Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t watched ‘Dramatics, Your Honor,’ turn back now and immediately catch up. What has happened is huge. Gigantic. Epic.
Sitting Here in Camp Denial
They say it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. For this reason I’ll be thankful for the time I had with the original Good Wife cast and not bemoan the fact I’ll never have a Team Gardner Sunday again. Sigh.
Assuming everyone reading this has heeded my warning, I’ll skip burying any more of the lead.
Will Gardner is dead.
It’s not one of these, ‘he’ll be back in a few years and surprise everyone’ sorts of dead either. He was murdered in a courtroom massacre, by a client he was trying to defend. He was shot in the neck and pronounced dead at the hospital. It was one of the most tragic things I've witnessed on a television drama, maybe ever. In fact, it is being touted as one of the most shocking deaths in television history. I have to agree. If I’d seen it coming, I’m not sure that would have made it any less sad, but the fact no one expected it brought a true sense of vulnerability to the situation.
It’s not just that Will is gone that has left me grieving, but what – and who – he has left behind. Diane – his business partner, cheerleader and ethical compass; Kalinda – his friend, confidant and drinking partner; Alicia – his one true love, legal rival and lifelong friend. It’s about his sisters, the firm and the fact he’ll never have to testify against Peter in the show’s third grand jury (which I image should be aptly named Another, Another Ham Sandwich). Selfishly, it’s also the end of one of my favourite on-screen romances – the end of Team Gardner and a love that deep inside, always stood a chance. There’s no accounting for a lifetime of bad timing.
“In the end it’s all okay. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”
I’ve loved and lived this quote a few times in my life and it’s always worked out for me. This is the end of an era. It’s the end of Team Gardner. It’s the end of Lockhart Gardner. It’s the end of the Peter/Will rivalry. We’ve seen the last of Will and Diane dancing in the halls. There will be no more tumblers of Whiskey between Kalinda and Will. I’m sad because I’m going to miss all of these things tremendously and also because it means we’re going to have to watch David Lee lurking around more than ever before and thusly I will have to shower twice on Sundays just to feel clean.
I don’t know how long the sadness will last. Saying goodbye to a character I've backed from the beginning won’t be easy. While I can’t quite believe he is really gone, I find myself thankful for the time we had with this dynamic character. I’m not yet angry we’ll never see him again, though of course I’m disappointed Will and Alicia will forever be remembered as a couple with perpetually poor timing. Still, their chemistry was electric and we’ll always have the elevator, a $7,800 hotel room and a butler named Jerome.
I’m thankful that the writers didn’t back away from a challenging situation by taking the easy way out. That’s what The Good Wife has always been about – taking chances and challenging us on a weekly basis. Whether Will had been killed by a bookie, one of Bishop’s henchmen, a Florrick underling or an unstable client, it wouldn't have mattered. Okay – a Florrick underling would have been something different altogether – but the point is, the writers took a stand and it was shocking. It made all of us feel a bit more human, if just for a moment. The fact is, what happened to Will could have happened to anyone on the show. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s a situation that is sadly played out in real life each day. The writer’s choice to have Will killed doing the one thing he always did best and loved most – law – provides pause for each of us to be grateful for the times when the right place and the right time allowed us to say ‘I love you,’ hug our kids or mend broken fences before it's too late.
The Show Must Go On
Now we’ve been left to grieve alongside Alicia, Diane and Kalinda. It’s going to be an emotional ride, and one with a few flashbacks that might provide some kind of closure, or at least give us some perspective on Will’s final moments. Seeing Diane cry breaks my heart and knowing Alicia and Diane are going to cry together is almost more than I can bear. I have a feeling I’ll be digging into a fresh case of Kleenex, just to make it through. I better go to Costco this week.
What will become of Lockhart Gardner is anyone’s guess. It will surely involve a new named partner (please Julius, come back!) and more new stationery (this, on the heels of all that rebranding). Perhaps it will mean new characters. We’ve seen Louis Canning will be part of the mix, but who else will come along for the ride? How will The Good Wife rebuild from this loss? At the end of the day, The Good Wife is about Alicia Florrick and her journey through life. While I will always ship Team Gardner, I hope that Alicia is able to move on and find someone new to love. I don’t think it’s Peter – I think it’s someone else entirely and I look forward to seeing Alicia move past this extraordinary loss to find happiness.
Now it’s your turn. How do you feel about the death of Will Gardner? What are you going to miss most about him? What do you think is next for The Good Wife? Sound off below!
P.S. – Thanks to everyone for so many thoughtful messages about me writing this post… and also for the condolences. I have been a huge Team Gardner fan and this is certainly a loss! I’m glad I have all of you to share in this next adventure with me though. Cheers!