‘Mr Kalinda’ is actually more than a little unfair and inaccurate, even on the basis of our first meeting with Jason Crouse, who becomes Alicia Florrick’s go-to investigator in the latest (and perhaps the last) series of The Good Wife now showing in the UK.
It’s the second episode of series seven, and Kalinda’s ghost hovers in the air as Alicia sets out to hire a new investigator. Who could fill those spike-heeled shoes, we wonder, as three candidates present themselves for the role. One is quickly eliminated, and Alicia has to choose between Amanda Marcassin and Jason Crouse.
So in a fine bit of teasing by the writers, Alicia opts for Amanda, who, she says, reminds her of Kalinda.
Hmm. Alicia isn’t really paying attention, possibly because the charismatic Jason has unsettled her. Amanda is Kalinda-lite. She has the touch of leather, the pulled-back hair, the direct gaze, a zippy sports car and a steady hand with the eye-liner. She is young, and says she uses her obvious youth to her advantage, but her persona does not suggest an interesting back story. You kind of want to like her, and try to banish the thought that Alicia made the wrong choice.
But then Amanda messes up, in such a basic way that every viewer must be screaming ‘even I could have made a better job!’
Tasked with tracking down a client’s social media profile, she limits her investigation to Facebook. Well, please, even those of us who don’t Instagram our breakfasts know better than that. So she doesn’t come up with the goods, and Alicia fires her. The way is paved for Jason Crouse to step in.
It’s clear that he was instinctively Alicia’s preference all along, not to mention that of her daughter Gracie, now established as Alicia’s Girl Friday. Oh, those choices that are governed by the heart. There can only be trouble ahead.
Not that Jason won’t do a good job. He’s so good that the rival lot over at Lockhart and Co are after him as well. In a clever bit of negotiating, he gets Alicia to up her price and goes with her, but still for less than half of what he would have made with the Lokhart crew. Of course, Alicia doesn’t know about that, but we have to wonder why this choice. Ah, but he hasn’t given Alicia exclusivity. He could freelance anywhere else… what has she got herself into?
Well, she’s probably got herself into an interesting situation with the sexy, flirtatious Jason who clearly does have an interesting back story.
He knows how to wear a jacket and a designer beard. He’s witty and funny and makes her laugh, and we know how fatal that is. His hand is bandaged because he injured it killing someone in traffic — no, joke, it was an accident with an ice tray. Yes, of course it was.
So he’s no Mr Kalinda, he’s his own man. Having a male in the role of investigator is a clever move, discouraging comparisons with his predecessor. For the brief time that Amanda was in the picture, you were wondering if she used a classy notebook, and you were already tutting at the effect of the leather bag, an accoutrement for which Kalinda had no need.
If Jason were to use a bag, it would contain something very unexpected, or it would be full of the baggage from his past and the stories he could tell.