‘The Good Wife’ – ‘Blue-Ribbon Panel’: Could I BE any more of a tool?

It was a busy Sunday night for scripted drama, between the “Mad Men” premiere and the “Luck” finale, but last night’s excellent “The Good Wife” shouldn’t be lost in the shuffle. A quick review coming up just as soon as I yield my five minutes to you…

There are episodes of “The Good Wife” where I become much more invested in one story than the others, and others where there’s one dud among a bunch of strong plots (usually the dud is the Case of the Week), but “Blue-Ribbon Panel” was a good example of the show firing on all thrusters, with a bunch of strong professional and personal stories (or, in the case of Kalinda and her FBI pal, a story where the professional and personal mix), that made good use of the ensemble, the deep bench of recurring characters (Hesh Rabkin to the rescue!) and well-deployed guest stars like Matthew Perry and Charles Dutton.

The blue-ribbon panel plot not only let Perry play a more morally ambiguous character than he usually gets to (even on “Studio 60,” his best dramatic work to date, he was flawed but the hero, and the creator’s stand-in), but let him cleverly turn Alicia’s work against her. Sometimes, “Good Wife” strains with its various reversals and late-hour surprises, but Perry simply worked with what Alicia gave him to shut this thing down before it turned into what it was supposed to be on paper, rather than the rubber-stamp exercise it was always going to be in reality.

In other subplots, though I don’t much like Jackie (nor am I meant to), the show continues to do excellent work in mining Alicia’s complicated feelings about the life she used to have before Peter blew it up with his cheating. Jill Flint, meanwhile, continues to be much more fun here than she’s been on any episode of “Royal Pains” I’ve seen, and I’m looking forward to a lot more Jerry Adler as Will and Diane find ways to fend off Eli and the other insurrectionists.

What did everybody else think?