The Good Wife First Season Report Card: A

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The 2009-2010 season may be over, but that doesn't mean the time to offer up critiques on various programs, characters and stars is finished.

As we head into the summer, TV Fanatic will be grading and reviewing a number of the small screen's biggest hits. Last week, we gave House a B-. Now, on to The Good Wife!

What did we think of its first season? Who was its best character? What made this one of the best dramas on television? Read on. Find out. Chime in.

Best Character: Alicia would be the obvious choice, but Cary better represents what made this show such a stand-out. He could have been written as a typically entitled, smug jerk. Instead, viewers often saw a soft side to Alicia's rival, but were always aware that his main goal was to beat her out for the junior associate job. Now, we can't wait to see where Matt Czuchry takes this bitter, motivated character on season two.

Best use of guest stars: Gary Cole recurred as a gun expert and love interest for Diane; Dylan Baker freaked us out as a wife murderer; and Alan Cumming was so devilishly charming as Eli Gold that he's been made a series regular.

At a Major Crossroads

Best episode: Boom. A perfect example of how The Good Wife expertly tackles relevant controversies (religion, racial profiling, immigration), taking a side without preaching and delivering mature debate and entertainment regardless of where you stand on an issue.

Best storyline: Alicia's love triangle. Stay with Peter, you made a vow, some viewers argue. Go with Will, the chemistry there is clear, others say. This is anything but your average, soap opera-esque dilemma. Alicia understands all that's at stake in whatever she chooses, from her job to her kids to the politics of Chicago.

Hopes for 2010: More of the same. The season ended on a blatant cliffhanger, one we didn't feel was necessary. Don't worry about gimmicks or over-the-top developments. Just keep the sharp focus on Alicia's home life and on the nuanced characters you've created.

Overall grade: A. Few shows debut on television with the sort of confidence The Good Wife exemplified throughout the season. You don't need special effects, or a loud score, or complicated mysteries when you have such a strong cast and such layered characters to flesh out. Is Will a good guy? Yes. But does he blink an eye over accepting a huge settlement for the firm, even though his client is guilty? No, that's his job.

Does Alicia want to be a good wife, lawyer and mother? Of course, all of the above. But this drama proves that being "good" is never as simple as it sounds, except when it comes to one thing: its episodes on a weekly basis.

Report Card

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Good Wife Quotes

It was romantic because it didn't happen. So you got a little bit of both, life, us together and now romance.


It's hard to be on this side.