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Alicia Florrick (née Cavanaugh) is the lead character of CBS television series The Good Wife and is portrayed by Julianna Margulies,[1][2] who has received positive reviews for her performance, winning two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.[3]

Alicia Florrick
The Good Wife character
Alicia Florrick, The Good Wife Season 5.jpg
Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick in Season 5
First appearance "Pilot"
September 22, 2009
Last appearance "End"
May 8, 2016
Created by Robert King and Michelle King
Portrayed by Julianna Margulies
Information
Aliases Alicia Cavanaugh (birth name)
Gender Female
Occupation
Family
  • Veronica Loy (mother)
  • Owen Cavanaugh (brother)
Spouse(s) Peter Florrick
Significant other(s)
Children
  • Zach Florrick (son)
  • Grace Florrick (daughter)
Relatives Jackie Florrick (mother-in-law)

Alicia's storyline focuses on her romantic relationships, including the struggle between staying with or divorcing her unfaithful husband, Peter Florrick, or pursuing other relationships with other men, most notably Will Gardner. Other storylines include Alicia's transformation from "the victim" to "the victimizer", her dealing with the negative consequences of her actions, her devotion to her children among political turmoil, her obsession with power, and her growth in confidence.

Contents

Character BiographyEdit

BackgroundEdit

Alicia Cavanaugh was born in 1967 to Veronica Cavanaugh (Stockard Channing) and an unknown father, from whom Veronica separated at some time prior to the beginning of the series. Veronica makes her first appearance in season four, now with the surname "Loy", and is revealed to have become estranged from Alicia, due to Alicia's disapproval of her irresponsible nature, particularly her divorce from her father, her infidelity, and her multiple significant others. Veronica's nature has led to Alicia becoming emotionally withdrawn.[4] Alicia is the older sister to Owen Cavanaugh (Dallas Roberts), whose mischievous nature foils the serious nature of Alicia's. The siblings are close, despite the nuisance she feels her younger brother causes by meddling in her personal life. They supported each other through their parents' divorce and through personal turbulence, although have engaged in occasional incidents of sibling rivalry.[5] She and Owen have had two step fathers, one of whom is Malcolm Loy, who dies prior to season four, and thus a series of step siblings, including Malcolm's son.

Alicia attended Georgetown University Law Center where she graduated at the top of her class in 1992, despite her tendency to sleep during lectures. While attending, she meets and befriends William "Will" Gardner (Josh Charles), who graduates alongside her. During their attendance, they have an unofficial relationship, which never officially comes to fruition due to their "bad timing".[6] After graduating, she becomes a junior litigator at a mid-size Chicago law firm Crozier, Abrams & Abbott where has an impressive track record, clocking the most billable hours of any associate. While working there, she meets Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), whom she marries in 1994, and takes the surname "Florrick". While not sharing Peter's political ambition, Alicia agrees to assume the responsibility of the political "good wife", agreeing to support him in his endeavors and campaigning and fundraising with him, eventually receiving the monicker, "Saint Alicia". They move to Highland Parks, Illinois, and upscale neighborhood outside of Chicago, where the two have two children: Zachary "Zach" Florrick (Graham Phillips), born in 1995, and Grace Florrick (Makenzie Vega), born in 1996.[5] She quickly befriends her neighbors, particularly the fellow mothers, but becomes ostracized after a highly publicized sex scandal emerges concerning Peter, who was the incumbent State's Attorney for Cook County.[7]

