During an Emmy roundtable for "Hollywood Reporter" in 2014, Julianna Margulies revealed that she was only the third choice for the lead part on the show. Ashley Judd and Helen Hunt both turned down the part of Alicia.
Julianna Margulies wore a wig for her character Alicia and spent a reported fourteen hours a day, five days a week, and nine months out of the year working on the series.
All episode titles in seasons one through four have the same number of words as the number of the season in which they appear. All season one episodes have one-word titles (for example, Doubt), all season two episodes have two-word titles (for example, Real Deal), all season three episodes have three-word titles (for example, After the Fall), and all season four episodes have four-word titles (for example, Anatomy of a Joke). Later seasons reverse this formula. All season five episodes have three-words titles (for example, The Bit Bucket), season six's have two-word titles (for example, Dear God) and season seven episodes have one-word titles (for example, Taxed) completing the cycle.
The series was partly inspired by the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal. It also draws on other prominent American political sex scandals, such those of John Edwards and Bill Clinton. Creator Michelle King also noted that in these political scandals, the women are lawyers (Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Edwards).
According to Julianna Margulies, after three exhausting years juggling the demanding show schedule and dealing with her baby's first years, she made a deal with Creators Robert King and Michelle King. Starting in season four, for those big courtroom scenes that take several hours to be filmed completely, Margulies would shoot the scenes where Alicia is an active part first, then they would shoot scenes with the other cast members, where she would have to be in the background for coverage once or twice, and then she would leave the set to prepare her next scenes, or have the rest of the day off.
Archie Panjabi, who played Kalinda Sharma, claims that when she was nominated for an Emmy award, nobody recognised her. She arrived on the red carpet to get her picture taken and "every single photographer in the line put their camera down". That same night she won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
On July 11, 2012, during the filming of an episode, in which she was guest-starring, Kristin Chenoweth was struck by a falling piece of lighting equipment. She was knocked unconscious by the blow, and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. After several months of recovery, in which it was unsure if she would be able to return to her role, Chenoweth reported in September 2012 that her medical issues included not being able to "form a sentence after it happened", a skull fracture, and continuing pain in her ribs and hip.
During a 2011 interview on the National Public Radio program "Talk of the Nation," Alan Cumming (Eli Gold) confirmed that his character is loosely based on longtime political operative (and, as of 2011, Mayor of Chicago) Rahm Emanuel. Cumming said that Gold's undeveloped backstory includes a former career as a concert pianist, inspired by Emanuel's early-life, pre-politics ambition to become a professional ballet dancer.
Guest stars who have played themselves interacting with the show's fictional characters include: Clinton Administration advisers Vernon Jordan and Donna Brazile; Presidential MSNBC anchor and Political Commentator Chris Matthews; financial television hosts Lou Dobbs and Jim Cramer; and O.J. Simpson's lawyer and co-founder of The Innocence Project Barry Scheck. Actor, lawyer, and politician Fred Dalton Thompson plays Frank Michael Thomas, a thinly veiled version of himself (Thomas is also a former actor, lawyer, and politician). New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared in the season four finale.
The show is set in Chicago, but filmed in New York City. The pilot was filmed in Canada, and filming was planned to continue there, but Julianna Margulies asked the producers to shoot in New York City, because she had just become a mother, and couldn't leave for Canada for nine months a year.
The show earned two Emmy nominations in the Writing category, the first one for the pilot, and the second one for the series finale.
Creators Robert King and Michelle King always made clear that they had a seven-year plan for the show.
Archie Panjabi took Kalinda's trademark boots and leather jacket with her when she left.
Julianna Margulies always wanted Alicia to leave Peter (Chris Noth), but believed she wouldn't leave him until she found true love.
Christine Baranski, who plays Diane, said her dream guest on the show would have been Alan Rickman. She'd have liked him to "sweep her off her feet".
Elisabeth Shue was considered for the role of Alicia Florrick, but turned down the role to spend more time with her family.
The show takes place in Cook County, Chicago, the same county as Cook County General Hospital, the setting of ER (1994), where Julianna Margulies played Nurse Carol Hathaway.
The show is based on Robert King & Michelle King's observation of real-life scandals. When they pitched the project, the couple noticed there were several occurrences of political scandals in which powerful women were involved. The question of why these women stay around, and what comes after public humiliation, formed the basis of The Good Wife.
