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The Good Wife
The Good Wife is an American legal and political drama television series that aired on CBS from September 22, 2009, to May 8, 2016. The series focuses on Alicia Florrick, the wife of the Cook County State's Attorney, who returns to her career in law after the events of a public sex and political corruption scandal involving her husband. The series, created by Robert and Michelle King, stars Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles, Christine Baranski, Matt Czuchry, Archie Panjabi, and Alan Cumming, and features Chris Noth in a recurring role. The executive producers are Ridley Scott, Charles McDougall, and David W. Zucker.The Good Wife is a heavily serialized show featuring several story arcs that carry over several episodes, as well as stand-alone procedural storylines that are concluded by the end of each episode. The serial plots have been especially showcased in its highly praised fifth season. This is a rarity among The Good Wife's broadcaster CBS, as most of its shows are procedural.
The Good Wife won numerous prestigious awards, including five Emmys and the 2014 Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama. The performances of the show's cast have been particularly recognized, with Julianna Margulies's role as Alicia Florrick receiving significant praise. The show has especially received wide acclaim for its insight on social media and the internet in society, politics and law. With the current climate of how television shows are written and produced, The Good Wife is considered by several critics to be network television's last great drama producing a full 22 episode season while other and future acclaimed shows are in favor of shorter 6–12 episode seasons. CBS announced in a promo aired during Super Bowl 50, on February 7, 2016, that the show was ending with its seventh season. The final episode aired on May 8, 2016.
- The wife of Peter, a disgraced State's Attorney, she returns to work as a junior litigator at the law firm Stern, Lockhart & Gardner, through her old law school friend Will Gardner, for whom she has feelings. Having spent so many years as "the good wife", Alicia finds herself at the bottom of the career ladder, trying to juggle both home and professional life with the ongoing scandal surrounding her husband, with whom she has two children, Zach and Grace. Alicia is smart, independent, fiercely protective of her children, and much more than just a good wife. She excels at keeping a cool exterior. She is rarely ruffled and almost always thinks through what she is going to say, choosing her words for maximum impact or sting. Alicia graduated top of her class from Georgetown University Law Center in the mid-1990s. After graduation she worked at Crozier, Abrams & Abbott for about two years but left to focus on her kids and Peter's career. She and her gay younger brother, Owen, have a loving relationship despite having personalities that are polar opposites. In Season 3, Alicia is a third-year associate at the firm. She and Peter are separated, and she has an affair with Will; but, by mid-season, she breaks it off. Alicia struggles with her feelings for Peter. She is deeply hurt and has not entirely forgiven him, but she still loves him. Toward the end of Season 3, Peter announces his candidacy for governor of Illinois; Alicia stands at his side as he makes the announcement. In Season 4, Alicia gets and takes a promotion as an equity partner of the firm and begins planning to start a new firm with Cary. After Will dies in Season 5, Alicia goes into a period of mourning, and separates from Peter, maintaining their marriage for the sake of their careers. In Season 6, Alicia runs for State's Attorney and develops a friendship with prosecutor Finn Polmar. Soon after winning the election, Alicia is caught up in an electoral fraud scandal, and though innocent, must resign her post. Broken and humiliated once again, she returns to law, and is offered a legal partnership with her arch-rival Louis Canning.
- Kalinda previously worked for Peter for three years. He fired her after accusing her of working two jobs. Kalinda is unflappable, inscrutable, fiercely private, and occasionally physically violent. She is exceptionally good at her job, although her tactics are not always strictly legal. She is often the key to the firm's winning a case, usually at the eleventh hour. She generally does not work well with others. Although Kalinda doesn't let many people close to her, she becomes good friends with Alicia, with the aid of tequila shots; and she feels protective of her. After becoming friends, Alicia finds out Kalinda had a one-night stand with Peter before she knew Alicia, damaging their friendship; but over time, the two start to reconcile. Kalinda has a cynical, misanthropic outlook on human behavior. She is openly bisexual and has a series of relationships through the show, mostly with women and often because they can help her with a case. Kalinda once claimed that she prefers women because to her, women are better lovers than men for women understand her needs and feelings better. Very little is known about Kalinda when the series begins, and she is incredibly secretive about her past. The character's signature wardrobe piece has become a pair of knee-high boots; the character initially wore pumps but Panjabi felt that boots "grounded her in the character." In Season 4, it is revealed that Kalinda has an estranged abusive husband, Nick Saverese, played by Marc Warren. Kalinda also grows romantically close with Cary. In Season 6, she desperately tries to save Cary from a malicious prosecution on drug-related charges while Alicia is busy running for office, and at a point of desperation, fakes a Brady violation through computer hacking to have Cary's charges dropped. Later, when her deception is caught, she is forced to surrender drug dealer Lemond Bishop to the State's Attorney's office in order to spare Diane from prosecution; Diane had unknowingly used the fake evidence in court. In order not to be found by Bishop for turning him over to the state's attorney office, Kalinda disappears for her own safety.
