The Good Wife (2009–2016)
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Don't Fail 

0:50 | Trailer
With her election troubles and problems at her old firm, Alicia's self-confidence is at an all-time low. However, an opportunity to revisit a case from her past when new charges are presented rekindles her love for the law.


Nelson McCormick


Robert King (created by), Michelle King (created by) | 2 more credits »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Julianna Margulies ... Alicia Florrick
Matt Czuchry ... Cary Agos
Archie Panjabi ... Kalinda Sharma
Makenzie Vega ... Grace Florrick
Graham Phillips ... Zach Florrick
Matthew Goode ... Finn Polmar
Christine Baranski ... Diane Lockhart
Dorian Missick ... Brett Tatro
Aya Cash ... Amber Audrey
Kurt Fuller ... Judge Peter Dunaway
Chris Butler ... Matan Brody
Timothy Stickney ... Daniel Cain (as Timothy D. Stickney)
Lucy Owen ... Dakota
Crystal Dickinson ... Josie Tatro
Graham Winton Graham Winton ... Detective Richard Hardy


Now unemployed and having a crisis of confidence, Alicia finds little of interest to fill her time until she comes in contact with Bret Tetro, a former client who she successfully defended against a charge of attempted murder 6 years ago. He's now facing a first degree murder charge in the same case after the man he supposedly tried to kill has now died. She tries to get Finn Polmar to take the case but he's overloaded so she plunges in. The judge has already ruled that double jeopardy doesn't apply and the ASA Matan Brody tells her she has a big hole in her case. She goes through the old file and recalls the investigation she, Cary and Kalinda undertook. The prosecution had evidence that a deceased witness from the first trial, Lexie, perjured herself and wants all the evidence from that trial thrown out. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

3 May 2015 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


Chris Noth (Peter Florrick) & Aya Cash (Amber Audrey) also worked together on episode 6.10, Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Weeping Willow (2006), of Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001), as Mike Logan & Lori respectively. See more »


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User Reviews

A Beautiful Episode
10 May 2015 | by RyanCShowersSee all my reviews


Season six has been a year of change for "The Good Wife" in narrative choices, such as writing for a serialized arc instead of week-to-week standalone episodes, to the constantly changing state of who belongs to which firm, and a handful of life redirections for Alicia. The most daunting changes of the season came in the last two entries, "Winning Ugly" and "The Deconstruction," episodes that tore down the public image of "St. Alicia" and turned "Alicia Florrick" into a the slutty wife who cheats in her professional life to get ahead. The most recent episode, "Don't Fail," shows us how Alicia has actually changed, not in the way the public views her.

"Don't Fail" represents the best possible followup to the irrevocable developments in the series' narrative. It allows for Alicia to search her soul and decide what really matters to her. Her past life has been shattered, and in this episode she decides which of those broken pieces she wants to pick up and use in her new career. Alicia found legal success by defending some of Chicago's more wealthy demographic, some of whom were presumably guilty. She has become inoculated to how gross it is to ethically stretch of the truth for Chicago's criminal elite. That's never the type of law she has wanted to practice, but it's the kind that made her a rich businesswoman. She was not arguing those cases for the sake of justice, but for the sake of power. What she realizes in "Don't Fail" is that she wants to help real people fight impacting, unjust legal problems. Though she wants to use cleaner methods this time around, she can also utilize the types of "grey area" skills she acquired working for people like Colin Sweeney, Lemond Bishop, and the Palsey group. Alicia wants to make a difference now.

Robert and Michelle King wrote this episode, and I'm so thankful for their decision to personally guide the series as it ventures down its new path. The events that occur in "Don't Fail" are necessary to see for the show to move forward, even if watching Alicia struggle to get back on her feet isn't as eventful as some of the more recent story lines. The shift in the quality of writing from "The Deconstruction" to "Don't Fail" is glaring, with the latter being at a significant higher quality than the former because the King's script is practically perfect, assembled with detailed symbolism, a perfect velocity for the story's action, and expert character work (of Alicia). A sizable part of "Don't Fail" is Alicia's introspection, using (newly filmed) flashbacks to her time as a first-year associate in season one, showing the evident change in Alicia's practice of the law. "The Good Wife" is once again creative in the way it positions the audience to bounce back and forth from Alicia's mind/memory to present day, this time using the tape recordings from the past and having Alicia envision the memory as she listens to the audio. (This is the third venture into Alicia's mind in less than two years without feeling like this approach is redundant, the other two being "A Few Words" and "Mind's Eye.")

"Don't Fail" is a beautiful episode, and contains the basic nuts and bolts which made the series flourish so easily in its earlier years. And because "The Good Wife" has adjusted to the more modern ways of cable-TV storytelling, the original formula is now used in an even more accomplished, simpler way. It's focused solely on Alicia, her trying to make sense of her professional fall, and finding the inspiration for her to keep fighting. There's a sense of quiet movement in "Don't Fail," as if Alicia's world stopped spinning so fast, and it's one of the most valuable aspects of the episode. In fact, my favorite scenes in "Don't Fail" are the ones where Alicia is watching the clock tick, going to the store dressed down (so no one recognizes her), and doing the odds and ends she has not been able to do because of her pressing career schedule. It's a credit to Julianna Margulies and the directing for making these more mundane chores such captivating television.

Grade: A

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