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7 Things We Learned from the Executive Producer of 'The Good Wife'

By Nicole Levy | January 8, 2016 12:38pm
 Among the places where
Among the places where "The Good Wife" has filmed in New York City is Forest Hills .
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"The Good Wife" comes off it's holiday hiatus this weekend.

The drama starring Julianna Margulies as defense attorney and first lady of Illinois Alicia Florrick, is just one of 46 television series now filming in New York City, up from the 29 during the 2013-2014 season.

"There's no place like New York City, from the iconic locations we have —Times Square, Wall Street, Coney Island—to the fact that there are parts of New York City can really play Anwhere, USA," said the acting commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, Luis Castro. "You take a look at 'The Good Wife': it's set in Chicago, but it's filmed right here in New York."

We did take a closer look at "The Good Wife" with the show's executive producer, Brooke Kennedy.

1. "The Good Wife," which is set in Chicago, is filmed in New York City primarily because star Julianna Margulies wanted it to be. New York state's tax credit program for film and TV productions didn't hurt, either.

“Julianne Margulies said, I’ll only shoot in New York. I live in New York. This is my home, this is where I want to be.’ Which was easy for the studio because we had the big tax credit ...[But] it started with Jules.”

2. It's not as hard to make New York look like Chicago as you might think.

"An urban American city that shares the same seasonal pattern we have is not that hard of a throw ... We wouldn’t be shooting iconic Chicago landmarks, because it’s not the nature of our show. We don’t do that many exteriors. So, really it comes down to detail level: a license plate, a street sign.”

3. The executive director considers how her production impacts New Yorkers when she chooses filming locations.

"I’m born and raised here [on the Upper West Side], so I’m very conscious about choosing. I really believe in being a good citizen as a company … Are we shooting in a place that’s friendly and conducive? And are we situating the circus in such way that it has the least impact on the community?

"If it’s snowing and I’m on a block, we'll clear the block. We try to really take part. We understand that this is an imposition. I try to keep my trucks smaller, I try to keep my footprint at a very manageable level."

4. Court scenes are shot at Broadway Stages, the production facilties of which are scattered throughout Greenpoint and Long Island City. Tony Argento founded the company in 1983.

"We’ve been with the Argento family since 2001, and in the early '80s, I used to shoot music videos when they had just an equipment company, so we’ve all grown together… I’m doing business with Tony the same way I did in 1985...He knows every stage, he knows every personnel. He’s still running it the same way he did years ago, and a business with a real face to is a lot different than [a corporation.]"

5. "The Good Wife" production team doesn't set up an outside banquet table for crew anymore, but it's not because passersby were pilfering food.

"Sometimes homeless people will come by, and who wants to stop them? You just don’t want their hands in the hummus. I actually don’t do outside tables anymore, but if I have a coffee truck in a neighborhood, you got to open it up to everybody….Nobody steals, you just want to make sure everybody has good manners."

6. Long Island City, Williamsburg and Greenpoint have all been particularly welcoming to film and TV productions.

"I think Long Island City has been incredibly tolerant ... and they’re going through a building boom as well, so it’s not easy for them. I think Williamsburg has shown great patience with the film industry. I think Greenpoint has really extended their arms to us. My view is this: this area, Williamsburg, Long Island City, Greenpoint, this was the light industry area that supported Manhattan. This is where your pots and pans were made, this is where candles were made. That’s what all these older factories here were ..., So we are now those jobs, we’ve become that light industry, and we’re housed in those areas, which makes perfect sense if you look at it in a historical perspective...Yes, we’re not a four-walled business, but we’re exaclty where we’re supposed to be.”

7. You can attribute the surge in TV productions in New York to not just the state tax credit, but an increase in demand for original programming.

"What the tax credit couldn’t forsee was the recent surge in how much product is needed. When they did this, they didn’t realize Amazon wants their own product, Netflix wants their own product, Hulu wants their own product ... So it was really fortuitous that this break was given. The floodgates are opened up with how many markets there are now.”