America Ferrera returned to The Good Wife this week to continue her story arc as grad student and illegal alien Natalie. And I was happy to see that the character is developing in a way that will take better advantage of Ferrera’s talent.
Natalie, who came on the scene in February, got caught up in Eli’s dirty tricks for the Florrick campaign as the undocumented nanny of one of Florrick’s opponents. Although Eli exposed Natalie’s illegal immigration status, in the process he developed a huge crush on Natalie.
What got Ferrara interested in the part was that creators Robert and Michelle King took a different approach to undocumented immigrants.
“[Natalie] is sort of the anti-stereotype of what people imagine when they hear those labels,” she told OMG! “It felt like the Kings would be really great people to explore that world in ways that could show their audience an alternative to general preconceived notions about illegal immigrants.”
Ferrera’s final appearance is scheduled for April 12, and the LA Times talked to her about playing Natalie, who lost her job as a nanny and is now working as a day trader. She’s pleased that the character has the determination to overcome the setback and move forward.
A lot of times we’re exposed to one stereotype over and over again and while they can be very true there are also a lot of people living in this country as immigrants building extraordinary lives. I thought it was interesting to focus on a character who had the kind of will to build an extraordinary life like Natalie, to get an education, to be a day trader, to build a life that at any moment could be taken away from her.
A lot of the people that the DREAM Act would benefit are talented, intelligent, gifted people who have so much to offer, who are not being given the opportunity to give those talents to our country and to our economy because they’re being denied an education … we’re taking away their options for being productive citizens and, in a self-fulfilling prophecy, turning them into what we accuse them of being — not educated, not productive and not giving back.
Eli’s attraction to Natalie also has much to do with the fact that she is not the stereotypical illegal worker.
He thinks he’s going to find a woman who is a nanny and an illegal citizen and he has preconceived notions of who she’s going to be. He could never imagine that a person who was all of those things could also be all of these things — intelligent and interesting and all of these things.
Asked whether Natalie and Eli will become more than friends, Ferrara demurred.
“I’m not sure what I’m allowed to say, so I’ll not say. But you know, anything is possible.”
I can’t picture it. But if anybody could pull off chemistry with Eli, it’s America Ferrera. You can catch up on recent episodes of The Good Wife at the CBS website.
Have you enjoyed America on The Good Wife? What do you think of Natalie?