Why Alicia Florrick Isn’t a Good Wife (And Why It Doesn’t Matter)

If you haven’t watched the most recent season of The Good Wife, step away now or prepare to be spoiled.

As the final season of The Good Wife, arguably one of the best shows on television, comes to a close, Peter and Alicia’s relationship is finally at the tipping point the show has been building up to over the past seven years. In the last several episodes of the series, Alicia prepares to divorce Peter after years of all but hating her husband, hanging onto a broken relationship that eventually morphed into a political marriage, and hiding relationships with men she actually sees a future with—all while publicly maintaining the facade of a forgiving woman scorned.

The entire premise of The Good Wife is built upon the idea that Alicia is in fact a good wife simply because Peter is a bad husband. In the pilot episode, we meet Alicia Florrick, the wife of Peter Florrick, former Illinois State’s Attorney, as she literally stands by him while he apologizes to his constituency for his transgressions—accepting bribes in the form of prostitutes—and prepares for a prison sentence. Over the course of the first few seasons of the series, Alicia’s quality as a spouse becomes just as questionable as Peter’s, as she also cheats repeatedly—but the difference is, she does so without getting caught. Alicia manages to privately carry on an on-and-off relationship with Will Gardner, her boss and law school crush, while publicly keeping her status as the almost saintly wife of a shamed former politician.

Image Credit to CBS

As misguided as it is for the masses to declare which person fulfills their duties better than the other in what is at its core a private relationship, the ramifications of Alicia’s status as a “good” wife are worse for wives on a larger scale than they are for Peter and Alicia’s doomed relationship. Whether a wife chooses to stand by her husband when he cheats and is publicly shamed for it is her decision (ed. note: see Lemonade), but the real problems arise when other wives are measured against that standard. Calling Alicia a good wife implies that bad wives leave their cheating husbands, instead of sticking around to endure the nagging paranoia caused by wondering if it will happen again, or worse, the horror of realizing it’s a never-ending cycle. Deciding to end a relationship shouldn’t make a wife, or husband, bad anymore than sticking around should deem them a good spouse.

While Alicia may not in fact be a good wife, she is a good lawyer and a good mother, and toes the line of being a good person, which are the qualities that lead to her ability to come into her own after realizing that her marriage is effectively over. Over the past seven years, hundreds of glasses of wine, and even more shots of tequila (the ever-present harbinger of bad amazing things to come) Alicia has had an awakening that, instead of the Florricks’ crumbling marriage, has been the real story of the series. We’ve followed Alicia from her first days working again after Peter went to jail, stumbling through life like a baby deer and narrowly avoiding a few hard crashes with the ground, to her life as a high-powered lawyer who couldn’t care less about what people think of her. As we ready ourselves to say goodbye to The Good Wife this Sunday (read: stock up on wine and tissues), and Alicia prepares to ride off into the sunset with Jason at some undetermined moment in the future, there’s one thing we’ll keep in mind: It’s Alicia time.

Image Credit to CBS

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