Entertainment

76 Guest Stars Of “The Good Wife” Ranked In Order Of Excellence

The TV show with the best guest stars on Earth has its Season 4 finale on Sunday. From Michael J. Fox through Carrie Preston and Maura Tierney, let’s rank them from first to worst!

There’s no better current showcase for character actors than The Good Wife on CBS. It’s given established stars such as Michael J. Fox and Nathan Lane fun new things to do as they play off the legal drama’s leads, Julianna Margulies (as Alicia Florrick), Josh Charles (as Will Gardner), Christine Baranski (as Diane Lockhart), Matt Czuchry (as Cary Agos), and Chris Noth (as Peter Florrick). The show creators, the husband-and-wife team Robert and Michelle King, clearly delight in giving actors this showcase, and fans follow guest stars’ comings and goings with great interest.

So I decided to rank them according to excellence. And now I’m barely alive. Oh, and “excellence” here is defined as “in my opinion.”

A few notes, and then we’ll get to it (I’ve included a longer explanation of my “methodology” — ha! — at the very bottom). I included actors who have been on three or more episodes; and I did not include actors such as Zach Grenier (as David Lee) and Mary Beth Peil (as Jackie Florrick), who are basically series regulars, even though they’re not technically in that category. And so, as I went, the structure that emerged in the rankings was basically this: At the top are the characters (and actors) I consider to be superb; then it’s ones I think are pretty great; after that are ones I like; then it’s characters played by wonderful actors who maybe didn’t have a ton to do (playing judges, mostly) and don’t stand out in my memory; and then it’s characters the show has forgotten (remember Courtney? Anyone?). The very bottom is filled with characters I actively disliked and/or was disappointed with: Some of my favorite actors are here.

As far as those bottom-dwellers go, there’s no blame to be meted out here. It’s not the actors’ faults, and it’s not the writers’ faults, either. If the show is going to continue to take wild swings and offer us high points, there will be lows too. I appreciate the ambition. And if every judge and every friend of the Florrick kids had some memorably wacky attribute that stood out in our minds for all time, the show would be The Practice, and we’d all want to scream in frustration.

To the list!

1. Michael J. Fox

All photos courtesy of CBS

Character name: Louis Canning
Number of episodes so far: 8
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 6: “Poisoned Pill”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 13: “The Seven Day Rule”

While I’m happy for Michael J. Fox — and fans of Michael J. Fox — that he will have a new show on NBC this fall, if that means we never see Louis Canning again, I will freak out. His rapport with Julianna Margulies in his role as the diabolical Canning — especially when Louis is using his ailment to manipulative advantage and Alicia gets furious — is unparalleled.

2. Martha Plimpton

Character name: Patti Nyholm
Number of episodes so far: 5
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 5: “Crash”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 22: “What’s in the Box?” (Meaning, she’s in the finale on Sunday!)

Another sneaky, winking attorney opponent of Lockhart/Gardner, the Patti character is known to use pregnancy and, later, her infant to win sympathy. Plimpton won an Outstanding Guest Star Emmy for this role for good reason (specifically for the Season 3 finale, in which Patti and Louis tried to take over Lockhart/Gardner). Patti! Grr.

3. Mike Colter

Character name: Lemond Bishop
Number of episodes so far: 7
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 16: “Fleas”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 16: “Runnin’ with the Devil”

Whenever you ever start to think Lockhart/Gardner is populated by heroes, Lemond Bishop is there to remind you that they also represent a murderous drug kingpin. The Bishop-centric episodes tend to be real star-turns for Mike Colter, and sometimes when he’s on, the show starts feeling like the closest thing to The Wire since The Wire ended. None of this would work without Colter’s frightening, calm intensity — he’s from the Stringer Bell school of crime. His most recent episode paired him and Alicia with Wallace Shawn as his fixer, and I wish it had been a miniseries.

4. Carrie Preston

Character name: Elsbeth Tascioni
Number of episodes so far: 9
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 20: “Mock”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 15: “Going for the Gold”

The Elsbeth character is so over the top, and so completely insane — and yet, I would want her to represent me over any other lawyer on the show? And the Lockhart/Gardner lawyers feel the same way, since they’re always her clients (Alicia, Will, and Eli have all employed her, at last count). I have no idea how Carrie Preston — best known as Arlene from True Blood — came up with Elsbeth’s odd speech patterns. A total freak, really. She brings me joy.

5. Dylan Baker

Character name: Colin Sweeney
Number of episodes so far: 6
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 13: “Bad”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 22: “What’s in the Box?” (Yes! The coming finale!)

