28 November, 2011

The Good Wife: On Location in NYC

On Location in NYC
On-site filming November 22, 2011| Post date: November 28, 2011 | Update: January 9, 2012

Knowing there would be no new episode of The Good Wife this week, there was nothing left to do but take to the streets - and the hallways - of Lockhart Gardner to fuel my scheduled Monday post.  In fact, last weekend I got my lucky break in getting word The Good Wife would be filming at an on-site location in NYC.  I'm not one to miss such an opportunity, so after grabbing my purse, laptop bag and umbrella, I was out the door for an adventure that would last seven hours and feature a cast of colorful characters, including Christine Baranski.

In my Opinion - a Photographic Journey

When a show rolls into an on-site location, there is nothing small about the production and filming of The Good Wife is no exception.  Signage goes up, trailers appear and everything from lights to set pieces suddenly fill the streets.

Kalinda would have been proud: this sign proves I was able to sleuth the filming location!

Originally I had assumed The Good Wife was filming outside based on the influx of twinkle lights and old-fashioned lamp posts.  I may or may not be correct... (UPDATE: I was, in fact, incorrect - this was just a festive street)

Lights, cameras, nuts and bolts!

This way!

Perhaps this was just a festive block?  Fortunately, my observations are much more concrete later in the day 

Set up in the rain, these lights were aiming directly at the office tower in which they were filming

Setting up the lobby for shooting

One of my favourite pictures from the day:  I'll let the chaos and the colors speak for themselves

On-set supplies, from crates to carpets

The Scene
When I arrived at the filming site, they were finalizing blocking and rehearsing a three-person scene with Christine Baranaksi (Diane Lockhart).  The premise?  Diane is witness to a man being served with papers in the lobby of a building.  Needless to say, the process isn't smooth and said man ends up getting body slammed into one of the lobby's marble columns.  He quickly exits stage right and Diane is left to chat with the person doing the serving.  When the show airs, the highlight of the scene, it could be said, will be the man being pushed into the pillar.  I would contest this though.  It's really Diane's shoes.  Stay tuned.

Update: This scene is from episode 12, "Alienation of Affection." The premise?  Diane is heading into work when she happens upon Jack Copeland, the man who earlier in the episode, served not only her, but Alicia, Will and David.  Here, she finds him serving someone else - it seems the offices of Lockhart & Gardner are in his service area.  Could we be seeing more of Copeland?  I predict yes... perhaps with a tasty helping of love interest on the side.  Note: I'm still working on sourcing these amazing shoes!

Blocking and rehearsing...
Blocking and rehearsing take IV
Rest assured, I will be getting more information on these shoes.  Any guesses the designer?
Stuart Weitzman perhaps?

Oh yes, and we're rolling here - this is what you will see on screen!

A Special Thanks
Standing outside an on-location filming, you meet some interesting people - those who have no idea what's going on, those who are interested in behind-the-scenes experiences, those who like to catch a glimpse of celebrities and those who are fans of the whole process.  I met all of these people and was thrilled to be part of the process... even if it was in the rain! Thanks to Ron, the television and film composer I met, who listened intently to my explanation of all things "The Good Wife" and later called me an 'expert' to other passers by, and thanks to the security guard who is responsible for protecting doors and elevators during filming - you're doing a great job!

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21 November, 2011

"Whiskey Tango Foxtrot"

Episode Title: "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot"
Season 3, Episode 9 |Original Air Date: Sunday, November 20, 2011

Like a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” had all of the elements that make a holiday feast something that can (and should) only happen a few times a year.  It was witty, wry and wily with a scoop of savoury drama on the side – everything a good family gathering should be.  Add in two scathing admonishments, an equal amount of high-end whiskey and stir to combine. This episode was a recipe for things to come…

In my Opinion – Episode Commentary
As the episode opens we find ourselves watching surveillance camera footage as someone maps the distance from a truck to landmarks and civilians.  Before long… kaboom.  With the push of a button, the truck explodes in a cloud of flames.  Enter one of my season two favourites, Captain (formerly Lieutenant, so things must be going well) Terrence Hicks, who is representing the person responsible for the explosion which killed 12 people. The charge? Murder and one dozen counts of it.  Captain Hicks has a soft spot for Will and Alicia over at Lockhart Gardner (and the feeling continues to be mutual) so he pitches the idea of them working together for a second time.  After getting word the State’s Attorney’s investigation is coming to a close, Will takes Kalinda’s advice: “Now go exhale. Do something nice for someone.”  Translating this into something tangible, he decides that Lockhart Gardner can work with Captain Hicks and tackle the murder case.  The only downside?  That means going back into military court.

