The Good Wife

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The Good Wife
GenreLegal drama
Political drama
Created byRobert King
Michelle King
StarringJulianna Margulies
Matt Czuchry
Archie Panjabi
Graham Phillips
Makenzie Vega
Alan Cumming
Zach Grenier
Josh Charles
Christine Baranski
Composer(s)David Buckley
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes102 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Ridley Scott
Dee Johnson
David W. Zucker
Michelle King
Robert King
Brooke Kennedy
Tony Scott
Producer(s)Ron Binkowski
Corinne Brinkerhoff
Location(s)Vancouver, British Columbia ("Pilot")
New York City (all other episodes)
Running time43 minutes
Production company(s)Scott Free Productions
King Size Productions
Small Wishes Productions (season 1)
CBS Television Studios (season 4–)
CBS Productions (season 1–3)
DistributorCBS Television Distribution
Original channelCBS
Picture format480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original runSeptember 22, 2009 (2009-09-22) – present
External links
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The Good Wife
GenreLegal drama
Political drama
Created byRobert King
Michelle King
StarringJulianna Margulies
Matt Czuchry
Archie Panjabi
Graham Phillips
Makenzie Vega
Alan Cumming
Zach Grenier
Josh Charles
Christine Baranski
Composer(s)David Buckley
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes102 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Ridley Scott
Dee Johnson
David W. Zucker
Michelle King
Robert King
Brooke Kennedy
Tony Scott
Producer(s)Ron Binkowski
Corinne Brinkerhoff
Location(s)Vancouver, British Columbia ("Pilot")
New York City (all other episodes)
Running time43 minutes
Production company(s)Scott Free Productions
King Size Productions
Small Wishes Productions (season 1)
CBS Television Studios (season 4–)
CBS Productions (season 1–3)
DistributorCBS Television Distribution
Original channelCBS
Picture format480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original runSeptember 22, 2009 (2009-09-22) – present
External links

The Good Wife is an American television legal and political drama that premiered on CBS on September 22, 2009.[1] The series was created by Robert King and Michelle King. It stars Julianna Margulies, Christine Baranski, Archie Panjabi, Matt Czuchry, and Josh Charles, and features Chris Noth in a recurring role. The current executive producers are Ridley Scott, Charles McDougall, and David W. Zucker.[2] It is a heavily serialized show with season-long story arcs that also features stand alone procedural story lines that will be resolved or concluded by the end of each episode. This is a rarity among The Good Wife's broadcaster CBS as most of their shows are procedural.[3]

The Good Wife has received universal critical acclaim. USA Today said that The Good Wife is "TV's best drama, period…if you're not watching, correct that mistake",[4][third-party source needed] while The Atlantic said that the show "is delivering the best drama on network television".[5] TIME referred to it as "the best thing on TV outside cable".[6] Esquire reviewed The Good Wife as "The Best Show on Television Right Now".[7] TV critic Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker compared Alicia Florrick, the show's protagonist, to Walter White of Breaking Bad.[8] The New York Times says that The Good Wife "stands out among newer fall shows" and that it is "miles ahead of anything else that's on at the moment".[9]


The series focuses on Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), whose husband Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), a former Cook County state's attorney, has been jailed following a very public sex and corruption scandal. Alicia returns to her old job as a litigator (having taken 13 years out to be a stay-at-home mother) to provide for her two children.[10] The series was partly inspired by the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal,[11] as well as by other prominent American political sex scandals, particularly those of John Edwards and Bill Clinton:

Michelle [King]: We came up with the idea about a year and half ago. There had been this waterfall of these kinds of scandals, from Bill and Hillary [Clinton], to Dick Morris, to Eliot Spitzer, to name just a few. I think they're all over our culture. And there was always this image of the husband up there apologizing and the wife standing next to him. I think the show began when we asked, "What are they thinking?" And Robert and I started talking about it from there. ... You know, what's interesting about a lot of these political scandals is that the women are lawyers, too. Hillary [Clinton] is a lawyer. Elizabeth Edwards is a lawyer. I think that got us thinking along those lines. That is, we knew she had to go back to work, and we had so many female lawyers to draw on.[12]


