It's no understatement to say that Sunday's episode of The Good Wife may be the best hour of television you'll see this fall.
With the truth about Alicia and Cary's plans finally leaking out to Will, David Lee and company, the installment is titled "Hitting the Fan" for a very good reason.
While many shows in their fifth year are starting to losing steam, this episode - written by creators Robert and Michelle King - proves that The Good Wife is the exception to that rule: the drama remains one of sharpest, smartest and entertaining programs on television.
After viewing the incredible episode (TWICE... it really is that good), I jumped on the phone with Matt Czuchry to talk about his own reaction to the upcoming development, why Cary isn’t fighting the same guilt as Alicia for leaving Lockhart/Gardner and how things will go for the fledgling firm moving forward...
TV Fanatic: With all the buildup to this episode, what was your reaction when you first read the script?
Matt Czuchry: I think it’s up there with one of the best scripts we’ve had in five seasons. Everybody came to set the next day and we were all so excited to get to going and get working on it. Robert King and Michelle King wrote a really special script and I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed it and watched it twice. That makes me feel good because that script deserves that. It’s a really, really great script.
TVF: We’ve seen how Alicia has been so guilt-ridden with everything but we haven’t seen that in Cary. Do you think there is any guilt in him or does he feel justified in what they’ve done?
MC: I don’t think Cary feels much guilt at this point. He was fired the first time and when he came back into the firm he was overlooked for a partnership so I think he’s the one who wanted to pull Alicia in and was clear-headed on making this jump to start Florrick-Agos. There’s no guilt whatsoever on Cary moving forward.
TVF: Cary and Alicia have had their issues together over the years but how will they be running this new firm together?
MC: I think it sort of ebbs and flows. I think there are certain issues where they’re on the same page and there are certain issues where they’re butting heads… problems creep up whether it be what client to take or do we have enough clients or do we have enough money.
TVF: Chum Hum (a high-profile and lucrative client on the series) becomes a big part of the episode and, other than getting John Benjamin Hickey back, how important is it that Chum Hum is the playing piece for this episode.
MC: John Benjamin Hickey I love as a person and as an actor and so I was so happy that he is in that episode. For him and for Chum Hum I think that’s what’s great for the show this season. We see these recurring judges, we see these recurring characters and I think that’s one of the reasons why episode five this season is so successful because it’s all based on this history that all these characters have. Not only Will and Alicia and Diane and Cary and Chum Hum is another example of that. I think that’s what’s great for the audience is that they understand the history, they understand the important of John Benjamin Hickey and the Chum Hum chess piece because they’ve seen that build.
More specifically to your question, it’s a money issue. Florrick/Agos is a start-up and they need money and that’s the biggest client that either of them have ever had in five seasons of the show and that’s why I think it’s essential because you’re talking about the biggest client they’ve ever had on the show.
TVF: If Cary has a personal piece at Lockhart/Gardner it’s with Kalinda. What can you talk about what’s coming with them?
MC: They’re on opposite sides so they’re going to be in the place of using each other for information for a little bit.
TVF: Is it safe to say that moving forward that Florrick/Agos is going to have to work with Lockhart/Gardner just because of some overlap with cases?
MC: I think you’re going to see them battle a lot. I think that’s what the first chunk of it is. They’re battling quite a bit over virtually everything. I wouldn’t say working with each other. I would say they’re going to be battling each other for every little piece and chunk to get ahead. Both sides are going to be doing that.
TVF: There’s a quick mention where Alicia says they should get Lemond Bishop (Mike Colter) who may not be the most ideal client but there’s a lot of money there. Does that come up in future episodes?
MC: Yeah, the idea of Bishop and whether he is a good client for the firm to bring on or what kind of image do Florrick/Agos want to have, those are questions that come up in this beginning chunk of episodes. He’s a great client with money but is he a great client for the ethics and branding of our firm? When Cary and Alicia started Florrick/Agos, one of the things is they want to be different, they want to be more ethical and that’s a nice idea in practice but I’m not sure if you can make that come to fruition so that’s one of our over-arching themes of the firm.
TVF: Is there are any personal story coming up for Cary? We’ve met his father and it’s been awhile since he’s had a romantic interest.
MC: Right now, it’s just about getting the firm off the ground so nothing personal at this time.
TVF: From a viewer’s standpoint, the show feels as fresh and exciting as ever. How does it feel on your side?
MC: I would just say that episode 5 was a really, really special one and everybody in the cast was coming to set saying ‘Did you read that? Did you read that?’ Everyone was really, really excited about these storylines and that echoes to the entire production. It goes for all the writers, who are turning in great scripts…the cast and crew and folks who, for example, work in post-production like the sound folks the other day were telling me, ‘We just want to do our best work possible because everybody else is’ so it makes everybody raise their game when scripts are coming in and they’re that great. I think everybody is really grateful for the great work that the writers are doing and everybody is really excited.
The Good Wife Season 5 airs Sundays at 9/8c on CBS.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.