Moving swiftly, we’re quickly whisked away to the military court room where there is nothing to do but have flashbacks to season two’s “Double Jeopardy.”  At the outset, Will is immediately cast in the role of pariah by Judge Leora Kuhn, who picks up right where she left off: making Will enemy number one.  As an audience, we were all thinking the same things Will was saying, “are there any other judges in the military?” The answer, “Yes there are, and yet here I am again. Happy days.”

The Investigation
While things for Will are shaky at best in military court, things aren’t getting any easier on the home front.  Kalinda was premature in telling him the coast was clearing on the investigation… the new special prosecutor assigned by Peter is none other than Wendy Scott-Carr.  Based on last season, we know that Wendy has a propensity to fight to the death while covering her claws in a sugary sweet coating.  Also, she’s dressed to kill… and it seems her plan is just that – bring down Will Gardner on charges of judicial bribery.   After a visit with Diane, who was, thankfully, not willing to buy into Wendy’s veiled threats, Diane confronts Will, in what can only be called the cautionary reprimand of the century.    

“Peter Florrick is coming after you because you’re sleeping with his wife. Don’t lie to me. It’s wrong. You are her boss. He is the State’s Attorney.  Even if it weren’t wrong, it’s not smart. Stop sleeping with his wife. Do you understand me?”

Given Will and Diane’s close relationship, I can’t help but think this conversation will have an impact on him.  Will has worked hard to get where he’s at and I don’t think he’s about to throw it all away.  Perhaps it will mean a cooling-down of things, or maybe it will just mean Team Gardner will have to get a little stealthier in their relationship?  Will can clearly keep things hidden – his gambling past is proof-positive – the question will be how far Alicia wants to push the limits.

Stuck in the Middle
Meanwhile, Eli is in knee-deep with the cheese people.  I’ve been waiting for this storyline to resurface for a few weeks and I’m thrilled to report it was back with a vengeance. You see, the food pyramid has been changed into a food plate, which is much more ambiguous when it comes to what you are supposed to eat and in what quantities.  I’ve been saying this for years.  Okay, I haven’t. I didn’t even know there was a food plate now… but I agree that it’s less helpful.  Obviously, there’s nothing else to do but lobby: Food pyramid vs food plate.  Who is stuck in the middle? Corn, of course. While Eli tries to form some natural synergies with the Fruit Association (cheese and fruit plates have been wooing party-goers for decades), plans backfire and he’s left to create his own new food diagram (the food person) and try to find an ally with the bread and grain people.  As it turns out, none of the food groups can play nice together and Eli, sadly, loses the Dairy Association as clients.  Well, there’s no crying over spilled milk.  There’s nothing left to do but wallow… or at least that was Eli’s plan until Diane had something to say about it.  The new plan? Win them back.  Operation ‘stick it to the cheese people’ begins tomorrow.

Locked Up
There’s nothing worse than opening your computer to find an unexpected surprise.  It can come in the form of the blue screen of death, or in finding out your webcam was on when your mother-in-law was snooping through your things when you weren’t home.  Last week, Jackie channeled her inner Kalinda to spy through Alicia’s things, not knowing that Alicia’s computer was recording her rummaging.  This week, Alicia turns on her computer only to be greeted by the footage.  If we’ve learned anything from Alicia over the least 15 episodes, it’s that she’s all about action.  Pull up a chair, it’s game time. Step 1) Change the locks! Step 2) Talk to the kids – while the phrase “Jackie is crazy” didn’t emanate from Alicia’s lips, the sentiment was there. Also, finally Grace was on the same page as everyone else in noting Jackie’s insanity.  Step 3) Confront Jackie. “I don’t want you in here Jackie. I don’t want you going through my things. I don’t want you in my computer. … Look at my face, Jackie - You no longer have the power to wound.” Point Alicia Florrick.  This scene was priceless! Step 4) Buy Zach a car.

And the Emmy goes to… 
Christine Baranski.  Once again, this was a fantastic episode for Baranski’s Diane Lockhart.  She’s hard-hitting, poignant and can deliver a line like no one else.  Pure brilliance. Give this woman an Emmy!

Quotes of the Week 
Will: “I told Mrs. Florrick, ‘You take it, she hates me’”
Judge Kuhn: “You wound me, sir.”

