The Education of Alicia Florrick
THERE ARE SO MANY SPOILERS. YOU KNOW THIS.
THIS IS THE JUMP AFTER WHICH THERE ARE SPOILERS. SERIOUS ONES.
A friend of mine recently started watching The Good Wife. She’s behind – just finishing Season One. So when Sunday night happened, I told her to stay off Twitter (and seriously, Lara, go read something else). But she’s growing frustrated because, as she said, “I had no idea so many people watched The Good Wife”.
You already know what happened. The show decided to drop the hammer. Given that Josh Charles was going to be leaving the series, they killed him. Boom. Senseless violence. Random shooting by an unhinged client (oh shut up, I told you there were spoilers).
The cast was sworn to secrecy.
The viewership went nuts (and spoiled many, many people on Twitter, myself included). Rage. Rending of garments. Asking whyyyyy. The creators of the show, Robert & Michelle King, did two things:
They followed the shocking episode with a trailer that said “Coming Up On The Good Wife”, showing that life goes on, that the firm wouldn’t shut down, that Alicia and all the other characters would have to deal.
And they released this letter.
Read that carefully. On the one hand, it and the trailer are kind of worried placating pats on the back: “Don’t be mad at us, we love you, don’t go anywhere”. On the other hand, they are damned badass.
Read that letter. “The show has always been about the education of Alicia Florrick.” Alicia had learned a lot. She had grown a lot. And she was a little too happy and too comfortable. They had to shake stuff up. They had to make her world unstable so that we’d wonder what Alicia would do. There is absolutely no drama in happy, solid relationships. Even Eric and Tami made you wonder and worry every now and again.
Read what they wrote. Charles wanted to leave, so they had to get him out somehow. If Will left the show but not the earth, it would be too easy for him and Alicia. They needed something devastating. If he and she were together, well, then Alicia’s journey stops, because what can’t you face without Will Gardner by your side? If you have to accept that you were, on some level, waiting for you and Will to fall back together and that you knew the new business you started was little more than a time-killer and that you always thought you and your former boss were destined to be together, well, then you have to reexamine all that stuff.
Which is delicious.
“Give the people what they need, not what they want.” What they want is Alicia and Will making cute kisses and hot sex in the bathroom-not-the-office. What they need is to believe that Alicia can be a phoenix yet again, rising up and continuing on even if the love of her life has died. That’s the character that made the show. That’s who the people identify with. Will and Diane and Kalinda are the Lion and the Tin Man and the strange P.I. that she meets along the way – but the story is Alicia’s journey. It takes a brave set of showrunners to know that, and to stick to their guns. I’m impressed.
What are you DOING? Why did you read this when it’s full of spoilers? Oh, you don’t watch The Good Wife? It’s still an amazing ride. Go fire up Netflix and call me in two weeks about Kalinda and Eli. And Alicia.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/ Getty