'The Good Wife' recap: A little less conversation, a little more action

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"The Good Wife" -- "A Defense of Marriage"

Alicia's (Julianna Margulies) mother, Veronica (Stockard Channing) shows up requesting moral and legal support in "A Defense of Marriage," the ninth episode of "The Good Wife" Season 4.

Ah, the holidays. Squabbling relatives, sniping in-laws, secrets revealed, nerves frayed ... it's enough to drive anyone crazy.

Or, in Alicia's case, into the bathroom for a little nookie!

Alicia's mother, Veronica (the superb Stockard Channing), is in town for Thanksgiving to settle her dead (third) husband's contested will. Alicia resents her mother's two-year absence; Veronica acts like she's never been gone, giving her daughter unwanted advice about Peter, Will, her hair, the placement of the furniture, etc.

So, Alicia relieves the tension by jumping Peter. He's still her husband, after all.

The bonds of matrimony

Alicia and Diane are defending the CEO and CFO of a tax-return-software company, who have been accused of filing fraudulent claims.

Opposing counsel Bucky Stabler (Brian Dennehy) wants to play a wiretap between the CEO, Vance, and his wife, but Alicia and Diane call upon spousal shield.

Unfortunately, that doesn't apply to the CFO, Dale, and his husband because the federal courts do not recognize same-sex marriage under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The case against Vance is dropped, and Dale becomes the sole target.

As Diane and Alicia ponder their strategy, in sweeps Supreme Court superlawyer Jeremy Breslow (Bruce McGill). He wants to use Dale's case to take down DOMA.

"He's Barnum and Bailey," Will warns of Breslow. "He'll swallow this case whole."

During the trial, it's clear that Will is right about the supercilious Breslow. He doesn't seem to want to win, making hardly any effort to cross-examine witnesses.


When Alicia uses Vance's wiretap (now admissible, as he's no longer a defendant) to prove the CEO knew about the fraud, the government offers Dale a plea bargain. Breslow convinces him not to accept it, though. He wants to take this baby all the way to the Supreme Court.

Family matters

Owen watches the court proceedings with interest, and has some interesting news of his own for Alicia: Their mother is in town. Hurray?

Veronica is as passive-aggressive as they get. She can't stop herself from interjecting little comments about Alicia's hair and home. Alicia can't stop rolling her eyes.

Turns out Veronica's third husband recently died, but at the last minute, he changed his will to leave her nothing. His son had informed him that Veronica was cheating.

Alicia gets David Lee to help out, and his smarminess (coupled with Veronica's flirtatiousness) is a treat to watch.


After Owen perjures himself about Veronica cheating (which was true), she gets her money.

Meanwhile, Cary's sporting a black eye from last week's beatdown. (Thank goodness he's OK, but he really wasn't injured more than that?) He drops by Nick's work, all fake smiles, to give him a not-at-all-friendly warning.

Under the guise of talking about the tow-truck-company lawsuit, Cary notes he's "looked into everything there is to know about your business."

"I can use my friends at the state's attorney's office to know more," he says with an intimidating gleam in his eye.

We like Scary Cary. Take Nick down!


Just the two of us

Diane and Alicia have to win Dale's case outright since he won't take the plea bargain. When Kalinda digs up the state's wiretap on CEO Vance, they find the evidence they need -- he bought a yacht on kickbacks from the fraudulent claims.

Breslow is not happy about winning -- at least, privately. "You just stuck us with DOMA for another decade," he huffs at them, while telling a TV interviewer that he was the one who decided to win the case.

At Alicia's house, Thanksgiving dinner is commencing. Jackie arrives, and Alicia cunningly arranges for her and Veronica to keep each other (very barbed) company.

Peter is disturbed (as we are) when Cristian implies that he is getting very close to Jackie. Seriously?

Veronica corners Alicia and advises her to leave Peter. She then corners Peter and pushes him to let Alicia go.

But this has the opposite effect Veronica wants. Alicia drags Peter away, into her bathroom, and proceeds to undress both of them.

"The door's unlocked," a stunned (but pleased) Peter notes.

"I don't give a damn," she replies.

"Is this about your mother?" he asks.

Alicia smiles. "Yes."

Rebellious Alicia is fun.

Check out what "Good Wife" fans had to say about this week's episode, and weigh in with your comments below!


"The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9 PM on CBS.