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Exclusive: Lisa Edelstein Opens Up About Her 'Disappointing' House Exit and Good New Gig

A funny thing happened to Lisa Edelstein soon after the news broke that she wouldn’t be returning to House this fall: She started getting phone calls. A lot of phone calls, from people who wanted to work with her. “It was a really nice feeling,” she tells TVLine in her first interview since tendering her resignation from the Fox hit back in May. “It was a new position for me, and it was very exciting.” One of the first overtures to come her way was made by the producers of The Good Wife, who offered her a three-episode arc as Celeste Serrano, a lawyer with ties to Josh Charles’ Will. As she began work on the CBS drama this morning, the actress called from the set to discuss her new gig and reflect on all things House — including her sudden exit, the shocking season finale and whether she’d ever return as Cuddy.

TVLINE | Three months later, how are you feeling about your House departure.
It was very sad and very disappointing and a really difficult decision to make. But ultimately I felt like it was the best thing for me to do for myself and for my business. I’m really looking forward to some of the great things I have on my plate right now. That’s pretty much what I’m focusing on. It’s interesting to throw yourself back out there into the world after you’ve had such an amazing job after seven years. You get cushy about it, and you lay back and you let yourself be taken care of for a while. And having to get your hustle back on is both terrifying and really exciting.

TVLINE | Given how the season ended, I’m guessing you didn’t walk away with a sense of closure storyline-wise.
No. Definitely not. It wasn’t an expected turn of events — for anybody. But that’s what happens sometimes.

TVLINE | What was your reaction to that finale?
[Laughs] People were really up in arms! They thought House was trying to kill Cuddy. I totally understand their argument. How could you drive a car into a house where you know that your friends are, where you know there’s a child, and not think that? It really is homicidal. Although in the script it didn’t read that way because it was very clear that [Cuddy and her friends and family] had left that room. It’s still a very extreme thing to do. It definitely pushes the envelope quite a bit.

TVLINE | Did you think it was out of character for House?
The problem is in order to affect any kind of change for a character like that you have to go to extreme places, [but] maybe it was too extreme for the audience. It’s just not that kind of show. Was it out of line in terms of the creative path? No. It makes sense on just a purely creative level. But in terms of it being on a network television show, I think it went too far for a lot of people.

TVLINE | The show picks up this fall with House in jail. Do you think that’s a fair punishment?
[Laughs] I guess so. I don’t know.

TVLINE | If this turns out to be the show’s final season, would you be open to returning as a guest star?
I haven’t talked to anyone over there so it would seem unlikely. Who knows what I’ll be doing. I have a lot on my plate. I wouldn’t want to answer that and get anyone’s hopes up. It doesn’t seem like that’s the direction anyone is going in.

TVLINE | It sounded like that was the direction David Shore was going in when I spoke to him recently.
Well, I can’t have a conversation with David Shore via Michael Ausiello. [Laughs] It might be a bolder move for someone to pick up a phone.

TVLINE | What can you tell me about your Good Wife character? It’s already out there that she has ties to Will.
She has a history with Will. She’s a lawyer with pliable ethics. [Laughs]. She really enjoys the gamble and the game of law. She’s also a professional gambler. She’s been playing for a long time and she has a history with Will in that world as well. So everything that she does is all about the risk, and it’s really fun — especially [in contrast] to Alicia [Julianna Margulies] who has to be so held together. This woman doesn’t have any of those rules in her life.

TVLINE | Rumor has it Celeste and Will were former partners.
I don’t know anything about us being business partners. I know that we gambled together. I know that we have a romantic history.

TVLINE | Is it possible your three-episode arc could be extended?
Who knows? I like [the length of the stint] because I’m here for a solid month and then I’m available to go back to work in Los Angeles. But I love working, so if they want to continue with this character we’ll see what happens down the road.

TVLINE | What’s next? I hear you’re developing a few things. Can you say anything about that?
Not yet. There’s a project I’m doing on my own that [has required] so much research that I feel like I’m getting ready for a dissertation. And I’m also working with a producer on a possible new series. So it’s all very up in the air at the moment, but my creative juices are flowing. I really want to get more into the producing side so I can participate a little bit more.

TVLINE | Would the ideal scenario be producing a series that you’re also the lead of?
I don’t care if I’m the star. I really like to be part of an ensemble. Hugh [Laurie]‘s life is extremely limited by those 14-hour days, and to add producing on top of that is a big task. I more just want to use my brain as much as I possibly can.

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359 Comments
  1. Haha says:

    “I more just want to use my brain as much as I possibly can.”
    Good joke LOL What brain? Did she mean her boobs? LMAO

    • Gat says:

      hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    • kristy says:

      oh you really dont know this woman.
      she outsmarted DS & GY’s 3 month BS PR in one interview…
      she HAS a brain! she IS way smarter than them.
      I doubt brilliant and witty HL or RSL would be such good friends with her if they couldnt connect on this level as well.

