Parker Posey, Alan Cumming Parker Posey, Alan Cumming

The Good Wife viewers are about to see a part of Eli that some probably never even knew he had — a soft side. "In this episode, we find out that there is something very shocking that happened when Eli was married," Alan Cumming tells TVGuide.com. "So you see Eli very, very vulnerable for the first time ever."

Why? The arrival of Eli's ex-wife, Vanessa, played by Parker Posey, has a lot to do with it. It's no coincidence that the two actors have shared the screen several times before (most memorably in The Anniversary Party and Josie and the Pussycats) and Cumming immediately suggested Posey for the part. "I think Parker is the funniest person ever. I could just watch her walking on the street and think its fascinating. Everything she does, she brings such an idiosyncratic energy to It," he says. "She's hilarious in this. And there are also some really touching scenes in there."

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Cumming says he is more than ready to explore and embrace a softer Eli, the colorful campaign manager-turned-crisis management expert who chewed out a colleague, did a victory dance in the copy room or (jokingly) dropped trou. "It's about time that emotion came out," he says. "We just shot one scene this week where you see Eli like you've never seen him before. He's not winning all the time and he's a bit battered, so I'm really intrigued by where that will go."

Cumming is enjoying Eli's new stability (minus the recent theft of Eli's favorite jellyfish paperweight by someone who Cumming suspects to be "dark forces"). Following Peter's re-election, Eli set up shop within Lockhart Gardner working on crisis management cases in between political campaigns. "Last season, I was mostly on location and I had never done a scene with Archie [Panjabi], I had just passed Josh [Charles] in the corridor. So it's been really fun to increase my acting partners," he says. "Also, it's nice to have a base and to know that when I do scenes in my office, that's my office. I had, like, five different offices in different locations last year so I feel much more focused."

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However, Cumming probably shouldn't get too comfortable in his new digs. As evidenced by his recent push to snag Peter (Chris Noth) the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, Eli is determined to put Peter in the governor's mansion. "Next summer is when that keynote speech is going to take place, so I imagine the beginning of next year will see Eli back on the political path with Peter," he says.

The only thing standing in the way of that path is Alicia (Julianna Margulies). Eli promised a prominent politician that the Florricks would be together come convention time, so the question is what measures he will go to in order to bring the fragmented family back together. And will the man so used to winning big even be successful? "I have no doubt that Eli is setting himself up for a fall because he's so determined to make Peter into this great political phenomenon, and he needs Alicia to help him do that. He's kind of in denial about that fact," Cumming says. "I think that he's staked so much of his own reputation on that so I think he'll go as far as he can. That might mean manipulating Alicia to get what he wants. You never know, maybe Alicia and Peter will get back together."

"There's definitely a course to make that happen by whatever means."

The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9/8c on CBS.