A great 'Good Wife'

Corporate intrigue gets messy, gritty and intense when Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and other associates of her law firm decide to go elsewhere, on this Sunday's "The Good Wife."
Corporate intrigue gets messy, gritty and intense when Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and other associates of her law firm decide to go elsewhere, on this Sunday's "The Good Wife."
Posted: October 25, 2013

* THE GOOD WIFE. 9 p.m. Sunday, CBS3.

* BLACKFISH. 9 tonight, CNN.

THERE AREN'T many TV shows that could make a corporate breakup - one involving lawyers, no less - as anxiety-inducing a viewing experience as an alien invasion or zombie apocalypse.

But as CBS' "The Good Wife" on Sunday makes good on the promise of its fourth-season finale, sending Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) and a bunch of disgruntled associates off to make their fortunes outside of Lockhart Gardner, things get wonderfully, nail-bitingly messy.

Because as much as Alicia would like to believe that she's merely made a coolheaded business decision, she's also betrayed a trust, as coolheaded businesspeople have been known to do.

And it says a lot about just how adult a show "The Good Wife" is that betraying not only her longtime friend, mentor and sometime lover Will Gardner (Josh Charles) but the people who'd recently welcomed her as a partner has been given nearly as much weight as the sexual and psychological betrayal that brought Alicia to Lockhart Gardner in the first place.

And that it's still not stopping her from leaving, or from taking as many clients with her as she can.

As sure-footed in its fifth season as it was in its first, when Alicia was putting her life back together amid a scandal involving her politician husband Peter (Chris Noth), "The Good Wife" is unafraid to make Alicia as flawed - and therefore as interesting - as those who've occasionally done her wrong.

There are consequences, though, and anyone working in corporate America will probably feel a twinge or two of agita at how quickly, and how efficiently, things get nasty.

Speaking of nasty, in Sunday's episode, "Hitting the Fan," Alicia and Peter (now the governor-elect of Illinois) have the kind of fun we haven't seen them share in a while (and I'm not only talking about the sex).

Maybe it's because they're both navigating that tricky territory between the high and low roads?

Still, my favorite moment in the episode is a small one: Will, who's answered the phone that Alicia left behind, relays a message from her daughter and they each briefly suspend hostilities, as if reminded that even in war some things remain out of bounds.

And that they are, after all, adults.

Shame and Shamu

SeaWorld's reportedly not so happy about the documentary "Blackfish," which makes its television debut tonight on CNN and tells the story of a long-captive orca implicated in the deaths of three people, including Dawn Brancheau, an experienced trainer who died in the company's Orlando park in February 2010.

And I can see why.

The Gabriela Cowperthwaite film, which had a theatrical release after premiering at Sundance in January, goes well beyond the incidents involving Tilikum, the whale that killed Brancheau, to look at SeaWorld's business and training practices.

There's a strong advocacy element to the piece, but you don't have to be an animal-rights activist to appreciate its questioning of the justifications for keeping highly intelligent mammals - used to living in family groups and traveling as much as a hundred miles a day - in tanks to perform for our entertainment.


Phone: 215-854-5950

On Twitter: @elgray

Blog: ph.ly/EllenGray

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