Love. This. Creepy. Murderer. My favorite Lockhart/Gardner client. If only he could be a series regular. Dylan Baker is so good at being a charming deviant. Remember the movie Happiness? Don’t remember it! It’s upsetting! But he’s great in it/everything.

6. Matthew Perry

Character name: Mike Kresteva
Number of episodes so far: 4
First seen in: Season 3, Episode 19: “Blue Ribbon Panel”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 18: “Death of a Client”

I know Matthew Perry is a funny actor. But post-Chandler, I so prefer him bringing his edgy sarcasm — which verges on angry-sounding — to dramas than to half-hour comedies such as Go On and the late Mr. Sunshine. As Peter’s governor’s race rival, the delightful liar Mike Kresteva, Perry has been terrific: I wouldn’t necessarily want Peter to win? But against Kresteva I do. He also hasn’t been on enough — and won’t be in the finale, which doesn’t really make sense — but I realize that he has another television show on another network.

7. Anika Noni Rose

Character name: Wendy Scott-Carr
Number of episodes so far: 14
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 3: “Breaking Fast”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 11: “Boom De Yah Da”

Of all the nemeses our lead characters have, Wendy Scott-Carr is the definitely the most frightening one: She really hates all of them, and wishes them ill! It’s fantastic. To be honest, I never really understand what she’s up to in her elaborate plots, like her prosecution of Will to get to Peter? Even as I type those words, my mind feels hazier than usual. But who cares: Anika Noni Rose is perfect here. Speaking of confusing, WSC was going to lead the charge against Eli, and then was replaced by the Kyle MacLachlan character, who cited her conflicts, if memory serves. Was that the way it was supposed to play out, or was Rose not available or something? Kings, if you’re reading this, please send a raven, as they say on Game of Thrones, to let me know; I realize I’ve been wondering about this abrupt turn. Which all leads me to say that Wendy Scott-Carr’s stories tend to peter out (pun intended). Yet she’s the best villain The Good Wife has. And a tragic one at that, since she’s been corrupted along the way herself.

8. Anne Marsen

Character name: Jennifer
Number of episodes so far: 4
First seen in: Season 3, Episode 1: “A New Day”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 8: “Death Row Tip”

How I miss this character! Grace’s (Makenzie Vega) crazy tutor/friend who is an avant-garde dancer/YouTube star! Let the campaign to bring Jennifer back begin here. In the meantime, here’s Anne Marsen’s website.

9. Nathan Lane

Character name: Clarke Hayden
Number of episodes so far: 9
First seen in: Season 4, Episode 1: “I Fought the Law”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 13: “The Seven Day Rule”

Considering that Nathan Lane is not necessarily the most understated of performers, I held my breath when his new character — as a trustee brought in to oversee Lockhart/Gardner during its bankruptcy — was introduced this season. I feared quirk overload; quirk overdose. Then I was so pleased. Lane was, if anything, somewhat quiet and restrained. And poignant — in his affection and respect for Cary, and in his path to discovering that he loved the law. I hope we see him again. Especially if it’s across the courtroom from Will or Diane. (Or Cary.)

10. Anna Camp

Character name: Caitlin D’arcy
Number of episodes so far: 8
First seen in: Season 3, Episode 5: “Marthas and Caitlins”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 17: “Long Way Home”

What a surprise Caitlin turned out to be. Alicia is forced to hire her — over the candidate she prefers — because she’s David Lee’s niece: And then she turns out to be talented. She then chooses to stop her career short because she’s pregnant and wants to be a stay-at-home mom, reminding Alicia of her own winding path. But most important, I will not rest until Anna Camp is a star: in movies, of her own TV show, whatever. ANNA CAMP IS GREAT. Have you not seen Pitch Perfect? Come on!

11. Mamie Gummer

Character name: Nancy Crozier
Number of episodes so far: 5
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 13: “Bad”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 21: “A More Perfect Union”

If The Good Wife can sometimes veer too much into the land of quirk, as I’ve mentioned, it’s still true that the recurring characters I love the most are the ones just on the right side of that line (the wrong side of the line for me would be a David E. Kelley character: like, everyone from Boston Legal). As I compiled this list, I realized that the opposing attorney characters I favor all have some deceptive technique they use to charm judges or the jury: In Mamie Gummer’s case, Nancy pretends to be a bumbling, innocent spaz when she is, in fact, a skilled snake. Nancy is the only character Gummer has played so far (that I’ve seen, anyway) that has displayed her true skills as an actress.

