Does THE GOOD WIFE Have a BIG Problem?

Despite the fact that it has become seemingly against the laws of the internet to speak poorly of anything GOOD WIFE related there is a little something we’ve been meaning to discuss with regards to last Tuesday’s otherwise excellent episode: The perils when it comes to casting big names.

As you may recall, when we last left THE GOOD WIFE, the highly contentious race for State’s Attorney culminated with a victory for one Peter Florrick (Chris Noth). Unfortunately, Mr. Florrick couldn’t be reached for comment.

Now don’t get us wrong, we understand full well that the show is called THE GOOD WIFE, not THE MORALLY DUBIOUS HUSBAND. And yes, leaving your viewers in suspense as to what exactly an emotionally charged Alicia — who just discovered that her supposed best friend Kalinda has been keeping her sordid history with her husband a secret for the better part of two seasons — will say to Peter when she confronts him upon the show’s May 3rd return isn’t the worst way to end an episode heading into a three week hiatus.

Unfortunately, the far more cynical part of our TV watching brain can’t help but wonder as to how much better the culmination of Peter’s hotly-contested race for State’s Attorney might have played out had it not been marred by us wondering just how much money the production saved by not having Chris Noth in the episode. Oh, and as it turns out, we weren’t the only ones. At least as evidence by regular commentator to grumpiestoldman who recently posted, “It was ridiculous last week having him win the election, and the actor wasn’t even on the show.”

Which naturally raises the slightly awkward albeit painfully obvious question when it comes to casting pivotal roles on shows that have “reoccurring guest star” written all over them: Should shows such as THE GOOD WIFE (And while we’re on the subject, FRINGE for that matter) continue to rely on such big names? Do the splashy headlines and viewers the likes of a Chris Noth generate outweigh the fact that for various reasons (be it scheduling and/or financial to name a few) is only able to appear on the show sporadically? We would argue, no, they do not. How about you?

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  • haha. nice title to the article.

  • Thanks for noticing!

  • Anonymous

    I don’t watch TGW or Fringe, but this topic makes me think of Elizabeth Banks on 30 Rock. It’s a pretty significant role she has, but the show has to work around only being able to have her appear in certain episodes. I think they’ve made it work though. She’s great, and they’ve done a good job of fitting her in enough that it doesn’t feel like she’s an invisible cast member.

  • John

    If Noth was supposed to be a regular character, as opposed to recurring, this would be more of a problem.

    As it is, I don’t have a problem with it. The show is not about him, it is (or at least was) about the repercussions of what he did on his wife, and to a lesser extent his children.

  • You are completely right. It is against the laws of the internet to speak poorly of anything The Good Wife related. But we are rebels so it’s okay.

    It was an important episode that merited a Chris Noth appearance, and all of us viewers were left scratching our heads as to why he wasn’t on. That, I think the showrunners should have foreseen.

    While yeah, casting big names in important roles does cause major problems, I think overall it’s good for the show.

    Also, Peter Florrick is a great character that, in my opinion (see what I did there?), needed a known actor to play it. And now that we’ve seen Mr. Big as Peter Florrick, it’s not too easy to think of anyone else who would have fit the role better.

    I’m sure the creators of the show have seen the backlash and will schedule the Noth appearances more carefully the next time around.

  • Anonymous

    How is Peter going to run for the Senate with Mr. Big only dropping in every third episode or so?
    I mean really, what could be more important than starring on the best show on television?
    C’mon , CBS……pony up.

  • Pennelope Pennebaker

    I didn’t miss him – and won’t miss him during the Senate run. He’s simple the reason for her show.

  • kevin

    i’d love to see him moved up as a regular character. and while i thought the episode was great, it was extremely jarring not seeing the winner of the election on camera at all, except for when it looked like they tried to show him from behind (but it was clearly just some guy). that said, i think the reason he wasn’t on the episode is because he’s committed to a broadway play. i could be wrong though.

  • tvdramafan

    From what I understand, it may not have been the money, but rather Chris Noths desire to do a broadway play, and whatever his contract/obligation to TGW, it allowed him an out.The problem is, IMO, love him or hate him, the actor is charismatic, and has created a multi-faceted character in Peter, who is a pivotal character..While the writers did their best, and the episode focussed on alicia , it still seemed jarring that he was not there. He was missed..esp when this storyline which did not focus on Alicia, focussed on his character!! He was not in several epis last season, and took more off this year…I just get the sense that the producers did not expect him to take so much time during a critical point in the shoot..but he is not entirely to blame, as he clearly chose not to be a regular from the outset. So your bigger point is correct…should they depend on stars ? Not so sure.. he is very tied ( or was) to the central storyline.. I hope that this recent “issue” does not impact on his future on the show..and they have a clearer pic of his committment/availability to the show.Feel it is unfair to matter who is to blame..(and suspect it is a little of both)….so guess this is a lesson for all actors/producers alike using recurring as pivotal…
    On the positive side, the epi is now over, and I understand CN will be in remaining epis, making up for lost hopefully this will faux pas be forgotten, and we can look forward to S3 with the actor confirmed in a decent no of episodes.

  • Cam3150

    I read an interview with someone with the show (producer, writer, creator, I don’t remember) and they said Chris is, as already mentioned, doing a Broadway show right now. He is only contractually obligated to X number of episodes and they did not want to waste one of those appearances on a such a short, albeit, important, moment. When they realized that Chris could not be a part of the episode, they shifted the focus to Alicia and her “journey” of finding out about his and Kalinda’s betrayal. They thought it would be better served to save one of Chris’ episodes to when Alicia confronts Peter about it. I actually kind of liked the way they did it, with the total focus on Alicia and her (award worthy) reaction and Peter’s win, literally, in the background. I may not have even really noticed Chris not being there had the entertainment sites not focused so heavily on it. I hate that such a powerful episode was marred by his absence.