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CBS legal drama series, 2009 to present, exec produced by Ridley Scott and starring Julianna Margulies, currently airing its third season and now both a Golden Globe and Emmy winner.

Alicia Florrick has a bit of a problem on her hands. Her husband was the former State Attorney of Cook County, Illinois, until he got caught being Eliot Spitzer/Clinton, and resigned. Then he got sent to prison for corruption.

A trained lawyer, she resumes her practice and ends up running the pro bono cases. Of course, she's a defence lawyer and all the prosecutors know her- including the new State Attorney, who may have shopped her husband to the authorities.

Plus her husband is trying to clear his name and she's not sure whether she wants to be with him any more.


This show contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: When Fred Thompson guest starred in one episode, his client referred to him as The DA as he played one on TV and his character referred to actually passing the Bar before going to acting, which Fred Thompson actually did.
  • Adult Fear: When Alicia can't find Grace? And realizes that her daughter called her twelve times? And her daughter isn't answering her phone? And one of the messages has a man telling her daughter to get in the car in the background? God, yes. Terrifying.
  • Amoral Attorney: As the trope's page says, the majority of all lawyers are amoral where their clients' best interests are concerned. The closest people to the definition of the trope would be Glenn Childs and Patti Nyholm.
  • Berserk Button: Say something to make Alicia know about Kalinda's and Peter's affair and Kalinda will go violent.
    • Don't do anything to hurt Eli's campaign if you don't want him to spit coffee and throw books or strangle you.
  • Best Served Cold: Wendy Scott Carr seems to just want to do her job, until she reveals to Will who she's really after in season 3.
  • Bi the Way: Kalinda. It's hinted at, then confirmed. She claims to "not distinguish," but sometimes "prefers women."

 Kalinda: I'm not gay, I'm.... flexible.

  • Blatant Lies: Kalinda is trying to establish the trust of somebody she thinks is a hacker. He points to the two federal agents sulking un-subtly over her shoulder.

 Hacker: Are they with you?

Kalinda: . . . no.

  • Brother-Sister Team: Alicia and Owen turn into this more and more.
    • Zach and Grace of course. They take such good care of their Mom.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Unsurprisingly, a few. Nancy Crozier (the disarmingly ditzy acting yet sharp and savvy blonde who returns in season 2), Stern, and Ryan Alprin (from Unorthodox) are probably the best and most literal examples.
    • Andrew Wylie is a bunny-ears investigator; he's rarely seen without his small children in tow.
    • And bunny-ears judges too. You'd be hard-pressed to find a judge without a quirk or three on this show.
  • But Not Too Bi: Kalinda is seen more often with male lovers, though the balance is being restored.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Many of the quirky recurring characters, but Elsbeth Tascioni stands out.

 Do you hear that too?

  • Deadpan Snarker: So very many. Most of the lawyers and a lot of the judges, even the Indian shopkeeper in episode 6 of season 1, although special recognition should go to David Lee.
  • Did Not Do the Research: A Nobel Peace Prize laureate-to-be mentions he's busy since he's going to Stockholm to receive his award. The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony is held in Norway.
  • Disregard That Statement: Used by many characters, though they usually withdraw their statement as soon as the other side objects.
  • Eagle-Eye Detection
  • Elevator Going Down: At the end of the season 2 finale, Will and Alicia almost casually decide to resolve their WTWT and take a room at a hotel. Their elevator ride to the presidential suite starts off as an Uncomfortable Elevator Moment and gradually turns into this with every stop.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Kalinda according to Cary.
  • Everybody Did It: Mr. Bit Coin is actually three people in concert.
  • Face Heel Turn: Cary accepts a job from Glenn Childs.
    • Man's gotta eat. He's still a stand-up guy.
  • Fake American: Scottish-born (now a US citizen) Alan Cumming playing Eli Gold. Also Londoner Archie Panjabi playing Kalinda Sharma.
  • Fake Guest Star: Chris Noth as Peter Florrick. He isn't in every episode, but still shows up often enough to be considered regular.
  • A Fool for a Client: Stern tries to defend himself "through Alicia" from a DUI charge until she decides to take matters into her own hands.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The episode title, "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot." The episode involved the military, who use those words to spell out initials over the radio. WTF, or . . .
  • Hello, Attorney!: Alicia is portrayed by Julianna Margulies.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming All season 1 episodes have one word titles, all season 2 episodes have two word titles, all season 3 episodes have three word titles, etc.
  • If It's You It's Okay: Kalinda turns everyone's head.

  Cary: I know a lot of people who weren’t anything until they met Kalinda.