12. Gary Cole

Character name: Kurt McVeigh
Number of episodes so far: 6
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 15: “Bang”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 19: “The Wheels of Justice”

As the right-wing, possible secessionist with the on-the-nose last name, who also happens to be Diane’s love interest (and fiancé), Gary Cole has gotten to do things he doesn’t usually: namely, play a romantic character. Love it. Also, Cole’s affect seems super-Chicago-y to me, which the show usually ignores as its setting. But Chicago people are so…Chicago. It’s a compliment!

13. Titus Welliver

Character name: Glenn Childs
Number of episodes so far: 16
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 1: “Pilot”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 7: “Executive Order 13224”

Welliver’s Glenn Childs was a fixture in the early days of The Good Wife as Peter Florrick’s — and therefore, Alicia’s — nemesis, as the state’s attorney who took Peter’s place (and humiliated him/Alicia by leaking the tape of Peter’s prostitution dalliances). He was a great villain (as he so often is in his roles) who was sometimes right; I miss him.

14. Rita Wilson

Character name: Viola Walsh
Number of episodes so far: 4
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 14: “Net Worth”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 3: “Two Girls, One Code”

Rita Wilson is so good on The Good Wife that it makes me wish she’d… This is going to sound wrong, but I wish she’d had a different career in which she hadn’t been primarily known as Tom Hanks’ wife, but had been, like, the Abby Perkins character on L.A. Law or something. (No offense to Michele Greene who played Abby! Not that she’s reading this!) As the sneaky Viola, Wilson is terrific. That’s all.

15. Kevin Conway

Character name: Jonas Stern
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 9: “Threesome”
Most recently seen in: Season 2, Episode 19: “Wrongful Termination”

As the founding partner of Lockhart/Gardner (when it was Stern, Lockhart and Gardner at the show’s beginning), Kevin Conway was scene-stealing as a stubborn, brilliant man in the early stages of dementia. His anger as his mind began to slip away was realistic and nuanced. He’s also one of the only characters on this list who is dead.

16. John Benjamin Hickey

Character name: Neil Gross
Number of episodes so far: 4
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 16: “Great Firewall”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 13: “The Seven Day Rule”

Chumhum, which Neil Gross is the founder of, is The Good Wife’s stand-in for Google and has played a part in some of the show’s best technology-focused episodes. (It even factored into Sunday’s episode about unionizing coders at the last moment.) As a tech CEO, though, Hickey’s Neil Gross is pure Steve Jobs, with his acid ambition.

17. Renée Elise Goldsberry

Character name: Geneva Pine
Number of episodes so far: 13
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 12: “Painkiller”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 15: “Going for the Gold”

One of the many wonderful things about The Good Wife is you see things one way because of the main characters’ points of view, and then something shifts, and you realize that things weren’t as they seemed. Geneva has been a good vessel for that as a critic of Peter’s hiring/promoting practices by race: They’re possibly discriminatory! Also, she delivered the great line about Kalinda: “Whenever I see that bitch I know we’re in trouble.”

18. Dallas Roberts

Character name: Owen Cavanaugh
Number of episodes so far: 8
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 3: “Breaking Fast”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 21: “A More Perfect Union”

Alicia’s gay brother, and the only friend the show allows her to have besides Kalinda. If these supporting characters are meant to jar the leads out of any stasis, Owen’s role is to force the repressed Alicia to discuss her feelings — and even, sometimes, her desires.

19. Jess Weixler

Character name: Robyn Burdine
Number of episodes so far: 6
First seen in: Season 4, Episode 16: “Runnin’ with the Devil”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 22: “What’s in the Box?”

The last time the firm had a second investigator…well, see No. 75 on this list. But so far, I’m loving this Millennial weirdo. And it’s nice for Kalinda to have a colleague — even if she doesn’t like it.

20. Stockard Channing

Character name: Veronica Loy
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 4, Episode 9: “A Defense of Marriage”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 21: “A More Perfect Union”

I have no idea what Stockard Channing is like in person, but I hope she’s somewhat like the flaky, fun lush Veronica Loy, Alicia’s mother. We didn’t see Veronica for the first three seasons of the show — and now we know why Alicia is the way she is. She had an excellent moment in her most recent episode when she went to tell Will that it was now or never with Alicia.

21. Denis O’Hare

Character name: Judge Charles Abernathy
Number of episodes so far: 7
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 2: “Stripped”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 22: “What’s in the Box?” (Yes, he’s in the upcoming finale too.)

Love Denis O’Hare in general, and here especially. Like when he cried, or just had irritated eyes, after being pepper sprayed at an Occupy protest. Judge Abernathy has inspired some animated GIF action with his quips.

