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TCA Press Tour: Does Julianna Margulies play a 'good wife?' You be the judge

August 3, 2009 |  1:38 pm


Julianna Margulies slapped Chris Noth three times for the scene in the pilot in which "The Good Wife" goes bad. In a good way.

The first time, she didn't hit him hard enough. The second time, the camera was off. The third time, she left a red welt on his face.

"Chris Noth is so great," she said at press tour on Monday. "He's like, 'Oh, please, I've been hit so many times.'"

In the new CBS drama, Margulies plays a wife and mother who reenters the workforce as an attorney after her husband (Noth) lands in jail following an embarrassing political corruption scandal. Co-created by husband-wife team Robert and Michelle King, the series was inspired by recent political scandals, Robert King said.

"It was right after a flurry of scandals where the politician's trajectory seemed pretty predictable," Robert King said. "Usually there was a resignation and then a period of time when they reflected, and then they tried to get back right in the spotlight.  So what interested us more was the politician's wife's trajectory because it seemed much less certain, much more interesting, because how do you really remake your life when everybody seems to have an opinion about how you should remake your life?"

For her part, Margulies said she was interested in returning to TV as an attorney (she last played one on Fox's failed "Canterbury's Law) mostly because "The Good Wife" isn't really a legal show.

"This is a woman who's thought her life was going one way for many, many years and trusted that life and that world that she lived in," she said. "And then everything crumbles.  So as an actor, I felt like, well, there's so many places to go. ... I was so quick to judge all those women that I saw standing up and standing by their man."

"I feel like these women really don't get their due in that we're supposed to -- they're supposed to have the children, support the husband," she continued. "These are smart women. Silda Spitzer right now is heading a hedge fund in New York City. She's never been better.  Elizabeth Edwards: She just wrote a book. Look at Hillary Clinton. It's not like these are silly little wallflowers that are waiting for their husband to come home."

Asked why she thinks powerful women are not prone to these types of sex scandals, Margulies, married with a baby, gave a practical answer.

"Women do not have the time," she said. "Dear Lord, I mean, between the kids and the job and the cleaning and the cooking, we just don't have the time. Honestly, we're exhausted."

The show premieres at 10 p.m. Sept. 22.

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

Photo: Robert King, Julianna Margulies and Michelle King. Credit: CBS