Throughout The Good Wife's seven-season run, we saw a plethora of episodes and story arcs that mirrored real-world headlines. This style of storytelling is familiar to fans of serial crime and court dramas, often used to stay relevant or even add commentary on current events. While many of the show’s episodes reflected real-world events, the narrative origin itself of Alica Florrick's struggle through her husband's unfaithful affair is also based on real-world scandals.
Showrunners Robert and Michelle King have primarily referenced the Eliot Spitzer scandal to be one of the core influences for the show's main narrative story. Eliot Spitzer was the 54th governor of New York who served for one year before he was caught frequently using an escort service. He resigned in March of 2008, a year before the premiere of the show. It was Spitzer's press conference announcing his resignation with his wife at his side that would go on to inspire the very first scene of The Good Wife.
While Spitzer's scandal was the forefront of inspiration of the time, Robert and Michelle King would look into other similar cases as well. Notable scandals such as John Edwards and Bill Clinton have been noted inspirations. One of the noticeable similarities between all three of these scandals was of the spouses of the offenders all being lawyers themselves.
Channeling their common background in law, the showrunners wanted to explore these scandals through the perspective of the spouses affected.
Questions from these events such as why they stayed with their husband and how they handled family life would go on to be the early themes of the series.
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