Post Mortems

The Good Wife Creators Explain That Striking Final Scene: 'The Victim Becomes the Victimizer'

The following story contains spoilers about Sunday’s Good Wife finale. Proceed at your own peril

It was the slap heard ’round the world.

The Good Wife wrapped its seven-year run Sunday night with a boiling Diane striking Alicia across the left cheek. WTF, you might be asking? Allow series creators Robert and Michelle King to explain…

“We [felt] that it should begin with a slap and end with a slap,” says Robert King in the above video Q&A. “The story is about a woman who becomes more and more confident and more and more cunning and excited about her abilities and also about powers, so that slap at the end is very similar to [Alicia slapping Peter in the pilot] . We always had this idea of Alicia becoming more and more of something she was also not liking in her husband.”

Adds Michelle King: “The victim becomes the victimizer. And that’s really the circle that we see with Alicia.”

Robert notes that, “The story of Alicia is a bit of a tragedy. To be honest with the character she was moving in a direction where there wasn’t much room between who she was and who her husband was.”

For the full Q&A with the Kings, including their thoughts on the “ambiguous” conclusion to the Peter/Alicia/Jason triangle, press PLAY above. Then proceed to your comments with an answer to this question: Are you buying what they’re selling?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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159 Comments
  1. ABG says:

    I’m dissapointed. Definitely worked as an episode, maybe a season finale. But this wasn’t a good series finale.

    • Asif Ahmed says:

      Completely agree

    • The question should be whether the ending made sense to the character, not whether or not you “liked” it. And in that sense, it succeeds.
      Check back on the early seasons of Good Wife. There’s case after case where Alicia realizes she’s crossing moral, if not legal, lines that she thought were clear. From finding evidence of a juror bribe to defending a man who practically bragged of murdering his wife, to being the lawyer for the legitimate business of a brutal drug dealer with a shiny veneer.
      Time after time where her “good wife” instincts are compromised. In turn this leads to her having an affair with her boss, then joining Carey and half the staff abandoning her firm. Things that Season One Alicia would find repugnant.
      Her entire run for D.A. was compromise after compromise. Her opponent turned out to be not a villain, but someone who would not cross the lines Alicia would.
      Then, the abortive Presidential campaign, where she basically abandoned any attempt at integrity to push her (still-)husband’s agenda.
      The entire series, if you stand back, is about Alicia’s subtle, inevitable turn to the dark side. Her betrayal of Diane forming the last step down.
      It may not have been the fairytale ending we wanted.
      But it was the dramatic ending the character deserved.

    • Jersey Jo says:

      Totally agree!

    • Mary Strickland says:

      I completely agree. I was very disappointed.

  2. Jimmy says:

    Meh. I expected better.

  3. Rob says:

    Yeah so this is exactly what I wrote on Slezak’s recap of the episode. I could literally write a 25 page thesis on that slap but what I got from it was the fact that Alicia has devolved into what Peter was in the first episode (and throughout the series). This slap, and the subsequent eyes darting around trying to figure out where that came from, totally fit in terms of the entire arc of the show. She was a victim betrayed in the first slap and in this slap, she was the one betraying the victim. Such a powerful moment and meaningful that it came from Diane. I also was saying I hope this means there’s serious talk of a spinoff for Christine Baranski because I can picture 100 episodes just off the top of my head.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      I haven’t seen the series, yet, even though it is a huge favorite with my 92 year old father. I thought to wait to see how it played out. It sounds like Michael of The Godfather. I’m into reformation and change for the better themes. I guess I’ll file this away with The Shield, Games of Thrones, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, etc …masterpieces… for others. Hopefully, they will swing the pendulum for a more upbeat ending series with a Christine Baranski spin-off.

      • cary agos says:

        Hi Patricia, just wanted to say that The Good Wife IS definitely worth the watch. Ok, so the LAST episode ended not-so-perfectly. But that is why everyone is so upset! Because it was such an awesome, life-changing experience. (especially for me – I started watching this when I was 15 and now I’m 23!) I loved the supporting characters, the heroics, & the actors. The show was legendary, in that it made me question my expectations of show-watching. It avoided cliches and had witty dialogue and legally interesting scenarios. So I would whole-heartedly encourage a watch-thru. Also, the Kings (the shows creators) are busy with a new project “Brain Dead”, so I highly doubt a Christine Baranski spin off is in the works. have fun watching :)

  4. Sharon says:

    A lame explanation for a lame and lazy ending!

