The Good Wife

 
(i)

 

Timely, mature drama about surviving political scandal.
EmmyGolden Globe

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series sends multiple messages to and about women, ranging from how they should cope with a straying husband to what they must do to survive in the workplace. While some of the messages are empowering, others reinforce existing gender stereotypes.

Positive role models

Alicia is a survivor. She works hard to protect her children and overcome extreme public humiliation. She also shows that re-starting a career later in life is possible. Her husband Peter is a much less admirable character.

Violence

Frequent discussions of violent homicides. Occasional brief reenactments of violent events. Guns and images of bloody homicide victims are sometimes shown. One episode features Alicia slapping her husband across the face in anger.

Sex

Sexual scandal is one of the show's major themes; Peter Florrick's public and private sexual escapades overshadow much of the show's events. Extra-marital affairs, prostitution, threesomes, and other events are frequently discussed. Brief scenes of sex tapes are shown, and there's some discussion of sex acts; no sensitive body parts are visible. Frequent references to real-life public sex scandals.

Language

Occasional use of words like "damn" and "hell."

Consumerism

YouTube pages are prominently visible.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adult characters drink wine and cocktails at bars and over dinner. Cases sometimes deal with drugs. Occasional drug references/use (including one episode involving mushrooms).

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this drama about a woman who returns to the legal profession when her politician husband goes to jail after a highly publicized sex scandal deals with some mature themes, including illicit affairs and illegal activity. Expect plenty of not-so-subtle references to infamous real-life sex scandals, as well as frequent discussions of murder, occasional (and usually brief) reenactments of violent events, bloody crime scene photos, and social drinking. The language is fairly mild when it comes to swearing ("damn," “hell”), but there's plenty of talk about sex and related topics.

What's the story?

When former Cook County State Attorney Peter Florrick (Chris Noth) is jailed for political corruption after a very public sex scandal, his wife Alicia (Julianna Margulies) accepts an offer from former law school friend Will Gardner (Josh Charles) to join his firm as a junior associate. As she begins to rebuild her legal career after 13 years away from the courtroom, she finds herself up against the legal profession's traditional “old boys' network” -- which is, ironically, occasionally made worse by female senior partner Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski). Luckily, Alicia gets some support from the firm’s in-house investigator, Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi). As Alicia works to prove herself professionally, she also struggles to protect herself and teenage children (played by Graham Phillips and Mackenzie Vega) from the public scandals while coping with her mother-in-law's (Mary Beth Peil) denial about her son's escapades.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

THE GOOD WIFE sets itself apart from other legal dramas because it's set within the backdrop of real-life political/sex scandals that have been sensationalized in the media. Because the series is told from Alicia's point of view, it establishes a strong, positive voice -- one that's presumably meant to represent the real-life political wives who publicly stand by their husbands but are usually never heard from. It also calls attention to the pain that these scandals -- and the media coverage they receive -- can cause.

While Alicia is a strong survivor, The Good Wife sends some mixed messages about women. It features women in a variety of domestic and distinguished professional roles, but it also shows them resorting to catty and/or desperate measures to get what they want. Meanwhile, Alicia's on-going efforts to support her husband politically and personally sometimes makes her appear more indecisive than empowered. Still, the show offers a well-developed and (unfortunately) timely drama that makes for solid primetime entertainment.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why the media spends so much time reporting scandals. Why do these stories receive so much attention? What kind of impact can publicity have on the personal lives of those associated with these stories?

  • What kind of impact does sexual content in the media have on viewers? How can parents keep kids who aren’t mature enough to handle this sort of thing from being exposed to it, especially when it's in the news?

TV details

Cast:Chris Noth, Christine Baranski, Julianna Margulies
Network:CBS
Genre:Drama
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming
Awards:Emmy, Golden Globe

This review of The Good Wife was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 14 and 16 year old Written byguysandadoll January 28, 2010
 

Mature Children Only!

It takes a mature kid to understand this well.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byTheflash9 November 5, 2012
 

Interesting Show is Great for Mature Kids

I personally love this show. It seems worse than it actually is, to me, any mature kid should be allowed to watch this but younger kids may not understand the concept of this show and find it boring. But if the kid understands this show "The Good Wife" is very interesting. Probably my favorite TV show of all time.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Kid, 12 years old October 17, 2010
 
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages
Great role models

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