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'Good Wife' Shock Waves Continue to Spread
March 27, 2014  | By Jonathan Storm  | 1 comment


[Editor''s note: Cast members and creators from CBS's The Good Wife were in New York Wednesday night, fielding questions and previewing this Sunday's episode. TVWW contributor Jonathan Storm was there, and filed this report... - DB]

NEW YORK -- “It’s like throwing a rock into the water,” The Good Wife co-creator Robert King told an invited audience Wednesday at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York. “What’s interesting is the ripples.”

This Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on CBS, The Good Wife looks at those ripples -- and if you have somehow missed what happened last week and are waiting to catch up, please stop reading now.

King and his wife and writer-producer partner, Michelle, joined stars Julianna Margulies and Josh Charles (who play attorneys Alicia Florrick and Will Gardner on the CBS drama series), answering softball questions from CBS This Morning’s Charlie Rose on the stage where the Beatles played 50 years ago.

Most in the audience were from the newly renamed Television Academy. CBS is trying to generate a little Emmy love for The Good Wife, which recently has been able only to win awards for some of its guest actors. Good luck to them. The allocation of the Emmys, which the TV Academy hands out, always is weird.

Speaking of softball, if The Good Wife were judged by sports standards, it would consistently be selected as TV’s most valuable player. Sure, great cable entries like True Detective, American Horror Story, and Breaking Bad hit for huge averages, but most of them don’t even make it to 13 episodes a season. The Good Wife pounds out 22, and it’s the only show on TV doing that with serious and complex work that delves deeply into character without resorting to gun violence, car chases or the futuristic or bizarre.

Well, almost without gun violence. Last week’s shoot-em-up was one of the most surprising TV plot developments in years. Charles, on Wednesday, explained how he wanted to move on with his life after his contract expired last year. That can be very hard to do when you’re making 22 TV drama episodes annually. Margulies, who plays the show's title character, explained how she talked him into staying for 15 more episodes. Michelle King explained how killing his character, Will Gardner, would provide “something more interesting for Alicia, and that’s what the show has always been about.” It sure has been, and Margulies consistently delivers amazing, understated work in the role.

Life is more interesting, indeed, in this Sunday’s episode -- which may start after its scheduled 9 p.m. ET spot because of sports overruns, something Good Wife fans are used to in football season. This time it’s college basketball. There was a lot of wailing last week when the most important episode of the season started 41 minutes late in most of the country. Rose didn’t ask any of the principals how they felt about that.

In the coming episode, whenever it airs, the whole range of Good Wife characters scramble to adjust to Will’s sudden and senseless death. Christine Baranski’s Diane Lockhart and Matt Czuchry’s Cary Agos have strongly satisfying moments. Archie Panjabi’s Kalinda Sharma gets deeply emotional. Christian Grace Florrick (Makenzie Vega) has a particularly poignant moment with her atheist mom.

But it is Alicia, of course, who is at the center of the storm. Will was her mentor, lover, arch business foe, and who can count what else, in one of the most intricate relationships TV has ever had.

The episode is named “The Last Call,” referring to an aborted voice mail Alicia gets from Will just before he dies. She struggles to discover what he was going to say. She never does, and she never will. She will have to make it up for herself, create a version of reality she can live with.

Because this is The Good Wife, challenging, sensitive, and, best of all, truly grown-up, she appears to choose a version that will only make her life more difficult.

[Another editor's note: My own report on this exciting, surprising episode of The Good Wife is scheduled to run on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross on Friday. Listen for it then, or check it out afterward on the Fresh Air Website -- David Bianculli]

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Your comments are excellent and right on target. You have this show analyzed perfectly. The quality of The Good Wife is so far above everything else on TV that the gap is almost immeasurable.
Mar 28, 2014   |  Reply
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