THE GOOD WIFE: Trapped In Hell, One Betrayal Too Many (2011)

What does one do when faced with the ultimate betrayal?  This week on THE GOOD WIFE, Alicia Florrick’s perfectly, yet precariously, balanced personal life shattered in an instant as one name echoed in her brain:  Leela.  It was supposed to be the night to celebrate her husband’s successful election as State Attorney, and the beginning of their new life as the power couple they once were.  But with one cruel twist of fate, those foolish hopes came crashing down to reality.

For the past two years, Alicia has been frozen in time.  She has been trying to figure out if her lying, cheating husband deserved another chance — or if she should bail and start her life afresh.  It was a long period of treading water.  Uncertain if she should honor her wedding vows which her husband had so casually tossed aside, Alicia waited.  She stood by Peter when he was indicted and sent to prison; she was faithful to him as he appealed his prison sentence; and she was there for him when he was finally released.  She may not have so quickly welcomed him back into her bed, but she allowed him to return home — to be a father to their children, to try to regain the voter’s trust and gave him a second chance to win her heart, and he did.

Even after learning all of Peter’s deep, dark secrets — the bribes, the blackmail, the infidelities, the betrayal — none cut so deep as hearing the name Leela.

Upon learning of Peter’s initial betrayal, Alicia had lost her former life, her stature as a highly regarded politician’s wife, her beautiful home, her social life and friends.  Thus, it was with pride and determination that Alicia carved out her new life on her own, reestablishing herself as a sought-after litigator, a self-assured mother and provider, and as a desirable woman to be fought for.  Alicia had worked hard to earn the respect of her peers and , amidst that struggle to regain a life of her own, she had cautiously offered her friendship to one person: Kalinda.  Having suffered brutally by Peter’s indiscretions with the call girls, Alicia had buried herself deep within a protective cocoon.  That Kalinda was able to crack that carefully constructed wall and earn Alicia’s friendship was a miracle — and their unexpected tentative friendship was a rock for both of them.  They had each other’s backs when no one else did.

Therefore, the discovery of the betrayal by Kalinda and Peter was heartbreaking.  What they had done was unforgivable.  No matter how long ago, this was different.  It was not someone Alicia did not know — this was her closest friend.  The one person she trusted explicitly; and, for the first time, Alicia could see the walls of deception surrounding her, cemented in lies, and it devastated her.

However, it was not enough to throw Peter out and isolate him from her life, Alicia needed control once again.  Her swift and merciless effort to excise him from her life was astounding.  Not allowing herself the luxury of even a glass of wine to absorb the shocking revelation, with expediency and resiliency, Alicia packed and shipped Peter’s belongings to his newly leased home within an hour.

Even more astounding was the ease with which Alicia walked through the next day.  She assisted with two contentious litigations — securing a hard-fought for victory for a client at death’s door and strategically navigating the treacherous waters with Patti Nyholm and her alleged wrongful termination case.  Alicia’s protective facade of normalcy was flawless.  No one suspected a thing.  Not Kalinda, her best friend; not Will, her one time hopeful love; not Eli Gold, a political strategist who is attuned to such undercurrents.

Frankly, it was beautifully orchestrated.  It is said that living well is the best revenge — and Alicia is living very well indeed.  Alicia is just lucky that she had already done the hard part — she had rebuilt her life and its stability and success gave her the confidence to calmly eradicate the man who kept betraying her.  That she was able to not crack under the pressure and walked right by Kalinda at work as if there was nothing wrong was testament to her strength.  If there was ever a day worthy of drinking oneself into oblivion, calling in sick and unleashing uncontrollable rage on everyone around you, this would have been the day.  Yet Alicia decided that Peter and Kalinda were not worth it.  They would not get one more piece of her soul.  She stood tall and proud — no one was going to take away her self-respect any more.

The time for forgiving-and-forgetting had past.  It was simply time to move on.  Alicia would no longer be “the good wife.”  She would be her own woman — on her own terms, living her life as she chose.  She did not need a husband who valued his wife and his family so little.  She did not need a friendship based on lies and false pretenses.  It was applaud-worthy.  Alicia’s strength, dignity and fierce protection of her privacy on such a day was extraordinary.

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