The Good Wife (tv series)

For other uses, see The Good Wife (disambiguation).

The Good Wife
Intertitle (season 1)
Genre Legal drama
Political drama
Created by Robert King
Michelle King
Starring Julianna Margulies
Matt Czuchry
Archie Panjabi
Graham Phillips
Makenzie Vega
Alan Cumming
Zach Grenier
Josh Charles
Christine Baranski
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 94 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Ridley Scott
Dee Johnson
David W. Zucker
Michelle King
Robert King
Brooke Kennedy
Tony Scott
Producer(s) Ron Binkowski
Corinne Brinkerhoff
Location(s) Vancouver, British Columbia ("Pilot")
New York City (all other episodes)
Running time 43 minutes
Production companies Scott Free Productions
King Size Productions
Small Wishes Productions (season 1)
CBS Television Studios (season 4)
CBS Productions (season 1–3)
Original channel CBS
Picture format 480i (SDTV),
1080i (HDTV)
Original run September 22, 2009 (2009-09-22) – present
External links

The Good Wife is an American television legal and political drama that premiered on CBS on September 22, 2009.[1] The series was created by Robert King and Michelle King. It stars Julianna Margulies, Christine Baranski, Archie Panjabi, Matt Czuchry, and Josh Charles, and features Chris Noth in a recurring role. The current executive producers are Ridley Scott, Charles McDougall, and David W. Zucker.[2] It is a heavily serialized show with season-long story arcs that also features stand alone procedural story lines that will be resolved or concluded by the end of each episode. This is a rarity among The Good Wife's broadcaster CBS as most of their shows are procedural.[3]

As a broadcast network television show, it has received what is considered unusual critical acclaim: USA Today said that The Good Wife is "broadcast's best drama", while The Atlantic said that the show "is delivering the best drama on network television".[4][5] Time referred to it as "the best thing on TV outside cable".[6] TV critic Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker compared Alicia Florrick, the show's protagonist, to Walter White of Breaking Bad.[7]


The series focuses on Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), whose husband Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), a former Cook County state's attorney, has been jailed following a very public sex and corruption scandal. Alicia returns to her old job as a litigator (having taken 13 years out to be a stay-at-home mother) to provide for her two children.[8] The series was partly inspired by the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal,[9] as well as by other prominent American political sex scandals, particularly those of John Edwards and Bill Clinton:

Michelle [King]: We came up with the idea about a year and half ago. There had been this waterfall of these kinds of scandals, from Bill and Hillary [Clinton], to Dick Morris, to Eliot Spitzer, to name just a few. I think they're all over our culture. And there was always this image of the husband up there apologizing and the wife standing next to him. I think the show began when we asked, "What are they thinking?" And Robert and I started talking about it from there. ... You know, what's interesting about a lot of these political scandals is that the women are lawyers, too. Hillary [Clinton] is a lawyer. Elizabeth Edwards is a lawyer. I think that got us thinking along those lines. That is, we knew she had to go back to work, and we had so many female lawyers to draw on.[10]

Season 1

As a junior associate at a prestigious Chicago law firm, she joins her longtime friend, former law school classmate and firm partner Will Gardner, who is interested in rekindling their former relationship. The firm's top litigator and other partner, Diane Lockhart, likes Alicia's work and her connections so she and Will award her with a full-time associate position following a trial period. Alicia beat out Cary Agos, a clever young attorney who takes a job in the state's attorney's office, now bitter and vengeful. Alicia finds an ally and a friend in Kalinda, the firm's tough and mysterious in-house investigator. Gaining confidence every day, Alicia transforms herself from embarrassed politician's scorned wife to resilient career woman, especially for the sake of providing a stable home for her children, 14-year-old Zach and 13-year-old Grace. Now that Peter is back home and planning to run for office again with help from Eli Gold, his cunning image consultant, Alicia continues to redefine herself and her role in her family's life.[11]

Season 2

Season 2 begins where season 1 left off with Will and Alicia discussing how to have an affair without the media finding out, however before the plan is conceived, Eli Gold takes possession of Alicia's phone and deletes a pivotal voicemail. Alicia now under the impression that Will doesn't have a plan, spends her time suppressing her feelings for Will. With Alicia as a 2nd year associate after being chosen over Cary Agos who has now been hired as a states attorney leading to Lockhart & Gardner often battling with Cary Agos and the States Attorney in court. Peter, now released from prison and cleared of charges begins his campaign to run as States Attorney against current States Attorney Glenn Childs. A new main partner Derrick Bond joins the firm Lockhart & Gardner now known as Lockhart/Gardner & Bond however a feud between Diane and Will occurs when Will begins siding with all of Derrick Bond's opinions. Diane requests Kalinda checks into Will and Derricks past and discovers they had a connection in Will's old law firm in Baltimore. At the same time a new investigator joins the law firm Blake Calamar brought in by Derrick Bond who is determined to uncover Kalinda's past publicly. When Will discovers that Bond has also been deceiving him, Will and Diane work together to remove Bond as a main partner but waits until Bond brings in a "Super pack" client worth $100 Million a year. Blake eventually uncovers that Kalinda changed her name from "Lela" and that Lela slept with Alica's Husband Peter when she used to work for him in the States Attorney's office. Alicia finds out about the affair on the night that Peter wins the election for States Attorney. Alicia separated from Peter, gets a stronger attraction to Will and begins to have sexual relations with him.

