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 was shocked last night and I'm maybe even more shocked today. I just didn't see that coming at all. I'm not sure how I feel about Will's dying. I haven't like him much this season, I will say that. Of course I'm going to continue to watch because, for me, this show is all about Alicia and her journey. Curious to see where this event will take the show and the actors. As for Michael J. Fox, love him, but a little of his character goes a long way on this show. I can't wait until Sunday!


Josh Charles will be on Letterman tonight............I recommend all the fans read the letter, if they haven't already, that the Kings wrote to the fans......... I had not heard that Josh was leaving or had wanted to leave. This episode was a total shock to me. I am very interested in seeing the next turns and twists. To the show: Now that Will (sadly) is gone, Dubeck hasn't got a case, so I suspect that whole thing will be dropped............or will it? Why does Cary think he and Kalinda are "seeing" one another?? Kalinda isn't one to be tied to anyone. At least he's further earning Alicia's trust by telling her what he told her. Why hasn't Marilyn or Peter been on? After this revelation I suspect they both will be on next weeks episode. They'd made it sound like it would be off after this week but apparently that's not the case. I was mad last night because The Good Wife, in my area anyway, was delayed 40 minutes for STUPID BASKETBALL!!!!!!!!!!! I'd set my dvr (not knowing about the delay until after the fact) because I watch other shows and missed half of it but watched online this morning. Absolutely will be sticking with this show. I've watched from the beginning and I'm not leaving now..........cannot wait to see what twists and turns lie ahead............


Do you have questions from last night's episode? Join Julianna Margulies for a LIVE Facebook chat at 1pm ET/ 10 AM PT on The Good Wife Facebook page...


I was shocked what happen in last nights episode of the Good wife ut I been hearing that Josh Charles wanted to leave so I knew he would leave somehow just didn't know it be this soon and didn't think he be killed off but it was good episode and was written really good up until the end of the episode. yes I will keep watching I liked Will I miss Will but I respect Josh he wanted to leave. I want to see how each character will take there grief goes for each character Alicia, Kelinda Carey and Diane . I see Michael J fox only few episodes in each season but I do like Michael J Fox but not fan of his character on the show,

@ tiva (Tania)

Michael J Fox will be on 4 episodes.........The Kings said this in their letter to the fans..............there will also be other guest stars.........


That really was unexpected! I have heard that Josh Charles wanted to leave but I didn't know it would be so soon. I have never been a big fan of Will or the pairing of Will and Alica so I wasn't that sad. However I look forward to the next episodes and on how they will cope with his death. I hope that Alicia and Carey get in buisness with Diane. I just hope Alicia and Carey stay togehter. I have a feeling that Diane wants Alicia back in the firm but not Carey. As for Michael J Fox, his character on The Good Wife is fun but more than 3-4 episodes a season would be too much! I will not stop watching this show. For me Alicia is the show and I watch beacuse of Diane, Kalinda and Eli.


what an intense episode!!!. it was a fact that he wanted to leave but being shot was unexpected although the way that young man was acting you new something was going to happen. josh is on dave letterman tonite so gotta see what he has to say. if michael fox gonna take his place i dont like it. he is ok but he's annoying on this show. curious on the previews of rest season who cary is talking to and why so angry. also wondering if diane will want alicia to come back


While this wasn't the most dramatically justified death I've ever seen in a series (I won't give my best example because that would be a spoiler) what sets "The Good Wife" apart from poorly written dramas is that, in a well-written show like "The Good Wife," when a major character is critically wounded, they don't show up looking like new two episodes later. In real life, if people survive being shot and critically wounded, there is a major healing process, and they are usually never the same, physically or emotionally. I can't imagine "The Good Wife" without Will, and I loved the Will and Alicia pairing, and I can't stand the character of Peter Florrick, in spite of the fact that I like Eli Gold, and Eli likes Peter. This was a bold move, and I look forward to seeing whether the showrunners can live up to it. I loved the character of Will and I can't imagine "The Good Wife" with

@ FilmAlicia

This was the best episode ever from the start of season 1, everyone kept putting Peter in the hot seat when it really was Will and Alicia. He made a mistake and paid for it all through season 5 but they crossed the lines and buried it from family and friends while still married yes married. She made a commitment with Peter to renew their vows but played the smooch card in the car with Will, if that's not crossing the line again what is.
If I were writing the end he would of been dropped into the Chicago river chained and blocked and nobody would never know who done it.

@ Harpo

On the other hand, neither Alicia's mother or brother have a high opinion of Peter. They both encouraged Alicia to dump Peter for good, and told Will that he should make his move again before it was too late. I haven't trusted Peter since the beginning of the series, and don't think he's turned over a new leaf at all. I think he only went after Alicia again because he knew that someone else (Will) wanted her. That's not love.


Brilliantly written; Josh leaves at the top of his game and now everyone is left to pick up the pieces, a perfect vehicle for upheaval, character reevaluation, loyalties and eventually change.Bravo!


The Good Wife Facebook page has a 'Letter to the Fans' from the show-runners that explains things from their perspective, and there's at least one interview with the actor himself out there now...further explains things.


Hell Yes I WILL STILL WATCH EVERY SINGLE EPISODE FROM NOW UNTIL THE SERIES FINALE! This episode was brilliant and may be the first time I have liked Will all season.
I think that the portrayals by everyone were amazing and the show was done brilliantly.
Forget all your feelings about Will/Alicia. At the end of the day Josh Charles wanted to leave. They needed to find a way to give his character a send off and make it so that what happened in this episode can create a new direction for the show.
When you look at it, people die all the time, what happened in that court is very real. I think it was done very brilliantly. I am impressed.

@ Sa'ad702

Completely agree !!! It was a great send out from beginning of the season to the end. We saw Will the Great this season in respect to what a great businessmen and partner he was and how utterly brilliant. Diane never held his hand this season and I believe Josh Charles loved his character even more this season than ever. Great send out. We'll be back.

@ Sa'ad702

Agreed on all points. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

@ Carissa Pavlica

@Sa'ad702 I absolutely agree...........thanks for sharing!

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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.