Monday, September 26, 2011

"A New Day" dawns for The Good Wife

     CBS's The Good Wife faces a few major changes as season three begins with "A New Day," but most of them are not completely obvious, unlike a new hair cut on the lead character. Alicia (Julianna Margulies), confident in her new office, is tasked with defending a young client accused of a hate crime. Cary (Matt Czuchry) acts tough, as per Peter's (Chris Noth) new strategy, and tricks Alicia into setting up her client for a murder case. Alicia wins, but only because Kalinda (Archie Panjabi), working very closely with her former lover, Sophia (Kelli Giddish), manages to get a confession from the real killer.

     Cary's actions seem a little out of step with Peter's message about the way they will now be running the office. Peter wants to eliminate plea bargains for a couple of months to keep defense attorneys on their toes, and that works fine with Cary's case. But Peter also asks to keep things clean and on the up and up. Considering the brief conversation between Peter and Cary when talking of settling, it seems like Cary might be sneaking around behind Peter's back to set Alicia up. And yet, with a case such as this, where a murder charge is the real goal, how can Peter possibly not be signing off on it? If Peter is aware of the charade from the start, than that doesn't mesh with his stated philosophy. Either way you slice it, something stinks a bit in the state's attorney's office.

     It's too bad Alicia is so easily tricked. Her happy glow and new found self-esteem translate to overconfidence, allowing her to fall into Cary's trap. This does not seem like something Alicia would do fairly recently, but she is definitely distracted in "A New Day." While it is great to see Alicia truly happy for the first time in a long while, she best be careful, so as not to lose her edge in the courtroom. That would not be good for her career.

     The reason for Alicia's sudden mood change is her fling with Will (Josh Charles). Though they act distant at work to throw off Eli (Alan Cumming), lest he be reporting back to Peter, Eli isn't the only one that they fool. Diane (Christine Baranski) thinks Will is being too hard on Alicia, which could easily be the clue that allows Diane to figure them out. Diane knowing would be a problem, since she is Will's partner and Alicia's boss. Also, it's probably unethical for Will to be sleeping with one of his employees, regardless of the history they might share, or how much fans root for seeing the two of them together.

     Alicia's daughter, Grace (Makenzie Vega) notices the change in her mother's attitude, though she doesn't dig too deep, assuming it has to do with Alicia's (secret to the public) split from Peter. Plus, Grace has other things occupying her mind, such as her crazy new tutor. It's hard to know what to make of this new character, but Grace is quick to obsess, trying on new ideas and outlooks like clothing. Which means Alicia had better keep an eye on her daughter, something Alicia isn't too distracted to pick up on.

     Eli is also not able to give Alicia his full attention, despite his delight at her apparent coldness towards Will, since that means he can help Peter campaign without worrying about whether the two will get divorced. But Eli's primary focus in "A New Day" is getting fresh business, which he manages to do in spades. Eli's genius idea, one he sort of stumbles into, is to pit a pro-Arab group against his fellow Jews, forcing Michael Kahane (House's Peter Jacobson) to hire Eli, even after Eli has dropped the other client and pocketed their money. It's a brilliant bit of strategy, but one that is just another day at the office for Mr. Eli Gold.

      Lastly, it looks like Kalinda might have a full dance card. True, Alicia still isn't speaking to her in anything other than a professional capacity. But Sophia seems jealous when it appears that Kalinda is dating Cary. Whether she is or not is a moot point, and unclear, despite Kalinda's claim that they are, in fact, together. What's important here is that Kalinda is playing Sophia like a fiddle, and the white hot chemistry between them has cooled not at all. Cary and Kalinda might make a nice pairing, but Sophia and Kalinda definitely burn hotter.

     "A New Day" is a great start to the new season. Don't miss The Good Wife Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

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