Josh Charles Q&A on 'The Good Wife' season finale
The past season has been a rocky one for Will Gardner, the ambitious lawyer and chronic ladies’ man played by Josh Charles on “The Good Wife.” After years of sexual tension, he and longtime friend Alicia (Julianna Margulies) embarked on a steamy romance that quickly flamed out. Then, to make matters worse, Will was subjected to a grand jury investigation for bribery and was eventually forced to accept a six-month suspension. Now, as the series enters its summer hiatus, the firm has lost its biggest client, Alicia looks poised to reconcile with her husband and Will is just barely holding on to his partnership. As he put it in Sunday night’s season finale, “Things fall apart.” Indeed they do. We talked to Charles about Will’s rather tumultuous year, and what the future might hold for his character.
You’ve really gotten to explore your character more this season. Has that been enjoyable for you as an actor?
Any time you get to dig deeper into your character, you welcome it, especially on a TV show. It’s fun to play a character who lives on the edge, who is an ethical and moral mess, and is paying the price for some of his actions. I really thought it was a big year to learn a lot about him. I’m looking forward to him practicing law next year to see how the experience of the past year affects him.
So is Will a changed man?
Knowing [executive producers] Robert and Michelle [King] the way I do, I don’t think anything’s going to be a complete 180 [-degree turn]. I don’t think he’s going to come out a born-again, but I do think that there are elements of him that have changed. It’s difficult for someone like him who’s such a competitive animal, and you get into the world of law, the game of it really taps into his addictive personality. He has learned some things, he has been humbled, but it will be interesting to see how that plays out once he’s returned to the law.
Were you surprised by how quickly Alicia and Will’s romance fizzled out?
I wasn’t surprised. It felt very right for their intimacy to increase at the end of last season. It felt like that needed to be done, something needed to be consummated there. But then once it happened, that doesn’t take away any of the obstacles, the complications in their relationship. If anything it just intensifies them.
What do you make of their brief exchange in the elevator in Sunday’s finale? Are there still feelings there?
I really liked that scene. It shows there’s still a very deep relationship there, one that’s built on a deep level of respect. At the core of these two characters’ relationship is a really deep bond. It goes deeper than sex, than being together; it’s a mutual respect. That doesn’t go away just like that. I think he really loves her. It’s not like she’s the only one for him in his entire life, but there’s real love there. And she loves him. I also think that scene’s a gut-check. Will wants to know he’s not insane, that there is something there. What that scene is foreshadowing is a deepening of their relationship.
Is Will ever going to publish his memoir?
I don’t think so. I can almost guarantee you that. I remember talking to Robert King and we were having a chat about the character. Will doesn’t have political aspirations, he doesn’t want to be a judge. He wants to be known as the best lawyer in Chicago. That is his goal. He is an animal who lives and breathes the law, that’s what really drives him.
Will and Kalinda have also bonded this season. In fact, sometimes it seems like there might even be more to their relationship than we know about.
They’re both mysterious and they don’t allow a lot of vulnerability. We’ve also seen their armor chipped away this season. They are two characters who are loyal to each other and always have each other’s backs. There is a mutual appreciation there, a history and a bond.
— Meredith Blake
Photo: Merritt Wever and Josh Charles in "The Good Wife"
Credit: David Giesbrech/CBS