    • kristy says:

      also, it seems about right she would want to get back to using her brain after been brainwashed by the headshaking things they did to her character the last couple of seasons…

  2. One Thing says:

    If people had known their creative choice would be to destroy their own charcters the way they have, a lot of people would not have become invested in this show. It’s ironic. At least now it’s clear and there’s no reason to hope for House anymore. And Cuddy’s gone so there’s no reason to hope for anything there either. They did do a pretty good job of encouraging people never to care about characters of a TV show again. Good reminder. Not good for other shows and sponsors, but good to keep people more grounded.

  3. yuli03 says:

    Lisa, you are

  4. yuli03 says:

    Lisa E: “It might be a bolder move for someone to pick up a phone”.
    Well said…. David Shore listens! if you want Lisa E go back least he must call her! writers wrote poor lines for Huddy it is a shame!
    if she left House it is not for money! The writers were ruining her character.. Shore never knew how protect his cast. Also How a show goes on if none of the actors promoting except Lisa.

    she doesnt need a speech to gave her opinion! i like her answers because she say she thinks.
    I support Lisa! I know that way will be hard but Go Lisa!

  5. Aurore says:

    Another proof, if anyone needed one, that David Shore is an @ss.
    I can’t wait to see her “good wife” episodes, even if it’s gonna feel a bit weird not think of her as Cuddy.

  6. DeeDee says:

    The whole fact of the matter is that it doesn’t really matter which characters the show retains for this season or who gets paid what. The show is done in my opinion. I think this will be the last season. Laurie doesn’t really seem to appreciate the show and his family still resides in Europe so he most likely has no plans to move here. The writing on the show has not been that great lately. The character of House started out as someone who might be redeemable but has actually gotten worse over the years. He has been given so many opportunities and his behavior is despicable. He does things to his so called friends and colleagues that I wouldn’t do to my worst enemy. The whole concept of the show has grown extremely old and worn. The idea of any one doctor constantly treating only cases of rare diseases and experimenting on the patient repeatedly (without their consent) before finding the answer is a little ridiculous to begin with, but people would not watch if the cases weren’t dramatic. I’ll give them that, but when the lead character constantly becomes more unlikeable with every episode, it gets old fast. The show no longer entertains and I stopped watching last season. The only person on the show I could stand was Wilson. Did not see the big season finale mentioned above and will not even bothering programming the show into my DVR this fall.

  7. sparrow says:

    I wanted to add something I thought of today: On Twitter (and in your interview with DS, Mike), GY and DS all have been saying they missed Lisa and would love to have her back but it’s her choice not to come back and she doesn’t want to and all that and then we find out they haven’t even called her?
    Sad.

    • Kath says:

      But of course, DS lies and LE speaks only the truth like the amazing and wonderfully wonderful person she is!!!! Really is she? what a load of pig Sh(#.

      • bruna says:

        But of course, LE lies and DS speaks only the truth like the amazing and wonderfully wonderful person HE is!!!! Really is HE? what a load of pig Sh(#.

      • sparrow says:

        I didn’t say he lied. But they seem to be trying to be misleading and playing the part of the victim so some fans will forget about them losing a much loved character and not blame them. I don’t know everything that went on behind the scenes and I don’t know who’s to blame. All I know is I don’t like being manipulated and misled.

        I don’t hate DS and I don’t think LE is a saint. But I do really like LE, she’s funny, pretty and cool, and love everything she brought to the show all these years. I hope they really do miss each other. They were all a great team. Lisa and DS and the writers helped bring Cuddy to life. Cuddy is an amazing character and always will be.

  8. VALENTINA says:

    DS,GY Everybody Lies house

  9. norhu says:

    So great to hear from Lisa. She is really a great woman. I´m so proud of her and I really hope to see her in new amazing roles because the woman rocks everything she does. Best luck, Lisa.

  10. sindy says:

    lisa es genial……ya quiero ver su aparicion en TGW, pero en verdad espero que regrese aunque sea para el final de la serie!!! cuddy no puede desaparecer asi no mas :( he sido admiradora de su personaje y de su relacion con house :)

  11. Lisa says:

    Happy that she left House.Hopefully she’ll stay in TGW only for 3 eps and then leave… I don’t want her to ruin another show I like

  12. nena says:

    loved

    Lisa Edelstein show

    DS ridiculous

  13. Troll says:

    Bye Cuddy … You are a loser !

  14. milos says:

    Funny! Due to their word-battles girls made more PR for Lisa. So many comments here, and no one is indifferent to her leaving!
    I only wish her to meet better screenwriters and producers in future! Then we’ll see her best roles.

    • NomoreCuddy says:

      Exactly! We are not indifferent to her leaving, we are actually very happy !!!

