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Good Wife: Season 6

Paramount // Unrated // August 25, 2015
List Price: $55.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ryan Keefer | posted September 16, 2015 | E-mail the Author
The Show:

This is the third straight season that I've reviewed The Good Wife, which I don't have a qualm with. My first exposure to it was in Season Four and my wife was soon binge watching previous seasons on various streaming platforms. And in Season Five, so much was done in the story and involved characters that the result was arguably one of the best dramatic seasons over a full order of network television episodes that hadn't been seen in recent memory.

The eponymous good wife is Alicia Florrick (Juliana Margulies, ER), married to Peter Florrick (Chris Noth, Sex and the City). Alicia runs her own legal firm with Cary (Matt Czuchry, Gilmore Girls), but Cary finds himself facing serious jail time, the byproduct of doing work with an upscale drug dealer and inner city crime figure that Alicia has been doing business with for years. Alicia is dealing with her own issues, particularly a State's Attorney campaign, and works with an attorney in the office in Finn (Matthew Goode, Watchmen). The campaign goes on and on, as do Cary's legal troubles, and Peter's infidelity, implied or otherwise as it was laid out in previous seasons at least.

Possible spoilers ahead, so adjust your sensitivities.

As I watched the episodes unfold, I said at the time I was willing to concede perhaps a certain amount of inherent unfairness in how Season Six of The Good Wife was transpiring, and said as much to friends and family at the time. Now that Season Six is all over with, I'd like to walk back a couple of things. First and foremost, the show seemed to meander in several different areas without doing anything memorable. The State's Attorney campaign lacks a real rooting interest to some level, as Alicia's opponent, a right-ish character named Frank Prady (David Hyde Pierce, Frasier) is a guy who isn't completely horrible, so the antagonist is rooted out. So then the campaign becomes one that shows the human toll on an idealist or even a well-intentioned candidate. The show tries this, it works a little better at times, but then is abandoned for periods at a time. Alicia and Finn are dusted with romantic friction at times but also nothing comes of it. There is an ADHD in the storytelling of Alicia Florrick in Season Six that is a significant disappointment.

Compounding the disappointment is the secondary storylines simply do not match the caliber of ones in previous seasons. Admittedly this is a slightly difficult proposition, particularly with the departure of Josh Charles (Sports Night) from the show in Season Five. So the first half of the season spends too much time on an arc with Cary, and the last half dozen episodes of the show on Kalinda (Archie Panjabi), but more on the latter in a second.

The Good Wife does not completely abandon its past, as Diane (Christine Baranski, The Bounty Hunter) spends a less prominent turn in the season and it's a pretty good one, as Diane is stripped of some of her id as she is suddenly left without a firm to run. Alan Cumming returns as Peter's campaign manager Eli and he is always good for a nice moment or laugh. But the show leans on past guests a little too heavily in Season Six of the show, turning into Will and Grace with some of the recurring guest stars over the course of the season, some of whom (looking at you, Michael J. Fox) clearly overstay their welcome.

Then there is the brouhaha that surrounded the lack of interaction between Margulies and Panjabi, which nobody is apparently willing to discuss, but both actors could not be seen on-screen together for two years, and when they did show up together (in Panjabi's last moments on the show), they were shot separately and edited in via CG, a fact that the showrunners Robert and Michelle King did not feel like admitting until last month, for whatever reason. And followed up by a quote which boiled down to ‘Hope you're not mad.' That such friction between these characters clearly impacted the way the stories could be told on the show is an indictment of the Kings and on Margulies, who says she's shown most of the storylines from the Kings, as producer of the show. Without Charles and Panjabi (and as Peter's political aspirations grow), I'm legitimately concerned that this show is on its last legs, a disappointment after such a superb previous season.

For as brilliant and amazing as Season Five of The Good Wife was, that it gave away so much of that goodwill in Season Six with questionable story choices and bizarre execution of them, it seems to be the show has regressed from "excellent," blown past "pretty good," and we're in unknown territory, or at least the ground Season One or Two covered. The way things are going for the show, it may not be soon enough.

The Discs:
The Video:

22 episodes spread over six discs, and all in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, and all looking good. Colors are reproduced accurately from their original broadcasts, though flesh tones appear to have a slight red/orange push to them. There seems to be some instances of edge enhancement and haloing, but in summary, good but not great.

The Sound:

Dolby Digital 5.1 surround for all episodes. Dialogue is consistent for most of the season, and the score sounding clear and even dynamic at times, with satellite channels participating on occasion along with the subwoofer. Most of the action occurs in the front of the soundstage, there are moments of channel panning and directional effects, but nothing to write home about.


Deleted scenes on every episode, and multiple, extended scenes on most of them, running more than 90 minutes (1:36:11), some of which are good, but most are noise and less signal, and don't add anything to a particular episode. The balance of the extras are on Disc Six, starting with "Follow the Leader" (25:44), which focuses on the Kings, the process of the show, the storylines, and production schedule. Real-life event inspirations are discussed and the Panjabi departure is recounted (featuring convenient omissions and disingenuousness). While the latter annoyed me, overall the piece is good. Just as good is "The Temptation of Alicia Florrick" (23:21), which looks at the approach to Season Six, favorite moments and guest stars. The first featurette is crew-centric, while this one is cast-centric, but both are very good. "Esteemed Women of Sunday Nights" are two brief looks at Margulies (2:08) and Baranski (2:09). A quick but chuckleworthy gag reel (3:54) finishes things.

Final Thoughts:

At 50% of capability, The Good Wife is better than most, but Season Six of the show finds longtime viewers of the show wondering if it even reached half that number this season. Technically the discs are decent, the extras are good, but man, the quality compared to the last couple of seasons really had it fall off the table. Worth renting, but little else.

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