Season 3

Season 3 takes place the following morning after season 2 with Alicia now as a third year litigator on track to become partner while having an affair with her boss Will Gardner. She is given an office on the 29th floor, the only third year litigator with an office on the floor due to Peter Florrick's crisis manager Eli Gold joining the firm to prepare for Peters campaign for Governorship of Illinois with Alicia acting as a bridge between Lockhart & Gardner and his campaign. Peter now as States Attorney battles with Lockhart & Gardner from case to case while the firm begins to get a short-term liquidity problem. Diane and Will try to acquire a bankruptcy department from a competing law firm that's closing down due to the double dip recession and noting that a bankruptcy department is the only area that will survive a double dip recession. When Diane tries lobbying to become the States Attorney's Civil defender against law suits, she begins to suspect the affair between Will & Alicia and that if Alicia begins working against the firms interest, she would have to be let go. At the same time, the States Attorney begins investigating the firms taxes, they investigate the money Will stole from his old firm in Baltimore and brings in Wendy-Scott Carr to investigate these allegations. Wendy eventually gathers enough evidence and puts Will on trial for a "Ham-Sandwich". Will gets the help of Elsbeth Tascioni to fight the charges. However, after Alicia misplacing a liability form and a partner at Lockhart & Gardner giving the opposition a liability form from another case, the opposition sends the illegal document to the States Attorney's office and Dana Lodge puts Kalinda Sharma in an ultimatum to give to information on Will or the disablement of Alicia. Kalinda gives Dana information on Will however, the information is invalid. Kalinda and Alicia slowly rebuild their friendship after Alicia finds out that Kalinda slept with Peter at the end of season 2 and when Kalinda finds Grace Florrick after going missing, Alicia thanks her and begins to forgive Kalinda. At this time, Alicia and Will end their affair as Alicia realises she has been neglecting their children for her own promiscuous interests. Alicia is tasked with mentoring a new litigator Caitlin D'arcy (Played by Anna Camp) however as Caitlin begins to show confidence and prove herself as a litigator, Diane decides to hire her as a Junior Associate. With Alicia having to once again share an assistant with Caitlin like with Cary in season 1, Alicia begins getting jealous of Caitlin. When Caitlin accidentally tells a partner Alicia's plan, Alicia snaps at Caitlin possibly leading to Caitlin at the end of the episode, quitting the law firm citing that she was pregnant and wanted to focus on becoming a Mother. Alicia shocked by this announcement apologises to Caitlin telling her that she's been suspicious for a while and mis-understood things and that she can be a mother and a solicitor however Caitlin wants to focus on just being a mother and that "She doesn't have to prove anything. And if she has to, she doesn't want too". Alicia learns that her apartment is being turned into a condo and is pressured into purchasing, she asks for a salary increase at Lockhart & Gardner. Not getting a high raise, she gets poached by Louis Canning (Played by Michael. J. Fox) and gives Diane a choice to either match Canning's offer or she has to walk. Alicia looking for homes, discovers that her old home is up for sale however the price is too high but is shocked when she gets a call from the realtor that a 'Florrick' has purchased the home, Alicia assumes it's Peter but learns that its Jackie Florrick instead and asks Jackie to sign the house over to the kids. Alicia is put on a blue ribbon panel where she meets Mike Krestev (played by Matthew Perry) who lies to the public about Alicia and also announces he's running for Governor of Illinois. Will Gardner is acquitted of the charges however the bar association looks into the charges and decides that Will is guilty and gives him the option of a 6 month suspension from the law or to fight the charges however if he loses, he will be disbarred forever. Will takes the 6 month suspension and is no longer a partner at Lockhart & Gardner but in the name and business matters relating to the firm. Peter Florrick finally decides to run for governor after Eli Gold is torn between representing ex-wife or Peter in the race for governor but chooses Peter instead. With Will Gardner out of the firm, Alicia is given Kalinda's tax case and Alicia finds a cheque for $35,000. Alicia calls the number on the cheque but hangs up after being turned off by the caller. The caller later phones Alicia's personal home phone and Alicia asks Kalinda to be honest with her and where did the cheque come from. Kalinda reveals to Alicia that she has a husband and secretly plans to leave Chicago, however when she learns that Alicia is in danger of her husband, Kalinda decides to stay and pulls a chair up to her front door with a pistol in hand while someone knocks at her door.