- An old friend of Alicia's, in the pilot he helped her get a job with the firm and is constantly trying to avoid appearing as if he favors her. This is complicated by the fact that the two have feelings for each other. Will and Alicia have an affair beginning at the end of season two. In season three they break up when Alicia's daughter goes missing, and Alicia decides she needs to focus more on her children. He is seen as very much of a ladies' man throughout the series and had various love affairs and girlfriends. Will generally had a good working relationship with Diane Lockhart, his co-managing partner at the firm, and the two demonstrate a shrewd ability to guide their business, even through difficult times. Will plays in a regular pick-up basketball game with other attorneys and judges, and has friendships with the players that are eventually scrutinized. During season three, Will is suspended from practicing law for six months as punishment stemming from an old bribery scandal but returns to the firm in season four. In season five after much planning, Alicia and Cary leave Lockhart & Gardner to start their own firm; Will takes this betrayal personally. In Episode 15 of the fifth season, he is shot and killed in the courtroom by his client Jeffrey Grant (played by Hunter Parrish).
- She is liberal and is a champion of women's causes, thus having strong opinions on many issues, including an extreme dislike of guns and violence, although in one plot line she had a romantic relationship with a conservative ballistics expert. She speaks fluent French and seems to have an active social life. Among her paramours is Kurt McVeigh, a firearms expert and conservative Republican, whom Diane is drawn to despite their political opposites and her dislike of guns, and they eventually marry. Although she is initially sceptical of Alicia Florrick's abilities as a lawyer when she joins the firm, Diane becomes a sort of mentor to her. But she is a mentor at a distance, and her support often comes by way of cryptic advice that only points Alicia in the right direction. She does not hesitate to tell anyone when she thinks they are wrong. Diane is often torn between supporting Alicia and Cary Agos when the two are in competition.
- In the First Season, he is a first year associate at Lockhart Gardner with Alicia Florrick. In the first episode, it is established that there is only one permanent position, putting Cary into competition with Alicia. At the end of First Season, the firm selects Alicia, and Cary goes to work for the state attorney's office. In season three, Cary is appointed Cook County Deputy State's Attorney, though he subsequently demotes himself for having an in-office affair. Dissatisfied with the demotion, he accepts an offer to return to Lockhart Gardner. He is often placed in rivalry with Alicia and sometimes resents her for this and her political connections thanks to her husband, Peter Florrick, the disgraced State's Attorney. His own career trajectory takes many twists and turns, often because of bad luck, but Cary maintains his integrity and loyalty to individual relationships he has formed. He seems to have a crush on Kalinda Sharma, the firm's investigator. It is later revealed that Cary has a very difficult and distant relationship with his father, Jeffrey Agos, a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., who does not ever seem to think Cary is good enough. As season four ends, after not getting the partnership at Lockhart Gardner that he sought, he forms a new firm bringing with him the other fourth year lawyers at the firm, and manages to convince newly minted Lockhart Gardner partner Alicia to come with them.
- He is the elder of the Florricks' two children, the older brother of Grace Florrick, grandson of Jackie Florrick and Veronica Loy (Alicia's mother), and nephew of Owen Cavanaugh. Zach has an interest in politics, at one point joining Peter's campaign as an intern. Zach is smart, stubborn and also has a strong sense of right and wrong, which has led him to not be afraid of questioning authority figures at times. Zach's computer skills and technical know-how also expose lies that are being spread about his dad. Beyond his computer skills, he shows an aptitude for using the law like his mother. He is protective of his mom because of what his father has put her through. Zach is coping with his parents' separation and starting at a new school and also starting to date. Throughout the series, Zach dates the scheming Becca and later a girl named Neesa who happens to be African-American and whose race and religion are occasionally brought into his father's campaign, which causes some issues. This becomes complicated when his father is released from prison and contemplates a run for office, making his children's life political fodder, despite their mother's best efforts. Zach eventually goes to Georgetown University.