22. Chris Butler

Character name: Matan Brody
Number of episodes so far: 11
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 1: “Pilot”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 10: “Battle of the Proxies”

As one of the prosecutors, Matan is one of those characters the audience ends up rooting against because of the point of view of the show; he’s an effective hard-ass (and was also a foil for Cary when he joined the state’s attorney’s office). Kalinda fans felt a real sense of dread when Blake (Scott Porter) went to talk to Matan before leaving Chicago. More Matan!

23. David Fonteno

Character name: Judge Robert Parks
Number of episodes so far: 7
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 5: “Crash”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 20: “Rape: A Modern Perspective”

Judge Parks has stood out from the scrum both because he was one of the judges involved in Will’s corruption case, and also because David Fonteno is good at being exasperated. The recent episode, “Rape: A Modern Perspective,” based on the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case — in which social media played a key part — highlighted exasperated Judge Parks, as an anonymous hacker group helped Lockhart/Gardner by digging up evidence despite his no-leaks rule. My second favorite judge (Denis O’Hare is No. 1).

24. Jill Flint

Character name: Lana Delaney
Number of episodes so far: 9
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 8: “Unprepared”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 5: “Waiting for the Knock”

As the hot FBI agent Kalinda flirts with (and more), the Lana character is a Tumblr favorite. We haven’t seen her since the disastrous Kalinda/Nick story line early this season when Nick threatens her; more on that mess later. Come back, Lana! There are so few lesbians on TV right now!

25. Kelli Giddish

Character name: Sophia Russo
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 22: “Getting Off”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 1: “A New Day”

The relationship between Kalinda and Sophia — who might actually be trickier than Kalinda — was just getting going when Kelli Giddish was cast as a regular on Law & Order: SVU, where she is to this day. I’ve put Sophia and poor Lana here together to show what might have been for Kalinda.

26. Dreama Walker

Character name: Becca
Number of episodes so far: 7
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 9: “Threesome”
Most recently seen in: Season 2, Episode 16: “Great Firewall”

As Zach Florrick’s (Graham Phillips) girlfriend, the Becca character truly made no sense: Why would some kid be leaking campaign information and plotting against adults? However, she was a delight because Dreama Walker is: and because making no sense is sometimes fine. Now that Don’t Trust the B—— in Apartment 23 is no more, Becca — and Dreama Walker in general — deserves a spin-off. Maybe on Showtime.

27. Tim Guinee

Character name: Andrew Wiley
Number of episodes so far: 8
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 12: “Silly Season”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 22: “The Dream Team”

I miss this BabyBjorn-wearing investigator! Who, despite wearing a baby all the time, was insanely driven. Tim Guinee is on Revolution sometimes — and frankly, that’s not a good enough reason not to be on The Good Wife.

28. David Paymer

Character name: Judge Richard Cuesta
Number of episodes so far: 5
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 1: “Pilot”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 21: “The Penalty Box”

It’s a hard thing with the Good Wife judges, and judges on legal procedural shows in general: No matter how good the actor is, they do tend to blend together. The Cuesta character was also a client of Diane’s in “The Penalty Box” in Season 3. But if memory serves, he can no longer preside over one of their cases because of that? Does that mean bye, bye, David Paymer forever? Sad!

29. Michael Boatman

Character name: Julius Cain
Number of episodes so far: 15
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 10: “Lifeguard”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 19: “Blue Ribbon Panel”

I remember Julius with fondness for saving Will and Diane from Derrick Bond; I also liked when he tried to backstab Will when he was suspended in Season 3. And… I can’t remember what happened after that. Where’s Julius???

30. Jerry Adler

Character name: Howard Lyman
Number of episodes so far: 5
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 16: “Great Firewall”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 14: “Red Team, Blue Team”

The idea for the Howard Lyman character is so funny: The cranky, old law partner who does nothing but collect money, but every once in a while is either useful for a vote or makes ridiculous trouble. It’s always good to see Hesh from The Sopranos dropping in.

31. Amanda Peet

Character name: Laura Hellinger
Number of episodes so far: 7
First seen in: Season 4, Episode 6: “The Art of War”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 19: “The Wheels of Justice”

When she started out as Alicia’s friend, after having been represented by her, the Laura character seemed great. I liked that Alicia and Peter got her a job at his office. Then Laura went down the ill-fated Will path. Have we seen the last of Peet now that she realized that Will is still in love with Alicia?

