The Good Wife‘s passed the 100-episode mark Sunday with an hour that featured tears, laughter, betrayal and one helluva spit-take.
In the following post mortem, series cocreators Robert and Michelle King tackle the milestone installment’s biggest questions, and also tease what’s to come when CBS’ superior legal
drama thriller returns in early 2014.
TVLINE | Let’s start with Marilyn’s big episode-ending announcement and Eli’s legendary spit-take. Were you just having some fun there? Or did you want to leave viewers wondering if Peter might be the father of her unborn baby?
ROBERT | The latter. And we pick up a second later in the 101st episode [airing in early 2014], and we go into more detail.
MICHELLE | Eli’s certainly worried about that possibility.
ROBERT | It’s meant to be comic and worrisome at the same time. Eli’s going to look at the dates and see if it makes sense.
TVLINE | At its core, this episode was all about Will working through his anger issues toward Alicia. Is that a fair assessment?
ROBERT | Yes. Right after Episode 5, where everybody gets fired, Will is energized, excited. It’s kind of a relief that this baggage has been taken off his back. [But he] wasn’t dealing with the problem underneath. One doesn’t need to get massively psychological to say he’s hiding from himself how much of a tear this is in his life. Not just losing a daily contact with Alicia, but seeing her as this betraying, awful woman.
TVLINE | Those flashbacks were a reminder of how great they were as a couple.
ROBERT | [Julianna Margulies and Josh Charles] have such perfect chemistry, it’s almost a crime not to explore some of these things. They love working together, they love being together. The memory structure [allowed us] to show not just the hate, but the reverse of that as well.
TVLINE | When Will wished her happy holidays at the end of the call, did that represent a turning point for him?
ROBERT | That is a really good question. [To Michelle] I think you and I might be in disagreement on this.
MICHELLE | I did not think it was a turning point for him. [To Robert] What did you think?
ROBERT | It wasn’t [necessarily] written that way, but I think Josh played it like he really meant it. There’s a way to play it where it’s like, “F— you. Happy Holidays. Your money is gone.” But I actually thought he [was sincere]. [To Michelle] We may be in disagreement, which is not a bad place to be.
TVLINE | Where does their relationship go from here? Are they still going to be operating at that same level of disdain?
ROBERT | Creatively, you don’t want to live in one world for too long. So it either goes deeper, or it goes the other way. It’s a very interesting relationship now that it’s flipped from love to hate. So we want to continue to explore that, and we will.
TVLINE | What is the current state of Alicia and Peter’s marriage?
ROBERT | Alicia is still in the original [mindset] that her husband betrayed her. And then there was the second betrayal with Kalinda. And Alicia wants to believe she has moved on from that, but I still think it’s partly there. They are very much a Bill-and-Hillary couple in that they sort of need each other politically: Alicia because she started her own firm, and his name still means something; and Peter because without her [he can’t be forgiven in the eyes of voters]. It’s in a tentative place. Having said that, Alicia is a sexual being who, every now and then, desires her husband. So she’s slightly divided between that and whether [she] loves and is committed to [him] over the long-term.
TVLINE | We’ve seen Will deal with his latent feelings, but what about Alicia?
ROBERT | We’re going to go there.
MICHELLE | The difference between Will and Alicia is that Alicia has a lot of other stuff pulling at her mental state that Will doesn’t have. She has two kids, she’s trying to start a new firm… there isn’t as much mental space for it.
TVLINE | Fans don’t love Will’s new girlfriend, and I’m guessing that is the point.
ROBERT | [Laughs] We wanted someone who was the opposite of Alicia. Someone who had a youthful spirit that was like, “Hey, whatever you want.” He went from a lot of baggage in a relationship —almost an unbearable extent, to lightness. It’s an extremely light relationship that doesn’t weigh him down.
TVLINE | This was also a big episode for Kalinda. How was this romance with Jordana Spiro’s cop character conceived?
ROBERT | We thought it would maybe be a head-fake to the audience, that perhaps we were going down a Nick route again [with Jason O’Mara’s Damian]. What we wanted to do was have someone that sent us in a direction that would be more interesting for Kalinda, which is a woman who is a little closer to who Kalinda is — although possibly tougher. And once we knew we could get Jordana Spiro, we were thrilled, and even wrote more in that direction.
TVLINE | Are we going to see more of her?
ROBERT | Oh, yes.
TVLINE | Does that storyline essentially replace the Juliet Rylance arc that never came to pass?
ROBERT | Yes. With Juliet, the problem wasn’t her. The difficulty was purely that in the first episode this season, the plot was so thick and all-encompassing that there was no time to create that chemistry. So we decided to retool it and we went in a completely different direction. The audience can sometimes get frustrated with characters that might seem like they’re being neglected, but we have 22 episodes. So even if you don’t see someone popping in the first half of the year, they’ll get their moment, hopefully. I mean, unless we do our job poorly.
TVLINE | Will Kalinda get her due in the second half of the season?
ROBERT | That’s our hope.
MICHELLE | We suffer from an embarrassment of riches. We have such a wonderful ensemble that there are times when we aren’t able to use one character or the other as much as they deserve. There have been moments when Diane hasn’t been as much in the forefront as we would like her to be. Same thing with Cary. They’re all such amazing actors that we hate it when we can’t use them as much as we want.
TVLINE | Is Jackie still suffering from dementia? She appears to be of pretty sound mind.
ROBERT | Jackie never had dementia. She was over-medicating due to her forgetfulness. That’s where some of her bug hallucinations came from. Once she had the helper, Cristian, watch over her medicating, her hallucinations went away. On the thematic level, we wanted to suggested that Jackie was a senior citizen in decline until Peter won the governorship. Now she’s in ascendence. She is a woman who thrives on power. [Editor’s Note: Robert King asked for the opportunity to clarify his position regarding Jackie’s mental heath, so this answer has been changed from an earlier version.]
TVLINE | Opening the episode on the 100-mph marker on Kalinda’s speedometer was genius.
MICHELLE | That was Robert.
ROBERT | [Laughs] Thank you. There was a movie called Drowning by Numbers. In every scene you saw a different number, and it was a countdown from 100 to zero. And it was our idea to do a Drowning by Numbers in this episode, where in the beginning you would have 100 and [later] in a scene there might be a novel Catch 22 for the number 22. Or there might be checks in it where you see No. 1 or 2 or 3. The problem we had was that it gave us very little room to edit the episode.
MICHELLE | We figured out the problem before we put pen to paper.
ROBERT | So what we ended up doing was announcing, at least to ourselves, that this was the 100th episode. And it also seemed to be a way to start the episode with a lot of speed behind it.