'The Good Wife' on CBS Takes a Bad Turn

by: 

Sheryl Young
Jan 9, 2016
The Good Wife changes its tune from being fairly even-handed on cultural issues.

Every once in a while, a TV show still comes out of Hollywood that surprises us by handling all sides of issues pretty evenly. "The Good Wife" on CBS was one of those almost all the time throughout its first six years. There were storylines showing both good and bad people on all sides of political, cultural and even religious topics. Maybe one subplot made you angry, but in the continuing conclusion your side was often vindicated. Not this year.

"The Good Wife" was predicted to end after its sixth season. But buoyed by continued good ratings and news of viewers beginning to mourn its loss, it has continued to a seventh. The producers and writers must have gained enough confidence to where they could start showing their true hard-hitting liberal colors.

This courtroom drama began in the life of a “wronged wife” (Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick) who gave up her career as an attorney to raise two kids while her husband became a successful politician. Then one day, shades of Elliot Spitzer and so many other cheating politicians, it is revealed that Peter Florrick (Chris Noth) is not only a womanizing philanderer, but also possibly a government cheat. She stands by him on camera but they begin living separate private lives, with her returning to practicing law to supplement her income for the good of their two teenagers.

One interesting theme was the marriage of a liberal Democratic attorney to a pro-gun Republican ballistics expert. They simply couldn’t resist each other for the sake of politics, and just agreed to disagree (this was early on, before the latest drive for more “gun control”). Another was when Alicia’s daughter embraced Jesus and Peter began to consult with a pastor, while his Catholic mother objected and Alicia remained an atheist. All handled fairly and even giving scripture without making fun of it.

Well, the Good Wife could only be good for so long. While remaining a good mother, she does begin a fling with her boss, whom she had known previously. He dies in a courtroom shooting.

But that’s beside the point. It’s the various attorneys’ cases that kept us coming back. The writing was clever, fair, witty and dynamic – often covering many hot topics that drive today’s culture, and making relevant points.

However, toward the end of the sixth season and especially in the first half of this new one, the episodes seemed to be more centered on the “follies” of conservatism versus the “wisdom” of liberalism. In the last storyline, the Democratic attorney (Diane Lockhart played with great flourish by Christine Baranski) came out full force with pro-choice regalia, facing off against a pro-life lobbyist. Albeit, the two had many back-and-forths illuminating both sides of this hard-to-tackle issue and its ramifications. Many important facts favoring the pro-life side could be caught when paying close attention.

And when Diane finds out that a judge may be pre-disposed to agree with her side, she decides to defend the pro-life lobbyist’s cause and asks the judge to recuse himself for bias.

So what’s wrong with that? It turns out the judge doesn’t step down, and Diane cleverly fixes her presentation in court so that she ends up getting out of defending the pro-life side. "So there, pro-lifers, take that” is the last look on her face as the season concluded for the Christmas holidays.

We don’t know if it’s the last we’ll see of the pro-life case, and if it continues in another episode there might be a turnabout. But fans will have to watch what happens on the second half of the season.

(The Good Wife returns to CBS on Sunday, January 10 at 9 pm ET).

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