Main cast[edit]

Main cast of The Good Wife
Julianna MarguliesAlicia FlorrickMain
Josh CharlesWill GardnerMain
Archie PanjabiKalinda SharmaMain
Christine BaranskiDiane LockhartMain
Matt CzuchryCary AgosMain
Alan CummingEli GoldRecurringMain
Zach GrenierDavid LeeRecurringMain
Graham PhillipsZach FlorrickMain
Makenzie VegaGrace FlorrickMain

Recurring cast[edit]


The series was created by Robert and Michelle King, who serve as executive producers and show runners.[2] The pair had produced the short-lived legal drama In Justice that aired as a mid-season replacement in early 2006.[20] The creators had previously worked extensively in feature films. Scott Free productions helped to finance The Good Wife and Ridley Scott, Tony Scott (until his death) and David W. Zucker are credited as executive producers.[21][22]

Executive producer Dee Johnson added television writing experience to the team.[20][22] Charles McDougall directed the pilot episode and was the pilot's other executive producer.[23] McDougall had previously enjoyed success as the director of the pilot for Desperate Housewives. All seven executive producers returned when a full series was ordered and they were joined by executive producer Brooke Kennedy.[24] McDougall left the crew after directing and executive producing the second episode.[24][25] The series is produced by Bernadette Caulfield who had previously worked on the HBO polygamy drama Big Love; co-producer Ron Binkowski added post production experience to the pilot and returned for the first season.

Several new producers were added to the crew once CBS ordered a full season. Angela Amato Velez joined the crew as a consulting producer and writer bringing legal experience from her careers as a police officer and legal aid attorney and writing experience from the police dramas Third Watch and Southland. Todd Ellis Kessler, who had recently completed production on The Unit, and had previously worked on legal drama The Practice, joined the staff as a co-executive producer and writer.[26] Ted Humphrey served as a supervising producer and writer and then as co-executive producer and writer. Corinne Brinkerhoff completed the production team as a writer and co-producer. Brinkerhoff had previously worked as a writer and story editor on Boston Legal. David W. Zucker is an executive producer on the show, having been nominated for four Primetime Emmys and one PGA Award. His credits included Judging Amy, The Pillars of the Earth, and Law Dogs.[27]

Season synopses[edit]

Season 1[edit]

As a junior associate at a prestigious Chicago law firm, Alicia Florrick joins her longtime friend, former law school classmate and firm partner Will Gardner, who is interested in rekindling their former relationship. The firm's top litigator and other partner, Diane Lockhart, likes Alicia's work and her connections so she and Will award her with a full-time associate position following a trial period. Alicia beat out Cary Agos, a clever young attorney who takes a job in the state's attorney's office, now bitter and vengeful. Alicia finds an ally and a friend in Kalinda, the firm's tough and mysterious in-house investigator. Gaining confidence every day, Alicia transforms herself from embarrassed politician's scorned wife to resilient career woman, especially for the sake of providing a stable home for her children, 14-year-old Zach and 13-year-old Grace. Now that Peter is back home and planning to run for office again with help from Eli Gold, his cunning image consultant, Alicia continues to redefine herself and her role in her family's life.[28]

Season 2[edit]

Season 2 begins where season 1 left off with Will and Alicia discussing how to have an affair without the media finding out. Before the plan is conceived, however, Eli Gold takes possession of Alicia's phone and deletes a pivotal voicemail. Alicia, now under the impression that Will doesn't have a plan, suppresses her feelings for Will, and the workplace environment becomes awkward when they are in vicinity of each other. With Alicia as a 2nd year associate after being chosen over Cary Agos, who has now been hired as a states attorney leading to Lockhart & Gardner, they often find themselves battling each other in court. Peter, now released from prison and cleared of charges, begins his campaign to run as States Attorney against current States Attorney Glenn Childs. A new main partner, Derrick Bond, joins the firm Lockhart & Gardner—now known as Lockhart/Gardner & Bond. However, a feud between Diane and Will occurs when Will begins siding with Derrick Bond's suggestions. Diane requests Kalinda to check into Will's and Derrick's past. She discovers that they had a connection in Will's old law firm in Baltimore. At the same time, a new investigator joins the law firm—Blake Calamar. Brought in by Derrick Bond, he is determined to uncover Kalinda's past. When Will discovers that Bond has also been deceiving him, Will and Diane work together to remove Bond as a main partner, but wait until Bond brings in a "super PAC" (political action committee) client worth $100 million a year. Blake eventually uncovers that Kalinda had changed her name from "Leela" and that Leela slept with Peter Florrick when she used to work for him in the state's attorney's office. Alicia finds out about the affair on the night that Peter wins the election for state's attorney. Alicia separated from Peter, gains a stronger attraction to Will, and begins to have sexual relations with him.