  • Informed Ability: Eli Gold is supposedly "the best" political manager in the business, but in early season 2 he misses huge problems or plays into a lot of serious screw-ups.
  • In the Back: There's a lot of this. Not least in Lockhart and Gardner.
  • The Judge: An unusual judge appears Once an Episode.
  • Justice by Other Legal Means: Inverted in the second episode, where a stripper files a civil action against her rapist after the State Attorney decides not to prosecute. Alicia loses the case after the DNA evidence is found to be cross-contaminated. However, just as the rapist leaves the court, he's arrested for her rape, as non-contaminated DNA evidence has been found.
    • In season two, a murderer is found to have been insane while committing the act, and sane now, meaning he's free to go. However, the trial reveals that he committed another murder, which he's promptly arrested for.
  • Law Procedural
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: A mild case. The third season premiere checks in with Alicia and seven other regular characters (Diane, Eli, Grace, Zach, Cary, Peter, Kalinda) before the opening titles, making Will noticeable by his absence--he shows up right after the titles, before the credits. Those are all regulars, never mind recurring characters and the primaries in cases of the week.
  • Love Triangle: Peter/Alicia/Will. The Cliff Hanger ending of the first season basically has her deciding between them- does she join her husband on stage where he's announcing his attempt to get his elected position back or take a call from Will.
    • And during second season finale, she and will have sex in a hotel room.
  • Meaningful Funeral: Averted with Stern's. Diane, Will and Alicia just go to try and take his clients.
  • Mistaken for Racist: One judge sentences Alicia's black, juvenile client to a stricter sentence than necessary, despite an agreement; time in a boys home. The firm figures he's racist, and reconsiders after Alicia walks into his office and sees photos of him with people like Barack Obama. Turns out he has gambling debts, and his friend runs the boys' home and is giving him kickbacks from the state's stipend.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Kalinda, who wears knee-high boots and low-cut tops.
  • Not Quite Dead: Kozko.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Nancy Krozier seems like The Ditz, but it's clearly at least partly an act as she's quite a ruthless and well-prepared lawyer when she has to be.
    • Elsbeth Tascioni
  • Opposites Attract: Very liberal lawyer Diane Lockhart dates ultra-conservative weapons expert Kurt Mc Veigh. They even exchange books on Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin.
  • Parental Favoritism: Sloan's mother clearly prefers her other daughter to her.
  • Pet the Dog: David Lee, who usually plays the part of a slimy Smug Snake (Diane: "You hate people!"), gets very pissed when Eli Gold involves Caitlin, his niece, in their rivalry. Something along the lines of "She is every that is bright and good in this world, and you do not get to take that away!"
  • Platonic Life Partners: Diane and Will emobdy this trope. For reference, the following exchanges during platonic slow dancing.

 Diane: We are the perfect couple . . .

Will: . . . except for the sex.

  • Playing Against Type - Miranda Cosgrove guest-starred as Sloan, a Lindsay Lohan-esque singer.
    • To lesser extent, Sarah Silverman is a host of Ashley Madison-esque site.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Louis Canning makes his money defending large corporations from clearly deserved lawsuits, and makes quite morally dubious use of his neurological disorder to sway the jury's sympathy, or even distract them from damaging testimony. But outside the courtroom, he's a perfectly nice guy and a devoted family man. He even justifies his defense of these companies by pointing out that the lawsuits that firms like Lockhart/Gardner pursue against them is a contributor in the price increases of all their products, including those he uses to help treat his chronic illness.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: One episode features an internet billionaire who's had a film made about him which he thinks is defamatory, making him look like a jerk and implying he made his website in order to Get The Girl. Blowing this paper-thin No Celebrities Were Harmed right out of the water, he's described on introduction as a "Mark Zuckerberg wannabe".
  • Smug Snake: Glenn Childs.
    • Also Colin Sweeney (played by Dylan Baker), who appears in a couple of episodes.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: A love scene between Peter and Alicia, with Peter going down on her to the sound of... NPR's All Things Considered playing on Alicia's radio? In Real Life, that weekend's episode of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me found this hilarious.
  • Spousal Privilege: Comes up in "Bang", as the only person who can break the murderer's alibi is his wife.
  • Strange Bedfellows: Alicia and Crozier working together. it quickly turns sour.
  • Take That: Recent episodes have had a micro-expressions/lie detection expert get everything wrong, and a glee club director try to help a political campaign only to harm it.
  • That Was Objectionable: Lawyers yelling objection when a question hasn't even been asked yet. Used intentionally by Alicia to aggravate Stern's dementia and make him lose focus.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Alisha and Will. To the point where he says that they have "always had bad timing."
    • Resolved. And as the closer of season two no less.
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: Averted. The fact that much of the blackmail material used by Childs against the Florricks is, in fact, shopped is a minor plot point. The only problem is that not all of it is fake.
  • Written in Infirmity: Michael J. Fox plays a lawyer with a neurological disorder (not Fox's own Parkinson's, but close enough).
  • You Fail Geography Forever: So, so often. Putting a Hasidic Jewish neighborhood in Hyde Park? A wealthy neighborhood in Garfield Park, out of all places?
    • Hasidic? No, they were Haredi. Not all Orthodox Jews are Hasidic. Also, Did Not Do the Research, as using the phone on Shabbes would not cause the rift between the couple that it did, unless they were already having problems, and it is not a "test of faith," either.
    • This is what happens when the writers are in LA, the show is filmed in New York, and set in Chicago.

Notes

  1. Actually a rather common scenario in that sort of thing; it's a classic murder/self-defence argument
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