Vacation's over for the casts and crews of shows like ''The Good Wife'' and ''Gossip Girl.'' EW visited their sets to get an exclusive look at the stars reuniting on the job

By EW Staff
Updated August 05, 2011 at 12:00 PM EDT
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The Good Wife

Brooklyn ? July 21, 2011

The cast and crew of CBS’ drama The Good Wife got quite a gift on their first day back at work: nine Emmy nods, including Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for Julianna Margulies for her portrayal of Alicia Florrick. ”There was champagne and cupcakes,” says the actress. ”That was definitely a fun way to start.” Although Margulies dreaded the end of her hiatus — and the beginning of extremely long hours on set filming season 3 — she says the thought of her co-workers made it bearable. ”It’s the same thing I had experienced on ER,” she explains. ”These are the people who see you at your most vulnerable, your most tired, your most excited, your most happy. I would say I missed them the most.” —Tanner Stransky

Desperate Housewives

Golden Oak Ranch, Newhall, Calif. ? July 14, 2011

With seven seasons in the can, traditions are long-solidified at the ABC dramedy, including the cast’s off-site table read of the season’s first script. Every July the gang gathers at series creator Marc Cherry’s house or a favorite restaurant for the buoyant reunion. ”We all come together, we have a great meal, everyone’s catching up on summer vacations, we read the first script, and then we go, ‘Okay! Here we go!’ ” says Eva Longoria, who plays Gabrielle Solis on the series. ”And we buckle up and settle in for the ride.” That ride, of course, is rather grueling for the women of Wisteria Lane. ”On the first day back, we’re hooked up to the machine, because for the next 10 months you have no control of your life,” Longoria says. ”You’re at the mercy of shooting! When you’re working, you’re working. So that’s why we enjoy our vacation.” —TS


Los Angeles ? July 20, 2011

”Coming back to work is like being back at school — it’s like you never left,” laughs Lauren Graham, who plays single mom Sarah Braverman on the NBC drama. ”The first day we were all together to shoot Sarah’s 40th birthday was really fun, except for the director, who was not having any fun trying to get everyone who hadn’t seen each other to shut up.” Season 3 begins six months ahead of where we left off, with Sarah’s daughter, Amber (Mae Whitman), leaving the nest. ”Last season they dyed Mae’s hair so she looked more like my kid,” says Graham. ”She came back to work with one side shaved and blond. And she was like, ‘Do you think anyone will notice?’ And I was like, ‘Uh, yeah. Don’t you remember Felicity?”’ —Jessica Shaw


The Vampire Diaries

Atlanta ? July 18, 2011

Filming in a Georgia heat wave isn’t ideal, but the cast of the CW show was still eager to begin work on season 3 last month. ”We take ice packs and we put them on our wrist, or on our neck, or down our pants…in the weirdest spots, just to keep cool,” says Nina Dobrev, who stars as the mortal Elena. After last season’s cliff-hanger, which saw Paul Wesley’s Stefan head out of town, Dobrev is getting accustomed to having more scenes with Ian Somerhalder, who plays bad boy Damon (and is rumored to be Dobrev’s boyfriend in real life). ”I see Paul in the halls,” she says, ”and it’s funny because we’re like, ‘Oh, hey! How’s it going?’ ” But the gang will have plenty of opportunities to hang out off screen: ”We rented a lake house for the summer as a cast,” says Dobrev. ”Whoever has a day off can go up and use it.” —Mandi Bierly

Gossip Girl

Long Island City, N.Y. ? July 11, 2011

”In the beginning it was a lightning flash of amazing opportunity and experience,” says Penn Badgley of The CW’s Gossip Girl. ”Then that subsides, and you’re a little over it. You run through the whole gamut of emotions.” Now, as season 5 gets under way, Badgley revels in the familiarity of being back on set with his costars after a summer apart. ”We’ve been a part of each other’s lives over the past four years,” he says. ”You want to catch up when it’s been a while.” Gossip Girl‘s season starts off similarly for Dan (Badgley), Nate (Chace Crawford), Chuck (Ed Westwick) & Co., who reconvene after spending the summer on different coasts. Jumping back into life on the Upper East Side is ”second nature,” Badgley says. ”You don’t have to think about it — or anything,” he jokes. —Sandra Gonzalez

Hawaii Five-0

Oahu ? July 11, 2011

CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 kicked off its second season with a traditional Polynesian blessing, leis and all. ”It’s a very emotional moment to launch a new season,” explains Los Angeles-based exec producer Peter Lenkov, who was on set for the occasion. ”It’s for morale. I want to make sure we are firing on all cylinders.” No worries there: Besides bringing on Heroes‘ Masi Oka (Dr. Max Bergman) as a series regular, the Five-0 team has recruited Lost alum Terry O’Quinn to play a recurring role this season as an ex-Navy SEAL and mentor to Alex O’Loughlin’s Steve McGarrett. For O’Quinn, returning to the island has meant a reunion with more than just former costar Daniel Dae Kim. ”I love being here because the people are so nice to work with,” he says. ”It’s the same crew, practically, that we had on Lost. It’s very family-like.” —Lynette Rice

Episode Recaps

The Vampire Diaries

Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley star in the CW’s romance-infused vampire soap opera.

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