Author Topic: The Good Wife  (Read 1129 times)

Mandos

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The Good Wife
« on: July 25, 2010, 07:09:25 PM »
I've been running through the first season of Juliana Margulies' lawyer drama The Good Wife.  It's actually quite good, but it only exists because of the killing of something better (Canterbury's Law).

The basic scenario: Alicia Florick's perfect life is in tatters.  She and her husband Peter started out from law school with promising careers, but Peter got into politics.  So Alicia played the, well, good wife, and sublimated her own ambitions as many political wives have done so that Peter could have the picture-perfect family he needed to rise to the level of State's Attorney (an elected municipal-level Attorney General/Chief Crown Prosecutor).  It's a sacrifice she was willing to make for the political vision of a man she believed in.

But two decades and two children later, it has suddenly fallen apart---in a corruption and Spitzerian prostitution scandal.  Alicia has been humiliated and humiliated, she and her children subjected to ridicule, a steep reduction and income and lifestyle, and eventually, well, Peter sent to jail.  But still, she chooses to play the good wife, as her husband protests innocence and plans to mount an appeal---which will involve even greater humiliation and public prying into her life.

However, Alicia must pay the bills, and so she uses what is left of her connections to get herself a job as a junior associate at a prestigious law firm at which her college buddy is a partner.  There she must face a Darwinian competition which pits her against young entitled fratboys who have no children to raise and no other responsibilities but to work 18-hour days, every day.  And she must be better than them.

Fortunately for Alicia, she has an ace up her sleeve: her very experience as a woman trapped among forces larger than herself.  It gives her access to aspects of cases, clients, and witnesses that are unavailable to the fratboys---and to the high-powered partners who've given up family for their careers.  Aspects that she uses to help clients...and to hurt the clients of adversaries, with her plucky PI sidekick at her side.

In the meantime, she is pulled regularly back into the legal mess surrounding her husband, while she must deal with the fallout for her children. 

Now, this is basically a reboot of another Juliana Margulies attempt at a law drama that IMHO was even better, Canterbury's Law.  It's much the same formula but without the sex scandal drama.  Instead, Margulies played a defence lawyer who not long ago had lost a child to an abduction, and has become a bitter snapping alcoholic as a result---especially since she is judged as a failure in her most important role in life by her peers.  Sex sells better which is why Canterbury's Law was killed after six episodes but The Good Wife lasted a season (if not more, dunno if it's been renewed).

 

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