John Noble Previews "Eccentric" Character, Unique Appearance on The Good Wife

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It hasn’t been all that long since we last saw John Noble grace our TV screens on the series finale of Fringe.

But the beloved actor will take on a new role Sunday night, coming on board The Good Wife Season 4 as Matthew Ashbaugh, an erratic and litigious attorney who is murdered early on in "Death of a Client."

Via flashbacks, Alicia will attempt to piece together who might have killed a man who unfortunately made many enemies.

The always gregarious Noble jumped on the phone with me this week to talk about the new role, as well as how he is adjusting to life post-Walter Bishop and Fringe...

John Noble on Fringe

TV Fanatic: When I first heard you were on The Good Wife, I thought ‘oh, this will be very different from Walter’ and after seeing it I thought ‘maybe this isn’t so different after all.’ Can you tell me about your character?
John Noble: Yeah, he’s kind of eccentric. Obviously very wealthy, eccentric guy who is very litigious and he’s constantly seeing himself as a victim and he continually sues people for simply trivial things like a dog barking and so there’s a whole lot of people that are extremely outraged for him doing this, but he does it anyway.

He went to the firm and is put up with Alicia and formed a real bond with her, frankly, and then became rather attached to her and continually went back with other issues. It was a terrific relationship to play. His attachment to this woman despite his extraordinary eccentric ways and the battle of him being attacked in courtrooms, it’s a fun character to play in this episode. This particular fellow has been killed and so Alicia is approached the police to say well, is there anyone that might want this man dead and she says “Oh, yes. Lots of people.”

TVF: He has an interesting way of playing some music when he’s in a room, right?
JN: Well, you know he walks around with a jam box. [laughs] He’s playing Bach the whole time. When he is done playing the song he starts it over again and the reason being that he thinks he’s going to bore the CIA to death because he felt they’re obviously listening to everything he does. ‘They’ll get sick of listening to me,’ he thinks, ‘so I’ll play these over and over again.’ And that thing is playing at all times when he’s onscreen.

TVF: How was it just stepping into the show?
JN: Oh, it was really wonderful. I’m a genuine admirer of the show and I think that the cast is outstanding. I mean, really fine actors and the writing has been constantly at a very high standard in my opinion. But I also had an advantage of knowing lots of people involved in the crew because a lot of those people were our crew in our first year with Fringe.

So in some way it was fantastic going back and seeing all these people that I’ve known quite intimately when I was there [in New York]. It was really quite wonderful going back to that situation and being back in New York again. So the whole experience was extremely comfortable and quite joyous catching up with all these people after four years or five years.

TVF: Are most of your scenes with Julianna Margulies or do you have any scenes with any of the other actors?
JN: No, all of the stuff was with Julianna. In one scene, Josh Charles, he’s a lovely bloke. I know Josh and respect him enormously. Within the scene, it was in such a way that my character didn’t even look at him so I can’t really say that I worked with Josh Charles even though we did a scene together. My character completely ignored him, didn’t even look to him. [laughs]

But Julianna is such an amazing actress, frankly, and we just had really good chemistry going. We certainly enjoyed working together. It was a very pleasant experience, really. She’s just a fantastic actress.

TVF: It’s too bad they gave you such a great character and then they killed him off right away, right?
JN: [laughs] It was so funny at the time. People said “Oh, you should come back.’ And I’d say ‘I can’t unless I can come back from the dead!’ But it was terrific. In some ways, it’s at the top of my wish list coming out of Fringe. My wife loves the show. She said ‘Oh, John, try and get onto The Good Wife, try to get onto The Good Wife.’ So we barely landed back in Australia and stopped to take a few deep breaths and I got the call. ‘Can you come back and do The Good Wife?’ So I came to them and now I’m going to go home and try and catch up on some of that break that I didn’t get at the end of the show.

TVF: Well, since you brought up Fringe, tell me now that a little time has passed since the final episode aired and you stopped shooting, how was it kind of settled in for you as far as just any emotions you’re feeling about the experience being over?
JN: You know, the main thing is that having been so intensely involved for five years, it’s kind of getting used to not being occupied on a daily basis with a complex character and obviously the hours and demands of shooting that type of show.

So it’s sort of at loose ends and jumping out of bed and expecting to be busy and then saying, ‘No, hang on…’ I’ve talked to a couple of the other cast members and that’s the reaction from them as well. It’s really quite strange coming off something that’s so intense and so involved.

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of Follow him on Twitter.

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