9:51pm PT by Hilary Lewis
Tribeca: 'Good Wife' Stars, Creators Tease "Satisfying" and "Sexy" Finale
On Sunday afternoon, the stars and co-creators of CBS' The Good Wife gathered at the Tribeca Film Festival to discuss the acclaimed drama, which is ending after seven seasons, and give fans an advance look at the episode airing Sunday night.
But as much as the packed audience seemed to enjoy that episode, fans are still eager to know how the series will end. Co-creator Michelle King, though, did reveal one thing that happens in the finale, sort of.
In a Q&A after the screening, King, who co-created and ran the show with her husband Robert, was asked about the recent reports that Josh Charles, whose character Will Gardner shockingly died in the middle of the show's fifth season, would be returning for the finale.
Michelle King remained coy, saying simply that she'd heard that rumor.
She then went on to list a number of other rumors about the finale and said afterwards, "one of those is true." So which one is it? Here are the candidates, according to Michelle King: "Peter (Chris Noth) [is] going to be starting another affair. Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Eli (Alan Cumming) kissed. Alicia and Jason (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) ran off happily together. Michelle Obama guest-starred."
Speaking of Will Gardner, the Kings revealed more details about what happened between Alicia and Will at Georgetown.
"We always thought this was a relationship about bad timing," Robert King said. "It was a relationship where they were supposed to meet at a restaurant, and she thought she was on time but she was a half an hour early and then he arrived. They both felt kind of pissed off, like they had been rejected by the other. It was really a relationship that was meant to be, and like a lot of our lives, when you miss that phone call or miss that moment, it just stopped."
Margulies even added that she explained all of this in a recent episode where she talks with Margo Martindale's character, Ruth, about being at Georgetown with Will, but the part about the restaurant was cut out.
Robert King also explained that he and his wife "thought there would be a death in the middle of the story, we didn't know it would be Will." He then joked that once Charles revealed he wanted to leave, they thought, "Yeah, kill him. F— him."
Indeed, some of the other possibilities were arguably more grim. "We thought it was going to be killing one of the children," Robert King mused about the original death plan. "It was awful. We thought it was going to be this horrible moment in the middle of the series and there would be this demarcation between the first half and the second half."
The Kings were joined for the post-screening Q&A by Margulies and fellow stars Matt Czuchry and Cush Jumbo, who play Cary Agos and Lucca Quinn, respectively. While they were all, obviously, tight-lipped about what happens in the final episode, which they just finished filming last week, they did share their reactions to the script, what it was like to film that episode and how they think fans will react to the finale.
In response to a question, they all also offered three-word descriptions of the last episode. While the Kings stuck with "The end, unfortunately" and Czuchry went with "Good Wife goodbye," Margulies and Jumbo were more revealing in their answers. Alicia Florrick herself called the finale "satisfying, uplifting, sad" and Jumbo said, "happy, sad, sexy."
Jumbo, who was a huge fan of the show before being cast in the seventh season, said she thinks other fans will be "satisfied with the finale. I think they have to trust that when you love a show like this with people like this who write the show, they're not going to let you down."
Robert King also revealed his philosophy on finales, with respect to whether those episodes should tie up all loose ends or be more open-ended.
"I don't think the best finales have wrapped up all the loose ends. They're novelistic, and novels have a lot of ambiguity. You want a last episode that resonates. When you get to the last show and you want to start over at the beginning, all 156 episodes, that's the triumph of a finale," Robert King said, citing the finales of Six Feet Under, Breaking Bad and even the controversial Sopranos ending as episodes that all meet that criteria.
Margulies said that it took her a while to process the finale when she read the script.
"I read it once, and I couldn’t talk to anyone about it, because I was emotionally confused, because I was having so many emotions knowing I was wrapping this character up," she explained. "So then I read it again and I had a conversation with my husband about it and he said, 'You like it?' and I said, 'I do. It's so complex.' He said, 'That's exactly how it should be.' I said, 'I know, you're right, but I'm sad.' He said, 'That's exactly how you should be.'" She went on to read it a third and fourth time, opening the bottle of wine the Kings gave her with the script, with a note reading "Alicia should be drinking while reading this," in between those last two reads.
