The Good Wife has been called the best drama on network television.
But how will it stack up in a TV Fanatic Report Card?!?
It was a year of change on The Good Wife Season 5. The fourth year associates broke away from Lockhart/Gardner to form Florrick/Agos, Will changed the name to LG and started on an acquisition frenzy. The central relationships were in flux and Will died without bringing firm closure to the characters... just like real life.
Best Episode: There were many great episodes during season with the split and Will's death, but my pick goes to The Good Wife Season 5 Episode 16, that started with Alicia's reaction to the news of Will's death. It's not easy to adequately portray the myriad feelings after a shocking death like that of Will, but it worked here. Alicia went to her old firm and eventually broke, Diane took a hard line and Kalinda made sure Will's killer would know the consequences. Brilliantly done.
Worst Episode: The loser is The Good Wife Season 5 Episode 12. Lockhart/Gardner and Florrick/Agos were in a trial with musical juries, one in and one out as the jurors complained about seating and priority and Will went to Peter with his ballot box decision. Nobody looked good by the end of the installment and the closing credits were the best it offered.
Best Character: Alicia wins for best character because she is so amazingly flawed. She has fought her feelings on love, decided to stay married for political reasons, started her own firm and maintained her friendship with Diane while grieving the loss of what could have been during the end of the season. Her humanity is beautiful. (Honorable Mention: Diane Lockhart)
Worst Character: Marilyn Garbanza came in under strange circumstances and disappeared in the same way. First she appeared to be a sexual foil for Peter, but her inability to understand him or Alicia made everything about her questionable. An ethics advisor with odd pregnancy cravings and a baby daddy named Peter, she spilled secrets to the Department of Justice about voter fraud and subsequently stepped off canvas. Good riddance. (Honorable mention: Damian Boyle)
Best Plot Device: The fourth years starting Florrick/Agos changed things up and created a lot of turmoil. It split up well loved characters and gave them new stressors to overcome.
Worst Plot Device: Voter fraud was an undercurrent for so much of the season and when Will died, it disappeared. No doubt it's looming out there and might be what finally drives Alicia to divorce Peter, but it's not going to be welcomed back.
Most Shocking Development: Will's death in The Good Wife Season 5 Episode 15 came out of left field (Unless you hit Twitter to find out why the show was late on the East Coast... Who puts up a giant RIP Will photo into their feed before the hour is over?) and the decision to kill him off to close the door on Alicia's dream love was risky. For the show to focus on Alicia as a character, something drastic had to happen. It did.
Most Expected Development: In The Good Wife Season 5 Episode 9 Will and Diane visited Lockhart/Gardner. Even before Will's death Diane started to miss what her firm once was. She hoped she could get it back, but after Will guessing about a merger or Diane joining Florrick/Agos was on everyone's minds. In The Good Wife Season 5 Episode 22, she offered herself and her billables to the firm that reminded her so much of the one she and Will started together.
Hopes for Season 6: It would be great for Alicia to come to a decision about her marriage. Seeing more of the interpersonal relationships and fewer big story arcs (saying hello to Kurt and learning more about Cary and Alicia as partners versus shakeups and political scandals) and closing open stories are on the agenda. No more Damian or Marilyn stunt characters and more of the core characters we love. Diane joining Florrick/Agos and the resulting dynamic of what remains of Lockhart/Gardner. Never losing the humanity and vulnerability from all sides.
Overall Grade: A.
Now it's your turn, TV Fanatics! What grade would you give to The Good Wife Season 5?
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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.