Monday, April 27, 2009

Pilot Script Review - The Good Wife

Written By: Robert King & Michelle King
Draft Date: January 29, 2009
Pages: 64
Network: CBS
Category: Thumbs Up

This was the most surprising script this season, for me. It's very difficult to put a twist on a lawyer show that feels fresh. Not only does The Good Wife put a twist on the traditional lawyer show, it succeeds on just about every level. The characters are believable and relatable (and, make no mistake, this is a character piece and I'm hoping Julianna Margulies makes it work), the legal case is interesting and solving in a modern way. It's just a winning script that put a smile on my face. Which, believe you me, is a very difficult thing to do. At the end of the day, this is a story of a woman, thought defeated, standing up for herself and for others and taking charge.

Chicago DA David Follick resigns amid a sexual scandal as well as abuse of office charges (he insists he's innocent of the latter), but his wife, Alicia, sticks with him even as he heads to jail. She was a lawyer before having kids (13 years ago), and, six months after the scandal breaks, is starting work as a junior associate at a firm. Alicia shares an office with a young, male associate named Cary, and they're supposed to share an assistant (Sonia), but Cary monopolizes her time (oh, and the company really only has room for one associate, so in six months it's either going to be Alicia or it's going to be Cary).

Alicia comes with a lot of baggage... just like Elliot Spitzer, the video where she stands behind her husband in support at his press conference was YouTube gold. As a DA, her husband made enemies (and friends) in the legal system and that rubs off on Alicia in both good and bad ways (and, thankfully, the judge in the case Alicia draws checks this, saying that he didn't see eye to eye with Alicia's husband, but if the prosecution thinks that's going to affect his judgment, they're wrong.. yay, correct usage of the legal system).

Alicia is assigned a pro bono case that a more experienced lawyer (Dawna) can't take on because of some legal jargon about billable hours on the retrial. The case: a woman accused of killing her ex-husband in a faked carjacking (woman's name is Jennifer, and she has a daughter that, because of her incarceration, she has been separated from... sob!) The jury came back deadlocked (six versus six), so Alicia is told to just work the case the same way Dawna did... only the truth of the matter is that the jury was 11-1 and the one person with the innocent vote is a batty old lady who only insisted Jennifer was innocent because she liked the cut of Dawna's jib. The odds are stacked against Alicia and the case is going to retrial in a week.

Without giving the details away, Alicia manages to do the seemingly impossible and win the case (did you have any doubts?)

In addition to her work life, Alicia has an obtrusive mother-in-law, Jackie, to deal with and her two kids, Grace and Zach.

Probably the pilot I'm second most excited about seeing, behind Flash Forward.

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