The Good Wife is another show that has maintained a fairly consistent standard throughout the first three seasons (which is all we have watched so far). The eponymous Good Wife is Alicia Florrick, the wife of a state’s attorney who is in prison following a sex scandal. She is returning to work as a lawyer, while also looking after her two teenage kids and trying to maintain a dignified appearance for the media.
While she is the character after whom the series is named, she is somewhat overshadowed by the supporting characters, many of whom are far more interesting than her. Kalinda Sharma is the law firm’s in-house investigator, and has an enigmatic past. Diane Lockhart is a senior partner at the firm, and is utterly captivating, thanks in no small part to the acting of Christine Baranski (remember Maryann in Cybill?). Eli Gold is first introduced as Peter Florrick’s campaign manager after he leaves prison – you may remember Alan Cumming from The High Life… nope, apparently that’s just me and my sister then. Oh, and don’t forget Michael Fucking J Fox. At risk of sounding patronising, it’s great to see him still acting, and kicking ass at it.
At it’s core, it’s a legal drama, and if you just watched one episode then that’s probably what you’d take away from it. But it’s kept going by all these interesting personal subplots, the fact that it’s actually fairly well researched (an early-2012 episode on Bitcoin had me nodding my head in approval) and that it attracts a high calibre of actors, both in recurring and one-off roles.
It’s not going to go down in history as one of the all-time greats, possibly because the premise just isn’t distinctive enough. At it’s core, it’s just a legal drama. But it’s a superbly-executed one.