The Good Wife, why after four seasons I am loving it more than ever….

The Good Wife starts with the premise of a wronged woman. The remarkable Julianna Margulies plays Alicia Florrick, a mother of two teenage children and a wife who is thrown into the limelight after her husband Peter, a former state attorney for Cook County is imprisoned after a sex and corruption scandal. The path Alicia was travelling on is shattered and she has to find work to support herself and her children. She does this by going back to her past profession in the law and is hired by Lockhart & Gardner as a litigator. Not only does she has to prove herself professionally whilst being confronted with the public humiliation of what Peter did, she also has to decide whether to stand by her husband.

The Good Wife is one of my most favourite TV shows because it is filled with strong women and has solid charcter development for all its characters. Unlike many of the crime and law series which have a stand alone episode format, TGW has story arcs which are built on from season to season. This type of continuity results in an engaged audience who not only want to watch the fascinating cases (which are based on recent issues and events) but who are invested in discovering more about the characters they care about.

Alicia, as the title suggested is a ‘good wife’ but do not be fooled into thinking that she is therefore weak by not leaving her cheating husband. She is anything but. The success of Alicia as an independent, strong, loving, moral woman comes down to Julianna Margulies. The way she portrays Alicia is so professional and charming. Alicia is not without her flaws but she is secure in her sense of herself. She is contained, reserved but not in the least boring. Alicia has grown and deepened throughout the series, but particularly in the latest season she has also shown a wonderful sense of dry humour and wit. She is not above laughing at herself and the situations she sometimes finds herself in. When she laughs it is almost impossible not to laugh along with her.

Alicia is not the only outstanding female character in TGW. Archie Panjabi as Kalinda (the firm’s private investigator) is extremely sexy, mysterious and formidable. Very rarely does anyone rattle her cage (the exception being Marc Warren as her dubious husband Nick Saverese).  Her bisexuality is played subtly, always leaving our expectations open as to who she will choose to have a relationship with. Professionally she is excellent at what she does and she brings a unique edge to the series.

image credit - CBS
image credit – CBS

Christine Baranski as Diane (one of the senior partners) is – in a word – class. Her character’s professional and shrewd business acumen does women on the small screen proud. In addition, as the series progresses we have been exposed to  a more personal side of her which brings a deeper understanding of her as both a leader and a woman. She is a much needed and respected constant within the TGW world.

And the men? Well they all have their place but if I am to be honest they take a backseat to the women. Chris Noth as Alicia’s flawed husband Peter is essential in forming a sense of who Alicia is. Although watching his political career is entertaining his character is probably at his most interesting when he is interacting or being motivated by a concern or love for Alicia.

Josh Charles as Will Gardner and Diane’s partner in the law firm is professional but also a bit of a player, with a complicated history with Alicia. He is charming and although the series isn’t the same without him at the helm, once again it is his relationship with others (especially Alicia) which are the most note worthy.

Cary Agos? Well Matt Czuchry plays Cary, another lawyer at the firm. Alicia and Cary have had a complex relationship where they have been both foes and allies. The fascinating thing about Cary is that there is always a reason between what he does but his motivations and drivers change. That makes him unpredictable and he is forever surprising.

Beyond the regular cast there has been a wealth of guest stars. TGW knows how to get the best very from these wonderful actresses and actors. Often they succeed in being, if not more so, just as interesting and appealing as the core cast. There are many standouts; one that has really touched me is Michael J Fox as rival attorney Louis Canning. I am so impressed that they have made the brave decision to use Michael  J Fox. Although his Parkinson’s Disease may have caused issues on other shows no such problem arises on TGW. It is a complete non-issue because his character suffers from tardive dyskinesia so there is no need to hide or explicitly explain any involuntary movements. Instead, in a court room setting, Louis is more than adept and eager to use his condition to gain any potential leverage. The writers have made his character cunning, distrustful and sly. It is a substantial, multi-layered role and befitting of a talented actor such as Mr Fox.

Christine Baranski as Diane (one of the senior partners) is – in a word – class. Her character’s professional and shrewd business acumen does women on the small screen proud. In addition, as the series progresses we have been exposed to  a more personal side of her which brings a deeper understanding of her as both a leader and a woman. She is a much needed and respected constant within the TGW world.

And the men? Well they all have their place but if I am to be honest they take a backseat to the women. Chris Noth as Alicia’s flawed husband Peter is essential in forming a sense of who Alicia is. Although watching his political career is entertaining his character is probably at his most interesting when he is interacting or being motivated by a concern or love for Alicia.

Josh Charles as Will Gardner and Diane’s partner in the law firm is professional but also a bit of a player, with a complicated history with Alicia. He is charming and although the series isn’t the same without him at the helm, once again it is his relationship with others (especially Alicia) which are the most note worthy.

Cary Agos? Well Matt Czuchry plays Cary, another lawyer at the firm. Alicia and Cary have had a complex relationship where they have been both foes and allies. The fascinating thing about Cary is that there is always a reason between what he does but his motivations and drivers change. That makes him unpredictable and he is forever surprising.

Beyond the regular cast there has been a wealth of guest stars. TGW knows how to get the best very from these wonderful actresses and actors. Often they succeed in being, if not more so, just as interesting and appealing as the core cast. There are many standouts; one that has really touched me is Michael J Fox as rival attorney Louis Canning. I am so impressed that they have made the brave decision to use Michael  J Fox. Although his Parkinson’s Disease may have caused issues on other shows no such problem arises on TGW. It is a complete non-issue because his character suffers from tardive dyskinesia so there is no need to hide or explicitly explain any involuntary movements. Instead, in a court room setting, Louis is more than adept and eager to use his condition to gain any potential leverage. The writers have made his character cunning, distrustful and sly. It is a substantial, multi-layered role and befitting of a talented actor such as Mr Fox.

image credit - CBS
image credit – CBS

Christine Baranski as Diane (one of the senior partners) is – in a word – class. Her character’s professional and shrewd business acumen does women on the small screen proud. In addition, as the series progresses we have been exposed to  a more personal side of her which brings a deeper understanding of her as both a leader and a woman. She is a much needed and respected constant The other standout for me is Carrie Preston as Elsbeth Tascioni, another lawyer outside the firm (and un-recognisable as Arlene, from True Blood). Not only does she have a fabulous name but she is one of my most favourite characters and I eagerly look forward to episodes I know she is starring in. Ms Preston plays her to perfection, combining just the right amount of eccentric behaviour and break through brilliance. Her character is generous, warm and at the same time unpredictable. Although her clumsiness can be a little unsettling for those she is assisting, most have learnt to sit back and go along for what will be an impressive and ultimately successful ride.

image credit - CBS
image credit – CBS

TGW is a slick, entertaining drama with strong characters played brilliantly by an outstanding cast, topical storylines and most importantly a strong belief in itself.  With the right mix of courtroom drama and personal intrigue it is a series that keeps going from strength to strength.

Who has been your favourite guest star appearance on TGW?

 The third season of Awkward is just around the corner. Why not discover something new or take a trip down memory lane with my next post ‘Awkward Season One….You’re Welcome’.

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