Tell the creators of The Good Wife why you think their CBS drama is so great (and now, Golden Globe-nominated), and your choice of words could leave them chagrined. “The word people most often use is ‘smart,’ which is embarrassing to us,” shares Robert King, who created the legal/family/romantic drama with Michelle King, his wife. “The other phrase they use is, ‘There’s more complexity.’”
King takes the latter compliment as a nod to how deftly the show juggles characters of all stripes — straight-shooting lawyers, always-angling attorneys, crafty politicians, well-meaning kids and wily investigators.
“People have gotten so used to seeing to many TV bad guys and TV good guys, and CBS is allowing us to explore all these grey areas,” he notes.
The Good Wife’s other calling cards include a savviness about how today’s digital landscape has infiltrated worlds both personal and professional. For example, viral videos and teenagers’ tweets have played havoc with Peter Florrick’s political campaign, while Kalinda recently used a FourSquare-type app to track down a source.
“One thing we’ve done is explore issues that the Internet has brought into our lives,” King says. “Both positively and negatively.”
“The other thing [we’re doing] is allowing women to be bad guys — real bad guys — in the pursuit of power,” King adds.
If it sounds to the initiated as if The Good Wife packs a lot into what may have initially been pegged as a “ripped from the cheating politician headlines” and/or angst-filled “Will They/Won’t They?” drama, that is by design.
“The [episodes] that are our favorites are the ones that are trying to do too much,” King says of the show’s tendency to touch on many bases within an hour. “You want to have as much content as possible that gets people excited to come back after the commercials.”
With this week’s tense episode come and gone, the Good Wife faithful are facing a longer break, as the TV landscape takes a breather for the holidays. But when Alicia, Peter and Will — played by Golden Globe nominees Julianna Margulies and Chris Noth, and Josh Charles — return in early January, you can count on significant movement in TV’s trickiest love triangle. After all, Alicia now knows that Will actually did try harder to win her over (at the close of the Season 1 finale), yet thus far she has only taken timid steps – most recently, the suggestion that they find a “moment” to “talk” — toward feeling him out.
“One of the things we tell ourselves in the writers room is we do plot fast and characters slow,” King explains. “Alicia is a responsible woman who finds that she’s got the hormonal imbalance of a teenager right now. Will seems to be in a very serious, growing relationship with Tammy (guest star Elisabeth Reaser), so what is she going to do with this new information [about the missed voice message]? She hates that missed connection. She wants to complete that connection. Those are the struggles going on with Alicia — and they wont go away.”
This story originally appeared on Movieline.com.