Main cast

  • Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick: The titular character of the show, and the wife of Peter, a disgraced State's Attorney; Alicia returns to work as a junior litigator at the law firm Stern, Lockhart & Gardner in part through her old law school friend Will Gardner, whom she has feelings for. Having spent so many years as "the good wife", Alicia finds herself at the bottom of the career ladder, trying to juggle both home and professional life with the ongoing scandal surrounding her husband with whom she has two children, Zach and Grace. Alicia is smart, independent, and fiercely protective of her children. She excels at keeping a cool exterior. She is rarely ruffled and almost always thinks through what she is going to say, choosing her words for maximum impact or sting. Alicia graduated top of her class from Georgetown University Law Center 15 years ago in the mid-1990s. After graduation she worked at Crozier, Abrams & Abbott for about two years and had the most billable hours of any associate, but left due to her kids and her husband's career. Her maiden name is Cavanaugh and she has a brother, Owen, who is gay and the polar opposite of Alicia personality-wise. Her mother's name is Veronica Loy. In season 3, Alicia is a third-year associate at the firm. She and Peter are separated, and she has a sexual affair with Will but by mid-season she breaks it off. Alicia struggles with her feelings for Peter. She is deeply hurt and has not entirely forgiven him, but still loves him. Toward the end of season three, Peter announces his candidacy for governor of Illinois; Alicia stands at his side as he makes the announcement. In season 4, Alicia gets and takes a promotion as an equity partner of the firm and begins planning to start a new firm with Cary.
  • Josh Charles as Will Gardner: An old friend of Alicia from Georgetown University and a name senior partner at the law firm. Will generally has a good working relationship with Diane Lockhart, his partner at the firm, and the two demonstrate a shrewd ability to guide their business, even through difficult times. Will plays in a regular pick-up basketball game with other attorneys and judges, and has friendships with the players that are eventually scrutinized. In season 3, Will and Alicia have an affair. Will is suspended from practicing law for six months as punishment stemming from an old bribery scandal. In season 4, he returns to the firm. Will and Alicia knew each other when they attended law school at Georgetown University and he helped her get her job with the firm and is constantly trying to avoid appearing as if he favors her. This is complicated by the fact that he has feelings for her.
  • Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma: The firm's in-house private investigator. Kalinda previously worked for Peter for two years. He fired her after accusing her of working two jobs. Kalinda is unflappable, inscrutable, fiercely private, and occasionally physically violent. She is exceptionally good at her job, although her tactics are not always strictly legal. She is often the key to the firm winning whatever case they are working on, usually at the 11th hour. She generally does not work well with others, most notably Alicia Florrick. Although Kalinda doesn't let many people close to her, she becomes good friends with Alicia, with the aid of tequila shots, and she feels protective of Alicia. After becoming good friends, Alicia finds out Kalinda had a one-night stand with Peter before she knew Alicia, damaging their friendship but over time, the two start to reconcile. Kalinda has a cynical, misanthropic outlook on human behavior. She is bisexual and has a series of relationships through the show, mostly with women and often because they can help her with a case. She often plays a major part in winning cases for Lockhart & Gardner, although not always ethically or legally. Very little is known about her when the series begins, and she is incredibly secretive about her past. The character's signature wardrobe piece has become a pair of knee-high boots;[12][13][14][15] the character initially wore pumps but Panjabi felt that boots "grounded her in the character."[16] In season 4, it is revealed that Kalinda has an abusive husband called Nick Saverese, played by Marc Warren.
  • Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart: A name senior partner at the firm, she supports other female lawyers. She is liberal and is a champion of women's causes, thus having strong opinions on many issues, including an extreme dislike of guns and violence, although in one plot line she had a romantic relationship with a conservative ballistics expert. She speaks fluent French and although she is not married, seems to have an active social life. Among her paramours is Kurt McVeigh, a firearms expert and conservative Republican, whom Diane is drawn to despite their political opposites and her dislike of guns. Although she is initially skeptical of Alicia Florrick's abilities as a lawyer when she joins the firm, Diane becomes a sort of mentor to her. But she is a mentor at a distance, and her support often comes by way of cryptic advice that only points Alicia in the right direction. She does not hesitate to tell anyone when she thinks they are wrong. Diane is often torn between supporting Alicia and Cary Agos when the two are in competition.