Season 3[edit]

Season 3 takes place the following morning after season 2 with Alicia now as a third year litigator on track to become partner while having an affair with her boss Will Gardner. She is given an office on the 29th floor, the only third year litigator with an office on the floor. Peter Florrick's crisis manager Eli Gold joins the firm to prepare for Peter's campaign for Governorship of Illinois, while Alicia acts as a bridge between Lockhart & Gardner and his campaign. Peter, now as States Attorney, battles with Lockhart & Gardner from case to case while the firm begins to get a short-term liquidity problem. Diane and Will try to acquire a bankruptcy department from a competing law firm that's closing down due to the double dip recession, and they notice that a bankruptcy department is the only area that will survive a double dip recession. When Diane tries lobbying to become the States Attorney's Civil Defender, she begins to suspect an affair between Will and Alicia. If Alicia begins working against the firm's interest and is compromised by her affair, Diane would have to fire Alicia.

At the same time, the State's Attorney's office begins investigating the firm's taxes. They bring in Wendy-Scott Carr to investigate these allegations that Will stole money from his old firm in Baltimore. Wendy eventually gathers enough evidence and puts Will on trial. Will gets the help of Elisabeth Tascioni to fight the charges. However, after Alicia misplaces a liability form and a partner at Lockhart & Gardner gives the opposition a liability form from another case, the opposition sends the illegal document to the States Attorney's office. Dana Lodge gives Kalinda Sharma an ultimatum; information on Will or fire Alicia. Kalinda gives Dana information on Will, but the information is invalid and Alicia keeps her job.

Kalinda and Alicia slowly rebuild their friendship after Alicia finds out that Kalinda slept with Peter at the end of season 2 and when Kalinda finds Grace Florrick after going missing, Alicia thanks her and begins to forgive Kalinda. At this time, Alicia and Will end their affair as Alicia realises she has been neglecting their children for her own promiscuous interests. Alicia is tasked with mentoring a new litigator Caitlin D'arcy; however, as Caitlin begins to show confidence and prove herself, Diane decides to hire her as a Junior Associate. This causes conflict as Alicia becomes jealous of Cailtin, but in the end, Alicia makes her peace with Caitlin when Caitlin leaves the company citing pregnancy.

Alicia learns that her apartment is being turned into a condo and asks for a salary increase at Lockhart & Gardner. After not receiving a high raise, she is poached by Louis Canning. Alicia gives Diane the option of either matching Canning's offer or accepting Alicia's resignation. Alicia looking for homes, discovers that her old home is up for sale however the price is too high but is shocked when she gets a call from the realtor that as 'Florrick' has purchased the home, Alicia assumes it's Peter but learns that its Jackie Florrick instead and asks Jackie to sign the house over to the kids.

Alicia is put on a blue ribbon panel where she meets Mike Kresteva, a man who lies to the public about Alicia and also announces he's running for Governor of Illinois. Will Gardner is acquitted of the charges however the bar association looks into the charges and decides that Will is guilty and gives him the option of a 6 month suspension from the law or to fight the charges however if he loses, he will be disbarred forever. Will takes the 6 month suspension and is no longer a partner at Lockhart & Gardner but in the name and business matters relating to the firm. Peter Florrick finally decides to run for governor after Eli Gold is torn between representing ex-wife or Peter in the race for governor but chooses Peter instead. With Will Gardner out of the firm, Alicia is given Kalinda's tax case and Alicia finds an uncashed cheque for $21,000. Alicia calls the number on the cheque but hangs up after the caller was being difficult. The caller later phones Alicia back on her mobile and subsequently her personal home phone. Alicia asks Kalinda to be honest with her - where did the cheque come from? Kalinda reveals to Alicia that she has a husband and secretly plans to leave Chicago, however when she learns that Alicia is in danger of her husband, Kalinda decides to stay and pulls a chair up to her front door with a pistol in hand while someone knocks at her door.

