The Good Wife EPs Preview Kalinda's Chance of Dying, Talk Possible Reunion With Alicia and More

The Good Wife showrunners Robert and Michelle King will be the first to admit Season 6 has been “narratively chaotic” — but it’s all been by design.

Ever since the death of Josh Charles’ Will Gardner last spring, “you have everybody going in every direction at one time and things are coming unglued,” says Robert King. And there could be even more upheaval as the show returns this Sunday (9/8c on CBS) for the first of the season’s final 10 episodes.

TVLine caught up with the Kings to dish their exit plan for fan favorite Kalinda (in the wake of Archie Panjabi’s decision to exit the series), preview the ethical quandaries Alicia faces as she completes her campaign for State’s Attorney and check the romantic forecast for our titular protagonist.

TVLINE | Season 6 has been almost unsettlingly hectic — Alicia campaigning, the firm in flux, Cary in jail, Kalinda getting herself in danger on multiple levels. Has it been stressful as writers trying to juggle all those balls at the same time?
Robert King: It is very hard. TV shows, especially where you’re doing [22 episodes] a year, rely on status-quo. You have a certain structure that you can take off the shelf and go, “This is the structure we use week-to-week.” So, it’s been difficult knowing that each episode this season brings its own structure and its own struggles to find what the episode is about. It’s been fun, but I’ve got to tell you, it’s also a little like tightroping with out the net.
Michelle King: We never want characters to have forgotten what happened to them the episode before or three episodes before — they’re carrying the emotional reality as well as what’s happening with the plot. So, oftentimes we’re making lists in the writers’ room of things we don’t want to forget to answer, and then putting the lists up on the board.

TVLINE | Was this narrative chaos a deliberate decision, something you set out to do at the start of the season — or was it a more organic, week-to-week process?
Robert King: A deliberate decision. We wanted to start it in Alicia’s head — the idea that there was this really unsettled quality to her life, and a realization that she had put on a fake mask in court. And as you probably noticed, Alicia’s been arguing less and less in court. Obviously because of this campaign, but we structurally wanted someone who had lost her reason for living, who lost her direction in life, and it was all tied to Will’s death.

Then, we wanted it to grow out from there, like ripples in a pond, where everybody else is being influenced. You don’t know what the name of the firm is anymore because everybody is changing titles and moving from place to place. We’ve been in three law firms in a matter of six months. We really wanted to give the sense of things not having roots. Hopefully, the audience is there with us. A lot of shows change for change alone, but what we’re trying to do is follow the psychology of characters. Alicia does want stability. She doesn’t want to be drifting around and blowing on the wind. She’s the original good girl. That’s why I hope the audience will follow her to find where her moorings are.

105394_0044bTVLINE | One thing we know is imminent is Archie Panjabi exiting the show by season’s end — and we’ve seen Kalinda make a huge misstep with altering email metadata evidence and getting really tied up in the life of drug kingpin Lemond Bishop — in both instances to to clear Cary’s name. Given that you killed off another major character in Josh Charles’ Will Gardner less than a year ago, are you taking death off the table as an exit strategy for Kalinda? 
Michelle King: I would say that nothing is off the table and unfortunately, all we can say is that we are hoping to make it seem inevitable yet surprising.
Robert King: The job is a little more difficult this year. We had luck and very good CBS information control in that we were able to hide that Josh Charles was leaving the show [last season]. We don’t have that advantage this year. So, a lot of what we’re doing is playing with audience expectations of how [Kalinda’s exit] might happen. We’re only maybe seven or eight weeks ahead of the audience in what we’re shooting and writing, and what’s really good about that is you can take into account what their feelings are about episodes, what their feelings are about the arc of the season, and you can even vary it a little. We can’t turn water into wine, or black into white, but we can vary the expectations.

TVLINE | Will we have a Kalinda/Alicia scene before Archie Panjabi is gone for good? Some of our readers have observed it’s been a long time since those two characters interacted — even during the Cary crisis. Obviously, there’s been a chill between them since the revelation that Kalinda slept with Peter, but do you feel like some closure is necessary there?
Michelle King: I’m afraid all we can tell you again is, stay tuned.
Robert King: On that one, yes, that’s all we can say.