  • Matt Czuchry as Cary Agos: A young lawyer who, in the first season, begins as a first year associate at Lockhart Gardner with Alicia Florrick. Now, Cary is a junior associate at Lockhart Gardner. In the first episode, it is established that there is only one permanent position, putting Cary into competition with Alicia. At the end of first season, the firm selects Alicia, and Cary goes to work for the state attorney's office. In season 3, Cary is appointed Cook County Deputy State's Attorney. Cary is subsequently demoted. Dissatisfied with the demotion, he accepts an offer to return to Lockhart Gardner. He is often placed in rivalry with Alicia and sometimes resents her for this and her political connections thanks to her husband, Peter Florrick, the disgraced State's Attorney. His own career trajectory takes many twists and turns, often because of bad luck, but Cary maintains his integrity and loyalty to individual relationships he has formed. He seems to have a crush on Kalinda Sharma, the firm's investigator. It is later revealed that Cary has a very difficult and distant relationship with his father, Jeffrey Agos, a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., who does not ever seem to think Cary is good enough. As season 4 ends he forms a new firm bringing with him the other fourth year lawyers at the firm, including Alicia.
  • Alan Cumming as Eli Gold: Peter Florrick's campaign strategist and crisis manager, Eli consults for Peter when he considers a return to office. His style of management is to be blunt, often rude. Eli is politically astute and doesn't waste time with niceties. Eli is separated from his wife, Vanessa Gold (played by Parker Posey), who has political aspirations of her own, and has a daughter, Marissa (played by Sarah Steele), who is similarly outspoken like her mother and shares a healthy relationship with her father. Eli believes that securing the support of Peter's wife Alicia is crucial to any ambitions he may harbor, and he quickly realizes that Alicia is no pushover and his usual wife-coddling techniques will not work. He mostly seems to respect the boundaries Alicia sets up, particularly where they concern her children Zach and Grace. As a top political consultant who is also an expert in damage control, Eli has talks with Diane Lockhart and Will Gardner about joining their firm in some way. Eli seems genuinely invested in Peter Florrick and respects both he and Alicia, although she is often a frustrating enigma to him. He has a brief shot at romance with Natalie Flores (played by America Ferrera), a student who worked in the past as a nanny for Wendy Scott-Carr. Eli leaks details to the press of Natalie's status as an illegal immigrant but as he comes to know her he is seen to regret this and later helps her get a job as an intern at Lockhart & Gardner. Cumming's portrayal of Gold has been compared to Rahm Emanuel.[17] He was promoted to the main cast in season two.[18] Eli is Jewish, but not very religious.
  • Graham Phillips as Zachary "Zach" Florrick: The teenage son of Alicia and Peter Florrick, the eldest of the Florrick’s children, the older brother of Grace Florrick, grandson of Jackie Florrick and Veronica Loy (Alicia’s mom), and nephew of Owen Cavanaugh. Zach has an interest in politics, at one point joining Peter's campaign as an intern. Zach is smart, stubborn and also has a strong sense of right and wrong, which has led to not be afraid of his questioning authority figures at times. Zach's computer skills and technical know-how also expose lies that are being spread about his dad. Beyond his computer skills, he shows an aptitude for using the law like his mother. He is protective of his mom because of what his father has put her through. Zach is coping with his parents' separation and starting at a new school and also starting to date. Throughout the series, Zach dates the scheming Becca and later a girl named Neesa who happens to be African-American and whose race and religion are occasionally brought into his father's campaign, which causes some issues. This becomes complicated when his father is released from prison and contemplates a run for office, making his children's life political fodder, despite their mother's best efforts.
  • Makenzie Vega as Grace Florrick: The teenage daughter of Alicia and Peter Florrick, the youngest of the Florrick’s children, the younger sister of Zach Florrick, granddaughter of Jackie Florrick and also Veronica Loy (Alicia's mom), and niece of Owen Cavanaugh. Although pretty and compassionate, she is friendless, which is most likely due to her outwardness. She begins to become deeply religious, thanks to a friend at school, much to Alicia's bemusement, and question her faith and read the Bible, which Alicia doesn't understand, but tries to support. She is naïve and young for her age. She has a tutor, Jennifer, who likes to bust out dancing in public. She has many questions about her father's infidelity, which she does not understand. She previously idolized her father and despite his sins, she wants her parents to get back together. Grace was not happy about the move from their house in Highland Park to their apartment and initially struggles to make friends in school.
  • Zach Grenier as David Lee: Head of Family Law, a divorce lawyer, and an equity partner at Lockhart/Gardner. He is the head of the family law division, which is responsible for a sizeable chunk of the firm's income so he has more sway than Diane Lockhart or Will Gardner would like. David is generally in a bad mood. He scowls, pouts, whines, complains and connives when he doesn't think things are going his way. More than anything, he is concerned with making money. He particularly hates Julius Cane, the firm's head of litigation and an equity partner. Nevertheless, at rare moments, Alicia Florrick turns to him for help and he comes through. After recurring in the first four seasons, he was promoted to a series regular for the fifth season.

