It’s tough to end a television show, and when the creators and writers have long been tied to their characters, there’s a difficult balance between pleasing the audience and keeping one’s creative vision intact. ‘The Good Wife’ finale solidified that sad fact with its sub-par last episode, and the audience erupted in rage. In short, she didn’t get the guy, she left her husband, and she got a hard, literal slap in the face from her counterpart, who she arguably crossed for her own benefit. Did she learn anything or find any sense of real happiness along the way? I’d say no, but at least her long lost love made a post-mortem return in a fantasy scene, and we all got to say goodbye to the beloved Will Gardner (Josh Charles).
While I like the idea of a woman having a “happy ending” that is not dependent on a man, there was no happy ending for Alicia. I found an interview with the creators and listened to their cerebral explanation of the episode’s events, and I can only say that they have lived too long with these characters and lost sight of the big picture. According to Robert King and Michelle King, Alicia’s journey began and ended with a “slap,” the first for her husband and the last for her, as she slowly became the corrupt person that she resented in episode one (i.e. her husband). She looks ahead to the future and marches on sans man, and Jason Crouse (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) has disappeared for a less complicated life.
As a lawyer, I resent the notion that zealous representation is corrupt, and I also resent the idea that Alicia’s sense of morality is somehow inversely tied to her ability to advocate for her clients. I believe she became a strong, no-nonsense individual that finally fought for what she wanted in life (a job, a divorce, and a decent love life), and she was not rewarded for any of those revelations. She was punished. It’s no one’s fault, though. Writers and creators just cannot adequately end television shows.
Despite vigorous efforts by CBS and Juliana Margulies to squash feud rumors, the drama won’t die, and Margulies just added fuel to the fire. In an interview with Vulture, Margulies brushed off any bad blood with Archie Panjabi, saying, the decision to film her last scene with her costar via green screen was simply due to scheduling conflicts, as Panjabi was already committed to another show. For viewers that don’t know, the costars have avoided appearing on screen together for multiple seasons, and the audience has often suggested that their mutual dislike is responsible. Though Margulies wants to keep it quiet, Panjabi was less than pleased with her comment, insisting she was ready to film and no such scheduling conflict existed. While I understand the desire to avoid a public display of displeasure, I can’t help but think it’s extremely unprofessional to let personal problems impact a show’s story.
Fans of ‘The Good Wife’ have long suspected a feud between Julianna Margulies (Alicia Florrick) and Archie Panjabi (Kalinda Sharma), and CBS has done a stunning job of controlling any and all press-leaks about what might have caused their chasm. The two characters have not shared a scene together since mid-fourth season, and any contact has occurred over the telephone, which has conveniently kept them apart. When Panjabi announced her exit after season six, fans were elated at the idea of their reunion. Since CBS promised they’d finally share one last scene, viewers naturally assumed they would actually . . . share one last scene. In fact, when creator Robert King was directly asked, he artfully dodged the inquiry, saying, ““I think they’ll be happy with the last episode — the last episode goes there.”
When the much-talked about scene finally aired, social media got to work. Fans noticed the odd lighting and lack of eye contact, and rumors began to circulate that the scene was filmed separately using green screen. When asked, Panjabi gave a cryptic response effectively confirming the suspicion. In response to their lack of screen time, Panjabi has consistently implored the audience to ask the producers, given that she has no creative control (that’s a subtle dig, given that Margulies is a producer).
While there’s no confirmed evidence of any hostility, the answer is obvious. If only I could walk into a desk job and throw down demands as to who I do and do not want to work with, and then ask my entire team to accommodate those demands no matter what the cost or inconvenience. Their vitriol is shocking, and juvenile, and they should be forced to be adults.