Closing Arguments

Every episode of CBS’ riveting political/legal/relationship/family drama The Good Wife ends with more questions than answers — and that’s a good thing. Last night’s season-2 finale, titled “Closing Arguments,” was no different, serving up quite the satisfying end when — SPOILER ALERT — the titular Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) finally headed into a hotel room for a little adult-time fun with longtime love interest Will (Josh Charles). While the hook-up was exactly what most viewers wanted to see happen, it brought with it a whole new set of queries: What does Will and Alicia’s new romantic relationship mean for their working relationship? Was their rendezvous planned from the beginning? Where does the relationship between Alicia and Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) stand? Where do all these developments leave Alicia’s hubby and new state’s attorney Peter (Chris Noth)? What’s on tap for next season? And most importantly: Does a presidential suite in a hotel really cost $7,800?

While Josh Charles previewed last night’s episode for you yesterday, we tapped Robert and Michelle King — the married co-creators and co-executive producers of The Good Wife — to chew the fat a bit and answer all these burning questions (and many more!) here this morning:

Was the final sequence of last night’s episode — which saw Alicia finally head toward sealing the deal with Will — always intended to be the end of season 2? Nope, surprisingly, the very satisfying rendezvous between Alicia and Will was supposed to happen earlier this season. “I think one of the things we wanted to do was not have this year end as kind of a cliffhanger, because we didn’t want to tease the audience with, ‘Oh come back come back to us,’” says Robert, noting last year’s season-finale cliffhanger that saw Will proclaim his love for Alicia in a voicemail that Eli (Alan Cumming) promptly jettisoned. Of last night’s ender, Robert adds: “It was something that satisfied the question of this year, and we think that’s what this season did. But then there are all these repercussions. The nice thing about this show for us is it’s playing a little more like life, which is there are all these satisfying moments in life but they also have ripples, a ripple effect afterwards. That’s what we think will happen next year.”

What’s Will and Alicia’s working relationship going to be like going forward? Well, that’s what season 3 is all about, says Michelle — so tune in! But Robert elaborates for us a bit: “I mean, look, he’s her boss. There’s a satisfaction in seeing them together, but that is going to be awkward. And also Alicia is going to become more desirable to other law firms, and the combination of that and what happened is going to put some strain on that relationship.”

Would a presidential suite actually cost $7,800? Inquiring minds want to know whether Will really would have had to pay that much to get such a room in a hotel. “We actually had people in New York City think that’s too cheap for a presidential suite,” says Robert, with a laugh. “We’ve never stayed in a presidential suite. When I was writing a movie in England, there was this expensive suite that came with its own personal butler. I didn’t pay for it, so it’s kind of based on that and how much that would be these days.”

What was that enrapturing song that played during those last few minutes of the episode? Mika’s “Any Other World.” And using such a song was somewhat of a departure for the show. “We haven’t been doing the songs because we’ve been trying to avoid the whole slow-motion end of shows where it feels like the drama of the episode is relying on the song,” Robert says. “But on the other hand we didn’t want this to just be the silence of the elevator.”

Will Alicia and Kalinda ever go back to being good friends? The road to a rekindled friendship for these two is a long one. But Michelle and Robert hint that the pair will eventually come back together. “They are in a very bad place at the end of this season,” Robert says. “What we kind of want to explore is: Can friendship come back from that? Because if there’s anything that Alicia needs in her life, it’s friends. Our sense is that Kalinda and Alicia are kind of meant for each other on a friendship level, so the question is also: Can you come back from this? It’s not something that happens overnight. That, I think, is one of the interesting things for us about next year.”

Was Kalinda’s sexual interaction with Sophia (Kelly Giddish) — and following reaction, after she found out that she was married — intended to redeem the villainous investigator in light of her sleeping with Peter? “I don’t think we actually think of Kalinda as villainous, per se,” explains Michelle King. “It’s just that she’s been hedonistic and we wanted to dramatize what happens when that hedonism bumps up against her friendship, and so the thinking is that her feelings do change about her behavior somewhat and suddenly something she wouldn’t have thought twice about — which was fooling around with a married woman — suddenly does seem real to her.”

Are we supposed to feel bad for Kalinda at the end of the episode? “There’s an element of Kalinda that is Tomb Raider-esque, Lara Croft,” says Robert. “In many ways, that is an image of this woman who kicks a– and doesn’t really need friends. Doesn’t really go out to drinks with people. She just is kind of a little removed, a little aloof, and that kind of makes her sexy. But then on the other hand, how is that to live with every day? And that was what was interesting to us about Kalinda. And especially what Archie Punjabi does with it — which is: What is the human side of someone who kicks ass? In many ways, it comes down to that exchange which is what I found that is that I don’t have to confide in anybody, Kalinda let her guard down too much in her mind, which is I let someone become my friend, and it blew up in my face, so f— that.” Kalinda, it turns out, thinks that her recent actions — that’d be letting her guard down — make her weak. “That actually can make her sexy to a certain extent of the audience, which is I’m going to be even more brutal,” says Robert. “‘I’m not going to be less.’ That’s one of things we want to pull in next year, too.”

