Thanks, Alicia and Jane

Simon Baker as Patrick Jane

I have spent many years watching very little television. I felt special when I could say, “Really, the only TV I watch is PBS.”

Juliana Margulies as Alicia Florrick

I still watch PBS–the News Hour whenever I can, and Masterpiece offerings on Sunday evenings.  The latter is a ritual for Jonathan and me.

A new ritual of late has been some commercial television–specifically The Good Wife and The Mentalist.

I admire the lead actors in both–Juliana Margulies as the good wife, Alicia Florrick, and Simon Baker as the mentalist, Patrick Jane–and the stories are well done. I especially admire the class of Mrs. Florrick as she navigates through tangled personal and professional landmines. And Jane (yes, mostly he is addressed as Jane) is, in his pixie seriousness, both hot and charming.

Perhaps I am lowering my standards as I age, or perhaps the stories have gotten better than I remember. Whatever it is, these two shows are intellectually and morally engaging. The dialogue is crisp, stimulating, affectionate and principled by turns, and nearly always interesting. The situations are generally not simple, and not resolved easily (although Jane makes it look easy).

What a great antidote they both are to the current level of public discourse exhibited by many people running for office (or the lack of it; see “Eric, Where Are You?”).