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