend. Ha! Alicia hates how charmed everyone is by Veronica.  At the probate hearing, David denies the affair. Alicia warns David that her mom really did cheat. David is unconcerned. Alicia tells her mom she can’t commit perjury. Veronica tells her she just flirted. Then she apologizes for being a lousy mother. She wants Alicia to read a book about vaginas. She then grills Alicia about her feelings for Will. When Owen gets subpoenaed, Alicia advises him to tell the truth. He covers for his mom, and she wins.

Jackie (Mary Beth Peil)  and Peter join Alicia’s family for a very awkward Thanksgiving dinner. I could watch a spin off of just Veronica and Jackie politely sniping at each other. Jackie’s Cuban nurse tells Peter that Jackie extended his hours. It’s tough to tell if he’s humoring Jackie, or if they really are embarking on a highly improbable, slightly transactional relationship. Veronica gets insightful, telling Alicia that she won’t let herself be with Will because she is afraid of turning into her mother. Veronica says she is happy, and asks if Alicia can say the same. Then she tells Peter that Alicia will never divorce her and accuses him of exploiting her. He should let Alicia go. Alicia’s response is to have sex with Peter in the bathroom. He asks if this is about her mother. She says yes. Depending on how you feel about Alicia and Peter’s relationship, this is either a great or terrible end to the episode. Clink on the video above to watch the entire Thanksgiving sequence and decide whether Alicia or her mother is right.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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