So much is going on, in fact, that it wasn’t until much later that I realized that one character was never referenced, possibly for the first time: the late Will Gardner. Now it can be said: Josh Charles’ exit last March, as shocking and painful as it was, is probably the best thing that could have happened to The Good Wife in the long run, and one of the main reasons this show, and these characters we’ve spent five years with, suddenly seem so fresh.
The show’s Emmy snub for best drama looks even more egregious in light of this premiere episode. And while it’s unclear how long the show can sustain this momentum without falling victim to the same pitfalls as nearly every other long-running series, I’m going to enjoy every moment of this unparalleled run while I can.
The Good Wife fans are still reeling from the show’s shocking March 23 episode, in which Will Gardner (Josh Charles) was gunned down in court. And while Charles, Julianna Margulies, and showrunners Robert and Michelle King have given several interviews about the devastating twist, I’d yet to hear from Christine Baranski, who has been equally stellar in the aftermath of Will’s death. I talked to her for this Daily Beast profile about her “breathtaking” year, hoping against hope that Charles would change his mind about leaving the show and the trauma of shooting those emotional episodes as her character, Diane Lockhart, coped with Will’s loss:
Even a seasoned pro like Baranski wasn’t been prepared for what was required of her in those episodes. “I’ve done so much comedy and I’ve done drama now, but I’ve got to be honest, never in my career have I been called upon to do that kind of work in front of the camera,” she says. “It was hard, but what a privilege to be able to go to that place of deep, deep sorrow and pain and trauma.”
There’s lots more from Baranski, on juggling The Good Wife last fall while also shooting the movie adaptation of Into the Woods and how she’ll decompress after such an emotional roller coaster this season. Robert and Michelle King also spoke about how deftly Baranski pulled off her character’s darkest, and lightest, moments this spring.