TVLINE | OK. Let’s talk about Alicia’s campaign for State’s Attorney. She went into it with this crusading idea of wanting to good in the world and wanting to knock Castro off his perch. But the longer it’s gone on, there have been more ethical compromises and quandaries in her way — like Bishop setting up her PAC, all the ideas being pushed by her campaign advisers. Are you going to keep exploring those themes in the back half of Season 6?
Robert King: There seems to be a theme of villains on TV now being the monsters. One of the best is [Breaking Bad‘s] Walter White. These antiheros of TV or cable, they actually make a choice, like a fork in the road appears to them and they choose to go down the dark path. What our show wants to explore is that those decisions aren’t made like a fork in the road. There’s a constant compromising of one’s values and one’s goodness. Every day, every hour of the day, there’s another compromise we all make. You could feel good if you make one decision a day that reminds you, “God, that’s why I got into this business.” Everything else is like a calculated attempt to just survive to the next minute. That’s what we wanted to explore with Alicia — someone who doesn’t choose to do bad, but someone who finds every day that there are these ethical challenges she didn’t even expect, that none of us expect. And she makes…maybe not the wrong choice, but the pragmatic choice.
Michelle King: What we like about Alicia Florrick is that she’s self-aware enough to recognize that she’s not always choosing the pure path, too.
Robert King: The campaign just gave us another way to explore that. There’s a beautiful book called Whatever It Takes, about the 1992 presidential campaign. It looks at all of these supposedly good men and women, who actually compromised their values. We wanted to see how Alicia could either thrive or be crushed by this process.

105860-35bTVLINE | This week’s episode has Ed Asner playing a big-money donor who’s being courted by Alicia and her opponent Frank Prady. What can you tease?
Robert King: We’d always thought it was funny, the song and dances candidates have to go through to get the very, very deep-pocketed money men on their side, both in the Democratic and Republican fields. There is this thing called dark money, which is the name of the episode, where money is given in secret to a candidate’s PAC, and candidates go through a lot to get it. What we also liked was a character challenging [the idea] that a lot of liberals Democrats feel they’ve solved racism and homophobia on their side, and it’s the other side that’s wrong. We wanted Ed Asner’s character to be a little more old world, to burst the bubble of a lot of Democrat instincts about their own worthiness and purity. We have him back for one more episode after this week.
Michelle King: Ed Asner is really something. We love what he did with the part.

TVLINE | You talked at the start of the season about exploring Peter and Alicia as this power couple of political convenience. The last episode that aired in January, we saw Peter’s affair with Ramona end pretty abruptly, mostly due to political pressures. Alicia this year has sort of skirted around the edges of a relationship with Finn and impulsively kissed Johnny, but nothing more. I’m wondering is there any hope for true romantic happiness for either of the Florricks?
Robert King: I don’t think it’s impossible at all. What’s interesting is, something that might have been impossible in the second season or third season now seems within the realm of what Alicia’s choices are or what Peter’s choices are. They’re a power couple who lend each other the power that they need. Alicia is struggling with her own good-girlness. Even if she wanted to go off with someone, could she? There is something in her that struggles against that.

Alicia seems to be attracted to bad boys and yet, she herself tends towards wanting to do the right thing in a very conservative way of talking about “right.” There really is a struggle going on with her. There is something traditional in her nature — and it has to do with her mom bringing her up, her mom marrying a lot of men, and Alicia trying to get away from what her mom did.

TVLINE | I loved that scene earlier this season where Alicia and Finn are on the couch together — and it’s almost this Victorian setup… will they allow themselves to touch in any way. It was maybe the show’s sexiest scene all season. 
Robert King: I know, and I’m glad you put it that way. The show can be sexy on a couple fronts, one of which is obviously with the minimal nudity and minimal sauciness. What’s even sexier is when someone really knows they shouldn’t be doing something, but they find themselves riding towards the precipice. Julianna Margulies and Matthew Goode are amazing with that kind of tension. We lost Matthew for one or two episodes because of obligations, I think for Downton Abbey, but he’s in the rest of the season, and he’s fantastic.

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60 Comments
  1. Carol C says:

    So looking forward to GW’s return!