- She is the younger of the Florricks' two children, the younger sister of Zach Florrick, granddaughter of Jackie Florrick and also Veronica Loy (Alicia's mother), and niece of Owen Cavanaugh. Although pretty and compassionate, she is friendless, which is most likely due to her personality. She begins to become deeply religious, thanks to a friend at school, much to Alicia's bemusement, and questions her faith and reads the Bible, which Alicia does not understand, but tries to support. She is naïve and young for her age. She has a tutor, Jennifer, who likes to bust out dancing in public. She has many questions about her father's infidelity, which she does not understand. She previously idolized her father, and despite his sins, she wants her parents to get back together. Grace was not happy about the move from their house in Highland Park to their apartment, and initially struggles to make friends in school.
- Eli consults for Peter when he considers a return to office. His style of management is to be blunt, often rude. Eli is politically astute and does not waste time with niceties. Eli is separated from his wife, Vanessa Gold, who has political aspirations of her own, and has a daughter, Marissa, who is similarly outspoken like her mother and shares a healthy relationship with her father. Eli believes that securing the support of Peter's wife Alicia is crucial to any ambitions he may harbor, and he quickly realizes that Alicia is no pushover and his usual wife-coddling techniques will not work. He mostly seems to respect the boundaries Alicia sets up, particularly where they concern her children Zach and Grace. As a top political consultant who is also an expert in damage control, Eli has talks with Diane Lockhart and Will Gardner about joining their firm in some way. Eli seems genuinely invested in Peter Florrick and respects both him and Alicia, although she is often a frustrating enigma to him. He has a brief shot at romance with Natalie Flores, a student who worked in the past as a nanny for Wendy Scott-Carr. Eli leaks details to the press of Natalie's status as an illegal immigrant but as he comes to know her he is seen to regret this and later helps her get a job as an intern at Lockhart & Gardner. Cumming's portrayal of Gold has been compared to Rahm Emanuel. He became a main character in season two. Eli is Jewish, but not very religious. He does, however, request the Sabbath off. In season 5 Peter asks him to be his chief of staff, which position Eli accepts.
- The Family Law division is responsible for a sizeable chunk of the firm's income, so David has more sway than Diane or Will would like. David is misanthropic and is prone to scowling, sarcasm and being directly rude to people when he thinks things are not going his way. More than anything, he is unambiguously concerned with making money. He particularly hates Julius Cane, the firm's head of litigation and an equity partner. Nevertheless, at rare moments, Alicia Florrick turns to him for help and he comes through. Although no easy judge of character, he has a liking for Alicia's mother, and sporadically asks Alicia about her. After recurring in the first four seasons, he was promoted to a series regular for the fifth season.
- Introduced in the fifteenth episode of the fifth season; Finn Polmar is the Assistant State's Attorney who prosecuted Jeffrey Grant (played by Hunter Parrish) who was being defended by Will Gardner. During a shooting in the courtroom, Finn is wounded pulling a dying Will to safety. As Finn recovers from his injuries, Alicia later seeks him out looking for answers after Will's death, and even acts as Finn's lawyer when the State's Attorney's Office tries to scapegoat him. In the Sixth Season, he is the Assistant State's Attorney up against Florrick-Agos, trying to take down one of their top clients, drug kingpin Lemond Bishop (played by Mike Colter). Finn leaves the State's Attorney office midway through the Sixth Season to start his own practice, and he represents Alicia in exit negotiations with Cary and Diane, though he declines Alicia's invitation to work with her. Finn's sister died of a drug overdose, he is divorced, and has a son. At one point Finn confides in Alicia that he and his wife had a miscarriage. Finn's character was intended to help fill the gap Will's death left behind, but he left the show after season six.
- A bar court attorney who Alicia encounters at the start of the seventh season.
- A calm, experienced hourly investigator whom Alicia hires in the seventh season, where he becomes a love interest to Alicia.
- Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi), the firm's in-house private investigator
- Zachary "Zach" Florrick (Graham Phillips), the teenage son of Alicia and Peter Florrick
- Grace Florrick (Makenzie Vega), the teenage daughter of Alicia and Peter Florrick
- David Lee (Zach Grenier), head of Family Law, a divorce lawyer, and an equity partner at Lockhart/Gardner
- Peter Florrick (Chris Noth) is Alicia's husband. The series begins with Peter resigning as State's Attorney of Cook County and going to prison amid a corruption and prostitution scandal. He spends most of the first season appealing his conviction and is cleared of the charges by the end of the season. He then successfully campaigns for election as State's Attorney again, and later successfully runs for Governor of Illinois. The series ends with Alicia standing by Peter's side as he announces his resignation from the Governorship, as a plea deal with a special prosecutor investigating his new corruption charge.
- Jackie Florrick (Mary Beth Peil) is Peter's meddling mother. She is reluctant to believe in her son's corrupt behavior and is hopeful Alicia and Peter will reunite. Her meddling irritates Alicia who has little affection for her mother-in-law.
- Geneva Pine (Renée Elise Goldsberry) is another assistant state's attorney.
- Julius Cain (Michael Boatman) is Head of Litigation at Lockhart/Gardner.
- Lemond Bishop (Mike Colter) is a wealthy drug dealer whose business Derrick Bond brings to Lockhart/Gardner. Diane Lockhart and Will Gardner have misgivings about representing someone of his ilk, but badly need his business and his money. They focus on representing his legitimate business interests, but he ends up needing more of their services. He cares deeply for his young son.
- Matan Brody (Chris Butler) A prosecutor for the Cook County Illinois State's Attorney's office under Glenn Childs. He is frequently opposing counsel to the lawyers at Stern, Lockhard & Gardner. He does not like Cary Agos and accuses him of having a "thing for ethnic women".
- Glenn Childs (Titus Welliver) is Peter's arch-rival who succeeded Peter as State's Attorney after the latter's resignation. He spends the first series trying to keep Peter in prison, and later runs against Peter for State's Attorney. He is forced to drop out of the race amid controversy, and later works as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.
- Becca (Dreama Walker) is Zach Florrick's high school girlfriend early in the first season. She enjoys the notoriety that comes with Zach's family name and turns out to be quite the schemer for a high school student. Eli Gold involves himself in keeping her in line.
- Kurt McVeigh (Gary Cole) is a ballistics expert who helps the firm on several cases, and an on-and-off love interest for Diane. Diane and he get married in season five, in spite of their political differences.
- Patti Nyholm (Martha Plimpton) is a rival attorney who opposes the Lockhart, Gardner crew in several cases. She is a scheming lawyer who mainly represents big companies. She has two kids whom she often uses to win time or the affections of judges, jurors, and witnesses.
- Lana Delaney (Jill Flint) is a lesbian FBI special agent who is Kalinda's on-again off-again love interest.
- Jonas Stern (Kevin Conway) is the third name partner in Stern, Lockhart & Gardner when the series begins. He is one of the firm's founders and a legendary lawyer. He is frequently out of the office and out of sight out of mind. He comes to Alicia Florrick for assistance representing him in a DUI case and puts her in a difficult position.
- Elsbeth Tascioni (Carrie Preston) is a quirky lawyer introduced in the episode "Mock" as part of Peter's team. She returns in Season Three to help Alicia when she gets in trouble with the Treasury Department. Later in that series, Will hires her to help him when Wendy Scott-Carr investigates him for judicial bribery.
- Colin Sweeney (Dylan Baker) is a major client of Stern, Lockhart & Gardner who has a habit of being accused of murder of women he is involved with. Although Alicia finds Colin's alleged crimes repugnant, he has a certain charm and wit. He is also quite taken by her.
- Daniel Golden (Joe Morton) is a member of Peter's legal team who later works in the State Department.
- Nancy Crozier (Mamie Gummer) is a young rival attorney who has been opposing counsel to Alicia in various cases. She pretends to be a bumbling, innocent country girl when she is, in fact, a skilled and devious attorney.
- Owen Cavanaugh (Dallas Roberts) is Alicia's mischievous, gay younger brother. He is a math professor and moves from Oregon to Chicago in season two.
