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'The Good Wife': Good Law? -- Season 7, Episode 22

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on May 09, 2016 3:58 PM

It was probably too much to expect the final episode of "The Good Wife" to wrap everything up with a nice little bow -- it was never a show that liked things clean and simple and was self-aware without being self-congratulatory, so a celebratory victory lap in episode 156 was never in the cards.

Still, that final "shot," so to speak? Not even the most cynical fan could've expected the show to end like that. And that doesn't even address the loose ends in Peter's Trial of the Century. Here's a look at the legal angles of last night's series finale, "End."

The Good Wife: Good Law?

Season 7, Episode 22
"End"

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Episode Recap (Spoiler Alert):

There's a maxim in law that every legal question has only one perfectly accurate answer: "It depends." And "The Good Wife" loved to leave its questions answered with the same amount of certainty. Never mind whether Alicia will end up with Jason, we don't even know whether Peter covered up a murder for his campaign donor.

At the end of last night's finale, Alicia encouraged Peter to take a plea deal in his trial, but we still don't know if he's guilty of corruption; left him in the lurch at the press podium, but is still married to him; torched her relationship with Diane by putting her hubby Kurt's infidelity on trial, but is presumably still a partner at the firm; and tried to tell Jason that she wanted to be with him, but couldn't track him down. Oh yeah and the final scene was Diane slapping the hell out of Alicia.

All that uncertainty, but we got the one thing this show has never failed to deliver: Alicia lost amid the chaos, pulling herself together and marching on.

Legal Roots:

Last week, we mused that "until those bullets show up, we may never know the truth." Well, Cary tracked down the bullets, and they were definitely fired from this guy Lock's gun. Does that mean Peter definitely tanked the case because Lock's dad gave Peter's campaign money? No, but it certainly doesn't make him look innocent.

While Diane and team are trying to distract the jury with the underlying case, Alicia and AUSA Connor Fox are plea bargaining -- from the two years the government offered before we thought the jury had a verdict, to four years when they thought the jury was back, to one year in jail, and, finally, to just a year of probation. (This is a pretty sweet deal when you consider that four of the last seven Illinois governors have ended up in prison.)

Legal Fiction:

At the end of last week's episode, we were told the jury had reached a verdict. At the beginning of this week's, it turns out they have a question. While jurors are allowed to submit questions, those normally come before reaching a verdict, not after.

Legal Babble:

"... verdict coming in so fast, that's usually pro-prosecution." Generally speaking, Lucca and Diane are right -- a swift verdict is usually bad news for a criminal defendant. Because the prosecution proved its case so completely, there was little doubt in the jury's mind. However, there are cases where a jury will acquit just as quickly, if the defendant is clearly not guilty or they think the case is a waste of time.

Legal Verdict:

It will be sad to say goodbye to a show that so often got the law, and lawyering, right. From the struggles of first year associates at a large firm to unanswerable legal conundrums, "The Good Wife" was one point from a legal perspective. It was the personal side that was a bit more messy, and, aside from Alicia's inner strength, will leave us with far more questions. Bon voyage, best legal drama on TV -- we'll drink a bottle of red wine in your honor tonight.

What did you think of this week's episode of "The Good Wife"? Is the show guilty of making any legal mistakes? Check back here for more legal recaps of "The Good Wife," and send us a tweet at @FindLawConsumer with the hashtag #TheGoodWife.

Editor's Note: We've come to the end of a ground breaking TV series and to one of our first major blog series, certainly the first on a TV show. We want to thank you all so much for the great reception you have given our series, and for staying with us these past few years. Stick around, there is so much more to come! -- Tanya Roth, Managing Editor

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