'The Good Wife': Creators Robert and Michelle King answer burning questions about last night's explosive episode


Image Credit: Jeffrey Neira/CBS

Every episode of CBS’ The Good Wife typically ups the ante of the one that came before it, but last night’s hour, cheekily titled “Ham Sandwich,” blew wide open the drama’s already knotty atmosphere: Dark, violent investigator Blake (Scott Porter) revealed the shocking news that — SPOILER ALERT – his mysterious nemesis Kalinda (Archie Panjabi, right) slept with her best friend Alicia’s (Julianna Margulies, left) husband, former state’s attorney Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), when she’d worked for him years before (see Ken Tucker’s take). The revelation is more than your typical twist for several reasons, but mostly because it almost transforms two of the show’s most crux-y relationships — the romantic one between spouses Alicia and Peter, and the friendly one between coworkers Alicia and Kalinda.

How long has this revelation been planned? Was it intended as a reboot? Can anything else this season possibly top this? Why not wait until the finale for such a bombshell? We tapped Robert and Michelle King — the married co-creators and co-executive producers of The Good Wife — to answer those burning questions and many more here:

How long has this revelation been planned? Since the show was conceptualized. While the actress only learned of Peter and Kalinda’s indiscretion halfway through shooting this season, the Kings had been planning this particular collision since the pilot was written. Originally, the pair wanted to introduce it quite early in the first season, but the network urged them to wait and ramp up the Kalinda-Alicia relationship first. The Kings got on board and realized the longer wait only deepened the repercussions for Kalinda and Alicia’s friendship. “We had so much invested emotionally with Kalinda and Alicia,” Robert says, “that it was feeling kind of dangerous. It almost made the hairs on the back of your neck stick up and go, Well, should we do that?”

Was the move intended as a reboot? Sure, in a way. Robert likens it to season 3 finale of Mad Men that saw Don (Jon Hamm) and Co. leaving behind the old agency to launch their own, new firm. In essence, it reset everything. “What it gave it was a reboot quality,” Robert says. “That was the intent with this.”

Were there clues that would have pointed to this happening? “I don’t think so,” says Robert. “What we really wanted to do was have these bigger, more operatic things going on, where you’d think those things might be Kalinda’s secret, and so that it would take you off the scent of the real vulnerability that Kalinda is not in some bigger Spy vs. Spy thing.”

Why would Kalinda befriend Alicia after she did such a thing? “A lot of Kalinda’s actions toward Alicia are founded on this backstory that you didn’t know about until now,” teases Robert. “That’s part of the justification for the friendship.” More will be revealed soon about Kalinda’s motives. Promises Michelle: “There is sincerity from Kalinda, which is part of what makes it heart-breaking. It deepens the betrayal and deepens, frankly, the sadness for both of them.”

When will Alicia find out? Right now, Blake, Kalinda, and we viewers know the truth, but Alicia will find out sooner rather than later. “We don’t want to say when,” Robert says. “Tune in and you’ll see!” But Robert did reveal that it will be well before the season finale.

How does this revelation affect the rest of The Good Wife world? This triggers all the other story lines to come together. “This is kind of their meeting point,” Robert says. “Now we’ll head into what would be called the third act in screenwriting. In a movie, you tie up all the loose ends in the last 30 minutes. This is the season’s third act. How do these different threads that were running on different planes suddenly crash and start affecting each other? Everything then kind of bumps up against each other a little bit more the further you move on from here.” That includes Alicia and Will’s (Josh Charles) simmering romance; Cary’s (Matt Czuchry) career trajectory; and Peter’s campaign to get re-elected as the state’s attorney.

Why not save this secret for the finale? “I always feel bad when a year ends on a TV show that I love, and it’s kind of like, OK, now I have to wait six months until the drama starts up again,” Robert explains. “What we wanted to do was involve it within the year itself where you actually see what happens. The biggest disagreement after the decision was made was where we should do it.” Adds Michelle: “After all the arguments that we had, I am completely confident we made the right choice.”

