Julianna Margulies As A Good Wife

Julianna Margulies starrs in "The Good Wife." Critics speak highly of her acting in the new film, mentioning some flaws in the drama itself.

Margulies puts a powerful combination of cold fury, bewilderment and tenacity into Alicia Florrick, the wife of a disgraced Chicago politician in a new series that readily admits it ripped itself from the headlines.

The actress  gets solid support from Chris Noth as husband Peter, an ex-prosecutor who admits the hooker part but denies misappropriating public funds.

Thus Alicia faces two tough problems at a time: husbund's betrayal and family budget refill.  

Since Peter has been packed off to jail, she must support herself and two teenagers (Graham Phillips and Makenzie Vega).

Fortunately, she graduated at the top of her law-school class and practiced before the kids came along, so she lands a job at a law firm and doesn't have to start as a secretary.

But she's been out of the game for 13 years. She also discovers that hordes of people, such as judges, remember dealing with her husband, and not always fondly.

The show loves the dramatic potential of those encounters, so much that it may already be in danger of overusing them.

Whatever Peter's power and arrogance, it's hard to imagine that those who dealt with him would not be at least discreet, and possibly even fair-minded, toward a woman who is less his surrogate than his most tangible victim.

Similarly exaggerated for dramatic purposes is Cary (Matt Czuchry), a young Harvard grad hired alongside Alicia.

Cary doesn't hesitate to reveal to Alicia that they are competitors. In six months, only one will stay, and early signs point toward the young, confident, connected and conniving Cary as the survivor.

As if her husband's actions didn't create enough tension, now the stakes have been raised again. Tough for Alicia, good for the drama of the show.

She isn't without weapons, however. She also isn't without allies, one of whom she finds in Kalinda (Archie Panjabi), the firm's resident investigator.

In contrast to the general button-down style of the firm, Kalinda is a little street. Before she approaches one difficult potential witness, she adjusts her blouseline and explains to Alica that "sometimes, these work better than subpoenas."

Maybe the best measure of "The Good Wife" is that a line like this doesn't come off as pandering.

Instead, it reinforces the real theme of the show, which is that sometimes you have to figure out life on the fly. You do what a situation requires, even when you've been a good wife and it's not fair that you have to.

New York Daily News assisted to the report.

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