March 24, 2014

(Spoilers Below)

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I've been a fan of The Good Wife from the very first episode, but I do admit that I didn't see the death of Will Gardner coming this Sunday. After Kalinda found him in the hospital bed, not moving after being shot in a courtroom, I kept thinking that he's just going to open his eyes to give her a sign that he's hanging on for dear life. But that moment never came and he was gone. Alicia and Will's relationship was critical to the success of TGW and I don't know how they compensate for his loss. If you've never watched it, here's a brief outline:

“The Good Wife” is, ostensibly, the story of an intelligent woman who steps from behind the shadow of a man – a powerful, rising politician – to become a relative master of the universe in her own fashion. Alicia Florrick is hardly alone in that mastery; the show is filled with similarly, if not more powerful female characters, most of whom gleefully flout any number of traditional gender roles on a weekly basis.

The show always has incredible guest starts on hand to keep the material alive as well as a deep supporting cast of its own, but apparently, Josh Charles never intended to say on the series long term and had to be talked into signing a one year deal to stay for a fifth season.

Tonight’s episode of The Good Wife featured the abrupt exit of original cast member and series male lead Josh Charles, whose character Will Gardner was shot dead in the courtroom by a deranged client. While the shocking development had been kept under wraps and came as a surprise to viewers, it had been in the works since last spring. “Josh Charles approached us almost a year ago about wanting to leave the series,”Michelle and Robert King said. Charles was looking to leave the series at the end of last season, the show’s fourth, when his contract was up. After playing the character for four years, the actor indicated he was ready to move on.


He hadn’t entered a standard, long-term contract for The Good Wife, which gave him an out last May. The Good Wife star Margulies, who also is a producer on the series, was told of Charles’ decision right away. “She was instrumental in convincing Josh to stay for a fifth season,” the Kings said. Charles agreed to stay on for another season with a new short-term deal. That gave the series’ writers a chance to plan his exit as one of the major plot twists in year five.

So much of the sexual tension of the series fell on Julianna Margulies and Josh Charles shoulders and they handled it perfectly. I really don't know if it will ever be quite the same again.

Vulture has a good take on this surprising development.

The Good Wife is only barely a lawyer show. What it really is is a sexual tension show, and it uses a legal setting to explore many types of sexual chemistry. Depositions turn into seductions, police harassment might as well be a striptease, and something as banal as an NPR news broadcast becomes the alluring backdrop to passionate oral sex. The show's most reliable source of complicated, dramatic, interesting, and, yes, sexy sexual tension was the fraught relationship between Alicia Florrick and Will Gardner, one that went far beyond lust and flowery romantic love well into resentment and frustration and sometimes surprise. Every conversation between the two of them seemed like a perfectly plausible time for one of them to crack, to confess their love, to sweep the other into an embrace — but just as often it became a slightly bitter bickering match, a show of who could be the iciest. Will's murder puts an end to the show's most important relationship, and it does so in the least interesting possible way.

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