The CBS hit show “The Good Wife” waded into political waters on Sunday when it included a character giving a “salute”* to Occupy Wall Street.
The character, the odd and opinionated Judge Charles Abernathy played by Denis O’Hare, delivered a mini monologue praising the movement.
“Before we begin,” he said during the episode, which takes place in a Chicago court, “I want to take a few minutes to talk about something that is happening a mere one hundred yards from this courthouse: Occupy Wall Street! Yes, these amazing young men and women are braving 36-degree weather, with the grit in their eyes of a shared cause, and all to challenge the system. And I, for one, I salute them.”
Newsbusters has the clip:
Later, the judge also admits to joining the protesters and was seen sniffling because of, as he said, the use of pepper spray.
The episode, called “Live from Damascus,” centers on a lawsuit against a tech company that sold software to Syria that allowed the government to identify, root out, and “get rid of” American protesters there.
O‘Hare’s character seems intentionally quirky, given the facial reaction by main character Julianna Margulies and the way in which the lines were delivered. Still, even regular fans of the show felt the issue was forced. One reviewer explains:**
Sometimes, The Good Wife focuses more on being relevant than being engaging – and this felt like one of those times. The Syrian revolution and the role a tech company played in it felt like too obvious of an attempt to mirror real life events from last year and how Facebook shaped them in countries such as Egypt.
This was especially [true] when it came to Judge Abernathy and his Occupy Wall Street references. Those were all just really odd and really forced. We all love the use of big names behind the gavel – and who has ever not loved Denis O’Hare in anything?!? – but it can be distracting and simply unrealistic when these judges dominate a trial due to odd personality quirks.
But this isn’t the first time “The Good Wife” has gone political. Last year, the show featured a controversial representation of the Tea Party, as Newsbusters notes:
Almost exactly a year ago (February 22, 2011), the show gave prime time legitimacy to the presumption the Tea Party is racist as a lawyer in a courtroom tried to discredit an expert witness (Gary Cole as Sarah Palin supporter “Kurt McVeigh”) who testified against a since-exonerated black defendant, by demanding he admit he’s “a member of the Tea Party.” The lawyer asserts “it is our contention that my client’s prosecution was racist,” citing McVeigh’s “membership in a racist organization,” namely the Tea Party.
To see that clip, head over to Newsbusters.
*Author’s note: Yeah, I noticed the odd “salute” move, too.
**Editor’s note: As some have noted, the judge in the episode is portrayed as a sort of nutty character. That’s reflected in our initial characterization of the judge as “quirky” and Margulies’s eye-raising reaction. Still, it should be noted that Judge Charles Abernathy is a reoccurring character on the show. So while he is quirky, he still has a place. And according to the reviewer, the reference felt forced. There’s also the old adage: there’s truth in jest.