Sex scene on 'The Good Wife' makes good copy, though it may never be shown

Julianna Margulies
Julianna Margulies (David M. Russell - AP)
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By Lisa de Moraes
Thursday, August 19, 2010

If there is one thing more than any other that weighs upon the minds of The Reporters Who Cover Television, it's that they often stray from covering TV shows the American public watches in great numbers in order to devote themselves to minor developments in the TV landscape like "Real Housewives' " Michaele and Tareq Salahi, "Jersey Shore's" Snooki, or the latest publicity stunt of some bit of cable news talent.

CBS, for instance, has been the country's most watched television network for seven out of the past eight TV seasons. And yet, these reporters so often leave CBS flat in order to concentrate on networks that are CBS's ratings inferior but whose stars turn up far more often in police reports.

CBS has decided to correct this tendency.

This week, it invited a select group of TV reporters based in New York to an on-set Q&A with the cast of "The Good Wife," which was one of this past season's most successful scripted series launches and which, on average, was watched by an impressive 13 million people each week but which got far less press attention than it deserved because, as mentioned above, it's on CBS and does not star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi.

Before the cast took questions, reporters were treated to a super-sexy clip from an unedited version of the show's season debut -- a version that had not yet been vetted by the network's Decency Police and which we're guessing will never be seen by you and me unless we buy the second-season DVD box set.

The results were sensational.

The press went gaga over the clip, an actress became outraged over questions about the sex scene, the whole incident went viral -- and CBS never actually has to air the naughty bits and deal with those pesky FCC fines and angry watchdog-group chain letters. Yes, CBS can truly have its cake and eat it, too.

And if that's not marketing genius, I don't know what is.

But we can see TV Column readers now, mumbling to themselves that they do not give a darn whether CBS has an executive suite full of marketing Mensas, what they want to know is what exactly was in this sexy scene, who threw the hissy fit and did she slap the reporter? These are the points on which readers want information and want it fast, or give them back their 75 cents.

"The Good Wife" stars Julianna Margulies as lawyer Alicia, wife of a philandering louse-of-a-husband, the politician Peter. Peter is played by Chris Noth, a.k.a. The Former Mr. Big, a.k.a. fantasy partner of millions of adult women. In case you haven't been following, Peter is now out of prison, and Alicia is back at work at a law firm and doing well, thank you very much.

In the clip, Peter (who, we cannot state often enough, is played by Chris Noth, fantasy boyfriend of millions of American women) is seen clearly getting turned on at the sight of his gorgeous wife in court, acting all competent and in control. Later that night, when Alicia's in the bathroom brushing her teeth, he comes up behind her and, after waggling her about a bit, the scene "fades out [and] it's clear that the couple engage in oral sex," as the Associated Press reporter on the scene described it.

"I was wondering if there is going to be a little more sex in the second season," asked one reporter, speaking for us all.

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