Characters / The Good Wife

An (incomplete) list of characters to be found in the television series The Good Wife.

For tropes related to the characters in the Aftershow The Good Fight, see here
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    Alicia Florrick (née Cavanaugh) 
Played by: Julianna Margulies

The titular good wife of the series. Formerly a litigation lawyer until she married Peter and had their kids. After Peter is involved in a public sex scandal and faces the threat of prison, she goes back to her former career to support herself and their children. After being away from the job so long she has to start as a junior and make her way up the ladder from scratch.

    Peter Florrick 
Played by: Chris Noth

Alicia's husband and former Illinois State Attorney who fell victim to a major sex scandal that triggered the plot of the series.

  • The Atoner: Trying to make up for what he did both as a public, political figure and as a husband.
  • Papa Wolf: Which goes well with Alicia's attitude towards their kids. His responses to people trying to get at him through his family has ranged from using his political connections to mess with them, to punching a guy in the face.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Oh boy.
    • Cheated on his wife with prostitutes pre-series;
    • Covered up Kalinda's name change for sexual favors, pre-series;
    • Suspected and averted with Marilyn Garbanzo in season 5;
    • Suspected and double subverted with the intern in seasons 5-6. It wouldn't quite be cheating because he and Alicia are only together for appearances... then you find out he isn't sleeping with his intern, he's sleeping with her mother, and has been since before Grace was born.

    Diane Lockhart 

Managing partner of Lockhart/Gardner
  • Badass in Charge: Notable in that, like Will, Diane is a named partner of Lockhart/Gardner and a talented, tenacious lawyer, as opposed to many of the equity partners who are content to let lower-ranked members of the firm do their work and just collect a paycheck.
  • Being Good Sucks
  • Break the Haughty: Gets it big-time in the spin-off: Not only does raging liberal feminist Diane have to watch Donald Trump elected President but she discovers an old friend ripped her off in a Ponzi scheme and is flat broke just after quitting the firm.
  • The Gadfly: She sometimes trolls her Love Interest Kurt McVeigh by randomly name-dropping left-wing talking points, just to watch him twitch.
  • Only Sane Man: Routinely has to be above it all when dealing with either the defendants or her coworkers. Because of this, it's allowed her to see Bond attempting to oust her, Will and Alicia willing, and Alicia, Cary, and the fourth years leaving to start their own firm. Also, given Will's own brushes with the wrong side of the courtroom, she serves as the voice of reason for when his ideas can cause problems for the firm, or for him.
  • Opposites Attract: Dates and ultimately marries ultra-conservative Southern weapons expert Kurt McVeigh, despite being a lifelong liberal who's largely anti-gun.
    "I can't. Three generations of Democratic ancestors are screaming in protest."
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Will. To the point of platonically slow dancing.
  • Specs of Awesome

    Will Gardner 
Played by: Josh Charles

The other managing partner of Lockhart/Gardner and the partner who decided to take a chance on hiring Alicia after Peter's scandal, thanks in part to their ambiguous but important past friendship from law school.
  • Amoral Attorney: Was one in the past, and still displays some signs.
  • Anyone Can Die: He is killed in Season 5.
  • Hello, Attorney!
  • Jerkass with a Heart of Gold: Veers regularly between this and jerkass: Will can be vindictive, coldly calculating, and apologetically manipulative. He also seems to have a soft spot for certain, emotionally-charged cases, is quite loyal to those he cares about (particularly Diane, Kalinda, and Alicia), and is, oddly enough, probably the biggest romantic on the show.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Diane.
  • The Strategist: Has proven an unconventional brilliance when it comes to navigating the world of law.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Has apparently been in love with Alicia for the better part of two decades, but can never seem to get past their "bad timing."
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Alicia.

