The season starts with the episode titled "Everything is Ending." It's this phrase that goes at a theme that this season is seemingly going to explore. Alicia Florrick, played by Julianna Marguiles, is a politician's wife and mother of two teenage children who became a working lawyer for the first time since law school after a near 20-year absence to be a stay-at-home mom. At the end of Season 4, Alicia discovers that she's going to be the First Lady of Illinois due to her husband winning the governorship. She's managed to rise to partnership level at the law firm that has been employing her for the past four years, but Alicia decides to leave with the other 4th-year associates at Lockhart & Gardener. She decides to leave with them to start a new firm.
At the beginning of Season 5, Alicia and the 4th-years plan to detach themselves secretly from the firm, but they're not the only ones in the process of breaking off. Diane Lockhart, played by Emmy-winner Christine Baranski, is also changing direction. Last season, Alicia's husband, Peter Florrick, played by Chris Noth, offered Diane a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court, a dream job for her. In order to get the seat, Diane learns that she has to jump through a few hoops.
One of those hoops is submitting to an interview where she has to answer damning questions about her business partner, Will Gardener, played by Emmy-nominee Josh Charles. Her doing so has the potential of destroying or ending her relationship and friendship with Will. This again goes to the theme suggested by that premiere episode's title. Because of the changes of certain characters like Diane and especially Alicia, it will result in things, particularly relationships, ending.
Like Diane, Alicia is very close to Will and breaking away from the firm means finally breaking away from him. Given their brief romance, both back in college and at the firm not that long ago, Alicia's feelings about leaving is complicated but is probably as equally about putting a period on that romance and finally moving on. It's ironic that she's leaving with Cary Agos, played by Matt Czuchry. When the series started, the two were rivals or competitors in a sense. Alicia and Cary leaving together is also "ending" that rivalry or competitiveness against each other once and for all.
What the writers are doing as a parallel or corollary is Alicia dealing with things that are "ending" for her two teen children. This is focused more on Alicia's daughter, Grace, played by Makenzie Vega. Alicia's son, Zach, played by Graham Phillips, is preparing to go to college, but the corollary is better reflected in Grace's arc, which actually started in Season 3.
In Season 3, Grace was exposed to a character named Jennifer, played by Anne Marsen, who really opened Grace to different possibilities. In Season 4, we see Grace kiss a boy for the first time. The boy was Connor and he was played by Luke Kleintank. This season has Alicia see Grace in a sexual context or in a sexual way. It's certainly not as shocking or horrible a context as Peter back in the first season. For Alicia, it's seeing the "ending" of her daughter's possible innocence or good little Christian girl personae.
While these various relationships change, the week-to-week cases are still rather fascinating. At the show's heart, it's still a court room procedural in the vein of The Practice or L. A. Law. The writers have always been topical, but they've also had a preference with dealing with technology, particularly Internet technology, and addressing offenses that can come as a result. This season is no different with the show tackling the NSA and the whole issue of that government organization's spying on civilian phone calls.
The Good Wife continues to be a well-written, well-acted, well-produced, engaging and intriguing drama with a well-placed sense of humor, satire and social-sexual exploration. To me, it's the best dramatic series on network broadcast television.
Five Stars out of Five.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Sundays at 9PM on CBS.
Here is a link to the CBS episodes, including the most recent episode and probably the show's best hour, "Hitting the Fan."