32. Mike Pniewski

Character name: Frank Landau
Number of episodes so far: 9
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 7: “Bad Girls”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 15: “Going for the Gold”

One of the gratifying things about making this list was finding out the names of actors who’ve made key, if occasional, contributions to this show. Landau is the Democratic strategist who never brings good news to Peter and Eli, and I’ve always appreciated him — but never knew Mike Pniewski’s name until now.

33. Frederick Weller

Character name: Will Hobson
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 5: “VIP Treatment”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 17: “Invitation to an Inquest”

Frederick Weller is my friend in real life! Conflict alert! I will just say he’s nothing like the smug jerk lawyer Will Hobson, with whom Will Gardner had a fistfight.

34. Joe Morton

Character name: Daniel Golden
Number of episodes so far: 11
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 4: “Fixed”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 6: “Affairs of State”

As the lawyer in Season 1 who represented Peter in his bid to get out of prison and clear his name, there’s no real reason for us to see Daniel Golden since then — though he turned up in one third-season episode. His occasional return would be welcome, though!

35. Linda Emond

Character name: Judge Leora Kuhn
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 2: “Double Jeopardy”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 6: “The Art of War”

Judge Leora Kuhn is in a way the perfect Good Wife guest character: In one episode, she tortured Alicia and Will, who had to try a case in her military court and had no idea what they were doing; in another, she enlists Alicia to represent a sexually assaulted officer who needs help (Amanda Peet). I hope she’s on once a season, at least.

36. Gbenga Akinnagbe

Character name: Pastor Isaiah Easton
Number of episodes so far: 5
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 17: “Heart”
Most recently seen in: Season 2, Episode 17: “Ham Sandwich”

When Peter first got out of jail, and we didn’t know whether he had truly changed (which, by the way, we still don’t!), he turned to Pastor Isaiah Easton for spiritual guidance. A very different character for Gbenga Akinnagbe than the silent killer Chris Partlow from The Wire. We may never see him again? But his presence was an early indication that Alicia is not comfortable with religion, which is a recurring theme.

37. Kate Burton

Character name: Victoria Adler
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 10: “Lifeguard”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 17: “Long Way Home”

I would have thought the Victoria Adler character had been on more episodes: As Diane’s former mentor, who has turned out to be corrupt and sabotaging, she had made an impression. Kate Burton specializes as a recurring guest star: Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and Grimm. But she’s dead on two of those — Grey’s and Grimm — so maybe we’ll see her again here.

38. Grace Rex

Character name: Martha Reed
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 3, Episode 5: “Marthas and Caitlins”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 11: “Boom De Yah Da”

As the character whom Alicia at first thought should get the associate position over Anna Camp’s Caitlin, Martha pops up every once in a while. And seems pissed, still.

39. America Ferrera

Character name: Natalie Flores
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 15: “The Silver Bullet”
Most recently seen in: Season 2, Episode 20: “Foreign Affairs”

America Ferrera was so good in this three-episode arc as the in-jeopardy-of-being-deported Natalie. But the sexual dynamic between her and Eli? Why.

40. Parker Posey

Character name: Vanessa Gold
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 3, Episode 6: “Affairs of State”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 20: “Pants on Fire”

I was worried about the combination of Alan Cumming and Parker Posey (playing his ex-wife): that suddenly The Good Wife would turn into a banter-y, face-making indie movie from the early 2000s. But they played it pretty understated, and I liked her turn on the show.

41. Michael Ealy

Character name: Derrick Bond
Number of episodes so far: 12
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 1: “Taking Control”
Most recently seen in: Season 2, Episode 16: “Great Firewall”

When I first watched Showtime’s Sleeper Cell, I felt like Michael Ealy, with his attention-getting blue eyes, was a star. Since then, he keeps getting parts that haven’t given him enough to do, I feel. Derrick Bond — Will’s old friend and, for a time, law partner — falls into that category. Derrick fell victim to a cardinal rule of The Good Wife: The Only Partners Who Really Matter Are Will and Diane. This rule leads to ousters. Beware, other partners!

42. John Glover

Character name: Jared Andrews
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 21: “In Sickness”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 20: “Rape: A Modern Perspective”

Is he Patti Nyholm’s boss, or did I make that up? Was he? I can’t find any word of this anywhere. Regardless. John Glover’s Jared Andrews is always a standout as the opposing lawyer, as he was recently in the Steubenville-like rape case.

43. Jeremy Strong

Character name: Matt Becker
Number of episodes so far: 5
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 13: “Real Deal”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 21: “A More Perfect Union”

Until last Sunday’s episode, we hadn’t seen the Wendy Scott-Carr-hating pollster, Matt Becker, since Season 2. But then he came back to tell Peter that he was actually losing in the governor’s race and he had to do something about it. It was nice to see him.

