The Good Wife Review: The Unexpected

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To answer our own question posed in the photo preview for The Good Wife Season 5 Episode 15, that's how it will all end. 

It's interesting, looking back at an episode or the one previous to see what was essential after an explosive event occurs. What The Good Wife managed to do with Will Gardner's death was show what's really matters in a life. 

We get caught up in the daily grind and obstacles seem crucial as we struggle to get through them, but when a life can end at any moment it's the little things that matter. Those big troubles aren't really that important after all.

The case Will was working on so diligently on behalf of a client who may or may not have been guilty holds little weight at this point, even given that Jeffrey Grant was the person who killed Will. Will thought he was doing what was best for Jeffrey and instead Jeffrey saw only despair and the lack of hope. His lack of faith in the proceedings or his guilt was guiding him and there was little anyone could do to stop him.

The Good Wife Season 5 Episode 14 takes on new meaning given the context of Will's death. Alicia and Will had a chance to catch up, albeit unexpectedly, with good results. Their decision to move forward in their relationship with a fresh perspective allowed Alicia some last words with Will that included laughter and kindness. She'll remember that for the rest of her life.

Kalinda's talk with Will went well and the two also spoke humorously about their addiction to their work, with Will teasing her she would never be able to give up the high she feels when she stumbles onto essential evidence. It's another relatively meaningless conversation that takes on greater meaning after Will's death.

It would seem that if those two small things seem so significant straight off the bat that the weeks to come will be full of memories of Will and what his presence meant to people at Lockhart/Gardner, at Florrick/Agos and in the personal lives of Alicia, Diane, Kalinda and Cary. Their very foundation has been shaken.

For all of the comments that kept pointing out the short-term contract Josh Charles had with The Good Wife, death didn't seem the obvious choice for him to leave, but a lot of series have been choosing the big, shocking deaths this season. Whether you watch teen genre shows or dramatic serials, they're all on par with each other in the feeling that leaving a character alive isn't always the best option. 

Dramatically, it's a fantastic story arc and one that touches every central character and action they make going forward for some time. It's not difficult to imagine the writers rubbing their hands together at the idea Will Gardner wasn't long for this world, especially as fans everywhere constantly play out what they consider one of two scenarios: Alicia ending up with either her husband Peter or deciding to fall head over heels for the one that got away, Will.

During a detailed conversation recently it became difficult to imagine The Good Wife without the wife. Peter's conspicuous absence from the scene lately has also raised eyebrows. There is an entire case being built around Alicia, Will, Eli and Marilyn to get Peter Florrick on election fraud but he's been MIA. 

With Josh Charles' absence I hope to see Matt Czuchry take his rightful place as one of the two top leads alongside Chris Noth. Czuchry has certainly earned his right to step into the leading man role and his patience is commendable. Now it's time for a reward. The partner and the husband should be brought into focus in this new scenario and their reactions to Will's death will be most intriguing.

There was also talk at one point about the recombination of the two firms. Does the loss of Will make that a possibility again? The key players in Lockhart/Gardner are Diane and Kalinda. The two could easily join forces with Alicia and Cary to form a powerhouse firm. The dead weight presented by David Lee and Howard Lyman being cut loose wouldn't affect the show in any way but a positive one.

Bringing Michael J. Fox on board to temporarily replace Will (I don't see him being a long-term fit for the series -- what are your thoughts?) seems like an instigator to get to a place to drive Diane and Kalinda to greener pastures rather than keep them bound to the firm Diane and Will started together. Diane did envy the frenetic atmosphere of Florrick/Agos when she visited.

Changes will be afoot either way. She hasn't been happy with the way things have been going at 'LG' for a while. It's time to assert herself. 

Now that all of that speculation is out of the way, let's touch briefly on the somber nature of the death and the kindness that continues to flow between all of those involved.

The music playing in the head of Jeffrey Grant both at the beginning of the hour and as he watched Will joking with the judge was well placed and haunting. Skipping the camera to Diane, who we didn't even know was working a case in the courthouse and her and Kalinda touching base as Kalinda ran to the courtroom only lent to the frightening nature of a mass shooting. 

Kalinda nearing the courtroom and seeing Will's shoe while breaking through the very poorly cordoned off doorway, the slick shot of Jeffrey trying to shoot himself only to find he was out of ammunition and Will lying with his head in his sparring partner's lap, bleeding out unable to speak only made the confusion at the hospital more upsetting, as Diane and Kalinda thought Will was being treated, only to see the medical examiner leaving a curtained bed, again with that shoeless foot.

Diane's murmured, "He doesn't look like himself," is exactly the type of thing someone says in that situation. Things don't make sense. Diane's first call earlier to Alicia went unanswered but once they had confirmation on Will's death, Alicia reached out through Eli.

It was fitting, Eli being the one to take the call. Eli who at one time erased a message from Will telling Alicia he loved her; the one that might have changed both of their lives forever. Eli was at the heart of the affair between Will and Alicia as much as they were. He knew enough not to dally with a call delivering the information of Will's death. We see Alicia say hello and it fades to black. 

Will Alicia bring up that erased call? How many other moments and decisions and lost connections will she rethink and relive as she tries to think of ways this could have all ended differently? We shall find out next Sunday when the next installment airs. Until then, you can watch The Good Wife online if you want to remember their good times.

There are many, many more things that haven't been addressed here. There isn't the time or the space to do it all adequately. Share your thoughts about the episode in the comments.

Will you still watch The Good Wife after the death of Will Gardner?

Here is your first look at The Good Wife Season 5 Episode 16, "The Last Call."


