The Good Wife returns Sunday, Sept. 21 (CBS, 9:30 p.m. ET) with a premiere that picks up right where season 5 left off: with Eli (Alan Cumming) suggesting that Alicia (Julianna Margulies) run for State’s Attorney. Creators Robert and Michelle King are mum about whether she’ll ultimately decide to enter the race, but we were able to get a few teases out of them about what’s to come.
EW: First question: Are you currently hiding a secret on the level of Will Gardner getting shot?
ROBERT KING: I wouldn’t say at that level, but there is a secret we’re hiding about the first episode. Sorry. We don’t like doing that.
It’s okay. Let’s talk about where the season resumes. It’ll take Alicia some time to decide whether to run for Peter’s old office.
ROBERT: That is the right assumption. First of all, it seems very much that Joseph Campbell “rejection of the call” thought. The reluctant hero’s first answer is always no. But also, there’s so many reasons not for her to run, and there’s so many reasons for the audience to kind of go, “Would Alicia ever do that?” So, to get her to a head space and to have facts mount up why she might have to is interesting for us.
MICHELLE KING: We’re not saying yet which way she goes. It could go either way.
Diane dropped the bombshell that she wants to come to Florrick/Agos. The promo says that happens.
ROBERT: Yes. Sometimes, the surprising thing is how something happens. I would put this in that category. It’s how it happens that hopefully will be interesting and pull people in.
Will Kalinda be coming over with Diane?
ROBERT: That’s one of the debates. Because of Cary’s relationship with Kalinda, it puts them in a very awkward place.
The other big development for Alicia in the finale came when she proposed that she and Peter have an open marriage, which seems very dangerous in this day and age.
MICHELLE: We love danger. Especially that kind of danger for our characters that seem so real. Alicia made that declaration when she was deeply in mourning for Will, and it seemed a little bit rooted in anger, and yet it came out of her mouth, and she’s standing by it. So the question will be, in season six, how that plays out for her. If she’s comfortable with it. If she can live with it, and how Peter chooses to respond.
ROBERT: What we like about it also is that the marriage, then, never finds a status quo. There’s always movement, and now it’s a movement towards, can you truly be a power couple? Can you rely on each other for how you advance each other’s careers, but not have a.) either a sexual component, or b.) those things that come with sex, like jealousy and monogamy? It creates this dilemma for both of them.
Does this open the door for love interests for both of them?
ROBERT: We’re going to leave that a bit of a question mark, but we have a lot of options this year. Some of the guest cast that’s coming along creates a lot of fun for us. Taye Diggs, obviously, Matthew Goode, Steven Pasquale, Connie Nielsen. So there’s a lot of fun to be had with these people who float in and out of our world.
MICHELLE: Whether it opens the door for love interests, it at least opens the door to asking about opening the door for love interests. If that makes sense.
Steven Pasquale plays a campaign expert who’ll help Alicia figure out whether or not to run.
ROBERT: He’s based on a lot of these, let’s say, slightly cynical but also very much idealistic guys who came out of the Democratic field post-Obama’s 2008 campaign. What we’re suggesting is that Eli introduces him to possibly run Alicia’s campaign, if she runs. Even though I think we said he was only in two episodes, we’re doing more with him. He’s fantastic, and he’s really suggesting someone who, in his childhood, had an admiration for Robert Kennedy and that idealism—but has found that the way to get your way in the world is to be really hard-nosed and cynical, too, about the electoral process.
And Taye Diggs plays a Lockhart/Gardner employee…whom we’ve never met before.
ROBERT: He ran the New York office, but now, with the loss of Will, the law firm is a little bit in contraction mode. One of the things is to bring Taye Diggs back from New York, and that coincides with Diane secretly wanting to leave for Florrick/Agos. She convinces him to take a look at it. His character, Dean, is this really polished, together lawyer who expects everybody to be professional like he is. He won’t give an opening argument without spending, you know, 180 hours on it saying exactly what he wants to the jury. That’s who he is. Very meticulous in the law, but then he goes and looks at Florrick/Agos, which is sort of like a frat house when he sees it. It is just the opposite of the responsible law firm that he expected from Diane and from Lockhart/Gardner. So part of it is this clash of cultures between someone who expects everybody to be the height of professionalism and what seems to be the startup kids who are running around with their hair on fire, especially with what’s going on with the other lawyers. So, yes, his character is one half of a comic culture clash.
How much of Lockhart/Gardner are we going to see this season? How do you keep us hooked back into that firm?
MICHELLE: Well, David Lee (Zach Grenier) is still over there. Louis Canning (Michael J. Fox) is still over there. So we will have plenty of reasons to keep those folks in our world.
ROBERT: We’re trying to create a lot of flow between one world and the other. There’s reasons they’re wrought in conflict. There’s also reasons that they have to work together.
Are we going to see more of Eli (Alan Cumming) this season?
ROBERT: Yeah. We always told ourselves at the beginning of last season that the core relationship we wanted to examine was Alicia and Will, just for obvious reasons that may not have been that obvious at the beginning of the year. This year, we really think it’s Eli and Alicia—how they work with each other, and how they deal with each other. It’s really a core relationship. The only thing we’re working around is Alan’s schedule with Cabaret, which sometimes holds us a little bit in check. But we’re going to have much more Alan and Jules together this year, because they’re wonderful.
Lastly, we know Carrie Preston and Kyle MacLachlan are back. What can we expect from Elsbeth and Perotti?
ROBERT: There was this wonderful thread they did together in season 4 where Elsbeth, who we always think of as an asexual kind of Columbo type, realized that her emotions were getting away from her and that she was falling for Perotti, probably because he was just as offbeat as her. We never felt satisfied, like we finished that story. So we tried to get him for season five. He was off doing Believe. So we finally—I think he was in Paris—tracked him down and pled with him to come back. What’s fun about it is seeing two people who aren’t adjusted to the idea of romantic love. They’re almost like malfunctioning computers. What happens when love really enters their life?