In a parallel universe The Good Wife films on a sun-drenched studio lot in L.A. and stars someone other than Julianna Margulies. It turns out that Robert and Michelle King, the writing duo behind the much-loved CBS drama, originally planned to shoot the series in L.A. or Vancouver. But their top pick to play scorned wife Alicia Florrick, Julianna Margulies, wouldn’t leave her native New York for the role. “Good luck with that,” she told them. So the Kings agreed to make some adjustments to get the actress to sign on.
That’s just one of the interesting admissions from last night’s Good Wife panel at the 11th annual New York Times Arts and Leisure Weekend. Robert and Michelle King, Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles, and Christine Baranski were all on hand to chat about the show with moderator Patricia Cohen. Here are a few other highlights from the Jan. 6 event:
On how the show has evolved from Robert and Michelle King’s original plans:
Michelle King said that, structurally, she was hoping the show would be a little more procedural, but now she’s fortunate that they are able to explore all the characters. She also admitted that two of the show’s popular characters, Diane and Cary, were “failures.” “Diane was supposed to give Alicia more trouble. But we liked her too much. She couldn’t be the antagonist,” Michelle King said. “Same thing with Cary. We fell in love with Cary and Matt Czuchry. So we lost another antagonist.” Without missing a beat, Margulies gave the Kings some advice: “Just hire a–holes!”
On Will and Alicia’s seemingly short-lived relationship:
Josh Charles said it “feels right. It allows us to go deeper into Will as a character.” Charles added that the end of their relationship means that the show could explore Will’s relationship with other characters, like Diane. But before you get too disappointed about the end of Will and Alicia, Margulies was quick to add: “Who’s to say that it’s over?”
Christine Baranski on her strong female character, firm partner Diane Lockhart:
“She’s a woman over 50 who doesn’t go home and drink herself into a stupor. And she’s not a bitch.”
On this season’s new Sunday night timeslot:
Robert King said the move wasn’t presented as a negative thing by network CBS: “They have confidence in the show.” But at the same time, they’ve been frustrated with the many east coast delays due to NFL games, so he said they’re in constant talks with CBS. Michelle King had a different take: “We’re just hoping the NFL strikes,” she joked.