By Stephanie Robbins
Updated May 21, 2014 at 12:00 PM EDT

It’s hard to imagine The Good Wife without Julianna Margulies playing complicated attorney Alicia Florrick. But Margulies revealed she was actually the third choice for her Emmy-winning role.

“When The Good Wife came to me, it came in such a backhanded compliment. [They said] ‘So Ashley Judd was offered this script, but she’s turning it down,'” the actress revealed during a Hollywood Reporter Emmy roundtable of Best Actress from a Drama contenders. Margulies said she was then told that as long as Helen Hunt passed, she could go for the part.

“I was then reading [the script] sort of already defensive, and I wanted to hate it, because, you know, f— you, you didn’t want me to begin with,” she said. “And I’m like your sloppy thirds.”

Margulies also touched on this season’s pivotal story arc — Will Gardner (Josh Charles) being shot and killed — and said producers had to ask permission to kill the beloved character.

“I don’t think they’d have to do this on cable, but we actually had to ask permission if we could kill his character,” she said. “I think [CBS Entertainment president] Nina Tassler and [CBS chairman] Leslie Moonves had to OK it, but they loved the idea. They thought it allowed us to keep the show going, but I don’t think we can ever quite be as twisty and turny without it getting soap opera-y on [broadcast] TV for some reason, because we have to spread it out for 22 episodes.”

To read the full discussion, which also featured The Americans‘ Keri Russell, Bates Motel‘s Vera Farmiga, American Horror Story‘s Sarah Paulson, Homeland‘s Claire Danes, and Mad Men‘s Jessica Pare, go to THR.

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Closing Arguments

The Good Wife

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

  • TV Show
  • 7
  • 156
  • TV-14
  • Off Air
  • CBS
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