Season 4[edit]

Season 4 focuses on Lockhart & Gardner's efforts to come out from bankruptcy. Peter Florrick also runs for Governor.

Season 5[edit]

In this season, Alicia and Cary opened up their new firm and seek for survival under the fierce backlash of L&G. The 12th episode of season 5 aired on January 9, 2014. The show will resume March 9, 2014.


On October 7, 2009, CBS gave the series a full-season pickup, extending the first season from 13 to 22 episodes,[29] later extended to 23 episodes.[30] On January 14, 2010, CBS renewed the drama for a second season,[31] which premiered on September 28, 2010.[32] On May 18, 2011, CBS renewed The Good Wife for a third season, airing Sundays at 9:00 pm[33] On March 14, 2012, CBS renewed the show for a fourth season.[34] On March 27, 2013, CBS renewed The Good Wife for a fifth season.[35]


SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedDVD release dates
Season premiereSeason finaleRegion 1Region 2Region 4
123September 22, 2009May 25, 2010September 14, 2010[36]September 20, 2010[37]August 31, 2010[38]
223September 28, 2010May 17, 2011September 13, 2011[39]September 12, 2011[40]October 6, 2011[41]
322September 25, 2011April 29, 2012September 4, 2012[42]August 27, 2012[43]August 29, 2012[44]
422September 30, 2012April 28, 2013August 20, 2013[45]September 2, 2013[46]September 18, 2013[47]
522[48]September 29, 2013TBATBATBATBA

Technology and the Internet[edit]

The Good Wife has been well received among technology enthusiasts, being described by Clive Thompson of Wired as "the most tech-savvy show on TV".[49] The show has explored the relationship between technology and the law, covering topics including Bitcoin, Anonymous, viral marketing in political campaigns, voice control software, virtual conferencing robots, and NSA surveillance. For example, one of the firm's recurring clients is a fictional internet search company known as Chumhum, which among other issues has faced privacy lawsuits for selling users' personal data to the Chinese and Syrian government. The Good Wife was the first TV show to feature Bitcoin, the virtual internet currency, with an episode featuring Bitcoin first broadcast in January 2012.[50] This led to it achieving a high level of fame amongst the Bitcoin community.[51][52]

In the season 5 premiere, a Double Robotics robot was featured on the show which allowed a litigator to teleconference from home by controlling a tablet on wheels. However, rather than glorifying the robot's features, The Good Wife turned it into a punchline with practical jokes and problems the robot could have such as it not being able to maneuver around an office and bumping into walls, doors and people and low Wi-Fi connectivity leading to buffering and loss of visual and voice communication of the person working at home.[53]

In Episode 9 "Whack-a-Mole" The Good Wife featured a version of Reddit called "Scabbit" and how it affects the law and the downsides of having an "average joe" being an investigator trying to find a domestic terrorist. It also deals with injunctions of taking down a defamatory web page on "Scabbit" but having another similar web page pop up soon after.

In Episode 11 "Goliath and David" the story is based around a TV Show 'Drama Camp' who stole an Indie band's cover of a rap song and deals with the legality of copyright infringement. It was inspired by Jonathan Coulton who created a cover of 'Baby Got Back' and Glee, the TV series, which used an identical cover on the show. The character 'Robyn Burdine' who's a private investigator for Florrick/Agos discovers that the show Drama Camp had to release the song on iTunes in Sweden before releasing it in the USA and that the engineers directly ripped the Indie band's track constituting actual theft.