Eli: “I need something to drink.”
Diane: “Well, don’t get morose.”
Eli: “Why not? It deserves a little wallowing, don’t you think? Four or five million a year between us. NORA – why don’t I have scotch?!”
Diane: Win them back
Eli: Oh yes, you’re right, what was I thinking?
Diane: Do men really have that much success in their life that the first setback that comes along they get all weepy?
Eli: We’re not weepy. I’m… tired.

Diane to Eli: “You are brilliant, but you’re not God’s gift”

So, what’s next? 
With Wendy Scott-Carr hot on Will’s trail, I think we can expect to see a lot more investigators hanging around which could make Will’s life less than comfortable.  Remember Andrew Wiley?  He’s definitely coming back and as we know, he always gets to the bottom of things.  Will is going to have to run his personal and professional life on the up-and-up for the next while which could signal an unwanted pause on the budding romance of Team Gardner (things are far from over there though… thank goodness!).  Of course, there’s no accounting for working late hours at the office.  This is something Cary, Dana and Kalinda know all about… though their overtime seems to involve shots of tequila and trading insider tips on one another.  I think we can expect Cary to continue to fight his conscience on the legitimacy of the Gardner investigation while Dana tries to climb the ladder over at the State’s Attorney’s office.  Dana and Wendy could be a powerful force.

Next up?  Sadly, we’re on a one-week hiatus.  I’ve been dreading this announcement since week six when I started to expect a break.  A nine-episode run has been a welcome marathon though and it gives us just enough time to prepare for the return of Michael J. Fox as Louis Canning in episode 10 “Parenting Made Easy.”  The preview indicates Grace has been kidnapped.  I have one word for this news: Finally. On the downside, things like this tend to bring people together.  Look out Team Florrick, episode 10 could be for you... but hopefully it won't last.

Related to this Post:
*Episode 10 preview - "Parenting Made Easy"
*Josh Charles talks about the Will Gardner Investigation
*Don't forget to keep up with "The Latest Briefs" - your one-stop-shop for news about The Good Wife

14 November, 2011

"Death Row Tip"

Episode Title: "Death Row Tip"
Season 3, Episode 8 |Original Air Date: Sunday, November 13, 2011

After last week’s, “Executive Order 13224” (a law I now find myself reciting as though it’s a commonplace term such as ‘grande, non-fat peppermint latte’) we find ourselves out on a ledge with “Death Row Tip.” It wasn’t a groundbreaking episode, but a few slippery slopes opened up in a big way… 

In my opinion – episode commentary
To open, we find ourselves face-to-face with Ricky Packer, a death row inmate who is being charged with a double homicide.  Packer also happens to be full of tips and information on other Chicago crimes, but he’s slated to die in 36 hours.  Enter Cary and Dana who arrive on a crime scene from the State’s Attorney’s office to find two rotting corpses being dug up in a park.  It wouldn’t be a day on the job without the involvement of Lockhart Gardner in an SA matter though – between Alicia, Kalinda, Diane and Justin (the head of legal aid), this episode was fraught with intermingled relationships and plenty of soul searching when it comes to the death penalty.

While Packer has a lot of insider information that can be useful, at the end of the day we find out he raped and murdered two 14 year old girls – a case that truly gets under Alicia’s skin.  It has been awhile since we saw Alicia in an emotional place with a case (even the exceptionally creepy Colin Sweeny hasn’t truly rattled her).  As it turns out, Packer’s entire support network is holier than thou and he is, in fact, the crazed murderer.  This is a character we won’t be seeing again.

I think what’s most interesting is that we see a different side of Alicia – a side that supports the death penalty in extreme criminal circumstances.  I felt a bit like I was watching an episode of Dexter – what’s the right thing to do? Alicia is always struggling with this question, but no matter what, she works hard for her clients.

Getting a bit complicated
Will:  “Diane’s been eyeing us like we’re a lawsuit waiting to happen”
Alicia: “It’s getting a bit complicated, isn’t it?”
Will: “It is.”
Alicia: “Do we need to pause?”
Will: “Do you want to pause?”
Alicia: “I’m afraid even if we say we will, we won’t.”
Will: “That sounds right.”

Team Gardner is in a bit of a tight spot right now.  Rumours are beginning to surface out in the community that the firm is being investigated (how is this becoming public knowledge?) and Diane is stealthy at keeping her eye on Will and Alicia whenever they’re together.  Their fishbowl office layout definitely has some drawbacks.

