I have a new saying in life, and it goes something like this: “Friends recommend The Good Wife to other friends.” (There’s also “Friends don’t let friends watch CBS, except for How I Met Your Mother and The Good Wife, but I try not to be hostile.) Anyway, both of those sentences are true, and The Good Wife is definitely worth tuning in for, in case one of your friends hasn’t recommended it to you yet. Consider me that friend.
I’ve never, ever been drawn to lawyer shows; they’re second to doctor shows on my ABORT ABORT ABORT list (no pun intended). But when a lawyer show is this GOOD, it’s hard to look away. Julianna Margulies is absolutely stunning in the lead role; as Alicia Florrick, she’s one of those few actresses who plays her part so well that you believe you’re watching a documentary, and that the person on the screen is real and nuanced and irregular, just like an actual human. Of course, actual humans don’t always have perfect clothes and flawless makeup and Mr. Big sharing their apartment, but that’s beside the point. I don’t think any other person could play Alicia like Margulies does. She has this subtle air about her that’s irreplaceable.
And then there’s the rest of the equally attractive and talented cast; Chris Noth will always hold a special place in my heart as the aforementioned (SPOLIER ALERT) John James Preston, plus he has that certainly politician quality about him. Archie Panjabi steals every scene she’s in; while I’m not sure she was better than Elisabeth Moss in Mad Men, she damn sure deserved to be recognized for her efforts, and I think it was pretty cool that her Emmy win last year sort of broke with tradition. There’s something about Kalinda that you can’t put your finger on—the fact that she never smiles, the fact that she wears fluffy skirts, the fact that she never hesitates, the fact that she always leaves something to the imagination (both emotionally and physically)—and Panjabi plays it exactly as she should. Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhardt is basically the model for how I want to look and act as a 50-year-old woman. What a badass. Matt Czuchry… well, let’s just say that I was a big Logan Huntzberger fan, and not because of his personality. This guy is so effortlessly charming, even in that one episode where he was high, and he’s such a pleasure to watch as an overly ambitious lawyer. I really can’t wait for next season. Oh, and Alan Cumming! Also a badass. His skinny suits are perfect.
I save a separate paragraph, of course, for Josh Charles. What a dreamboat, first of all. I kick myself because, back in the day, I interviewed him for The Good Wife right before it went on the air, before I had watched Sports Night and fallen in love with Dan Rydell, before I knew that this guy was basically the celebrity man of my dreams. Anyway, now I know, and now I have The Good Wife. As tired as I am of will they-won’t they relationships, I like the one between Alicia and Will because it’s workplace taboo, and because neither is willing to sacrifice their careers. It’s an interesting line to walk, and one that’s not often explored on TV. Their relationship also isn’t unrealistically, grossly passionate, either. Sure, they want each other, but they’re not going to go all small screen on us and have sex on the desk. At least not yet; I haven’t seen the second season yet.
Which brings me right around town to my final point. This show is not flashy. It’s simple, classy, elegant, like its stars, and it’s incredibly polished from a visual and script standpoint. Clean lines, subtle facial expressions, not a lot of noise, yet Robert and Michelle King have created something consistent and engaging in just one year on the air. I wasn’t planning on adding any shows to my queue, but dammit, I may have to watch this one live next season if I can squeeze in Season 2 before the fall premiere. I want to know about that phone call!