10 November, 2012

The Good Wife: Eli Gold on the Campaign Trail

Reasons why we're glad Eli Gold is back on the Campaign Trail
Original post date: November 10, 2012

I’ll confess: I spent most of season three pining for Eli Gold. 

There, I said it.

It wasn't in some doodling our names in hearts kind of way, but in something else altogether.  I missed the fresh, vibrant, sometimes conniving, always hilarious, sit-on-Alicia’s-couch Eli we had come to know and love.  I missed campaign Eli.

In honor of my one-year Lockhart Gardner blogiversary (22 episodes and a total of 36 posts – thank you to everyone who has joined me on this adventure!), I have decided to celebrate with an ode to our favourite political strategist and PR mastermind.  Enjoy!

Reasons why we’re glad Eli Gold is back on the Campaign Trail

1) He’s busy again – Eli Gold (Alan Cumming) is at rallies and fundraisers, strategizing on the campaign bus and squeezing into Alicia’s over-crowded office.  Gone are the days of longing for an espresso machine and wondering where his jellyfish paperweight had mysteriously migrated (first guess: David Lee’s office).  He's back to booking public appearances and crafting carefully scripted sound bytes 'a woman's right to choose.'  He's like the Mark Penn of The Good Wife and when he's busy, he's brilliant.  

Image courtesy of RoomInTheCastle on Tumblr
2) He’s weaving things tighter than a basket-maker – So far in season four, Eli has woven a tight web of enemies and allies, with a very hazy middle ground separating the two.  The foggy zone between friend and foe is becoming palpable, especially to Peter who is watching Eli tread a fine line when it comes to favours.  With Kalinda investigating and Will calling the media, Peter is quickly being put in a position of owing a lot of people in Alicia’s close circle.  In Chicago, where the mentality hinges on ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,’ Eli is setting Peter up to make good on some pretty major ‘I owe yous.’  And the last person he wants to owe is Will Gardner.

3) We get to see him making faces like this:

Image courtesy of RoomInTheCastle on Tumblr
And this...

4) He’s strategizing in all the right ways – Finally Eli is back to using his smarts for political domination rather than office domination.  His brief stint of trying to overthrow Will and send Diane to a soup kitchen was not only unsuccessful, it was completely flawed (especially considering he was busy flipping coins with Julius in the back room).  Now, Eli’s back doing what he does best: using his political acumen to manage campaign debauchery and win Peter the Governorship. 

5) He’s in full-fledged ‘scandal management mode’ – I imagine having Peter as a client would like having Bill Clinton circa 1998 as a client.  You would always be wondering who was hiding under his desk or what past indiscretion might surface at an inopportune time.  While the media continues to be Eli’s greatest challenge, watching him throw reporter’s under the wheels of other reporter’s is oh so sweet and oh so Eli. 

6) He gets to hangout in Alicia’s office again – What can I say?  I love this man chilling out on Alicia’s couch  or occupying a random office chair.  In season one, it’s like he was an expectant mother nesting in there.  This year, he’s practically bunking with Cary, despite having his own space.  Oh, wait.  Now 15 associates are camping out in his office and leaving coffee-stained fingerprints on his polished pens.   I’m sure Clarke Hayden can arrange a third desk in the office of Florrick and Agos, right?

7) He is forced to deal with Jackie’s shenanigans – I know we haven’t seen the contract Eli has with the Florrick campaign, but I’m pretty sure if we did, we would find a robust paragraph outlining the hefty bonus paid at the end of it all if Eli can manage not to kill the family matriarch.  So far we’ve already seen him suggest using a 2 x 4 to get Jackie to stop talking, so it’s anybody’s guess if he can survive the rest of the season with her.   Eli’s saving grace might just be in the form of the Cuban Mambo dancer.  Hmmm.  didn't see that coming – but Jackie’s new caregiver might just be the Florrick campaign’s ace in the hole.

