[WARNING: Spoilers ahead from Sunday’s season-six premiere of The Good Wife, “The Line.”]
How will they get out of this one?
The Good Wife took a sharp turn in Sunday’s season-six premiere when Cary Agos was unexpectedly arrested on a charge that supposedly stemmed from a routine client meeting in May with Lemond Bishop, Chicago’s top drug dealer. Allegations that Cary played a role in helping with a transport of hard drugs, he found himself in a prison jumpsuit instead of a tailored suit. His lockup came at the worst time, as Diane Lockhart maneuvers her way into the partner ranks at the start-up Florrick/Agos firm.
“When we have a traumatic event, our lives change, and in this moment Cary’s life has changed,” Matt Czuchry tells The Hollywood Reporter. “He is struggling now that he is not free. He’s bound and that freedom, dignity and innocence is lost. Once you’re perceived guilty, how do you go back to being seen as innocent?”
Czuchry jumped on the phone with THR to discuss the impact of Cary’s imprisonment on his professional and personal lives (co-creators Robert and Michelle King were careful not to offer any hints), how much he’ll change as a result of his experience and why Florrick/Agos may be in more trouble than ever.
Cary is in quite a predicament at the end of the episode. Were you surprised when you found out how he would start the season?
It was certainly an unexpected storyline and I think it will be for the audience as well. When I went into wardrobe and saw it was a prison uniform that I needed to try on, I told my costume designers, “That’s not a suit …” When I read the episode, I was excited for the potential to show these new colors for Cary. At the same time, what I loved about the episode was how it’s really a ripple effect for all the characters and all the storylines. I was very surprised, very excited and it required an incredible amount of work. It was exciting to get into Cary’s head.
We haven’t seen Cary in this dire of a situation before, and it must have been tricky getting into his head space since jail is a completely different environment for him. What’s his state of mind right now, and how did you prepare?
I watched a television show called Locked Up, which documented real prisoners. I found a blog by a former prisoner and read that and took notes on that. What I found was that when you have the clothes stripped off your back, there’s this huge loss of dignity. There’s loneliness, isolation, vulnerability. I was able to see what real prisoners felt like through that research. When I was at work I tried to mirror that loneliness and vulnerability by isolating myself on set, staying in handcuffs longer than I needed to, not going back to my trailer, staying in the actual prison we were shooting in and staying in the cell. I really wanted to create that vulnerability and get into that head space. I’ve never been arrested, so I had to tap into what the character was feeling and thinking at that time. Those were some of the things I did. I didn’t eat as much as I usually do to try and feel a little bit weaker. The food, from what I’ve read, is not great in prison.
How much of a shift in Cary’s personality and world perspective will viewers see?
Cary at the beginning of the episode is innocent and when he is put in jail he is presumed guilty, and when you’re presumed guilty, it’s tough to go back to that innocence. That affects Cary both personally and professionally. Professionally, what clients are going to come to you, what clients will stay, what clients will leave? Personally, what does it mean for the relationship between him and Kalinda? In this case Cary and Kalinda grow closer because she fights for him. It’s not a storyline that’s going to go away. We’re going to see how it affects Cary personally and professionally and how it affects everyone at the firm and on the show.
His arrest comes at a bad time, too, with Diane Lockhart moving over to Florrick/Agos. How does Cary’s drug charge affect the firm moving forward?
Cary is completely against Diane coming to the firm and having that merger, and he still feels that way even though he is arrested. Professionally Cary and Diane do not see eye to eye, but at the same time Diane is on his case defending him. That issue is interesting to me. Even though Alicia and Cary are not seeing eye to eye, Alicia is still trying to get another mortgage on the house for Cary [and his $1.3 million bail]. We see these characters continue to disagree and also trying to find common ground in terms of his arrest.
Louis Canning and David Lee are also getting into the dogfight for clients.
Right. You see David Lee say to Louis that Cary has been arrested, so that is something that will pick up in future episodes of what clients will stay and what clients Cary will lose. All the events in episode one are going to be overarching themes for this season.
Alicia and Diane were very close to getting Cary out of jail with Lemond Bishop’s help. But at the moment, it seems like he’ll be in jail for a while. How much time will he be in a prison jumpsuit?
What the state’s attorney’s office is doing in terms of the case is going to be a huge part of season six. Whether that means Cary is going to be in jail or out of jail I can’t say, but I can say that that particular storyline is going to continue. You will learn more about Cary and Bishop’s relationship. We will touch on a lot of different issues that come from that storyline. It is less about Cary being in jail and more about him having been arrested.
There are a lot of mentions of Cary’s meeting with Bishop back in May. Will the blanks be filled in about that particular day?
In terms of flashbacks, it’s more about finding out about these relationships between Cary and Bishop and between Bishop and Kalinda, because Kalinda trying to find a way to defend Cary. We see Kalinda fighting for Cary, and Cary needing her love and support.
Favorite moment from the episode?
There are two scenes that come to mind. One with Cary and Kalinda in prison where Cary is not sure who’s going to be there and he sees Kalinda. I love what that scene has to say about those characters.
I also love the scene where Cary gets cut [by the knife]. There’s so much that went into that scene. There was no postproduction on that so it was all done on the day — hours and hours and hours for the special effects team to make a mold of my hand and make it believable. Robert [King] directed that episode and I loved the way [the actor] quickly sliced Cary’s hand. It added to the violence and believability of it. I love what that scene says in terms of Cary not being a snitch on Bishop. The cut was something very specific that Robert wanted; it was quick. The gash contributed to the believability of the moment, something the audience could say, “That looks real.” If the audience believes it then we’ve all done our job.
If the premiere is any indication, season six could be a big Cary year.
It’s fun to explore this character’s vulnerability, strengths, loneliness. To explore his personal and professional relationships is fun for me as an actor. It’s exciting for me and hopefully for viewers of the show as well.
The Good Wife airs Sundays on CBS.