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Josh Charles drops some hints about 'The Good Wife' season finale

May 17, 2011 |  7:02 am

Willaliciabar Will they or won't they? It's the question on the minds of millions of fans of "The Good Wife," eagerly awaiting the season finale, which airs Tuesday night on CBS.

On a show known for whip-smart, topical writing, the lingering sexual tension between Will and Alicia has provided a more visceral form of entertainment. Now that Alicia's separated from her philandering husband, Peter, the timing might finally be right for these two to consummate their attraction. Even if they do, questions remain: Is Will even the right guy for Alicia? And, hey, doesn't he have a girlfriend?

I recently spoke to Josh Charles, and the effusive actor had lots to say about his slightly mysterious character, the destined-to-be controversial season finale and what we can look forward to next season.

So, Will really seemed to perk up when Kalinda told him about Alicia and Peter’s separation.

I keep hearing this and I haven’t seen the episode, and now I want to see the reaction. I’m interested to see what take they chose. Does he give a big reaction? Does he perk up? I thought maybe he was more “attentive.”

What can you tell me about the season finale?

I feel really confident about the finale. I think that it’s a really good script, and Robert King, one of our co-creators, directed it. He cares so much about backstory, maybe moreso than anybody I’ve ever worked with in television. I have a closing argument that was like 2 1/2 pages long, and he wanted to film it as one take. It was 2:30 in the morning and he asked me if I was up for that.  We were all exhausted, running on fumes, but he gave us a boost of energy.

How do you think fans will respond to the finale?

I’m always really clear, if everybody loves it then I think something’s wrong. You should be pushing people’s buttons. Not everybody should be on board all the time. So I’m excited for people to see it. The brilliance of the writing to me is that it sets us up really great for next year. It’s a really great launching pad of intrigue and drama.

Are we ever going to find out more about Will’s past, especially his mysterious connection to Blake?

I think honestly the intent was to resolve that this year, and that’s one of those things where maybe they were trying to cram too much in, and you move it to next year. I think once we peel that back, it’s going to be very revealing and enlightening, and I’m excited to play it.

It’s impressive how long the writers are able to withhold secrets; they definitely seem to have long-term visions for each of the characters.

Exactly. It’s the strength of the trust in the characters that they can sustain it for so long. The trust allows them to take risks, like with Alicia and Kalinda, to sort of blow that relationship up for the time being — that should be applauded. It’s not just done coming out of nowhere. The people’s backstories to me feel grounded. Each one has a real spine, you know?

One of the most interesting things about the Will and Alicia thing is that we’re not even totally sure she should be with him, because he’s not a known quantity. We’re not sure we trust him.

He’s not a character who’s trying to be liked by anybody. When he does what others may think is the right thing to do, it’s not because he’s drawn to the morality of it, it’s because it gets him closer to winning. But then I do think that his feelings for Alicia are some of the most honest and vulnerable and real emotions he has.  [Co-creators] Robert and Michelle King have worked hard to make it clear, as they have with every character, that Will is not some sort of “white knight.” But I don’t feel like Will does anything differently than any of the other characters on the show.  I’m interested in why he gets people more worked up. I guess we see a lot of the shows through Alicia’s eyes, so we want Will to be better than he is, and that’s frustrating. But again, winning is the most important thing for him; he has an athletic background. Will can be an incredibly nice, charming, loyal character, but it’s very much like an athletic field in court.

So why did he fib about the voicemail?

I think that was a combination of a couple things. I think he was really thrown off guard.  It sort of came out of nowhere, and like any good lawyer, he likes to be prepared. He’s also in a relationship right now, you know, one that he’s been trying to make work. Someone asked me earlier, “Does he love Alicia?” Of course he does. I really believe that. But I don’t think that necessarily means he’s ready for all the baggage that comes with it. 


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-- Meredith Blake

Photo: Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Will (Josh Charles) have drinks in the season finale of "The Good Wife," but will there be more? Credit: David M. Russell / CBS