While you all spent the last 7 years watching The Good Wife as it was airing, I spent the last 7 or so weeks binge watching it and finishing it just a few days after the series finale aired. The only reason I managed to get through it so quickly is because I had 2 weeks of vacation time in there plus a week when my husband was out of town for work so I could watch The Good Wife every night instead of normal television viewing. I watched the first six seasons on Amazon and then figured I would have to wait until the seventh dropped probably sometime in the fall. Then I realized I could use the free trial of CBS All Access to watch all the episodes of season 7 without having to wait. So while I wasn’t out at the beach this past week I spent my time watching the end of The Good Wife.
It was a show I just didn’t start watching when it started and then by the time everyone, especially my friend Jenny, was telling me how I really needed to watch it it felt too far gone. I just decided that one day when it was finally over I would binge watch it as I did. When they announced during the Super Bowl that it was indeed the final season I decided I could finally start watching it. I was in the middle of some other shows at the time, but once I finished those I finally decided to give The Good Wife a try.
As Jenny always told me I would I really did enjoy it or at least the first 5 seasons of it anyway. Season 6 was not great and season 7 was not much better. It’s weird for me to say this because I’m usually not someone who is a case of the week lover. It’s why I don’t care for procedurals. However, it really was this show’s strength apparently. The show was always half through storyline and half case of the week (although with some recurring clients), which always worked out rather well in my opinion. Then for whatever reason they decided to make season 6 purely focused on Alicia’s run for States Attorney and snooze fest. I never really cared about any of the political campaign crap aside from the fact that it gave Alan Cumming a reason to be there as Eli Gold, who was one of my favorite characters. This combined with the absence of Will really just made it seem like The Good Wife had lost it’s way. They got back a little bit to case of the week stuff in season 7 and those were the strongest episodes of that season in my opinion. Once we got towards the end and it was all about Peter’s trial. Snoresville.
I feel like the best way for me to talk about the series overall is to provide a ranking of characters from worst to best. I obviously can’t hit everyone or we’ll be here all day, but I’m including the major characters plus a few of my favorite recurring guest stars.
14. Grace and Zach Florrick
Pretty much like almost every TV show that’s not specifically about teenagers, teenage characters on adult shows are the worst. Ultimately Grace and Zach weren’t so bad compared to some characters on other shows, but the less I had to see of them the better. I was fine with them in theory, but any time an episode had to revolve around them. Nope.
13. Jackie Florrick
Jackie was actually more of the petulant teenager on this show than the actual kids. I realize she was somewhat of a good foil for Alicia, but again I didn’t really care to see that much of her.
12. Howard Lyman
I only bother to include Howard Lyman in this list because the writers seemed to think it was a good idea to stop making him small comic relief and turn him into more of a major player at the end of series. Why did he seem to appear in more of season 7 than Cary? That’s just wrong. They should have left him as a bit part.
11. Jason Crouse
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is one of those supposed sex symbols that has never done a thing for me, so perhaps I was biased against his character from the start but I never felt like he and Alicia had any real chemistry. I never bought that he is who she would finally allow herself to be with as opposed to some of the other people they flirted with hooking her up with like Finn Polmar.
10. David Lee
Since he was one of the on-again, off-again partners at the firm I felt like I should include him in this list, but I don’t really have strong feelings about David Lee one way or the other. He was a pretty one note character and you never really got to know anything about him outside of the firm. I’ll take this time to say that by the end the writers had very much run out of storylines involving the firm. There’s only so many times these partners can vote each other in and out without it feeling extremely contrived. There’s no way any for real clients would ever stick with a firm that was in as much needless flux as this one was. The fact that we went through it all again in season 7 really showed that the writers knew they had to write something for the people at the law firm, but had no real idea what to do with them.
9. Peter Florrick
Peter was a horrible person, but obviously exactly the character he was supposed to be. Alicia should have kicked him to the curb eons ago, but for the most part I think they did a good job of giving her valid reasons to stay for most of the series. Doesn’t mean I had to like him though, and I suspect I wasn’t supposed to so it’s all well and good. Also, why in the world was Chris Noth only ever a guest star and not a regular actor on the series. I will never understand TV contracts.
8. Louis Canning
My friend Jenny was always talking about the guest starts on this show. I too appreciated them, especially seeing all the Broadway actors who rolled through over the years since it filmed in New York. She was also talking though about how much she loved Michael J. Fox’s turn on the show. I too think he did a great job, though again he was one of those characters you were supposed to dislike. I never really understood what happened to him after they jettisoned him from the firm, but he seemed to end up ok. Someone like him always would I suppose.
