As TVLine had enthusiastically teased in the days leading up to the closer, the episode promised to feature a scene between former besties Alicia and Kalinda.That scene notably would be the first time in nearly three seasons that Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi would share the screen together — a separation that both perplexed me as a person and frustrated me as a fan of the series and, more specifically, these two characters.
Still, I was willing to forgive and forget the years of awkward, almost laughable storytelling somersaults — a byproduct of an apparent mandate to keep the two actresses apart at any cost — if it meant we’d get one final scene with Alicia and Kalinda before Panjabi exited the show for good. And I didn’t even care what triggered the real-life chasm between Margulies and Panjabi. All that mattered was they both were willing to bury the proverbial hatchet for a few hours to do right by the show and the audience.
So, when the scene started and Kalinda slid over to Alicia’s side at the bar — a familiar meeting spot for the former drinking buddies — I literally got up off the couch and moved closer to the TV. It was happening. The two characters — and more importantly, the two actresses — were in the same scene together. And they were saying everything I needed to hear. It was magical. I was elated. They did it.
I immediately started tweeting things like “OMG” and “Worth the wait.” The possibility that we were being conned didn’t dawn on me for a second until I started reading comments from TVLine readers, many of whom expressed suspicion about the scene’s inconsistent lighting. And the fact that neither actress ever touched. And that their faces couldn’t be made out in the over-the-shoulder shots. And that Margulies appeared never to look directly at Panjabi.
I initially laughed it off as conspiracy-theory hoo-ha. They filmed the scene together — or at the very least agreed to shoot the two-shot portion of the scene together — and that was that.
Until it wasn’t.
Margulies and Panjabi did not shoot that scene together, I have come to learn. Body doubles were employed for the single shots, and the two-shot was spliced together in post-production.
I felt like an idiot. I felt duped. More importantly, I was disappointed, as a fan of the show and of these two actresses for whom I have huge admiration, whose work I have championed. I have no idea what beef exists between the two — nor do I care. But if ever there were a time for everyone to put aside their differences and make a decision in the best interests of the show — and for the sake of the fans who keep the show on the air — it was then.
It was one scene. We all work with people we don’t like. (Think about the poor souls who had to act opposite a certain CSI: Miami actor for the better part of a decade.) But you grin, bear it and get the job done. That’s what needed to happen here.
But the eternal optimist in me won’t give up. When The Good Wife eventually airs its series finale, perhaps it will feature an authentic scene, set in a bar, between two old friends.
(A CBS spokesperson declined to comment for this story, while reps for Margulies and Panjabi could not be reached.)