Julianna Margulies won two Emmy awards for her performance as Alicia Florrick - one in 2011 and one in 2014. She was nominated a total of four times.
At the end of the second quarter of Super Bowl 50 (February 7, 2016), CBS used the transition from the game to the half-time commercial break to announce that 2016 was the final year for the series, and that there were nine first-run episodes remaining.
Archie Panjabi could only play the character of Kalinda in boots. She stated: "I've tried wearing shoes, but it doesn't work. Her walk changes."
Up until the fourth season, all episodes had a title with its count of words increasing monotonically per season (effectively being equal to the season number). For example, season one episodes had a single-word title, season two episodes had a two-word title, et cetera. Beginning with season five, the title word-count started decreasing monotonically. For example, season five episodes have three-word titles, and season six episodes have two-word titles. It could be assumed that season seven is scheduled to be the last one, all episodes having again single-word titles.
There were seven writers, in addition to the Robert King & Michelle King, who worked on the show. Of those seven writers, three were also attorneys. The team had a legal consultant too.
Robert King said the writers knew how the show would end. "after the first 13 [episodes]".
According to Julianna Margulies, whenever there were "weird, kinky, strange" scenes in the script, it had been written by Robert King.
The creators of the show tried to have Carrie Preston ((Elsbeth Tascioni)) for several episodes in season seven, but her contract with Crowded (2016) only allowed her to do one.
Carrie Preston reprises her role of Elsbeth Tascioni in The Good Wife spin-off, The Good Fight (2017).
Eli Gold, played by Alan Cumming, is modeled after Chicago politician Rahm Emanuel, former chief of staff of president Barack Obama.
The creators of The Good Wife, Robert King and Michelle King, have been married for 27 years.
Cush Jumbo (Lucca) joined the series cast in season seven after Christine Baranski suggested to Creators Robert King and Michelle King that they see her in the one-woman show "Josephine and I" (about jazz singer Josephine Baker) at New York's Public Theater in 2015. Cush had been an avid fan of the series from the very beginning.
Chris Noth, and guest stars Richard Brooks , Jill Hennessy, S. Epatha Merkerson, Fred Fred Dalton Thompson, Julianne Nicholson, Eric Bogosian, and Jay O. Sanders were all series regulars in the "Law & Order" franchise. Despite starring in that franchise with all but Thompson and Sanders, with Brooks, Hennessy, and Merkerson in the original series, and with Nicholson and Bogosian in the "Criminal Intent" spin-off, Noth does not share a single scene with any of them here.
Archie Panjabi (Kalinda Sharma) & Dylan Baker (Colin Sweeney) go on to work together on Blindspot (2015) as Nas Kamal & FBI Director Pellington respectively.
In Dead Poets Society (1989), a young Josh Charles played a prep school student who was destined to become a "great lawyer." In Snakes on a Plane (2006), Julianna Margulies played a flight attendant who was quitting her job to go to law school.
Michael J. Fox plays a lawyer with a neurological disorder (tardive diskinesia, rather than Fox's own Parkinson's, but close enough) which he plays up to gain sympathy from jurors he argues in front of. This backfires against a paraplegic judge in one episode: the judge basically says, "Yeah, so what?" and tells him to get on with the case.
Julianna Margulies, Christine Baranski, Zach Grenier, and Mary Beth Peil were all guest stars (on separate episodes) on Law & Order (1990) during Chris Noth's run on the show. Margulies played a young Naval officer involved in an illicit affair, who was questioned by Noth's Detective Mike Logan.
Archie Panjabi (Kalinda Sharma) & Marc Warren (Nick Savarese) both worked on Life on Mars (2006), although did not share any scenes.
Michael J. Fox (Louis Canning) & Carrie Preston (Elsbeth Tascioni) also worked together on episode 3.22, Spin City: Carter & Stuart & Bennett & Deirdre (1999), of Spin City (1996) as Mike Flaherty & Gayle respectively.
Michael J. Fox (Louis Canning) & Michael Boatman (Julius Cain) also worked together on Spin City (1996) as Mike Flaherty & Carter Heywood respectively.
Elsbeth Tascioni's (Carrie Preston) unseen personal assistant is called Fantasia. The vampire bar in Preston's other show, True Blood (2008), is called Fangtasia.