- Louis Canning (Michael J. Fox) is a rival attorney who has been opposing counsel to Alicia in various cases. Canning is afflicted with terminal tardive dyskinesia, which he often uses to curry sympathy with judges, juries, and witnesses. He offers Alicia a job in "Wrongful Termination", which she rejects. After Will's death he becomes a named partner at Lockhart, Gardner, and plots with David Lee to remove Diane. Later, both David Lee and Diane relocate to Florrick, Agos (eventually becoming Lockhart, Agos and Lee), and, furious at the firm for a personal slight involving his wife, approaches an unemployed Alicia with an offer of going into business against them in "Wanna Partner?"
- Frank Landau (Mike Pniewski) is the chairman of the Democratic National Committee and as such holds a great amount of say in any political aspirations Peter Florrick may have. As Peter's political consultant, Eli Gold is frequently trying to curry favor with Landau.
- Wendy Scott-Carr (Anika Noni Rose) is a lawyer for the Cook County State Attorney's office and Peter's political rival in Season 2. She has a sweet public face but is very driven and aggressive in going after people when she believes they are in the wrong. In Season 3, she is hired by Peter to investigate Will Gardner.
- Andrew Wiley (Tim Guinee) is a freelance investigator hired by the State's Attorneys office. He knows Cary Agos from their work in the past. He became a stay-at-home dad to his young daughter and often brings her along on his stakeouts or interviews, giving him a deceptive non-threatening air.
- Marissa Gold (Sarah Steele) is Eli's daughter and Alicia's bodywoman when she runs for office.
- Jim Moody (Skipp Sudduth) is an operative for the Democratic National Committee to whom Eli Gold turns when he needs results, but doesn't want to know how they're achieved.
- Natalie Flores (America Ferrera) is Eli's love interest in Season 2.
- Blake Calamar (Scott Porter) is a private investigator for the firm who competes with Kalinda. He tries to frame Kalinda for putting a doctor in a coma but fails. He finds out that her former name was Leela Tahiri and Peter helped her change it. In return, she slept with Peter. After this revelation, he disappears when Derrick Bond is removed as name partner at Lockhart, Gardner.
- Derrick Bond (Michael Ealy) is a new partner in Season 2. He plays Will and Diane against each other, forcing Diane to plan a new firm. He fails when Will and Diane find out his scheme and turn on him. In "Great Firewall", he is removed as a named partner.
- Howard Lyman (Jerry Adler) is an equity partner at Lockhart/Gardner who doesn't work anymore but collects his profits. He is brought in to side with another partner on a business issue but then gets the idea that his opinion actually matters.
- Neil Gross (John Benjamin Hickey) is the founder of Chumhum, the series' version of Google. He is arrogant, ambitious, very wealthy, and used to getting his way.
- Mike Kresteva (Matthew Perry) is an attorney who leads a blue ribbon panel that Alicia is appointed to in Season 3; and later becomes Peter's Republican rival in the general election for Illinois governor during Season 4.
- Vanessa Gold (Parker Posey) is a political consultant and Eli Gold's ex-wife. They remain on good terms with each other. She has political aspirations of her own.
- Caitlin d'Arcy (Anna Camp) is a junior associate at Lockhart, Gardner. She is the niece of David Lee and Alicia acts as her mentor. She leaves Lockhart & Gardner in Season 3 to become a stay-at-home mother.
- Dana Lodge (Monica Raymund) is Assistant State's Attorney who is often on the opposing side of cases of lawyer from Stern, Lockhart & Gardner. She, along with Cary, is assigned to the investigation into Will Gardner led by Wendy Scott-Carr. She cultivates a flirty relationship with Kalinda Sharma in an attempt to get incriminating information on Will. Dana and Cary have a brief relationship, which is against office rules.
- Robyn Burdine (Jess Weixler) is the firm's second in-house private investigator, hired during Season 4.
- Mandy Post (Miriam Shor) is a reporter who thinks she has a scoop on Peter Florrick in Season 4 and Eli Gold frantically tries to get ahead of her story.
- Veronica Loy () is Alicia's heavy drinking mother. Her several husbands and lovers are an annoyance to Alicia and Owen. It is implied that David Lee, who helped her challenge her late husband's pre-nup, likes her.
