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'Good Wife': So long to a stellar show

"The Good Wife" has done a lot of good for TV drama, although it rarely receives its due.

The CBS series, which offers its finale at 9 p.m. Sunday, proved that broadcast dramas, still produced the regular way, could remain classy, smart and original. "The Good Wife" delivered 22 strong installments a year. Most cable dramas offer fewer; "Game of Thrones" does 10.

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With no dragons or zombies, "The Good Wife" mesmerized with topical writing and superb acting. Within broadcast limits, series creators and spouses Robert and Michelle King delivered a daringly adult show, resisted sentimentality and avoided tricks.

CBS valued the show and announced during the Super Bowl it would end. In leaving after seven seasons, "Wife" won't stagger off the air. The end for Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) will reportedly echo the opening, when she stood by her disgraced husband, Peter (Chris Noth).

Margulies says the ending will leave fans talking. Alicia deserves her moment for being solid and compelling, like the show around her. The series wasn't a showoff, and Alicia wasn't a diva. Margulies played an appealing, flawed heroine worth rooting for through twisty cases, family crises and political intrigue.

This show about the high and mighty worked well during uncertain economic times. Alicia was surrounded by successful, scheming characters: Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski), Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry) and Eli Gold (Alan Cumming).

The actors supplied vulnerability and depth to make these affluent figures relatable. The death of Will Gardner (Josh Charles), a series peak, brought home the vulnerability in searing style.

No current series does better by guest stars. Martha Plimpton and Carrie Preston won Emmys. Michael J. Fox, Nathan Lane, Gary Cole and Dylan Baker were among the dozens who excelled.

A show of its time, "The Good Wife" examined surveillance, technology, politics and gay marriage in thoughtful, witty scripts. The series melded broadcasting's best traditions with cable's adventurous ways. The results were sturdy, stylish, scintillating.

Alicia Florrick was a wonderful rarity in a medium with too many knockoffs. She gets to leave on her own terms, another rarity. We're going to miss her.

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