A Guilty Pleasure...

Saturday, May 07, 2011

A Guilty Pleasure...

...Tuesday evening edition, has for the past two television seasons, been CBS' "The Good Wife," a prime-time sudser clearly derived from the event which drove Eliot Spitzer from the highest office in New York State.

Julianna Margulies

And it's not 'cause I'm a big fan of leading lady, Julianna Margu­lies, 'cause I'm not! She's "ok," but she can't hold an OxyAcety­lene torch to Dana Delany, whose mid-season replacement series, "Body of Proof," airs opposite "TGW" on ABC.

(While I am a huge fan of Delany's, I quit that show after three episodes! Great looks go only so far with me... could we have some decent writing!)

As soap operas go... or so I am told... "TGW" has the requisite amount of nobility and quiet suffering from its leading lady... though she did breakdown most affectingly in last Tues­day's episode1 as she informed her teenagers that she and their father had separated.

The casting is better than most TV shows, as it's by no means merely a "star vehicle" for Ms. Margulies.

Her supporting players include Josh Charles, Christine Baranski, Chris Noth, Matt Czuchry, Alan Cumming and the much-in-demand for his remarkable versatility, Titus Welliver.

(Welliver is one of those actors who raise the level of any show they're in; Timothy Oliphant, Garret Dillahunt and Dayton Callie are others in that select class.)

Archie Panjabi as "Kalinda Sharma"

But it is Archie Panjabi as an in-house private investigator in the employ of Margulies' law firm, "Kalinda Sharma," who stands out in "TGW."

Omnisexual and with consummate professional skills for whom no piece of sensitive informa­tion is undiscoverable, her character is a major element in this week's episode "In Sickness."

It also led to the single most soapy line in the two season history of the show when an an­guished GW confronted her Bad Husband with another of his indiscretions:

"You slept with my best friend."

Wha-at? Where did that come from?

Talk about révélation ex-machina! Not that BH schtupped BF, but that GW considered the fel­low employee her "BF!" Such a relationship is nowhere even hinted at in the previous 43 episodes2!

(And from what we have seen, "Kalinda" isn't even BH's "type;" this only serves to underscore what in some quarters is considered a Universal Truth: all men are rutting dogs!)

Not that there's aren't surprises each week... it's a standard part of each episode's dénoue­ment: just where that week's case is looking bad for the home team3, über-investigator "Kalinda" turns up a new witness or a key bit of information, and the outcome of the case turns on that in favor of GW's lawfirm.

(A viewer can almost set his watch by it, as in the old days when "Perry Mason" reveals that whoever is on the witness stand in the 57th minute is the true cul­prit, and not Mason's client.)

So despite the sudsy elements of "TGW," and a certain unevenness to the narrative, I'm staying with it... for awhile longer, at least.

Notes
  1. Said to be the season finale, though it didn't feel like it.
  2. And yes!, I've seen every one of them!
  3. The full service law firm of Lockhart Gardner.

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