The Good Wife Review: Sisters In Law

January 25, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

tv-stars-3halfGWF300#THE GOOD WIFE: Monday 24th January, Channel 4, 10pm ALERT ME

If you thought girl-power was dead then guess again, The Good Wife is a courtroom drama with more oestrogen than a six month course of hormonal injections.

It follows Alicia Florrick, an attorney returning to the courtroom after 15 years as a homemaker. Her husband Peter (Sex And The City’s Mr. Big, Chris Noth) was an influential judge but was laid low after it was revealed that he liked to get jiggy with prostitutes (a storyline taken directly from the real-life US Attorney General Eliot Spitzer scandal).

Six months later, Alicia is forced to be the sole breadwinner for her family and lands a job with a prominent law firm, but while her previous colleagues have grown in stature and office, she remains a lowly junior.

Alicia is quickly thrown her first case – defending a woman who’s been accused of murdering her husband and making it look like a botched carjacking.

Helping her gather evidence is the prickly Kalinda (Archie Pajabi), whose spiky demeanour gets results dammit. Kalinda isn’t above using her feminine whiles to get what she wants. “These things are better than subpoenas? she says sticking out her chest before going to retrieve some CCTV evidence. Can you say ‘sexual empowerment’? Because the show might as well had cast members shouting “You go girl!? whenever Alicia or Kalinda achieve anything.

The drama is well-acted and has all the slick production values that we’ve come to expect from an American series (produced by Tony and Ridley Scott no less). But the main failing is its slide into familiar courtroom drama territory and the overcooking of the “girl power? message.

Having painted her as tough survivor of a devastated marriage, the show is keen to ram home other workplace issues – sexism, ageism, discrimination – her new boss (shoulder pad encrusted ice queen Christine Baranski) warns her about the old boys’ network that operates in law and the male characters are portrayed as conniving or useless.

As a result, the show’s message and agenda – so telegraphed, it might as well hand you a piece of paper with the key issues underlined on it – undermine solid performances from its cast.

The Good Wife could be summarised in one sentence from Alicia to the new District Attorney, “If you’re worried about my husband Mr Childs, you’ve obviously never made a woman angry before?. Sheesh.