Ten years after leaving ER, Julianna Margulies finds herself back on television with another bona fide hit, the legal drama The Good Wife, which earned the actress critical acclaim as well as a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award after only a few episodes had aired.
On the series, Margulies stars as Alicia Florrick, who returns to practicing law after her politician husband (Chris Noth) is embroiled in a sex scandal. Margulies spoke to Metro about infidelity, power and why women are better at dealing with both.
How do you relate to what your character is going through?
The great thing about playing this role is we don’t know what is going to happen… Everything she is doing right now is because she has children, and I think she is trying to piece together a family somehow and make sure that her children are safe, but we don’t know what is going to happen. I don’t know what I would do personally. Every situation is different, and who is to say? You don’t know what happens in a bedroom, you know? You are not there. So we are very quick to judge these women. The thing I love is the premise of this show — is there such a thing as forgiveness?
I don’t know. I think it’s tricky. I’ve had friends whose husbands have absolutely had midlife crises and ended up with the nanny and woke up a year later and said, “I am an idiot. Take me back,” and they have and it’s worked out. I have friends who say, “Screw you, see you later,” and now they are off remarried with a great guy. I can’t imagine it happening to me, but I’m a newlywed. But all I know is, God forbid it ever did, I would want to try and do everything I could to try and save my marriage because I believe in the institution of marriage.
Why do you think people are so fascinated by these kinds of sex scandals?
I guess it’s a fantasy world to everyone else … A politician is different than anything else. There’s a power you have that’s different than anything else.
Do you think women deal with this kind of power differently?
Absolutely! We are programmed differently. Even if you have never been married with children, we still know how to multitask. Someone asked me, “Why is it that women are not having the affairs?” And my answer is, we don’t have the time. I’m sure women are having affairs, but if you have a full-time job and you’re a mother and a wife and a friend and a sister and a daughter, when on earth are you going to find the time to slip out and have some nookie? I can’t imagine having to fit that in.
Was the show based on what happened with New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and his wife?
I would be remiss to say that it’s based solely on the Spitzers because it is not. It’s an accumulation of what happened to many of these women. I think Eliot Spitzer was very good at his job. Unfortunately, he thought he was untouchable and he did bad things.
If he returned to politics, would you vote for him?
I don’t know. I would have to see what was on his agenda before I did that. But for me, personally, when the whole thing happened with Bill Clinton, he was still a great president. I did not care that he was getting blow jobs from women. That had nothing to do with my view of how America was being run. I am more liberal that way.