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It’s That Georgetown Thing: CBS TV Series Features Fictional Law “Alums”
By Ann W. Parks
Julianna Margulies with Josh Charles on the CBS television show “The Good Wife.” Photo: John Paul Filo/CBS ©2009 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission of CBS.
Alumni and students watching the hit CBS television series “The Good Wife” on Tuesday nights may have noticed that they share something in common with two key characters on the show — the same alma mater.
The show stars Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, the wife of a disgraced politician who returns to the practice of law and picks up the pieces of her life. Will Gardner, played by Josh Charles, is a friend of Alicia’s from Georgetown Law and a partner at Stern, Lockhart & Gardner.
“We made Alicia and Will Georgetown Law alums for a couple of reasons,” Michelle King, co-creator and executive producer of the show with her husband Robert King, wrote to Georgetown Law. “We wanted to highlight that they were smart, highly successful people without falling into the every-bright-fictional-character-went-to-Harvard-or-Yale trap. The fact that Georgetown [University] was in the national consciousness because of remarkable alums like Bill Clinton was also a plus.”
The Kings also happen to be longtime friends of Thomas Odell (L’10), a Georgetown Law 3L who hails from Los Angeles. Though Odell says he’s not feeding his famous friends insider information about Taco Tuesdays, Keg on the Quad or the notable “Quotables” in the latest issue of the Georgetown Law Weekly, he did fill the Kings in on the happenings in his life when he returned home to L.A. over the holiday break last year. But it wasn’t until he saw a promo for the new show this fall that he discovered he was responsible, at least in part, for the Kings’ choice of law schools.
“The Georgetown connection was a surprise to me,” Odell said. “I sent Michelle an e-mail saying thanks for the ‘shout-out,’ and she said, ‘I know, we put that in there because of you.’ It was that simple... It’s fun for me and my family to speculate about which scene, line or idea came from which one of them, but they don’t call me up and say what is the first-year curriculum like or what are these courses, or anything like that.”
Besides being fun, it’s nice to have Georgetown’s name out there as a great institution for legal training, he says.
So is there anything that Odell — who got his undergraduate degree at Harvard and hopes to go to Syria next year on a Fulbright — would like to tell his friends, from the point of view of someone who has personally experienced life at Georgetown Law? The inside scoop on the professors? The lunch specials in the Market Café?
“Maybe I’ll be able to answer that question when I’m a lawyer practicing in life, who brings with him whatever memories of law school he still has,” Odell says, laughing. “At the present moment, all I know is what it’s like to be a student here — the characters on the show are graduates who have left behind ‘Taco Tuesdays.'"