'The Good Wife's' Matt Czuchry on Kalinda's "Heartbreaking" Goodbye and the "Trauma" Ahead for Cary

"His brain and his heart can't figure out what happened," the actor tells THR of Cary and Kalinda's sudden parting.
Courtesy of CBS

Back in season one of The Good Wife, Cary (Matt Czuchry) was just a boy, standing in front of a girl, trying to ask her out. And as most loyal fans can remember, Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) turned him down pretty affirmatively.

The unlikely duo have come a long way since then; graduating from colleagues to friends to lovers to whatever they were when Kalinda skipped town on Sunday's episode to escape the wrath of drug kingpin Lemond Bishop (Mike Colter). She shared a bittersweet kiss with Cary before she left, but when he later returned to find her empty apartment, he was clearly shell-shocked.

"Kalinda, in many ways, is just ripped from him and there is no proper goodbye," Czuchry tells The Hollywood Reporter. "Going forward, the lack of closure for Cary is what's most heartbreaking about the end of the Cary and Kalinda relationship."

Czuchry spoke with THR about their "pinnacle moment," Cary's subsequent "trauma" and Sunday's big flashback.

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Was that your last scene together?

Yes.

Did you do anything special to mark that moment or did you say anything? What kind of emotions came up?

You're just focused on the material and the work at hand; trying to do justice to that scene and that character arc specifically and certainly not trying to let anything else get in the way of that. It took a little more concentration and focus on both of our parts. … In that scene, really, Kalinda is not saying goodbye. Cary knows something's up. He thinks this could be the last moment he sees her but there's so much in that scene in the subtext. … There's so much that goes unsaid and yet at the same time they both know what's going on in terms of this being a pinnacle moment for those two characters and that relationship.

How do you think that will affect him going forward?

From the beginning of the season in episode one, Cary's in prison and the first person who visits him is Kalinda. Kalinda's not only there as a friend, she's there investigating the case and trying to help him get freed so she's there for him. Then we see throughout the season that, in episode 19 an episode 20, Cary's willing to take the fall for Diane and Kalinda and then of course Kalinda ultimately takes the fall for Cary. They've been together through these traumatic events trying to protect one another – to have that ripped away with a lack of closure and no goodbye. You know so many things in life work that way where you want a proper goodbye and you don’t get it and that adds to the trauma that you have to work through. I think we saw that written all over Cary's face at the end of the episode; that he's been ripped of something. That's going to stick with him for quite a long time because Kalinda's been an amazing friend to him, especially in this season, when he is in some of his darkest hours.

How will we see that play out in him?

The last two episodes, there are just small moments you'll see of him trying to process. You go through all those stages and the first one is denial so he's trying to process that she has gone forever and that she is out of his life. He's not even at the point of acceptance by the end of this season, that's for sure. His brain and his heart can't figure out what happened and he's trying to make sense of it and can’t.

Kalinda left town to save Cary and Diane from testifying against Bishop. Is Cary really in the clear? People from Bishop's crew seem to know they're close.

I think in a lot of ways if you can't find Kalinda, then you can't find the evidence and things go away. Kalinda knows that and in the episode, she saved Cary. She saved Alicia. She saved Diane. Kalinda was often, in the beginning of the series, like a superhero and we see that happen at the end of the episode where she saves everyone in one fell swoop. Kalinda is a master at being able to protect people, find things out and disappear in the middle of the night. There's a strong chance that with Kalinda into the fog and leaving in the middle of the night, that a lot of those troubles go away too.

This last episode was also big because Alicia is officially not coming back to the firm. What will her and Cary's dynamic be like going forward?

That dynamic doesn’t really quite come up here at the end of season six. It's more about laying the groundwork for what's to come in season seven and certainly those questions will be answered then.

Looking back, Alicia and Cary went from leaving the firm together and now Cary is a partner with Diane and David Lee. Were you surprised where things ended up?

Alicia and Cary haven’t had too much of being on the same side in the law firm for a while now. It will be interesting to see them on the opposite sides, of course if that is what's going to happen at the beginning of season seven. … Actually in the next episode, you see some flashbacks in terms of them working on a case together which is fun because Cary was quite a bit different in 2009 in terms of his competitive streak so we made nods to that as well in the next episode. It's fun to go back and see the way that they were in 2009 and then fun to speculate on how they will be in season seven if they are on opposite sides.

Going back to the days of the bake-off! Did you go back and watch clips from the first season to get back in that mindset?

I watched a little bit of season one to go back and see what that dynamic was like in terms of the competition episodes. That's been one of my favorite arcs over the course of the last six seasons is Cary and Alicia going from competitors to starting their own law firm in season five and so it was fun to revisit that.

It's interesting to think of season one Cary in light of everything that's happened to him this season in terms of going to prison.

He was a boy when he came out of law school and now he's a man and, especially in this season, he's got some grit on him, an edge on him, because he went to prison. He certainly had quite a few life experiences from the time when he was competing with Alicia.

Diane and Cary started off the season on very bad terms and now they're working together as name partners at the firm. What do you think brought about that shift in their relationship?

When Cary went to prison and had the impending trial hanging over him over the course of that 11-episode arc, Diane was the one who was protecting him in court and defended him so that made their bond stronger. So when he was released, now they're partners and it's their law firm. Their working relationship is now incredibly tight and strong because of what they went through. … Their relationship is the strongest it's ever been.

The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on CBS.

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