Speaking of villains, when did Jackie (Mary Beth Peil) become so evil? “I will jump in and defend our character saying, No not a villain,” says Michelle. “I really think Jackie is completely justified in her own mind that she is working from, in her universe, pure good, protecting her son Peter. And she doesn’t know all the facts, and all she can see is that Alicia wounded him to her eyes it was completely unjustified.” Says Robert: Having said that, structurally she plays a very antagonistic role to Alicia. There’s supposed to be few cheering moments, when Alicia stands up to her because she is being this kind of monster mother-in-law. She is going to play a lot of that role next year in our minds.”

How did it come to be that Eli (Alan Cumming) would join Lockhart Gardner? “It felt an interesting way to rethink the Eli and Alicia relationship by having him be her boss,” says Robert. “One of the things was because we got Alan Cumming — we were happy that that worked out — our hope was also to use Eli somehow in-house. We didn’t know whether it would be piecemeal and it would all depend on how much we got Alan Cummin,g so once we realized we got him we decided to go whole hog.”

Would a campaign manager actually join a law firm like this in real life? Apparently, according to Michelle. “When we were speaking with some consultants,” she says, “this was actually the reality of it.” Adds Robert: “They basically need a home and a place to make money while kind of between the campaign so it just felt like it was kismet for us.”

Why would new state’s attorney Peter send that essential evidence/glove to Lockhart Gardner? “We kind of wanted to be a little mysterious with that,” says Robert. “At the moment you’re thinking it is about the transition, which Diane mentioned. The bottom line is when the new state’s attorney comes in, they kind of sweep out all their problems, and this was a problem for them. It was a glove that was held possibly in the evidence room, or was misfiled. So we kicked it out the door. But you’re wondering whether it was because he has some good in him.That’s part of the exploration next year: How much is Peter truly a changed man and how much is he not?”

Now that Peter is the state’s attorney again, what becomes of Glenn Childs (Titus Welliver)? “We love the actor, Titus Welliver,” Michelle says, “so our hope is to find some organic way [to keep him in the fold].” Adds Robert: “The [writer’s] room has been pushing, and we’ve been pushing for ways to make it work. The bottom line is: Titus is probably the most desired man in Hollywood right now, so we are planning because we have places to make it work, but we just don’t know whether we’ll get Titus.”

Is it possible that America Ferrera will return to her role of Natalie Flores next season? “Oh my gosh, yes,” Robert says. “We do, we want her back obviously. Can we just leave it at that?”

Will Owen (Dallas Roberts) have more to do next season? “Unfortunately, we had too much plot in the finale, so this last episode was supposed to be evocative of what was coming up next year,” explains Robert. “So with Owen moving back to town and helping Alicia get on her feet, he will actually be friendlier with Jackie than you might think, or Alicia thinks.”

Will we see Will’s old flame Tammy (Elizabeth Reaser) next season? “We loved having her around, but the bottom line is we ran into a problem because she was on the Twilight movies,” explains Robert. “We would love to get her back but I don’t know how that’s going to work with all of her other scheduling issues.” Nothing is out of the question, though — Tammy could easily pop back into Chicago next season. Adds Robert of bringing her back into the fold organically, especially now that Alicia is in the mix: “It comes down to think outside the story sometimes.”

What’s going to happen in season 3? “Our theme for it is taking risks, and I think the bottom line is what we’re finding with Alicia is that now that she’s come out of her shell and she’s getting stronger and stronger,” says Robert. “She’s trying to push whatever minimal power she has. And I think the other key is that Kalinda is becoming a more fully formed person. Can she maintain her fight? That is part of where we’re headed.” Adds Michelle: “This is coming off of season 2 of course where our thinking was that the theme was taking control, that she was taking control of her life. Season 3 is expanded on that. It’s more about taking risks.”

Do you two already know how season three ends? “No, we don’t,” Robert says, adding that they’re in the middle of cranking out next season’s first few episodes already. “We have inklings but we don’t know exactly. We did sort of know for this second year, but the third year is a little bit more interesting.”

Follow Tanner on Twitter @EWTanStransky

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Closing Arguments
The Good Wife

Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles, and Chris Noth star in the legal/family drama.

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