Carrie Preston on 'Good Wife' Return: 'The Calm Before the Storm'

The Emmy-winning actress previews Sunday's episode with THR and talks the end of "True Blood."
"The Good Wife"

Elsbeth Tascioni is making a return trip to The Good Wife.

The endearing yet scatter-brained lawyer, played by Emmy winner Carrie Preston, has been a fixture in the Lockhart/Gardner offices and in the courtroom since the first season. But when Elsbeth comes back to the CBS legal drama this time around, change is looming at the firm with Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Cary (Matt Czuchry) planning their exit and Diane (Christine Baranski) moving forward with her judgeship. In the Oct. 20 episode, "Outside the Bubble," Lockhart/Gardner hires Elsbeth to represent them in a sexual harassment suit brought on by an employee.

In a chat with The Hollywood Reporter, Preston previews Sunday's episode, treadmill desks and discusses the end of True Blood.

In what context does Elsbeth return to the Lockhart/Gardner firm?

She's brought in because there's an employee that's suing the firm and she's brought in to represent the firm. She's usually representing individuals throughout the seasons, but her tactics remain the same. Very mercurial and unexpected and mysterious at times. That remains the same. Once again the writers have given me obstacles and activities. The first moment you see me, I'm on a treadmill desk.

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What does that even look like?

I was like, "What?!" They actually make these. They are treadmills with a desk at them so that you can be walking and doing your work at the same time. That seems like it was designed for Elsbeth Tascioni. (Laughs.) Of course Elsbeth would have to try that.

Elsbeth is coming in at an interesting point in time for Lockhart/Gardner, with Diane's judgeship and Cary/Alicia's plans to leave.

Her case is pretty self-contained. I think the writers brought her in to bring some levity. The calm before the storm. Or the fun before the storm maybe. Her storyline is not a part of all that.

What can we expect to see with Elsbeth in the courtroom?

She squares off with Rita Wilson's character [Viola Walsh], which is quite fun. We haven't seen Rita Wilson's character in a while and these are two very different -- albeit smart -- women. It's fun to see how they go head to head. That was satisfying to shoot. I had not met Rita before but she's wonderful. That's what I'm most curious to see how it came together.

Any particular favorites to shoot?

It was pretty fun shooting that treadmill scene. We couldn't stop laughing, while we were doing it. (Laughs.) I'm definitely someone who enjoys a little physical comedy. If you give me something like that I'm gonna definitely going to make the most of it.

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Congratulations on your Emmy win earlier this year. How surprised were you?

It was surprising getting nominated and when they called my name as the winner, I was completely shocked. I don't know who was driving that bus to get me up onstage and give that speech, but it wasn't me. (Laughs.) I barely remember it. I went offstage and about collapsed. You know that phrase, "Your feet don't touch the ground?" I felt that.

Switching gears to True Blood, which is ending its run after the seventh season. What are you hoping for in that final push?

I think that the writers have positioned it to really come back around to its origins, which is a show about relationships, whether the characters are human or supernatural. We certainly got that in season six and I hope the writers will continue on that trajectory. I'm really just as excited as the fans to see where they take us. We're in good hands and I feel like it's the right thing to do to end the show when the stories are really strong still and really put all of our energies into making it the best season that we've ever had and go out on a high instead of trailing along like a lot of shows do just to keep it going.

Do you have any desires for how you want Arlene's story to end?

I think it was great how they let her take the bar over. I don't think that surprised anybody but at the same time, it was great to see Arlene get a little bit of power in this world and I'm hoping she'll find solace in that. I hope they don't pair her up with somebody. I'd like to see her be a strong woman and be OK in the world as a mom and an owner of a business and not be someone who doesn't feel complete if she doesn't have a man. This would be a nice evolution for her.

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

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