Mini-Reading: What I Love About The Good Wife

Since you asked, what I love about The Good Wife–in addition to Kalinda, as far as I know the only undysfunctional bisexual on television, and in addition to Josh Charles, who I’ve had a soft spot for since Sports Night, and in addition to The Julianna Marguiles Of It All–

The main thing I love about this show is how circumspect it is about revealing Alicia’s inner life. Michelle King, one of the creators of the show, said about the political scandals that inspired it (Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, etc.), “And there was always this image of the husband up there apologizing and the wife standing next to him. I think the show began when we asked, ‘What are they thinking?’”

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Yes. But the brilliance of the show is that that distance, that inaccessibility is carried through every episode. It’s as though the writers have figured out how to let the show live in that moment indefinitely. We’re constantly asking, “What is she thinking?” And it’s not in a judgmental or incredulous way, but just in a wanting to get inside her head and not being allowed to way.

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There are occasional moments when we see her alone, crying or smiling to herself or sometimes even dreaming, but mostly we know only what she shares with the other characters. There is no voiceover. There are no conversations in which Alicia reveals her innermost thoughts and feelings to her BFF. Even when we see her with Will or Kalinda or Peter, Alicia plays her cards close to her vest.

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You’d think an entire series built around “What is she thinking?” wouldn’t work, but it totally does, perhaps because of the range of Ambiguously Significant Looks in Marguiles’s repertoire.

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WHAT IS SHE THINKING?