  5. tvdiva says:

    The slap may be a throwback to the first episode but that was an incredibly awful thing she did to Diane to save Peter who at this point was not worth it. This episode sucked.

    • Jeanne says:

      I believe that Alicia was acting as an attorney rather than a wife when she undercut Diane to get to the truth. After all, Diane’s husband had already betrayed her and she was compromising her integrity as a lawyer; she should have recused herself from the case at that point.

    • chris says:

      Alicia didn’t do an awful thing to Diane. Diane did an awful thing to her husband by asking him to compromise his testimony–something that didn’t make sense for either of them. That was just bad writing so they could end up with a final scene like the beginning. All Alicia did was zealously defend her client. Since she was also trying to keep her children’s father out of prison, I don’t blame her at all.

  6. Tori says:

    I actually thought this was an excellent way to end the series. It was heartbreaking and painful, yet beautiful. I can’t really say I’m disappointed in much of anything from this episode except for the conflict between Alicia and Diane in the end. Now that hurt, but overall I thought it was an exceptional ending.

  7. Anne Normandin says:

    An ending that needs to be explained? Well, doesn’t that say it all. Lousy ending to a great show.

  8. Bachman says:

    Really? Diane puts her husband the stand because she thinks she can manipulate his testimony and then gets angry because he has to be impeached? WTF is my general reaction to this unsatisfying ending. Her love interest disappears and her best friend slaps her and she’s left alone? Great work!

    • Eurydice says:

      Yeah, this whole victim/victimizer thing might have worked better if we hadn’t already spent 7 years watching Will and Diane and all the other lawyers claw and scratch and bite their way through every case.

    • chris says:

      Agreed.

  9. Cathy Moll says:

    Ok ending, which was anticlimactic. Too many loose ends. The best part of the final show was the cameo appearances of Will Gardner. Will Alicia reprise her roll in the future? A new series?

  10. nope. it did not work…honestly..you want her to be different and you spend the entire show with josh saying nothing has changed…nope…did not work,

  11. Bryce says:

    I ADORE Lucca, but Kalinda should have been the one to give Alicia the “talk to Jason” talk. Will’s appearance was pretty flawless—I especially love that she closed her bedroom door as if to say that this is her most private desire. I never thought I like like “I’ll love you forever” could make me cry, but Marguiles hit so strongly as usual. That ending though… What? I like it because Alicia finally got away from Peter and that it suggests that a woman’s story isn’t as easy as happily ever after, but I definitely understand Marguiles’ comments earlier in the week. More than anything, I’m just happy this show was ever on at all, because it’s really been one of TV’s finest.

    • Donna says:

      Yes. The writers leave you hanging with every episode but resolved only one thing for certain in this finale; Alicia was in love with Will and was still greiving him up until this point. The writers finally gave us a view into her psyche of who really influenced her decisions, who really affected her in life and death.

  12. Kathy says:

    Lame. And Diane doing the slapping did not work. She has walked and crossed over the same lines Alicia has. Don’t know how it should have ended not not like that.

  13. Andrew Hass says:

    I thought it was a good way to end the series because i think Diane slapping Alicia had a lot of meanings behind it.Plus i foresee a spin-off with Diane and maybe for it to work her relationship with Alicia had to be severed.

  14. Clayton says:

    I really feel like this ending was appropriate but it feels like a rough draft. The final moment did give a solid realization of the last seven years. But I feel like it could have been stronger. I feel like this was a rough draft and a consequence of the show not knowing it was going to end until the back half of the season. I’m grateful that – to some extent – we got to see the ending with the original creators and how they intended. I just wish we could have had the entire season written as the farewell season and then I wonder what this episode would have looked like. I’m going to miss this show.

  15. Tam says:

    I HATED the ending. What a waste of my years of watching this show. I rately watch serials. So sucked. Also, I understood the slap and the desire to be pseudo artsy. It backfired. I hate hate hate the ending.

    • bonniebes says:

      Right there with you. I have watched since Episode 1 and it’s one of my favorite series ever. I hated this ending.

      • Sandy says:

        I agree. The “slap” would be a parallel if Alicia had tracked down Peter’s prostitutes and slapped them (Kalinda, too). The person Diane needs to slap is Kurt. Plus, the action is out of character for Diane.

