“The Good Wife”: First impressions

Finally, pilot screeners are starting to land on my desk. Here’s my first impressions of CBS drama “The Goodwife Good Wife.”

(I emphasize that these are first impressions, not a full-fledged review nor a hit-or-miss prediction. Most pilots at this stage of the game are very much works in progress.)

Pro: Julianna Margulies, a very original premise, sharp writing from creators/exec producers Robert King and Michelle King

Con: There’s not much to not like here. It’s not ground-breaking or mind-blowing TV, but it’s very well crafted.

I liked “Good Wife” far more than I thought I would. The premise is such a natural. What happens to the political wife after she’s humiliated at the press conference where she serves as a prop for a philandering husband confessing his sins. This is a show for everyone who watched former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s press conference last year and asked out loud how his wife, Silda, could stand to be up there with him.

Margulies plays a political wife, Alicia Florrick, who’s not only humiliated but pressed to return to the workforce to be the breadwinner for her two kids after her worse half gets sent to the clink post-scandal. She deals with issues of ageism — fighting younger hot-shots in the law firm where she’s brought on as a junior associate — and the lingering political fallout from her husband’s transgressions, and his political enemies.

I suspected “Good Wife” would be a show with a lot of lofty speechifying from Margulies’ character. Happily, it is not — not at all. Margulies plays her vulnerability and insecurity and anger at her husband just right in the pilot, even as, of course, she comes in with the eleventh-hour “Perry Mason” save on her first case. The show is greatly enhanced by a solid supporting cast: Chris Noth, Christine Baranski, Matt Czuchry, Josh Charles and a new face to me, Archie Panjabi (a femme), who plays the law firm’s wily in-house investigator.

I felt like I got to know Alicia in the pilot, and she’s someone I’d check in with again for sure.

 

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