During an Emmy roundtable for "Hollywood Reporter" in 2014, Julianna Margulies revealed that she was only the third choice for the lead part on the show. Ashley Judd and Helen Hunt both turned down the part of Alicia.
All episode titles in seasons 1-4 have the same number of words as the number of the season in which they appear. All season one episodes have one-word titles (e.g. Doubt), all season two episodes have two-word titles (e.g. Real Deal), all season three episodes have three-word titles (e.g. After the Fall), and all season four episodes have four-word titles (e.g. Anatomy of a Joke). Later seasons reverse this formula. All season five episodes have three-words titles (e.g. The Bit Bucket), season six have two-word titles (e.g. Dear God) and season seven episodes have one-word titles (e.g. Taxed) completing the cycle.
According to Julianna Margulies, after three exhausting years juggling the demanding show schedule and dealing with her baby's first years, she made a deal with creators Robert King and Michelle King. Starting in season 4, for those big courtroom scenes that take several hours to be filmed completely, Margulies would shoot the scenes where Alicia is an active part first, then they would shoot scenes with the other actors where she would have to be in the background for coverage once or twice and then she would leave the set to prepare her next scenes or have the rest of the day off.
On July 11, 2012, during the filming of a "Good Wife" episode in which she was guest-starring, actress Kristin Chenoweth was struck by a falling piece of lighting equipment. She was knocked unconscious by the blow and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. After several months of recovery, in which it was unsure if she would be able to return to her role, Chenoweth reported in September 2012 that her medical issues included not being able to "form a sentence after it happened"; a skull fracture; and continuing pain in her ribs and hip.
The series was partly inspired by the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal. It also draws on other prominent American political sex scandals, such those of John Edwards and Bill Clinton. Creator Michelle King also noted that in these political scandals, the women are lawyers (Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Edwards).
During a 2011 interview on the National Public Radio program "Talk of the Nation," Alan Cumming (who plays Eli Gold) confirmed that his character is loosely based on longtime political operative (and, as of 2011, mayor of Chicago) Rahm Emanuel. Cumming said that Gold's undeveloped backstory includes a former career as a concert pianist, inspired by Emanuel's early-life, pre-politics ambition to become a professional ballet dancer.
Up until the 4th season, all episodes had a title with its count of words increasing monotonically per season (effectively being equal to the season number); i.e. season 1 episodes had a single-word title, season 2 episodes had a two-word title etc. Beginning with season 5, the title word-count started decreasing monotonically; i.e. season 5 episodes have three-word titles and season 6 episodes have two-word titles. It could be assumed that season 7 is scheduled to be the last one, all episodes having again single-word titles.
The show is set in Chicago, but filmed in New York. The pilot was filmed in Canada and filming was planned to continue there, but Julianna Margulies asked the producers to shoot in New York because she had just became a mother and couldn't leave for Canada for nine months a year.
Guest stars who have played themselves interacting with the show's fictional characters include: Clinton Administration advisers Vernon Jordan and Donna Brazile; presidential MSNBC anchor and political commentator Chris Matthews; financial TV hosts Lou Dobbs and Jim Cramer; and OJ Simpson lawyer and co-founder of The Innocence Project Barry Scheck. Actor/lawyer/politician Fred Dalton Thompson plays Frank Michael Thomas, a thinly veiled version of himself (Thomas is also a former actor, lawyer, and politician). New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared in the Season Four finale.
At the end of the second quarter of Super Bowl 50 (7 February 2016), CBS used the transition from the game to the halftime commercial break to announce that 2016 was the final year for the series and that there were nine first-run episodes remaining.
Co-star Chris Noth and guest stars Richard Brooks, Jill Hennessy, S. Epatha Merkerson, Fred Dalton Thompson, Julieanne Nicholson, Eric Bogosian, and Jay O. Sanders were all series regulars in the "Law & Order" franchise. Despite starring in that franchise with all but Thompson and Sanders-- with Brooks, Hennessy, and Merkerson in the original series, and with Nicholson and Bogosian in the "Criminal Intent" spin-off-- Noth does not share a single scene with any of them here.
Series stars Julianna Margulies, Christine Baranski, Zach Grenier, and Mary Beth Peil were all guest stars (on separate episodes) on "Law & Order" during Chris Noth's run on the show. Margulies played a young Naval officer involved in an illicit affair, who was questioned by Noth's Detective Mike Logan.
In the 1989 film "Dead Poets Societ" a young Josh Charles played a prep school student who was destined to become a "great lawyer." In the 2006 film "Snakes On A Plane," Julianna Margulies played a flight attendant who was quitting her job to go to law school.