Monday, November 7, 2011

On the tube: Good, bad and a really hot actress

One of my absolutely favorite ways to spend Sunday evenings is with Alicia Florrick, Will Gardner, Kalinda Sharma and all the other characters of The Good Wife. The legal drama is smart, funny and always entertaining. It also helps that the role of Alicia is played by Julianna Margulies who is seriously hot!

Occasionally the show’s writers, producers and director also get me to think. That was the case Sunday when the firm of Lockhart & Gardner took on a client who was suing the feds for really bad behavior. He was essentially kidnapped and tortured because there was the slimmest of evidence that he had ties to a terrorist group in Afghanistan.

Basic rights are ignored by the government, and the accused and his attorneys find themselves momentarily tumbling down a rabbit hole that can only be described as Kafkaesque. Justice Department lawyers refuse to offer up any information, citing national security issues. They eventually are ordered to turn over all files related to the case and send over boxes of material that have been carefully redacted.

Once upon a time, simply because I worked at a place with a printing press that bought paper by the ton and ink in barrels, I had government documents cross my desk that had been edited by censors. As often as not, the info needed by editors and reporters was clear and blacked-out portions were of little import. Not so in the lawyerly drama.

Alicia and her colleagues had to piece together what they could from the info provided while maneuvering their way carefully through a byzantine government maze filled with arrogant bureaucrats and toads – the Man run amok!

The constitutional issues raised are the stuff of headlines in recent years – suspension of habeas corpus, warrantless wire taps, enhanced interrogation. It’s all a messy business that flies in the face of all those beliefs and rights that, like Superman, define truth, justice and the American way! But I digress.

The Good Wife’s fast pace, sharp dialogue, wit and humor remind me of The West Wing, one of my all-time favorite TV dramas. The show’s ensemble cast, Josh Charles, Archie Panjabi, Christine Baranski, Matt Czuchry and Julianna – I did mention she’s hot, right? – seems to have found its stride and offers a really nice break from the mindless mess of reality TV.

Sadly, life often seems like it’s become a mindless mess. Unfortunately, our collective problems and challenges can’t be neatly wrapped up in an entertaining hour. And so it goes.

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