The Good Wife‘s Kalinda once did a very bad thing with Alicia’s husband, it was revealed this week on the acclaimed CBS drama – she slept with the then State’s Attorney, as a sort of “thank you” for his help in getting her identity changed. Alicia is not yet privy to this particular transgression of her husband’s, but make no mistake – she soon enough will be, setting The Good Wife on a shocking new course. Series creators Robert and Michelle King shared with TVLine an in-depth look at where Alicia, Peter, Kalinda and Will might go from here.
TVLINE | That was quite the time-release bombshell you unveiled last night.
Robert King: [Laughs] It’s nice to hear you put it that way. Yeah, it was something Michelle and I pitched in our original pitch meeting. Then it all became a matter of, “OK, where should it go?” It felt like this year it was a good way to pivot from one part of the story to another.
TVLINE | But when will this bombshell really go off? When will Alicia learn about Kalinda and Peter?
Robert: You’re going see in the next five episodes the repercussions. If it was a big rock thrown into a pond, there are all these ripples now, carrying their own elements of surprises with them.
TVLINE | As a fan of your show versus a writer, I imagine a part of you had to wince as you laid the foundation for the ruining of the ladies’ bond. I mean, Alicia just last night commented on not having any friends. And in Kalinda she now has one.
Michelle King: I will confess to some ambivalence.
Robert: [Laughs] Michelle is assigning a very diplomatic word to a lot of time arguing and discussing – not just between us, but in the writers room – about the way to go about this. To us it was built into the original conception of the characters. One of the motivators of that friendship was this feeling of guilt that’s buried deep down within Kalinda, so there was something very sad watching the scene, where you go, “Gosh, that does kind of rip your heart out.” And a lot of what Alicia is about is building on destroyed edifices of her past life, and this seems like one more crushed foundation.
TVLINE | I can’t see how their friendship can ever recover once the secret gets out — let alone how they can work under the same roof.
Robert: So much of the show is trying to integrate what is expected of network TV, in that there are cases involved, with the character development, so the fact that they work under the same roof forces proximity. You’re exactly right, it’s very hard to see how a friendship comes back from that, but we’ll continue to find out more about the context of Peter and Kalinda sleeping together.
TVLINE | And Peter never said anything, because… well, that’s what he does, keeps secrets?
Michelle: There was no upside.
Robert: Sometimes TV spoils us into thinking people do honorable things all the time. There has been a lot of discussion in the writing room of, if you did have that one-night stand in your past, do you throw that into the portfolio of sins and hope it passes by? Or do you not? And the feeling was you don’t. That’s part of what Chris Noth is going to be facing in the next few episodes; it really pushes that character to its limit, too.
TVLINE | You called it a one-night stand – so it was strictly a barter arrangement? A fleeting instance of “thank you”?
Robert: Over the course of two years, we wanted to get the viewer used to Kalinda’s methods – not necessarily the trade of sex for information but the use of flirtation. She is naturally promiscuous, and not in a way the show judges, so when you mix that with someone who was highly sexualized in that Elliott Spitzer way from his work and so on, you get a combustible situation.
TVLINE | If I may anticipate one possible outcome of all this: Can a show called The Good Wife be about an ex-wife?
Robert: That’s a good question, and that’s not even saying where we might go. The Good Wife was always meant to be partly ironic – it’s what people saw when the woman stood by her man. So then the question was, “Is she truly a good wife?” And Alicia, as played by Julianna [Margulies], is showing that there’s a goodness that moves beyond being a wife or not. So our argument would be that as long as the show stays within the realm of what happens to the wife of a politician, the woman who stands by her man, it’s still true to the original concept.
TVLINE | And what about Will’s reaction to this reveal – will it be a measured one, careful not to make him seem opportunistic?
Robert: You actually came up with a very good description for that. The difficulty we’ve run into is a few things, including his sense of commitment to Tammy (played by Elizabeth Reaser). Also there are certain hurdles to any relationship with Will, the main one being that he is [Alicia’s] boss. But the question will be whether this news will reach him and how it will reach him, which is one of the surprises along the way. It’s always fun to see how people react to information that they on one hand should feel compassionate about, but on the other hand they’re like, “Woo-hoo! Party!”
Good Wife fans, what was your reaction to the Kalinda/Peter reveal? For some of you, did it confirm your “worst suspicion“?