THE GOOD WIFE: Power, politics and usury (how people use one another); those are the topics rolling over in my mind during this season of the show. I especially enjoy watching the women in this show as they function in a boy’s club profession like the law and navigate their way through cases and courtrooms.
Diane Lockhart – Christine Baranski is a wonder to behold as she makes the most of this role, playing a woman of a certain age who has power, ambition, intelligence and an active social life. Watching her in last Sunday’s episode as she juggled two men (almost unheard of on TV for women over 40), I was dazzled as she used her managerial skills to schedule her newest love interest for one night while making plans with her old flame (Gary Cole). Masterful. She’s also commanding and firm as the head of the firm as she tries to keep those vying for Will’s seat and office from having their way. It was like watching her herd cats, as Julius Kaye, Eli Gold and David Lee squabbled about Will’s fate. We need more women like Diane Lockhart.
Alicia Florrick is still discovering her power and learning how to manipulate others. She’s not as expert as Diane yet, but she’s learning fast. She got her salary bump but using the offer from Louis Canning (Michael J. Fox) as leverage. I’m still puzzled by Alicia’s desire to buy her old house — I think Diane had the line, “why go backward?” and that’s exactly my thought, why would Alicia want to go back to that place? I understand the happy memories with her children when they were young but it’s also where her marriage to Peter started to unravel. Alicia’s life is in the city now, she’s not a housewife, she’s a working mother and a successful attorney. I don’t even see the appeal of the house. Alicia has some fierce moments in this Sunday’s episode with guest star Matthew Perry. I will not spoil anything for you but Alicia’s developing a certain hardness in her professional life that makes for a few terrific moments.
Kalinda Sharma has always understood her power as a woman and she’s never been afraid to use it as a means to an end. Watching her renegotiate a relationship with Alicia and endure awkward moments as they try to find their way back to some sort of friendship is interesting and oddly sweet. What I love is that Kalinda understands Alicia’s emotional reactions and she’s fine with waiting until Alicia is ready to re-engage. Kalinda remains one of the smartest, savviest and sexiest women on TV.
JUSTIFIED: Did anyone else get chills when Quarles came to the bar and told Raylan he was going to kill him by putting a bullet in the back of his head and then Raylan replied, “Why wait?” I re-wound that scene at least three times and I still can’t get it outta my head. The show is clicking on all cylinders this season and one of the main reasons is because Raylan’s woman has left him and as he said in one episode, “I don’t give a s–t.” He’s still determined to do his job but he’s a little looser with the rules and that’s made him a little more dangerous. I loved the courtroom scene where he started out in earnest and then gave up and told the judge to let Dickie Bennett go, saying Dickie would screw up again and then Raylan would just go out and drag him back to jail again, which we know is going to happen. Neal McDonough is also astonishing in the role of Quarles; we learned more about his horribly messed-up childhood in this week’s episode and the final scene of the episode was frightening. McDonough never disappoints but the JUSTIFIED writers have made him stretch more than any of his previous roles. Applause.
SOUTHLAND SEASON FINALE: A fine end to a very strong season. Lucy Liu as newly promoted Sgt. Tang had an emotional showdown with Officer Cooper as she tried to defend her actions when she shot the teenager with the toy gun. The final scene of the episode was powerful as Sammy watched his partner Ben become a walking ball of anger and didn’t know what he could do about it. The hospital room scene at the top of the episode was also surprisingly emotional as Sammy tried to get through to Ben by confessing that he felt like he was letting Ben down and Ben just shrugged it off and went to work, steeped in his anger. The quiet wallop of the episode: Lydia telling her boss that she was requesting to stay home for the duration of her pregnancy because babies can hear what the mother is hearing during pregnancy and because of the job, she didn’t want it to go in that deep. This scene killed me. I don’t know what else to say. Now I’m just waiting for TNT to renew the show for a fifth season; god knows they’re earned it.
