'The Good Wife' last night: Best episode yet, plus best use of Chelsea Handler on network TV

The Good Wife continues to pay off on its premise. It does not shy away from the anguish and uncomfortableness that Juilanna Margulies’s Alicia suffers in the aftermath of her husband’s sex scandal. It may be one of the most downbeat scripted shows in network prime time, yet it pulls in big ratings. Aren’t we frequently being told that viewers are seeking out upbeat, escapist fare these days? Why is The Good Wife doing so well?

Because it’s damn good, and because all that ageist stuff about how people don’t want to watch shows starring people over 40 is pernicious hogwash.

Last night’s episode was a prime example. We saw more about the woman with whom Chris Noth’s Peter flung. We saw a very clever, very realistic way this woman might promote herself in the aftermath of such an affair — in this case, by going on Chelsea Lately.

The episode covered a lot of ground and an impressive range of tones. The Chelsea Handler segment — viewed by everyone, including Alicia’s children, on their computers the morning after it aired — was depicted exactly a viral phenom such as this would take hold in the pop culture.

And the show’s subplot, in which we finally met the globe-trotting law-firm partner, played with shaggy belligerence by Kevin Conway, was another example of the way The Good Wife renders office politics fresh and surprising.

I can’t say that I was startled by the hour’s final scene, which had been promoted as a “shocker.” Alicia kissing her husband — out of relief for getting the mistress at least temporarily out of their lives; out of surrender to sheer emotional exhaustion and genuine affection — made sense, on the terms The Good Wife has set up.

Although it has arrived packaged as a lawyer show combined with Law & Order-style headline-chasing, The Good Wife is proving, week by week, that it is its own distinctive creation.

Do you watch The Good Wife?

Comments (78 total) Add your comment
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  • Jon

    YES! Love it

    • Kent

      A really great show with a story line that’s strong, realistic and well acted. Could have watched another two hours. Juilanna Margulies is a fantastic actress as is each of the cast! Hope this show is on for many, many seasons!

  • Shane

    Yes, LOVE it. I would like to see them actually lose a case, just to keep things lively, but so far, good acting, good writing, solid performances and AWESOME clothes! Love it! And anything with Chris Noth gets me to tune in. I also like that while its not a tweener show, they also don’t have adults running around trying to act like they are really 30 and being far too witty than reality would have it (Courtney Cox, I’m looking at you and that trying waaaaay too hard show of yours).

    • Nan

      I agree with you Shane, she is trying to hard. But the show IS very funny! And you have to agree, after being FLOODED with REALITY GARBAGE TV, we all needed a show like this to come along! As well as Modern Family!!!

    • de

      They did lose a case. It was the case with the stripper claiming to be rape by a married rich man. They was offered a settlement, but the stripper refused and the case went to court. They lost!

  • krisa

    yes – it’s a great show with a stellar cast

  • joeinmemphis

    This show is excellent! I watch for the creamy deliciousness of Ms. Margulies. A few weeks ago Martha Plimpton was on here and she was excellent!

  • peter

    This is the best show on TV yet. and last night episode was the best yet. The way the show ended was so “je ne sais quoi.” I just love that show.

  • Valley Girl

    Yes! Excellent show!

  • Carol

    It’s very unrealistic to have Alicia batting a thousand in court though.

    • Orac

      Alicia isn’t batting a thousand. She lost the case (or at least settled for a draw) in the case with the stripper.

      • oc

        she also won a case because her client, and not the big corporate defendant, paid off a juror – I thought that was brilliant

  • Brooke

    It’s SO not the kind of show I usually watch – I have an (un?)healthy diet of Gossip Girl, Melrose Place, 90210, Vampire Diaries, and other night-time, soapy, fun shows…not counting OTH because, well, ew. [Besides, it’s not like Buffy, Angel, or Veronica Mars is on anymore.] But, The Good Wife? I stumbled upon that show while trying to find SOMETHING to watch on a Tuesday night, after Melrose, and man was I pleased. This is probably the best new show of the season. I know I’m hooked.

  • ENC

    I also really like this show. I keep expecting them to lose to case but I never want them to! Everyone in the cast is top notch.

  • megan

    Yep I watched it…I really enjoy it. Very well written and well acted show. I look forward to it every Tuesday night!

  • Jan

    Love, love, love “The Good Wife”. I was so disappointed when it ended last night. I could have watched another hour!

  • Kanze

    Amazing show, great writing! Juilanna Margulies plays her role to perfection.

  • Nan

    Yes, After Cougar Town, The Good Wife is best show to come on TV in a VERY LONG TIME!!!!!!!

  • Alex

    Love this show. I love the subtle what it is that’s going on b/t Alicia and Will. Hope there’s a romance boiling there.

    As for the kiss, other message boards have said that it was a good bye kiss. What do you think?

  • Sparky

    Love the mix of the courtroom with Chris Noths storyline. And from what the senior partner said last night there is more to it than him sleeping with a prostitute. Can’t wait until they get to the point where Will actually makes a move on Alicia and whether she will or she won’t cheat on Peter??

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