'The Good Wife': Before the Drama Began

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This week's episode of The Good Wife was a repeat, produced well before the program's scriptwriters decided to heat up Alicia's domestic life. Peter is still locked up, and Alicia seeks probation for a young black schoolboy who, responding to bullying, unexpectedly seriously injures a schoolmate. The case is heard by a judge who disregards an agreement with the state prosecutor for extended public service but no jail time, and sentences the boy to eight months in a juvenile detention center, where he is attacked and beaten by other inmates.

Alicia and her colleagues discern a racial pattern in the judge's sentencing behavior and eventually discover, with a bit of unusual detective work, that the judge is seriously in debt and has agreed to a kick-back arrangement with the Detention Center's Director. The judge gets the heave-ho, the boy is released, and Diane, one of the firm's senior partners, is denied a nomination for a judgeship on grounds that "a judge doesn't attack another judge."

For once, the partners and Alicia are on the same page, and feel good about it. Just wait.

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C. Michael Curtis has been an editor at The Atlantic since 1963. Under his direction, the magazine has won numerous fiction prizes, including the National Magazine Award for fiction. More

C. Michael Curtis"Writers crave the intelligence and ardor of this magazine's editors and readership as well as the privilege of inclusion in its pages," says best-selling author Louise Erdrich, who, like so many young fiction writers, was introduced to national readership and subsequent success in The Atlantic Monthly.

Under the direction of senior editor C. Michael Curtis, The Atlantic Monthly's fiction has been nominated for a National Magazine Award virtually every year; in 1988 The Atlantic won this prestigious prize. Year after year short stories from the magazine are chosen for inclusion in the important annual prize collections. Curtis himself was the editor of American Stories: Fiction From The Atlantic Monthly, which was published in 1990. A second volume came out the following year, and 1992 saw the publication of Contemporary New England Stories. A companion volume, Contemporary West Coast Stories, was published in the fall of 1993. A fifth collection, entitled God: Stories, was published in December, 1998, by Houghton Mifflin, and a companion anthology, Faith: Stories, was published in 2003, also by Houghton Mifflin. His own essays, articles, reviews, and poems have been published in The Atlantic, The New Republic, National Review, and Sport, among other periodicals. Curtis is also renowned for his teaching: he has taught creative writing, ethics, grammar, and other subjects for more than thirty years at Harvard, MIT, Cornell, Tufts, Boston University, Bennington, and elsewhere, and now teaches writing at Wofford College, in Spartanburg, SC, where he occupies the John C. Cobb Chair in the Humanities.

Curtis earned a B.A. in English from Cornell in 1956. He came to The Atlantic in 1963 after four years of study toward a Ph.D. in government, also at Cornell. Previously he had worked as a reporter for The Ithaca Journal, and as an editorial assistant at Newsweek. While he was a graduate student, The Atlantic Monthly published three of his poems and employed him briefly as a summer reader.

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