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The Good Wife Season 7:End of a show, end of an era / 06/04/2016

Whether you credit Mad Men DVD Boxset (2007-2015) or Breaking Bad DVD Boxset (2008-2013), TV’s recent renaissance began with a literal interpretation of moral relativism: Man is the measure of all things. And then there was The Good Wife 7 DVD Boxset, a TV series DVD revolving around a woman. Created by Michelle and Robert King in 2009, The Good Wife DVD Boxset centers on betrayed political spouse Alicia Florrick, played by Julianna Margulies. It came to an end on May 8, and it may be the show with the largest and most lasting influence, having produced a new kind of heroine, one no longer hamstrung by the traditional expectations of easy emotion or instant “likability”.

Shows like House of Cards Season DVD (2013-), How to Get Away With Murder Season DVD (2013-), Jessica Jones Season DVD (2015-) and even Penny Dreadful Season DVD (2014-) owe as much, if not more, to The Good Wife Season 7 DVD than any of their cable peers or even the expanding digital universe. Their female leads continue to stretch boundaries that Alicia Florrick refused to acknowledge. With her careful smile and watchful demeanor, Alicia kept her own counsel and refused to be categorized. Her enigmatic mien was even more surprising given the familiarity of the character. The Good Wife 7 DVD Boxset was a fictionalized look at what happens to a political wife after she’s forced to “assume the position”, between podium and flag, as her erring spouse confesses his sins to the cameras. But miraculously, neither Margulies nor the Kings followed the usual script. Alicia wasn’t spunky, plucky or feisty, and she wasn’t visibly wounded, emotionally damaged, fatally self-effacing or popping Valium in the bathroom.

With a restraint that bordered on the heroic yet never played as such, Margulies created a whole new type of character. Neither devoid of emotion nor hostage to it, Alicia was a woman who had learned to control what she could: this moment of her life. Then the next moment of her life. And so on. She stood alone for many years, both as a character and a presence. Homeland’s DVD Boxset (2011-) Carrie Mathison DVD Boxset appeared, powerful but, with her grimacing tears and brilliant madness, Alicia’s polar opposite. Claire Underwood on House of Cards DVD Boxset (2013-) shared Alicia’s use of silence and noncommittal stares, but Claire came from a place of near comic-book ruthlessness. She was no everywoman facing the rubble of betrayal, the demands of work and family, the treachery of office politics.

Though the Kings chose to end The Good Wife Seasons 1-7 DVD, and end where it began– with Alicia’s husband facing jail and she once again asked to define the terms of the show’s title, it really doesn’t matter. The show has already left its mark: We will see Alicia’s deceptively tranquil gaze and enigmatic power reflected in the faces of increasingly diverse female characters for years to come.