The Good Wife recap: 'Dramatics, Your Honor'
Everything about the show changes with a shocking and devastating twist
I’m not okay. And chances are, you aren’t either. But we’ve got to talk about what just happened. So take a deep breath, and we’ll get through this together. (Or we’ll never recover, and I’ll just continue to sob on my couch for the rest of the night…It’s still a tossup at this point.) Obviously, there are some major spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution:
The Good Wife promo from last week promised us that this was the episode everyone would be talking about. And I can honestly say I did NOT see that twist coming. Will Gardner (played by the beloved Josh Charles) is dead. Really dead. Jeffrey Grant (returning guest star Hunter Parrish) went on a shooting spree in the middle of his trial, and Will was one of the victims. How are we supposed to be okay with this, Good Wife writers? (I will now pause to finish the pint of ice cream in my freezer.)
After such a funny, Carrie Preston-centric episode last week, it’s hard to believe things took such a dramatic, heart-wrenching turn. But I suppose that’s why they titled the episode “Dramatics, Your Honor.” We first met Jeffrey Grant earlier this season when he was accused of killing Dani Littlejohn. He was offered a plea deal, but didn’t take it. (It’s worth noting that Kalinda wasn’t convinced of his innocence from the beginning.) So Will faced Finn Polmar (Matthew Goode) in court to get Jeffrey acquitted. The crutch of Will’s defense was that the DNA found under Dani’s fingernails was “touch DNA,” or DNA transferred via skin cells.
Will thought he caught a break with his touch DNA angle, but it didn’t hold up. They were back to square one trying to figure out how to even hint that Jeffery and Dani had crossed paths prior to the murder. The great irony here is that Kalinda and Diane clearly doubted Jeffrey’s innocence. It was Will, who had been Jeffrey’s biggest champion. And it was Will who continued to fight so hard to save Jeffrey from a guilty verdict.
NEXT PAGE: The moment that changes everything….
But Jeffrey and his parents had their doubts. Jeffrey’s parents called Alicia at Florrick/Agos for a second opinion. And perhaps because of their heart-to-heart of sorts from last week, Alicia warned Will that they were considering a second option. In retrospect, this was particularly special because it was their last moment together. And it was on pleasant, happy terms. (Here come the tears again.) I don’t know if I ever wanted Will and Alicia would end up together in the end. But I at least wanted the option. So now that that’s clearly off the table, what now? I don’t know how The Good Wife continues without the Will/Alicia dynamic.
Another emotionally telling moment was Kalinda’s conversation with Will. She admitted to him that she wanted to leave the firm. I assumed she was (like Cary did with Alicia earlier in the ep) just going to confess her new(ish) relationship. But instead, she told him she wanted to do something different with her life. “What, farming?” quipped Will. She said it wasn’t about money or Alicia, but that she just didn’t want to be doing the same thing for the next 20 years.
Will: “Okay, I’m gonna be honest. You know this is crap. I know this is crap. Every few months you do this.”
Kalinda: “And this time, I am serious.”
Will: “You and I were built for this, Kalinda. It’s what we do. We can look at normal people and want to be like them, but we can’t really.”
Kalinda: “Is that supposed to be a pep talk? Because it’s terrible.”
In the end, Will told her to take some time off, but he said she’d undoubtedly come back. If she only knew what was around the corner! (Scheduled crying break!)
Back to Jeffrey’s trial: Kalinda finally found the break they needed on the case. Dani and Jeffrey were both treated at the same hospital the night of the murder. Kalinda learned that the paramedics who brought both Dani and Jeffrey in didn’t swap out the sheets. That would explain the touch DNA transfer, and the paramedic was willing to testify.
