I caught this programme on More 4 (one of the Channel 4 group of stations in the UK) when I was on sick leave for a while. What I imagined to be an innocuous daytime TV drama turned out to be something more interesting.

At first, the plot of each episode seemed unnecessarily convoluted with at least two, and sometimes four, storylines interwoven into a programme lasting less than an hour. The main character works in an American law firm and the stories are set in their offices, her home, the court and out and about in Chicago. We don’t follow her every move and there are other interesting characters whose stories are entwined with that of our eponymous heroine.

One reason for the complicated structure of each episode is because the writers appear to be trying show the whole person: lawyer, mother, wife, colleague, sister. It is that attempt that makes some episodes difficult to follow but also compelling. A typical episode will include a court case, the lawyers’ negotiations and investigations etc, until its resolution towards the end of the hour. There is usually a resolution in each episode so that viewers can get some sense of closure each week. But, of course, The Good Wife lives a life beyond the job she happens to do well, trying to do the best for the firm’s clients, as well as maintaining her integrity. The family crisis moves on from one episode to the next, some problems get solved, while there are new ones emerging and developing over several episodes. All-in-all, it is well written – and with some wit as well.

But I do have a couple of disappointments. Throughout the two series The Good Wife has had to deal with her husband’s adultery and his time in prison followed by his political campaign; then there are the moral dilemmas that are part and parcel of the legal system; her teenage children are, well, teenage children, and no member of her family is exactly perfect. In all this she has remained faithful and has struggled to do the right thing – and generally succeeded. The last episode of the most recent series ends by showing her checking into a hotel room with an old flame and we are left to draw our own conclusions. To be fair, the latest revelation about her husband and her friend would test anyone’s resolve; but I did feel let down that in the end she appears to have given in to the spirit of infidelity and self-centredness which (to be fair) pretty much surrounds her.

When I first caught this series, I watched simply to fill the day. Gradually this character caught my attention and I began to see the TV series as an extended exposition on the passage in Proverbs chapter thirty-one which begins “Who can find a good wife?” (verse 10). It seemed to me to be a modern application of ancient wisdom. I don’t imagine the woman portrayed in the book of Proverbs being found in a hotel room with a man she is not married to. That is the main reason that, if asked, I would only give this TV show a mark of 9 out of ten.

We don’t know what happened next, we have to guess, and in the meantime wait for the next series.

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