I haven’t written much about CBS’ “The Good Wife” lately, but it’s not because I’m not watching.
As hard as sports overruns – and the Sunday cable competition – make it, I’ve caught every episode. I’ve also seen Sunday’s season four finale, which is fun and fast-paced and surprising in ways that have less to do than you might think with the tangled relationships among Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), her gubernatorial candidate husband Peter (Chris Noth) and her law partner Will Gardner (Josh Charles).
That love triangle, honestly, might be nearing its sell-by date.
There are still reasons, though, to love “The Good Wife,” which doesn’t get the buzz of those shows with CGI dragons or uncomfortable-looking ’60s outfits:
It’s not trying to be ‘Scandal’
The clothes are just as cool, and the sex, when it happens, is just as hot, but for a show that started out with the title character’s discovery that her politician husband had been cheating on her, “The Good Wife” has achieved a remarkable balance between the personal and the political.
Its cast is extraordinary
Besides Margulies, who finally found a worthy second act after “ER,” there’s Noth, Charles, Christine Baranski, Archie Panjabi – and Alan Cumming. I mean, Alan Cumming? I’d watch a whole show with him as Eli Gold, but having him in this ensemble is even better.
It knows how to use its stars
Like “Law & Order” before it, “The Good Wife” takes full advantage of its New York base, so it’s no surprise that many of its recurring players have Broadway experience. But it’s not enough to attract a Nathan Lane or a Martha Plimpton: You need to know what to do with them (beyond making them the killers everyone sees coming from their first scene).
“The Good Wife” writers deliver. Which may be why Mamie Gummer, after starring in two failed series, has yet to land a TV role as good as Nancy Crozier.
It explores realities
“Mad Men’s” Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) isn’t the only one this season finding out that being the boss isn’t always as much fun as it looks from below.
With her promotion to partner, Alicia’s been confronting some of the unfairness built into the law-firm system as well as even more of the ethical dilemmas involved in the practice of law.
It delivers 22 episodes a season
After Sunday, I’ll probably wish there were 23 or 24. But CBS has renewed it for a fifth season, so at least there will be more.