44. Jack Carpenter

Character name: Patric Edelstein (or Patrick? But IMDb and TV.com have it as “Patric.”)
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 14: “Net Worth”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 15: “Live from Damascus”

Edelstein was the fictional version of Mark Zuckerberg if Zuckerberg had sued The Social Network — and he/Jack Carpenter has been in two other episodes. I sort of think that Neil Gross and Chumhum are the main tech company foil on The Good Wife?

45. J.D. Williams

Character name: Dexter Roja
Number of episodes so far: 4
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 8: “On Tap”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 16: “Runnin’ with the Devil”

Bodie from The Wire! I love him and hope he continues to appear in Lemond Bishop–centric episodes. (Weird trivia that is probably too reliant on the often wrong IMDb: Williams has been on four episodes total, but in the first one, he appeared as a cashier, not a named character.)

46. Edward Herrmann

Character name: Lionel Deerfield
Number of episodes so far: 5
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 4: “Cleaning House”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 2: “And the Law Won”

Always good to see Edward Herrmann. Since the Lionel character is an attorney (and an ally of Will’s), I hope we do again.

47. Ana Gasteyer

Character name: Judge Patrice Lessner
Number of episodes so far: 4
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 16: “Fleas”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 22: “What’s in the Box?” (The upcoming finale.)

She’s known as the judge who makes the lawyers say “in my opinion” after each statement. In my opinion, I’m always happy to see her.

48. Bebe Neuwirth

Character name: Judge Claudia Friend
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 3, Episode 17: “Long Way Home”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 16: “Runnin’ with the Devil”

Another judge Tumblr seems to like.

49. F. Murray Abraham

Character name: Burl Preston
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 14: “Net Worth”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 7: “Anatomy of a Joke”

Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham got a little extra to do in his most recent episode when Burl Preston tried to buy Lockhart/Gardner when the firm was in bankruptcy. (But was thwarted.)

50. Terry Kinney

Character name: Gerald Kozko
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 19: “Boom”
Most recently seen in: Season 1, Episode 22: “Hybristophilia”

Kozko — played by the excellent Terry Kinney (Oz, Thirtysomething) was a sinister presence in Season 1 to remind us of Peter’s shady dealings. Um, I don’t remember the outcome. That’s OK, right? It was several Peter iterations ago.

51. Kurt Fuller

Character name: Judge Peter Dunaway
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 3, Episode 11: “What Went Wrong”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 8: “Here Comes the Judge”

I really like Kurt Fuller as an actor, and I think Judge Dunaway was one of those suspected of having been bribed by Will. But that’s all I got.

52. Jane Alexander

Character name: Judge Suzanne Morris
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 12: “The Silly Season”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 10: “Battle of the Proxies”

Unfortunately, I don’t remember much about Jane Alexander’s Suzanne Morris, which makes sense, since she’s a judge who’s been on only three times. I have an image of her drinking tea?

53. Joanna Gleason

Character name: Judge Carmella Romano
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 9: “Threesome”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 20: “Pants on Fire”

Um. Nothing. I always like Joanna Gleason, though!

54. Miriam Shor

Character name: Mandy Post
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 4, Episode 3: “Two Girls, One Code”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 6: “The Art of War”

A lot of times, journalist characters on TV and in film drive me insane. That didn’t happen here, and it’s always nice to see Miriam Shor.

55. Rachel Hilson

Character name: Nisa del Mar
Number of episodes so far: 5
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 8: “On Tap”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 17: “Invitation to an Inquest”

Nisa was Zach’s girlfriend from Season 2 on, but that came to a sudden end after she tweeted a photo of Zach with her Muslim parents (and it turned out her father had donated money to a terror suspect). He used it as an excuse to dump her. Ice-cold.

56. Romany Malco

Character name: Justin Coyne
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 3, Episode 4: “Feeding the Rat”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 11: “What Went Wrong”

Romany Malco is such a charming, earnest actor, so he made a convincing Legal Aid attorney. If anything more happened with this character, my mind has dispensed of it.

57. Sarah Steele

Character name: Marissa Gold
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 15: “Silver Bullet”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 8: “Death Row Tip”

It is sort of hilarious that we have not seen Eli’s daughter, Marissa, in more than a year. I had forgotten she existed.

58. Eric Ruffin

Character name: Dylan Bishop
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 17: “Ham Sandwich”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 16: “Waiting for the Knock”

Scary criminal Lemond Bishop’s cute little son!

