TV

'The Good Fight': A Fast Resolution Saps Some Energy from "Not So Grand Jury"

Diane (Christine Baranski) called to testify

A too tidy and convenient resolution this week can only mean that the Kings come back with chaos and discord next week, right?


The Good Fight

Airtime: Sundays
Cast: Christine Baranski, Cush Jumbo, Rose Leslie
Subtitle: Season 1, Episode 7 - "Not So Grand Jury"
Network: CBS All Access
Air date: 2017-03-26
Amazon

"It's not what you think."

It may be considered a throwaway, but as Henry (Paul Guilfoyle) attempts to correct his daughter Maia (Rose Leslie) by claiming her untoward assumptions aren't entirely accurate, it’s hard not to see the parallel line that runs alongside that phrase and the rest of this seventh episode, "Not So Grand Jury". If it's not Mike Kresteva (Matthew Perry) and his sham of a grand jury investigation, then it's Colin (Justin Bartha) and Lucca (Cush Jumbo) vociferously arguing opposite sides in a court.

In short, Kresteva doesn't care about humanity; he cares about numbers (and vendettas), while Colin and Lucca still love each other, no matter how heated things get in court. So nothing is really how it seems in The Good Fight, even when it feels impossible to believe what we see could be anything other than what we see.

Deception is the named game this week as Mike’s grand jury investigation turns toward testimony. Paired with Spencer Zschau (Aaron Tveit, coming over from a fabulous performance on the Kings’ other series, BrainDead), they subpoena what seems like the entire firm. Elsbeth (Carrie Preston, in a continued bravura performance), representing said firm, decides that to fight fire with fire, the team should focus on the racial aspect of their firm while testifying. Why? Because doing so would imply that Mike and Spencer are racists.

Cynical? Yes. Effective? Absolutely.

The dynamic duo sees their $100 and throws another $50 in the pot by instead going after Diane (Christine Baranski), Maia, and Marissa (Sarah Steele), the law firm's white employees. Elsbeth fires back by suing Kresteva for essentially using the grand jury investigation to influence the firm's clients to take their business elsewhere -- "torturous interference", to use the legal term -- citing how Andrew Hart (Ron Canada) tried to steal a client by approaching said client with investigation information. This is a legal no-no, and lands a tough blow to Kresteva's case.

If that blow wasn't enough to knock him to the mat for good, there's more dynamite in store.

How so? Henry's been setting Diane up this entire time. Remember "The Schtup List"? Apparently, that involved exposing Diane's old law firm, because on that list was some of Lockhart et al's employees who'd complied with illegal actions to get their money. Maia, who understands that if Diane didn't exist, she wouldn't have a job right now, explains to her father -- in an undeniably powerful moment -- that he'd never see any of his grandkids down the road if plays those kinds of dirty tricks on Diane. He counters by claiming he’s only trying to save both her and her mother, because the feds are coming after them next. He also admits that in doing so, Kresteva promised him that he would advocate for Henry to serve only ten years in prison, rather than the life sentence he's currently facing.

Checkmate comes in the form of Henry being called to testify in Reddick, Boseman, & Kolstad’s suit against Kresteva about his interaction with the nefarious lawyer. Henry explains that Kresteva told him he would reduce Henry’s sentence if he helped him take down Diane and the law firm, which Kresteva actually can't legally do. In other words, Kresteva doesn't have the kind of control over plea bargains he claims. The good guys win, the bad guys lose, and the baddest of all, Mike Kresteva, loses his job.

This fast resolution feels odd. At the very least, I thought this fighting between Mike and Eslbeth would culminate at the end of the season, but we still have three episodes left. It felt like the writers jammed an entire second half to a season into one 45-minute episode. While one could read doom in Kresteva's threat to Elsbeth -- "I think it's funny that you think it's over" -- is either a wink to the viewers or an indication that Elsbeth will eventually go down and go down hard, it doesn't compensate for how hollow this resolution feels.

Now we're left wondering about where all these characters go from here. Is Henry in jail forever? Is Diane truly at risk of being disbarred after we find that she leaked information to Boseman after landing her current job? Why is Marissa trying to learn Italian, and why is Adrian (Delroy Lindo) taking French cooking classes? Are Elsbeth and Mike gone for good now? That would be a shame; Elsbeth has single-handedly carried at least two episodes this season -- including this one -- and her absence would be felt drastically.

We'll have to wait until next week to find out, but for now, perhaps this conclusion, to use Henry's own words, isn't entirely what we think it is.

How Nice to Be Able to Talk In Metaphors

It occurred to me while watching Henry and Maia turn off their devices and talk, that either of them could've been wearing a second wire. I'm convinced we'll find that Henry was still wearing some type of device and Maia will eventually pay for it. The way everything ended this week was too tidy for anyone who’s familiar with the Kings' work; clearly, something bad is lurking right around the corner.

"Be sure to tell me when we're being honest, dad, and I’ll switch over."

I know there hasn’t been much to say about him in recent weeks, but I've really become a fan of Adrian Boseman. He's just quirky enough to be endearing, yet strong enough to be respected. His monologue convincing Diane to not resign was affecting in all the right ways. Plus, he's pretty much become the only character on the show who can use the f-word and make it sound natural anymore.

Is this week's rush to a resolution on the Kresteva plot a product of this being a 10-episode season? It seems unlikely. The Kings themselves have noted how grueling and somewhat antiquated the 22-episode season has become in television. Plus, they put together a solid run with the 13-episode BrainDead this past summer.

Colin bumbling through being in court was fun; I guess I'm on board with the Colin and Lucca romance.

It feels as if the series is wasting Marissa. I can’t tell if she's supposed to be the resident wise-ass, or if she's supposed to be more integrated into the narrative as a character to be taken seriously. Even her chemistry with Jay (Nyambi Nyambi) this week felt off this week. That character needs more direction.

Please don’t let this be the end of Elsbeth Tascioni.

The Most-Missed Good Wife Character of The Week: David Lee (Zach Grenier). We haven't seen him since "Inauguration", an episode touched on this week when we're reminded Diane could've cost herself her career for the reaction she had against his desire to oust her from her own law firm. Grenier was also on BrainDead and, with Aaron Tveit coming on board this week, that series is on my mind.

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