What is The Good Wife without Julianna Margulies? It turns out that the future of the series after seven seasons was uncertain earlier this year when the show’s long-time producers, Robert and Michelle King, said they were done, but CBS had not yet cancelled the show. In a new interview with The New York Times, Julianna Margulies revealed she felt torn, not knowing if she wanted to continue the show without the central behind-the-scenes talent and also wanting to remain loyal to the cast and crew who worked on the program. In the end, the network made the decision to pull the plug, so Margulies did not have to decide.
“I felt like I was put in this very precarious position. If I say yes, I’m screwing them over, because they had a vision for the show, and it’s their baby. And if I say no, the network’s going to be angry, and so is the cast and the crew.”
The Emmy-winning actress told the Times that a CBS executive explained to her that they did not want to continue the show without the Kings and risk that critics would pan an eighth season that did not meet the standards set in the previous seven years. Robert King, who participated in the joint Times interview with Michelle King and Margulies, joked that they were “sabotaging” the series by “starting trash fires in the writers’ room.”
— The Good Wife (@TheGoodWife_CBS) April 30, 2016
As the series comes to a close, Margulies revealed not all fans will like the finale, although some will love it. But despite that assessment, Michelle King insisted to NPR that the finale was written for the fans, and the showrunners took care with its execution.
“[Y]ou wanted everyone that was working on it to feel really proud about the way the series ended. So I would say we were acutely aware of trying to make people feel good about what we were doing.”
Robert King said saying goodbye to the actors that have appeared in guest spots over the years has also been important. Last week’s episode, “Party,” featured many of the show’s beloved minor characters, including Alicia Florrick’s mother and brother, Diane Lockhart’s husband, Eli Gold’s daughter, Peter Florrick’s mother, law partner Howard Lyman, and lawyer Louis Canning. In that episode’s concluding sequences, the party guests literally said, “Goodbye” to Alicia, implying they were bidding farewell to The Good Wife as well.
— The Good Wife (@TheGoodWife_CBS) April 29, 2016
There have been rumors that Josh Charles, who played Alicia’s now-deceased lover Will Gardner, will make an appearance before the show concludes in a series of newly-shot flashbacks. Will’s death was identified by The Hollywood Reporter as one of The Good Wife‘s nine biggest moments. The death came without warning and without any rumors that the actor was going to leave the show.
During a panel discussion last month, Robert King revealed Will Gardner’s death came as a shock even to him and Michelle. Although they had always planned to write a death in the middle of the series, they did not anticipate it would be Alicia’s love. It turns out the story could have led the show in an entirely different direction.
“We didn’t know it would be Will until Josh Charles wanted out of his contract and Michelle and I looked at each other and said, ‘Yeah…’ I thought I was going to be killing one of the children.”
Regardless of if or how Gardner returns before the show’s end, fans can rest assured Peter and Alicia’s marriage will be front and center as things wrap up.
The Good Wife airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on CBS. The series finale airs on May 8.
[Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images]