  2. Will says:

    Thanks for this… I hope the Kings are seeing that the fans have not been responding to the campaign storyline. Also, I wish you would have asked them what the deal was with Castro suddenly dropped out of the race – without anyone (i.e. Alicia, etc) addressing it. It made no sense.
    That being said I hope they don’t kill Kalinda. Michelle’s response to your question about it seemed rather ominous…

  3. Dude says:

    Of course we know Alicia and Kalinda won’t have scenes together. The actresses despise each other and we all know Archie’s marginalization was Julianna’s doing.

  4. Steven says:

    I hope they tone things down a bit. There is such a thing as too chaotic. That said I wish Alicia would hook up with Finn. I don’t understand why they were slow burning that relationship just to have her impulsively kiss Johnny a few episodes later.

  5. SUSO says:

    Still wondering where Robin is.

  6. Roman says:

    I actually don’t mind the chaos of this season beacause it mimcs real life. We don’t usually just go through one change or crisis and wait for the next one to happen, there are often a million things going on at once. I like that The Good Wife has always had faith in their viewers to “keep up” otherwise they’d be better off watching a less complex show. As for Alicia’s election I think part of it is she was definitely goaded into it by Castro throwing Will’s death in her face. As well as the fact that she’s human and once she sets her mind on something, even if her original “enemy” is out of the race, it’s very humbling to say no I don’t want to do this after all. She usually sees things through whether or not it’s in her best interest.

    As for the stuff between Julianna and Archie, sure it’s all rumors and speculation but there is absolutely no narrative reason why Alicia and Kalinda have not been in the same room in 40+ episodes. They reconciled and even shared drinks together and there was never another falling out between them. It made sense to an extent when the two firms were split but now given that they both work in the same place there has to be something else going on. Archie isn’t even going to PaleyFest and she’s been a main character since day 1.

  7. Patrícia says:

    Thank you The Good Wife for bringing back Matthew Goode!!!!!! Finn and Alicia have such good chemistry!!!!!! Plus he is adorable

  8. DW says:

    Thanks for this interview and thanks to the Kings for bringing us the best show on television. Really looking forward to it’s return this Sunday.

  9. Jenna says:

    Thanks so much for the interview and the updates. Love hearing that Finn is sticking around. Still not a fan of the campaign story because she just had started her firm. Also perhaps due to the close timing to real and very nasty campaigns in my state. Given all the effort and the lengthy story arc, I will shocked if she doesn’t win – although losing and having to reassess her choices would be more interesting to me. Hope Kalinda gets a good sendoff.

  10. Tahina says:

    So sad Archie leaving TGW, she’s one of the main reasons I’m still watching. Hope Kalinda will not be killed off in case she can return for show’s final season(next year?) As to Julianna and Archie, that’s old tattle tale, but also heard Julianna is a tough cookie to say it lighter, even when she was in ER. Pfft!

  11. bill says:

    The campaign storyline is boring and unrealistic. How many times are the candidates going to defy their handlers and have secret one-on-one meetings in the kitchen? I’m only continuing to watch to see how Kalinda leaves the show. I have a feeling that she will be killed by Bishop. Also, where the heck is Robin? She disappeared with no explanation.

  12. Mel says:

    “I would say that nothing is off the table and unfortunately, all we can say is that we are hoping to make it seem inevitable yet surprising.” To me, that says Kalinda takes the dirt nap.

  13. Knope says:

    Just put Kalinda and Alicia in a scene together !!

  14. Anna says:

    Glad to hear that Finn’s in the remaining episodes. His chemistry with Alicia is amazing and I just need them to be together. Please.

  15. laffers18 says:

    Matthew Goode = happy me. I’ve missed Finn the last few episodes, and can’t wait for the return of this brilliant show.

  16. HAP says:

    To those questioning Robin’s whereabouts, should know that Jess Weixler as been quite busy making theatrical movies the past couple of years such as The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby. Busier in cinema than any other player on TGW. She was shooting an Indie movie in Wyoming last fall. So, it may be her choice as to whether or not to make time for The Good Wife.

