A The Good Wife spinoff series appears to be a definite maybe, creators/exec producers Robert and Michelle King said during a conference call Monday. “Nothing’s off the table,” said Michelle King, adding that the Kings were not ruling out anything “at this point,” including a spinoff series without Good Wife star Julianna Margulies.
With Margulies’ contract up at the end of this season, Robert King said one possibility for a spinoff series would be to focus on the series’ large ensemble. The series is full of “characters we wish we had more time with, to explore,” Robert said, adding that the concept of an ensemble drama is “appealing” to the Kings.
But he emphasized that decisions about a spinoff would fall to producing studio CBS Television Studios and the network.
As for the remaining nine episodes of the series, the Kings wouldn’t provide spoilers, but did say they were trying to lure at least some former cast members to return. Don’t expect Seinfeld, joked Robert, referencing the infamous finale in which a flood of former, minor characters dropped by. But at least some fan favorites of The Good Wife will return before the final of nine episodes airs Sunday May 8.
Robert King said Gary Cole’s Kurt McVeigh would likely make a return, and Jess Weixler’s Robyn Burdine might be back (“We’re trying as hard as we can to make something work,” Robert said), but Archie Panjabi’s Kalinda Sharma is a definite no.
“Kalinda went off specifically to disappear and we’re honoring that choice,” said Michelle King. “It would not make any sense [to the story] to bring her back.”
As for Josh Charles, whose beloved Will Gardner was shocking killed off, the options are, needless to say, limited. “That is something we haven’t figured out,” Robert King said of a Will Gardner return. But the character “weighs heavily” on the series, he added.
Also not coming back: the character Lemond Bishop, played by Mike Colter, currently seen on Netflix’s Jessica Jones and with his own Marvel show, Luke Cage, coming later this year. “I’m glad he’s gone on to something that’s really good and uses him,” said Robert, “but that was a difficult one because he really was part of the family, and one of the nicest people on the face of the earth.”
The Kings, who have written every pivotal episode and nabbed all but one of the show’s major writing awards nominations, had intended all along to leave the show after the current, seventh season. They’d even provided clues, giving one-word titles to first-season episodes, two-word titles in the second season, and so on until the fourth season, after which the titles reversed course until this season’s one-word titles.
The Kings weren’t sure what would happen to the series after they left. They said they were notified only a week ago by the network about the Super Bowl announcement. The decision, they said, felt right for the story: “This is not a show that’s ending because anyone hates each other,” Robert said.
The Kings’ planned departure already had them plotting a season-ender that could serve as a farewell. “The story won’t change from what we were intending,” Michelle said, “but [CBS’s announcement] allows us to be a little more definitive. Now we’re writing with pen instead of pencil.”
She added, “The fate of the series was for the studio and network to decide, but we’re fortunate that we’re being allowed to end the show the way we would want it to end.”
And what how might that be? The Kings provided some clues: They’re fans of the finales to Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under and The Wire, finales that feel both happy and sad, inevitable and surprising, and endings with, in Robert’s word, “resonance.”
Specifics? Margulies’ Alicia hasn’t left behind her grief over Will’s death, there may or may not be a divorce ahead for Alicia and husband Peter (Chris Noth), and viewers most definitely won’t see one of those flashforward codas that jump the characters five or ten years into the future.
“We considered doing that once,” Robert King said, specifically after Will’s death. Hoping to avoid a “mourn fest,” the creators hatched a plan to pick up the plot some months following the murder, but ultimately abandoned the idea as something of a cheat. Even after a death, Robert said, “people have to return to work.”
Still, wrapping things up isn’t easy. “We’re trying to find completion in a form that tends to rebel against completion,” Robert said, referring to the “ongoing structure” of broadcast drama. When a reporter asked whether the nine-episode warning was enough time to give fans enough time to grieve, Robert quickly noted that nine episodes could be considered a full season – and then some – for a cable series.
“So, yes, it’s short if you think in terms of network life,” he said, “but if Game of Thrones said it was ending in nine episodes, you’d have a full season.”
As for some online carping over the quality of recent episodes and whether plotlines were beginning to feel stretched, both Kings were dismissive. “I haven’t been following a whole lot of carping,” said Michelle. “Everyone [within the production] feels like the show is going out on a high.”
Added Robert, “The only carping I ever hear is from my family, and my response is always the same: Go to hell.”