Before she took the lead role as Alicia Florrick in CBS’ hit The Good Wife, Julianna Margulies admits she was a little concerned that starring in the legal drama would be boring. After all, most procedural shows avoid anything resembling character development in favor of case-of-the-week storytelling. Says the actress, “One of the reasons Murder, She Wrote was on for so long was that America loves an ending after each show, where you can solve it and it’s done.”
Margulies needn’t have worried. The Good Wife has proved itself unique in that it gives viewers the best of both worlds – acting as a procedural drama with open-and-shut stories every episode and also stirring up engrossing serialized drama courtesy of the tabloid-worthy personal lives of dutiful-wife-turned-entry-level-lawyer Alicia and her disgraced husband, former Illinois state’s attorney Peter (Chris Noth). Even procedural-loving CBS wants the writers to keep the Florrick family drama front and center. “You’d expect a network to say, ‘No, no, no! More cases! More cases!’” says Robert King, who created and executive-produces the series along with his wife, Michelle. “Our biggest challenge is figuring out how little we can tell about the courtroom case and get by.”
Now that Peter is out of jail and back home on house arrest – and plotting a totally unvetted return to politics, by the way – the remainder of the season will center on one question: Can Alicia forgive her husband’s corruption and prostitution-riddled past, or is time to move on… perhaps to her colleague and former college buddy Will (Josh Charles)? “I don’t know if they’ll be able to recover or not,” says Noth of Alicia and Peter. “That’s part of the ongoing drama.”
For more on The Good Wife – and for all the scoop on 40 more spring TV shows including Glee, Celebrity Apprentice, Friday Night Lights, FlashForward, and Dancing with the Stars – pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday, March 5.