Can anything else in the rest of this season possibly top this? “The very short answer to your question is: Yes,” says Michelle. Robert elaborates: “There is probably one or two more reveals of the equivalent, but I think what’s more important now is the kind of deeper emotional resonance about how all the plots start interweaving. There are episodes that we’re writing now that, humility aside, I think do top it. The last three or four are great.”

Pick up the coming issue of Entertainment Weekly — on stands this Friday — for more dish about this latest twist from The Good Wife‘s creators and stars.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

Read more:
‘The Good Wife’ recap: Kalinda’s BOMBSHELL
‘The Good Wife’ Exclusive: Michael J. Fox will return
Martha Plimpton eyes return to ‘The Good Wife’ — EXCLUSIVE
‘The Good Wife’ scoop: America Ferrera joins for three episodes, Jerry Stiller for one

Comments (106 total) Add your comment
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  • googie

    Best network scripted drama on Tv.

    • Rock Golf

      Well, network TV. [Br]eaking [Ba]d is at least as good.

    • yankeegirl

      it’s good, but the writing and acting is much better on Southland.

      • Wil

        I like Southland, but I disagree on the SL’s acting being better…

      • Dana

        For me, The Good Wife is the best. Nothing surpasses it.

      • Ugh

        i think we should all be happy there is so much quality tv on now. i hate when people go on boards and immediately compare one show to another (every week its modern family vs something!). hooray for well written dramas and hilarious comedies.

    • starbbycat

      love love love the good wife

    • james

      It so deserves to win best series, it just tops each show week after week — especially after the takeover last week. I really hope alicia and kalinda can mend their relationship — they are the fabric of the show.

    • lmb

      I agree. It is the best scripted show. I love it!

  • vic

    Why couldn’t Alicia and Peter try and fix their problems? Why should poor Kalinda be apart of their problem?
    Also I HATE HATE HATE Alicia/Will

    • Lily

      Agreed on Alicia and Will. It’s a snoozefest! Don’t care about Peter so if Alicia leaves him, I’m fine but if she leaves him for Will, it’s like going from bad to worse. No life there.

      • Carry

        Will is worse that Peter? How?

      • Caren

        DId you not see the kiss?

      • Heidi

        I don’t see it as a snoozefest at all, and think it will get ramped up quickly once the firestorm is unleashed. Will and Alicia will practically be running towards each other – him to protect, unable to deny his feelings, but unfortunately her to get quick revenge and make her leaving Peter definite. I don’t see them making it long term though because he’ll be with her for love, and she’ll be with him as a way to hurt less.
        And where does it leave the kids. thats the hardest part here.

        I also feel for Kalinda because this was when Peter was different and Kalinda didn’t know Alicia at all. When Kalinda shared that she wished she had known Alicia back then, Alicia said, no you don’t believe me, we would not have liked each other back then. Truer words never spoken but if Alicia can see she’s different now, can she not accept that Kalinda is different now? I almost wish the friendship would be cleared up before or instead of Alicia and Peter sorting things out.

        Last comment, how does this affect Cary’s work trajectory?

      • Julie

        Seriously? I find Will’s character sexy! Not his looks necessarily, just how he acts. Yum!

    • Dana

      Alicia’s problem is Peter. “Fix their problems”? Wow. Clearly, he has slept with every woman he could get his hands on. Why should Alicia waste one more second of her life on a man who would do that to her?

    • starbbycat

      I love them together

    • Anne

      Nope, let Alicia dump that sack of crap. I hate Alicia/Peter.

      • peachez2

        I love Peter and Alicia together in spite of what happened. He has changed, and so has she. She is no longer a doormat, and she’s hot and sexy. He sees that now. He doesn’t want other women. Will is sleazy. He doesn’t like commitment. He wants what he cant have and he wants what belongs to someone else, just to say he can have it. He knows Peter has tried and is trying to keep his marriage together. Actually he did man up and deliberately lied to Alicia and told her a different story about the phone call message left on Alicia’s phone. I think he wanted to respect her marriage and therefore I don’t hate him. But I want them to keep it like that. No getting together for them, for me.

