The Good Wife: The Sixth Season
The Good Wife is an excellent case study in how to keep a drama fresh and involving. Season 5 did it by killing off a major character (and amazingly, without the news leaking out ahead of time). The Sixth Season returns to the political underpinnings of its premise, as the title comes from the producers wanting to explore what it would be like to be the wife standing by her politician husband after he’d been disgraced in a sex scandal.
That wife, Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), has re-established herself as a lawyer in Chicago, eventually setting up her own firm with Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry). As season six begins, he’s been arrested as a way to punish him for defending drug kingpin Lemond Bishop (Mike Colter), a case prosecuted by Finn Polmar (Matthew Goode), who’s otherwise a friend of Alicia’s.
The main plot this season, though, is Alicia’s run for State’s Attorney, the position previously held by her husband, and how she deals with the compromises of electioneering. At the same time, Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski), my favorite character, is exploring leaving her established firm and joining the scrappier Florrick/Agos startup.
There are a lot of devious twists and turns as Alicia is talked into running and how the political preparation proceeds. Unfortunately, by the end of the season, one of the show’s best characters, Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi) has departed, amidst weird rumors about tension between Panjabi and Margulies, leading to the supposed good friends not appearing on screen together for the last two seasons.
One of the high point episodes for me was “Shiny Objects”, episode 5, which has the firm’s computers attacked by ransomware and a guest appearance by Carrie Preston as Elsbeth Tascioni, who’s always fabulous portraying a woman who gets amazing results in really wonky ways, in a case about gender discrimination. She continues into episode 6, “Old Spice”, where she becomes romantically involved with Kyle MacLachlan as a federal lawyer.
Two more excellent guest stars are the recurring David Hyde Pierce as Frank Prady, TV journalist and Alicia’s challenger, and Oliver Platt as a wealthy conservative backer of issue cases. This season also has a fascinating couple of episodes in which the law firm gets hacked and their emails, secrets and all, are released, with varying follow-on effects.
This DVD set has 22 episodes on six discs. Most of the extras are deleted scenes, available with all episodes. The other featurettes are:
- Follow the Leader: Inside the Season Finale (26 minutes) — the production process of the final episode, directed by show co-creator and episode co-writer Robert King, who is the subject of so much praise that it’s stomach-churning
- The Temptation of Alicia Florrick: The Good Wife Season Six (23 minutes) — coming up with the plot beats and structure for this season, including some of the guest stars, and hints for the next season
- The Esteemed Women of Sunday Nights — two parts, one for Julianna Margulies (2 minutes) and one for Christine Baranski (2 minutes), that appear to have been part of some bigger promotional effort
- And a gag reel (4 minutes), with a lot of bleeps and silly faces, although it’s a pleasure to see and hear Alan Cumming.
(The studio provided a review copy.)