Alicia's nonplussed expression any time she sees a family member involved with religion seems profoundly honest. She won't stop the search, but she doesn't understand it. There is a subtle thoroughness to how these characters are portrayed.

Alicia is not just the "good" wife because she stands by Peter. She is good in practically every sense of the word, even though she struggles with doubts about her life and career. Sorely tempted by an old flame, she continually remembers her children and resists anything that would endanger her family.

Alicia is a strong woman, not because she has an overbearing attitude but because she politely will not give way on important issues. Even when representing a legal position she dislikes, she is ethical while always finding a way to make her point. As her brother points out, she makes the people around her better because of the example she provides.

She is not perfect. Alicia makes mistakes but that simply makes the character more human. We understand her.

"The Good Wife's" array of well-rounded characters is exemplified in the disabled lawyer Louis Canning, played by Michael J. Fox. Canning will do anything to win cases, including shamelessly exploiting his own physical disabilities to manipulate juries. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, uses his obvious difficulties and considerable acting skills to make viewers relate to Canning as a lawyer more than as a handicapped person. Alicia, who has seen his tricks enough, distrusts every word he says. When we briefly see his home life and he opens up to Alicia about how to have a family and career, we don't know what to believe. Interestingly, Canning is often despicable in the courtroom and, on the other hand, the only character on the show who has a stable family life.

The show respects complexity: ultimately, no answer is easy and no person is simple. "The Good Wife" doesn't shy away from the truth simply because it may not be politically correct or convenient; in fact, it often uses incorrect moves to hammer home a point.

Good stories, high drama, and sound human insights. "The Good Wife" might be just the sort of good story you need to add some zest to the hot summer days. The first season is available on dvd and the second season dvd will be available in September, when the third season premiers on CBS. Some of the second season episodes are available now on CBS's website or on Hulu.