When Christina Hendricks first read the script for Good Girls, she was certain the gutsy story—about three Detroit moms who turn to crime to make ends meet—would get neutered by NBC. A broadcast network, the actor explained at a panel, meant constraints, constraints that could dull daring programming. “My big fear was that it was on network television,” she said. “I was terrified that they were just not going to allow the real rawness of it.”
Good Girls, which wraps its second season on Sunday, was indeed a rather bold choice for a network that prefers dramas such as the wholesome This Is Us and procedurals set in Chicago. The story follows three women—Beth (Hendricks), a steely mother of four; Annie (Mae Whitman), Beth’s little sister and a single mom; and Ruby (Retta), their happily married best friend with two kids—who, at a loss over how else to solve their various crippling financial troubles, decide to rob a supermarket in a heist that attracts the attention of a local gang.
It’s a log line that didn’t seem like it would yield multiple seasons, let alone one. But over the past two years, Good Girls has kept the story wheel turning while also quietly challenging the network-TV status quo. (Though it has struggled with low ratings, the series reportedly does well on Netflix, which helped it earn a third-season renewal last month.) Complicated antiheroes, audacious plotting, and inventive camerawork don’t often live outside of cable and streaming, and yet Good Girls makes it work.