The Good Wife is all about high-powered lawyers at the top of their game, but who’s the smartest? We rank Alicia Florrick, her family and co-workers.
Since most of the major players on The Good Wife are lawyers, it’s fair to say that they’re all pretty intelligent. Whether they’re verbally sparring with one another, trying to have some semblance of a personal life, or dealing with a difficult client, these characters give others a run for their money.
Wondering how the lawyers at the firm (and some of their family members) stack up against one another? Here is every main character on The Good Wife, ranked according to intelligence.
Zach Grenier’s The Good Wife character, David Lee, isn’t the most beloved as he’s a grumpy jerk who doesn’t like anyone who he works with — or anyone in general. He doesn’t seem particularly smart, either, which is why he lands on the last spot on this list.
David’s a divorce lawyer and seems to only keep his job for the so-called prestige, power, and the money that he takes home. He doesn’t want to help people like the others at his office, and although he can be pretty manipulative, that doesn’t make him intelligent.
Peter Florrick (Chris Noth) is next up as he doesn’t make the best choices in his professional life or when it comes to his loved ones. Cheating on his wife Alicia (Julianna Margulies) when he’s the State’s Attorney is a very stupid move as it destroys his family and makes his political ambitions tough, too. This becomes a super public scandal and it affects the way people see him.
Even though Peter tries to get Alicia back throughout the show’s seven seasons, it never feels genuine as he’s not the most loving guy around. He cares more about power and fame than anything else, and he doesn’t think about how his actions affect others.
Alicia’s son Zach (Graham Phillips) is smart in some ways and silly in others. While he’s a whiz when it comes to technology and computers and can do some great research, he’s a typical teenage boy who cares more about dating and causing mischief than anything else. He needs a little more time to grow up and develop as a person.
Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry) seems like a fairly smart guy, especially since he got himself hired at Lockhart/Gardner and, later at the State Attorney’s office, but his sixth season storyline makes viewers wonder if he got seriously played.
He finds himself in legal hot water as people think that he has been trafficking drugs, and he actually gets arrested. It feels like if Cary was more intelligent and a fast thinker (like his colleague, Alicia), that wouldn’t have happened. Sure, he’s a good lawyer, but Cary is not the smartest person at the firm.
Will Gardner (Josh Charles) is definitely an intelligent person, but he’s not rated higher because it takes him forever to realize that he and Alicia belong together. And by the time that it becomes clear to Alicia, Will is tragically killed while in court.
Will and Diane are partners and have known each other for a long time, but fans definitely get the feeling that Diane has carried a lot of weight at the firm. Will has a bit of a mentality where he thinks that because he’s privileged, he can get anything that he wants.
While Alicia’s daughter Grace (Makenzie Vega) seems innocent at first, she’s got a pretty cunning mind and she always seems like she’s scheming and planning something.
She even works for her mother in season 7 when Alicia starts working as a lawyer from their apartment, and Grace seems like she’s going to go very far in life.
Alicia Florrick is a brilliant lawyer whose life took an ugly turn when she realized that her marriage to Peter was built on lies. She was publicly humiliated by him and she discovered that taking time off from her law career to be a wife and mother wasn’t really what she wanted.
Alicia is smart because she figures out what she wants and turns her life around. She does really well at Lockhart/Gardner even though she’s been out of the game for so long, and whenever she works on a case, she’s impressive.
Christine Baranski’s The Good Wife character, Diane Lockhart, is one of the smartest people on the series. She’s witty, never lets someone else get the last word, and does her best to be a mentor to Alicia, even though they don’t really have a warm and fuzzy relationship.
Diane is terribly betrayed by Alicia in the series finale and the moment when she slaps Alicia is so crazy to watch. Although she would never typically condone violence, Diane was simply doing what she thought was right, and it had a certain poetic justice to it. Diane feels like someone who can accomplish every single goal and dream on her list.
Alan Cumming’s character, Eli Gold, is the second most intelligent on the show. He’s always frustrated at how stupid and/or incompetent other people are, and even though he stands by Peter and is even his Chief of Staff when he runs for office, Eli is compassionate enough that he looks out for Alicia, too.
Eli is the person to go to when a problem needs to be fixed and he’s always got a smart comeback at the ready.
Archie Panjabi does an incredible job playing Kalinda on The Good Wife, and her disappearance is a tragic moment as fans always missed her presence on the series.
As the firm’s investigator, Kalinda proved her intelligence as she was always able to find the truth. She never failed, got scared, or let her emotions get the best of her ability to do her job. The show definitely lacked some depth after she left, and Kalinda was not only the smartest person on the show but perhaps she was the best character, too.