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CBS continued its media blitz following Sunday’s shocking episode by offering more behind-the-scenes insight on the decision.
[Warning: Spoilers ahead.]
“I thought that I felt, however much I’ve enjoyed the experience, that I was ready for the next chapter of my life, both creatively and personally,” Charles said of his decision to leave. Producers knew that the actor wanted to move on at the end of last season and, along with Julianna Margulies, persuaded Charles to stay for season five in order to write his character out in a fitting way. It was vital for Charles that Will receive “a proper goodbye.” When the co-creators, Robert and Michelle King, shared their send-off plans, “I was really excited about the idea. I thought it had the element of surprise, of shock.”
“It was like my husband telling me he was going to leave,” Christine Baranski said, whose character, Diane Lockhart, takes on Will’s attitude in being more “opportunistic” and “survivalistic.” “I just didn’t want to hear it. I’m still sad, very sad. I feel it as a loss of a family member.”
Margulies admitted she “cried,” saying, “[Alicia]’s going to miss the excitement of Will. He was a powerful aphrodisiac in her life. It makes her start to rethink everything.”
“We’re hoping from a story sense that we’re going to be able to capitalize [on] it, that this is going to be an opportunity to see how it changes Alicia, how she grows and how she moves forward,” Michelle King said.
CBS released the official synopsis for the next episode, “Last Call,” airing March 30: “Alicia searches for answers as she tries to make sense of Will’s death in the aftermath of the courthouse shooting. Meanwhile, Diane delivers the somber news to the partners at Lockhart/Gardner who must decide how to move forward.”
“I feel like I’m leaving the show on a very good note, and I know that the show is going to continue to get better and better,” Charles said. “I understand there will be audience members who will be upset. I guarantee you, it will continue to be an excellent show. I know I’ll keep watching.”
Following the episode last night, the Kings penned a letter explaining their reasons for killing off Will and not shipping him off to another city. “The brutal honesty and reality of death speaks to the truth and tragedy of bad timing for these two characters,” the Kings wrote of Will and Alicia’s story. “Will’s death propels Alicia into her newest incarnation.” Charles will also make an appearance on Monday’s Late Show With David Letterman to discuss the surprising exit.
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