      • apowell

        I am glad that I am not the only one that likes Peter and Alicia. Peter made some mistakes but his character is complex, interesting and good and bad qualities.

    • james

      I LOVE LOVE Alicia and Will. Josh charles is such a great actor.

    • Cindy

      I have to agree, I don’t like the Alicia/Will “thing” either. I wish the writers would concentrate on the Florricks’ marriage and how Kalinda’s relationship with Peter could strain the troubled marriage. Still its a great show, so I won’t compalin to much.

  • Lily

    Why make it a secret to the actors if they knew it from the start? Didn’t they think it was kind of important for Panjabi or Noth to know they had a past instead of going blind into it? Please.
    They had no idea it was going to happen until they wrote it.

    Not that I care. I think the impact on the Alicia and Kalinda relationship will be great.

    But it’s definitely a Back to the Future thing when the past has been changed unbeknownst to the characters and suddenly everything past takes on a different color. It feels like a cheat?

    Also sorry but Kalinda has a desperate bored housewife? No way.
    The trust issues, the control issues, the sex manipulations, all point to more complicated issues in her past.

  • Ingmar

    Best drama indeed. So great.

  • Tego Livi

    What I particularly like about this show is the density of the storytelling–there are as many continuing plots as there are in 3 normal shows. And even though they can’t cover every plot in every episode, there are little comments and looks and reminders dropped in flawlessly which show the whole thing is carefully planned. And it all works.

  • julia

    I am so over “The Good Wife”..the writers have made Alicia into a 1950’s woman, mooning over Will all the time..Why not get a divorce and move on..Of course who in their right mind would want to move on from “Mr. Big”

    • E

      1950s? Never occurred to me. Marriage with children is not an easy road even without infidelity. I think it’s completely plausible that a married woman with children would have an inner debate about divorce and why she would do it (if she did it) and if it’s worth it. Will is a single guy with no children. Lots to consider…

    • JBW

      Some people still mean it when they stand up in a church and say, “Til death do us part.” I believe Alicia’s struggle with forgiving her husband and being there for her children. And there weren’t too many women attorney’s at law firms in the 1950’s. . .

  • jfms777

    Brilliant move on the writers’ part. Who woulda thunk? However, I don’t think the show creators envisioned that the public would be so fascinated by the “Kalinda” character. She just might be the most interesting character on series tv (currently).

  • Nancy Sussan

    Somehow I thought we already knew this. There was a telling moment between Kalinda & Peter last season, a discussion about a call girl or something and it was clear they’d been together in more ways than professional and that she felt bad about it….

    • Anne

      I agree. I always thought there was more to Peter & Kalinda. But I thought the writers dropped it in favor of the Kalinda/Alicia relationship. Lawd, I hope Alicia wakes up and finally leaves Peter.

    • KSH

      I am glad I was not the only one not shocked. At the beginning when the video of peter came out with the call girl and Glenn Childs called Kalinda to testify I could tell there was something she knew about Peter or Peter had tried to get her in the bed or something!

      • Raquel

        I thought the exact same thing. I wasn’t surprised.

      • Heidi

        It did cross my mind but I thought more likely that she did alot of Peter’s dirty work and knew alot of cover ups. I saw their link more in that way than a sexual way.

      • Lana

        Me too! I definitely felt that something went on between them after watching that episode. And I thought the only thing that stopped her from revealing it while she was on the stand was when she made reference to a particular judge who was married and had an affinity for african american prostitutes (or something to that effect). I think the judge of the trial ended up being the judge in question and he stopped the line of questioning to cover his own butt.

    • DeeDee

      Absolutely. While it certainly wasn’t totally telegraphed, the revalation is not as surprising as this writer implies. Kalinda was always a bit different around Alicia and it seemed odd to me that Kalinda was a bit drawn to Alicia. Almost like a curiosity factor and there was an unspoken history. Was just waiting for someone to actually SAY it. I think the brilliance of Good Wife is that they have the patience to build relationships and acknowledge that life is not black and white. Life and love are complicated things and the writers really get it.

