Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers about a major death on “The Good Wife.”
"The Good Wife" killed off an integral character in Sunday's episode
Fans have struggled with understanding why
Showrunners Robert and Michelle King have explained it was necessary for the plot
The Kings say TV doesn't deal with the irredeemability of death enough
Be kind to fans of “The Good Wife” today. They’re seriously struggling.
During the course of Sunday’s episode, faithful “Good Wife” viewers had to say goodbye to Josh Charles’ character, Will Gardner, who was killed in a plot twist no one saw coming.
Fans have taken the news so badly that showrunners Robert and Michelle King have been forced to explain why they did it.
The Kings, who launched the acclaimed drama in 2009, say in an open letter addressed to their “loyal” audience that their focus has always been on “the education of” Julianna Margulies’ character, Alicia Florrick, a lawyer whose life was thrown into turmoil after her husband’s corruption scandal.
Over the past five seasons, Florrick has gone from being “the good wife” to a woman rebuilding her life and career as a litigator, reuniting with her old law school friend, Will, along the way.
So when the two writers were “faced with the gut punch of Josh’s decision, made over a year ago, to move on to other creative endeavors, we had a major choice to make. We could ‘send him off to Seattle,’ he could be disbarred, or get married, or go off to Borneo to do good works,” they say of the deceased character.
But distance would’ve been but a “meager hurdle” for Alicia and Will.
“To us, there always was a tragedy at the center of Will and Alicia’s relationship: the tragedy of bad timing,” the Kings said. “The brutal honesty and reality of death speaks to the truth and tragedy of bad timing for these two characters.”
Basically, this character’s death will “propel Alicia into her newest incarnation.”
“Death also created a new dramatic ‘hub’ for the show,” the Kings continue. “We’re always looking for these turning points – some event midway through the season that will spin everybody’s lives in new directions. These turning points keep the show from slipping into a numbing sameness, and keep the characters fresh: because you see how they react to a completely new status quo.”
The unexpected death they just handed down “in many ways becomes a hub for the whole series, violently spinning everybody in new directions.”
So why did they opt to off the guy in such a gut-wrenching way?
Well, the Kings say, “we’ve all experienced the sudden death of a loved one in our lives. It’s terrifying how a perfectly normal and sunny day can suddenly explode with tragedy. Television, in our opinion, doesn’t deal with this enough: the irredeemability of death. Your last time with the loved one will always remain your last time. ‘The Good Wife’ is a show about human behavior and emotion, and death, as sad and unfair as it can be, is a part of the human experience that we want to share.”
In the end, the two conclude, “Life does go on.”