Recurring cast

  • Chris Noth as Peter Florrick: Alicia's husband and Governor of Illinois. He was imprisoned for political corruption. During his trial, it was revealed he had patronized prostitutes numerous times. In season one, he was released from prison to house arrest using electronic monitoring. However, he was later cleared when a court dismissed the corruption case against him. In season one's finale, Peter launched an ultimately successful campaign for his old job. At the end of season 3, he launches his campaign for governor of Illinois, winning the governorship as Season 4 concluded.
  • Mary Beth Peil as Jackie Florrick: Peter's mother. She is reluctant to believe in her son's corrupt behavior and is hopeful Alicia and Peter will reunite and once again become a family. Jackie's meddling in Alicia's and the children's lives annoys Alicia.
  • Titus Welliver as Glenn Childs: The former Cook County State's Attorney. Childs was responsible for leaking Peter Florrick's sex tape to the media. He is Peter's arch rival and will do anything to keep Peter from emerging from disgrace. After Peter's fall, he became the new state's attorney. During Peter's campaign for the top spot, Glenn is forced to withdraw his candidacy after Peter finds out about his son's previous nanny being an illegal immigrant, which he then tried to cover up to protect his campaign. He now works as an AUSA (Assistant United States Attorney).
  • Michael Boatman as Julius Cain: Head of Litigation at Lockhart/Gardner.
  • Scott Porter as Blake Calamar: A private investigator for the firm who competes with Kalinda. He tries to frame Kalinda for putting a doctor in a coma but fails. He finds out that her former name was Leela Tahiri and Peter helped her change it. In return, she slept with Peter. After this revelation, he disappears after Bond is removed as name partner.
  • Anika Noni Rose as Wendy Scott-Carr: Ran unsuccessfully against Peter for state's attorney. Scott-Carr reappears in season 3 as a special prosecutor hired by Florrick.
  • Michael Ealy as Derrick Bond: A new partner in season 2. He plays Will and Diane against each other, forcing Diane to plan a new firm. He fails when Will and Diane find out his scheme and turn on him. In "Great Firewall", he is removed as a named partner.
  • Joe Morton as Daniel Golden: A member of Peter's legal team who now works in the State Department.
  • Chris Butler as Matan Brody: A prosecutor. After Blake confronts Kalinda in "Ham Sandwich" about her one-night stand with Peter, Blake leaves after giving one last interview to Matan.
  • Renee Goldsberry as Geneva Pine: Another assistant state's attorney in Florrick's office.
  • Jill Flint as Lana Delaney: A lesbian FBI special agent who is Kalinda's on-again off-again love interest.
  • Monica Raymund as Dana Lodge: An assistant state's attorney in Florrick's office.
  • Anna Camp as Caitlin D'arcy: A junior associate at the firm. She is the niece of David Lee and Alicia acts as her mentor. She leaves Lockhart & Gardner in the third season to become a stay-at-home mother.
  • Michael J. Fox as Louis Canning: Canning is a rival attorney who has been opposing counsel to Alicia in various cases. Canning is afflicted with tardive dyskinesia, which he often uses to curry sympathy with judges, juries, and witnesses. He offers Alicia a job in "Wrongful Termination", which she rejects.
  • Martha Plimpton as Patti Nyholm: Nyholm is a rival attorney who recurrently opposes to the Lockhart & Gardner crew. She is a strong, scheming lawyer who mostly represents big companies. She has two kids whom she often uses to win time or the affect of judges and witnesses.
  • Carrie Preston as Elsbeth Tascioni: A quirky lawyer introduced in the episode "Mock" as part of Peter's team. She returns in the third season to help Alicia when she gets in trouble with the Treasury Department. Later in that season, Will hires her to help him when Wendy Scott-Carr investigates him for judicial bribery.
  • Maura Tierney as Maddie Hayward: A feminist who initially supported Peter's campaign for governor, but upon hearing about Peter possibly sleeping with a campaign worker, pulled out and ran for the Democratic nominee herself, eventually losing to Peter.
  • Dallas Roberts as Owen Cavanaugh: Alicia's mischievous, gay younger brother.
  • Stockard Channing as Veronica Loy: Alicia's mother who has been absent and detached from her.
  • Nathan Lane as Clarke Hayden: A court-appointed trustee in charge of getting the firm out of bankruptcy in the fourth season.
  • Amanda Peet as Captain Laura Hellinger: A former Army captain and military lawyer. While in Afghanistan, a contractor attempted to rape her. She is now an assistant state's attorney in Florrick's office.
  • Marc Warren as Nick Saverese, Kalinda's abusive ex-husband, whom she had been avoiding by changing her name. He appears in season 4, after being revealed as the unseen person entering Kalinda's apartment in a cliff-hanger at the end of Season 3.
  • Gary Cole as Kurt McVeigh: A ballistic expert that helps the firm on several cases, and an on-and-off love interest for Diane.
  • Matthew Perry as Mike Kresteva: An attorney who leads a blue ribbon panel that Alicia is appointed to in Season 3; and later becomes Peter's Republican rival in the general election for Illinois governor during Season 4.
  • Jess Weixler as Robyn Burdine: The firm's second in-house private investigator, hired during season 4.
  • Mamie Gummer as Nancy Crozier: Crozier is a young and female rival attorney who has been opposing counsel to Alicia in various cases. She pretends to be a bumbling, innocent country girl when she is, in fact, a skilled attorney.


The series was created by Robert King and Michelle King who also serve as executive producers and show runners.[2] The pair had produced the short-lived legal drama In Justice that aired as a mid-season replacement in early 2006.[19] The creators had previously worked extensively in feature films. Scott Free productions helped to finance The Good Wife and Ridley Scott, Tony Scott (till his death) and David W. Zucker are also credited as executive producers.[20][21] Executive producer Dee Johnson added television writing experience to the team.[19][21] Charles McDougall directed the pilot episode and was the pilot's other executive producer.[22] McDougall had previously enjoyed success as the director of the pilot for Desperate Housewives. All seven executive producers returned when a full series was ordered and they were joined by executive producer Brooke Kennedy.[23] McDougall left the crew after directing and executive producing the second episode.[23][24] The series is produced by Bernadette Caulfield who had previously worked on the HBO polygamy drama Big Love. Co-producer Ron Binkowski added post production experience to the pilot and returned for the first season.