59. Liz Holtan

Character name: Indira Starr
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 4, Episode 3: “Two Girls, One Code”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 5: “Waiting for the Knock”

It was fun for a while this season to think that Peter had cheated on Alicia again, this time with a young campaign worker. But he didn’t. Right? We know that for sure?

60. James Carpinello

Character name: Detective Anthony Burton
Number of episodes so far: 5
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 14: “Hi”
Most recently seen in: Season 1, Episode 23: “Running”
When you start adding up how many romantic partners/work sources Kalinda juggles, it gets a little hilarious. Frankly, I had forgotten about this guy from Season 1, who was her cop friend who was being investigated for corruption. It’s no one’s fault! There are just a lot of men and women coming in and out of Kalinda’s life! Good for her.

61. Skipp Sudduth

Character name: Jim Moody
Number of episodes so far: 8
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 6: “Poisoned Pill”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 22: “What’s in the Box?” (Sunday’s finale.)

Dear Skipp Sudduth: I’m so sorry that I’ve somehow never registered your character, even though you’ve been on, as it turns out, eight episodes, including Sunday’s finale, which I just watched. I do, however, remember you fondly as Sully from Third Watch. Sincerely yours, Kate

62. Pedro Pascal

Character name: Nathan Landry
Number of episodes so far: 6
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 8: “Unprepared”
Most recently seen in: Season 2, Episode 12: “Silly Season”

He’s all the way on the left, there. I sort of remember this character? His last episode was one in which he fought with Cary, though they were on the same side (working at the state’s attorney’s office). We haven’t seen him since.

63. Cady Huffman

Character name: Marina Vassel
Number of episodes so far: 4
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 20: “Foreign Affairs”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 19: “Blue Ribbon Panel”

Hoo boy. Cady Huffman played Alicia’s realtor, which is just not easy to remember because it doesn’t figure into any main plot. Earlier this week, I asked my friend Jace Lacob if he remembered her by her name and the character’s name. He was, like, hmm, Alicia’s realtor? Then when I sat down to write this part, I had already forgotten. It’s not because of the actress! There are just so many people on The Good Wife. It’s a compliment about the show’s richness and depth.

64. Felix Solis

Character name: Detective Rodriguez
Number of episodes so far: 4
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 15: “Bang”
Most recently seen in: Season 2, Episode 22: “Getting Off”

Hmm. Who are you? Wait. Are you…? No. No idea. (PS: The photo above is from another CBS show, the canceled NYC 22, because I couldn’t find a picture of Felix Solis. I recognize him! Just not the Det. Rodriguez character.)

65. Elizabeth Reaser

Character name: Tammy Linnata
Number of episodes so far: 7
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 4: “Cleaning House”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 18: “Gloves Come Off”

Through no fault of Elizabeth Reaser’s, this character did not work at all. Playing Will’s most significant non-Alicia girlfriend is just a road to nowhere. She knew it — and left. Poor Tammy.

66. Karen Olivo

Character name: Giada Cabrini
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 20: “Mock”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 8: “Here Comes the Judge”

Another doomed love interest for Will. Tony winner Karen Olivo (West Side Story) played the rich law student who liked him; she turned up this season, too, when Will had to deal with fallout from the judges/corruption scandal. I’m not sure what else could have happened with Giada, story-wise: And maybe Karen Olivo has quit acting? Oh well.

67. Maura Tierney

Character name: Maddie Hayward
Number of episodes so far: 7
First seen in: Season 4, Episode 2, “And the Law Won”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 15: “Going for the Gold”

On the trademarked instrument that measures my psyched-to-sad ratio, Maura Tierney as Maddie Hayward has me… Wait, is it saying I’m dead??? Heh. Sorry. Anyway. This arc did not pan out, to say the least. She was neither a cool new friend for Alicia — since apparently there can only be one, and that is Kalinda — nor was she a formidable new enemy for Alicia. She wasn’t a worthy gubernatorial opponent for Peter, either. If I was writing fan fiction in my head about Carole Hathaway and Abby Lockhart from ER when Tierney’s guest appearance was announced, and even after their first scenes together, then the way it fizzled — well, you get it. I don’t know what happened here. Super tragic.

68. Amy Sedaris

Character name: Stacie Hall
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 3, Episode 9: “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 15: “Live from Damascus”

Because Alan Cumming is so outrageous, even though he’s as buttoned up here as he can possibly be, putting him with another oddball can get a little nuts. I think that’s why he’s so good with Alicia, Kalinda, and Peter. Eli’s competition with lobbyist Stacie Hall — which turned sexual! — was not my favorite.

