There’s a great scene in the final episode of The Good Wife, which at its best was one of the sharpest, most complicated fictional meditations on power and how women exercise it.

Admittedly, its best was not much in evidence during The Good Wife’s final two seasons, but flashes came through every so often. Like the scene in Sunday’s finale, when the main character, high-powered attorney Alicia Florrick, is negotiating a plea deal for her soon-to-be-ex-husband, the possibly corrupt Illinois governor.

The prosecutor--younger, white, handsomely bearded for maximum effortless gravitas--makes a reference to Alicia's past as a nice, polite political wife, one who had joked with him at a cocktail party and made small talk about her children.

The current Alicia isn’t playing nice. But if the prosecutor agrees to the deal, “I’ll work up a demure smile for you,” she snarls, before demonstrating exactly the vicious, pained, go-to-hell kind of grimace women return when men tell them to smile.

It’s a small scene, hinging on a change of expression, yet exactly the sort of subtle commentary The Good Wife excelled at fairly consistently throughout its run. And while the finale largely didn’t work for me, emphasizing the parts of the show I found most tired and least compelling over the last couple of years, I still finished the series mourning the loss of Alicia Florrick, Diane Lockhart, Kalinda Sharma, Lucca Quinn and most of their ancillary men. For these three reasons:

The shades of grey. This was a show that reveled in the transformation of its title character from the nice “good wife” to an overtly power-hungry, morally-compromised professional. The Good Wife’s creators, Robert and Michelle King, call that a “tragedy”--yet their show was consistently more nuanced than that word implies. As Alicia developed a backbone, she became more selfish, yes, but she also became more interesting. Diane, meanwhile, who started off powerful and villainous, spent the series evolving into a sometimes warm, sometimes sympathetic, and much more human character.

I wish the relationship between the two women had gotten more focus and care from the writers in the past two seasons; without that, the final betrayal and closing physical confrontation between Alicia and Diane had little weight. But at its best, The Good Wife quietly gave us complex, interesting antiheroines whose actions were sometimes reprehensible, but usually understandable.

The likability target. The Good Wife also excelled at skewering how much women have to hide their ambition, and the consequences of what happens when they don’t. Neither Alicia nor Diane, however “good” or “evil” they became, could control how they were perceived, or how freely others commented on their personality, appearance or life choices. Hence the “demure smile” exchange. Or there was the scene a few episodes ago in which Alicia, meeting her college-age son’s fiancée, gets to hear herself compared to Huma Abedin.

If The Good Wife started off as The Silda Spitzer Story, it spent the past few years dissecting all of the gender-based criticism that Hillary Clinton, in particular, has faced as she runs for president. If Clinton ultimately wins the election, I’ll be sorry the show won’t be around, to show how prominent women leaders have to make their authority palatable and their ambition likable--and what the consequences are when they don’t.

The tech-bubble commentary. Something that continually delighted me this season and last, even as I found the character development lacking, was how The Good Wife took on technology. Episodes this season revolved around drones, self-driving cars, NSA eavesdropping, and the pervasive oblivious racism of giant tech companies. (I can think of few other shows that could turn discussions of FAA drone regulations into laugh-out-loud jokes.)

The Good Wife took tech seriously, but also mocked its excesses and questioned its unchecked growth. And while other TV series, including Silicon Valley and Mr. Robot, mine the same territory, The Good Wife focused especially closely on how the tech industry affects everyone outside of it--and didn’t hesitate to raise a skeptical eyebrow or two. That’s something I’ll miss as fiercely as the show’s smart, powerful, intensely complicated women.