The Good Wife: law, politics, and betrayal

I have yet to see the final season of this beautiful TV series, but for this reason I want to talk about it now that I don’t know how it will end. I remember that at the beginning I tried to avoid watching it at all costs. I told myself that I didn’t want to let myself be further involved in a TV show and extend the list of my TV commitments, but then, I don’t know how, I fell for it.

As it often happens in these cases, I have never watched the first few episodes. Being an episodic series (as typically are those aimed at general channels, like the CBS), this fault of mine didn’t affect the enjoyment of the rest of the season and subsequent ones, once the background was clarified.
The Good Wife” is a so-called juridical drama. The main character, played by the talented Julianna Margulies (whom you will certainly remember in ER in the role of the nurse that was the partner of Dr. Ross, namely George Clooney), is Alicia Florrick, the wife of the State Prosecutor, Peter Florrick (Chris Noth, already seen as Mr Big in Sex and the City) involved in a sex scandal that makes him go to prison. Alicia, being a good wife, despite the betrayal, publicly supports her husband (although in private, things are quite different) and has to take care of their family while he’s in jail. To do so, she returns to her old job as lawyer.

As you can imagine, each episode presents a legal case that must be solved.
I must say that the purely legal aspect is very entertaining. Alicia and her colleagues, even in the worst situations, pull out of the hat a stroke of genius that takes them almost always to victory.
Viewers receive a picture of the law that appears as something extremely creative, a tool that lawyers should know how to manage to make their clients win. It doesn’t matter whether they are guilty or innocent. In fact, among the many cases there is also that of an uxoricide (a recurring character in the series) who will remain unpunished, but he doesn’t appear as an entirely negative character.


Beside the legal theme is the political one, which is embodied by the talented Alan Cumming in the role of Eli Gold. Eli is Peter Florrick’s political strategist, that is, the one that manages its election campaigns and takes care of his image even during his mandates. Peter, who at first is the State Prosecutor, later in the series will be a candidate to become the Governor of Illinois and in the sixth season even Alicia finds herself running for a political office.
I won’t go into detail to avoid spoilers to those who had not yet watched this series.
However, the part relating to the political intrigue isn’t less interesting than the purely legal one, highlighting how the two areas are often connected (in the US).

Especially in this period during which, even from a distance, I watched the presidential campaign that had as protagonists Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I could only compare the articles, videos, tweets, and anything else appearing on the web with what the fiction offers in “The Good Wife”, where elections are shown as a conflict made of defamation, low blows, anonymous videos, search of the usual skeleton in the opponent’s closet, verbal confrontations in which apparently the form counts more that the content. Among all that voters are numbers in a statistics that seem to swing from one position to the other as a result of these actions, just as if they were sheep and not thinking beings able to assess the quality of the candidates.
Personally I find all this fascinating and just watching a series like “The Good Wife” (but it is certainly not the only one addressing these topics), in its own small way, provides further interpretation of what we see in reality. In other words, everything that appears in the media in relation to the candidates in an election campaign in the United States is pure strategy.
Not that the rest of the world is different (we are learning!), but I have the impression that the excessive spectacularisation in this area, as in any other, is a typically American prerogative.

The controversial aspects both in the legal and political scope treated in this series are accompanied by those relating to the personal scope of the characters. Friendships that become (extramarital) sexual relations, which then become rivalry, characters who use other people’s feelings for personal purposes, teenagers who hide pregnancies, lawyers who pretend to be dumb to deceive adversaries (like the hilarious character of Elsbeth Tascioni, performed by Carrie Preston), others who use their children to pity the judges, lawyers who do the same with their own disability (in this regard I must mention the treacherous character of Louis Canning, performed by Michael J. Fox, who even manages to cheat Alicia from the bed of a hospital!) are just some examples of human material offered by the series, which, unfortunately, also includes death.

In short, there’s something, for all tastes and all these elements contribute to create strong storylines that unfold throughout the series, from season to season. And they become increasingly important, so much that the case treated in the single episode ends up overshadowed.
It’s no wonder that such a TV show tends to be addictive. Therefore, if you haven’t watched it but intend to do so, remember that you won’t have peace until you get to the last episode, if not of the whole series, at least of the individual seasons.
So, don’t say I didn’t warn you!