69. Paulina Gerzon

Character name: Shannon Vargas
Number of episodes so far: 4
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 10: “Lifeguard”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 10: “Parenting Made Easy”

Geez, where did Grace’s friend Shannon go? I had forgotten about the starstruck kid who went with Grace to accost the Sloan (Miranda Cosgrove) character when Alicia was representing her.

70. Sonequa Martin

Character name: Courtney Wells
Number of episodes so far: 8
First seen in: Season 1, Episode 5: “Crash”
Most recently seen in: Season 2, Episode 23: “Closing Arguments”

Courtney was an assistant who had worked for Patti Nyholm but then quit to work for Alicia and Cary. When Alicia and Cary were competing for the one associate job, Courtney played into the plot; but I have no memory whatsoever of what happened to her. Did we say good-bye to her, or is she theoretically still around, somewhere in the offices? Where the hell is Courtney? Maybe Eli’s daughter, Grace’s friend, and Courtney are all hanging out together.

71. T. R. Knight

Character name: Jordan Karahalios
Number of episodes so far: 7
First seen in: Season 4, Episode 11: “Boom De Yah Dah”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 22: “What’s in the Box?”

Always happy to see T. R. Knight. But as Peter’s upstart campaign manager during the time when vulnerable Eli was being investigated? Just didn’t work. Nope.

72. Monica Raymund

Character name: Dana Lodge
Number of episodes so far: 9
First seen in: Season 3, Episode 6: “Affairs of State”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 15: “Live from Damascus”

Hated the Dana-Cary-Kalinda love triangle. We haven’t seen Dana since she got pushed out of the state’s attorney’s office, and I hope it stays that way.

73. Lisa Edelstein

Character name: Celeste Serrano
Number of episodes so far: 3
First seen in: Season 3, Episode 3: “Get a Room”
Most recently seen in: Season 3, Episode 5: “Marthas and Caitlins”

The beginning of Season 3 was the only run of The Good Wife I haven’t enjoyed and admired: Lisa Edelstein’s grating character — in her first role post-House — contributed to that. Never forget.

74. P. J. Brown

Character name: Bill
Number of episodes so far: 4
First seen in: Season 4, Episode 1: “I Fought the Law”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 10: “Battle of the Proxies”

There was just nothing good to the Nick story line (scroll down). So no, I could not appreciate Nick’s henchman, either. Sorry, dude.

75. Scott Porter

Character name: Blake Calamar
Number of episodes so far: 14
First seen in: Season 2, Episode 1: “Taking Control”
Most recently seen in: Season 2, Episode 18: “Killer Song”

I still remember how excited I was when it was announced that Scott Porter, aka Jason Street from Friday Night Lights, would have a significant arc on The Good Wife. And though I can still barely remember most of 2010-11, like in life, I also clearly recall how disappointed I was in that arc. A leering presence with the intent to expose Kalinda’s past — a story that, taken as a whole, has proven to flame out entirely over the seasons — Blake was threatening, violent… and seductive? Yuck. He foreshadowed my least favorite character on this list (drumroll please!). Please be gone forever, Blake.

76. Marc Warren

Character name: Nick Saverese
Number of episodes so far: 8
First seen in: Season 4, Episode 1: “I Fought the Law”
Most recently seen in: Season 4, Episode 10: “Battle of the Proxies”

Where to begin? The introduction of Nick, a looming presence over Kalinda’s life, was supposed to bring to bear all of the mysteries surrounding her. Instead, their dynamic was upsetting and weird and alienating and just: No! No! When I interviewed the Kings a few months ago and asked about the audience rejection of the Nick/Kalinda story line, Robert King said, “We were kind of thrown and torn because we really loved them.” Then thank you, Kings, for trusting your audience enough to side with them and cut this story line off. Last we saw Nick, Kalinda really seemed like she was going to kill him. If she did, then that could be a big deal in the future. I will testify on her behalf!

Note: As I wrote in the introduction, I included actors who were on the show three times or more. It was an extremely manual process — as in, I went through every episode’s cast list and made the list that way — so it’s certainly possible that I missed a few. There were also three actors/characters whom not only did CBS not have photographs of, but I couldn’t get screengrabs of either: Ismael Cruz Cordova (as Jimmy Patrick), Nicole Roderick (as Nora), and Vanessa Wasche (as Will’s assistant). With the finale looming, I simply ran out of time. And finally: Thank you, Ariane Lange, for help with the photos and research.

Update: Peter Riegert, who has been in five episodes, simply fell off my list. He plays Judge Harvey Winter, and was the third judge named in the investigation of Will. Very upset about omitting him, but what’s done is done!

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