THE SHOW "The Good Wife," CBS/2, 10 p.m.
REASON TO WATCH Sophomore season begins, with two outstanding newcomers to the cast - Michael Ealy and Scott Porter.
THE SHOW As fans well know, the relationship between Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) and Will Gardner (Josh Charles) - one of her bosses at law firm Lockhart, Gardner - was sealed with a kiss last season, then unsealed. It's complicated, of course. She ended the season in the figurative stand-by-her-man pose that she had at the start of the season. Support husband and disgraced Cook County State's Attorney Peter Florrick (Chris Noth) or ditch the two-timing slug? And what about Will? Out of jail and back on the election trail, Peter is summoning her to his side at a news conference, just as Alicia's cell rings. It's - guess who! - Will. Tonight, Lockhart, Gardner has merged with a D.C.-based firm, bringing in a new partner, Derrick Bond (Ealy) and his firm's investigator, Blake (Porter). Will they clash? And how will Blake, er, merge with Kalinda (Archie Panjabi)? Life, meanwhile, just got more complicated for Alicia because Peter's archrival Glenn Childs (Titus Welliver) wants to embarrass her to get at her husband.
Mad Men." For that reason, "Wife" wasn't a victim of gratification denied as much as gratification delayed. The big award will come in time, and tonight's jewel of an episode - "Taking Control" - establishes why. Like "Men," "Wife" has an obsessive attention to detail; it's a hurricane of detail, in the visual touches, legal patter and the actors' unspoken flourishes. Nothing seems extraneous or out of place. Also like "Men," this show cares as much about silence as words, or that which isn't said (also a form of eloquence). Not to dismiss those words or the people who say them: This is a remarkably well-written and well-acted series.
BOTTOM LINE The best drama on the major broadcast networks. A great season awaits.