The Writers’ Room

THE WRITERS’ ROOM: “The Good Wife” Recapped and Revealed

Our host, Jim Rash, sat down with The Good Wife star Julianna Margulies, creators Robert and Michelle King and EP Ted Humphrey to talk about their critically acclaimed series on THE WRITERS’ ROOM not long before The Good Wife fans blew up the Internet after the (SPOILER ALERT!) 15th episode, in which Will Gardner got killed, aired this season.

But letting go of one of the show’s beloved leads didn’t just shock viewers. The plot twist also marked an enormous shift in the series’ direction. Margulies’s Alicia will likely never be the same. “The show changes the characters,” Robert says to Jim on THE WRITERS’ ROOM. That means the rules of this world are constantly in flux – now, more than ever. The season finale, which aired last Sunday night, was titled “A Weird Year.” Fans will probably agree.

During our taping of THE WRITERS’ ROOM, no one hinted at the seismic shift that would take place mid-season. Perhaps that was an attempt to save a spoiler, but it could have been that not even the writers knew what the reaction would be. According to the Kings, they only write ahead three episodes in order to respond to fan commentary and make changes that keep the plot lines fresh. And on a network show with 22 episodes per season, there’s plenty of time to switch gears.

On the THE WRITERS’ ROOM couch, Margulies opined extensively about how the number of episodes allows her to develop Alicia’s character subtly and naturally. The only thing she can’t do (because it’s not cable) is curse. As she spoke, her star power seemed to cast a spell over our entire production team. We laughed at her jokes about her character’s blown-out wigs; we nodded along when she described the pleasure of slapping her on-screen husband, played by Chris Noth. Every utterance was riveting. Even our EP, who had seen Margulies the night before as a presenter at the Writers’ Guild Awards, was starstruck. And though it was Super Bowl Sunday, no one was rushing to get anywhere.

Margulies’s ineffable magnetism not only translates on the set of THE WRITERS’ ROOM – it’s why she is so perfectly cast on The Good Wife. For the Kings (partners in work and life), the archetypical “good wife,” a woman who stands by her husband through times of public defamation, has so many pressures working on her at any moment that she embodies unspeakable complexity. Who else could do this but Margulies?

As we neared the end of shooting THE WRITERS’ ROOM – with over two hours of interview to cut—the Kings revealed that the long arc of The Good Wife covers just seven years in Alicia’s life. Yet at the end of year five, there still ground to cover – so many directions for Alicia to turn, so many loved ones to exploit. The only certainty, then, is that Alicia will endure through each misfortune. As a good wife, it’s ultimately her responsibility to do so.

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