      • B says:

        Ditto. No justice to the actors who were brilliant, the growth of the characters they portrayed and the years of brilliance in the shows evolution. It just died and we all deserved more. It’s sad. The writers left us with no beautiful legacy they are horrible.

  16. Noreen says:

    The ending was a big disappointment!It should had ended with going with Jason!

    • Carter says:

      I just picture that she did. For some reason so many shows think they have to give us some artsy pie in the sky meaning for finales when for goodness sake just make the loyal fans HAPPY. Why is Breaking Bad the best finale in history? They made the fans happy. Minor spoiler alert if you somehow have not seen Breaking Bad yet. Villains, which totally included Walt, paid the price and our poor kid who got sucked into Walters vortex, got away. It was so damn satisfying. This finale was a C.

  17. Stephanie says:

    What a show of disrespect. After investing 7 years of watching every episode, fans should have been treated better. The ending was dissatisfying and not nearly as clever as the creators seem to think it was.

    • JC says:

      Totally agree!!! Creators owe us an apology. Seriously, man (and woman). I’m sitting at my computer talking to strangers I’m so disappointed and flummoxed. Absurd. Seven years down the toilet. Do they even consider the fans when the write these finales? No, they just want to be shocking. Well, shock to the heart, you lost this fan.

    • Jackie says:

      I couldn’t agree more. Not clever, not revealing, and definitely not satisfying. What a lousy way to treat us loyal fans.

    • What ending? They simply quit. Get back to work, write us a REAL ending, and air it.

  18. J cook says:

    Shame on the writers, a slap in the face to loyal viewers. Disappointed to say the least.

  19. Andy says:

    Very disappointing

  20. BrightLight says:

    My one problem with the finale was that almost the entire episode dealt with Peter’s trial and arguing about things that the jury never even heard because he took a plea deal that gave him no jail time.
    .
    I was fine with the slap because I felt Alicia deserved it, not just for what she did to Diane, but for almost everything she’s done since Will’s death. I get that it paralleled Peter in the pilot, but even if it didn’t, she deserved it because let’s face it, she’d become everything she hated about Peter and if that’s what it took to get her to see what she had to become and needed to change, so be it.

  21. Lillian Bauza says:

    We were loyal to you for 7 years, and you give us an ambiguous finale? Not respectful at all.

    • James Cross says:

      It wasn’t ambiguous, she ended her marriage, her children are grown and her incompatible love interest came to nothing. The only thing in the air was if she was still going to be partner or if she was going with a political career. For that moment it was an end.

  22. Rebecca Parker says:

    Going into tonight, I was sure I was going to hate the ending. But honestly I liked it because it felt like a validation towards my feelings re: Alicia this season: that she has become immature and unlikeable.

    While it may be disappointing for the show to end here, to me it feels like an organic conclusion to the character path Alicia has been on as of late.

    • Donna2712 says:

      You just hit the nail on the head for me. I have not enjoyed this season at all and it was because I have not liked Alicia. She became an alcoholic nymphomaniac who double crossed her friends. The slap was absolutely deserved and the wake up call she needed to realise what she had become. I actually liked the finale because I think she needed to be slapped.

      • Donna says:

        All of the characters have needed a slap. They all are dispicable in their own way, thats what makes the show.

  23. Ann Carly says:

    This ending was not entertaining or complicated. It was an easy out leaving room for a TV movie reprisal. It’s all about money for the networks.

  24. Not a very good ending. Boring

  25. Mary Ann says:

    Very disappointed in finale first I can’t believe that great series is off the air. Can’t you at least end it on a happy note now Alicia is all alone why couldn’t she had walked away from Peter and have Jason at the end of that long hallway. Why did her best friend have to slap her Too many loose ends. we need to fine some station to bring them back with new writers and that fabulous cast.

    • chris says:

      How is Diane her best friend? Never felt that way to me. Diane has only befriended Alicia when she found Alicia useful. Lucca has been her best friend recently. I thought her confrontation with Cary was more meaningful. All this time and she still could believe he’d screw her over. No wonder he walked away from the law firm.

  26. A. D. says:

    Finally this CRAP show ended!

