The return of The Good Wife to television every March begins an uninterrupted 10-episode run to the end of its season, always with heavy emphasis on the year-long arcs the show has brewing. The first episode back underlined the show’s sixth-season weaknesses: The acting and production values remain top-notch, but there are two big plots that'll get most of the attention in the coming months—Alicia’s run for office and Kalinda’s ongoing embroilment with Lemond Bishop. Unfortunately, in “Dark Money,” neither showed much potential.
The episode underlined how much season six of The Good Wife has relied on the saga of Cary Agos’ imprisonment and the battle to clear his name; the plot grew increasingly absurd as his case dragged on, but always remained entertaining. It was eventually clear that Cary would wriggle free from long-term consequences, even as his situation seemed more dire, but the story took 11 episodes to run its course. With Cary free and clear, the show is ever more mired in the saga of Alicia’s race for state’s Attorney, which has become a repetitive lecture on the griminess of political campaigning.
Every episode, Alicia is confronted with some unsavory truth about the nature of politics. This week, she met with a wealthy, eccentric billionaire named Redmayne (played by Ed Asner) in an effort to claim his titular “dark” money for her PAC campaigns. Asner seemed to be playing some lunatic cross between Sheldon Adelson and Archie Bunker, a man who spouts homophobic slurs and creepy sexual fantasies with gleeful abandon. His behavior was so textbook obnoxious that it briefly seemed as though he was playing some advanced mind game, testing to see whether Alicia or her rival Frank Prady (David Hyde Piece) would condemn his behavior and spurn his money, thus proving themselves worthy.