  17. Niallerz1992 says:

    The Good Wife is the best written, best acted show in the past number of years (and Parenthood also). The show is consistent in its writing, story-telling and the way episodes are shot. And that’s what I love about the show, you know each week when you sit down to the series what to expect and that something unexpected might happen or something that has been brewing for ages finally happen the writers/producers deliver. Everything that happens on this show is there for a reason and will come up again if it seems irrelevant at the time.

    I also love the interviews the creators/producers give from time to time. I trust everyone on that show and that they are doing this for a reason and it pays off. Robert and Michelle work really well together and have created and nurtured an amazing series that has grown immensely over the past six seasons and has at this stage done a 360 and creatively reinvented itself where most shows in their sixth season are creatively not as good as it used to be. TGW was amazing in its first season. Season 2 was miles ahead of the first. The third started off good and creatively improved and the same with the fourth but the fourth started off rocky and showed signs of a decline. But creatively turned things around by the end. Season 5 to date is the best season of the show so far and I think the best season of Television of the past few years.
    TGW is on a roll and I am hoping for a season 7.

  18. Kathy K says:

    I actually was very happy with Matthew Goode off the canvass. I am definitely Team Johnny and I think that Finn is colorless and tied to Will’s death,

  19. Chloe says:

    I don’t see anything between Finn and Alicia. I’ve liked Matthew Goode since Match Point but he’s just not for the Good Wife. I don’t know why. His scenes in this season were so boring. If writers continue to go with Matthew Goode, they’ll find another way, seriously.

    • Mel says:

      Maybe you’ll like him better on Downton Abbey.

    • Kathy K says:

      Yea, I would prefer Goode to be at Downton Abbey or anywhere other than here. The stupid love triangles/quadrangles are really unnecessary and hard on the viewer. We’ve just lived through enough painful ones.

      The writers actually seemed to be writing with a plan that was pretty good until I read this interview. Isn’t this season supposed to be the education of Alicia? Alicia learns she does not have to be tied to Peter’s hip and is a force to be reckoned with on her own. She is not defined by Peter and she can be “amazing” when challenging the perception that she is.

  20. TVLINE | Will we have a Kalinda/Alicia scene before Archie Panjabi is gone for good?
    Michelle King: I’m afraid all we can tell you again is, stay tuned.
    Robert King: On that one, yes, that’s all we can say.

    I’m glad this was asked.
    The double response sounds like meta for “We haven’t been able to convince Julianna Margulies to do the scene yet.” What a shame. What a waste!

  21. Sabrina says:

    Great interview. I can’t wait for the show to return.

  22. Shiloh says:

    These two are just genius writers. I really am not digging Finn and Alicia so, I stopped watching for now, but just reading this makes me *want* to watch. Amazing show with writing that is at a level rarely seen in television. I might just tune in for that Asner episode. It sounds intriguing…

  23. Ann says:

    Yeah changes are good even chaotic ones but they have to MAKE SENSE and EXCITING!!! And that’s the problem with this season’s writing is that none of the “changes” and the the plot lines that they have put in place makes sense. Lemond Bishop wanting Cary to work for him in Spain???!! Seriously? Are you kidding me? Nor are they exciting that really makes you go “wooo that’s interesting?” and get hooked like all the past seasons. Ever since Will died, they promised that this opens the door to many exciting changes and gives opportunites to new directions in the story but so far there hasn’t any.

    First they tried to replace Will buy throwing suitor after suitor after suitor to Alicia and of course nobody could fill Josh Charles’ shoes and when that didn’t work, the show just went all over the place and no directions. Maybe they just don’t know what to write anymore now that its biggest main character where everything used to be revolved around is gone and now they are just trying to throw any ideas onto the screen to see which one sticks. What they need to do is sit down and really take a hard look at the show and decide which direction they want to take the show to, stick with it and run with it. Yes there would be risk involved with that too because what if it doesn’t work and the whole show is going to collapse but the show is going to collapse anyway with its mundane and yet confusing and directionless writing.

  24. Missy says:

    Sorry, guys, I just don’t buy the fact that you are writing aimlessly on purpose. Will’s being killed off affected the show more that the Kings would admit. Then to go onto Cary’s crazy indictment — that was just bizarre. All I can say is that I used to look forward to The Good Wife every Sunday. Since the character of Will was killed, the show is in total disarray because the Kings simply do not go where to take it. As to Kalinda, don’t kill such a fantastic character. Please.

