The Good Wife Bosses on Will's Tough Decision and "Growth" with Alicia
Rat out your ex-lover’s cheating and lying husband or risk going to jail for him? Will Gardner’s latest dilemma on The Good Wife (Sundays, 9/8c, CBS) may seem like a no-brainer, but, as is usually true on network’s most complex legal drama, things are hardly what they appear.
“He truly is risking disbarment or jail, and he’s risking it for people that he is not thrilled with anymore,” executive producer Michelle King tells TVGuide.com. “It’s the worst place in the world for him to be.”
And sadly, a change of scenery isn’t going to change that. Although Will (Josh Charles) tried to dismiss the inquiries of Office of Public Integrity agent Nelson Dubeck (Eric Bogosian) at the end of last week’s episode, Dubeck won’t be so easily silenced when he follows Will to New York City and demands answers. Once again, Will won’t be coerced so easily. “If a lawyer violates attorney-client privilege, they can pretty much say goodbye to their practice because suddenly all their other clients hear about it, and nobody wants to be with that lawyer anymore,” King says.
However, it seems safe to say Will won’t be able to keep quiet for much longer. “One thing that’s clear in the show itself is bad deeds never go away. They always come back and haunt you,” says executive producer Robert King, who likens Peter’s possible new scandal to that of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. “As soon as you think you’ve buried Bridgegate, Bridgegate comes back to haunt you and prevent you from running for president.”
Making matters murkier is Will’s complicated, to say the least, relationship with Illinois’ First Lady, Alicia (Julianna Margulies). When Will first saw the video showing members of Peter’s team carrying a stuffed ballot box, he and Alicia were still playing for the same team, Lockhart/Gardner, and they were still in a grey area personally, having just shared a passionate kiss in his car hours earlier. Now in the wake of Alicia’s exit, the only thing the two of them are passionate about is beating each other in court. “They’re not lovers or even ex-lovers in their minds. They ended up on opposite sides of almost everything,” Robert King says. “With Alicia and Will, things are never very simple. It’s a lot like a light switch that turns on and off between them.”
That light switch will get a workout this week when Alicia and Will both attend a legal conference in the Big Apple. In addition to competing to sign a big-time New York lawyer (Law & Order‘s Jill Hennessy), Alicia will be forced to reflect on her past with Will when she must write her keynote address for the conference. “We’re trying to avoid the word ‘flashback’ because they’re a little more like ‘memory pops,’” Robert King says. “Flashbacks, to me, are this old technique for getting across information. I think these memory pops are about seeing changes in Alicia in the present day because of what she remembers.”
This narrative tool is something The Good Wife has employed more frequently over the last three seasons, and has allowed the show to expand its chronology greatly. Past memory pops have shown Alicia and Peter’s happier days and her years as a young stay-at-home mom, Alicia first finding out about Peter’s prostitute scandal, and her affair with Will. “The deeper we go into this season, the more we get into Alicia’s head. We’re trying to mimic life in that a lot of people don’t come, as they often do on TV, and say, ‘This is exactly what I’m thinking,’” Robert King says. “Alicia is someone who is a very private person and yet, it’s worthwhile to give the audience access to her thinking because so many people’s actions are a little bit unknowable to the people around them. It was a very conscious effort to move us more and more into Alicia’s mind and Will’s mind.”
Unlike so many of Alicia’s recent memory pops, which focused on the height of her affair with Will, these scenes will shed light on Alicia’s post-scandal job hunt. “It’s very interesting to see how much the Alicia character has changed and how different Julianna plays it. Each year, we add more security and more power to this woman, and so what was fascinating to us was to put that up against where Alicia started with our show,” Robert King says. “It was so fun to watch the dailies because even Cary’s old haircut shows what a smarmy little sh– he was, and now Alicia’s sitting with him, having a nice drink and talking about their careers and how much they agree. I think what was fun to us was the before and after.”
Cary (Matt Czuchry) will become an even more important part of Alicia’s life as Dubeck and the Office of Public Integrity try to put pressure on her since she also represented Peter (Chris Noth) in the ballot box case. “She’s in a difficult position now because she’s pulled closer and closer to Peter’s potential corruption,” Robert King says. “She needs a representation and she has a much stronger relationship with Cary these days so there’s a possible connection between her and Cary on this front.”
Alicia stands to lose even more than Will since so much of what she built at Florrick/Agos was because of her new position as the governor’s wife. “In some ways, their powers are connected. Alicia has added clout and has the ability to hold on to Chum Hum, and other big clients partly because she’s the governor’s wife. It’d be very different if the governor was in disgrace,” Robert King says. “More so than any possible pregnancy or any of that stuff, this goes to the heart of him being in the governor’s office.”
Thankfully, as Will and Alicia both turn their focus to Dubeck’s investigation, they’ll have less time to worry about their heated rivalry with one another. “The events of this episode move Alicia and Will to a new place. I think it’s a more stable place,” Robert King says. “To treat each other as your best competitor is better than hating each other down to each other’s toes. I would say it’s growth.”
The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9/8c on CBS. What do you think Will should do?
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