[Spoiler Alert: Only read on if you have watched the last two episodes of “The Good Wife”]
Some might question the call of husband-wife creators Robert and Michelle King for killing off one of the series’ most popular characters in Josh Charles’ Will Gardner last week in one of the more shocking TV killings this side of J.R. getting shot mid- shower on “Dallas.” Viewers of last week’s “Dramatics, Your Honor” episode may have been startled, but close industry observers, knowing that Charles hadn’t renewed his contract with the series, certainly could’ve predicted he’d meet some sort of end, and that he did, at the hands of none other than “Weeds” stoner older son Hunter Parrish, playing Jeffrey Grant, a clearly disturbed accused killer on trial for murder. Starting today, episodes of CBS’ “The Good Wife” are available as part of Xfinity on Demand’s “Watchathon Week.”
With the bomb dropped last week, this week’s “The Last Call” episode tried to piece everything together, “Rashomon”-style, from each of the main characters’ point of view. It opened with Alan Cumming’s Eli Gold forced to stand in for Julianna Margulies’ Alicia Florrick at the Chicago Correspondents’ Luncheon, providing a little comic relief as he stumbles through the teleprompter speech meant for her to deliver, complete with references to “sharing the Governor’s bed” and “changing the diapers of his kids.”
The tragedy brought out everyone’s self-interest, even those who loved him most, with Christine Baranski’s Diane Lockhart and Margulies overcome with grief, even as the latter tried to find the motivation between the last-second call from Will on her cell phone. Meanwhile, even Zach Grenier’s cutthroat David Lee takes a moment to compose himself before alerting Will’s clients they are on the case, while Matt Czuchry’s Cary Agos channels his anger into destroying an opponent in a wrongful firing case and Archie Panjabi’s Kalinda focuses on the shooter, offering him a belt to put an end to his own misery, then deciding the better of it.
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This has been a most eventful season for “The Good Wife,” with Alicia surreptitiously splitting Lockhart Gardner, which has completely reset the deck, and now Will’s death further drives everyone to extreme, revealing measures. The Kings’ narrative upheaval could turn out to cause the series to “jump the shark,” though it also could be yet another way of sharpening the narrative. It does clear a few issues, removing the one guy who could harm Chris Noth’s Governor-elect and his election fraud case (sure hope we see more of Eric Bogosian’s malevolent anti-corruption investigator), but it also short-circuits the budding reconciliation between Alicia and Will, of which the Kings gleefully planted hints to completely throw us off the scent.
Where we go from here is anybody’s guess, though it seems the fangs have been taken out of the competition between LG and the emerging Florrick Agos, perhaps clearing the way for a reunion.
In the end, we are left with Alicia’s own fantasy about that “Last Call,” with Will, having eyed the phone pictures of the family of his competing prosecutor, Matthew Goode’s D.A. Fin Polmar, just before the end, that maybe he was contemplating a bury-the-hatchet moment with her as she imagines the message: “Alicia, I’m sorry. I want what we had. I want to be with you and only you forever. Call me back please.”
It was a reunion that “The Good Wife” fans craved, and now it will forever be denied to them. Even Alicia said as much, refuting her daughter Grace’s observation he’s now in heaven. “You think God is good? I don’t find any good here,” Alicia tells her. Unless you count Josh Charles’ suddenly red-hot post-“Good Wife” acting career, that is. And, except for the occasional flashback, that’s all you’re going to see of him on this show moving forward.