Meanwhile, I was thrilled to see Kalinda approach Will about the investigation (thanks, Dana, for spilling the beans!).  Will knows things are always better with Kalinda at his side.  While he hasn’t confessed many of his secrets to K, he doesn’t have to, at least not yet.  Maybe because they’re drinking buddies, maybe because on some level they understand each other, but whatever it is, Will and Kalinda need each other’s friendship… and now Will is going to need Kalinda’s power-sleuthing to get him out of the hot seat.  I still can’t tell how this is going to play out, but I’m convinced wherever the cards fall, Alicia and Kalinda will end back in something that resembles friendship.  Kalinda is actively looking to take one for the team – she wants to help Will.

Lock your doors
When Alicia told Grace to lock the front door (a little Packer paranoia coming through), I don’t think she intended it to mean ‘lock Jackie out,’ however, that would have been a fringe benefit.  Sure, Chicago’s murderers are bad, but would they go through your laundry basket and try to get onto your computer?  Probably not.  If ever there was a case for having your locks changed, it would come in the form of Jackie Florrick.
Through the entire ‘investigator Jackie’ bit, I couldn’t help but think, “please tell me Alicia is spending more time at Will’s place than she is at her own.”  A bit of dirty laundry? I think that can be explained.

A shoot out
This episode rolled along nicely and came to an explosive ending when Cary and Kalinda were caught in the exchange of gunfire. It could be a metaphor for their relationship – Cary had a crazed amount of angst this episode, what with Dana and Kalinda befriending each other – but there’s just something about Kalinda that gets to him.  “I don’t like you being in my head” notes Cary… and then his kisses Kalinda before running away.  I honestly don’t think these two are going anywhere.  Cary and Dana are definitely a better match and she seems to have much fewer issues than Kalinda.  Then again, who doesn’t?

Quotes of the week:
Will: “I used to be good at reading the political tea leaves, now I can barely tell why people say hello to me in the morning.”

Will: "I feel like hugging you."
Kalinda: "No, just, just ask for my help."

Cary: “I know a lot of people who weren’t anything before they met Kalinda."

So, what’s next?
With fall sweeps coming to an end next week, it can only mean one thing: drama!  Word on the street is that super investigator Andrew Wiley (played by Tim Guinee) is going to be back on the scene within the next few episodes.  This is a character I both love and hate.  He’s just like Kalinda in that he always gets to the bottom of things… only he collects information legally.  Okay, that’s not as fun to watch, but he is good.  I’m a little concerned he’s going to come back to work for Cary again… and that means going up against Will.  If this is true, all bets are off.  Unlike Jackie Florrick, Wiley knows how to use a computer. Team Gardner, we have a problem.

Next week: “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.” Yes, writers of The Good Wife, your ‘WTF’ cleverness is not only putting you at the top of my Christmas card list once again, it’s putting you at the top of my tree.  The preview alone made my heart rate spike.  I literally couldn’t help but shriek.  It looks amazing (and Diane looks on the top of her game!  Can you say, ‘power suit?!’).  I just hope my Team Gardner coffee mug won’t be deemed null and void before the end of the episode… I’m not quite done with all of the dirty laundry.

13 November, 2011

"Executive Order 13224"

Episode Title: "Executive Order 13224"
Season 3, Episode 7 |Original Air Date: Sunday, November 6, 2011

I cheered. I gasped. Okay, I gasped three times in the first seven minutes. Fine, it was more probably more like four. I shrieked and I covered my face. “Executive Order 13224” was, in my opinion, the biggest ‘wow factor’ episode they have done since Bond was ousted in season two.  I didn’t know they could top this season’s episode four, “Feeding the Rat,” but they did.  The writers of The Good Wife are officially at the top of my Christmas card list.

In my opinion – episode commentary 
I think it’s only fit to begin this post with a mention of a scene that launched the episode: What can I say - the opening with Will on the phone to Diane and having Alicia's "Mom pick up the phone, Mom pick up the phone" ring throughout the room and across the telephone line was shocking. I had a feeling Will was with Alicia, but I didn't expect her phone to go off.  It was a great and yet terrible Team Gardner moment.    Oh – and let me just say this – how is it that Grace can manage to ruin almost every scene she is in? Where this bible study storyline is going is uncertain to me, but what I do know: if bible study is the undoing of Team Gardner, I’m going to be upset.