Months prior to the beginning of the series, a political rival of Peter's, Glenn Childs (Titus Welliver), leaks a sex tape of Peter and Amber Madison (Kim Shaw), a Chicago escort, in order to replace him as Cook County State's Attorney. The tape raises questions of Peter's ethics as State's Attorney, and corruption charges are brought against him, as he is accused of exchanging sex for political favors, amongst other material objects. Alicia, devoted to her children, attempts to shield them from the news, and realizes they have become collateral damage, a recurring theme in the show, of Peter and Glenn's political feud.[8] After Peter resigns from office, Alicia slaps him for victimizing her and their children. After he is convicted of corruption, she must return to work after a decade of being out of the workforce. She returns to Chicago in search of work, but the tainted reputation of the Florrick name makes this difficult, as no law firm is willing to hire her. However, after running into Will, he offers her a job at Stern, Lockhart, & Gardner, a civil litigator firm at which he is a name partner.[9] While she accepts the job, she soon learns that she is in competition with a younger, Harvard-educated lawyer, Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry), as Will and Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) are not able to decide who they wanted to hire for the single position open. The series begins at Alicia's first day at work.[8]

PoliticsEdit

Alicia, like her husband, is a registered Democrat, but holds centrist views, opposing many liberal positions such as the legalization of marijuana, decriminalization of hard drugs, and affirmative action.[10] She doesn't share Peter's political ambition, and instead assumes the role of the political "good wife". Despite his frequent infidelity and their separation, Alicia remains loyal to Peter's political cause, assisting him in fundraising for his gubernatorial campaign, remaining married to create the image of healthy family despite being separated, joining him in Iowa for the Democratic primary campaign,[11] and agreeing to forestall their divorce until after Peter's trial to maintain the façade of his innocence.[12] Alicia allows herself to be put in the spotlight for political purposes but, being a protective parent, refuses to allow Zach and Grace to be exploited. This often leads to conflict with Eli Gold (Alan Cumming), Peter's campaign manager, who insists they be used as political tools for the advancement of Peter's career.

Eli convinces her to run for State's Attorney of Cook County, an offer which she initially rejects. She maintains this rejection, but ultimately decides to run after she receives millions in funding from one of her top clients and encouragement by Gloria Steinem. Additionally, her hatred of the incumbent, James Castro (Michael Cerveris), also leads to her decision to run, after he tried to imprison Cary on a frivolous drug offense, and Finn Polmar (Matthew Goode) for the murder of Will Gardner. Castro issues veiled threats against her and threatens to release information pertaining to Alicia and Will's affair provides the final push.[13] While intending to face Castro in the general election, he quickly drops out, and she finds that Frank Prady (David Hyde Pierce), a TV legal analyst, will be her opponent.[14] While wanting to run a "clean campaign" against Prady, Alicia finds herself allowing her campaign manager, Johnny Elfman (Steven Pasquale), and digital media coordinator Josh Mariner (David Krumholtz) to publish attack ads that insinuate Prady is a closeted-Republican, and is secretly gay. Alicia maintains plausible deniability in the publishing of the ads, but is actually little bothered by them or their implications. She goes to all lengths to stop her campaign or her PAC from publishing them, seeking to preserve her own innocence and prevent her opponent from unleashing his attack ads. Some ads, however, are released, questioning Alicia's ethics and the possible incestuousness of a State's Attorney's office managed by her, due to her professional relationships with Lemond Bishop (Mike Colter), known drug kingpin, and Colin Sweeney (Dylan Baker), a convicted serial killer.[15] She proceeds to deny any possibility of her ethics being compromised, denying that she knows of any contributions to her PAC by Bishop, despite having previous knowledge of such, in order to secure an endorsement.[16] Alicia additionally secures campaign funds from Guy Redmayne (Ed Asner), a homophobic philanthropist, who plays upon the myth that she propagated that Prady is gay.[17]

Alicia eventually wins the State's Attorneys race, but is unable to assume office due to reports that votes for Prady were going to Alicia, leading to accusations of voter fraud from the Florrick campaign, as exposed on television by Petra Moritz (Lily Rabe), a recurring nemesis to the Florricks. Alicia, oblivious to any voter fraud conspiracy orchestrated by her campaign, is approached by Frank Landau (Mike Pniewski), head of the Illinois Democratic Party, who informs her he tampered with the voting machines for a Congressional race in order to maintain a supermajority in the Illinois state legislature. Despite her innocence, she is forced to resign by Landau,[18] who threatens to have her prosecuted otherwise, with his influence over the Illinois election board, which includes the compromising of Alicia's attorney, Spencer Randolph (Ron Rifkin), who fabricates a story of Alicia's guilt. Alicia eventually agrees to resign, and is given a spot on the Illinois election committee as a quid pro quo.[19]

