The Good Wife Season 4 Review “A Defense of Marriage”

If there is one universal truth, it’s that dealing with family will leave you shaking your head and looking for a drink. At least dealing with Alicia’s family will. This episode of The Good Wife was pretty standard, but ok.

A few thoughts about “A Defense of Marriage”:

The case of the week presented an interesting problem. The CEO and CFO of a tax company were accused of filing fake tax returns and paying out tax refunds on those fake returns. They were being tried together on the criminal charges, and the State attempted to introduce a taped conversation between the CEO and his wife that was obtained via a wiretap. The judge obviously did not let the conversation in because of spousal privilege, so the State attempted to introduce a conversation between the CFO and his husband obtained via another wiretap. When Diane objected, the State argued that same-sex marriage is not recognized by the federal government as evidenced by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), so the conversation was not protected by spousal privilege. It didn’t matter that the CFO and his husband were legally married in Vermont. The judge (the always delightful Bebe Neuwirth) had to decide whether DOMA did in fact negate spousal privilege between the CFO and his husband or whether they were afforded spousal privilege. Diane and Co. were approached by an attorney, Jeremy Breslow, who was famous for arguing on behalf of the homosexual community before the Supreme Court. It was fairly obvious from the get go that he did not have his client’s best interest at heart. He argued the unconstitutionality of DOMA, but did very little to defend the client that was actually on trial. Ultimately, the judge was forced to conclude that DOMA was the law of the land, so the conversation was allowed. The ruling made Diane and Alicia’s job more difficult, but in the end they were able to successfully get the State to drop all the charges against the CFO after they found out that there were two wire taps on the phone.

Jeremy Breslow created more problems than he solved. He was actively trying to tank Diane and Alicia’s case. He refused to make obvious objections and he intentionally undermined their cross-examination of a witness that could’ve proven their client’s innocence. On the one hand, I can totally appreciate him fighting so fiercely for a cause he believes in. I don’t know whether he was telling the truth about his brother dying of AIDS, but whether that was true or not, he was obviously committed to seeing that homosexuals get fair treatment. But on the other hand, I do not think that the ends justify the means. After they lost the argument that DOMA was unconstitutional, the State offered the CFO a very good plea deal. Jeremy told him to reject the offer and fall on his sword so that they could take the case to the Supreme Court. Diane and Co. were obviously opposed to this, but Jeremy convinced the CFO to take the fall. My problem with that is the CFO was facing 12 years in prison if he lost the criminal trial, and there was no guarantee that the Supreme Court would even take the case. So basically Jeremy had convinced the CFO to take a high stakes gamble with his life and his future. It is one thing for your client to decide to take the fall in an effort to advance the larger issue. But it is a horse of a different color for the attorney, the person who is supposed to be looking out for the best interests of his client, to throw him under the bus to advance his own personal agenda. But gay marriage wasn’t the only marriage being defended in this episode.

Alicia certainly had her hands full. In addition to dealing with the criminal case, her mother Veronica and brother Owen showed up for Thanksgiving. They certainly didn’t come without drama. Veronica breezed in after being incommunicado for two years, and informed Alicia that her third husband had died and there were some problems with the probate of his estate. Apparently, Veronica’s stepson discovered that she was having an affair and he had convinced his father to write Veronica out of his will. Veronica was adamant that she hadn’t actually had an affair. She had only been flirting, which her husband knew about. David was successfully arguing for Veronica when Owen was subpoenaed because Veronica had apparently told him about the affair. Owen came to Alicia for advice because he was conflicted about what to do. If he told the truth about the affair, Veronica would be left financially ruined. But if he lied, he would, of course, be perjuring himself. He decided to lie because he didn’t want his mother left destitute. Veronica also decided to put her two cents on Alicia’s relationship with Peter. She decided that Alicia couldn’t possibly be happy with Peter and was just staying with him because she didn’t want to let go. Alicia didn’t come out and say that she was happy with Peter, but it’s still presumptuous of Veronica to decide that she knows anything about what Alicia is feeling. Not only has she been totally absent (not even so much as a phone call) for two years, she and Alicia didn’t seem to have all that close of a relationship anyway. There are a lot of people that don’t seem to understand Alicia’s decision to stay with Peter, but that’s Alicia’s life. It’s her choice. It’s not for anyone else to approve of or understand. Not even her mother.

All in all, this was an alright episode. It wasn’t the most exciting hour of tv I’ve ever seen, but it was most certainly not the worst either. The case was at least engaging and it was nice to see Brian Dennehy and Bruce McGill pop up. So what did you think of this week’s The Good Wife? Let me know in the comments.