AWAKE: Last week’s “Guilty” episode was very moving; Jason Isaacs has a wonderful gravity in the family scenes and you can’t take your eyes off him. Those scenes work so well, they make me lose interest in the cop stuff. I’m also not liking Wilmer Valderama in the show because he seems totally miscast as a cop. I’m still admiring the show’s visual style and how they differentiate Britton’s two realities. New episode airs tomorrow, Thursday night.
HOUSE OF LIES: The show keeps teasing us that Marty Caan is headed for a downfall professionally and personally and he’s gearing up to fight. I assume the fight will begin in the season finale which would tease us for a second season. Aside from Marty, the most interesting role belongs to Kristen Bell as Jeanie. I’m guessing we won’t find out if she’s a runaway bride til next season.
BENT PREMIERES TONIGHT: Amanda Peet plays a recently divorced, no-nonsense lawyer who develops an attraction to her contractor (David Walton) in this sitcom created by Tad Quill. Jeffrey Tambor plays Walton’s dad, J.B. Smoove (Leon from CURB) is one of the workmen in Walton’s crew and look for Matthew Letscher as Peet’s doctor boyfriend in the second episode airing tonight. I’ve watched two episodes and I’ll watch more. I’d rather see BENT on the NBC schedule than WHITNEY or ARE YOU THERE, CHELSEA?
MAD MEN PREMIERES SUNDAY 3/25: In the run-up to Sunday’s premiere, ‘ll be sharing the interviews I did at the MAD MEN cocktail party at winter TCA in January. Here’s a few minutes with Elisabeth Moss:
TSR: Matthew Weiner says one of the themes of season five is “every man for himself” — any comment?
Moss: Ohhhhhh. That’s actually the first time I’m hearing him say that and I couldn’t agree more. That makes so much sense. I think that absolutely applies to Peggy this season. I think that’s a very apt way of putting it. The character is really figuring out what they need and what they want. So “every man for himself” is a very good way of putting it.
TSR: Do you think Peggy’s gotten tougher this season?
Moss: I think she’s gotten tougher every season. She is becoming the person she’s going to be and this environment, this world, makes you tougher. And when you get older, you get tougher and a little more hardened, a little bit more pessimistic about life, a little more realistic. So obviously that’s a natural progression for her and I think you started to see it in season four.
TSR: I still think Joan is one of the most powerful people in the company.
Moss: Absolutely. I agree, she’s a very strong, powerful character. The thing about Joan is she’s a great representation of how a woman can be really really sexy and really really feminine but also powerful and I think that’s a testament to the way Christina plays her and a testament to the writing.
TSR: Does Peggy’s look change, more of a makeover this season?
Moss: This season was, for me, about telling where the character was in life through the clothes and not about wearing the cutest dress or the cutest headband. Janie Bryant is a genius and she and I worked more closely together about telling the story of the character. We always have but I felt we hit the same stride. It was interesting to worry less about wearing the cutest outfit and more about telling the story of where she is in her life. It’s a very realistic interpretation with her clothes this year.
TODAY’S SURF WRITTEN WHILE LISTENING TO: Jack White “Love Interruption” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iErNRBTPbEc
8:00 p.m. The Middle (R)
8:30 p.m. Suburgatory (R)
9:00 p.m. Modern Family (R)
9:30 p.m. Happy Endings
10:00 p.m. Missing (R)
Note: REVENGE returns April 18
8:00 p.m. Survivor One World
9:00 p.m. Criminal Minds
10:00 p.m. CSI
8:00 p.m. Whitney
8:30 p.m. Are You There, Chelsea?
9:00 p.m. Bent (premiere)
9:30 p.m. Bent
10:00 p.m. Rock Center With Brian Williams – note: one segment is an interview with MAD MEN EP Matthew Weiner
Fox 8:00 p.m. American Idol (two hours)
8:00 p.m. One Tree Hill
9:00 p.m. America’s Next Top Model: British Invasion