SeriesEdit

Season OneEdit

At the beginning of the show, starting in the pilot, Alicia must return to work as a litigator after her husband, Peter Florrick, who is the incumbent State's Attorney for Cook County, Chicago, is embroiled in a sex scandal with several call girls, and is forced to resigned among corruption charges. She returns to work as a first-year junior litigator at the Chicago law firm Stern, Lockhart & Gardner. She eventually learns that she has been given the same job as another junior associate, Cary Agos, who she must compete with in the subsequent six months, with the person with the best performance retaining their job, and the other being fired.[8] Alicia, upon Will's discretion, wins the competition at the end of the season, where a vindictive Cary is let go.[20]

She remains loyal to Peter, occasionally soliciting inside information during difficult cases, and assumes the responsibility of fighting his enemy, Glenn Childs, who released the sex tapes to assist his ascension to the office Peter once held.[8] Alicia works with Peter's legal team, but soon comes to resent his lawyer, Daniel Golden (Joe Morton), amid several attempts to bribe her and her children.[21] Alicia agrees to testify at Peter's trial, where she reluctant testifies that Peter will be welcomed home after his stay in prison, should he be released on bail.[22] Peter eventually returns home after he is granted a new trial, but Alicia relegates him to the guest room.[23]

Alicia's personal life is further complicated when her feeling's for Will, cultivating since law school, culminate into her and Will sharing a kiss at the office, leading Alicia to sleep with Peter. Alicia is forced to deal with the ramifications of her feelings for Will in the future as she returns to work.[24]

During Peter's retrial, he is placed under house arrest, but is allowed attendance to a church service after convincing those around him he found religion, but instead used it to intimidate Gerald Kozko before he is able to testify that he purchased what could be construed as a bribe. This infuriates Alicia, who no longer believes Peter has intentions of bettering himself.[25] Peter is released from jail and announces his intention to run for State's Attorney again, challenging incumbent and rival, Glenn Childs. As Alicia joins Peter on the dais, she received a voicemail from Will, who suggests they suppress their feelings and continue with their life. Minutes later, she receives one where Will confesses his love for her, which is promptly deleted by Eli Gold (Alan Cumming), who sees this a threat to Peter's political career.[26]

Season TwoEdit

Alicia continues to remain loyal to Peter, and joins Peter on the campaign trail against their mutual rival Glenn Childs, as well as District Attorney Wendy Scott-Carr. Similar to her previous protection of her kids in the sex scandal, Alicia protects Zach and Grace from threats of attack from Scott-Car, looking for retaliation after a racial attack on her mixed children.[27]

Alicia's feelings for Peter continue to be complicated by her intrusive feelings for Will, who continues to make appearances in her dreams.[28] However, Alicia and Peter's relationship continues to mend itself, as she allows Peter to sleep in the bed with her again.[27] Alicia, with knowledge that she failed to receive one of Will's voicemail, conforms him about it, but Will neglects to tell her about the true contents of the voicemail.[29] Ultimately, due to Peter's affair with Kalinda, she evicts Peter from her Chicago apartment and instead buys him an apartment in Springfield, and pursues her relationship with Will.[30]