    Kalinda Sharma 
Played by: Archie Panjabi

A crack investigator with Lockhart/Gardner.
  • Action Girl: On a show full of lawyers (hence lots of talking), Kalinda acts rather than chats.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She's attractive in an imposing way and has an aloof demeanour.
  • Ax-Crazy: She can come across as this when pushed too far.
  • Berserk Button: Say something to make Alicia know about Kalinda's and Peter's affair and Kalinda will go violent.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Kalinda is a woman of few words, but she is the last person you want to go up against.
  • Bi the Way: Describes herself as "flexible."
  • Breakout Character: Won the show's first Emmy and quickly became a favorite in a rich ensemble.
  • But Not Too Bi: Kalinda is seen more often in early seasons with male lovers, though the balance is restored later on with Kalinda having both male and female partners.
  • Consummate Liar: Used primarily in her duties as an investigator, but also to hide her private life and past from even her closest friends and colleagues.
  • Dating Catwoman: On the other side of the trope; she has a casual relationship with FBI agent Lana Delaney, which sometimes puts them on different sides of a case.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: According to Cary.
    Dana Lodge: I am not a lesbian.
    Cary: I know a lot of people who weren't anything until they met Kalinda.
  • Femme Fatale: Fits most of the criteria, down to seducing people who know they shouldn't fall for it, except for the fact that she's also the hard-boiled private investigator.
  • Ms. Fanservice
  • Mysterious Past: Kalinda Sharma is not her real name to begin with...
  • Put on a Bus: Kalinda departs at the end of Season 6, following her betrayal of Lemond Bishop and Archie Panjabi's contract ending.
  • The Stoic: Is excellent at keeping her emotions under the surface, which makes it all the more powerful when they do burst through.
  • Vague Age: She said she was 12 when Alicia last practiced law in the pilot, which would put her age at 25, but that's pretty young for a character with that much experience in everything played by a 37-year old actress. Although it's likely she was just being hyperbolic or lying like many things about her past. For all we know she could be as old as Alicia just younger looking and likes dressing like a college girl.

    Cary Agos 
Played by: Matt Czuchry

Began the series as an associate at Lockhart/Gardner with Alicia, competing for one permanent slot. Eventually bounces around until finally striking out for professional independence.
  • The Casanova
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Hasn't had a boss yet who he hasn't turned on at some point. Including himself, in a sense, when he went behind Alicia's back at Florrick-Agos.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "Silly Season" in Season 2 and "Affairs of State" in Season 3.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Can be helpful or nasty depending on his mood. The major Face–Heel Turn was working for Childs. The major Heel–Face Turn was testifying on the firm's behalf after they're under fire for trumped up charges.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Returns to Lockhart/Gardner and later starts his own firm with Alicia.
  • Irony: Says he appreciates the "moral clarity" of working as a prosecutor, but as Peter could've told him, it's turns out to be just as murky as working on the other side of the aisle.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sometimes.
  • Smug Snake: At his worst moments.
  • The Rival: To Alicia, first competing against her for a job at Lockhart/Gardner, and then against her as an Assistant State's Attorney.

    Eli Gold 
Played by: Alan Cumming

You ever seen Drag Me to Hell? It's gonna be just like that.

A fixer employed by Peter Florrick to deal with the fallout from his sex scandal. Later his campaign manager and chief of staff.
  • Adorkable: Whenever Natalie Flores is around.
  • Berserk Button:
    • "I hate AMATEURS!"
    • Don't do anything to hurt Eli's campaign if you don't want him to spit coffee and throw books or strangle you.
  • Hidden Depths: Loves horror movies. "Because they're awesome."
  • 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.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Might embrace the nastiest elements of politics to get himself and his candidate ahead, but also grows to genuinely care about a handful of people, most notably the Florrick family and Natalie Flores.
  • Manipulative Bastard
  • Pet the Dog: They start showing up right and left in season four. Respects Alicia's decision about the interview, snaps at the interviewer when she gets rude, shows deep guilt about prying into Alicia's private life and explicitly says that he's protecting Alicia, not just Peter, from malicious rumors.