Several new producers were added to the crew once CBS ordered a full season. Angela Amato Velez joined the crew as a consulting producer and writer bringing legal experience from her careers as a police officer and legal aid attorney and writing experience from the police dramas Third Watch and Southland. Todd Ellis Kessler, who had recently completed production on The Unit and had previously worked on legal drama The Practice, joined the staff as a co-executive producer and writer.[25] Kessler's fellow The Unit producer Ted Humphrey served as a supervising producer and writer and then as co-executive producer and writer. Corinne Brinkerhoff completed the production team as a writer and co-producer. Brinkerhoff had previously worked as a writer and story editor on Boston Legal. David W. Zucker is an executive producer on the show, having been nominated for four Primetime Emmys and one PGA Award. His credits included Judging Amy, The Pillars of the Earth, and Law Dogs.[26]


On October 7, 2009, CBS gave the series a full-season pickup, extending the first season from 13 to 22 episodes,[27] later extended to 23 episodes.[28] On January 14, 2010, CBS renewed the drama for a second season,[29] which premiered on September 28, 2010.[30] On May 18, 2011, CBS renewed The Good Wife for a third season, airing Sundays at 9:00 pm[31] On March 14, 2012, CBS renewed the show for a fourth season.[32] On March 27, 2013, CBS renewed The Good Wife for a fifth season.[33]


Season Episodes Originally aired DVD release dates
Season premiere Season finale Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 23 September 22, 2009 May 25, 2010 September 14, 2010[34] September 20, 2010[35] August 31, 2010[36]
2 23 September 28, 2010 May 17, 2011 September 13, 2011[37] September 12, 2011[38] October 6, 2011[39]
3 22 September 25, 2011 April 29, 2012 September 4, 2012[40] August 27, 2012[41] August 29, 2012[42]
4 22 September 30, 2012 April 28, 2013 August 20, 2013[43] September 2, 2013[44] September 18, 2013[45]
5 22[46] September 29, 2013 TBA TBA TBA TBA


The Good Wife on screen is known widely for the wardrobe on set and the clothes the characters wear as well as the set design. Daniel Lawson is the costume designer for the show and has won accolades for his work on the show including the TDF Irene Sharaff Young Master Award for excellence in costume design.[47] The character of Alicia is seen wearing lots of high end designers including Armani, Karen Millen, Akris, L.K Bennett, and Number 35. In Spring 2014, Lawson plans to launch a line of Number 35: DL, clothing that's going to be designed for those who want to dress in the same fashion as Alicia Florrick. Diane's wardrobe is more tactile and is textured with designers like Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta and Prada. Kalinda's wardrobe is taken from high end department stores and boutiques like Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, Saks, Barney's and is often a contrast of fabric mixing the hard leathers with the softer fabrics like silk. Lawson regularly updates his column on InStyle discussing the clothing on The Good Wife from week to week.

The set design on The Good Wife has been critically received and have partnered with "Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams" to design their own high end line of 'The Good Wife' furniture including Chairs, Sofa's and desks seen on the show. Set designer Beth Kushnick also partnered with "Madura Home" to launch inspired furniture off the show and opened in New York on October 24th 2013.[48]

Topical use of Technology and the Internet

The Good Wife has also received critical acclaim among technology enthusiasts due to the show's accurate depiction of social media and the internet.[49] Many of the story lines on the show are technology related including Bitcoin, Anonymous, The use of viral internet content in marketing and defaming in political campaigns, Voice control software, Virtual conferencing robots and the NSA spying on both internet companies and eventually, the law firm Lockhart & Gardner. Many story lines include a Google type company called 'Chumhum' and revolves around privacy lawsuits like Chumhum selling users' personal data to the Chinese and Syrian government. The Good Wife was the first TV show to feature Bitcoin, the virtual internet currency, with an episode featuring Bitcoin first broadcast in January 2012.[50] This led to it achieving a high level of fame amongst the Bitcoin community.[51][52]

In the season 5 premiere, Double Robotics robot was featured on the show which allowed a litigator to teleconference from home by controlling a tablet on wheels. However, rather than glorifying the robots features, The Good Wife turned it into a punchline with practical jokes and problems the robot could have such as it not being able to manoeuvre around an office and bumping into walls, doors and people and low Wi-Fi connectivity leading to buffering and loss of Visual and Voice communication of the person working at home.[53]