Season ThreeEdit

Alicia continues her affair with Will into the third season, but due to her separation from Peter, the State's Attorney's office have been significantly less friendly, which leads Diane to question Alicia's allegiances.[31] Peter's newfound animosity towards his wife and his suspicious of her affair with Will leads to the opening of an investigation in Lockhart/Gardner, now missing third partner Howard Stern, helped with anonymous tips from former employee Blake Calmar.[32] Alicia ultimately breaks up with Will so she may be there more for her kids after she believed her daughter, Grace, (Makenzie Vega) was kidnapped. Kalinda and Alicia's friendship begins to be rekindled when she is able to find Grace, who had actually gone out with a friend to be baptized, given her newfound interest in religion. Similar to Peter, Alicia remained by Will's side during Peter's investigation in him, his firm, and his seemingly unethical, interpersonal, relationships with judges, recommending Peter's lawyer to him.[33]

Season FourEdit

As done in the first two seasons, Alicia continues to be the "political good wife", and remains in support of Peter during his Illinois gubernatorial campaign against Republican rival, Mike Kresteva (Matthew Perry).[34] Their relationship begins to mend once again, conducting unofficial fundraising from political ally and admirer Maddie Hayward (Maura Tierney) and defending him from further infidelity cases.[35] Alicia continues to stand by Peter's side by antagonizing her former friend, Maddie Hayward, decides challenge Peter for the Democratic Nomination.[36] She continues to support Peter during the primary, by condoning, and even encouraging, physical assault on Kresteva, in order to get the endorsement of a famed cardinal.[37]

Lockhart/Gardner had found itself in financial trouble, and in a last ditch effort to raise capital after falling short by $30 million on their deadline to repay all of their debts after Clark Hayden (Nathan Lane) attempts to remove Will and Diane as name partners, Alicia is offered a partnership. However, she learns that this was offered to every other fourth-year associate, all in an effort to raise money, infuriating her, and straining her relationship with both Will and Diane, particularly after her partnership is delayed to retain money. Nevertheless, she becomes partner anyway after sharing a kiss with Will.[36][38] Cary, frustrated by Will and Diane's betrayal and conniving offers, decides to form his own firm, and offers Alicia to join him in forming Florrick/Agos.[39]

Season FiveEdit

Alicia begins to grow tired of Lockhart/Gardner, and eager to create Florrick/Agos, as she grows impatient with the oblivious employees, such as Howard Lyman (Jerry Adler) and the devious and conniving of them, such as David Lee (Zach Grenier).[40] Alicia is finally fired from her firm, along with those conspiring to leave, when Diane discovers Alicia was downloading files of her case. Will, in tears, calls a quorum of partners in order to remove Alicia from her position and fire her, and promptly fires her conspirators.[41] In the season finale, Eli proposes that Alicia run for State's Attorney, the office her husband once held.[42]

Will, betrayed, is reinvigorated, vowing to expand Lockhart/Gardner into the country's biggest civil litigator firm, and hurt Florrick/Agos.[43] His dedication to expanding and drowning out his competition posed by Florrick/Agos angers his coworkers, particularly Diane after he makes moves to expand into several cities across the country. Alicia, however, engages in the feud, manipulating his remaining feelings he has for her in order to advance herself.[44]

Peter and Alicia continue to reconcile, as Peter, prior to entering office, vows to tax in-state Internet companies in order to apply pressure to a search engine company to sign with his wife, granting the new firm millions in retainer fees.[45] Peter continues to use his office to advance his wife's business by making an appearance at the firm's Christmas party, despite the criticism he receives from Marilyn Garbanza (Melissa George), his ethics expert.[46] Peter further compromises himself by helping his wife repel the National Security Agency's wiretaps of her law firm.[47] Peter continues to defend his wife against the poor treatment of others, particularly by James Castro (Michael Cerveris).

