The Good Wife (2009–2016)
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Message Discipline 

1:19 | Trailer
Finn Polmar devises a new strategy to go after Cary, which could have a negative affect on governor Florrick. Meanwhile, a potential new candidate in the state's attorney race could challenge Alicia's front-runner status.


Matt Shakman


Robert King (created by), Michelle King (created by) | 1 more credit »





Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Julianna Margulies ... Alicia Florrick
Matt Czuchry ... Cary Agos
Archie Panjabi ... Kalinda Sharma
Alan Cumming ... Eli Gold
Matthew Goode ... Finn Polmar
Christine Baranski ... Diane Lockhart
Chris Noth ... Peter Florrick
David Hyde Pierce ... Frank Prady
Michael Cerveris ... James Castro
Renée Elise Goldsberry ... Geneva Pine
Tanya Wright ... Liana Depaul
Tug Coker ... Reggie Sprayberry
John Procaccino ... Judge Tom Glatt
Ken Land ... Warren Plep
Connie Nielsen ... Ramona Lytton


While preparing his case against Cary, Finn discovers a potentially devastating piece of evidence which could have ramifications for Alicia and Peter. Meanwhile, Eli becomes wary when a new prospective candidate emerges in the race for State's Attorney.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-14 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 November 2014 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


Matt Czuchry (Cary Agos) & Samuel Smith (Trey Wagner) previously worked together on episode 1.6, The Resident: No Matter the Cost (2018), of The Resident (2018) as Conrad Hawkins & Ezekiel Curtis respectively. See more »


References The Jungle Book (1967) See more »


Bombs Away
Performed by Eels
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User Reviews

Reunites us with the tone and story established by "Oppo Research"
9 November 2014 | by RyanCShowersSee all my reviews


"Shiny Objects" and "Old Spice" made for a pleasant, enjoyable, and even compelling two-part event, but last week's episode "Message Discipline" reunited us with the tone and story direction presented in the brilliant "Oppo Research". Before I lunge into what I took away from "Message Discipline" from the plot and characters, it's important to laud the technical vision behind "The Good Wife". They take such care in setting up each shot, carrying it out, and processing it to fit the riveting music so meticulously. The score is another asset that is often overlooked; the classical, edgy, and almost hyper music adds to the show's sophistication and the urgency in the story. As much as this show relies on its actors and writing, the technical side is just as terrific.

The evolution of Alicia Florrick has never been harped on and drawn from as much as it has this season. She has always been one of the best characters on television but with the new direction of the show's overarching storyline, Alicia has become the most dynamic character on television. Entering her into politics may be the smartest decision the Kings ever chose to do with her. It's allowed her true person to come to the surface yet still remain a mystery. The possibilities being presented to Julianna Margulies are bigger and better than any other woman (or man) acting on television today. In the past four episodes, we have seen Alicia run the gamut of emotions, express herself more fluidly, and battle with her ignorance of politics in contrast with who she is, or who she thinks she is.

The team behind the creation of Alicia Florrick, Maruglies and the Kings, has made her into a three-dimensional character more than ever this season. This stupendous characterization is epitomized in "Message Discipline" as Elfman quizzes Alicia in preparation for her interview. This scene shows you the richness of the writing and the depth of the character all personified by Margulies astutely. The genius of exploring politics and the self-repression that goes along with it is written here to an enormous result. We, as the audience, feel as manipulated as Alicia as she stumbles over her own words, and we want her to fight back because in some way the race feels as personal to us as it does to her.

"Message Discipline" begins to lay the groundwork for the future of Alicia and Peter in how they present and further develop Finn and Ramona. I'm speculating Finn will eventually end up with Alicia, and Ramona with Peter. Finn's given more screen time than ever in "Message Discipline", and from that, we see him interact with Alicia more. The two have a strong foundation of friendship. In addition, they both have similar ideals about the law and playing fair, as shown with Finn's resignation from the State's Attorney's office in this episode. Even more fitting than Alicia and Finn, Peter and Ramona seem to be each other's perfect fit as well. The writers gave Ramona a backstory which mirrors her to where Alicia began in season 1, the woman Peter is still in love with, the woman who is Alicia is no longer. Expect Ramona and Finn to be sticking around for the duration of the series.

Now, onto our supporting characters. I love what is being done with Kalinda in this episode. Watching her suss out Trey Wagner from hiding, interrogate his sister, and break into his car was extremely satisfying. I thought to myself, "that's the Kalinda I know and love!" The text message communication and "thirty feet" rule was well utilized, and seized a quiet, nuanced performance from Matt Czuchry in the process. The only disheartening thing about this storyline is Czuchry and Panjabi seem to be getting the focus Christine Baranski was given last year. I wish Baranski had more to play with in this season, especially now since her Louis Canning and David Lee storyline seems to be dead.

David Hyde Pierce was initiated into "The Good Wife" family in "Message Discipline" with a juicy part, a part which he took full advantage of with subtleties. He and Margulies have a magnetic connection, so the competition between Alicia and Prady that is yet to come is something to anticipate. The clever thing about Pierce's portrayal, like just about everything on the show, is that we are not unambiguously sure if he's trying to wound Alicia's campaign the entire episode, or if he was actually giving her a fair shot and was disillusioned in her principles by her managers feeding his college paper to Castro's people. We view it from Alicia's perspective, so of course we see the veil covering his manipulation at the end of the episode, but Pierce plays it so that we think he could be a good guy and he was burned by her. That feigning of friendship is a huge building block on the season's base.

The ending of this episode is my favorite scene of "Message Discipline". It not only emphasizes the growing distance between Alicia and her old priorities with Diane and Cary. Alicia knocking on the window of her office to them, wishing Cary good luck, evoked a large sense of sadness. And then of course, the Prady vs. Alicia stint takes place where she reads though his simulations, even though he keeps insisting he is innocent in their "game". The Alicia we used to know never would have bitten into him like that, she may have kept the sham of pleasantries alive. It's a grand ending that provoked thoughts of devious people and how some grows into a person they never thought they would be.

Grade: A

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