“The Good Wife” began its fifth season this weekend, with star Julianna Margulies promising plenty of new developments. The year’s premiere episode, “Everything is Ending” offered a hint of things to come. Words like “civil war” and “bloodbath” have been bandied about, as old allegiances shatter and new ones are formed in the law firm of Lockhart & Gardner where Margulies’ Alicia Florrick successfully resurrected her career after a publicized sex and corruption case involving her husband, Chris Noth’s Peter Florrick, forced to step down as Cook County state’s attorney and sent to prison. Florrick is eventually exonerated and returns to win the race for Governor of Illinois. [Watch here]
You can now get up to speed—or merely refresh yourself—with all four seasons now available on Streampix for the show. Created by the husband-wife team of Robert and Michelle King torn from the headlines of political scandals involving the likes of Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards, Dick Morris and Bill Clinton, “The Good Wife” has emerged as a show very much about female empowerment, represented by Margulies’ title character, who returns to litigation after taking 13 years off to raise her kids and support her husband’s ambitions.
The series has so far earned 29 Emmy nominations, winning four, including three-time nominee Margulies (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for season two), Archie Panjabi (Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for season one), Martha Plimpton (Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for season three) and Carrie Preston (Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for season four). The show itself received two nominations for Outstanding Drama Series, while Margulies received a Golden Globe in 2009 for Best Actress in a Television Series—Drama, and two consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2010-’11 for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series, among her three nominations.
Margulies is particularly excited about developments in the upcoming season, which will also include the series’ 100th episode: “There’s going to be a lot more at stake, not just the cases you see, but the people that you’ve cared about for the last four years are really coming into their own and showing their true colors in a way that some people will agree with and others won’t,” she recently told the Huffington Post.
The show also stars Josh Charles as the firm’s senior partner Will Gardner, who originally hired Alicia, a former Georgetown law school classmate, then finds his professionalism compromised by his feelings for her, which result in a romantic entanglement. Four-time Emmy nominee Christine Baranksi is Diane Lockhart, the other senior partner in the firm, who, after initial resistance, becomes Alicia’s mentor…at a distance. Emmy winner Panjabi is Kalinda Sharma, the firm’s in-house, cynical private investigator, who forms a strong bond with Alicia, until it’s revealed she had a one-night stand with Peter years before, though they end up reconciling. The cast is rounded out with Matt Czuchry’s Cary Agos, a fellow first-year junior associate who initially competes with Alicia for a spot in the firm, and maintains that rivalry through several twists and turns. Alan Cumming is Eli Gold, Peter Florrick’s blunt-speaking campaign strategist and damage control expert, and tries to get close to Alicia to accomplish his own goals.
Want to catch up? Here’s a list of 10 episodes that will give you a good place to start.
“Pilot” (Season 1, Episode 1): Alicia is forced to return to work after her husband is incarcerated. Her first case involves successfully defending a woman accused of murdering her own husband, a neat big of irony. Robert and Michelle King eceived an Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series nomination for their work on this episode. [Watch here]
“Hi” (Season 1, Episode 14): Archie Panjabi received an Emmy nomination for her role in this episode, when a graphic novelist is accused of murdering his family’s baby-sitter. The highlight is when Cary is called in to help on the case after spending the night tripping on mushrooms. The episode ends with Chris Noth’s Peter returning home after being released from prison with an electronic monitor. [Watch here]
“Real Deal” (Season 2, Episode 13): Michael J. Fox earned a nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his recurring role as rival attorney Louis Canning in this episode about a case involving toxic dumping in a neighborhood’s water supply which has caused sterility in women. [Watch here]
“Silver Bullet” (Season 2, Episode 15): Alan Cumming and Christine Baranski both received nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor/Actress in a Dramatic Series for their roles in this episode, in which Alan’s Eli Gold finds himself involved, professionally, then personally, with an illegal immigrant nanny facing deportation, played by former Emmy winner America Ferrera.[Watch here]
“Getting Off” (Season 2, Episode 22): Sarah Silverman\ plays the owner of an adultery website being defended by the firm, as Alicia confronts Kalinda about her affair with Peter. [Watch here]
“Parenting Made Easy” (Season 3, Episode 10): Margulies and Michael J. Fox received Emmy nominations for their roles in this episode, where a routine arbitration hearing turns into a heated conflict between the two opposing barristers, who then make an unexpected connection when a personal crisis interrupts the proceedings.[Watch here]
“The Dream Team” (Season 3, Episode 22): Martha Plimpton earned an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her role in this third season finale when she joins Louis Canning’s mission to bankrupt Lockhart & Gardner. [Watch here]
“Anatomy of a Joke” (Season 4, Episode 7): The firm represents a female comic (Christina Ricci) who exposes her breasts on national television, while Eli must now deal with a new rumor regarding Peter’s “anatomy.” Meanwhile, a trustee (Nathan Lane) is trying to force the law firm to be sold, only to be thwarted by some last-minute maneuvering. [Watch here]
“Boom De Ya Da” (Season 4, Episode 11): Nathan Lane received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role as trustee Clarke Hayden, who requests a mediation with Will and Diane after their thwarting of his plans to sell the firm, requesting they be removed from their posts as senior partners. Alicia faces rival Michael J. Fox’s Louis Canning again, attempting depose an executive in a lawsuit against a bank who foreclosed on houses with stagnant swimming pools, facilitating the spread of disease-bearing mosquitoes. [Watch here]
“Red Team/Blue Team” (Season 4, Episode 14): Carrie Preston won an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Dramatic Series for her role as eccentric attorney Elsbeth Tascioni, who the firm previously defended on charges of doping a bicycle racer and is now representing Eli Gold, in this episode. With Lockhart & Gardner clearing its debt obligations, Alicia and Cary find their promised promotion to partners has been delayed for a year, as the two are asked to prosecute in a mock trial against Will and Diane involving an energy drink company being sued for the death of a girl after she consumed one of their products. [Watch here]