This post discusses details from the episode that aired on Sunday, March 23.
Will Gardner's death on "The Good Wife" was arguably the most shocking TV demise in recent memory.
“OH MY GOD GOOD WIFE WHAT DID YOU DO?!” one fan tweeted after it was revealed that Will, the driven and charismatic lawyer who, until this week, was the show’s male lead, had died from his gunshot wounds. Even for critics who knew the episode would feature an OMG moment, the death came out of left field.
“I had heard scuttlebutt that Josh Charles [who played Will] was planning on leaving the show soon, and had seen ominous tweets that this episode was a game-changer,” wrote Time television critic James Poniewozik. “But the nature in which the game changed was a shock, and certainly a risk for The Good Wife‘s staff–not only killing off a major character but putting a bullet through one of the central relationships on the show.”
Eliminating Will was certainly a risk on the showrunners’ part. But it was one worth taking—because it means the liberation of his on-again, off-again love interest, the main protagonist Alicia Florrick. In killing off the beloved character, showrunners Robert and Michelle King are making a statement: Alicia Florrick is not defined by her love interests, and her story does not end because Will's does. As the Kings said in their letter to fans after Will’s swan song aired, their series is about “the Education of Alicia Florrick,” not “the Wooing of Alicia Florrick.” Alicia is freed from having her love life dictate her storylines and define her character for the foreseeable future. And in an entertainment landscape in which women still vie to be seen as fully realized people, rather than supporting characters in male-driven narrative or as mere objects of desire, it is a bold and welcome move.