Josh Charles: ‘The Good Wife’s Romantic Stakes Will Be Raised

Josh Charles, 'The Good Wife' (CBS)

Josh Charles, 'The Good Wife' (CBS)

Change is good for ‘The Good Wife‘ (airing Tuesdays at 10/9c) – such is the sentiment shared by Josh Charles as he assays the CBS hit’s second season and the ever-evolving relationships therein. Has Will Gardner found a new love that will make him forget about almost-flame Alicia? What sort of role does Will play in this week’s big episode featuring guest star Michael J. Fox? Here’s what Charles had to say about those hot topics and others.

How are you comparing Season 2 of ‘The Good Wife’ to Season 1 thus far?
The first season [of a TV series] is always about getting a feel for it, getting warmed up, everybody getting to know each other… the writers dig in and see how their work is implemented on screen. More than any other medium, the first year is a real set of growing pains, and I think we were kind of ahead of the game , considering the response we got across the board. In the second season – and I hope it continues this way – I’m really impressed with the direction of the scripts. They’re not just sitting back and being happy with where we’re at but pushing the envelope and deepening every character as much as they can.

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You personally must be satisfied that Will didn’t turn into some “bitter man scorned” when Alicia seemingly blew off his voice messages.
Yeah, definitely.

Elizabeth Reaser and Josh Charles, 'The Good Wife' (CBS)

Elizabeth Reaser and Josh Charles, 'The Good Wife' (CBS)

How real a deal is Wills new romance with sportswriter Tammy (played by Elizabeth Reaser)? Personally, I’m not quite feeling them yet.
Well, it’s a little hard to form opinions based on the few minutes that we’ve seen. But yeah, I think she’s here for a little while. I really enjoy the character, how they’re writing her and what it’s bringing out in Will. And I love how it adds complexity and obstacles for that part of the storyline while showing the audience a more playful side of Will. I don’t know how it all ends up yet, but I’ve been enjoying where it’s going.

I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth Reaser’s from her work on ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ the short-lived ‘The Ex List’….
She’s a great actor, really funny, and good to have around. I also like the dynamic that Tammy is a sportswriter, so she and Will connect on that level. It gives Will something that he can have on his own so it’s not sort of revolving around the triangle [with Alicia and Peter]. I think that’s real, and it’s believable. I think this dynamic is going to stay around for a while.

In the recent TV Guide cover story, the producers said Alicia would become “a bit jealous and possessive of Will as he enters this new relationship.” Is that something you have seen in the scripts?
Yeah, I would say that. It’s all about balance. You have a connection between two characters – one’s married and the other is sort of living the bachelor life – so this evolves that part of the show. That isn’t just plausible but it becomes implausible when you don’t have a character settling down with someone. It raises the stakes, which is a good thing.

Julianna Margulies and Josh Charles, 'The Good Wife' (CBS)

Julianna Margulies and Josh Charles, 'The Good Wife' (CBS)

What chain of events might eventually lead to Will and Alicia learning the truth about the voice message he left but that she never got?
I’ll tell you that coming up, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how the [writer-producers] handle that and take it a step further. In one of the episodes coming up – a really, really fine episode – that story and that particular part of the story definitely takes a step forward. Again, it’s complicated a lot by the new relationship between Will and Tammy.

On Nov. 9, Michael J. Fox guest-stars as a lawyer with a neurological affliction that Lockhart Gardner must go up against. How is Will involved?
That case is handled by Alicia and Diane, but I am involved in some of the court scenes and helping the team from the sidelines. I got to see Michael do his thing, and we were just so excited that he was there. The role they wrote for him is so great – and he’s so great in it.

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Did you get the sense that he relished the chance to play a character with a facet so closely related to his own Parkinson’s disease?
From the little I spoke to him, he was excited by the idea of doing that. Absolutely.

What is Will’s take on how Michael’s character exploits his condition to elicit jury sympathy?
Being a real gamer and baller, when Will catches wind of it he’s impressed! Lawyer-to-lawyer, Will is impressed by that play.

Some of my favorite ‘Good Wife’ scenes involve the partners discussing and debating their unique points of view on a case, and on strategy. Do you enjoy those as well?
I don’t really have any “favorite” scenes – I obviously love working with Christine [Baranski] and Michael [Ealy] – but yes, our characters are going on a real journey this year. What I love about it – you nailed it – is that what they do well is give characters a unique point of view, so there’s no black-and-white. I find that interesting and authentic.

In a recent episode, Will placed No. 16 on a list of Chicago’s “most eligible bachelors.” Were you like, “What 15 guys possibly beat me out?”
[Laughs] I kind of laughed it off. It is Chicago, so when you look at where a lawyer of his stature might have fallen, that’s about right. Once you put all the athletes on that list – the Bulls, the Bears, the Blackhawks, the White Sox and the Cubs – you think, “That’s about where Will should have been.” I’m not going to lie!

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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