Television Top Trumps - Alicia Florrick vs Carol Hathaway

The Good Wife returned to British screens this week, bringing with it the mighty Alicia Florrick. She’s the heart of the show, don’t you know. But it’s not the first time Juliana Marguilies has been the heart of a drama set in Chicago. No, over 20 years ago she first appeared on screens as nurse Carol Hathaway in the mighty ER. But which wins – medical or legal?


Carol: Supremely curly and a bit wayward, for Carol was in ER in an era before hair straighteners became a go-to for absolutely everyone. Also she was a terribly busy nurse who didn’t have time for such things as elaborate blow-dries. Especially when it was pretty likely that someone would just be sick on her hair as soon as she got to work. 4/10

Alicia: Perfectly styled, straightened, and just the right side of big. Because everyone knows that in American TV, the bigger your hair the bigger your power. As a lowly associate Alicia’s hair remains in proportion to her experience, and gradually increases in volume as the series progresses. And we get gradually more envious. 9/10


Carol: Moves from her mother’s house to a house that she’s bought. Which seems like a solid financial decision, except it’s right by the L tracks, and is in such a terrible state that she literally can’t sell it. Because no other person would ever be stupid enough to buy it. Which is all fine, except that Carol needs to sell it because she has no money, so her car gets repossessed instead. She was a warning about the dangers of overborrowing before the credit crunch was even a thing. 8/10

Alicia: Moves from her fancy suburban house to an apartment that’s supposedly a massive step down but is still deeply, deeply envy-inducing. It’s a bit hard to feel that sorry for her when her hardship means she just has to share a building with some other people. She’s still got an island in her kitchen, for god’s sake! You can’t know true hardship with a kitchen island! 3/10


Carol: Toys with going to med school. But something about being stuck with a load of pre-med teenagers puts her off. Instead she just gets grumpy with anyone who terms her “just a nurse”, and rightly so, for Carol is SUPER NURSE and is far more competent than most of the doctors who keep trying to kill people in the ER. 5/10

Alicia: Has to reestablish herself in the legal world. Then sets up her own firm. Then gets booted out of her own firm and has to work out what to do next. It’s all a bit complex, but what we do know is that Alicia is very good at her job. Which is why it gets so complex. It would’ve been easier for her to just be mediocre and cruise along, really. 7/10


Carol: George Clooney’s Doug Ross breaks all the rules and then runs off the Seattle to avoid getting into a huge amount of trouble, leaving a pregnant Carol behind. In fairness, he doesn’t know she’s pregnant when he leaves, but does he come back when he finds out she is? No. No he does not. Poor form, Clooney. Poor form. 4/10

Alicia: Power-hungry husband Peter doesn’t end up in Seattle. He ends up in jail instead, which we’ve heard is worse. Even though it rains a lot in Seattle. But then he gets out, and decides to launch all sorts of grabs for political power, with Alicia unable to work out whether or not she fancies being by his side. Even though he slept with a prostitute behind her back. You’d think that’d be a deal-breaker, really 9/10


Carol: Kovac loves her when he first arrives. And everyone loves Kovac. He’s beautiful and European and has excellent floppy hair. He carries her to the hospital when she collapses in labour. He helps her buy a new car. He comes round and cooks for her. But stupid Carol left him broken-hearted and buggered off to chase George Clooney across the country, even though he’d abandoned her and their twins. 8/10

Alicia: Everyone bangs on about Alicia and Will, but it’s Alicia and Finn that’s the most frustrating. For Finn is a beautiful man. A beautiful, beautiful man. And he has none of the slightly questionably shady character flaws of Will. He’s the dictionary definition of Good Man, but stupid Alicia goes for her stupid campaign manager instead. Stupid. 4/10


Carol: Decides she wants to open a clinic in the ER to help Chicago’s underpriviliedge population. It all goes swimmingly, until she falls out with her staff a bit and then Doug implicates the clinic in an assisted suicide by using one of their morphine pumps. Which just a little bit breaks the rules, even though she did nothing wrong herself. 7/10

Alicia: Decides she wants to open her own law firm to help Chicago’s terribly privileged population. It all goes swimmingly, until she falls out with her staff and decides to run for State’s Attorney. At which point she gets implicated in a corruption scandal. Also breaking some rules, even though she did nothing wrong herself. 8/10


Alicia takes it, with 40 points to Carol’s 36. It must be the hair that did it. She’s just got such powerful hair.

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