  • The first season of the show received generally favorable reviews. It scored a Metacritic rating of 76 out of 100 based on the views of 26 critics. Season 2 scored an 89. [54] Season 3 [55] Season 4 [56][57] In reviewing the first early episodes many critics praised the acting talents of the cast. The Chicago Tribune commended the show saying "one of the best parts of the show is Alicia's complicated relationship with her husband, who humiliated his family with a sex scandal but also appears to be a pawn in a larger game being played by high-level politician".[58] The second season of the show was generally better received than the first. It currently sits at 89 out of 100 on Metacritic indicating "universal acclaim".[59] The 4th season also received critical acclaim, with a 86 out 100 on Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim".[60]
  • Chicago Sun-Times; Paige Wiser: Alicia's cases are intriguing, and the background drama would be melodramatic if it weren't such a common story these days.
  • Newark Star-Ledger; Alan Sepinwall: The Good Wife is confident and polished, and a much better showcase for Margulies than her last legal drama.
  • The New York Daily News report, in a review of the lead character's performance said "Margulies puts a powerful combination of cold fury, bewilderment and tenacity into Alicia Florrick, the wife of a disgraced Chicago politician in a new series that readily admits it ripped itself from the headlines"[61] while The Baltimore Sun predicted that "With all four [actors] bringing their 'A' games to the pilot, it looks as if CBS could have another winning 10 o'clock drama."
  • There were a few reservations as to the long-term success and plot of the show, with the San Francisco Chronicle concluding that "There's nothing inherently wrong with The Good Wife other than it's a legal series with too many close-up shots of knowing glances and 'attagirl Alicia' moments of empowerment that you saw coming 20 minutes prior".[62]
  • Time magazine's James Poniewozik named it one of the Top 10 TV Series of 2010[63] and 2011, saying, "The ability to keep growing: that's what makes a good Wife great".[64] The Salt Lake Tribune in its list of the Top 10 series of 2011 ranked The Good Wife No. 3, explaining "The mix of fascinating legal drama and even more fascinating personal drama is superb."[65]
  • AOL named Alicia the 19th Most Memorable Female TV Character.[66]
  • Newsday (Verne Gay): "Like "Mad Men," Wife has an obsessive attention to detail; it's a hurricane of detail, in the visual touches, legal patter and the actors' unspoken flourishes. Nothing seems extraneous or out of place. Also like "Men," this show cares as much about silence as words, or that which isn't said (also a form of eloquence)."
  • TV Guide (Matt Roush): "It raises its emotional game almost instantly, as Alicia (the enigmatic and compellingly subtle Julianna Margulies) makes a fateful choice between her disgraced husband Peter (Chris Noth) and amorous boss Will (Josh Charles), though the decision is clouded by another character's manipulative deceit."
  • Entertainment Weekly (Ken Tucker): "The Good Wife will settle into a case-of-the-week lawyer show. I'd also bet it'll have a rotating bunch of colorful judges with whom Alicia can debate. And you know what? Given the caliber of the acting and writing, that suits me --and, I'll wager, millions of viewers--just fine."
  • The New York Times (Alessandra Stanley): "Alicia’s shock and her sense of surreal detachment, is as vivid a depiction of personal crisis as any on television. But after this cleverly written series deconstructs the exact moment when everything falls apart, it imaginatively explores how one scorned spouse struggles to get past a life-shattering scandal."
  • Salon (Heather Havrilesky): "Each week the show is both intriguing and satisfying, as we watch Alicia piece together little victories while comforting her kids and confronting lurking demons from her old life. Despite the usual familiar courtroom shenanigans, the show's full, multilayered episodes keep us interested."
  • Miami Herald (Glenn Garvin): "It may not be entirely fair to call a show as complexly layered as The Good Wife a crime drama, though at some basic level it is, with a bleakly luminous Juliana Margulies playing a novice criminal defense attorney who's painfully learning the sport of judicial hardball."
  • Todd VanDerWerff of AVClub: "The series also feels impeccably researched and lived-in, just as The Wire did. The Good Wife may not seem like the logical successor to The Wire on the surface, but it’s revealed itself to be a series nearly as complex, humane, and deep as that earlier show, and all in reduced network running-times with heightened restrictions on content." [67]

TV Ratings

Season Episodes Timeslot (ET) Original airing Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Season premiere Season finale TV season
1 23 Tuesday 10:00 pm September 22, 2009 May 25, 2010 2009–10 No. 18 13.12[68]
2 23 September 28, 2010 May 17, 2011 2010–11 No. 16 13.00[69]
3 22 Sunday 9:00 pm September 25, 2011 April 29, 2012 2011–12 No. 26 11.83[70]
4 22 September 30, 2012 April 28, 2013[71] 2012–13 No. 27 10.98[72]
5 22[73] September 29, 2013 2014 2013–14 TBA TBA

DVR ratings

Season Averages in Live plus 7 DVR Ratings:

  • season 1: 14 million viewers|DVR ratings: million [74]
  • season 2: 14.059 million viewers|DVR ratings: 2.257 million [75]
  • season 3: 12.100 million viewers|DVR ratings: 1.880 million [76]
  • season 4: 11.523 million viewers|DVR ratings: 2.075 million [77]
  • season 5: million viewers|DVR ratings: million [78]

Multi-Platform Ratings

30 Day Multi-Platform Playback (MPP) ratings (the average audience of each minute of viewership) [Source: Nielsen, Rentrak, CBS Interactive]

  • Season Five/Episode One (9/23/13 to 10/29/13): 12.7 million viewers [3]
  • Season Five/Episode Two (9/30/13 to 10/31/13): million viewers
  • Season Five/Episode Three: million viewers

AD Prices

  • 2009: $89,000 per 30-second spot
  • 2010: $88,000 per 30-second spot
  • 2011: $82,000 per 30-second spot
  • 2012: $80,000 per 30-second spot
  • 2013: $78,500 per 30-second spot [79] & [80]

Awards and nominations

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by The Good Wife

The series and its cast have won a number of awards. Julianna Margulies has been widely recognized for portrayal in the lead role, winning a Primetime Emmy, a Golden Globe, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and a TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Drama. Archie Panjabi won a Primetime Emmy Award in 2010 for her portrayal as Kalinda Sharma. In 2012, Martha Plimpton won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal as Patti Nyholm. In addition, the series has won a Peabody Award, and has been twice nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. In total, the series and its cast have been nominated for 24 Primetime Emmy Awards in its first three seasons.


The Good Wife has been sold in a complex multi-window deal that involves two streaming partners, Amazon and Hulu; a basic cable network, Hallmark Channel; and broadcast syndication, for a combined license fee of nearly $2 million per episode. "This is an off-network model for a unique serialized show in today's television ecosystem,” said Leslie Moonves, President and CEO, CBS Corporation.

