In some episodes this season, the number of guest stars on The Good Wife has outnumbered the cast — headed by Juliana Margulies, Christine Baranski and Josh Charles — but with good reason. Having a seasoned group of characters that the mainstays can play off of lends The Good Wife something extra, even as it must work through a procedural quandary each week.
This is no Law & Order. Instead, it’s a tapestry of characters working through high-pressure legal cases. Their actions also influence a gubernatorial election, the financial health of legal firm Lockhart/Gardner and central character Alicia Florrick’s personal life.
To wit, creators and exec producers Robert and Michelle King have built a showy roster of featured players who have, from the beginning, become a force to be reckoned with. Sure, fans have seen Michael J. Fox as the conniving but physically challenged attorney Louis Canning; witnessed Matthew Perry as the intimidating political opponent Mike Kresteva; and marveled at Dylan Baker as the brazenly salacious wife killer Colin Sweeney.
There was also Gary Cole as the calm-and-collected forensics expert involved in a cat-and-mouse courtship with partner Diane Lockhart (Baranski); Martha Plimpton as a conniving opposing counsel who uses her infant as a courtroom prop; and Nathan Lane as a tough-love accountant given the thankless job of bringing order to the firm’s balance sheet.
Familiarity with the guest stars, each of whom is given a meaty part to chew on, means the viewer can focus more intently on the complex and fast-paced plots that have become a hallmark of the show.