Art imitates life—badly—in The Good Wife's riff on photographer Sally Mann | Bleader

Monday, October 12, 2015

Art imitates life—badly—in The Good Wife's riff on photographer Sally Mann

Posted By on 10.12.15 at 12:30 PM

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click to enlarge JULIANNA MARGULIES AS ALICIA FLORRICK ON THE GOOD WIFE
  • Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife

Sunday night’s installment of the CBS drama The Good Wife juggled four different plotlines—yet suffered from keeping things too simple.

The primary story involved a client that protagonist Alicia Florrick picked up in bond court. He’d been arrested for vandalizing a photo on display at the "Chicago Museum of Fine Arts." It was a picture of him as a child, one his famous mother had taken years earlier. And in the photograph he was nude.

His mother was a Sally Mann—whose son wasn’t OK with it.


There are plenty of legal cases on shows like The Good Wife that would attract media attention in real life. Most times, the drama works even though the coverage remains offscreen.

This wasn’t one of those times. In real life this would have been a case inseparable from the publicity it was getting.

Think about it: A famous photographer exhibits pictures of her nude kids in the equivalent of the Art Institute, and the anguished son turns to vandalism to get them taken down. The media would have been all over this story.

But when Alicia tries to get an injunction against the museum, points of law—Is this art or pornography? Who gave consent?—are debated in a tiny courtroom.

In real life, a case like this would have been moved to a larger courtroom, which would have been jammed with reporters. And the museum would have been preoccupied with the overwhelming question of whether all the attention was doing it more harm than good.

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