Under the deal, the first three seasons of The Good Wife are available on Amazon Prime, with the current Season (4) coming later this year. Hulu Plus will roll out previous seasons of the show in September 2013, while Hallmark Channel will begin airing The Good Wife in January 2014. A weekend broadcast syndication run is scheduled to begin in September 2014, with the series sold in 85% of the country.[81]

International broadcasts

Country TV network(s) Notes
 Australia Network Ten Season 1 premiered on Monday nights from February 8, 2010,[82] but moved to Sunday nights at 8:30 pm from April 11, 2010.
Season 2 premiered on Wednesday nights from October 20, 2010, but was moved to Thursday nights at 8:30 pm from January 20, 2011.
 Brazil Universal Channel Premiered on November 9, 2009 as The Good Wife – Pelo Direito de Recomeçar ("The Good Wife – For the Right to Start Over").[83]
 Canada Global
Global: Premiered on September 22, 2009, in English, airing Tuesday nights at 10:00 pm ET/PT (including simultaneous substitution of CBS broadcast). Season 2 also aired simultaneously with CBS. Since Season 3, new episodes air same date (Sundays) as CBS but one hour later, at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
V: Premiered on September 1, 2010, as Une femme exemplaire ("An Exemplary Woman", in French) in Quebec,[84] airing Wednesday nights at 8:00 pm
 Czech Republic Universal Channel Broadcast as Dobrá manželka ("Good Wife" in Czech).[85]
TV 2 Premiered in 2009
 France M6
Bilingual broadcast, in French, and English with French subtitles. Season 1 premiered on February 3, 2011 as "The Good Wife"
 Finland Nelonen Premiered on May 21, 2010. Broadcast with subtitles.
 Germany ProSieben
kabel eins
ProSieben: Season 1 premiered on March 31, 2010 in German dubbed, airing Wednesday nights at 10:15pm CET.
kabel eins: Season 2 premiered on March 11, 2011 in German dubbed, airing Friday nights at 09:15pm CET (episode 2.01–2.06) and 11:00pm CET (episode 2.07–2.23).
FOX: Pay-TV reruns of the first two seasons started on November 22, 2011. Season 3 premiered on December 11, 2012 in German dubbed, airing Tuesday nights at 9:45pm CET
sixx: Aired reruns of the first two seasons, starting on June 22, 2012.
 Hungary TV2
Universal Channel
Season 1 premiered on Hallmark Channel (now Universal Channel) on January 24, 2010[86] as A férjem védelmében ("In my husband's protection"). Later Season 1 was also premiered on the countrywide-available TV2. Season 2 was also aired on Universal Channel, it was premiered on February 7, 2011.[87]
 Ireland RTÉ Two [Season 1 to 3]
RTÉ One [Season 4 to present]
Season 1 premiered Monday March 15, 2010 at 9.30 pm and completed its run on August 16, 2010.
Season 2 premiered on Thursday July 7, 2011 at 9.00 pm and completed its run on October 13, 2011.[88][89]
Season 3 premiered on Thursday April 19, 2012 at 9.30 pm and completed its run on September 13, 2012.[90]
Season 4 the series moved to sister channel, RTÉ One, and premiered Thursday May 23, 2013 at 10.15pm [91] and completed its run on October 17, 2013. [92]
Rai 2/ RSI LA 1 (Italian Switzerland) Season 1 began airing on October 9, 2010, every Saturdays at 10 pm, while in (Italian) Switzerland, it aired on March 3rd,2010. Season 2 Began its airing on January 26, 2011 and in Italy on September 10, 2011. Season 3 started on February 8, 2012 in Switzerland and on March 6, 2012 in Italy. Season 4 began on January 30, 2013 on RSI La 1 and from February 26, 2013 on Rai 2 every Saturdays at 11 pm.
Yes Drama
 Japan NHK Premiered on Tuesdays at 11:00 pm since October 5, 2010.[93]
NET 5[94] Premiered on January 1, 2010.
POP BRIO,[95] Universal Channel The series premiered on Hallmark Channel (now Universal Channel) on January 24, 2010[86] as did in Hungary, the countries have the same schedule. Season 2 premiered on February 7, 2011,[87] and season 3 on March 4, 2012.[96] The Good Wife also airs on Pay TV channel POP Brio. First season premiered on September 7, 2010, the second on January 19, 2012.
and season 3 premiered on August 1, 2012. The 3rd season was shown Monday to Friday at 9.30 pm and completed its run on August 30, 2012.
  Switzerland RTS Un[97] Wednesdays at 21:25.
 United Kingdom Channel 4, More4 Premiered on Monday, January 25, 2010 and, starting the following week, first run episodes shown on More4 on Thursdays at 9:00 pm (with Channel 4's screening the following Wednesday).
M-Net, SABC3 Series one premiered on Monday, January 25, 2010 on Mnet.[98] Season two and three premiered on January 17, 2011 and March 5, 2012 respectively, whilst season four will be broadcast on October 22.
Nova (TV channel) Series one premiered in 2010.
Universal Channel Broadcast as Żona idealna ("Perfect Wife" in Polish)
Fox Life Season one premiered on October 14, 2010.
Diva Universal & Prima TV Season 4 / First season


Further reading

External links

  • Internet Movie Database

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