The wait is over: the new "Good Wife" spinoff "The Good Fight" premieres tonight on CBS All Access and CBS. The show takes place a year after "The Good Wife" ended, which has given us lots of time to rank the characters on the "Good Wife" -- one of the best TV dramas ever.
When a character played by Margo Martindale is only No. 27 on the list of best characters, you're talking about a pretty excellent show.
26. Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo)
We always wished she had more to do on "The Good Wife," and she finally gets her moment on "The Good Fight," delivering a stellar speech to new character Maia Rindell (played by "Game of Thrones" veteran Rose Leslie).
25. Charles Abernathy (Denis O'Hare)
His Honor's bend-over-backwards attempts to be fair to the people with whom he most vehemently disagreed made him the best of many great "Good Wife" judges.
He was cool, and that's pretty much all he needed to be, but Morgan looked a lot more comfortable swinging a bat on "The Walking Dead."
23. Marilyn Garbanza (Melissa George)
Peter's personal ethics overseer presented an ethical conundrum of her own when she proved too gorgeous, in Eli's estimation, to be left alone with the governor. The end of the mystery about her baby's paternity led to the most straight-outta-nowhere celebrity cameo "Good Wife" history.
22. Jeff Dellinger (Zack Woods)
One of the best things "The Good Wife" did in later seasons was introduce a team of NSA watchdogs to casually spy on the key players on the show. "Silicon Valley" star Zack Woods, as a border-straddling, poor man's Edward Snowden, was a Big Brother with puppy-dog eyes. At least we still get to see Woods on "Silicon Valley."
The Chumhum CEO personified all our fears about the tech industry by being arrogant and untouchable. Every show needs an unrepentant ass, and Hickey played Gross without seeking our sympathy -- because really, who cares what a bunch of idiots think?
19. Becca (Dreama Walker)
Eli Gold met his match not in the slew of prosecutors he constantly battled, but in a scheming teenage girl. Zach's near-disappearance from the show left us with a lot of questions, but the biggest was when will Becca run for office.
Lots of "Good Wife" attorneys had a "Matlock" routine, a supposed innocence or vulnerability they played up to appear more sympathetic to judges and juries. (These ranged from being young, to being from Michigan, to having a degenerative illness.) Patti was the only lawyer savvy enough to get a baby involved, using her motherhood as a blunt instrument to get her way.
At some point during Alicia's Attorney General race against the thoughtful, endlessly ethical Prady, we started rooting for him over our heroine. We're pretty sure she did, too.
16. Grace Florrick (Makenzie Vega)
Grace became the third-most interesting Florrick with her mix of incredible secretarial skills, unabashed morality and born-again Christianity. Grace was one of the most studiously boring teenagers on television, but that made her different -- and interesting.
"The Good Wife" has obviously liberal leanings, but one mark of its intellectual honesty was its willingness to present sympathetic conservatives, and listen to their arguments. Stuck in a hunting blind with Diane, R.D. delivered perhaps the most heartfelt pro-life argument ever seen in primetime. It didn't win her over, but it showed that even on the most contentious issues, both sides can believe in their hearts that they're doing the right thing.
Will never totally made sense. He was never likable enough to make us see why Alicia loved him so much, or awful enough to justify all the warnings.
13. Marissa Gold (Sarah Steele)
When Becca takes her rightful place as Illinois governor, Marissa Gold should be the chief of staff who tries to keep her out of jail. Marissa is almost as good a foil for her father as Becca is, which makes us especially delighted that she'll be back on "The Good Fight."
12. Colin Sweeney (Dylan Baker)
Is it bad that one of our favorite characters on the show was a (maybe) wife-killing sexual sadist? Sweeney had panache that was hard to resist.
Elsbeth's "Matlock" routine was among the best, because it's real. She suffers/delights in hallucinations, and scatterbrained tendencies that somehow help rather than hurt her strategizing. And she maneuvered through the show through a daringly whimsical "Call Me Maybe" episode that expanded the range of "The Good Wife" without weakening its dramatic heart.
10. Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry)
Cary peaked in Season 6 when he was prison-bound. Oh, well. He'll just have to settle for being handsome, brilliant, impeccably dressed at all times -- and a free man.
It's a testament to how well "The Good Wife" developed its characters that an unabashed villain like Bishop was more likable than most of the supposed heroes: He was just so elegant. And a good dad. And didn't end up killing Kalinda, so bonus points for that. You can see Colter now on Netflix's "Luke Cage," anchoring the whole series.
8. David Lee (Zach Grenier)
The most mesmerizingly bitchy character in "The Good Wife" universe makes a glorious return in the premiere of "The Good Fight," joined by a still-clueless Howard Lyman (Jerry Adler). Spoiler alert: David's still selfish, surly and endlessly watchable.
Oh wait, did we say Neil Gross was the unrepentant ass of "The Good Wife"? We forgot failed presidential candidate, crooked governor and terrible husband Peter Florrick. And yet... he's just so magnetic.
The best lawyer on the show, Canning turned victimhood into victory by manipulating his disability and the people around him with equal aplomb. (He was supposedly dying for how many seasons?) He personified the show's central question, about how Machiavellian you can be and keep your soul. He did a pretty great job at the first part, and maybe the second, too.
4. Alicia Florick (Juliana Margulies)
You know how Batman is maybe the fourth most-interesting person in Gotham? So it is with St. Alicia. There's no show without her, but she often takes a backseat to flashier characters for the sake of the overall story. That occasionally means going along with plot points that strain credulity, like that time she agreed to stay married to her hooker-loving husband.
He debuted by isolating an annoying sound in Alicia's kitchen, and being the only one who knew how to make it stop. From there he had a troubled run as a fixer, enduring romantic frustrations, Peter and Alicia's disrespect, and an office too small for his desk. But he persevered by any means necessary to become the most sympathetic and spinoff worthy character in the "Good Wife" universe. He hasn't been named to the "Good Fight" cast, but his daughter is a character on the new show, so a guest spot seems likely.