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‘The Good Wife’ recap: A Post-it note and an $8-million Marc Chagall

‘The Good Wife’

Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick

(CBS)

Our favorite legal drama is back for an exciting (final?) season. Just as the episode titles have returned to first season’s single-word naming conventions, “The Good Wife” creators have pushed the reset button on Alicia’s life, as she tries to recover from the massive roller coaster of Season 6.

Alicia is starting over, just like in Season 1: She’s hoping for someone to give her a chance, struggling with her new life as a public defender (which I’m only familiar with because of John Oliver), and dealing with the aftermath of another political scandal — this time, her own. Because everyone thinks she tried to steal the election, no one will hire her — except the devil, Louis Canning.

She shows up in the dismal, crowded, fluorescent-lit courtroom, where the three attorneys  recognize her and assume the worst, and the judge refuses to work with her. But as we all know, Alicia’s not a quitter.

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Fortunately, she returns home to find that her daughter-turned-secretary Grace welcomed Alicia’s new client (one, it’s later revealed, sent to her from Canning): a woman whose mother died and left sticky notes to say which of her two children will inherit which of her belongings — including a Marc Chagall print worth $8 million.

When Alicia goes to the deceased woman’s house to meet the executor and the opposing lawyer, they find that all the Post-it notes have fallen to the floor. She also finds she is facing off, once again, with David Lee and Diane Lockhart.

Alicia returns to bond court, and one attorney, Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo), sticks up for her, convincing the judge to give her a few cases and offering some quick advice. Though Alicia catches on, the unkind judge refuses any leeway and assigns outrageous bail amounts to the detainees, who clearly have no way of paying them. I can’t help yelling at my TV, “I’m sorry you hate your job.”

The juxtaposition between bond court and inheritance court is staggering. The latter is quiet and spacious with beautiful wood paneling, and full of expert testimonials from scientists studying residue and stickiness, flight patterns of Post-it notes and Roomba physics. Judge Farley (Jane Curtin) gets as much a kick out of it as we do.

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Lucca asks Alicia to fill in for her in bond court, and Alicia agrees, as long as she can get to probate court on time. Neither foresees that the obnoxious judge will force Alicia to stay, so Lucca goes to probate court to ask for a continuance.

It’s looking bad for the new team, but just as Diane and David are about to award the Chagall to the caretaker, Lucca remembers that Chicago law does not allow a caretaker to inherit items of more than $20,000 value. It seems Alicia has won the case.

Unlike in Season 1, Peter is doing quite well now, especially as Alicia allows him to launch his presidential campaign. This causes problems for Eli: Peter hires the illustrious Ruth Eastman (Emmy-winner Margo Martindale) not just as his new campaign manager, but as Eli’s replacement. So much for loyalty.

Eli strikes back, asking Alicia to hire him as her chief of staff, which she happily does. Sharing Eli’s concern that Ruth will rehabilitate her by turning her into someone she isn’t, Alicia makes it clear to Ruth that this is a favor, and that Ruth needs her more than she needs Ruth. We’ll have to see if Eli’s grand plan comes to fruition.

Meanwhile, Cary is not happy with the status quo at his firm, which looks more like Lockhart-Gardner (except no Will, RIP). Diane, David and the cartoonish Howard Lyman preside, along with a number of older partners. Where did they all come from?

Cary started Florrick-Agos in Season 5 with young fourth-years. How did he again end up trying to appease older partners, who are afraid to try anything knew? He tries to drag the aging firm into the 21st century through new associate Don Weingarten’s (Daniel Abeles) accounting idea, but it’s not going well.

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FOR THE RECORD

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Oct. 14, 10:56 a.m.: Cary’s new associate is incorrectly identified as Don Weingarten (Daniel Abeles). The character’s name is Dirk (played by Phillip Shinn).

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He kindly tells Dirk to continue bringing him new ideas, and for some reason Dirk takes it as a come-on. I find this hard to believe, because it’s such a breach of boundaries. Whether or not Dirk thought Cary was gay, why would he assume his boss would be so forward, and so quickly?

So what do you think, good-wifers? Are you glad our favorite legal teams are back? Do you miss Finn and Will, as I do? Will Alicia give in and work with Canning? Will Eli get his grand retribution against Peter? Let us know in the comments.

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