    • Mel says:

      If that’s what Margulies wants, that’s what is going to happen. I don’t think she wants any possibility of a return to the show for Panjabi. Margulies in real life is not the same as the character she plays.

  25. Missy says:

    As to my previous comment about the show: I meant to say that the Kings don’t know where to take it…

  26. Samantha says:

    Hyped for the rest of this season. It’s hard to believe CBS just chose to put off the rest of TGW season 6 for ball games. Love watching Julianna Margulies, she is one exceptional actor. Anything she portrays she never fails to be amazing . Would love to see her campaign & debate but personally, I would prefer her to lose the SA run, I miss seeing her in the court room & working side by side with Christine Barinski. Sorry but the law firm is not as interesting & exciting without Josh Charles & now Julianna? Matt C is great am sure, but am not a fan.

  27. Samantha says:

    Excited for TGW’s return! Miss the chemistry that Josh & Juliana had, not too interested with another romance for Alicia, but would love to see her pitch in the court room & working side by side with Diane. Campaign trails & debates I would love but I personally prefer for Alicia to lose & go back to her law firm!

  28. Carol says:

    Is Matt Czuchary going to be in more episodes this year?

  29. Leoni Stroebel says:

    I think there should be a love scene between Alicia and Kalinda after the two of them go out for the evening to clear the air between them, talking about what happened between Kalinda and Peter…..Alicia forgiving her……the two of them getting a bit tipsy…..leaving the restaurant and Alicia dropping Kalinda at her place and Kalinda inviting Alicia in for coffee…..and then the two of them having a moment and make out…..feeling awkward the next morning ….Alicia telling Kalinda it was a mistake….Kalinda heartbroken and write Kalinda out as she needs to leave because of her feelings for Alicia ……you never know if “she might return”…….I like both characters and because they are so different….I would miss Kalinda…..it would be nice to bring in maybe another similar character….this time full-on lesbian meaning not bisexual, a character that is even more hardcore than Kalinda……just a thought!

  30. Paola says:

    Ok. They promised Finn /Matthew is still with us. That’s great for me and it’s all I need. Very nice your fantasy about the sexiest scene on the couch. That’s true. And moving and sweet. And please more Mathew in whatever way…
    An Italian fan

  31. Bebe says:

    The Good Wife seems to be getting worse . . .Ed Asner came off as a pig, really disgusting lines. It’s always better to see basically good characters do and say bad things . . .why have a loathsome character do and say loathsome things? Boring and not entertaining. And enough of lesbian/gay behavior, please. Christine Baransky isn’t used enough, she’s a great actress. The last two years Will Gardner was there were the best. Will probably not watch the series any more if it continues on this road. The Good Wife has lost what grabbed us in the beginning

    • Texasgolfer says:

      I won’t stop watching TGW but it has definitely lost direction. I am so tired of Sweeny and L. Bishop. The “Ed Asner” story line probably has more reality than most of what to admit.

  32. meagan says:

    I’m curious as to what happens to Kalinda and Lana.. how will they end?

  33. Very disappointed with the season so far – seems to have lost its edge and appeal. Hope you don’t go overboard in “releasing” Archie’s character – let her go back to Canada with the idea that a law enforcement group needs her.

  34. Bebe says:

    Gave it another shot last Sunday (March 8th) . . . what are they doing???? This has to be the worst episode to date. Kalinda’s personality seems to have done an about face . . what is wrong with that poor woman? What a way to exit the show, are the producers punishing her because she has decided to leave and are trying to make her look ridiculous? Kalinda is no longer interesting and now is boring. As is Alicia . . who cares about the turmoil that is in her head Utter waste of time and shows that none of the writers has a coherent storyline. Right now, Christine Baransky’s character is the most interesting. No one has changed her personality. Why not use her? We have enough political figures in real life who drive us insane, what makes you think we would care about Alicia and her quest for SA? Give us some meaty stories and stop with the not-so-subtle political messages. We want to be entertained, not badgered.