Tonight, The Good Wife returns for its fifth season (9 p.m. ET on CBS), and we pick up right where we left off — Alicia (Julianna Margulies) telling Cary (Matt Czuchry) she’ll leave Lockhart/Gardner with him to start their own firm with the other fourth year associates. Margulies was happy it was Cary and not Will (Josh Charles) at Alicia’s door in the final moment of the finale. “I wanted it to be an element of surprise, and that’s what [the show’s creators, Robert and Michelle King] are so good at. I think I actually got more than I bargained for,” Margulies says with a laugh. Here, she and the Kings tease what’s to come.
• Alicia and Cary won’t leave immediately. Because what fun would that be? The Kings interviewed lawyers about starting their own firms and learned the period between deciding to leave and pulling the trigger is ripe with drama. “You’re trying to quietly solicit clients for the new firm as you get your ducks in order and you feel like a betrayer,” Robert says. The reason for the delay: “Alicia starts to realize that the associates she’s leaving with are thinking idealistically and not like mature partners would. She keeps trying to get them out faster and they want to wait for bonuses,” Margulies says. “Alicia knows that that’s just not going to play out well, and sure enough, it ends up blowing up in her face.”
When we spoke with her, she hadn’t yet filmed the scene in which Will finds out she’s leaving. Alicia will keep it a secret from Will and Diane (Christine Baranski) for as long as she can. (“For as long as we can,” Michelle says.) Margulies told us she was bracing herself, and having now seen the promo below, we understand why. Plus, she’d already seen a preview of Will’s wrath: “I saw this scene yesterday,” she said. “Literally, Alicia stands there while Diane and Will go at each other, and it was just devastating to watch.”