Emmy Episode Analysis: Fifth time’s the charm for Christine Baranski (‘The Good Wife’)?

Christine Baranski (“The Good Wife“) has been nominated for five straight years for Best Drama Supporting Actress. This is her 11th Emmy nod in total, after winning for her supporting work on the comedy series “Cybill” back in 1995. She was nominated a further three times for that role, once for a guest role on “Frasier,” and then twice more recently for her guest work on “The Big Bang Theory.” Is Baranski overdue and poised to upset frontrunner Anna Gunn (“Breaking Bad“)?

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SYNOPSIS: “The Last Call” deals with the immediate aftermath of the shocking death of Will Gardner (Josh Charles). Diane Lockhart (Baranski) has rushed to the hospital after hearing about the tragic news, and grieves over the loss of her partner and best friend.

Diane consoles a heartbroken Alicia (Julianna Margulies), and then scrambles to deal with the fallout at Lockhart Gardner, first by delivering the news of Will’s death to the firm’s equity partners, and then by dealing with staff and clients.

Meanwhile, Alicia, who is devastated by the news, finds a voicemail message Will left for her shortly before he was shot, which haunts her throughout the episode as she not only struggles to find answers about the shooting, but also deals with her guilt about how her relationship with Will had so badly deteriorated before his untimely end.

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Can Baranski finally take home that elusive second Emmy? Let’s consider the pros and cons:

PROS

Empathy is always a factor when judging Emmy episodes, and in “The Last Call,” Baranski shows a more vulnerable side of the usually polished, professional, and stoic Diane Lockhart, which many voters will appreciate. Her anguished crying over the death of Will is beautifully performed, and as she embraces Alicia, many voters will want to hug her right back.

Baranski is overdue. With five nominations for this role, and 11 overall, voters might want to reward her for her strong work last season.

Every year that “The Good Wife” has been eligible at the Emmys, a female actor has taken home an award. In 2010, Archie Panjabi won Best Drama Supporting Actress. In 2011, Margulies won Best Drama Actress. In 2012, Martha Plimpton won Best Drama Guest Actress, and last year Carrie Preston won the same category. So this year, history favors either Margulies or Baranski to continue that Emmy tradition.

CONS

Working against Baranski is a lack of gut-punch impact in the episode, which her competitor Anna Gunn has in spades. It’s a subtler performance, and lacks the emotional fireworks that voters are often looking for.

Much has been said about the creative resurgence of “The Good Wife” last season. But Emmy voters must have missed that memo, only nominating it for five awards, and snubbing it for Drama Series, Drama Writing, and Drama Directing. So there may not be enough overall support for the show.

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Baranski is currently in second place in our predictions with 11/2 odds. Do you agree? Make your own predictions below.

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