TV Review: The Good Wife

Scandal, politics and the law provide the perfect ingredients for one of the best shows to date. reviews


It isn’t surprising when you ask someone to name a US TV show the likes of Homeland, Mad Men and Breaking Bad pop into conversation. Unsurprisingly, when asked if anyone has seen The Good Wife on More4 the answer is usually no. This is even more shocking when you finally tune in to see what all of the fuss is about, only to find yourself gripped by the compelling storylines and the first class acting.

Broadcast on one of Channel 4’s lesser known stations, The Good Wife is a show all about the trials and tribulations of the titular character Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies). Now in its fifth season and still going strong, The Good Wife revolves around Alicia struggling to get her life back on track after her husband Peter(Christ Noth) was embroiled in a sex scandal, only to turn his life around and become Chicago’s favourite politician. However, during her husband’s scandal Alicia finds herself returning to work as a lawyer with her old law school crush Will Gardner (Josh Charles) at his firm Lockhart and Gardner. Granted, this may sound like a typical love triangle with nothing special, but that couldn’t be any further from the truth. Where The Good Wife excels is not by turning this love triangle into the main issue, but by delving into other issues around it.

For example, the writing on the show has dealt with major themes, both legal and non-legal issues. There have been school problems, race issues and Chicago politic scandals. The show isn’t scared to delve into the real world and draw out comparisons, especially when it comes to technology. The Good Wife writers have created their own version of Google in the form of Chum Hum, whilst creating their own version of Mark Zuckerberg. The show isn’t scared to tackle the issues which technology creates, whilst also dealing with traditional legal cases like death row appeals and thefts.

But it is the acting which truly shines through on screen. Julianna Marguiles portrays Alicia as a strong, independent woman, not frightened of going after what she wants. Of course she has a soft spot in the form of her children, but she is truly determined and Marguiles portrays that with raw emotion. Chris Noth has certainly moved on from his Sex and the City days as Big; now he works his way through the murky waters of Chicago politics and battles an even tougher challenge of getting his marriage back on track. Regardless, the rest of the cast also make the best of their characters without being over the top like some characters in other shows; e.g. Clare Danes and her ever widening eyes in Homeland. Josh Charles and Christine Baranski are the head lawyers in the firm Alicia works in whilst Alan Cumming provides the wit as Peter’s campaign manager, delivering all the information about the world of politics for those who struggle to understand. Archie Panjabi delivers a flawless performance as Kalinda, Lockhart and Gardner’s resident leather boot wearing and notebook carrying investigator. Despite the full time cast providing the show with class, there are special guest appearances in the form of actors like Michael J Fox and Anika Noni Rose.

The Good Wife is a well scripted show, well acted and has storylines which can keep the viewer’s attention for more than three seasons. So why is it not as popular as Game of Thrones or Homeland? This is a simple answer; because it is a show shown on a lesser known channel without a primetime slot. Regardless, The Good Wife is a legal drama for anyone, not just the lawyers of the world. There is no denying that it is underrated, always coming second at award shows behind the more popular programmes. Regardless of this, The Good Wife most certainly is worth catching up on without feeling guilty about box set binging.

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