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'The Good Wife' Season Finale Recap: What Did You Think of Alicia's Big Decision?

Lockhart Gardner goes to court on Election Day, as Peter awaits the results.

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"The Good Wife" -- "What's in the Box?"
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"What's in the Box?" -- On the eve of the gubernatorial election, Alicia (Julianna Margulies), Will (Josh Charles) and Diane (Christine Baranski) find themselves in a series of emergency court proceedings when the validity of crucial ballots is called into question, on "The Good Wife."

In the season finale of "The Good Wife," we expected Alicia to make a big decision -- Peter or Will?

But it turns out that the big decision was something else -- Lockhart Gardner or Cary's new firm. And Alicia chose Cary. Florrick, Agos, and Associates is open for business!

After some Election Day ballot shenanigans, Peter wins the race to become governor. Alicia leaves the celebration to meet someone at home. We think it's Will, but when she opens the door, it's Cary. "I'm in," she says.

Choosing the new firm is actually her way of choosing Peter over Will. "She's leaving Lockhart/Gardner because she needs to create distance between herself and Will," creator Robert King told TV Line.

The surprise ending delighted fans and critics.

"The revelation that it was Cary, and not Will, at Alicia's door was the perfect note to end this season on, and a great set-up for a season 5," wrote HitFix's Alan Sepinwall.

The finale started out with Zach voting and witnessing an unsealed ballot box being brought into his polling station. He tells his mom, who takes the matter to court. The great Denis O'Hare is presiding as Judge Abernathy. And the awesome Martha Plimpton returns as Patti Nyholm (toting her baby around, of course), who's representing the Kristeva campaign.

[Related: 'Good Wife': Josh Charles Reacts to Twist Ending, Looks Ahead to Season 5′s 'Great Conflict']

Both Diane and Will join Alicia in the case. But later, when the ballot box is opened up, the majority of votes are for Peter! Of course, Alicia and Diane want them counted, and Patti reverses course and asks that they be thrown out.

Meanwhile, over at the campaign, Peter is fretting. But not about the outcome -- about Cristian, his mother's helper-boyfriend. He wants Eli to take care of it, so Eli gives him a payoff.

Elsewhere, Cary and the fourth-years are checking out office space, but they can't afford it and Kalinda's requested salary. As a backup, he asks Robin if she'd consider going with the new firm.

But a solution to their money troubles pops up in the form of Colin Sweeney. Turns out he owns that space and is willing to give Cary a 20 percent discount for two years of free legal representation. When Cary mentions that Alicia isn't coming with him, Colin calls her to push for the move. Alicia's pissed and threatens to tattle on Cary to the partners.

Back to the ballot box case: It seems there's a new problem at the federal level. Alicia and Patti rush to a federal court, where they encounter Jordan! He's representing a third-party candidate, Albert O'Dell, whose name was misprinted on early ballots. But Robin figures out that he isn't Irish, and Alicia successfully argues that the matter be closed.

Alicia and Will wait in his car for Judge Abernathy's decision. They talk about Will's short relationship with Laura Hellinger and about their kiss. "I'm with Peter. And I just can't figure my way out of this one," she says sadly, then leans over to kiss him.

"Oh God," she breathes. "What do we do?" He says they'll talk once election night is over.

Diane pulls them back into court. Patti has a new witness -- Jordan! He testifies that he and Eli talked about "sweetening the vote." Judge Abernathy rules against Peter's campaign and orders the votes be excluded (though preserved for possible appeal).

But Alicia has another idea -- she brings Zach back in. He says that Eli wasn't the campaign manager at the time of the "sweetening the vote" talk. The judge declares he'll revise his ruling in a few hours.

[Related: 'Good Wife' Season Finale Post Mortem: EP Robert King Confirms 'Alicia's With (Spoiler) Now']

At the Lockhart Gardner office, Robin asks Kalinda a hypothetical about joining a startup law firm. Kalinda tells her to go with Cary, then takes a surveillance video to Will. It shows Eli's henchman was the one who brought in the unsealed ballot box!

Will confronts Peter about it. Why didn't he take it to Alicia? Will didn't want to hurt her. Peter tells Will to reveal the video to the judge or not -- and cause him to win or lose -- but it's up to Will.

The judge rules again, this time in Peter's favor. He allows the votes to be admitted. Peter wins! Except, he didn't need that stuffed ballot box -- he wins by a big margin. Mayor Mike Bloomberg is there to congratulate him. And so is Cristian; he is keeping the payoff and staying with Jackie.

Kalinda stops by Cary's office to talk. "Don't ever do that to me again," she says, referring to Robin's offer. She storms off.

At the celebration, Alicia sees Will -- no, it's some other guy. She looks torn as Peter finds her. He asks her how she feels about the first lady of Illinois.

Alicia leaves to "freshen up" but makes a call instead. She seems very troubled. "Hi," she says. "Do you still want to talk? Meet me at my apartment."

At home, she pours herself a big glass of wine, folds some laundry, watches the door. Finally, someone knocks. It's Cary.

"I'm in."

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