At the end of Season 4, Alicia answered the door and told Cary she was in to start the new law firm. Season 5 picked up right after her decision with both of them in Alicia's kitchen celebrating the start of "Florrick, Agos and Associates." According to series star Julianna Margulies, the decision to leave and join Cary will start a bloodbath and begins a story arc that explodes in episode 15. Until then, as employees of Lockhart/Gardner "The Good Wife" goes back to familiar territory by starting the season with its patented death row cases.
The death row cases have been a staple for the show along with its endless string of memorable guest stars. This case was no different thanks to an outstanding performance from Malik Yoba as Eddie Allen Fornam, a convicted murderer who can't have his lethal injection carried out because the prison can't properly administer it. Thus begins an hour of the lawyers at Lockhart/Gardner doing what they do best which is pull out every legal trick they can to buy time for Fornam.
Will, Diane and Alicia ask for him to undergo a physical, interview a nurse that was at the execution and ultimately get under the skin of Assistant States Attorney Geneva Pine. Pine happened to work at the Indiana office when Fornam was initially arrested and reluctantly admits that she didn't believe that he was guilty. She works with Diane and Robyn to uncover the similarities between Fornam's case and others that have used the same snitch.
In the midst of the death row drama, Alicia finds herself in an awkward spot when the other fourth year attorneys want to wait three weeks before leaving so they can collect bonuses. Alicia is conflicted because she doesn't want to keep lying to Will...and Diane. Her decision to start a new firm also has Peter a bit concerned that the decision to leave is about Will more than it is about anything else. Peter has his own issues to worry about as he finds himself attracted to the new Ethics counselor played by Melissa George. He ultimately decides to take Eli's advice (who is appointed Chief of Staff) and "promotes" George's character so it doesn't pose a problem.
Meanwhile back at Lockhart/Gardner, Will puts in a call to the Drug Enforcement Agency after he realizes the warden of the prison had the drugs for the lethal injection sent through the US mail. This puts a permanent halt to the execution and Fornam is informed by Alicia that he will get a new trial.
There were so many good things about this Season premiere and reminded me of the early episodes of the series when the show did a great job of balancing the amount of romantic drama with great cases. Every actor was on their A-game and the scenes with Yoba were especially poignant. Alicia trying to thread the line of bowing out somewhat gracefully from the law firm was interesting to watch. She tries to talk to Will all episode but he annoyingly cuts her off after she hasn't returned his phone calls for the past few days. At the end of the episode when she mutters "please don't end up hating me" under her breath to Will, puts emphasis on what this season will be all about. Love, hate, betrayal will be the theme for at least the first half of the season according to Margulies.
There were a couple of not so good things about the premiere as well. I'm sure the scenes about Grace being one of the hottest political daughters will serve some purpose later in the season but it seemed so out of place in such an intense episode. The telecommuting robot was funny as well the first scene or two especially with David Lee yelling at her but got old rather quickly. Will and Alicia never allowing the other to finish a sentence when they try to talk about something personal is beyond aggravating. We all know the conversation needs to happen at some point but whenever one of them tries to talk the other one says "hey, don't worry about it." As a viewer, it's extremely frustrating and it comes off as a cheap ploy to keep the audience hanging on for what might happen.
The biggest disappointment and why this season premiere can't get a perfect rating is the lack of Kalinda screen time. Margulies has been very vocal about not wanting to see Alicia and Kalinda as best friends considering her betrayal with Peter. However, Archie Panjabi's character is just too essential to the show to be as much of a wasted resource as she is. It would be great to see Alicia and Kalinda grabbing a drink again for old times sake but even if her scenes are not with Alicia, it would be good to see her interact with Will who she is also close friends with. The Cary and Kalinda dynamic is a good one as well. Whatever it takes, Kalinda deserves a great storyline and not what was attempted with her husband last season.
This season of "The Good Wife" has promised a lot of tension and emotion due to the firm's splitting and it will be captivating to see how it all plays out. The start to the season as well as season 5 promos online is very promising of what's to come.
Sidenote for Will and Alicia fans (myself included), this season may be a heartbreaker. Besides the fact that all signs point to Alicia and Peter actually giving their politically convenient marriage another go, Josh Charles who portrays Will, only has a contract through the current season. There is speculation that he won't continue after this season which would put a permanent dagger in the Will and Alicia relationship.
"The Good Wife" airs on Sunday nights on CBS, Cox Cable channel 5.