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Valerie Jarrett’s appearance on ‘Good Wife’ in works more than a year

White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett speaks in Washington last month.
(Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

The Sunday night turn of President Obama’s senior advisor Valerie Jarrett on the CBS hit series “The Good Wife” was more than a year in the making and required a major rewrite to the script before she decided to do it.

When producers first invited her to appear on the show last year, they wanted her to talk to a drug kingpin character in Jarrett’s hometown of Chicago, where the show is set.

But Jarrett didn’t like the feel of that and took a pass, she said after the show aired Sunday.

If they ever wanted her to promote women and girls, she told them, they should call.

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Sunday night’s show was the result. In it, Jarrett appears in a couple of scenes, including one in which she encourages the show’s protagonist, Chicago lawyer Alicia Florrick, to run for state’s attorney.

“That felt like a good fit,” Jarrett said. “That’s something I try to do a lot -- encourage women to take leadership roles.”

At the White House, it’s both her official and unofficial role. Her job includes chairing the Council on Women and Girls. She is a close friend as well as an advisor to both the president and his wife, and she often pushes for the advancement of women -- most recently, she acknowledged, as the White House began considering possible replacements for outgoing Atty. Gen. Eric Holder.

Asked if she had urged a woman candidate to consider the job, she said, “Indeed I have,” but declined to say who that was.

Other political figures have appeared on “The Good Wife,” among them Democrats Donna Brazile and Vernon Jordan.

“The Good Wife” producers Michelle and Robert King called Jarrett a “consummate professional.” She “knew every line and hit every mark,” they wrote in an email.

Jarrett shot her scenes in New York, including one in which journalist Norah O’Donnell, also playing herself, interviews the fictional Illinois governor.

In that scene, Jarrett bumps into the governor’s chief of staff and the two of them talk over Florrick’s possible campaign.

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“Not far from reality, no,” said Jarrett, who this week plans to travel to Chicago with the president as he does an appearance with Democratic Gov. Patrick Quinn.

“The Good Wife” producers Michelle and Robert King called Jarrett a “consummate professional.” She “knew every line and hit every mark,” they wrote in an email.

For more coverage of the White House, follow @cparsons


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