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'The Good Wife': Good Law? - Season 5, Episode 17

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

This week's episode of "The Good Wife" opened with drinking and closed with some drama, but there was a tiny bit of law in between.

Let's try to make a meal out of the side dish of legal information served up in "A Material World":

Episode Recap (Spoiler Alert!):

Will is still dead, and everyone is dealing with his death in different ways. Diane is worried that she's becoming increasingly irrelevant at the firm. Kalinda is almost manic in her investigation-fueled one-night stands. And Alicia is a mess... but still manages to lash out at anyone who shows her a shred of compassion. Before retiring under her comforter for the rest of the episode, she takes her pent-up emotions about Will and uses them to make a philosophy professor squirm.

The Good Wife: Good Law?

Season 5, Episode 17
"A Material World"

Legal References:

More Legal Analysis of CBS' "The Good Wife":

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"A Material World" centers around a theme of possible mergers and splits, with the two firms defending two sides of a custody battle while Diane tries to merge the two firms. All the while, Lockhart/Gardner's resident cartoon villain, David Lee, tries to make life difficult for everyone.

Though custody battles like these aren't especially newsworthy, they are quite common. This sort of case could happen tomorrow.

Much of the custody battle centers around the best interests of the child which somehow morphs into Alicia grilling a philosopher about right and wrong. While "best interests" are the gold standard in these sorts of cases, personal philosophies on existence are largely irrelevant to a parent's ability to nurture and care for a child.

This kind of "right and wrong" talk typically comes out in the form of differing religious beliefs between parents. Courts typically will neither deny nor grant custody based solely on these beliefs, unless there is proof that they will cause actual or substantive harm.

Florrick/Agos managed to block the nanny-cam footage from being admitted into evidence, for a little while anyway, because of privacy issues. Nanny cams can be legal, but typically only if they record audio. Any incriminating nanny-cam footage with audio may violate wiretapping laws.

Postnuptial agreement. You may have heard of prenups, but postnups can be just as important in divorce or custody cases. The one in "A Material World" involved an infidelity clause that would have left the cheating spouse in breach of the postnup.

The Verdict:

Alicia is still in a tailspin following Will's death, so it may take the reappearance of Michael J. Fox to snap her (and the show) back to some real legal substance.

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.

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