The Maternal Wall.

by Meredith O'Brien


When CBS’ The Good Wife commenced its first season this fall, it began with Alicia Florrick -- who’d left the legal profession for more than a decade in order to raise her two children and support her husband Peter’s political career -- being compelled to return to the work force. Her husband had resigned his state’s attorney post in disgrace and was in jail on corruption charges. She’d had to sell their home in the suburbs and move to an apartment in the city where her mother-in-law was helping her look after the children.


After enduring a series of put-downs about her decision to leave the workforce, Alicia was offered a temporary position at law school buddy Will Gardner’s law firm. But there was a catch. The firm only had room to hire one full-time junior associate, so Alicia would have to compete against a cut-throat, unattached, fresh-from-law-school twentysomething named Cary for the open spot.


For the entire season, Alicia has had to grapple with her husband’s legal woes (he was in jail then released under house arrest), the fall-out and humiliation stemming from Peter’s now-public infidelities (including some taped interludes which were on YouTube), her teenaged children’s issues with the tumult in their lives and her former friends giving her the cold shoulder because of her husband’s misdeeds, all while proving herself to be a smart, capable and talented attorney to her superiors. She had to work extra hard to prove to that, despite her temporary career detour, she was committed to the firm.


In a recent episode, the firm’s partners finally had to choose between the smarmy Cary and Alicia. Will, Alicia’s college friend and someone who’s had a romantic interest in her, said that when he and the other firm’s partner, Diane Lockhart, would decide who’d get the junior associate position, “You have my word, when we decide, nothing else will enter the picture other than your work.”


Well, that wasn’t entirely the case, as evidenced by this exchange between Alicia and Diane, who’s not married and has no children (but then again, Will’s unmarried and has no kids either):


Those are HER connections, too, though, becuase she supported her husband's political career. A career he might not have without her help, as evidenced by Eli Gold's desire to have her involved in the campaign. Just because an advantage does not directly relate to the woman does not mean she did not earn it fair and square.