      The “look I am so sexy” aspect LE added to Cuddy’s character (which was not there the first seasons) soured the show for a lot of fans.
      And that has little to do with the writers, judging from the numerous LE’s interviews where sex, being sexy and sexual innuendos were usually the main subjects.

  15. G says:

    I do not care if LE left House or not. She is not that important of a character on the show. (She and her fans might differ though) There is only ONE character the show can not do with out, and thats House himself. Can not wait for Season 8, finally House free of Cuddy!

  16. Julie says:

    I totally can understand Lisa’s decision to quit House. Hope she will get her own show some day. Looking forward to see her on TGW and I am excited like hell to get to know even more about her future projects. She is just great! :-)

  17. Julie says:

    None of the actors ruined the show! TPTB did with their weird + ooc storylines.
    Blaming Lisa Edelstein is the most ridiculous thing i have ever read!
    She was the only one from all the actors on House who showed us that she truly loved the show with all of her heart. She did most of the promotion and had most contact with fans. What she did for thie series is absolutely applaudable and something fans as well as TPTB should appreciate.

    Great interview! Thanks Ausiello!

    PS: Some comments here are just impudent and cross lines… Ever heard of the words tactfulness, appreciation and behavior?

  18. AWRT says:

    As someone who works in a related TV business, I can tell you that in my experience these sorts of contract/salary/ratings issues are often VERY awkward and ugly.
    Being involved in a show is very much like being involved in a marriage with a large family. You’re building something together, you all work long hours,experience the up’s, the downs,bowing at the ratings alter, attending public functions together, building a brand. Being involved with so many people often in a capacity that is more like family than work…when it’s good its really good, and when it’s bad, it’s really bad. After being on a show for 7 years the feelings of parting, especially due to paycuts, can be very sour.
    I worked on a show for 7 years, only to come in one Friday, tape the show, and almost immediately afterwards I was let go. End of story. Period. Gone. No warning. “We’re going in a new direction with the show”. Sign here and agree not to trash the network if you want your severance. It’s very much like being served with divorce papers one morning with and kicked out of the house ( no pun intended) that same afternoon and whammo, it’s as if you never existed. Co-workers can say very little in public because they are still with the corporate giant. You can often say very little because along with severance pay they often make you sign something stating you will not disparage the network in any way. Bosses (the same ones who apparently disowned you in meetings and didn’t carry your torch) are told to be positive when commenting, but everyone on the inside track knows what is going on… People you THOUGHT were part of “the family” turns out bow at the money alter and in their own self interest they pretend as though you never existed. You really cannot blame them, it’s easier that way. It’s the nature of the beast. Ties that (you thought) were forged over a near decade are suddenly gone. Poof. The business is VERY incestuous so you have to walk a very fine line if you want to work again. It’s really a very very strange dynamic that would take far too long to explain here. It’s a business, but a very intimate business, more like marriage than any conventional “work”.

  19. tima says:

    I wish cuddy should go back to house, she has really been a good mentor(gentleness, high level of understanding,love, encouraging,etc) to me bcos am a medical student. She is a star and its really really disappointing dat she isnt dere anymore, if u get dis post just to tell u i love u and keep d good work going.

  20. Cal says:

    I personally think she was having an affair with Hugh Laurie and his wife moved to the US and told him to give her the heave ho! I think he had her tossed off to save his marriage.

  21. Theos Malfoy says:

    Lisa Edlestein appears to be a total idiot, putting to disgrace her jew kin. Leave House for a 3 arc episode that no one on earth know antything about ? Smaaart gal !

    Such raw stupidity I only saw once, when that english moron cheated on Liz Hurley with a prostitute…

  22. Camila says:

    Honestly? This was the WORST think anybody could do.Now the show audience is down to 6,7 million viewers.David Shore,thank you SO MUCH for screwing up my favorite TV show.

  23. Asdfghjkl says:

    Dont hate on Lisa Eselstein, you don’t know her to those of you calling her names. She is a very talented actress and deserves respect. She’ll be missed on House, she’s such a great actress (:

  24. Kriszta says:

    And now we all know this season is really suck without Cuddy, no big wonder the cancel….
    Congrats Shore and Fox and all Cuddy hater this is your fault!

  25. Andrew says:

    I don’t see anything that even remotely suggests money, race or gender . . . Everyone commenting about shit like that are just grabbing at straws! Further more, so what if that’s she decided to do? Is it not her choice to make and do as she feels fit? Yet some of you call her a bitch? How does THAT decision affect your lives? I was disappointed not to have her in the final season . . . If you think about how season 7 ended it makes sense that the character wouldn’t be there! Would you still stick around if someone does that to your place? I think not. The point of the matter is, by all evidence that is provided, it was HER decision not to continue with this anymore and she is had every right to do so.

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