Last night at New York’s Paley Center, members of The Good Wife cast including Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles, Archie Panjabi, Matt Czuchry, and Christine Baranski, screened the April 27th episode — we’ll see originals through the May 25 season 1 finale — and tried to avoid revealing spoilers. Some of them were better at that than others…
Baranski arrived late because she’d been shooting and made her entrance just as Margulies was discussing how the two of them were amazed at how emotional it was filming the May 11 episode in which we find out who wins the junior associate “bake off” — Alicia (Margulies) or Cary (Czuchry). Margulies said she needed to excuse herself and cry, which she admits she’s done more than once this season because she doesn’t want Alicia to cry — yet. (“It’s gonna come,” she said, when asked if Alicia will ever crack. But she’s afraid once she starts, she won’t stop. “And then we might as well be All My Children.”) Margulies brought Baranski up to speed — making a point to note that she had not revealed the winner of the contest — and Baranksi took the story and ran. She said she’d texted Margulies when she’d gone out to dinner with her husband after shooting the climactic scene and couldn’t figure out why she was in such a heavy mood. Then it hit her that it was because the bonding on-set “transmogrified” the cast. After Charles jokingly made her define that word, she explained that it felt like losing a member of the family — and used a revealing pronoun. The audience reaction wasn’t so much a gasp as it was mass laughter at her slipping so quickly. “This is where Ashton Kutcher comes out,” Charles said, swearing the audience to secrecy. (I’ll oblige.) Sadly, Baranski learned her lesson and wouldn’t reveal whether we’d be seeing Gary Cole return. However, when asked by moderator Matt Roush if Diane could really make a relationship with a Republican work, she said a few glasses of Chardonnay will always help to get over the political hump. That’s when Charles cracked that the season finale would feature Diane with a member of the Tea Party. By the end of the evening, he said, “I’m actually gonna tell you what happens at the end of Lost… Mad Men, too.”
What else did we learn?
• Panjabi, who received arguably the biggest welcome from the audience, said the season finale will finally give an answer to the question of Kalinda’s sexual preference. She also admitted that she was nervous to play a character that manipulated men, but that she’s quite comfortable with it now. She’d never wore knee-high boots until she played Kalinda, but she was wearing them last night. Czuchry raised his hand when Margulies said there’s a blog devoted solely to Kalinda’s boots. (He joked that he started it; Charles said he moderates it.) During the audience Q&A, Panjabi was asked why Kalinda always drinks milk. She said she just got the idea because everyone else in the scene was drinking coffee and she wanted Kalinda to be different. They apparently tried Strawberry Nesquik once, but they cut it because it looked like Pepto-Bismol. Then there would have been a website devoted to Kalinda’s diarrhea, Czuchry joked. (Another good audience question: Why is the junior associate bake-off still going on when the firm has money problems — why not cut one of them loose now? The panel was momentarily stumped. Charles said a possible answer could be because as junior associates, Cary and Alicia don’t command the large salaries for their heavy workload. “Nice, Josh!” Margulies cheered.)
• Charles said we’ll learn a little bit more about Alicia’s history with Will, but that it’s a storyline for season 2. (If there ever is a flashback, he just doesn’t want to look like Screech’s ‘fro, he said.) He joked that he does know the complete backstory, but that he signed a contract saying he wouldn’t reveal it. “Apparently, Christine didn’t sign that. Perhaps she could tell you,” he quipped. Margulies, asked whether she thinks the viewers are rooting for Alicia to stay with Peter or go with Will, said she’s not sure. She was at Washington Square Park last weekend and had a couple come up to her and announce “We are on the Peter Florrick team.” Then another couple came up and said, “We are on the Will Gardner team” — and started a crossfire. Czuchry, who always sounds like he’s just downed a couple of Scotches and has the wit to match, joked that they’ve built off the Twilight success and have had T-shirts made. He was currently wearing his Team Will T-shirt because Josh was there, but later that night, he’d be sleeping in his Team Peter shirt. Truth be told, those T-shirts aren’t a bad idea. (Note: I also now love Czuchry’s mother. After the episode aired in which Cary played nicely with Alicia after she covered for him when he was on mushrooms, he got a text from her: “What is this? Alicia and Cary are BFFs?”)
• The network originally wanted the show to be 60 percent professional/40 percent personal. Now, much to the cast’s delight, it’s the opposite. That means we’ll be dealing again with Alicia’s son and his girlfriend. (Also worth noting: The network didn’t originally want the title of the show to be The Good Wife. Margulies said they went through like 184 other titles before returning to it.)
• As for the April 27th episode… It’s a juicy one. The case could land the show some headlines — they defend a newspaper man who had an employee die in an office bombing after they published a political cartoon commenting on racial profiling by showing Muhammad getting body-scanned in an airport X-Ray machine. (We have a message into CBS to chat about what will or won’t be shown onscreen. Without a rewind button at the screening, I’m hesitant to say for certain.) Who’s representing the victim’s widow? Stern, who’s back to destroy the firm in more ways than one. We also pick up with Peter’s religious awakening. I won’t spoil it for you, I’ll just say do not miss Peter’s mother meeting Eli (it’ll make you instantly happy that Alan Cumming is a regular for season 2) or the final moment of the hour. Childs’ crusade against Peter sets events in motion that literally had the Paley audience let out a collective, audible “Whoa.”
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