In anticipation of the finale of “The Good Wife,” which ends its run May 8, the Tribeca Film Festival screened the fourth to the last episode, followed by a Q&A with star Julianna Margulies, husband and wife show runners and creators, Robert and Michelle King, and cast members Matt Czuchry and Cush Jumbo.
For seven seasons Margulies played Alicia Florrick, wronged wife, single mother, sexy lover and brilliant junior lawyer in the acclaimed series, which examined and chronicled the complications, contradictions and emotional depth of this fascinating central female character in some 150 episodes.
Asked about her favorite episode, Magulies said, “The one episode that always hits me first is the pilot. When I read that opening sequence of her standing behind her husband at the podium and being in this fog and just flicking the lint off his jacket and then walking in the room. I feel like the whole show started there because that was her being slapped awake into this new life of hers. That’s always the first image that comes up.”
Also she said, the episode “when Matt and I decide to leave Lockhart & Gardner, that episode was so fast and furious and frightening. And there was a line that Will Gardner (Josh Charles) says, which was, ‘God you don’t even know how awful you are.’ It was devastating for her and for me to play it.” Margulies added, “And then of course Will’s death.”
Why is he talking the show away from us someone asked?
“It was a show that had its end,” Robert King said simply. “It didn’t feel like a show that you keep having crazy things happen to you. At a certain point you escape the realm of probability.”
As for killing of Will, that was unintentional. King said, “We actually thought there would be a death in the middle of the story, we didn’t know it would be Will until Josh Charles wanted out of his contract, and then it was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, Fuck him.’”
Asked about her most unusual fan encounter, Margulies said it took place in the theater.
“My husband and I were at a Broadway show and during intermission we went to get a glass of wine at the bar and a man was on line behind us and he said – I think this was year three of the show -and this man said to me, grabbed my arm, ‘I’m in the middle of a divorce, you must come to court on Monday.’ So he thinks I’m really a lawyer,” she laughed.
The actors and show runners were careful not to give away any spoilers, but Margulies discussed her reaction to reading the final script.
“I read it once and I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. I was emotionally confused,” she said, “and I had a conversation with my husband about it. He said, ‘Did you like it? I said, ‘I do. It’s so complex. He said, ‘That’s exactly as it should be.’ I know you’re right, but I’m sad. ‘That’s exactly how you should feel.’ I read it again. And the Kings had given me a bottle of wine with the script with a note that said, ‘Alicia should be drinking while reading this.’ And I waited until the fourth reading.”
Margulies noted that when she usually got the scripts before shooting the Kings always requested that she call them if she wanted changes Usually she wrote back right away.
“But this time I couldn’t do it,” said Margulies. “So I opened the wine and I poured a wee glass. Not an Alicia-size glass or I’d be drunk, and then I read it a fourth time and then I could digest it and then I wrote them, I think, three lines, ‘Nothing but brilliant!’”
Asked to describe her reaction to the final episode in three words, Margulies replied: “Satisfying, uplifting, sad.”