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The Good Wife: season three
Juliana Margulies stars in The Good Wife
The TV view from America: The Daily Beast's Jace Lacob sat down for a chat with Robert and Michelle King to talk The Good Wife season three.
The Good Wife has returned to More4; fans have had a couple of months to come to terms with the final images of season two, in which Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Will (Josh Charles) consummated their star-crossed romance. But what's in store for Alicia Florrick? And will Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi) find her humanity?
The Good Wife's creators, Robert and Michelle King, have described the show as a "point-of-view drama" in the past, so it's no surprise that season three continues the development of Julianna Margulies's titular character, Alicia Florrick.
"We always thought of the show as kind of an education of Alicia," said Robert King. "She's someone who started with an ethical understanding of right and wrong, black and white, good and bad, and she had very defined categories of that that was probably pure but also a little naive."
"Well, she was allowed that simplicity because her life didn't require more nuanced judgments," argued Michelle King.
"What comes with her maturing in a sense also is not all good," said Robert King. "We're seeing how far we can get away with what the job requires of her compromising some moral understanding. If Alicia, from before the show started, saw who she was now, I don't think she'd recognise herself because she's allowed to make all these moral compromises that are required by her job, and she's surrounded by people who have accommodated that."
"Michael J. Fox's character [Louis Canning] is a prime example. He said, 'I do bad things during the day, and I go home and play with my kids. You go home and just feel bad.' I think there was some truth to that: Alicia isn't sure how to get around that, and one of the ways to do it is to kill the part of yourself that thinks in terms of white and black."
Despite her seemingly preternatural ability at times to get to the truth (or a hard-to-find murder weapon) and her shadowy past, we will begin to see a more human side of Kalinda emerge this season.
It's telling that she's intensely hurt by the fact that Alicia has effectively ended their friendship, possibly the only one she had in her life.
"It's very tragic because this is someone who opened up for the first time to a friend," said Robert King. "She doesn't have friends. That moment in the elevator where she cries and breaks down is supposed to be the lowest moment of her life, and she wants to never have that repeated. She's closing all the doors."
"It's an interesting dynamic," he continued. "It's really someone who wants to shut off being a human, and yet you can't. Archie will do a great job with it this year... Kalinda is going to try to be someone who's detached from everyone emotionally and will find that difficult. In many ways, she finds more humanity over the course of the year."
Alicia's husband Peter may have regained the state's attorney seat, but he also lost Alicia on the same night she learned that he had slept with Kalinda years before. Part of the show's overarching trajectory has been about the failures that Peter has had along the way, both of a personal and professional nature.
The once disgraced politician is now back to where he was before the series began, but can he hold onto power, or is he doomed to repeat his errors?
"One of the things Peter will have to face," said Robert King, "is, can you have a second act in life, the second act being the one that started this year when he starts again as state's attorney? Will you always make the same mistakes over again, or will you be able to beat that?"
Now that Peter has won the election, it's a new beginning not just for the state's attorney, but also for image consultant Eli Gold, who brought his business to Lockhart & Gardner at the end of the season. (Sorry, Alicia, but you're not getting rid of Eli that easily!)
"One of the biggest things [we're excited about] this year is bringing Eli in-house," said Robert King. "We're thrilled with the move because there was a difficulty last year of having Eli have reasons to come to Alicia. It's like basically he had an office there because he kept going to Alicia at work: 'I need this, I need this.' What's great is now he's there. It makes sense to us that he's there because he's between campaigns."
"What's nice is that the reality supports the structure in that it's very common for these image consultants between campaigns to either set out their own shingle or to come into a law firm," added Michelle King. "So to have him come into Lockhart & Gardner just is nice."
And we'll begin to see characters who haven't had scenes together finally cross paths. "Kalinda and Eli have never met," said Robert King.
"The characters are going to start overlapping in locations. Alicia's wanting to get better at compartmentalising, right at the moment she can't because people are jumping out of their carts... Diane goes to Alicia's home. It's fun for the actors. They've never been on some of our sets. They've never even seen them."
While things may be relatively peaceful at Lockhart & Gardner compared with last season (no takeover/power grabs, at least for the moment), that doesn't mean that season three will prove to be a breeze for Charles's Will or Baranski's Diane.
"There will be another romantic complication in Diane's life," said Robert King. (Alas, that likely doesn't involve Gary Cole's charming firearms expert McVeigh.) As for Will Gardner, it's not all sunshine and daisies, not by far, despite the fact that he tumbled into bed with Alicia in the season finale. Can these two work together, as boss and employee, after giving in to temptation?
And just what skeletons are there still knocking about in Will's closet? "There will be darker things that come out about Will," said King.
Season two ended with Will and Alicia entering that hotel room together, a fantastic payoff of the sexual tension that has been swirling around the duo since the show began. It's Alicia who takes the lead, and it points strongly toward the notion that she has changed significantly since we first saw her as the dutiful wife at the press conference in the pilot.
Jace Lacob is The Daily Beast's TV Columnist. As a freelance writer, he has written for the Los Angeles Times, TV Week, and others. Jace is the founder of television criticism and analysis website Televisionary and can be found on Twitter. He is a member of the Television Critics Association.
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