'The Good Wife': Can Cheaters Ever Change?

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This week's The Good Wife was another re-run, with Peter still in jail and Will not making cow eyes at Alicia , chiefly because he is quite literally in bed with opposing counsel. She's a sexy young network lawyer defending a willfully dishonest television talk personality whose specialty is exposing behavior he thinks un-American or morally deficient, whether or not he has evidence to support his manufactured outrage.

In the meantime, Alicia finds herself assisting the firm's leading divorce lawyer, who is representing the wife of the odious State's Prosecuting Attorney (Peter's successor and sworn enemy). The wife—not the "good wife"—wants to set aside her pre-nuptial agreement and demands a chunk of cash, full custody of the couple's children, their home, and so on, and threatens to reveal in formation that would damage, perhaps end, her husband's career.

Some diligent sleuthing on Alicia's part (as always with help from her laconic legal aid) wrecks the TV personality's case, but the presiding judge, fearing damage to first amendment freedoms, overturns the jury's guilty verdict.

The State's Attorney's wife gets what she wants, and Alicia has a poignant moment with Peter, in which she wonders out loud how successfully a leopard can change its spots.

The show's producers are plainly going to stretch this thread of ambivalence as long as viewers can tolerate it. It may, finally, be the existential truth that holds this program together.

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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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