Eli: “This won’t be the end.”
Peter: “I wish that was true.”
But it is.
The final scene of The Good Wife mirrored the first from Season 1 — Alicia standing by her man Peter as he resigns his office. And that’s where the similarities end.
I have said farewell to many a series feeling shortchanged thanks to abrupt cancellations. But, because the creators of this show and CBS planned to bring to a close the story of the spurned political wife who supported her husband, then learned to stand on her own two feet, I turned off the TV tonight believing my hour-per week Good Wife investment over the past seven seasons was well spent.
I’ve learned from Alicia, and I believe others have too. Even if, like me, there was no “call girl scandal” to contend with, there were lessons in starting over in the workforce or dealing with long lost romance — and more importantly, she taught us to just keep moving forward.
What I liked most about Alicia, and the show in general, was that, even though it was about female empowerment, it didn’t portray it as a smooth ride where the lead character makes all the right moves all the time. Sometimes her moves were even questionable, and made with a red wine chaser.
I remember as though it were yesterday, being introduced to Mrs. Florrick — dowdy, with long hair pulled back in a clip; a look she was most likely holding on to since college, looking dazed and confused as cameras flashed. Life as she knew it was over, and out of the realization that Peter was not “taking care of her” as she once believed, it was time to practice law again. Like many women — myself included — who chose stay-at-home motherhood, Alicia knew it would be hard to get back into the game, so instead of relying on the kindness of strangers, she turned to former schoolmate/friend/lover Will Gardner, whose motives for giving her a break as a junior litigator at his firm Stern, Lockhart & Gardner were dubious.
From there — in more fashionable clothes and updated hairstyles — she rose up the ranks, became a partner, started her own firm, ran for State’s Attorney, then found herself at the bottom again scrounging for clients at bond court, then back to name partner along with Diane Lockhart in an all-female firm.
She won cases and lost some, taking on adversaries like the morally-challenged Louis Canning, and passive/aggressive, younger attorney, Nancy Crozier, who took sadistic pleasure in taunting Alicia with comments like: “That’s a nice jacket. My mother has one just like it.”
On a personal level, Alicia had a “If Peter can cheat, so can I” affair with Will, a romance in her mind with prosecutor Finn Polmar, and a real one with current flame, Jason, who is also her investigator. We watched her care for her oft-challenging adolescent children, be patient with her equally adolescent mother and trying mother-in-law, and mourn the loss of Will, after he was shot dead in a courtroom by a deranged client, as well as her marriage to Peter.
And that has led us here, to Season 7, Episode 22 entitled “End.”
Just when Peter has decided to bite the proverbial bullet and take the prosecution’s offer for two years in prison, with Alicia’s promise to visit him (as predicted by her exasperated flame Jason), the jury comes back and it’s too late for the deal to get done. Or is it? The 12-member panel has questions, and with the whole GW cast — even the deceased Will Gardner — pitching in to help Alicia find proof to help Peter, there is hope.
But the ballistics evidence that is found works against him. The prosecution puts Diane Lockhart’s husband, Kurt, a ballistics expert, on the stand, and Peter’s legal team of Diane and Luca have to discredit his testimony. Because of a conflict of interest, Diane leaves cross-examination to Luca, who reveals in open court that Kurt has had an affair with the other (blonde bombshell) expert who did the testing on the bullets, thereby his testimony is tainted. Self-preservation takes over, and a visibly shaken Diane exits the courtroom. Her marriage is over thanks to trying to save Alicia’s sham of one.
By this time the prosecutor is so beaten down that he offers Peter no jail time if he resigns as governor. Peter takes it and asks Alicia to once again be by his side at the podium.
Earlier, in a near-perfect scene, Alicia imagines coming home from a hard day, first to Jason, then to Peter, then to Will.
She wishes she could choose Will, but the best she can get is his spirit’s permission to finally admit she is so over Peter, and she should go to Jason.
“He’s not you,” she says to Will. No, but he’s better than being alone, Will suggests. In a moment of weakness, she agrees.
But when Jason sees Alicia standing beside Peter at the press conference, he takes off. Obviously, under the impression that she is once again standing by her man.
No Will. No Peter. No Jason. At least she has her new law firm, until a cold-as-ice Diane confronts her with a contemptuous slap across the face, reminiscent of the one Alicia herself gave Peter in the first episode because he humiliated her. Now it is Diane who has been humiliated, and most likely no longer interested in a business called Lockhart & Florrick.
So let’s add ‘No Diane’ to the list.
Alicia’s been down this road before — and we’ve been down it with her. We did not need it spelled out for us. We know what comes next: She will straighten her suit, smooth her hair — and keep moving forward.