Saturday, January 29, 2011

‘The Good Wife’ is no damsel in distress

(Published Jan. 30, PDI-Entertainment)

By Oliver M. Pulumbarit


Talented Julianna Margulies shines as Alicia Florrick, the wife of a philandering district attorney, in the intelligent courtroom drama series, “The Good Wife.”

Like some real wives whose politician-husbands’ adulterous affairs are exposed, Alicia is confronted with unwanted media attention and personal quandaries. Months after the sex scandal involving her spouse, she begins working for a prestigious Chicago law firm as a junior associate.

Alicia is recovering from the betrayal of her husband Peter Florrick (played admirably by “Sex and the City’s” Chris Noth), who is jailed for corruption. Her life has irrevocably changed—she has to prove herself a worthy new recruit while addressing the needs of her teen children, and dealing with disruptions stemming from her husband’s case.

Created by Robert and Michelle King, “The Good Wife” draws inspiration from headline-making scandals, and the resilience of women whose worlds are turned upside down by erring partners. Executive producers include filmmaker siblings Ridley and Tony Scott.

Margulies, previously known for her role in “ER,” astonishes with her portrayal of a constantly challenged wife, mother and professional; she’s vulnerable but collected, and often connects with the clients she defends. Known to most of them as “Mrs. Florrick,” Alicia’s tarnished celebrity status sometimes proves helpful during trials, and her bosses know it. Regardless, she’s an impressive lawyer who looks at angles unseen by most—thanks to her unique experiences—and is unafraid of contradicting judges when necessary.

As for the cases the firm handles, they’re not as compelling or as quirky and appealing as those in David E. Kelley’s “The Practice” and “Picket Fences,” but the simpler legal puzzles are executed competently and with finesse. Her colleagues help save the day—some strong female characters that complement the determined and outspoken Mrs. Florrick, who has proven herself a good wife and unrelenting survivor.

“The Good Wife” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on Diva Universal.

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