The Good Wife: About Last Week...

Sunday, 30 March 2014

I've often joked with people about how much I love The Good Wife but I can't binge watch old episodes since the series completely stresses me out. Last week was no exception...

(Spoilers ahead!)

Things were going so well. In the episode "A Few Words", Alicia and Will's relationship finally started thawing out and Carrie Preston and Crossing Jordan's Jill Hennessy both guest starred sparking rumours of a possible spin-off series for their two powerhouse lawyer characters.

That's what made male series lead Josh Charles' exit all the more shocking as his character was killed off in a random courthouse shooting during last week's episode "Dramatics, Your Honor". The story behind the departure, both onscreen and offscreen, is a fascinating one and commands a tremendous amount of respect for the cast and crew alike.


In retrospect, the small vignettes between Will and the other characters in "Dramatics, Your Honor" should have clued in audiences that something was off. The scenes didn't advance the plot but rather cemented Will's character and tried to provide some closure (without giving the major plot twist away).

For example, when Kalinda, one of Will's most trusted allies, informs him that she wants to leave Lockhart Gardener, he proselytizes about whether it's even possible for people like them who thrive on the excitement of their jobs to leave this life behind. Ironically he gives their professional trial separation a 3-6 month expiry date unaware that he won't make it to the end of the episode. This exchange displayed the show writers' typical penchant for smart, tight writing - character that don't change, die and this scene helped close the character as a person who died doing what he loved.

Similarly, Alicia extending an olive branch to Will about his clients seeking a second opinion from Florrick Agos seems trivial at first - perhaps she's trying to curry favour with him in Peter's election rigging case or perhaps she's trying to build on repairing their friendship after the diner scene in "A Few Words". Either way, it leaves the two characters on optimistic if ambiguous terms and it cleverly sets up tonight's episode "The Last Call" when Alicia listens to the last voicemail message she received from Will sometime after their conversation.


While Will's death may have seemed like a random bombshell for ratings or shock value, it turns out the event has been in the works since season 4 and was arguably one of the best kept secrets of this primetime season. Entertainment website has two excellent articles lending some more context to this carefully crafted plot development, which was spurred by Charles' desire to move onto other creative endeavours.

The first is showrunners Michelle and Robert King's letter to fans explaining their decision to kill the character as opposed to having Will disbarred, married off or otherwise carried off into an open-ended departure. The second is Deadline TV editor Nellie Andreava's behind-the-scenes writeup on how series star and producer Juliana Marguiles was "instrumental" in convincing Charles to stay on for season 5 to help conclude his character's storyline as well as where the Kings plan to take the show next. It's great to see an actor's run on a popular primetime show wrap up in such a positive way - Charles will be guest directing one more episode this season and he's definitely built up quite a fan base that will be excited to see what he does next.

Of course, with any major plot development that effectively eliminates any possibility of Will and Alicia being endgame on The Good Wife, some viewers on Facebook and Twitter are decrying that they'll stop watching the series altogether. I propose that there's still lots of great things to look forward to in the wake of the announcement that The Good Wife has been renewed for season 6. Matthew Goode has been promoted to series regular and of course, the aftermath from Will's death raises a lot of complicated questions for the core cast. How will this event affect Alicia's decision making from now on? Will Diane rise up to take sole ownership of the firm? Where was Kalinda planning to go and will she now stay out of loyalty to Will? Will Peter and Alicia finally end their empty marriage of convenience?

Here's an extended preview of tonight's episode "The Last Call". As the Kings wrote in their letter to fans, "Will's death propels Alicia into her newest incarnation", and I can't wait to see how that shape takes form.

Photo and video from CBS

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