TV ratings[edit]

SeasonEpisodesTimeslot (ET)Original airingRankViewers
(in millions)
Season premiereSeason finaleTV season
123Tuesday 10:00 pmSeptember 22, 2009May 25, 20102009–10No. 1813.12[70]
223September 28, 2010May 17, 20112010–11No. 1613.00[71]
322Sunday 9:00 pmSeptember 25, 2011April 29, 20122011–12No. 2611.83[72]
422September 30, 2012April 28, 20132012–13No. 2710.98[73]
522[74]September 29, 2013May 11, 20142013–14TBATBA


Rentrak Viewer Engagement Ratings: The Stickiness Index is an engagement metric based on the average percentage of the program watched by all viewers divided by the average percentage viewed for all series of that duration during Monday-Saturday primetime (8pm-11pm) and Sunday primetime (7pm-11pm).

Median age[edit]

DVR ratings[edit]

Season Averages in Live plus 7 DVR Ratings:

2013: With 11.7 million viewers, the series ranks at No. 36 among American TV primetime series. Among 18 to 49 viewers (106); 34 and under (223).[10]

Multi-platform ratings[edit]

30 Day Multi-Platform Playback (MPP) ratings (the average audience of each minute of viewership) [Source: Nielsen, Rentrak, CBS Interactive]


Awards and nominations[edit]

The series and its cast have won a number of awards. Julianna Margulies has been widely recognized for portrayal in the lead role, winning a Primetime Emmy, a Golden Globe, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and a TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Drama. Archie Panjabi won a Primetime Emmy Award in 2010 for her portrayal as Kalinda Sharma. In 2012, Martha Plimpton won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal as Patti Nyholm. In addition, the series has won a Peabody Award, and has been twice nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. In total, the series and its cast have been nominated for 30 Primetime Emmy Awards in its first four seasons.

In 2013 Carrie Preston, Christine Baranski and Mark Saks (Casting Director) were the only broadcast network nominees in their respective Primetime Emmy categories with Preston winning for "Outstanding Guest Actress". It has also been nominated for five Golden Globe awards in its first four seasons with Margulies winning "Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama" in 2010. It received three Golden Globe Award nominations in 2013 for Best Television Series – Drama, Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama (Margulies) and Best Performance By an Actor In a Supporting role in a Series, Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made For Television (Charles).[18]


The Good Wife has been sold in a complex multi-window deal that involves two streaming partners, Amazon and Hulu; a basic cable network, Hallmark Channel; and broadcast syndication, for a combined license fee of nearly $2 million per episode. "This is an off-network model for a unique serialized show in today's television ecosystem,” said Leslie Moonves, President and CEO, CBS Corporation.

Under the deal, the first four seasons of The Good Wife are available on Amazon Prime. Hulu Plus rolled out previous seasons of the show in September 2013, while Hallmark Channel, which reportedly paid $350,000 and $400,000 per episode [19], will begin airing The Good Wife in January 2014. However not long after premiering on the Hallmark Channel the show was pulled from the schedule.[20] A weekend broadcast syndication run is scheduled to begin in September 2014, with the series sold in 85% of the country.[82] [21]

Syndication Ratings: 331,000 viewers on Hallmark Channel [22]

International broadcasts[edit]

