Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Good Wife 2.9 Takes on Capital Punlishment

I've been a steadfast opponent of capital punishment all of my life.  Not that I think the monsters of the world do not deserve to be executed - indeed, I have no problem with that treatment for any one who maliciously takes a human life - but the problem is our legal system has not been up to the task of discovering the truly guilty.  Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco, to use one of the prominent examples in our history, were put to death in 1927, and historians are still arguing over whether they were guilty of the charges.

I was thus glad to see The Good Wife take on capital punishment full throttle in episode 2.9.   Carter Wright (played by Chad L. Coleman - superb as Cutty on The Wire, and superb on The Good Wife) has just hours left before his death sentence is carried out.  Alicia gets a call from the clerk of a judge who can stop the execution, and may be inclined to.  But what, exactly, does the judge need?

What follows was one of the best hours on television in 2010.   Every character in the case was firing on all cylinders as the clock ticks down.    Even Cary is called in to help (by Barry Scheck, playing himself!) - Cary went to school with the law clerk who called Alicia.   Every lead and avenue is pursued, as Will quarterbacks and Diane does what she can at the prison.  Blake does what he can, but Kalinder saves the day with a heart-in-your-mouth scene at an airport, where she confronts a recalcitrant expert witness for the prosecution on the verge of boarding.  And Alicia brings it home with a conversation with the judge - Kalinder coaching and conveying advise from Josh.

The story was so good that it eclipsed almost completely Peter's story - a TV appearance in which he curses out a questioner who wants to know if Alicia has forgiven him.   But that's the sign of great television - characters so strong and stories so good that you never know, until you start watching the episode, just where it will take and leave you.

See also  The Good Wife Starts Second Season on CBS ... The Good Wife 2.2: Lou Dobbs, Joe Trippi, and Obama Girl ... The Good Wife 2.4: Surprise Candidate, Intimate Interpsonal Distance

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The Plot to Save Socrates

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"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

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