When The Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King talked with The Hollywood Reporter last month about saying goodbye to the acclaimed legal drama, the two sounded particularly upset about closing the book on the series’ colorful collection of characters.
“It really felt like, unfortunately, you were putting these characters away for good,” Robert King said at the time. “They call it a bittersweet feeling; I actually think it’s just bitter.”
His wife and longtime writing partner Michelle King echoed the same sentiment: “I know I’m going to miss all these characters terribly.”
Thankfully, at least some of the show’s standouts will soon be making a comeback. Less than two weeks after the May 8 series finale, CBS All Access officially ordered a new yet-untitled spinoff in which Christine Baranski and Cush Jumbo will reprise their roles as Diane Lockhart and Lucca Quinn, respectively.
“It’s a different enough story so it doesn’t seem like Good Wife the sequel,” Robert recently told THR. “Christine Baranski’s character is a very unique person on her own right, someone who broke the glass ceiling and isn’t sure whether she should just rest on her laurels or go for the next achievement.”
When speaking about the spinoff, the Kings revealed that talk for the project picked up fairly quickly after CBS formally announced in February that the seventh season of The Good Wife would be its last.
“[Christine] didn’t seem to be done with it,” Robert said. “We approached her before Good Wife was over, like while we were shooting the 18th or 19th episode. We said, ‘There’s a chance this might come down. We don’t even know how many episodes it will be, but would you be interested in continuing Diane Lockhart?’”
Diane had been viewed by many as a prime contender to lead a spinoff, but the addition of newer face Lucca Quinn caught many by surprise. The character quickly became a fan-favorite during the final season of The Good Wife as Alicia’s partner and friend.
“What came later was going to Cush, but only because she seemed to have obligations in London and we didn’t want to get in the way of those,” Robert said. Added Michelle: “We did want to get in the way of those.”
The Kings said they are still in the early stages of crafting the spinoff, but one thing is for sure: The duo will not be writing the first episode of the spinoff as previously reported.
“We’re kind of guiding it and getting it going, and hopefully infusing the spirit of The Good Wife into it,” Robert added.
Instead, it will be new showrunner Phil Robinson, who directed two season seven episodes, “Party” and “Landing,” and whose other credits include Field of Dreams and Sneakers.
“I don’t feel like we’ve completely handed it off,” Michelle said. “Phil Robinson is such a talent and is bringing so many good ideas to it that no, it actually feels sort of like a gift.”
When asked about the decision to entrust their characters to a new writer, Robert also cited fatigue from The Good Wife’s “soul-crushing” 22-episode seasons.
“We came out of Good Wife very exhausted,” Robert said. “At the end, I think we were just tired. Not tired of the characters, of course, but you’re just tired of doing that much.”
The two will continue to serve as executive producers on the series, which is slated for a spring 2017 debut and will pick up one year after the events of the finale. The Kings are also busy with their new CBS series BrainDead, which premieres June 13, and their Amazon drama pilot Vatican City.
And the Kings haven’t ruled out introducing characters from Alicia Florrick’s world into the former, in addition to the several Good Wife actors who are already set to appear on BrainDead (see: Zach Grenier, Megan Hilty).
Said Robert, “Luke and Laurel need a lawyer, and we were wondering if it should be a lawyer from our show. I mean, an actor that we love working with, but whether that lawyer retains her name or his name.”
BrainDead premieres on Monday, June 13 at 10 p.m. on CBS. The Good Wife spinoff is tentatively set for a spring 2017 debut on CBS All Access.
Reporting by Alyse Whitney