24 March, 2014

The Good Wife: “Dramatics Your Honor” - The Shot That Changed Everything

Season 5, Episode 15 | Original Air Date: Sunday, March 23, 2014

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.  

Really 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! 


  1. Thank you so much for this post. I felt bad asking you to write one as being a new mum I expect you have so much better things to be doing with your time. But thank you so much for taking the time out to this for those who asked. You have been missed!

    Great post by the way. After the show I looked up comments all of the place - and to be honest bar the AV club website everyone was stating oh bad move Kings, never watching the show etc. Which is unfair. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge Will fan. I would watch a show alone on Will Gardner. But knowing Josh wanted to leave makes the death easier than if he was fired and Will killed for shock value. You are right in saying we should be lucky to have the last 5 season we have had and thankful for the fact Josh decided to come back for most for season 5.

    In my head I wanted the series to finish with Will and Alicia together. But now I am thinking maybe it would be better if Alicia ends up single - but happy - at the end of it. We know from season 3 Alicia could not leave Peter for Will. But I hope now from his death Alicia can leave Peter because of Will. I know the show is the Good Wife but I think now it would be nice to at the end of this all, Alicia be known for Alicia. She has a lot to thank Will and Peter for being those people who you have in life that shape a part of you but now she gets the chance to have her own identity.

    As much as I liked to Louis Canning character I hope it's only for the 4 episodes. I do hope the two firms don't merge together (for selfish reasons Cary is my next favourite male lead and I have to say I have enjoyed Cary grow into a leadership role this season and liking the Alicia/Cary friendship). But I hope that we don't see any less of Diane because of Will's death. I don't want to focus to just be on Florrick/Argos firm for next season.

    On a side note I loved the banter between the new prosecutor (Finn I think?) and Will. Makes me wish we had more of that to look forward to in the future. I heard that character will be a recurring one so am interested to see how that goes.

    That was a longer post than I intended but you set off great thoughts about where the show could go. Thanks again for the posts and I shall see you at the other side of the grieving process :)

  2. Welcome back Pink

    I had known for a while that Josh Charles contract is ending and he will leave but I am still shocked with his death and in such a brutal way.

    We were all hoping for him to make some guest appearance in future seasons.

    While I am still grieving, I think the writers got it right.

    From the promo, I am guessing his death/exit will be meaningful to the show overall story and make a big impact.

    1) Alicia finally opening up a conversation on screen about her marriage with Peter and him calling her a bitch ! We never saw that much fireworks ever before ! The one that got away is always better so TEAM Gardner won in a way.

    2) Diane and David Lee fighting over control. I know Diane will win hands down but here is hoping David Lee will put up a good fight.

    3) Michael J Fox back to replace Will (or not as Kalinda claims). Still I can hope he will be a series regular. I am really enjoying him here so much more than the Michael J Fox show.

    I am glad the character of Will got a proper sending off. We saw him having a chat and bonding with Kalinda and it seems both Will and Alicia make peace. Imagine if he had gone a few weeks earlier when they were still so much hate between them.

    This episode is a very good example why The Good Wife is my favorite show. It was an important character death but we did not spend the entire episode just focusing on him alone. Some other TV show might have done that.

  3. My very first episode of the good wife had the steamiest scene I've ever watched on primetime tv. I don't remember exactly where Alicia and Will were, an elevator, a hallway, anyway, there was a wall and some chemistry and from that point I was hooked, I was born team Gardner and as sad as it seems I think I may be experiencing some real grieving for his leaving. (I should re watch that episode again to help with the healing...) Shortly after that episode I heard about your blog and have been enjoying it since! Thanks for your blog and Congratulations on your new bundle!


    1. Thank you for reading... And watching!

      Ah, "Closing Arguments." That scene was pure magic. It was the season two finale and that entire summer I was obsessed with the song that played in the background - "Any Other World" by Mika. Completely emo, but totally amazing when put in context with the tequila shots and elevator scene. What a great introduction to The Good Wife for you!

      If you are looking to help with the grief, might I recommend season one's forever-classic episode, "Heart?" It features the first kiss Will and Alicia share on the show and it's guaranteed to make any Team Gardner heart happy, at least for awhile.

      The next few episodes look pretty amazing. We might not have a Will, but the romanticized idea of him might just be the next best thing. Sorry Peter.

      Thanks again for writing in, Cassia!

  4. I will be watching that episode ASAP! Thanks for the tip. I had never really contimplated the fact that there would have been a first kiss, of course there was, and of course I want to see it! I agree, the romanticized version will be a close runner up to the real thing.

  5. I started watching “The Good Wife” not so long ago. I got to know about Will’s death just recently and I am still in shock and grief and tears.
    Maybe it’s childish to take it so personal and serious. It is just a TV-show after all. Nevertheless, when you watch it day after day, for almost 100 hours all together, it becomes a kind of personal. You start feeling the characters, their joy and sorrows, their love and pain. For a while they become the part of your own life. And then out of sudden the main character, the most favorite one – so lively and cheerful and handsome and loving – is dead. And not just dead but brutally killed. A couple of minutes ago he spoke and smiled and lived, and the next moment he is dead, without even saying goodbye to those dear to him.
    I understand that Josh Charles wanted to leave the show but why his leaving had to be so terrible?
    Yes, in life it often happens just so and our close people also sometimes go beyond the veil all of a sudden without giving us a chance to get somehow prepared. I will all my life remember that night call when they told me that my dear uncle dyed of a heart-attack, and, Mr. Scott, I am very sorry about your brother, but do we not have enough of this tough stuff in life to make us go through it on the screen too?
    I think what the authors did to Will was cruel, and unfair, and disrespectful to the feelings of the viewers. Such is my opinion…


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