    David Lee 
Played by: Zach Grenier

Head of Family Law.

    Finn Polmar 
Played by: Matthew Goode

An ASA who goes up against Will in court, only to find himself embedded in the politics and personal life of the main cast following a terrible tragedy.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Tries to stop the bleeding when Will is shot; failing that, holds and tries to comfort him until help arrives.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: In a world full of Grey and Gray Morality, even among the "good guys," Finn definitely has the straightest moral compass, shying away from his "hero" image following the shooting and even quitting his ASA job upon discovering Castro's true intentions.
  • Nice Guy: Genuinely kind, charming, funny, and warm, particularly towards Alicia.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Fills the leading-man gap left by the departure of Josh Charles, particularly in his evolving friendship with Alicia.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Season 6 really ramps this up between him and Alicia.

    Glen Childs 
Played by: Titus Welliver

Peter's successor as Illinois State Attorney.
  • Amoral Attorney: The closest person the show has to being this trope.
  • Big Bad: The closest thing to one. At least for the first two seasons.
  • The Rival: To Peter Florrick.
  • Smug Snake
  • Villain Decay: Glenn Childs went from rather cunning and vicious in Season One to fairly incompetent and even approaching Jerkass Woobie status in Season Two.

    Johnny Elfman 
Played by: Steven Pasquale

An in-demand, blunt political advisor who becomes the campaign manager for a later State's Attorney race.
  • Adorkable: Turns out that for all his quick thinking and strategic ruthlessness, when it comes to his feelings for Alicia, he turns into a stammering dork who can hardly meet her eyes.
  • The Cynic: Starts out utterly utilitarian and cynical when questioning Alicia about motives for running, but gradually comes to truly believe in her.
    Alicia: How do you know that I can do better things than Prady?
    Johnny: Because I... I've talked with you, and been with you, and...I believe in you.
  • Foil: To Eli. Both are political advisers/consultants working with a Florrick on a campaign, but Eli is immensely snarky and hot-tempered, while John tends towards a calmer, more thoughtful demeanor.
  • Manipulative Bastard: A job requirement, though to a much lesser degree than Eli.

    Wendy Scott Carr 
Played by: Anika Noni Rose

Peter's opponent in the race for State Attorney in Season 2.
    Nancy Crozier 
Played by: Mamie Gummer

A recurrng attorney.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She acts sensitive and innocent, but she is no less ruthless than any other lawyer on the show. That said, she is often seen in civil court representing clients who at least have sympathetic motives for their lawsuits.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Is good at putting on an innocent act, and likes to exploit it.
  • Running Gag: Did she mention she's just a girl from Michigan?
    Clark Hayden 
Played by: Nathan Lane

A trustee appointed to manage the firm's finances during season 4.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: You know you're doing something right if you make David Lee sweat during a negotiation.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Was fairly distant at first, but became much more personally invested with the firm over time; in "Waiting For The Knock", he even uncovered vital clues while assisting in a case.
  • Hidden Depths: Was a CPA for 22 years and still knows quite a few tricks of the trade.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He can come off as a bit blunt when running the firm, but genuinely means well.

    Elsbeth Tascioni 
Played by: Carrie Preston

An eccentric but brilliant lawyer.

  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Very quirky and cute, but sharp as a tack.
  • Cloudcuckoolander She comes across as this.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: A common tactic of hers; she acts all innocent and charming and uses this to her advantage to throw people off their guard and get the information she wants.

    Frank Prady 

Alicia's opponent when she runs for State's Attorney in Season 5.

  • Ambiguously Gay: Even though he is divorced and has two children, there is a rumor that he is secretly gay. He's not. He hasn't remarried because he is a Jesuit, meaning a second marriage is considered adultery.
  • Nice Guy: One of the most moral politicians featured on the show.
  • Worthy Opponent: He and Alicia respect each other as this.