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CBS's upcoming 'The Good Wife' exploits Illinois politics

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Here's hoping that Chicago's not too scandal-ed out by fall, because our political corruption is at the core of CBS's upcoming drama, "The Good Wife."

In the opening moments of the pilot, which airs Sept. 22, a politician and his wife present a united front at a press conference, where he resigns as State's Attorney of Cook County - and apologizes for his "personal failings."

We learn that's a euphemism for dalliances with prostitutes, possibly in return for political favors.

The wife looks the part, in pearls and a crisp houndstooth jacket. But after the announcement, in the hall when they're alone, she slaps him across the face.

Then the show fast-forwards to six months later. The politician is in prison, and his wife has gone back to work at a prestigious law firm to pay the family's bills.

Sound familiar to you? The plot rips several scandals from the headlines, and then purees them together in what promises to be an addicting show - especially for Chicagoans. Judging from the first episode, "The Good Wife" has many real-life inspirations...

Chris Noth, as the disgraced Peter Florrick, has elements of:

*Rod Blagojevich, who has the bravado to believe that he can make a political comeback.

*Jack Ryan, whose skyrocketing political career was shot down by allegations about his sexual interests by his ex, Geri Ryan, in divorce papers.

*Eliot Spitzer, whose prostitute became a celebrity.

Noth is perfect casting, because it does come as a jolt that the "Law & Order" vet - Mike Logan! - could have gone to the dark side. He also has a built-in, devoted female audience who adored him in "Sex and the City." Is this what happens when Mr. Big goes bad?

Julianna Margulies, as the shell-shocked Alicia Florrick, has elements of:

*Patti Blagojevich, who is publicly standing by her husband, and generated money for the family by appearing on "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" Like Alicia, she has two daughters.

*Michelle Obama, who had a high-powered career at a prestigious Chicago law firm too, and could return to her career without missing a beat.

*Elizabeth Edwards, who felt humiliated by her husband's affair, but is sticking it out for the sake of the family.

In addition, Margulies brings to the role some Chicago cred, having starred in the locally-based "ER." Intriguingly, she also brings a whiff of the mafia with her, since she guest-starred as Christopher's mistress on "The Sopranos."

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This page contains a single entry by Paige Wiser published on July 2, 2009 4:19 AM.

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