What’s Worth Watching: The Good Wife on CBS for Sunday, October 4

Matt Roush
Paul Sarkis/CBS

The Good Wife, “Bond” (Sunday, Oct. 4, 9/8c, CBS)

“There’s no honor in starting over.” So Alicia (Julianna Margulies) is advised by the devilish Louis Canning (Michael J. Fox) as The Good Wife reinvents itself yet again in a very strong and terrifically entertaining seventh-season opener. But does Alicia even have a choice other than to jump-start her legal career on the gritty assembly line of bond-court bail hearings?

“I can’t get a job since the scandal,” the disgraced ex-pol tells a skeptical judge (Christopher McDonald) who views Alicia slumming in bond court as “play acting … The last thing I need in my courtroom is a Marie Antoinette.” This Marie hasn’t time to eat cake, or hardly even drink wine, as she scrambles to make a new name for herself. She could, of course, take up Canning’s lucrative offer to work for him, though that would mean selling her soul to an unscrupulous man she calls “the devil.” And with Peter (Chris Noth) making a play for vice president in the upcoming election sweepstakes, enlisting the help of “miracle worker” strategist Ruth Eastman (the great Margo Martindale) in a hire that Eli (Alan Cumming) sees as betrayal, Alicia faces yet another attempt to remake her public image as a loyal wife. (But seriously, would Hillary even consider a running mate with as much Clinton-ian baggage as Peter?)

Meanwhile, back at the old workplace—now Lockhart, Agos & Lee for those keeping score—an unhappy Cary (Matt Czuchry) finds he doesn’t fit in with the older partners or the younger associates, fearing the firm “is becoming a laughing stock.” Which doesn’t stop Diane (Christine Baranski) and David Lee (Zach Grenier) from going head-to-head with Alicia in probate court, presided over by a hilarious Jane Curtis as a bemused judge, in a peculiar inheritance case involving fallen post-it notes.

The episode zips along with great energy and abundant wit, with spectacular showdowns between Martindale and Cumming providing some of the best moments. Also making a strong first impression: newcomer Cush Jumbo as Lucca Quinn, a scrappy lawyer Alicia encounters in bond court, initially rivals who soon develop a grudging respect. And bolstering the case that The Good Wife is back on track this year, Jeffrey Dean Morgan arrives next Sunday as rakish investigator Jason Crouse, the most appealing role this fine character actor has played since his early days as Grey’s Anatomy‘s infamous Denny. Morgan instantly lights up the screen with effortless sexual chemistry and wry humor, eradicating memories of that whole Kalinda debacle.

He’s such a jolt of charismatic electricity that you might not only be saying “Kalinda who?” but “Will (Gardner) who?”