Mid-season, Will is murdered by a client who has a nervous breakdown in court, devastating Alicia, and forces her to reunite with Diane. Will's death also forms a new friendship: between Alicia and Will's opposing counsel, Finn Polmar (Matthew Goode) with whom there are undertones of intimacy with.[48]

Season SixEdit

Alicia initially rejects Eli's suggestion of her running for political office, but opinion polling suggests that she would be competitive competition to the incumbent, James Castro, a nemesis to both Alicia and Peter.[49] Alicia, however, ultimately decides to run due to encouragement from Gloria Steinem and due to the proposition that Castro, who she reveres as a "bad man", would both get reelected, as well as the endorsement of her husband.[50] Alicia, however, begins to question her ability to run when her new campaign manager, Johnny Elfman (Steven Pasquale), presents her with opposition research, which contains disturbing allegations of her family. However, she is pressured to continue when a PAC is set up, cumulating several thousand dollars within a short period of time.[51] During the race, however, instead of facing incumbent James Castro, she faced Frank Prady (David Hyde Pierce), a television legal analyst.[52] Alicia and Prady form an alliance, where they both agree they will restrict the race to a battle of ideas, instead of personal attacks.[53]

Alicia eventually wins the State's Attorney's race, and must negotiate an exit packages with Florrick/Agos & Lockhart, now having their former boss, Diane, as a name partner.[54] However, she is forced to resign by Mike Landau (Mike Pniewski) after she is accused of rigging voting machines, a measure actually put in place by Landau to retain a Democratic supermajority in the local legislature.[55] After her withdrawal from the race, Alicia returns to Florrick/Agos & Lockhart, but soon finds that her former coworkers have stalled her in a conference room so they could poach her clients, and then refuse to rehire her, causing Alicia finds herself unemployed.[56] Upon working on another case independently, Alicia considers forming her own firm again, but this is soon interrupted by an offer for a partnership by rival and former partner of Diane and David Lee, Louis Canning (Michael J. Fox).[57]

Alicia remains friendly with Finn, but their relationship becomes strained when he decides to prosecute Alicia's partner, Cary Agos, for drug crimes in an effort to prosecute Lemond Bishop (Mike Colter), a drug kingpin and a top client of Florrick/Agos.[49] After extensive romantic implications, Finn refuses to deny the romance between them, and decides to quit working with Alicia, and leave Chicago.[57]

Season SevenEdit

In the premiere of season seven, Alicia returns to law as a bond court attorney after rejecting Canning's offer to partner, enjoying the freedom that doesn't come with answering to anybody.[58] Alicia soon finds an ally in Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo), a fellow bond attorney and newcomer to the show,[59] with the two eventually form Florrick & Quinn, their own independent law practice.[60] Upon an offer from Cary, Alicia joins Lockhart, Agos, and Lee, bringing her new associate along with her.[61] Alicia, despite the objections of Cary, who fears Diane is attempting to make Lockhart, Agos & Lee a female-led firm, is promoted to name partner.[62]

Jason Crouse (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is an hourly investigator hired by Alicia in lieu of the previous services of Lockhart/Gardner and Florrick/Agos & Lockhart investigator Kalinda Sharma.[59] Despite the romantic underpinnings of their interactions, Alicia remains unrecovered from the death of Will, as when informed by Eli that he deleted Will's declaration of love to her six years ago, she reacts by throwing several pieces fine china at him.[63] She additionally has an emotional breakdown over Will weeks later, where she expressed that after his death, she has become easily irritated and apathetic to the law and her children, two things which she loved most as the start of the series.[64] Nevertheless her love for Will, Alicia begins a relationship with Jason.[65] However, the nature of their relationship has to be reassessed as casual instead of comital when Jason is found to be flirtatious with other women.[66]

In season seven, Alicia and Peter's marriage finally crumbles, as Alicia informs Peter she wants a divorce, as she decides to pursue her relationship with Jason, which Peter disapproves of.[62] However, Alicia promises to stand by Peter during his latest trial, concerning the stealing of evidence during his tenure as State's Attorney to help a big donor's child. After that, however, Alicia intends on divorcing him. However, Jason is seen to be uncomfortable remaining in Chicago for too much longer, given his track record of non-commitment.[67] During Peter's trial, Kurt McVeigh (Gary Cole), a ballistics expert, is set to testify for the prosecution. However, given that he and Diane are married, Alicia and Diane disagree on whether his testimony, damning to Peter's innocence, should be undercut during his cross-examination. Alicia instructs Lucca, who is loyal to Alicia rather than Diane, to undercut Kurt, which she does by revealing he had an affair with one of his students while married to Diane. Peter accepts a one-year probation agreement, and announces with Alicia by his side, before she runs into the hallway in pursuit of Jason, who has now disappeared. Furious due to Alicia's actions, Diane confronts and slaps her, similar to the way Alicia slapped her husband in the pilot. Alicia, recollecting on her past experiences walks down the same hallway she did in the finale as the show ends.[68]

