‘The Good Wife’ shocker: Hidden story behind bombshell episode ratings

Josh Charles and Carrie Preston as Elsbeth Tascioni on CBS’ legal drama “The Good Wife.”
Josh Charles and Carrie Preston on CBS’ legal drama “The Good Wife.”

The producers of “The Good Wife” pulled off a creative shocker for sure. But a ratings coup it probably wasn’t.

As virtually everyone with a data connection knows by now, CBS’ legal drama stunned fans on Sunday with the sudden death of a major character. We’re not going to reveal who died or how, but if you don’t know and have no care of spoilers you can read all about it here or here.

The episode drew 8.9 million total viewers, according to early numbers from Nielsen. That was an increase of 6% from last week’s episode. And “Good Wife” was up a solid 15% in adults aged 18 to 49, the demographic most advertisers care about.

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But that wasn’t quite as triumphant as it first appears. For one thing, the shocker was a surprise. Not a word had leaked out to fans. So at least in the eastern half of the country, no one would have watched live or set the DVR simply because they knew a mind-bending plot twist was coming.

Moreover, the hike in the numbers may have been attributable to a basketball overrun in many parts of the country. CBS is in the middle of March Madness, after all.

Some clarity might come in the final numbers due to be released Tuesday.

In any case, “Good Wife” could use ratings help wherever it can get it. Viewership averaged just over 13 million when it premiered in the 2009-10 season and has fallen every year since. However, CBS this month picked up the show for a sixth season.


What do you think of “The Good Wife” and Sunday’s shocker?


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