The Good Wife Wraps a Great First Season

I have no complaints about The Good Wife. I know that’s a strange way to begin a review, but when you’re talking about one of the most consistent shows on television, I think it’s important to note. The Good Wife boasts compelling stories, fascinating characters, sharp writing. And just when I think it can’t get any better, it does.

Watching The Good Wife progress throughout its first season has been a pleasure. The show began as an episodic series; while there were clear arcs in place from the get-go, the focus remained on each week’s case. But it has since morphed into a more complex serial drama. The cases are still there—and they occasionally take up most of the screen time—but our attention is on the ongoing story lines and the characters.

I keep going back to the characters, because they’re what drew me in at the start. Julianna Margulies deserves all the acclaim she’s received for her portrayal of Alicia Florrick, but I’ve got to hand it to the writers as well. Alicia is smart, she’s driven, and she’s flawed. At first, it seemed as though she could do no wrong, so I appreciate the way the last few episodes of the season brought her down a notch. And the supporting characters are universally interesting, with special attention given to the delightfully ambiguous Kalinda (Archie Panjabi). Incidentally, the question of her sexuality was finally addressed in Tuesday night’s season finale. She plays for both teams.

Let’s talk about the finale in particular, as I could go on for days about how much I love this show and it’s only a matter of time before someone accuses me of shilling for CBS. (Yes, TV.com is owned by CBS, but ask me how much I hated How I Met Your Mother this season.) The episode won instant points for its guest stars—one of the show’s other strong suits. First, genre fave Amy Acker as the client of the week. Second, Gary Cole, returning as Diane Lockhart’s unlikely mate Kurt McVeigh.

Actors aside, it was a solid blend of self-contained drama and arc resolution. Or non-resolution, as it were. Much to no one’s surprise, Alicia did not choose between her husband and Will (Josh Charles), because, well, every season finale needs a cliffhanger. I don’t actually believe that, but I didn’t mind the open-ended conclusion. Peter is such an integral part of the show that I’m fairly certain their marriage will stay intact—at least for a little while longer. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Alicia enjoys another dalliance with Will next season, making the show’s title all the more ironic.

It’s been a while since a series captured my attention the way The Good Wife has. I care about every character, every dangling plot thread, every potential romantic entanglement—and that’s a rare and wonderful thing. Sure, I’ve always been a fan of legal dramas, but this show has far surpassed what I thought it would be. I’m thrilled with the way Season 1 turned out, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store when it returns.


Follow TV.com writer Louis Peitzman on Twitter: @LouisAtTVDotCom

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Jun 09, 2010
This review is 'spot-on.' The story is captivating and the characters---WOW! Each character contributes to the total quality and it blends to perfection. I truly hate the long wait until season 2, but sure it will be worth it!
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Jun 02, 2010
I love the Alicia/Will interactions. Julianna Marguiles has so much amazing chemistry with Josh Charles, and the way they play off each other is both playful and hot. The writing on the show is brilliant, and I can't wait for September 30th when the show returns. Ugh--September seems so freakin' far away!
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May 30, 2010
I love the show, its addictively brillant....I'm with peter because hes really trying to change. Here's to a great second season
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May 27, 2010
Good article :) Darn that ending!
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May 27, 2010
With the exception of Josh Charles (who's not bad but frankly out of his league in that ensemble), the cast is impeccable and the writing keeps getting better and better.
We all know Margulies is going to get that Emmy nomination. Now if Emmys could nominate at least Panjabi for her superb and subtle performance, they would finally get something right. But yeah, she's unknown and her character is not flashy enough. Oh well....

For once a good show got a second season. Let's rejoice for that at least. Awards be damned.
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May 27, 2010
I truly love this show, has since the first episode. It's everything you've written in the article and more, and I can hardly wait for season two!
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May 26, 2010
I was shocked by how Peter's mom's character came alive last night! Love this show!
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May 26, 2010
This show gives me something to look forward to watching each week! The season finale definitely delivered. I am a fan of Peter. I hope it all comes together in the season opener come September.
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May 26, 2010
Can't agree more. I usually just watch legal dramas when I need background noise (I've never found their characters very compelling), but I thought this series was great--interesting stories, unique ways of presenting week-to-week cases, complex characters.
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May 26, 2010
Finally a good show on TV! There hasn't been one in a while till The Good Wife came on. I'm glad one of my fave actors (Matt Czuchry) is on this show. Love that look that Kalinda and Cary did on last night's episode. I can't wait to see what's going to go on with Cary and his new firm. It's just getting started! Amazing actors. I, as well, completely agree with this review. I can't wait for next season!
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May 26, 2010
This review summed up all my feelings for The Good Wife. It is by far the best show on TV, even though I'm in love with Glee as well. The Good Wife has the best writing, best cast, and best characters; no flaws so far. I hope season 2 will be just as great, and hopefully can take it up a notch, if that's possible.
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May 26, 2010
I also agree with this review. All the supporting characters from spoiled kids to cranky Mother-in-law to the guest characters have made this a very well rounded show. I look forward to next season!!
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May 26, 2010
Soo glad this show has been doing so well... One of the producers graduated from the same high school the year after I did... ;)
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May 26, 2010
Completely agree with this review
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May 26, 2010
I too love this show. From the first Episode one I was a fan. Love the Writing. the Actors are amazing.
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May 26, 2010
I've never seen a full episode of the show but some of what I have caught has been pretty good, and your review is making me think I might want to check the show out over the summer.
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May 26, 2010
interesting.
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