"Wife" imitates life

The Good Wife debuted in 2009, shortly after the real-life resignation of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. Like Spitzer, the CBS series' errant politician Peter Florrick is discovered hiring hookers. District Attorney Florrick goes to jail, not for the sex but on corruption charges, and the show – as its name implies – revolves around how wife Alicia and their two children cope with the crisis. Creators Michelle and Robert King, husband and wife, say they drew inspiration from imagining the life of Silda Wall Spitzer after her husband's downfall. Like Alicia, Silda had given up work as an Ivy League-educated lawyer earlier in the marriage to raise her two children.

As Alicia sells their beautiful suburban home, downsizes to an urban apartment and begins work at a law firm, her reasons for staying married to Peter unfold. First, there's his assumption that once he beats the corruption charges, their life will go "back to normal." His mother, who's now helping the family care for their young teens, tells Alicia, "he's hurting, and he needs you to forgive him." And, naturally, the children want their father to return and their family to be reunited. When Peter finally leaves jail and decides to run again for office, his sharp political adviser tells Alicia he has no chance of winning without her Good Housekeeping stamp of approval. In other words, she can choose to stand by him or deny him his redemption.

As the writers of this show would have it, Alicia/Silda acts out of concern for everyone around her. The insights about her feelings for her husband are rare – at one point, she suggests separate bedrooms, telling Peter she still loves him but that she's been deeply hurt.