The Good Wife‘s Alicia Florrick has faced enough drama for a lifetime. “Alicia has been cheated on, humiliated publicly, wrongly convicted of stealing an election, lost the love of her life in a courtroom shooting, been a survivor of corporate backstabbing, surveilled by the NSA, had her emails hacked, dealt with a meddling mother-in-law and an unhinged mother, found out her brother was dating a porn star, and defended a serial killer who was kind of obsessed with her,” pointed out Entertainment Weekly editor Henry Goldblatt Sunday during the show’s farewell panel at New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival.
Amid a chorus of laughter, the leading lady herself, Julianna Margulies, admitted her character is “exhausted,” adding, “I’ve never looked at it as a whole, and when you say that, I just… poor Alicia. Alicia needs a vacation.” And she just might have the chance to take one. After 156 episodes spanning seven seasons, the CBS drama will conclude on May 8. Before the series finale, though, Margulies joined fellow castmates Matt Czuchry (Cary Agos) and Cush Jumbo (Lucca Quinn), plus showrunners Robert and Michelle King, for a trip down memory lane Sunday, tackling everything from Alicia’s future to rumors Josh Charles will return as Will Gardner in the series finale. Read on for five things we learned from the chat.
1. The show is ending because it’s time.
Sunday nights soon won’t be the same for The Good Wife fans, who this year discovered the current season would be the last. For showrunner Robert King, the decision came down to plot limitations. “It felt like a show that you had to end,” he explained. “It didn’t feel like a show that you could keep having crazy things happen to you. At a certain point, you escape the realm of probability.” Meanwhile, Czuchry is thankful the Kings can end their story on their own terms. “I do think there is benefit in knowing that this is the end and fans are going to get the closure,” he shared. “You don’t always get that with television shows.”
2. It’s too soon to discuss a spin-off.
With fans anticipating a spin-off, Goldblatt offered some options: The Good Cary or Carry On. But despite being amused by the pitch, Czuchry said his mind isn’t ready to ponder a future for his character. “It’s such a tough question to ask right now because we just finished on Monday,” he said. “On a personal level, we’re all trying to gain closure on something that we experienced for seven years. With that, we’ve just put in so many hours and so much dedication into the material and there’s been a lot of sacrifice that goes into that. So right now, my brain is trying to wrap itself around, ‘Okay, what kind of closure do I need personally to get to that next place professionally?’ And it’s not a way to avoid the answer. It’s just an honest answer in saying that it takes a lot for us to invest in these characters and invest in this time. It’s going to take an equal amount to decompress and cleanse from that experience.”
3. Alicia is not really drinking red wine.
If you’ve ever thought Alicia was tipsy, let’s attribute it solely to Margulies’ superb acting chops. “I wish it was red wine,” she said of what’s really in her glass as she films scenes. “It’s Welch’s grape juice. I mean, honestly — especially if you start in the morning. With a 6 a.m. call, you get to set. By 7:30, you’ve had a gallon of Welch’s grape juice. It’s a good sugar high.”
4. Fans have made the actors crack up.
Over the years, the cast has faced their fair share of ridiculous run-ins with fans — a few of which they highlighted Sunday. “My husband and I were at a Broadway show and during intermission we went to get a glass of wine or something at the bar,” Margulies said of her favorite encounter. “And a man was in line behind us. I think this was year three of the show … This man grabbed my arm and said, ‘I’m in the middle of a divorce. You must come to court on Monday.'” As the audience roared with laughter, Margulies added, “I thought, ‘Oh, okay, so he thinks I’m really a lawyer.'”
But Czuchry has a story too graphic for primetime. “I got recognized in a locker room one time in a gym by a naked man,” he said. “And I was sitting down and he was standing up. He loved The Good Wife. Things were flopping in all sorts of directions. That was a pretty good one. I have no idea what he said to me, by the way.”
5. Alicia’s happy ending is not guaranteed.
After all her ups and downs, it seems Alicia may have finally found love at the right time with investigator Jason (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Still, even as Alicia plans her divorce from Gov. Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), there’s no telling if Alicia will leave us on a romantic high note. “Is there any chance we’re getting a happy ending for her?” Goldblatt asked Michelle King. “Sure. There’s always a chance,” she answered. “But if you ask me, ‘Is there a chance there’s going to be an unhappy ending for her?’ I’d give you the same answer.” Indeed, Margulies suggested there might be a mix of both when she summed up the finale in these three words: “Satisfying, uplifting, and sad.”
The remaining episodes of The Good Wife air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.