The Best Thing I Saw on TV This Week (1/4 – 1/11)

This week saw the return of a bunch of great TV shows from their winter hiatuses. Sunday’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine took all of its characters on a weekend trip, and The Good Wife featured a huge sigh of relief for Cary while tensions rose around Kalinda. Monday gave us the return of The Bachelor with farmer Chris looking for love. Tuesday staked its claim as a fantastic night for television in 2015 with an excellent series premiere for Agent Carter and our first look at Mindy’s time at Stanford on The Mindy Project. And there were plenty of things for sports fans to cheer about as the NFL playoffs kicked off.

This may have been one of the most difficult choices I’ve had to make yet for the best thing on television this week—between Captain Holt eagerly playing a game designed to poke fun at him on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Peggy threatening a sexist jerk with just a fork on Agent Carter, and Cary’s sentencing on The Good Wife. Ultimately, though, I went with what moved me the most—and that came from The Good Wife.

Matt Czuchry’s performance as it dawned on Cary that the case against him was being thrown out was so incredible that I want him to get an Emmy nomination this year for that moment alone. The pure relief and gratitude on his face was paired with a deeper sense of exhaustion that made the relief feel even more powerful. Playing “overwhelmed” can lend itself to overacting, but Czuchry proved that he has taken lessons from the Christine Baranski/Julianna Margulies playbook with the subtlety he brought to that moment. Being able to convey so much emotion in just a facial expression is something every member of the cast of The Good Wife excels at, and Czuchry’s reaction provided perhaps the most earned and cathartic moment I’ve seen on television this season.

The way The Good Wife balanced the relief Cary felt and we felt for him with the fear Kalinda felt and we all felt for her just added to the brilliance of that scene. Nothing on The Good Wife is ever simple; everything is layered. And that kind of emotional complexity made what was already a fantastic scene even better by showing that Cary’s freedom and happiness has a cost, and that cost is one Kalinda is going to have to pay.

What was the best thing you saw on TV this week?

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