Julianna Margulies says good-bye to The Good Wife

Actress Julianna Margulies, star of the legal drama, is proud of the difficult issues the show takes on, from equal rights to gun control

Julianna Margulies has been wearing a wig on the show since it debuted in 2009.
Julianna Margulies has been wearing a wig on the show since it debuted in 2009.PHOTO: NBCUNIVERSAL INTERNATIONAL NETWORKS

Hair is not something audiences think about very much when it comes to a contemporary television drama. After all, apart from elaborate head gear or intricate braiding, how hard can it be to style?

It turns out that actress Julianna Margulies has been wearing a wig all this time for her role as Alicia Florrick on the legal drama, The Good Wife.

Originally, the idea was for her to resemble Mrs Silda Wall Spitzer as she had stood by her husband, New York governor Eliot Spitzer, when he faced the media after being embroiled in a prostitution scandal in 2008. That was how the drama, which debuted in 2009, first unfolded, with Alicia by the side of her embattled politician husband, Peter Florrick (Chris Noth).

Speaking to international media over the telephone from Los Angeles, the 49-year-old says in her slightly smoky voice: "I wanted her to look WASP-y (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) and I have very curly hair. So that would have meant two hours every morning getting my hair blown out. And I said I can't. I can't work 14 hours a day and come in two hours early for my hair."

She had also just had a baby in 2007 with her husband, attorney Keith Lieberthal, "and two extra hours in the day for a new mommy or for anyone, to be honest, is like gold".

Seven seasons later and The Good Wife is wrapping up. Its final episode will air in the United States on Sunday. In Singapore, the season 7 marathon of The Good Wife airs on Diva channel on Saturday from 9.15am, with the finale on May 9 at 9.25pm.

I started the show in myearly40sandI’m leaving the show in my late 40s. Alicia started the same time.And women change and become much more confident in their later 40sthan they are in their 30s.

ACTRESS JULIANNA MARGULIES on how her career has echoed that of her character’s, Alicia Florrick

Over the years, the show has embraced all sorts of topics from equal rights to gay marriage to gun control.

Margulies brings up the example of a mock trial of a florist who refused service to a gay couple getting married.

While she considers herself a liberal, she says: "What the show touches on and what I think is so important is it shows all sides of the story. And that's what I love about it and what makes me most proud to be a part of it."

After playing Alicia for so long, the actress is reluctant to bid her farewell.

"What I love about playing her and what I've loved about playing her for seven years, is watching her change and growing with her as a person."

This was a character who started out as the titular good wife and then changed and grew as her life was upended time and again - when her husband cheated on her, when her lover was shot dead and when she had to start over by opening her own law firm.

Margulies muses: "And yet at the core of this character, which I never forgot, was what the title of the show is, The Good Wife. There was an inherent idea in her psyche that she was supposed to be this good girl.

"The challenges of changing and saying goodbye to that good girl, were very difficult for her. And I don't think she ever did, in her mind."

In some ways, her own personal journey has echoed Alicia's.

"I started the show in my early 40s and I'm leaving the show in my late 40s. Alicia started the same time. And women change and become much more confident in their later 40s than they are in their 30s."

Asked if they would be friends in real life and she laughs throatily: "Oh, absolutely. I think she's fascinating. And I think she's very smart."

For her compelling performance as Alicia, the actress has twice won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. She had previously won an Emmy in 1995 for Best Supporting Actress for playing nurse Carol Hathaway on the medical drama ER (1994 to 2009).

After two long-running series, she is not ready to commit to another show.

But she says: "When the right script comes along, and as long as it's cable and not network, because I can't star in 22 episodes a year. It's just that the time and the energy it takes - it just leaves you so depleted."

And she has one other condition.

"I don't think I'll ever do another job again without (a wig)."

•The season 7 marathon of The Good Wife airs on Diva (Singtel TV Channel 303, StarHub TV Channel 513) on Saturday from 9.15am. The finale airs on May 9 at 9.25pm.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2016, with the headline 'Saying goodbye to The Good Wife'. Subscribe