"The Good Wife" Is the Most Underrated Show on Television
Do you watch the Good Wife? You should watch the Good Wife. It’s brilliant. It’s amazing. Oh my God, it’s so good. Why aren’t you watching it? Maybe you are watching it. If you are watching it, good. You are smart and you have good taste. But a lot of you aren’t watching it. Do you not like law shows? Who doesn’t like law shows? If you’re not watching it because you don’t like law shows, you should watch the Good Wife because the Good Wife isn’t actually about the law. Or at least not really. It’s about people who happen to be lawyers. Every episode has a case that the cast tackles but it isn’t important to the overarching plot. It’s simply a vehicle for the melodrama. And the melodrama! Oh how sweet and wonderful the melodrama on the Good Wife is! I think a lot of you don’t watch the Good Wife because it’s on CBS, the Perry Como of American broadcast networks. A certain set of bright young things think that anything that comes from Les Moonves’ top rated network is stale, stodgy, and old. And they aren’t wrong, in general. But they do themselves a disservice when it comes to the Good Wife. If it were on FX, it would be live-tweeted with the gusto of Justified, Mad Men, Homeland and the Queen’s Crown of high-brow pop culture, Game of Thrones.
So if you aren’t watching it go watch all five seasons right now. Forget your job. Forget your family. Forget your personal hygiene. Go and mainline all of it now.
Ok, if you have been watching the Good Wife, we need to talk about last night.
SPOILER AHEAD. SPOILER AHEAD.
THIS IS HAPPENING SPOILER IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN LAST EXIT TO WILL IS DEAD.
He’s dead! They killed him! He’s dead! Shot to death in a court room! The blond kid he was defending took the gun from the bailiff and shot a bunch of people and Will is dead!
Will! Will, the male lead. The good wife’s boss. The good wife’s lover. One-third of the central tension of the show! He’s dead. He’s dead. He’s dead. I have no coherent thoughts here. Save this: Brave bold move, the Good Wife. It takes courage to kill off the second most important character on the show. Apparently Josh Charles wanted to leave the show after last season. Presumably he had a 7 season contract so CBS could have forced his hand, but that wouldn’t have been very nice. This seems like a good out for everybody, but wow! Bold.
As Robert and Michelle King, the show’s creators, write in a letter posted on the show’s website, they could “have sent Will to Seattle,” the way ER handled the departure of George Clooney. A weak sentimental part of me wishes they had done that so Will could come back at some point, but that’s stupid. The bold move was undoubtedly the right one, at least in the short term. Last night’s episode was one of the few genuinely shocking things I’ve seen happen on a fictional TV show. In the long term, who knows what it means for the show and the daily dynamic. I’m sure the writers will be able to convert the old Good Wife into the new Good Wife. And that’s what it will be. The Good Wife 2.0. Because the Good Wife was definitionally about Alicia being pulled in two separate directions, one by Peter and one by Will. What Will represented—independence, vengeance, the road not not taken—remains, but Will is gone.
Will is gone. :(
In the letter the Kings explain, “[W]e chose the tragic route for Will’s send-off for personal reasons. We’ve all experienced the sudden death of a loved one in our lives. It’s terrifying how a perfectly normal and sunny day can suddenly explode with tragedy.” This is true and also heartbreaking when you think about Tony Scott, one of the original executive producers, who died in August of 2012.
RIP Will. Long live the Good Wife.
Here’s a video of the cast and crew talking about Will’s death and Josh Charles’ departure.
The nightmare began on July 31, 2009. I was living in Damascus, covering the Middle East as a freelance journalist, with my girlfriend, Sarah Shourd, a teacher. Our friend Josh Fattal had come to see us, and to celebrate, we took a short trip to Iraqi Kurdistan. The autonomous region—isolated from the violence that wracked the rest of Iraq—was a budding Western tourist destination. After two days of visiting castles and museums, we headed to the Zagros Mountains, where locals directed us to a campground near a waterfall. After a breakfast of bread and cheese, we hiked up a trail we’d been told offered beautiful views. We walked for a few hours, up a winding valley between brown mountains mottled with patches of yellow grass that looked like lion’s fur. We didn’t know that we were headed toward the worst 26 months of our lives.
On February 18, 1965, a young man named Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot and killed by a member of the Alabama State Police during a non-violent civil rights demonstration in Selma, Alabama.
Seventeen days later, 525 civil rights activists marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in protest of that killing. They were attacked by state and local police armed with billy clubs, whips, and tear gas. (You can read the New York Times' entire horrifying accounthere.) That day—March 7, 1965—would come to be known as “Bloody Sunday.”
Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live. This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup. I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery, and the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today.