Season 6 of CBS's critically acclaimed legal drama The Good Wife returns from its hiatus this Sunday, Jan. 4 — and thank goodness, considering how many cliffhangers the show left us with at the end of the Good Wife midseason finale "The Trial" back in November. Is Cary really going to prison? Will Alicia win the race for State's Attorney? How will the show write off Kalinda? Could Peter possibly get any worse? Hopefully all of these questions will be answered soon... although I have a sneaking suspicion that creators Michelle and Robert King are preparing to deal with them in an unexpected way: with a Good Wife Season 6 time jump.
A sudden leap forward in time would solve a lot of The Good Wife's problems. At this point, it really doesn't seem like anything is going to stop Cary from going to jail: not wanting to risk an even harsher sentence, he agreed to a deal and pled guilty during "The Trial." Now that he has (falsely) admitted his guilt in front of the court, surely there's nothing that can stop him from serving time. And our first new episode in 2015, "Hail Mary," looks to be focusing on Cary's preparations for his new living situation:
Cary hires a prison consultant to prepare him for incarceration. Meanwhile, Alicia practices for the State's Attorney candidates' debate.
A two-year jump would allow Cary to serve his sentence without the show having to spend time trying to figure out ways to include him in storylines while behind bars. The first couple episodes of Season 6 were harrowing enough with Cary being intimidated and physically injured in prison. Nobody wants to suffer through two seasons of that.
And Cary's wouldn't be the only plot aided by a time jump, either. If Alicia were to beat Frank Prady and win the race for State's Attorney, do we really want to spend half a season watching her learn the ropes of her new job? Or would we rather fast-forward a couple of years to Alicia at her prime, using her improved position to kick even more ass and take even more names?
And then there's the matter of Archie Panjabi's impending departure from the show. How do you solve a problem like Kalinda? Right now, it's inconceivable how The Good Wife will write out such an integral character... short of having her gunned down by a madman in a courtroom, of course. But a time jump would allow the writers to set up circumstances that could lead directly to her departure at the end of Season 6.
The Good Wife would be far from the first show to employ a time jump to solve some narrative conundrums. TV shows have been flashing forward in time as long as TV has existed as a medium, whether to inject juice into a fading soap opera (Desperate Housewives, True Blood), to add a new layer of intrigue (Lost, Breaking Bad), or to skip the boring parts and get straight to the good parts (à la Parks and Recreation zooming past Leslie Knope's pregnancy). In fact, 2014, in particular, seemed like the year of the time jump: aside from the Parks & Rec example, Boardwalk Empire, Fargo, Homeland, How I Met Your Mother, The Killing, and True Detective all featured leaps in chronology during their seasons.
Is it crazy to assume that The Good Wife might also zoom past some narrative dead ends with a time jump? One thing is for sure: after five-and-a-half seasons of stellar television, I trust the Kings to do the right thing. If they decide to leap forward in time, I have faith that they'll find a way to transcend the gimmick and use the flashforward to revitalize the show. Heck, this wouldn't even be the first time the Kings essentially reinvented their own show — they did the same thing when they had Alicia start her own firm, and again when they killed off Will Gardner. As the New York Daily News critic put it in his review of Season 5:
Now the drama’s in its fifth season, a time when most shows either go on autopilot or start offering "very special" shark-jumping episodes. But the producers and cast of Wife somehow managed to kick over the chessboard where the show has been played for years, scattering the pieces to the wind and reinventing The Good Wife as one of the most gripping dramas on television. Period.
Images: Jeff Neumann (2); Jeffery Neira/CBS; gemini-dragon-gifs/tumblr