“So I opened the wine. And I poured a wee glass, not an Alicia-sized glass. … then I read it a fourth time, and I then could digest it," Margulies said. "I wrote [the Kings] three lines: ‘Nothing but brilliant.' It took me a while. I had to really process it and be alone and talk about it for a bit."
Earlier on the red carpet before the screening, the Kings, Czuchry and Jumbo shared what the mood was like when they filmed their final scenes.
"It was celebratory, which was good. There was certainly a bittersweet element to it," Michelle King told The Hollywood Reporter. "But it was a lot of people who liked each other that worked very hard together so it felt like we finished strong."
Robert King added, "I directed the last episode and you had to keep yelling for the crew to stop laughing because they were having so much fun."
Jumbo was more emotional. "I only joined it this last season and there are people who've been there for seven and I just felt like I got absorbed into a big family of people that took really good care of me but also really challenged me," she said. "It was difficult to kind of realize this is ending. This group of people is not going to be together again and that was really emotional. I cried a lot. I'm a weeper, so I definitely cried a lot."
"I think a lot of people might say that they were sad. I was really happy because the show has been on for seven years and we've been fortunate enough to have a lot of critical success and been able to thrive in a time when TV changing so much so for me it's been a time to reflect on all the great things that happened," Czuchry said. "The last day was just a great day, it was a happy day. It feels like the right time to wrap this show up and one of the things that makes me happy is that fans will get closure on the show. They know it's coming to an end and that's not always the case."
Czuchry's Cary Agos recently made a big decision to quit the law firm where he'd been a name partner. While the decision may have seemed sudden and surprising to fans, Czuchry indicated it was consistent with Cary's philosophy towards being a lawyer.
"I think one of the themes of Cary is this idea that he loves being a lawyer but he doesn't like the things outside of the law, like the politics associated with it," Czuchry told THR. "Firms get too big in terms of partners who spend a lot of hours of their day not doing much work. And we've seen that theme over the course of all seven seasons. … It's been a theme for Cary all along in terms of the pressures that are outside of his job and things that he doesn't like. I think that came to a head, and he decided to walk out and quit the firm."
Czuchry was hesitant to give away too much about what Cary's future holds, since "You get a little peek of that in the last episode," he said. But he did share some of what to expect: "He's a part of the case [against Peter] and he has information that the other side needs. He needs representation so he goes to [a familiar attorney]."
While he's ending The Good Wife, Czuchry is reprising another well-known role, that of Logan Huntzberger on Netflix's Gilmore Girls revival. While he didn't reveal too much of what to expect from that, he did say he'd read the scripts for all four of the movies the revival will consist of, written by Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino, calling the scripts "fantastic."
"I think fans will love them and most importantly I think they're going to feel fulfilled and have that closure that they weren't having before," Czuchry told THR. "You're going to see where the characters have been, you're going to see where they are now and you're going to see where they're going. … That's been a fun thing to be a part of."
While there are rumblings of potential Good Wife spinoffs, for his part Czuchry said it was too early for him to consider something like that, while Jumbo told THR that she thought a spinoff about Judge Schakowsky, played by Christopher McDonald, would be "brilliant and hilarious."
The Kings are moving on to their next project, the D.C.-set horror-comedy BrainDead, which Robert King said was the right next step because it was "very different" from The Good Wife.
Michelle King added, "It also has a political satire element and this is certainly the year for it."
When asked about The Good Wife's legacy, Robert King said that the show hopefully answered the question of whether there is "any way to bring cable-quality entertainment into a 22-a-year format" and addressed whether it's possible to "make multifaceted female characters on TV that have some of the grey areas attached to some of the antihero men."