Some great shows are close to perfect, but for others, their greatness lies in their messy ambition. This May will mark the final season of The Good Wife’s seven-season run, a show that will be remembered for its glorious imperfection. Created by Robert and Michelle King, the acclaimed CBS legal drama — widely referred to as the best drama on broadcast television — overflowed with ideas and storylines, many of which simply did not work. Like the show’s conflicted protagonist Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), The Good Wife was flawed and often unsure of itself.
If you loved The Good Wife, there were likely some things you did not care for — and at least one subplot you fast-forwarded through. (God bless the invention of the DVR.) Here are the show’s 11 biggest mistakes, in no particular order. And if these mistakes were enough to lose your attention, maybe these other shows like The Good Wife will do a better job of capturing it.
In The Good Wife’s early years, Alicia’s children illustrated the stakes of her crumbling marriage and her difficulty getting back on her feet after her husband, Peter (Chris Noth), is put in prison. After all, she has two kids to feed.
But the problem with kids is that they grow up, and you have to figure out what to do with them. Zach (Graham Phillips) gets a Muslim girlfriend and an abortion subplot, while Grace... gets boobs? In the show’s fifth season, the writers discover something extraordinary: Makenzie Vega (sister to Alexa) has blossomed into an attractive young woman right before their very eyes.
Because Grace has no other reason to exist (her defining character trait is that she’s religious), the writers make her into the show’s evangelical Lolita. It’s like the Michael Bay rule of screenwriting: If you can’t write a good part for a woman, throw her a push-up bra and some lip gloss.
Does any character on television suffer from worse self-esteem than poor Lana Delaney? The long-suffering lesbian FBI agent (Jill Flint) lusts after Kalinda for five painful seasons, just to repeatedly get her heart broken when Ms. Sharma won’t commit. As Kalinda repeatedly reminds her, she just isn’t a settling down kind of girl. This is, of course, Kalinda’s right - everyone should choose the relationship that is best for them, even if it means not being in a relationship. However, it increasingly strains credibility to believe that Lana (who is clearly thirsty for a girlfriend) would continue going back to Kalinda after half a decade. That’s longer than Jimmy Carter was in office!If Lana Delaney has any friends at all, they should have given her a copy of He’s Just Not That Into You. Clearly she hasn’t read it.
You always know which plots The Good Wife writers like best - because you’ll get them over and over again. Want to see Will and Alicia almost get together but then decide to go their separate ways? Here’s four and a half seasons of that. What about a scenario where the firm is briefly in trouble (whether it’s the NSA, cyberhackers, or bankruptcy) before being saved from total annihilation in the 11th hour? What about a labyrinthine series of schemes and double-crossing that inevitably ends with everyone more or less back where they were to begin with? Welcome to Alicia Florrick’s entire life.
One of the most frustrating things about The Good Wife is that it kept hitting the reset button on her career, forcing the show to constantly build from scratch. At its best, that led to some of the show’s most compelling plotlines. During its fifth season, Alicia Florrick helps lead a revolt among Lockhart/Gardner’s fourth-year associates, who decide to leave the firm after they are denied partner track. But at its worst, The Good Wife’s “burn it all to the ground” ethos makes Alicia seem like an aimless character, drifting around with an air of purposelessness, or an unwitting sociopath who continually betrays her colleagues.I imagine that if the show continued for an eighth season, she would have abandoned the law altogether to join Cirque du Soleil.
When it comes to their central relationships, it feels as if most television shows have an endgame in mind - two characters who are destined to be together. But when it comes to Alicia Florrick’s love life, The Good Wife likes to throw characters at the wall to see who sticks. Thus, in the fifth season, viewers are introduced to Finn Polmar (Matthew Goode), who seemingly serves as a replacement for Will Gardner, after he is murdered in a courthouse shooting. His budding attraction to Alicia, however, never goes much of anywhere, aside from some hugs that linger a little too long. It raises the question: Why bring an actor as talented as Matthew Goode on the show if you don’t plan on really using him?
The Good Wife has a bad habit of setting up love triangles it never follows through on (see: also ASA Dana Lodge). While running for state’s attorney, Alicia (still married) has a one-night stand with her campaign advisor (Steven Pasquale), who leaves the show just episodes later.
Currently, Alicia has begun an affair with a swarthy investigator, Jason Crouse (career pinch-hitter Jeffrey Dean Morgan), but don’t get too attached: The show might forget about the affair just as quickly as it began.