.

The Best Characters on Television

From 'The Office' to 'The Walking Dead,' this season's most memorable scene-stealers
Previous Next
tv best characters
Jeffrey Neira/CBS

blog comments powered by Disqus

Alan Cumming as Eli Gold - 'The Good Wife'

Not since the end of the second Bartlet administration has television seen as ruthless a practitioner of politics as Eli Gold. But where the brass-knuckle politics of The West Wing always seemed to serve a higher purpose, Gold – a foulmouthed political consultant modeled on Rahm Emanuel – reflects a coarser political climate. As played by Alan Cumming, Gold outs an opponent's nanny as an illegal alien, jettisons a candidate's black spiritual adviser in an appeal to racist voters and pressures the girlfriend of his client's son to deny having had an abortion.

Cumming, a happily married gay activist who sports a thick Scottish brogue, almost passed on playing Gold. Still, he savors the way Eli "really lets it rip" – as when he pulls down his zipper and informs a rival, "I'm lowering my pants so you can kiss my ass."

Eli is named "Gold" in a nod to TV's other Emanuel-inspired character – Entourage's superagent Ari Gold, based on Rahm's brother Ari. This season will explore Gold's incongruous past as a concert pianist, a sly reference to Rahm's background as a ballet dancer. Asked how Eli would have handled the recent debt-ceiling crisis, Cumming replies, "He would have let things get to the very last minute, then laid on the table a packet of photographs of John Boehner shagging someone, and said, 'OK, are you going to raise the taxes now?'" Cumming pauses for a moment before adding, "He would have called him John Boner as well."

By Tim Dickinson

Click to read the entire Best Characters on TV feature in Rolling Stone.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

www.expandtheroom.com