Alicia's love life purposely remained ambiguous without a definite conclusion. Throughout the finale, Alicia weighed her options between staying with Peter, who exuded power and symbolized weight in Alicia's life, or to pursue Jason, who represents freedom. Ultimately, Alicia ends up with neither, as she abandons Peter on the dais with a promise of divorce, only to find Jason had left Chicago. In the finale, Alicia, in a daydream, promised Will that he would always be the one she loved.[68]

The Good FightEdit

A year after Diane slapping Alicia, it is revealed that, sometime between then and the Rindell Ponzi scheme scandal, Alicia had left Lockhart & Florrick, which now exists as Deckler, Gussman, Lee, Lyman, Gilbert, Lurie, Kagan, Tennenbaum & Associates after Diane was forced out. While not appearing, the effects of Alicia are present in the spin-off, as Lucca reiterates the advice Alicia had once taken during Peter's sex scandal to Maia, who is constantly harassed due to her father's aforementioned Ponzi scheme. She is further referred to when Diane discussed with Maia how some people she once considered to be "saints" turned out to be otherwise. This is in reference to Alicia being known as "Saint Alicia" prior to her betrayal of Diane. This betrayal shows real repercussions, as Diane and Kurt have separated and are in a pending divorce at the start of the series.[69] Alicia is again referenced when Mike Kresteva becomes involved with Diane's new law firm, Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad, where she explains Kresteva's nature as it related to the Florrick's.[70] It was confirmed that Alicia won't return to The Good Fight during its first season, but talks are open for cameos in later installations.[71]

ThemesEdit

Alicia's TransitionEdit

Alicia began the series by slapping Peter for his infidelity after his announcement of his resignation from State's Attorney. This slap was replicated in the finale, when Diane slaps Alicia for ruining her marriage when she reveals Kurt's infidelity in order to save herself from being perpetually married to Peter. This is a thematic display of how Alicia has turned into Peter, with the "victim becoming the victimizer". Her transition includes her becoming more cunning, confident, corrupt, and obsessed with power.

Collateral DamageEdit

At the beginning of the show, there was a lot of implication toward Alicia being collateral damage in an effort to save Peter from going to jail on corruption charges. In the finale, Alicia makes Diane and her marriage collateral damage, as she destroys it in order to save Peter, herself, and her children.

ConsequencesEdit

Many of Alicia's decisions, although not malicious in their intent, including the destruction of Diane and Kurt's marriage, represented the theme of consequences. While Alicia was able to do great things for her clients, family, as well as for herself, her actions had immediate consequences which would negatively affected those around her.

ReceptionEdit

Margulies has received critical acclaim for her performance as Alicia Florrick. In his initial review of the series, Rob Owen of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette praised Margulies' performance calling the show "a terrific showcase for actress Julianna Margulies, who elevates the already-good material with her perceptive, open performance."[72]

Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter also praised Margulies' performance writing that "the excellence of Margulies' performance has rested in her refusal to make Alicia easy to understand, in keeping up a complicated wall and choosing those few moments in which to expose emotional cracks." And later compared her performance to those of James Gandolfini on The Sopranos or Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad, writing that "Margulies' performance sometimes put Alicia in that Tony Soprano/Walter White/Don Draper category of cable anti-heroes."[73]

AccoladesEdit

For her performance, Margulies won a Critics' Choice Television Award, a Golden Globe Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and a Television Critics Association Award.

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