We knew Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) was mysterious, an investigator as good at keeping her own secrets as rooting out other people’s. We knew she had blurred the lines between professional and sexual relationships before. But we never expected this. When rival Blake (Scott Porter) revealed on the March 22 episode that Kalinda had gone there with her friend Alicia’s (Julianna Margulies) husband — former state’s attorney Peter Florrick (Chris Noth) — years prior when she had worked for him, the already complicated universe of The Good Wife exploded.
The revelation came just as it seemed like Peter and Alicia had moved past their problems — Peter sleeping with a prostitute, for one — and into a comfortable reconciliation. Which is precisely why the series’ co-creators, husband and wife Robert and Michelle King, decided to drop the bombshell. ”There was a really good year in Mad Men where the core cast quits to launch their own firm,” Robert King says. ”What it gave it was a reboot quality. That was the intent with this.”
The twist also casts 40 episodes’ worth of a supportive and fan-favorite friendship between Kalinda and Alicia in an entirely different light. ”People are going to be really surprised and, like me, refer back to season 1 and say, ‘Oh my God, it was so obvious, because there was always something going on with Peter and we just never saw it,”’ says Panjabi. ”You become so protective of your character, and I’m like, ‘This is really sad,”’ she recalls in a reaction that no doubt echoes viewers’.
While the audience for the CBS drama now knows the full story, Alicia doesn’t — yet. ”There’s this Hitchcockian sense that if you have a bomb explode it’s not as interesting as telling the audience, ‘There’s a bomb under the desk, and it will explode soon,”’ says Robert King. But when Alicia finds out — and it will happen sometime in the final six episodes — don’t expect her reaction to mirror the one during her husband’s previous sex scandal. ”Alicia has had two years to develop coping skills and a strong sense of herself,” explains Margulies. ”So while the situations are similar, the woman responding to them is very different.”
It’s not only Kalinda and Alicia who are headed for a reckoning, however: News of the affair will bring all of the show’s big story lines to a head — among them, Peter’s campaign to get reelected as state’s attorney, Cary’s (Matt Czuchry) career trajectory, and the sputtering relationship between Alicia and her boss/law-school friend Will (Josh Charles). Wife’s creators will cop to being nervous about all the changes. ”You don’t want a major upheaval because you’re liking everybody the way they are,” admits Robert King. ”But it always felt like the show was about falling apart and rebuilding and falling apart and rebuilding.” With a side of sexual intrigue, of course.