Mike Colter reprises his role of Lemond Bishop in The Good Wife spin-off, The Good Fight (2017).
Jerry Adler reprises his role of Howard Lyman in The Good Wife spin-off, The Good Fight (2017).
In one episode Peter (Chris Noth) mistakenly thinks Eli (Alan Cumming) is coming out to him, saying he couldn't care less if Eli was gay. Eli's actor Alan Cumming really is bisexual.
While Eli Gold, played by Alan Cumming, was loosely based on Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, Rahm Emanuel's brother, Ari Emanuel, was also the basis for the character Ari Gold in HBO's Entourage (2004).
Robert King & Michelle King only got three and a half weeks off a year. The rest of the year was spent working on The Good Wife.
Matt Czuchry (Cary Agos) & Titus Welliver (Glenn Childs) previously worked together on episode 2.11, Hack: Gone (2003), of Hack (2002) as Jamie Farrel & Zachary respectively.
Maura Tierney (Maddie Hayward), Jerry Adler (Howard Lyman) & Steven Pasquale (Johnny Elfman) & Michael J. Fox (Louis Canning), all worked together on Rescue Me (2004) as Kelly McPhee, Sidney Feinberg, Sean Garrity & Dwight respectively.
Various celebrities guest starred on the TV show, including Matthew Perry (Friends (1994)), America Ferrera (Ugly Betty (2006)), Jason Biggs (American Pie (1999)), and Sarah Silverman.
Gary Cole reprises his role of Kurt McVeighi in The Good Wife spin-off, The Good Fight. Gary Cole reprises his role of Kurt McVeigh in The Good Wife spin-off, The Good Fight (2017).
Roger Brenner plays the role of a law clerk In this episode. He has, in total, appeared in 19 different episodes playing various characters throughout the course of the series: Episode 7.15 The Good Wife: Targets (2016) - Law Clerk (uncredited) Episode 7.12 The Good Wife: Tracks (2016) - Courtroom Gallery Lawyer (uncredited) Episode 6.6 The Good Wife: Old Spice (2014) - Equity Partner Lawyer (uncredited) Episode 6.2 The Good Wife: Trust Issues (2014) - Equity Partner Lawyer (uncredited) Episode 5.18 The Good Wife: All Tapped Out (2014) - Equity Partner Lawyer (uncredited) Episode 5.16 The Good Wife: The Last Call (2014) - Equity Partner Lawyer (uncredited) Episode 5.5 The Good Wife: Hitting the Fan (2013) - Equity Partner Lawyer (uncredited) Episode 5.4 The Good Wife: Outside the Bubble (2013) - Equity Partner Lawyer (uncredited) Episode 4.16 The Good Wife: Runnin' with the Devil (2013) - Law Firm Client (uncredited) Episode 4.14 The Good Wife: Red Team, Blue Team (2013) - Equity Partner Lawyer (uncredited) Episode 4.12 The Good Wife: Je Ne Sais What? (2013) - Chicago Political Boss (uncredited) Episode 4.5 The Good Wife: Waiting for the Knock (2012) - Breadmaker (uncredited) Episode 3.21 The Good Wife: The Penalty Box (2012) - Lawyer (uncredited) Episode 3.20 The Good Wife: Pants on Fire (2012) - Lawyer (uncredited) Episode 3.18 The Good Wife: Gloves Come Off (2012) - Lawyer (uncredited) Episode 3.14 The Good Wife: Another Ham Sandwich (2012) - Lawyer (uncredited) Episode 3.7 The Good Wife: Executive Order 13224 (2011) - Lawyer (uncredited) Episode 3.5 The Good Wife: Marthas and Caitlins (2011) - Lawyer (uncredited) Episode 3.4 The Good Wife: Feeding the Rat (2011) - Lawyer (uncredited)
Zach Grenier (David Lee) & Archie Panjabi (Kalinda Sharma) also work together on episode 2.17, Blindspot: Solos (2017), of Blindspot (2015) as Herman & Nas Kamal respectively.
Creators Robert King & Michelle King have their own TV production company in partnership with CBS called "King Size Productions."
Michael J. Fox (Louis Canning) & Jerry Adler (Howard Lyman) also worked together on episode 1.11, Spin City: Dog Day Afternoon (1996), of Spin City (1996) as Mike Flaherty & the Police Commissioner respectively.