All 'Good' things

(left) Denis O'Hare, an alumnus of Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills, has had a recurring role as Judge Charles Abernathy on “The Good Wife.” His final appearance on the show was in the March 6 episode. At right: Actress Juliana Margulies has won numerous awards and nominations, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe, for her portrayal of attorney Alicia Florrick.

Photos courtesy of CBS

Award-winning TV legal drama is drawing to a close this spring

By Kurt Anthony Krug
Legal News

“The Good Wife” is counting down to its series finale, which airs Sunday, May 8.

It was announced on Feb. 7 – during a commercial that aired during Super Bowl 50 of all places – that “The Good Wife,” a legal and political drama that airs on CBS, is ending its 7-year run at the end of its current season.

Dr. Shelly Najor, a public relations professor at Wayne State University, confessed she was surprised at the way CBS announced how the series was ending.

“It amazes me that a show that targets women – in the 45-60 age demographic, I’d imagine – would spend the money to announce this during the Super Bowl, which certainly does not target that audience,” said Najor. “I guess it really says something about the confidence the decision-makers at the CBS network have in the show’s popularity with both men and women – it was engaging enough and the character of Alicia (Juliana Margulies) was developed enough that it attracted men, too. Her character did cross over gender assumptions because she can play dirty, too.”

Susan McGraw, a telecommunication professor at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, wasn’t surprised by this. In fact, McGraw thought it was a brilliant move on CBS’s part to announce that “The Good Wife” was ending during Super Bowl 50.

“It was genius for CBS to announce (this) during the Super Bowl. What better way to generate buzz and hype around a show that has been traditionally watched by a niche audience and potentially make more money for the network in advertising for those last nine episodes?” said McGraw. “I do, however, believe that audience perception isn’t all that we think it is. Statistically, more women are watching the Super Bowl these days, as I’ll bet more men are secretly watching ‘The Good Wife’ more than they’d care to admit. I can just picture a group of businessmen standing around the water cooler, saying, ‘Did you see last night’s ‘Good Wife?’”

Created by the husband and wife team of Robert and Michelle King, “The Good Wife” – which has won numerous awards, including five Emmys and the 2014 Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama – debuted on September 22, 2009 to both commercial and critical acclaim. It averages nearly 11 million viewers per week and has exceeded the 10-million-viewer mark in each of its seven seasons.

The focus of the show is Margulies’ Alicia Florrick who begins the series as a homemaker and non-practicing attorney, whereas her husband Peter Florrick (Chris Noth) is the Cook County State’s Attorney.
However, Peter is arrested, following a sex scandal. Despite the cheating, Alicia remains with Peter, hence the show’s title. After 13 years of being a stay-at-home-mom, Alicia must return to the legal profession in order to provide for their two children, Zach (Graham Phillips) and Grace (Makenzie Vega).

At the bottom rung of the corporate ladder, Alicia starts out as a junior litigator at the prestigious Chicago law firm of Stern, Lockhart & Gardner. As the series progresses, she rises through the ranks and becomes a partner. Eventually, she starts her own law firm called Florrick, Agos & Associates. Next, she becomes First Lady of Illinois once Peter’s elected as governor.

Alicia herself runs for her husband’s old job as Cook County State’s Attorney and wins the election. However, she’s caught up in an electoral fraud scandal. Although she’s innocent, Alicia must resign. Broken and humiliated once again, she returns to practicing law, but the firm she founded won’t reinstate her because of her blemished reputation. She is offered a legal partnership with her archrival Louis Canning (Michael J. Fox).

“Juliana is wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. She deserves the Emmy, but what’s more important is how she is as a person; she’s just a lovely person,” said Detroit native Tom Skerritt, who had a recurring role on “The Good Wife” during the sixth season as James Paisley, CEO of the Paisley Group.

Skerritt, who attended HFC and Wayne State University, isn’t the only actor with Michigan ties to appear on “The Good Wife.” University of Michigan alumna Margo Martindale plays Ruth Eastman this season. Elizabeth Reaser, an alumna of Avondale High School, had a recurring role in the second season as Tammy Linnata. U-M alumna Miriam Shor had a recurring role as journalist Mandy Post from seasons 3-6. Wayne State University alumnus Jeffrey Tambor had a recurring role as Judge George Kluger in the fifth season. Denis O’Hare, an alumnus of Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills, has had a recurring role as Judge Charles Abernathy since the first season. In fact, O’Hare’s final episode as Abernathy was on the Sunday, March 6 episode.

“I think it is a good thing that ‘The Good Wife’ is ending on such a high note and while it maintains its integrity. Too many shows continue past their expiration date,” said O’Hare. “I think a large part of the success of the ‘The Good Wife’ is due to the Kings – the husband and wife writing team that tightly controlled the tone and palette, as well as the particular point of view that made the world of ‘The Good Wife.’ The other factor that made it such a success was the excellent New York-based cast starting with Julianna Margulies whose quiet confidence, great mordant humor, and keen, cool intelligence is a rarity in TV today.”

Kwami Jones, of Detroit, has watched “The Good Wife” religiously from the start. The trailer announcing the show’s first episode captivated him with all the political scandals transpiring. Jones watched the first episode and was hooked. Soon thereafter, he realized the scope of the show went far beyond the affairs of Peter Florrick.

“The show is well-written, and it has great drama and acting. It explores and tackles real life issues and relationships. Moreover, Archie Panjabi (who played investigator Kalinda Sharma for six seasons) was an excellent actress who truly acted her role to the point you never knew what angle she was coming from,” said Jones. “I hate that the show is ending, but – inevitably – all good things have to come to an end, especially storylines. There was no need to water it down and just have the show go on just because.”

Subscribe to the Legal News!
Full access to public notices, articles, columns, archives, statistics, calendar and more
Day Pass Only $4.95!
One-County $80/year
Three-County & Full Pass also available