‘The Good Wife’ Season 4 premiere recap: ‘I Fought the Law’

Sarah D. Bunting
Fall TV

Zach fights fire with YouTube, Nathan Lane tries to save the firm, and we get almost no answers about Kalinda's husband.

Let's answer the big question right up front: Yes, Alicia's wig is showing incremental improvement.

That's not the big question? Fair enough.

A mystery wrapped in a Kalinda, zipped into a pair of high-heeled boots

Here's what we know about Kalinda's husband: not much more than we knew before. His name is Nick; he's kind of a thug; and when sending an enforcer named Bill to impress upon Kalinda that Nick wants her back fails (big time: Kalinda's sledgehammer 1, Bill's hand 0), Nick hires Lockhart Gardner to vet some bid co-signers for a government -- you know what, never mind. He's shady is the point.

He could also well be the source of her Kalinda-fu. When they wind up in an elevator together, it's game on. They wind up in bed. And then Kalinda points a gun at Nick and tells him to kick rocks to the edge of town. Romantical!

Family values

Alicia and Peter's marriage is less UFC but somewhat DOA. They're friendly in their interactions but no more than that, and Alicia isn't pretending otherwise for the sake of Peter's gubernatorial campaign. When Kristen Chenoweth's deceptively adorable Peggy Byrne pigeonholes Alicia in an interview, asking if Alicia doesn't feel like a "doormat" and referencing the 1950s, Alicia shuts her down: "This isn't about women or the '50s; this is about me."

Alicia's oft-stated desire to make her life her own may come true this season, if only because Eli Gold might be forced to take Peter's campaign in a different direction. The conservative opponent, Mike Kresteva (Matthew Perry, seen only in a campaign ad this episode), is not afraid to leverage his sick child for family-values votes; Peter will have to find another angle.

Zach attack

In the meantime, Peter's still the state's attorney, and Alicia's still being targeted based on the last name she's stayed committed to. Zach gets pulled over in a bogus traffic stop designed to boost numbers, which leads to a series of plumage displays among the traffic cop (Matthew Del Negro, doing his best with a one-dimensional character), the local DA, and Peter. Zach saves his own butt from an obstruction charge with a YouTube mashup -- surreptitious video from the stop, vintage building demolitions, cartoons, the usual -- that gets half a million views and forces an apology thanks to the bad PR.

Is this going to lead to an internship for Zach at the firm? He's bailed Alicia out on the tech side before, and that montage of Zach researching his own case was pretty good, for a bunch of close-ups of browser searches. More importantly, it was miles more interesting than the ongoing viability issues of Lockhart Gardner. Can we please not have any more corporate-charter subplots? Nathan Lane gives an unexpectedly buttoned-down performance as the court-appointed trustee, Clarke Hayden, but enough with the firm-teetering-on-the-brink stories. No one cares.

Odds and ends

Will's suspension is over. Hard to say how this affects the character going forward, but given a chance to sell him out to the trustee, Diane declined, and hurried to his office for a toast the very minute the suspension expired. Theirs is a unique relationship on TV; nice to see it's intact so far.

Diane's usual awesome coif was gigantic during that bankruptcy hearing. She looked like Darth Helmet.

Two almost-throwaway shots -- Alicia silently noting that Zach's browser algorithm had served him an ad for medical marijuana; Zach noting that his video has gotten 500,000 hits, then promptly switching back to porn -- prove that this is a really smart writing staff that trusts its actors to get things done.

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