the good bitwife
Just watched the season 3 episode of The Good Wife, “Bitcoin for Dummies”. For an episode that aired more than two years ago, that’s pretty edgy, especially considering what I assume to be the show’s target audience. It’s fictionalized, but it does a pretty good job of depicting Bitcoin accurately. Unlike another show that simply namedropped Bitcoin to prove it was the future, the episode actually spent considerable time explaining and incorporating Bitcoin into the plot. There’s talk of the exchange rate, the crash, mining, hoarding, etc. All the more remarkable for airing in January 2012.
The plot revolves around the government’s pursuit of “Mr. Bitcoin”, played by guest star Jason Biggs, for creating an illegal currency. Naturally, this brings up the question of whether Bitcoin counts as a currency or a commodity for bartering. Linguistic analysis is used to unmask Mr. Bitcoin based on his manifesto. A hidden message is found in the blockchain. There’s also some of the usual TV IP tracking hijinks, of course, but otherwise it’s well done.
This is the only legal drama I’ve ever seen that included the phrase “preimage resistance”. Also, funny line: “Cryptographer jealousy. The ugliest kind.”
I’m pretty impressed with The Good Wife. The writers are obviously working in (then) current trends, but I think it’s fair to say they’re using them as inspiration, and not just chasing ratings with buzzwords. The portrayals seem pretty accurate and not unusually contrived. Another episode deals with a judge accepting a juror’s friend request. Real life relation. The episode where they extract information (metadata, anyone?) from redacted government files was also a winner.
The WSJ has a longer recap if you’re more interested in what Alicia and Diane were wearing than Bitcoin.