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (141 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


I can't believe they killed Will. I caught up late due to someone at work told me I had to watch it. I love the Good Wife, mostly because they tend to find more realism than average shows. However, this one hurt. I feel for Diane, Alicia, Kalinda, Carey and yes Peter. Peter, Alicia and Will were friends first about 15 years ago. What am I going to do without the Peter/Will conversations? I have never felt such constraint or reluctant loyalty on television, nor will I ever again. Will DID matter to the group, though he seemed to be on the outside but he was very much apart of the family. In previous comments, I have always lambasted his character but only for him to grow up and find his joy. Will chasing after Alicia for 15 years was self destructive behavior keeping him from finding someone else. OMG, I will miss him. His shocking death reminds us that one moment we are here and another we are not. See you next week.

@ Aykme

He never chased her for 15 yrs until she tried and applied for a job when Peter went to jail. He didn't remember or thought of her till then, he never found anybody after law school because to busy being an inmature playboy which he still was till the end. Don't forget he was banging another at the end.


I'm going to miss Will. I was always hoping that he'd get the girl in the end, even when it was clear it wasn't going to happen. One thing I hope comes out of this is a step towards the Florrick divorce. I wouldn't put it past Peter to have rigged that election and let Eli take the fall. Eli reeks of scapegoat this season. Peter was always an asshole and I don't believe he's changed. I understand Alicia's actions in regards to staying with him but things are different now. Her kids are older and her career is not tied to Peter's success, it's helped but she's now a formidable lawyer on her own. I can't wait for Diane to kick some ass. She's always been one of the my favorite characters and she's been off her game this season. No more, welcome back Ms. Lockhart.

@ LelaRose

Diane doesn't have the gonads to kick ass, plus there won't be any Florrick divorce. Also Peter did not rig the election and you will be surprised who did .

@ Millie

Trust me. Diane has the balls for the job. This will bring out sides of people we have yet to see. Dealing with death can change people and I'd say we're in for some changes on TGW.

@ Carissa Pavlica

I'm with Carissa on this one. Diane's got more balls than the NBA. She'll get it done. As for the Florrick divorce, one can dream. And I don't mind surprises, if Peter and Eli didn't rig the election then I can't wait to see who did. Maybe it was Matthew Perry's character. I'll stay tuned.


I don't think that was the bailiff, I think that was the guard from the prison. Either way, it's tv and for story purposes it couldn't have been someone random. Will had to be killed by his own "addition" as he called it and his death was a lot more meaningful because it was his own client who pulled the trigger.


I have been in many courtrooms and have never seen a bailiff stand facing the judge with his back to the courtroom and next to a defendant within reach of his gun.

@ Katherine

Bailiffs don't carry guns in court, prison guards do but never stand beside or in front of a prisoner and revolvers are straped in not open.


My mind has finally swept out the fall-out of Will's death. I of course will continue to watch TGW. Will and Alicia had an undeniable wonderful chemistry and sexual tension...not forced but felt real....which so many other TV characters try, but fall short of. The writers and producers must know could they not? While the Kings can write lots of fun and interesting story lines...the Will and Alicia story line added a constant level of spice and intrigue making viewers wonder "if and when" or "will they or won't they" do the Kings abandon the idea of allowing Alicia any spice and instead circle around other characters. The loss of Will changes the entire dynamic of TGW...question is...changed to what?


I am surprised and annoyed with myself for how much I feel like I am mourning Will like he is a real person. For me, my favorite part of the show was Will and Alicia and the way they interacted. I have to come to terms that this is over and the way I wanted the series to end is never going to happen. I will probably still watch the show-I just can't imagine stopping. But it will never be the same for me. Now I also wonder how the Kings envisioned the ending to be if this hadn't happened.


I was well aware that he was signed to a one year deal but i never knew he was going to get killed off. Never in my wildest dreams. The Good Wife is one of my top shows and now i honestly do not know how I am going to bear it without Will. His court-room scenes were the best to watch especially when he was in the Army court and the first time we met the "in your opinion" judge. Fun times! But, yes, I agree that from a story view, it was bold move and a now, Alicia will have to grow up and really be her true self. Still mourning Will!

@ Ojie

She will never grow up, the fascination with Will was a complete cop-out and Peter said it best in the coming attractions your a selfish bitch to think Will really cared. After watching all 5 seasons he was right Will interest was one thing and it wasn't love and Dianne told him that about keeping his pants zippered.


This is a wonderfully thought out article but I did want to point out that you say they cut to Diane "who we didn't even know was working a case in the courthouse", when in fact, we did. When Will and Diane were meeting in his office, she said she would be in a courtroom down the hall.


I cannot believe this! woah...this is the first time for me that a TV serie shocked me...
I really liked Will and I have always rooted for Alicia and him to get back together (altough I didn't like his way of dealing with Alicia departure from the firm), but I see the writers' point and the actor too. I too agree with someone who posted in the comment, that this was the only way to make Alicia moves forward in a kind of way.
we have seen her dealing with the justice attorney about the fraud, but we haven't seen her react properly to this news, does she believe that Peter was aware and schemed about the votes? I think Will's death is going to bring all these feelings up. I do hope that Alicia will open her eyes and deal with Peter once and for all...they do not seem a couple to me...they are never shown together anymore...I don't know. I get that the show is not about romance and all, but still Alicia has feelings, and as the writers say this is a show about human and human emotions and behaviors. I am so looking forward to seeing the rest of the show. unfortunately without Will, but what can we do???!!! nice way to end a dramatic character as Will!


I know it wasnt the Kings but do you guys really want to end up like that way?

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The Good Wife Season 5 Episode 15 Quotes

Alicia: Hey, we might have our differences, but you're the better lawyer.
Will: I am, aren't I?
Alicia: (laughs) And the more humble.

Alicia: No it's just that when you say you're seeing her...I thought she was gay.
Cary: Bi or something.