As good as it gets

It’s real life and all its wrin­kles that make The Good Wife so good.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS - AN­DREW FEN­TON re­ports

WHEN Robert and Michelle King cre­ated The Good Wife, they wanted it to be the an­tithe­sis of ev­ery other legal drama on TV.

You know the type of show – where the he­roes are los­ing the case un­til one of them makes an im­pas­sioned speech and wins over the jury.

“Have they seen life?” asks Robert. “When has any­one given an im­pas­sioned speech and turned around a jury or any­body? And so ( The Good Wife) was re­ally meant to be a re­ac­tion against ide­al­ism as a way that wins. Ide­al­ism doesn’t win. A lot of scum­bags get ahead.

“( The way) peo­ple win in court with is usu­ally through … chess- like strat­egy and the use of the law and the loop­holes in the law to win.”

Be­gin­ning in 2009 the se­ries fol­lows Ali­cia ( Ju­lianna Mar­gulies), the “em­bar­rassed wife” of scan­dalplagued cheat­ing politi­cian Peter ( Chris North), who re­turns to her legal ca­reer.

Six sea­sons in and Ali­cia’s been run­ning for state’s at­tor­ney, in a story arc the Kings say was in­spired by Hil­lary Clin­ton step­ping out from her cheat­ing hus­band Bill’s shadow to run for pres­i­dent.

“( It’s) a new way to go,” Robert says. “Oth­er­wise you get a lit­tle stale if you keep try­ing to ex­plore the same dy­namic of him be­ing a bad boy and her be­ing the con­sis­tently good wife stand­ing by him.”

But he says the se­ries isn’t some sim­ple fa­ble about fe­male em­pow­er­ment or “fem­i­nist with a cap­i­tal F”.

“What it al­ways was go­ing to be in our minds was a wife who starts to be­come more cal­cu­lated and more power hun­gry her­self and starts mov­ing in the di­rec­tion of what the hus­band was,” he ex­plains.

Michelle ex­plains they’re most fas­ci­nated by moral grey ar­eas.

“My favourite episodes start with ev­ery­one in the writ­ers room ar­gu­ing very pas­sion­ately about ethics or about the law,” she says. “That’s when we know we’re on to some­thing.”

Although she adds there are a few draw­backs with this.

“If there’s any great fault of the show it’s that we keep fall­ing in love with our an­tag­o­nist,” she says, us­ing the ex­am­ple of Diane ( Christine Baran­ski) who started the se­ries as an icy bitch men­tor who was sup­posed to un­der­mine Ali­cia at ev­ery turn.

“Now, of course, you see them hug­ging in episodes,” she says.

Like­wise with David Hyde Pierce, who plays the other can­di­date for state’s at­tor­ney. Ini­tially he was meant to be an out- and- out vil­lain.

“But you al­ways kind of end up em­brac­ing the spirit the guy ( Hyde Pierce) brings with him. So a lot of it is try­ing to fi nd a way where he can still be an­tag­o­nis­tic in the plot­ting but you can still see there’s a hu­man be­ing there.”



Power play: Ju­lianna Mar­gulies’ Ali­cia Flor­rick has gone from em­bar­rassed wife to po­lit­i­cal

force in The Good Wife.

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