‘The Good Wife’: About That Episode… (SPOILERS)
It’s been a very long time since a TV show made me feel anything quite as intense as I did during last night’s earth-shattering episode of The Good Wife. I wish I could appreciate this for the remarkable hour of television that it was, but I’m too blinded by my own grief to be able to see the brilliance of The Good Wife‘s most recent episode, in which one of the show’s original characters was unexpectedly killed. If you haven’t watched the episode yet, I beg you not to read on. Otherwise, join me in mourning one of the best written and best acted characters on television…
Will Gardner was one of my favorite characters in television history. Passionate, complex, intelligent, flawed…Will had more depth than every character on NCIS combined. (No offense to Gibbs & Abby.) He was a tragic hero who went to some dark places, but even when he made you question whether he was really the good guy, you couldn’t help but root for him. Here are some of my favorite Will Gardner moments from the past five seasons:
Alicia and Will share their first kiss during season one:
Seasons later, when Will discovers that Alicia has been plotting to leave Lockhart/Gardner to start her own firm with Cary, he takes out his frustration on her desk:
Of course, who could forget that epic Elevator Scene:
(I still can’t listen to that song without thinking of Will and Alicia. In case you were wondering, it’s called “Any Other World” by MIKA.)
Amidst their constant locking horns over various clients and cases after Alicia leaves, both she and Will get in some low blows, like Alicia exploiting Will’s memory of their first night together by changing into that same outfit to distract him in court:
One of Will’s bravest and most vulnerable moments—when he confessed his feelings for Alicia in a voicemail (which she never heard), telling her that while he may not have thought out the next step in their relationship, “my plan is I love you.”
Will sings the Growing Pains theme song (pretty well, I might add):
“Show me that smile again…don’t waste another minute on your crying…” Sorry, Will, but I’ll waste hours crying knowing that I won’t see your smile again.
It breaks my heart that Will and Alicia weren’t on better terms when he died. Granted, the two shared an amiable exchange a day or so before Will’s death, but it certainly wasn’t the cleansing reconciliation or the deathbed confession of love that I would have wished for the litigious lovers with epically bad timing.
After years of watching shows like The Vampire Diaries and Once Upon a Time, where “dead” is a relative (and often impermanent) term, it’s quite jarring to be reminded that sometimes that’s all there is. One second a character is trading barbs with well dressed guest stars, and the next he’s lying on a gurney, cold and lifeless, with no real closure to speak of. I should commend the writers and producers of The Good Wife for creating such a powerful story, but to be honest I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive them for this one.
To read more on why Josh Charles decided to leave the show, read TVLine’s feature on this shocking twist.