The Good Wife: We’ll miss you, but it’s time

by | Feb 16, 2016 | All, Reviews

As somebody who has absolutely no interest in American Football I didn’t make the commitment to stay up and watch the Super Bowl so missed the announcement that one of my favourite shows was coming to end. During one of the commercial breaks of the contest, CBS decided to announce to its captive audience that The Good Wife would be coming to an end after the current seventh season concluded.

Part of me was obviously shocked and devastated by the end of a superb TV drama that I’ve long been a fan of. However, as I started to unpack the news it became clear that The Good Wife ending may be a good thing for all involved. Obviously the writing was on the wall after the show’s creators Robert and Michelle King revealed that they were stepping down from the programme at the end of season seven. However it was felt at the time that CBS may continue the popular drama despite the fact that the Kings believed that the character of Alicia Florrick had reached her natural end. Thankfully the network saw sense and allowed the series to go out on a relative high with the Kings still steering the ship to its ultimate destination.

It does feel to me as if the Kings decision came at the right time as, whilst The Good Wife hasn’t veered into shark-jumping waters just yet it seems like it could be getting close. The departure of original cast members Josh Charles and Archie Panjabi over the last two seasons has seen the series dip in quality. Panjabi’s departure as the wonderful Kalinda was particularly harmful to the show as her character and the friendship she and Alicia shared separated The Good Wife from other more bog standard legal dramas. Meanwhile the attempts to create a new love interest for Alicia in the form of Matthew Goode’s Finn fell flat and the actor left the show around the same time as Panjabi did last year.

Despite an influx of new cast members such as Margo Martindale, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Cush Jumbo; season seven just doesn’t seem to have the same flair as the superb prior seasons. Although I liked Alicia stepping out on her own two feet and traversing the world of the Bond Court it does feel as if there isn’t a definitive direction for the character. Meanwhile a lot more time is being spent with fan favourite Eli Gold (Alan Cumming) the former advisor to Alicia’s Governor husband as he begins sparring with his successor Martindale’s Ruth Eastman. Other characters such as Alicia’s former colleagues Diane Lockhart and Cary Argos have seemingly been cast aside all together with their subplots almost being tagged on to the rest of the episode.

Even though the quality of the series is still higher than the majority of its contemporaries, The Good Wife has been on a downward trajectory since the wonderful season five which a cavalcade of gripping and emotional episodes. However the fact that their show is ending rather than being cancelled allows the Kings and their cast the chance for this hugely popular series to end on a high. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Alicia will have the ending she deserves and after years of both professional and personal losses it feels that she should have somewhat of a happy ending. I’ve also got my fingers crossed that the Kings will perhaps take one of the secondary characters and give them their own spin-off with my money being firmly on the brilliant Eli.

I believe that The Good Wife’s legacy will be that of a network drama that was able to hang with its cable and online rivals both in terms of critical praise and story development. With over 149 epsidoes under its belt it has  managed to maintain a certain standard of quality over twenty-two episodes a season which is sometimes more than double that of the critically acclaimed shows given to us by the likes of Netflix and HBO. The Good Wife was evidence that you don’t need a lot of money behind a show to make it successful and all you really need are fantastic scripts and a great ensemble cast who were able to breathe life into their complex and well-rounded characters.

The Good Wife Continues Thursdays on More4.

Matt Donnelly

Matt Donnelly

16/02/2016

Made in Staffordshire, Matt is the co-editor of the site and co-host of The Custard TV Podcast. Matt has been writing about TV for over fifteen years and has written for the site for almost a decade. He's just realised this makes him a lot older than he thought he was.

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