7. Alicia Florrick
Yes it’s true the main character of the show only shows up halfway through my list. I liked Alicia and obviously most of the show and characters I liked better than her all revolved around her in some way. I just wish the writers would have let her grow a little bit more. At some point they themselves bought into the whole “Saint Alicia” schtick and wouldn’t ever let her stray to far in any one direction. I felt like it’s why they ended things with Will and then eventually killed him off or again never let things really progress with any other potential love interest until the end.
6. Will Gardner
I don’t really know what the deal was with why they killed off Will. If it’s like I said that the writers weren’t willing to take things any further with Alicia and him so it didn’t make any sense for him to be around anymore and they wanted a game changer at that point in the series or if Josh Charles wanted off the show or what. Whatever it was the show was sorely lacking after he was gone. I didn’t even realize how much until he showed up in the finale and I felt like those few scenes had so much more energy than the previous two seasons combined. Aside from his relationship with Alicia I always really liked Will and Diane as partners and sort of mismatched friends. I missed their relationship after he was gone.
5. Cary Agos
I came into this show predisposed to disliking Cary. Like all of Rory’s boyfriends, I hated Logan on Gilmore Girls, and I felt like here again was Matt Czuchry playing yet another smug, entitled, rich boy. I’m pretty sure that’s how his character was initially written, but he quickly turned into someone much more nuanced and someone I was actually pulling for. At one point after Alicia and he start their own firm one of them says they are the new Will and Diane. As I already mentioned I really liked Will and Diane’s partnership, so I actually looked forward to that kind of developing. Sadly it never really did. Cary and Alicia quickly got pitted against each other and then we wound up with Cary’s stupid trial storyline that dragged on forever. I feel like that was one of the show’s biggest missed opportunities was to really watch the Florrick-Agos firm develop and their partnership along with it. That’s a storyline I would have liked to watch instead of what we got.
4. Elsbeth Tascioni
I’m glad she wasn’t a regular character because I think she worked best as in small doses, but I loved Carrie Preston as the brilliant but kind of crazy lawyer Elsbeth Tascioni. She was always a lot of fun and I loved the juxtaposition of her personality and her genius as a lawyer.
3. Diane Lockhart
I have always been a Christine Baranski fan. Always. Thus Diane was always bound to be one of my favorite characters, and she was. I loved that she was a strong, female character who loved the law and her law firm. I also appreciated that they gave her a love interest in Curt who was so different from her, but also seemingly so perfect. Having suffered through watching the final season on CBS All Access I would never pay to subscribe tot hat service, but the thought of a spin-off starring her almost makes me want to.
2. Eli Gold
I loved Eli Gold. He was always self-centered and calculating, but he always took such delight in it that it was fun to watch and I was always rooting for him. I also just always loved any time Alan Cumming had to play moments where Eli was incredulous about something. They were my favorite. I also loved his relationship with his daughter Marissa. That was a great pairing. I always assumed before watching that he was more of a guest star than a regular cast member given he was doing Cabaret on Broadway during part of the series. I know he wasn’t in every episode, but I never remember him being gone for long stretches. I have no idea how he juggled that, but well done.
Also speaking of storylines I would have liked to have seen, I always thought it would have been interesting for Eli and Alicia to get involved, especially after Will died. It’s not because I ever felt like the two characters had any crazy sexual tension between them or anything, I just thought it would make for good drama. How would Eli who had always been so devoted to Peter and determined to make sure nothing hurt him politically including making sure his marriage stayed intact at least to the public eye dealt with falling in love with Alicia. I guess we’ll never know.
1. Kalinda Sharma
Kalinda was always my favorite character on the show, and I super sad to have her written out at the end of season 6. Given whatever blood feud occurred between Julianna Margulies and her such that they didn’t appear on screen together for multiple seasons, I’m surprised that they kept her around for that long. It seems insane that the production of an entire TV show would have to be done in such a way that those two actresses would never have to work together, but I guess that’s what happened. I of course saw a lot of people talking about this prior to watching the show so I expected it to bother me more than it did. There were long stretches in earlier seasons why they didn’t appear together much especially after it came out that Kalinda slept with Peter, so it didn’t seem to be anything particularly new that Kalinda was more involved with other characters on the show than Alicia. I never really cared and wasn’t super invested in the two of them being friends or anything, so I wish they had managed to keep her around for one more season. I was bummed that she didn’t get to show back up in the finale, though having watched it there wasn’t really any opportunity for her to. I mean Cary barely even appeared in it.
All in all it was a very good series and I’m glad I finally watched it. The final seasons didn’t work much for me and I didn’t care for the finale at all. I didn’t think trying to bookend the beginning of this show with the end worked in this case. I know a lot of series do it, but no one is nostalgic for an opening scene where a disgraced wife is standing by her jerkhole of a cheating husband. At that point in the series though I didn’t much care anymore. Like many series before it the first 4 or 5 seasons were wonderful, but the end sadly colored my love for it a little bit. If you haven’t watched it yet I would definitely recommend it though.