The Good Wife

9:00pm Thursday, May 20 on M4

Brand new series: Alicia and Will represent a student who is accused of killing her roomate but they find working together difficult since sharing a kiss the night before the case.

9:00pm Thursday, May 13 on M4

Brand new series: Will and Alicia attend an emergency hearing in a hospital when a pregnant woman is told her insurance doesn’t cover an in-utero operation that her unborn child needs.

9:00pm Thursday, May 6 on M4

Alicia and Will represent a client who is accused of leaking a witness list to a drug lord, who then went on to murder the star witness in a trial. Meanwhile, Peter’s new employee Eli Gold realises that Zach’s girlfriend Becca is posting information about the Florrick family on the internet.

9:00pm Thursday, April 29 on M4

Brand New Series: Alicia and the children adjust to having Peter back home. At work, Alicia teams up with Diane to help a client testify against her wealthy husband in a murder case.

9:00pm Thursday, April 15 on

Brand New Series – Alicia defends Colin Sweeney, a wealthy client who was cleared of killing his wife but is still largely thought of as her murderer. Colin is brought before the court in a civil case against his wife’s daughter, who hopes to regain her mother’s money and company.

Thursday, April 8 on M4

The star of the school football team dies after taking an overdose of painkillers and Alicia is given the task of representing the doctor who prescribed the medication. Elsewhere, Peter’s mother Jackie has a stroke and Alicia gives Peter news on his deadly rival Glenn Childs that makes his blood boil.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the only good thing shown on TV recently is Doctor Who and The Wire. Everything else is staggeringly crap. Right?

TV continues to scrape the barrel with format reality shows and things featuring Amanda Holden and/or Piers Morgan. It’s an insult. However, there’s a show airing currently that’s so classy that it should come with an olive on a cocktail stick.

The Good Wife stars Julianna Margulies (who you’ll remember from ER and subsequently has become someone I rather fancy) and is a show about… well… legal stuff.

Don’t run away!

I was initially sniffy about the whole thing too. See, America loves a good court-case show. We’ve seen billions of them from the quirkfest that was Ally McBeal to L.A. Law and Boston Legal. However, where all these shows have left me cold, The Good Wife slowly got the hooks in me.

Most of these shows focus on the cut-throat world of the case and, essentially, the idiots that work in the legal world. It’s all back-stabbing and sniping with corrupt judge this and long-hours that.

However, The Good Wife somehow manages to bundle all this together and somehow make it warmer than pair of Totes Toasties sported by a cat snoozing in the afternoon sun.

Margulies plays Alicia Florrick and she’s the wife of Peter Florrick (who is played by that bloke who was ‘Big’ in Sex and the City). He’s been jailed thanks to a very public sex and corruption scandal. This sees our heroine going back to her old job in the courts to rebuild her reputation and provide for her two children.

Through this, we first get the woolly satisfaction of seeing a woman cutting it in A Man’s World, but also, the TV fave of a Woman Trying To Do Right By Her Family. Of course, with all this comes pain and anguish… but mercifully, the show leaves off the whole crappy soul-searching that blights so many of the serious shows we import from the USA.

It’s subtle and layered and mercifully, lacking the garbled jargon of 99% of other courtroom shows. Away from the work, instead of mawkishly rolling around in woe, The Good Wife actually manages to relay a bit of realism on the screen.

Margulies is a very realistic portrayal of a human being on screen (which is a marvellous feat in itself) and thrives in the tight-as-a-snare-skin script and the excellent little twists thrown into the plot.

She’s already picked up a Golden Globe and a gong from the Screen Actors Guild for her performance. She is astoundingly good.

I don’t quite know how the writers of the show have managed to make a legal drama so appealing, but they’ve done it with aplomb. Pretty much everyone in the show remembers to pull back on the performance with zero overacting, leaving us with a show that feels like peering into the real (and murky) world of law.

Through the Howdunnits? of the work, the pain of a failed relationship and the flashes of warmth and fun elsewhere, The Good Wife is nearly the complete programme. It always has time for something a bit daft as well (most recently, a super liberal judge which was perfectly observed).

As opposed to being flashy, it’s a quiet, strong programme that really should tick all the boxes of anyone who likes meaty dramas. This is a show that really does make a very convincing case for legal dramas on television. It could well be the best thing on TV in 2010.

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