  27. Heather says:

    Hey Michael… Any chance that you can change the video so that it can be viewed in Canada? 😟

  28. GSF says:

    It was a wonderful show, but the final season as a whole stretched credulity, got fairly silly for a few episodes, and generally didn’t hold together well — all the law firm reshufflings, the insinuation that there was something nefarious about Jason that never went anywhere, that fact that Diane and Alicia were representing Peter at all, and ultimately, that Alicia was so invested in saving Peter (the writers’ explanation – self-actualization, Grace, etc. – isn’t strong enough). I agree with ABG, but it was consistent with the generally wobbly season which always felt to me like the writers were losing interest in thinking through as meticulously as the previous ones. Thank you, though, and congratulations for an enjoyable, generally well conceived, well acted and for the most part well written 7 years.

  29. Andy says:

    It became a different show the second Will dies. Really miss the old days

  30. Leelee says:

    Our hearts are broken! We finally watch and get into the Good Wife and loving it and now its gone! I understand the slap was you betrayed me and hurt me by going behind my back I get that but it leaves questions that won’t be answered like is she fired? and where is Jason who has been with all these other women and now is ???? and now what? we ll never know! WHY!!! seems like every time we find something worth watching its Gone! We wish enough people would do what it takes to bring it back we are sad tonight and will be feeling the loss forever! but when she straightened her top and stiffened her back and wiped her eyes and walked on in my heart I cheered for the strength she finally found in herself! Would LOVE! to see where she goes from there Please pick up the story and let us see Alicia finally take control of her world and show what she’s really made of post cheating, dirty politician husband, true loves death, friends hurt, and possibly another lovers betrayal! Go Team Alicia!

  31. Jeanne says:

    I believe the ending was sophisticated, stylized and more true to real life that we like to believe. The series has held itself to a certain standard and to tie up the ending in a neat bow would not have worked. Alicia continues to have so many conflicts in her life — her soon to be ex-husband, her new lover, decisions about her career and it’s plethora of loose ends, her complicated friendships and professional relationships, her children, her mother, her mother-in-law and her new husband and the lost love of her life — well, she is a very conflicted and complex person. There are no easy answers for her. Just as the series started out with Alicia having a life-altering experience, the series ended with Alicia having another life-altering experience. Did Diane’s slap crush her send her on a downward spiral or did it knock some sense into her and help her to see clearly what her choices are?

    “The Good Wife” was an outstanding series for many reasons — producers, directors, writers, cast — and we should remember it for its uniqueness and greatness. So, please, no spin offs; let’s not dilute the memories of the mother ship!

  32. thurmom says:

    I felt like I was the one who got slapped. Terrible ending to one of the best shows ever on network television. It deserved better. It was nice to see Josh Charles again, though.

  33. Lucinda J Stephenson says:

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I watched this show for 7 seasons and I get no closure? Really? People are going to NOT like this. Dedicated GOOD WIFE fans needed to see something more than Diane being pissed off with Alicia. What about Jason? Suggesting that she saw him, but it was mistaken identity and then……we don’t get to see a happy ending or a sad ending. The human mind craves closure. Wrap it up in a neat package. That’s what I wanted. Too many loose ends… does Diane stay with her husband? Does Jason disappear for good or do he and Alicia find eachother? What happens to the firm? This sucked… Thanks…

  34. KH says:

    I thought the ending showed that Alicia had basically turned into Peter and vice-versa. He was the needy spouse who depended on her and she was the cold blooded operator who would do whatever it took to achieve the desired results. Win at all costs and rationalize everything.

  35. Dre says:

    I liked the slap. Alicia was getting really full of herself and selfish. She ignores Lucca when it suits her, she was AWFUL to Diane in order to win the case, she distanced herself from Cary, and when it came to choosing between Jason and Peter she acted like a confused, immature 10th grader. I wanted to smack her! That smack will how tall should be a better person which is good for her kids. And I’m really happy that the series ended without anyone knowing which man she chose . Why can’t she just be single for a while– is that so bad?

  36. Dre says:

    Loved the slap. Snap out of it Alicia! Get over yourself.
    Spin-off for Christine Baranski please!

  37. Karen Padecky says:

    Don’t thank the fans..Apologize to us instead. You didn’t write for the fans, they wrote for themselves. I didn’t like it at all..feel like I wasted my time watching this show..feel totally used to spend so much time watching a show and then be so totally disappointed. #TheGoodWifeGoesBad

    • The Grinch says:

      I’m a fan and you don’t speak for me. The ending was fine, but ambiguous. Just like life. The creators owe you nothing.

    • Jackie says:

      I agree with you. This was not written for the fans. This was written to satisfy the King’s egos. Shame on them.

