Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

The Good Wife

One test of a good show is its ability to outlive the high-concept premise that got it on the air. The Good Wife started out as a ripped-from-the-headlines story of political wife Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), cheated on by her husband, who strikes out on her own after the scandal that humiliates her. By its third season, that hook is almost gone; what's left is not just a good drama but several good dramas at once, each of them sophisticated stories about power in various forms: There's the interoffice politics of the Gardner-Lockhart law firm, the actual politics of in-house spin savant Eli Gold (Alan Cumming) and his clients, the sexual entanglements of Alicia and her old-new flame (and boss) Will (Josh Charles) and a string of interesting stories about how technology and media have changed life, politics and the law. Oh yeah, and the most reliably intriguing courtroom cases on TV. The ability to keep growing: that's what makes a good Wife great. (CBS)