- Clarke Hayden (Nathan Lane) is a court-appointed trustee in charge of getting the firm out of bankruptcy in Season 4. In Season 5, he joins Florrick/Argos as now a fully qualified lawyer and pro bono accountant for the firm until they become profitable.
- Nick Saverese (Marc Warren) is Kalinda's abusive ex-husband, whom she had been avoiding by changing her name. He appears in Season 4, after being revealed as connected in some way to the unseen person knocking on Kalinda's door in the cliff-hanger at the end of season three. The character proved unpopular with fans and critics, bringing a sudden end to the storyline. After escalating patterns of abuse and incidents affecting the lives of Kalinda's friends, she resolves to deal with him once and for all; she later tells Alicia that he is gone.
- Captain Laura Hellinger (Amanda Peet) is a former Army captain and military lawyer. While in Afghanistan, a contractor attempted to rape her. Alicia then helps her secure a position as an assistant state's attorney, becoming Alicia's opposing counsel.
- Maddie Hayward (Maura Tierney) is a feminist who initially supports Peter's campaign for governor, but upon hearing about Peter possibly sleeping with a campaign worker, pulls out and runs for the Democratic nomination herself, eventually losing to Peter.
- Jordan Karahalios (T. R. Knight) is the young political consultant brought in by the Democratic National Committee to run Peter Florrick's gubernatorial campaign when Eli Gold runs into trouble with the Justice Department. Eli hates him immediately. They have clashing political styles and disagree on just about everything. Peter has a hard time listening to Jordan's advice. Jordan also struggles to understand the détente that Eli has worked out with Alicia, including the limits she places on involving her or her children in the campaign.
- Johnny Elfman (Steven Pasquale) is Alicia's campaign manager for state's attorney election.
- Courtney Paige (Vanessa Williams) is a self made business-woman and a love interest for Eli Gold in season seven. She based her interpretation of Boalt on American business woman, Mellody Hobson, whom she studied through Hobson's TED talk's.
- season 1: 14 million viewers|DVR ratings: million
- season 2: 14.059 million viewers|DVR ratings: 2.257 million
- season 3: 12.100 million viewers|DVR ratings: 1.880 million
- season 4: 11.523 million viewers|DVR ratings: 2.075 million
- season 5: 12. million viewers|DVR ratings: million
- season 6: 12.268 million |DVR ratings: 2.522 million
- 2013: With 11.7 million viewers, the series ranks at No. 36 among American TV primetime series. Among 18 to 49 viewers (106); 34 and under (223).
- 2013: With 11.7 million viewers, the series ranks at No. 36 among American TV primetime series. Among 18 to 49 viewers (106); 34 and under (223).
- In Australia, the series premiered on Network Ten on February 8, 2010.
- In Canada, the series is aired simultaneously on Global.
- In Ireland, the series began airing on RTÉ Two on March 15, 2010. The series later moved to RTÉ One from season 4. The series finale aired Thursday June 9, 2016, on RTÉ One. On June 20, 2016, a 4-part drama series called Cheaters was ordered on RTÉ One, starring Irish actress Amy Huberman, which is based on The Good Wife. The premise follows a solicitor "Tara" who returns to work in law and startup her own firm after learning that her husband has cheated.
- In the United Kingdom, Channel 4 began airing The Good Wife on January 25, 2010. The series was later moved to More4 due to a drop in ratings during the first series. The network aired seasons two to six. The seventh season premiered in January 2016.
- In South Africa, it premiered on M-Net January 25, 2010.
- In China, online video streaming websites Youku and Sohu had licensed the series until a government ban forced them to remove the show from their websites in April 2014. According to Julianna Margulies, the show was apparently banned over an episode they did with the Chinese government spying on its citizens with "Sleuth way", the show's stand-in for Facebook.
- In South Korea, a deal was made with CBS international for a localized remake series of The Good Wife. The 16 episode mini series premiered July 8, 2016 on TVN sharing the same name (Korean Translation: 굿 와이프) and premise except the show examines politics and corruption in Seoul rather than in Chicago. The show was highly anticipated for the return of one of Korea's biggest actresses, Jeon Do-yeon, to TV after 11 years. It is the first ever US show to be remade in Korea.
- In Russia, Sony Pictures Television is creating a localized remake series of The Good Wife. It will be broadcast on the national network NTV.
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