* THE GOOD WIFE. 9 p.m. Sunday, CBS 3.

I HAVEN'T WRITTEN much about CBS' "The Good Wife" lately, but it's not because I'm not watching.

As hard as sports overruns - and the Sunday cable competition - make it, I've caught every episode. I've also seen Sunday's Season 4 finale, which is fun and fast-paced and surprising in ways that have less to do than you might think with the tangled relationships among Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), her gubernatorial candidate husband Peter (Chris Noth) and her law partner Will Gardner (Josh Charles).

That love triangle, honestly, might be nearing its sell-by date.

There are still reasons, though, to love "The Good Wife," which doesn't get the buzz of those shows with CGI dragons or uncomfortable-looking '60s outfits:

It's not trying to be "Scandal."

The clothes are just as cool, and the sex, when it happens, is just as hot, but for a show that started out with the title character's discovery that her politician husband had been cheating on her, "The Good Wife" has achieved a remarkable balance between the personal and the political.

That's something that real working women - and men - have to do every day, but that TV characters too seldom manage.

Its cast is extraordinary.

Besides Margulies, who finally found a worthy second act after "ER," there's Noth, Charles, Christine Baranski, Archie Panjabi - and Alan Cumming. I mean, Alan Cumming? I'd watch a whole show with him as Eli Gold, but having him in this ensemble is even better.

It knows how to use its guest stars.

Like "Law & Order" before it, "The Good Wife" takes full advantage of its New York base, so it's no surprise that many of its recurring players have Broadway experience. But it's not enough to attract a Nathan Lane or a Martha Plimpton: You need to know what to do with them (beyond making them the killers everyone sees coming from their first scene).

"The Good Wife" writers deliver. Which may be why Mamie Gummer, after starring in two failed series, has yet to land a TV role as good as Nancy Crozier.

It accepts its limitations, but isn't limited by them.

Commercials are a fact of broadcast television, and while writers may not like them, they enjoy getting paid. So, like most ad-supported shows, "The Good Wife" is written with ad breaks, a format that can be considered either a straitjacket or a sonnet, a structure that can foster creativity. If you don't think taking commercials into account matters, try watching AMC's "Mad Men" in real time, with the jarring cuts to commercial that remind us it's a show about advertising.

It explores the realities of the corporate ladder.

"Mad Men's" Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) isn't the only one this season finding out that being the boss isn't always as much fun as it looks from below.

With her promotion to partner, Alicia's been confronting some of the unfairnesses built into the law-firm system as well as even more of the ethical dilemmas involved in the practice of law.

It can admit its mistakes.

Lots of us hated the "50 Shades of Grey" story line involving Kalinda (Panjabi) and her ex-husband, a reaction that "Good Wife" creators Robert and Michelle King reportedly didn't see coming, but which they nevertheless dealt with.

It delivers 22 episodes a season, not 10 or 13.

After Sunday, I'll probably wish there were 23 or 24. But CBS has renewed it for a fifth season, so at least there will be more.

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