8) He’s a master at turning the tables on those who try to cross him – Exhibit A: Becca.  Remember her?  Zach’s troublesome first girlfriend was pure evil in a delicate strand of pearls. After tweeting insider details about the Florrick’s life and weaseling her way into campaign headquarters, Eli had enough.  The result? A high school scandal worth of the year book: Becca’s abortion.  Dun, dun, duuuuun!  Exhibit B: Mandy Post.  With all of this Indira Star (a stripper name if ever I heard one) business floating around, Eli had no choice but to head to the media opposition in Peggy Byrne and spill the beans on Mandy’s past.  The result?  One more person on unemployment.  Eli’s treachery is so sweet, it’s downright Machiavellian.

9) He is doesn't care about making friends – There are few people in life Eli truly likes.  Alicia, Peter and Natalie Flores (the nanny/day trader I kind of wished would come back…) are the three best examples I can think of.  I guess that comes with the territory of politics and PR. You keep your friends close and your enemies closer.  Unfortunately in his line of work, he has more enemies than friends. Team work isn't necessarily his strong suit, as was made abundantly clear in season three when he couldn't find an office ally to save his life.  Now he’s back where he’s most comfortable: pretending to like people.  That’s not to say Eli is entirely without friends, that’s just to say we have yet to see them.

 –   9) He has an actual story line again - Eli is back.  It’s that simple.  The level of in-fighting at the firm has decreased by a solid 94% since Eli started working out of the bus with Peter.  As if that weren't enough, the Eli we've come to love and hate (read: the great “I love you” message interception of season two) is at the top of his game and stealthier than ever.  He’s superbly entertaining and he’s full of unexpected drama.  I just hope he gets invited to the Florrick’s Thanksgiving feast, because it’s time to celebrate.  

Image courtesy of RoomInTheCastle on Tumblr


  1. Campaign Eli is the only one who really works.
    Last year they made a big mistake bringing him into the L&G fold because he was out of his natural habitat. But they did keep writing boring stuff for him, because let's face it: they love Alan Cumming and they will never leave him without nothing to do.
    Too bad I can't say the same for Matt Czuchry who last year and this year too is left again with nothing relevant to do. He seems to be the black sheep of the cast. The one who always got leftovers in term of storylines and screentime.
    Indeed after 6 episodes I can't say I'm glad Cary is back at L&G. It's clear that writers didn't plan a meaty storyline for him like they did with Eli and with everyone else. They had the husband storyline for Kalinda. The campaign for Eli and firm's crysis for Will and Diane. But what for Cary? Being office furniture for 4 episodes in a row, briefly babysitting Clarke and then being involved in Kalinda's storyline (AGAIN)?. Ah, yeah, and his father. I don't have high hopes for that storyline considering how poorly they're promoting it.
    I've waited for 3 seasons and 6 episodes and I'm still waiting a big storyline for Cary. I don't know but I think maybe I can stop to wait.
    Cary's back! And it was just a big JOKE.

    1. Campaign Eli is the only one who really works - I completely agree.

      After 'Anatomy of a Joke,' I have higher hopes for Cary. I think the writers are trying to address the fact he has taken a backseat role by having Diane confront Will on the fact Cary hasn't been a utilized member of the litigation team. I think we're starting to see a shift. The last few episodes have had a lot more Cary and I think we'll continue to see this going forward.

      I'm crossing my fingers!

  2. Love your reasonings and you are right so much more interesting with Eli back in the game.

    1. Thanks for writing in! Eli is such a great character and so much better when he's plotting against political enemies rather than his fellow equity partners. I'm thrilled he's back where he belongs: the campaign trail.

  3. Hope Eli will have a big plan for a good revenge against Maddy. I am eagerly awaiting your Anatomy of a Joke review. It is a very funny episode. Loved Christina Ricci on it. She acted well and shows she can be very funny !

    1. I loved 'Anatomy of a Joke' (and just got my weekly commentary up! http://lockhartgardner.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-good-wife-anatomy-of-joke-aka-cary.html). I think Eli will definitely have something up his sleeve for Maddie. I'm not sure the lesbian angle is going to work, but whatever it is, I know it will be brilliant. I can't wait to see how this election is going to play out!

  4. I agree with your post but I will miss Eli Gold and David Lee, there were so fun together!


    1. They were fun together! I have a feeling we'll see them again - their fireworks are too fun not to explore at least once a season. I'm also hoping we get to see Julius Cain at some point. I'm rather fearful David has locked him away and no one has thought to ask where he might be...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...