'Good Wife' postmortem: EPs Robert and Michelle King break down 'Hitting the Fan'

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Image Credit: David M. Russell/CBS

Sunday’s episode of The Good Wife, “Hitting the Fan,” delivered on the promise established in its title. Everything has officially hit the fan, and, boy, did things get messy.

A full recap is in the works, but as it has been teased, this was the episode where Alicia and Cary’s plans to form their own firm were revealed to their now-former colleagues. And the news was as welcomed as you might imagine — meaning, not at all.

But while Will and the rest of the firm were shocked by the plans, the move was actually a long time coming, says executive producer Robert King.

“We knew she’d eventually go out on her own but we didn’t know where it would end up,” said King, who spoke about the episode after a screening and Q&A with reporters. “But ending the last episode last year, we knew what the plan was for this year. I know people wanted to come back [for the season] and see an episode like this. But it felt like [we] needed to establish so many issues in the firm and also handle Diane’s story before we exploded things.”

And explode they did. In fact, says EP Michelle King, this is the point where everything changes. “Basically, what we told ourselves was that any story we could have told before this episode, we have to kick out because suddenly that no longer fits,” she said.

Here’s some more insight into the episode everyone will be talking about for weeks to come:

On what comes next for the new firm: For one, says Robert King, “They can’t keep working out of Alicia’s home.” But that will be just one of the many struggles viewers see the new firm deal with in the next three episodes — titled “The Next Day,” “The Next Week,” and “The Next Month.” Along with issues that arise from starting a new firm, we will see the benefits — and drawbacks — of having a new work dynamic. “There’s a dilemma with that, which is [the new firm] has some weak links in it, as we’ve seen,” says Robert King. “There are people who are willing to cut each other’s throats. The two Carys seem to be almost a unit. So I think what you’re going to find is a new political dynamic with the new Florrick Agos, and, you know, these lawyers who have a lot of their own issues.”

On Kalinda’s loyalties: Whose side is Kalinda on? Your guess is as good as ours, but as Michelle King says, that’s the fun of Kalinda’s storyline at this point. “We love playing the struggle in her of where she should make her alliances, where her allegiance should be,” she says. Robert King adds that as things move forward, her status with both camps will continue to be in question. “The difficulty for her is that she’s guilty. You saw in this episode — even though there were reasons she kept the Cary stuff from Will — it’s not good,” he says. “The only reason [Will] trusted her today is because she got him something. So many of the characters on this show are pragmatic. As soon as she brought back that they didn’t have these files and where they were going, it was like, ‘Okay. I’ll trust you for another day.’ That leaves a lot of doors open for us.” But Robert King dismisses those who say Kalinda’s choices are purely fueled by money. “It started that way, but she really cares for some people. She’s not a sentimental person so she’d never say that,” he says.

On Alicia’s crying scene: “It’s an echo of Kalinda in the second year, almost having an identical moment,” explained Robert King. “There was a loneliness in the moment and a sort of exhaustion coming out of this race and it felt like we needed to pay allegiance to the emotional side of Alicia. Yes, it’s a race, but ‘Oh my God, what a loss of someone I love and also really liked.’ It just kind of crushes your heart.”

On Alicia and Peter’s hookup: “It never starts from ‘Let’s put in sex,’” says Michelle King of crafting the scene that had a mid-action bedroom romp between the husband and wife. “But it does start from ‘What would the characters be thinking about at this moment?’” And that passion is a cornerstone of the couple, says Robert King, and important to show. “Alicia and Peter are in this awkward stage — and we are with them — in that sex between them has to be provoked by circumstances and usually it’s just they want to get laid,” he says. “In other words, it’s not ‘[We're] husband and wife; let’s cuddle.’ It’s the passion of the moment. And that’s what helps those characters get over the fact that Peter betrayed Alicia.”

On Will’s likability: Sure, Will was angry in this episode, and it may have been hard to root for him. But Robert King says they like to think that audience loyalty will sway more than remain with one person or the other. “You know not everybody can win and Alicia will lose and Will will lose,” he says. “We also felt like we had run the course on the love triangle. And in fact, the flip side of that is just as exciting — as you saw when Grace phoned — there’s a caring there underneath. They know they should hate each other, but then her daughter called and needed a permission slip. So the part of that is that they’re human beings who show other sides than hate.” With the secret out, however, is it safe to say that Will is over Alicia? “No, not necessarily,” says Robert King. “He’s certainly passionate,” adds Michelle King.

On the next move for Diane: It was clear in this episode — particularly when Peter asked Eli to gather names of more Supreme Court candidates — that Diane’s quest for the robe is going to hit some snags. So where does she go from here? “I think she’s going to have to walk it back a little bit. It can’t at least initially be the same,” says Michelle King. “She made clear to her partners that she was willing to walk out the door. Well, that’s a big statement. So even if you walk back in, we’re going to get to see how different things are. I think that’s fascinating going forward.”

On the ratings race: “We get very suicidal about who we’re up against,” jokes Robert King, who admitted that being up against the series finale of Breaking Bad was not fun(”We’re friends with Vince Gilligan. So it was like, ‘F–k you!”’) But in all, he says, viewers are viewers. “If it’s the audience that watches us right away or watches us then watches The Walking Dead on DVR , we’re all for that,” he says.

(Breia Brissey contributed to this report.)

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