After seven months, the battle for the junior associate position at Stern, Lockhart & Gardner will finally come to an end on Tuesday's episode of The Good Wife (10/9c, CBS). Win or lose, things are going to get even more complicated for Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies).
"She's worried that she's going to lose the battle with Cary, so she comes to Eli asking for help," Alan Cumming, who plays devious campaign manager Eli Gold, tells TVGuide.com. "Basically, she reaches out to him and then, just at that point where they're about to go into the office and find out who won, you see Eli coming out and you realize he gives his own business to the firm."
Eli may help her out in a time of need, but being in debt to her husband's right-hand man will cost Alicia much more than she bargained for, especially now that Peter (Chris Noth) has begun plotting a return to politics. Although Alicia has voiced her apprehension about Peter's ambition to re-enter public service, Eli's favor won't be easily forgotten.
"Now she owes him and she's got to cooperate with what he wants her to do in terms of Peter's campaign," Cumming says. "He's still got to work her a little bit to get her to do interviews and stuff, but he keeps reminding her that she owes him and at the very, very end of the season, she's got to be the good wife."
Cumming says his characters' less-than-virtuous actions aren't as devious as they appear.
"There's goodness and a real desire to change the world for the better, and it's just all shrouded in this manipulative, rather antisocial man," Cumming says. "I think that's what's in his heart — his desire to get Peter elected so he will make the world a better place. For that, he's willing to be very manipulative and dastardly."
All that said, Cumming, who will be promoted to series regular for Season 2, is the first to admit he's still figuring Eli out. "I don't really know anyone like him, and that made it very exciting for me and quite good because he is a guarded person, so I had to be quite guarded in playing him," he says.
The real question is whether Alicia will go along for Eli and Peter's ride and stand by her husband's side again. The end of the competition is a crossroads for Alicia, between her new life at the firm and her old life as a politician's wife, as well as whether or not to leave Peter altogether.
"Their relationship is really fascinating because it's obvious it's not in very good shape, but there are the children and his campaign. ... Everybody is sort of being very cautious," Cumming says. "In some ways, she does want him to run and be the hero again. But she's suddenly back working and she really likes working. ... So she's got a lot of things to think about."
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