24 September 2009

The Good Wife Pilot Episode

The opening scene to The Good Wife is all too familiar --- a corrupt politician apologizing in public for charges he claims he isn't really guilty of. His wife is standing solidly behind him, often looking numb or ambivalent. Throw in a little sex scandal, too, and you have a storyline that in today's time? It's so relatable. We've seen real-life stories like this unfold in the news too many times.

Fast forward six months later, and you have the wife, Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) picking up the pieces to a life shattered by her husband (Mr. Big, Chris Noth). She goes back to work as a Junior Associate in a law firm, having left this kind of life 15 years ago to raise her family. She now has prove to her colleagues she can do the job, while dealing with her husband (now in jail) and protecting her kids from the public. On top of that, she has to overcome her own trauma too.

Margulies is very effective. Not once did her vulnerable character come off as the victim, which I think is why this show works so well --- it is ambitious and confident, with the right pacing, albeit some predictability (it's a legal show, one cannot expect new and fresh dynamics from a tried and tested format). As husband and wife, Margulies and Noth are very believable.

I did very little reading before watching the show (the joy of being spoiler free!!!) so Josh Charles, who plays her former law classmate and now her boss, is a welcome surprise. Ditto Christine Baranski, her mentor. They are two more reasons for me to keep watching.

The Good Wife is from the Scott Brothers (Tony & Ridley) who also gave us Numb3rs and the movies Gladiator, Top Gun, Alien and Blade Runner.

Peter: Alicia, I know this has been hard on you but you have to believe I'm innocent...of the abuse of office charges.
Alicia: You think I give a damn about that, Peter? They are playing the tape in Grace's computer lab of you sucking the toe of the hooker. You think I care about the small print in your employment contract?