  38. Now if Kalinda had slapped her, that would have been an ending!

  39. JC says:

    NO I AM NOT BUYING WHAT THEY ARE SELLING and they just lost me ever watching the next series. They went back and forth with Alicia and her struggle to be good, her struggle to do the right thing, and she more than often chose the ethical path. Even if she didn’t end up with Jason, she didn’t deserve the b.s. falling out with Diane. I am SO SICK of them plotting those two women against each other. I don’t know what kind of messed up life Michelle and Robert King have, but it’s obviously a doozy. The only saving grace to this entire episode was seeing Will, and yet when you look back on it, they totally effed up that relationship, too, to the point where Josh Charles left the show. I should have left with him.

  40. Robert says:

    This is just opinion, so my opinion is that it was just awful.

  41. Liz Joyce says:

    I would love to watch the video, but alas I live in Canada and apparently the world will end if a person in the “wrong” geographical area watches a short clip created by CBS. Even though CBS programs are aired in Canada. Sigh.

  42. Linda says:

    Very mixed feelings about the finale. More please..

    While I’m glad Jason and Alicia weren’t that old cliche of walking off into the sunset together, I wanted more closure. I wanted her to definitively kick Peter to the curb.

    Though the slap was unexpected in the final scene, Diane had to be seen doing something to punctuate what Alicia did. How about this – after the slap, the scene cuts to a repeat scenario of Alicai opening the door to her apt., one last time, BUT, this time we don’t get to see if Jason is standing in the kitchen. We will all just assume he is AND ..End Scene!

    • Sandy says:

      Yes! All she would’ve had to do was smile and look happy. We could’ve drawn conclusions from that because Jason hasn’t deserted her before.

  43. Lynn Luhmann says:

    I hate endings that leave you dangling. I don’t see her and Janson making it long term. Not the same intensity and bond felt between her and Will

    I don’t believe that Peter was guilty. I liked them together, but too much bad blood had gone on between them that it was unrealistic to think that they could ever recover and restore any intimacy too see their relationship.
    Jason was a hard person to read making it difficult for him to see them as anything other than a temporary distraction. Perhaps there wasn’t the same amount of time to build the Alicia/Jason relationship vs Will/Alicia. The was so much chemistry between Will and Alicia. Very different with Jason. Much more physical but no depth.

    I have been a very loyal viewer and I don’t think I ever recovered from Will’s death. Seems as though the show was drifting and never recovered after his departure.

  44. Kris says:

    I”ll sum it up with just a few words” I HATED THE ENDING!” I’ve been a fan from day one & this was the worst ending possible.

  45. Marga says:

    I thought the ending perfectly fit the show, it fit who Alicia had become, and it definitely fit her arc.

  46. Ella Jasper says:

    I was very disappointed in the final show. Lame. The best part was Will coming back. We should have heard something from Kalinda. Poor Cary, he did get a couple of scenes. It would have been nice to leave us with something powerful, but instead, nothing. Who got a happy ending? I should have quit watching when Will died.

  47. Erica says:

    The “Good Wife” til the end, and it cost her……….Jason, her business partnership. BUT she kept up appearances as she tugged on her jacket to regain composure.

  48. This season was a total disappointment. The writing had deteriorated into confusion and comedy! The writers totally lost it. I watched this program from day one and thought it was brilliant, however the last five or six episodes have almost made me physically ill and each week I swore I would not watch it again. I am so glad it is over and I never want to hear about ot again. On a side note there was one great couple, Kurt and Diane and you just had to ruin the one good relationship. Way to go!

  49. The Grinch says:

    Lol. Lots of whine babies on here tonight. I sometimes disagree with the turns this show has taken but the creators had a plan and they followed through on it the way they wanted. Every time a show ends people seem to just go online and bit*h. Relax, it’s just a tv show. Nobody shot your dog. Not that I’m kissing the King’ butts or anything because their show BrainDead looks horrible.

    • Merlinman1 says:

      I want to like Brain Dead, because I love Danny Pino and Aaron Tveit…but it just looks so unappealing to me! :(

  50. Annie in Montana says:

    Two minutes in, totally KNEW the ending would be ambiguous. A highlight of the finale was Josh. Never missed an episode in seven years because of an all-time great cast. The ending was inevitable! Get over it, people! Hope Matt Czuchry gets his own spin-off.