Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to submit nomination ballots, EW.com will feature interviews with some of the actors and actresses whose names we hope to hear when nominations are announced on July 18.
Of all the talented guest stars who pop up on the CBS drama The Good Wife, Carrie Preston’s Elsbeth Tascioni consistently remains a fan favorite. Elsbeth is the quirky—part crazy/part genius—lawyer who manages to steal every scene she’s in, and serve up the laughs while she’s doing it. Here, Preston shares her favorite scenes of the season and confesses that she, too, would love an Elsbeth-themed spinoff.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Elsbeth appeared in three season 4 episodes. Do you have a favorite Elsbeth scene or moment?
CARRIE PRESTON: I have several because I had such a wonderful arc this time. They were giving me such delicious things to do! But I would say it’s a toss-up between the scene [in episode 12] with the psychiatrist where she’s giving me that test to see if I am stable enough to be released from prison. I had gotten coached by Alicia on how to do that. So that was a very fun scene to play because I was trying to follow Alicia’s direction, but at the same time I couldn’t not be in the moment with this ridiculous therapist and it just made me—and when I say “me,” I mean Elsbeth—giggle and get off track, as she is wont to do.
Elsbeth failed that psychiatric evaluation, right?
She did fail the test! [Laughs] I just feel like sometimes when the stakes are that high, maybe she gets a little flustered. I think she’s best left alone because then she can surmount any obstacle in her way. But she was being too closely scrutinized and became very self-conscious, which of course led to a lot of levity to the proceedings.
What’s your other favorite scene?
The scene in the sports arena where I had to come running down the center line. That was very funny. When I showed up for the scene, I didn’t realize we were shooting in such a huge track, nor did I realize that they were going to have me running down the track. They had me in heels, and I said, “Okay, well I guess I’m going to be taking the shoes off and holding them!”
So it wasn’t scripted for you to run with your heels in your hand?
No! There is no way I can run in heels anywhere, much less in the middle of a track. And then I had to go up some stairs and then land and speak French. So that was a very big challenge for me, seeing as I definitely do not speak French. And then the running from zero to 100 and then landing and spewing her very Tascioni-esque dialogue was quite fun and challenging.
How did you learn your French lines?
I have a friend who speaks French. So I had her tape it for me. That’s how I learned it at home, and they had someone on set who is making sure that I was speaking it correctly.
Several of you had to speak French in that episode.
Yeah, everyone had to learn the French. The actor who was playing the judge [Ronald Guttman] is originally from France or Belgium or something and he spoke French fluently. He was helpful, too. I only had to say a few phrases, but for me, the French language is a challenge.
How much did you know about Elsbeth’s arc when you signed on for the season?
Not much. I guess it was three episodes total and they have to plan those things ahead of time. They have to make sure your schedule is free to do them before they’ll write them. I knew that they were going to bring me on, and we kept hearing from casting that it was going to be really good. So I was definitely getting talked up waiting for the script. When I read that first script where she was in jail, I thought, “Wow! This is going to be so much fun to see what it is like when Elsbeth can’t go anywhere. This is a person who is incredibly busy. What is it like when she’s confined? What happens to her brain?” That was a really exciting prospect. Then when they brought on this Josh Perotti character and it was being played by Kyle MacLachlan, I just thought, “What else could they come up with that could be better than that?” I was pretty thrilled to see what Elsbeth was like with the opposite sex. Especially, someone that she’s attracted to—although would never say it. The case is more important.
I loved that scene from “Going for the Gold” where Elsbeth and Josh share that super awkward lunch together.
I know. But at the same time, she’s completely into it and trying not to be distracted by it. And of course he, being from a different school of eccentricity, was trying to trip her up as well. So it was fun to see how they both played this elaborate game of chess or fencing or whatever game you want to call it. But it was delightful, especially all that food he kept bringing over.
Will there be more Elsbeth in season 5?
I will say they have reached out to see if I’m available for a particular episode ahead of time. If I’m available then they will write for me, but it’s not any kind of formal offer yet. I haven’t seen any scripts. I think they’re just now getting back to work. So it would be for something that we would shoot a couple of months from now.
Many of the commenters on our Good Wife recaps want to see an Elsbeth spinoff. Is that something you would ever consider?
I know! There have been quite a lot of suggestions for an Elsbeth spinoff. Some of them involve [Kyle MacLachlan's character]; some of them involve Michael J. Fox’s character; some of them involve Martha Plimpton’s character. I take that as a big compliment. I am very flattered by that. My Twitter feed often lights up with Elsbeth spinoff suggestions, and I would certainly not be opposed to something like that. I just love playing the character, and it is really exciting that she has struck some kind of nerve in people that makes them want to see more of her.