Flash to Diane
This was a great episode for Christine Baranski to tap into her comedic timing that has been well used for the show’s dramatic effect.  This was an episode for her (and her shoes!) to shine. It’s clear she definitely knows something is going on with Will and Alicia and is trying to figure out the best way to deal with it.  All I could think of when she brought in the insurance representative to discuss "harassment" and "appropriate behaviour" was, "Touche Diane, touche."  It was brilliant. 

Now we’re seeing a different side to Diane though – she is looking at Alicia through a different lens.  So, where will the passive aggression lead? I can’t help but flash back to “The Death Zone” when Diane had a sit-down with Will to discusses getting rid of Alicia if she becomes a liability.  Until things get sorted out, I think we can look forward to more clever nudges at the budding Team Gardner romance.  Diane is crafty and her sexual harassment video with bubble gum xylophone music is just the beginning.  Ping!

For the love of cupcakes, confidentiality, paper and freedom
Fortunately, Alicia is still excellent at her job and knows how to land on the side of integrity and justice.  This week, Alicia found herself in a storyline that had her reporting client information to a Treasury Secretary Monitor, a situation which made her “uncomfortable” (of course, Diane was exceptionally sympathetic to this statement… or not).  The penalty for not reporting back is stated to be a $250,000 fine and eight years in prison.  Enter Carrie Preston’s hard-hitting and yet whimsical character Elsbeth Tascioni, a lawyer who comes on the scene in some rather dire circumstances (season one’s “Mock” episode, for example).  Paired alongside the cupcake-loving Treasury Secretary Monitor, Mr. Gordon Higgs (played by Bob Balaban), it’s a wonder anything was accomplished, what with all of the delaying tactics and talk of frosting.  Of course, Elsbeth was brilliant and Alicia is free to walk to the streets of Chicago another day.  Or, at least until Diane can arrange otherwise.

Gardner vs. Florrick
Meanwhile, the Will/Peter dynamic is becoming increasingly more interesting as time goes on.  Will is rough around the edges – he’s not afraid to speak his mind and when push comes to shove, he will fight.  Let’s not forget season two’s episode, ‘VIP Treatment,’ when he ends up in an all-out brawl the evening of the gala dinner.  Peter is more refined.  He’s a politician at heart and with a religious ‘rebirth’ since being in prison he does seem to be approaching life in a more pragmatic fashion.  He’s not flying off the handle at the drop of a pin, but then again, he’s not in the throngs of passion with Alicia.  Peter knows that he needs to play it cool in order to take Will down.  As the audience, I feel like we’re being put in a very interesting position.  We are witness to Peter landing solely on the side of doing the right thing, while we're being positioned to see a less than squeaky clean image of Will.  

So, is Will really in trouble?  We heard about this $45,000 in stolen money when Celeste and Alicia bonded over a few shots of tequila, so we know there are people who are aware of the indiscretion.  That said, Alicia didn’t seem particularly concerned when she heard about it - Let’s not forget her quote: “If he hasn’t buried a hobo in the desert I’ll be unimpressed.”

For those Team Florrick fans, you can all celebrate because Peter is taking a step back from the Lockhart Gardner investigation due to too many conflicts of interest.  Point Peter.  When more information surfaces, Will is going to have a mad hate on for the State's Attorney and it’s going to be in Peter’s best interest to be standing in the wings.  How this all ties back to Lemond Bishop is off my radar right now – I’m not sure how Dana and Cary are going to tip Will to get information.   My question: Why would Blake have given up Will's secret?  Before this goes too far, Will is going to have to tell Alicia what’s happening so it doesn't end up being another 'betrayal of trust' situation for her.

Quotes of the week:
1) "I need your help on this insurance case because I'm swamped.  Look at all this paper. Whew! I need help." - Oh Elsbeth... she makes me smile.  
2)  "Get a pair of balls and throw a punch" - Pa Chow Will Gardner!  I like that he's not afraid of confrontation.  
3) Will: "How are you doing?"   Alicia: "Well, I'm not going to jail."  Will: "That's good."  Well, what else can you say? 

So, what’s next?
I think Kalinda is going to be able to use her new-found information to rekindle her friendship with Alicia.  Now that she's heard Alicia's cell phone ring on Will's call, she definitely knows what's going on... especially paired with her conversation with Will in the first episode of the season when he says he has somewhere to be at "8:45" and she says, "that's specific."  Anyways, I can see Diane asking Kalinda to investigate more deeply into the lives of Will and Alicia, but I can also see Kalinda telling Alicia and then holding information back from Diane to protect the Team Gardner relationship.  Thoughts?

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