CountryTV network(s)Notes
 AustraliaNetwork TenSeason 1 premiered on Monday nights from February 8, 2010,[83] but moved to Sunday nights at 8:30 pm from April 11, 2010.
Season 2 premiered on Wednesday nights from October 20, 2010, but was moved to Thursday nights at 8:30 pm from January 20, 2011.
 BrazilUniversal ChannelPremiered on November 9, 2009 as The Good Wife – Pelo Direito de Recomeçar ("The Good Wife – For the Right to Start Over").[84]
Global: Premiered on September 22, 2009, in English, airing Tuesday nights at 10:00 pm ET/PT (including simultaneous substitution of CBS broadcast). Season 2 also aired simultaneously with CBS. Since Season 3, new episodes air same date (Sundays) as CBS but one hour later, at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
V: Premiered on September 1, 2010, as Une femme exemplaire ("An Exemplary Woman", in French) in Quebec,[85] airing Wednesday nights at 8:00 pm
 Czech RepublicUniversal ChannelBroadcast as Dobrá manželka ("Good Wife" in Czech).[86]
 DenmarkTV 2Premiered in 2009
Bilingual broadcast, in French, and English with French subtitles. Season 1 premiered on February 3, 2011 as "The Good Wife"
 FinlandNelonenPremiered on May 21, 2010. Broadcast with subtitles.
kabel eins
ProSieben: Season 1 premiered on March 31, 2010 in German dubbed, airing Wednesday nights at 10:15pm CET.
kabel eins: Season 2 premiered on March 11, 2011 in German dubbed, airing Friday nights at 09:15pm CET (episode 2.01–2.06) and 11:00pm CET (episode 2.07–2.23).
FOX: Pay-TV reruns of the first two seasons started on November 22, 2011. Season 3 premiered on December 11, 2012 in German dubbed, airing Tuesday nights at 9:45pm CET
sixx: Aired reruns of the first two seasons, starting on June 22, 2012.
Universal Channel
Season 1 premiered on Hallmark Channel (now Universal Channel) on January 24, 2010[87] as A férjem védelmében ("In my husband's protection"). Later Season 1 was also premiered on the countrywide-available TV2. Season 2 was also aired on Universal Channel, it was premiered on February 7, 2011.[88]
 IrelandRTÉ Two [Season 1 to 3]
RTÉ One [Season 4 to present]
Season 1 premiered Monday March 15, 2010 at 9.30 pm and completed its run on August 16, 2010.
Season 2 premiered on Thursday July 7, 2011 at 9.00 pm and completed its run on October 13, 2011.[89][90]
Season 3 premiered on Thursday April 19, 2012 at 9.30 pm and completed its run on September 13, 2012.[91]
Season 4 the series moved to sister channel, RTÉ One, and premiered Thursday May 23, 2013 at 10.15pm [92] and completed its run on October 17, 2013.[93]
 ItalyRai 2/ RSI LA 1 (Italian Switzerland)Season 1 began airing on October 9, 2010, every Saturdays at 10 pm, while in (Italian) Switzerland, it aired on March 3, 2010. Season 2 Began its airing on January 26, 2011 and in Italy on September 10, 2011. Season 3 started on February 8, 2012 in Switzerland and on March 6, 2012 in Italy. Season 4 began on January 30, 2013 on RSI La 1 and from February 26, 2013 on Rai 2 every Saturdays at 11 pm.
 IsraelYes Drama
 JapanNHKPremiered on Tuesdays at 11:00 pm since October 5, 2010.[94]
 NetherlandsNET 5[95]Premiered on January 1, 2010.
 SloveniaPOP BRIO,[96] Universal ChannelThe series premiered on Hallmark Channel (now Universal Channel) on January 24, 2010[87] as did in Hungary, the countries have the same schedule. Season 2 premiered on February 7, 2011,[88] and season 3 on March 4, 2012.[97] The Good Wife also airs on Pay TV channel POP Brio. First season premiered on September 7, 2010, the second on January 19, 2012.
and season 3 premiered on August 1, 2012. The 3rd season was shown Monday to Friday at 9.30 pm and completed its run on August 30, 2012.
  SwitzerlandRTS Un[98]Wednesdays at 21:25.
 United KingdomChannel 4, More4Premiered on Monday, January 25, 2010 and, starting the following week, first run episodes shown on More4 on Thursdays at 9:00 pm (with Channel 4's screening the following Wednesday).
 South AfricaM-Net, SABC3Series one premiered on Monday, January 25, 2010 on Mnet.[99] Season two and three premiered on January 17, 2011 and March 5, 2012 respectively, whilst season four will be broadcast on October 22.
 SpainNova (TV channel)Series one premiered in 2010.
 PolandUniversal ChannelBroadcast as Żona idealna ("Perfect Wife" in Polish)
 PortugalFox LifeSeason one premiered on October 14, 2010.
 RomaniaDiva Universal & Prima TVSeason 4 / First season & Youku.comSeason 5, With subtitle: Every Monday 22:00 (UTC+08:00); without subtitle every Monday 11:00 (UTC+08:00)[100][101]


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]