    • Sue1

      Completely agree. I wasn’t surprised by this, and thought it had certainly been hinted at already. There are many scenarios here, and I love how this show does that, gives us so much.

    • Kim

      I agree. There was definitely a scene during the first season where it seemed like they were hinting at something

    • Caren

      I totally suspected it last season, didn’t they hint at it?

      • Rebecca

        I agree as well. In fact I swear I remember a scene between Alicia and Kalinda very early on, after we find out that Kalinda and Peter knew each other, where Alicia flat out asked if she had slept with her husband. At the time the answer was “no”. Are we maybe supposed to be surprised that Kalinda lied to her face…?

    • SMJ

      Yeah, when Blake said it, I recalled a hint of this last season, but I’d forgotten all about it. Great show.

      • lisa

        I think this is a great show too, but somehow wasn’t surprised by the the Kalinda/Peter reveal. we knew they had a shadey past, so not a surprise a huge surprise since both Peter and Kalinda are liars for a living, but it will change the show dynamic. Frankly,
        I was more interested in Kalinda’s back story ie: did she stage her own death, (with Peter’s help), to get away from a mobster hit or an abusive ex husband or something. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Would like to see Alicia single or with someone new, since Will is cut from same cloth as Peter.

    • Valley Girl

      Yes, I thought there were hints, but I couldn’t remember when – thanks!

    • Lala

      Also explains why Kalinda was so cool and standoffish to Alicia in the beginning of the series. I know, this is her basic demeanor. But she seemed to particularly dislike Alicia. It seemed at the time she thought Alicia to be a privileged housewife. Now, different reasons.

  • JenR

    Did Blake say that Will ordered him to hurt someone? Did that happen? I was hoping that finding out about Peter and Kalinda would drive Alicia to Will again, but not if he had someone hurt or killed. I feel like I missed something. Can someone explain what they were hinting at?

    • Flyer

      Blake knee-capped the doctor so he couldn’t testify and ruin their case. It’s one of those situations where Will asked Blake to “take care of the problem.” Blake can say that of course he knew that Will meant deal with it physically, as he’d done on previous cases for Will’s old law firm. Will can claim that he meant no such thing, and that Blake completely misunderstood Will’s intention. It’s up to viewers to decide whether or not Will was deliberately ambiguous and knew exactly what he was asking Blake to do.

    • Flyer

      This occurred in a prior episode and was the attack that Kalinda was being accused of in the grand jury hearing. Blake used Kalinda’s bat in the attack, and also placed a glass with her fingerprints in the doctor’s office.

    • Lala

      No, the doctor thing is fairly obvious. But this stuff with the previous law firm – isn’t that the first time we heard this, or that Will and Blake had a prior history?

  • DW

    The best show on tv. Great writing and production values and a truly brilliant cast. Really a great show.

  • DC

    When Kalinda went to the jail to get info from Peter, there was an underlying current of something shared between the two of them. I thought at the time it was they had been involved or shared some secret. Good job of pulling that from the actors knowing that they didn’t even know at the time.

  • KSH

    I love it. I hope that Will or Diane knew about the affair and didn’t tell Alicia that would totally make a great storyline.

    • Lala

      hmmmm, i like that but cannot decide if it will be better (worse for Alicia) if it was Will or Diane. It seems like Will would have already used that in order to permanently split Alicia and Peter and have her for himself.

  • Lyn

    I like it! I actually had forgotten Kalinda and Peter had a prior connection. It makes Alicia’s task of forgiveness even more problematic . . . and also (I hope) nips the angle that Kalinda’s our mysterious innocent darling and Blake’s the evil one. They’re both pretty twisted!

  • anonymous

    This is gonna be hard to watch. I love the Alicia/Kalinda relationship and I think that, whatever her initial motivation was, that Kalinda does genuinely like Alicia.

  • Jay

    When I tell you my jaw dropped! It DROPPED! Def. didn’t see this coming. I am glad that this was not revealed in a spoiler or anything. Truly one of the best shows on TV, which says a lot cuz I usually hate CBS.

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