But all of this became moot. Jeffrey cracked under the pressures of the trial. Jeffrey stole a gun from one of the officers on duty in the courtroom, and went on a shooting spree. Thankfully, we didn’t see most of this. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to handle it. Most of the story was told outside of the courtroom. The scene changed to Diane’s courtroom, down the hall from the shooting, where we heard the shots and the screaming. This is when my heart started beating, and I started screaming, “No! No!” repeatedly at the TV. That shot of Will’s lost shoe and Jeffrey trying to kill himself but failing. It was too heartbreaking. And it will haunt my TV dreams for the foreseeable future.
NEXT PAGE: The aftermath of the shooting….
I kept talking to the TV, assuring myself mostly, that what I was watching couldn’t actually be happening. There’s NO WAY Will Gardner is dead. But it’s not just some hallucination. He’s gone. And I can’t stop the tears! At this point in all the dramatics, I reminded myself that Will is just a fictional character, and that I probably should be having such a reaction to his death. But I was just in pure shock. Normally, these kind of spoilers make their way around the EW office prior to air. But this was a well-guarded secret. Because prior to tonight, I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me that “Hitting the Fan” wouldn’t be the craziest episode of the season.
Anyway, someone obviously had to tell Alicia. They had trouble getting ahold of her because she was in the middle of the correspondents’ luncheon. But Kalinda finally got Eli to answer. And he pulled her off the stage to break the news. She answered the phone, and the episode ended.
The voter fraud scandal that’s been at the forefront of the last few episodes clearly took a backseat to Will’s story line. But here’s what happened there: Nelson Dubek went to see Alicia again. He asked her to submit to a voluntary deposition, hoping that she would go on the record before Will did. Alicia warned Eli that Nelson Dubek was coming after them, but ultimately agreed to the deposition so she could maintain some level of control over the situation. Alicia asked Cary to represent her.
At the deposition, Alicia rocked an incredible outfit (and even more impeccable posture). Nelson Dubek admitted to having Alicia followed, and eventually took a stab at Will and Alicia’s romantic relationship after he showed her multiple versions of the voter fraud tape. Noticing that he was grasping at straws, Alicia dropped this incredible Alicia truth bomb: “I know the investigator is in trouble when he makes it personal…. You’re losing, Mr. Dubek.” But that didn’t deter Dubek: “You can bury your head in the sand, Mrs. Florrick, but once Will Gardner testifies, the dominoes will start falling.” Little does he know that testimony from Will is never going to happen. I’ll admit, I dislike Dubek and really want to see him fail. But this is not the way I wanted it to happen.
NEXT PAGE The episode’s memorable (non-depressing) lines….
Memorable lines and moments from “Dramatics, Your Honor”:
++ Alicia: “When you say you’re seeing her…”
Cary: [Just gives Alicia this look]
Alicia: “I thought she was gay.”
Cary: “Bi…Or something.”
Alicia: “Good. None of my business.”
Cary: “Do you think this is the way Will and Diane talk?”
Alicia: [Laughs] We just need a shot of bourbon.”
Cary: “I’ll get some.”
++ Will: “Kalinda, I could kiss you.”
Kalinda: “Not here.”
++ Will: “What do you have?”
Finn: “Me? Nothing. You know, just a song in my heart.”
++”It’s like Perry Mason here with all this late-arriving stuff.” —Judge Politi (Vincent Curatola)
++ Will: “Keeping the world safe for drunk CEOs.”
Diane: “[Laughs] It’s my new motto!
++ Alicia: “Hey, we might have our differences. But you’re the better lawyer.”
Will: “I am, aren’t I?”
Alicia: “[Laughs] And the more humble!”
++ “When your men are trailing me, and they’re too far away to hear, just have them signal, and I’ll talk louder.” —Alicia, to Nelson Dubek
We didn’t get to see Alicia’s reaction to the news, but we did get an extended teaser for the rest of season 5. It looks like things are going to get pretty interesting. I still can’t picture this show without Will Gardner. But it looks like we’re going to see that happen. Sound off with all your thoughts about the episode, but before you do, check out this statement from Robert and Michelle King
Goodbye, Will Gardner!! We’re gonna miss you.