If you haven’t watched “Dramatics, Your Honor,” the March 23rd episode of “The Good Wife,” you may want to skip this one.
But everyone who did tune in to the promised epic installment of the CBS drama, one written by series creators and showrunners Robert and Michelle King, witnessed the sudden and shocking death of Will Gardner (Josh Charles). Will wasn’t just one of the show’s main characters, he was a major foil for its protagonist Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), having been at different points her friend, partner, lover and foe. He died at the hands of one of his clients, Jeffery Grant (Hunter Parrish), leaving fans reeling.
It’s to those fans that the Kings have penned a letter explaining why they chose to have the character go out this way after Charles decided he wasn’t going to stay on for another season. It’s an interesting move on their part — as much as there’s ultimately only so much the producers can do to keep cast members on board, having Will killed wasn’t, as they acknowledge, the only possibility in writing him off. Charles was very good in nuanced role, and the Kings defend their decision by noting that “The Good Wife” is, ultimately, about Alicia, and that Will’s death will have a major impact on her journey.
Check out the letter below:
Dear Loyal Good Wife Fans,
We, like you, mourn the loss of Will Gardner. And while Will is gone, our beloved Josh Charles is very much alive and remains an integral part of our family.
“The Good Wife,” at its heart, is the “Education of Alicia Florrick.” To us, there always was a tragedy at the center of Will and Alicia’s relationship: the tragedy of bad timing. And when faced with the gut punch of Josh’s decision, made over a year ago, to move on to other creative endeavors, we had a major choice to make.
We could “send him off to Seattle,” he could be disbarred, or get married, or go off to Borneo to do good works. But there was something in the passion that Will and Alicia shared that made distance a meager hurdle. The brutal honesty and reality of death speaks to the truth and tragedy of bad timing for these two characters. Will’s death propels Alicia into her newest incarnation.
Death also created a new dramatic “hub” for the show. We’re always looking for these turning points — some event midway through the season that will spin everybody’s lives in new directions. These turning points keep the show from slipping into a numbing sameness, and keep the characters fresh: because you see how they react to a completely new status quo. Will’s death in many ways becomes a hub for the whole series, violently spinning everybody in new directions.
Finally, we chose the tragic route for Will’s send-off for personal reasons. We’ve all experienced the sudden death of a loved one in our lives. It’s terrifying how a perfectly normal and sunny day can suddenly explode with tragedy. Television, in our opinion, doesn’t deal with this enough: the irredeemability of death. Your last time with the loved one will always remain your last time. “The Good Wife” is a show about human behavior and emotion, and death, as sad and unfair as it can be, is a part of the human experience that we want to share.
Thank you for listening… and watching and caring and inspiring us to rise to the level of your passion and intelligence. There are seven wonderful episodes to follow this season and Josh will be directing one of them. We think you will enjoy them. It’s not all tears — there is comedy too. Michael J. Fox is back for four episodes. Dylan Baker. Dallas Roberts. Stockard Channing, as well as amazing new guest actors. And of course, Julianna does some of the best work of her life. Archie, Christine, Alan, Chris and Matt as well. Life does go on.
We’ve always taken as a guiding principle of this show that drama isn’t in the event; it’s in the aftermath of the event. We think you’ll find that true of this episode.
Thank you for your devotion to the show – we are continually grateful.
With all our thanks,
Robert & Michelle King