Carrie Preston's newest series, "Elsbeth," joins the cast of "The Good Wife"

After 14 years, Carrie Preston is playing her dream role full-time. In the new CBS procedural "Elsbeth," Preston plays Elsbeth Tascioni, a talented attorney with a keen eye who is often sidetracked. She is joyful and unpretentious. Elsbeth is generally the smartest person there.  

The Good Wife's Julianna Margulies played Elsbeth, a political wife who resumes her law career after her husband (Chris Noth) is arrested. Noth's Peter Florrick hired Elsbeth as his attorney.  

Preston reportedly said, “I knew from the show that when they hit on a guest actor or character they liked, they would bring her or him back.” "I didn't hear anything all season. I thought, ‘OK, well, maybe that was that,’ because I wasn’t in season two. After they called back, we all clicked. We found writing-acting chemistry.”  

In 2013, Preston received a guest actor Emmy for her role on “The Good Wife.” The Paramount+ spin-off “The Good Fight,” starring Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald, featured Elsbeth in several episodes. Since I was usually a guest, I played Elsbeth like it was my last. I played her 19 times in two shows. Just a few times a year if spread out. The chance to play her 24/7 is a dream, said Preston.  

The co-creators of “The Good Wife”, “The Good Fight” and “Elsbeth” Michelle and Robert King have kept a solid relationship with Preston. In addition to playing Elsbeth, she directed episodes of “Your Honor” and “The Good Fight.” The Kings knew Elsbeth was a popular favorite, but a binge-watch of “Columbo” during the COVID-19 pandemic inspired them to develop a program for Preston.  

We realized what's fun about ‘Columbo' is him being underestimated and him kind of not being able to control how smart he was,” said Robert King.“That’s Elsbeth,” Michelle King said. After a hiatus, “Elsbeth” returns this week with two new episodes. In May, fresh episodes will air weekly.  

After leaving Chicago for New York to assist the NYPD in investigations, Elsbeth is still an attorney. “We are doing a procedural, so the writing must honor the case of the week (format),” added Preston. “I'm intrigued by Elsbeth's situation. Her courtroom appearance is routine. No sign of that here.” In addition to being located in a different city, “Elsbeth” is created for a network audience and avoids political tales like “The Good Fight”.  

“‘The Good Fight’ was such a ripped-from-the-headlines, overtly political show, which got harder and harder as the world became more and more complicated,” said Jonathan Tolins, “Elsbeth” showrunner and “The Good Fight” executive producer and writer. “It’s fun now to take (Preston’s) character and throw her into something less dire and escapist and fun.”  

I like watching Elsbeth surprise people with her intelligence, yet she's a woman. Elsbeth has the added advantage of misogyny that comes of lower expectations just because she’s a woman and sort of ditzy,” remarked Robert King. “We don't imagine her ditziness. It relates to her problem-solving.”  

Preston stated, "I like to say that she's sort of putting everything in her brain's Rolodex, because she doesn't know when she'll need to use that file." “The Good Wife” and “The Good Fight” featured recurring attorneys and judges with distinct personalities. When familiar faces returned, fans were thrilled. “Elsbeth,” Preston predicts, will follow suit.

We will start seeing some repeats of our little stable of detectives and they all have wonderful personalities,” she said. The show's first season features guest appearances by Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Blair Underwood, Keegan-Michael Key, Retta, and Gina Gershon.  

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