‘The Good Wife’ Creators Explain Why They Killed Off Beloved Character [SPOILER!]

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By Anne Lu | March 25, 2014 12:55 PM EST

“The Good Wife” creators Robert and Michelle King have addressed distraught fans in a letter after the show’s harrowing recent episode. After the death of one of the main characters in the U.S. drama, fans have expressed their grief, questioning why the producers had to take such a dramatic turn.

SPOILER AHEAD: Don’t read if you haven’t watched yet the latest episode of the show, which aired in the U.S. on Sunday.

In the 15th episode of the fifth season titled “Dramatics, Your Honour,” Will Gardner (Josh Charles), Alicia Florrick’s (Julianna Margulies) former boss and on-off lover, was shot dead by a disturbed client in the courtroom.

As expected, the beloved character’s death both confused and angered the show’s viewers. But while Will’s tragic exit shocked everyone, it was actually planned ahead for about a year.

“Josh Charles approached us almost a year ago about wanting to leave the series,” Michelle and Robert King were quoted by Deadline as saying.

Apparently, the 42-year-old actor wanted to leave the series since the end of fourth season when his contract expired, indicating that he was ready to move on from the show.

Still, that explanation doesn’t appease the fans of the show, who are all wondering what would become of the lead character, Alicia, now that Will has gone.

The Kings have written a letter to the fans, explaining all the reasons that they have on why they had to kill off a favourite character, and revealing tidbits of their plans for the show’s future.

Dear Loyal Good Wife Fans,

We, like you, mourn the loss of Will Gardner. And while Will is gone, our beloved Josh Charles is very much alive and remains an integral part of our family.

The Good Wife, at its heart, is the “Education of Alicia Florrick.” To us, there always was a strategy at the centre of Will and Alicia’s relationship: the tragedy of bad timing. And when faced with the gut punch of Josh’s decision, made over a year ago, to move on to other creative endeavours, we had a major choice to make.

We could “send him off to Seattle,” he could be disbarred, or get married, or go off to Borneo to do good works. But there was something in the passion that Will and Alicia shared that made distance a meagre hurdle. The brutal honesty and reality of death speaks to the truth and tragedy of bad timing for these two characters. Will’s death propels Alicia into her newest incarnation.

Death also created a new dramatic “hub” for the show. We’re always looking for these turning points – some event midway through the season that will spin everybody’s lives in new directions. These turning points keep the show from slipping into a numbing sameness, and keep the characters fresh: because you see how they react to a completely new status quo. Will’s death in many ways becomes a hub for the whole series, violently spinning everybody in new directions.

Finally, we chose the tragic route for Will’s send-off for personal reasons. We’ve all experienced the sudden death of a loved one in our lives. It’s terrifying how a perfectly normal and sunny day can suddenly explode with tragedy. Television, in our opinion, doesn’t deal with this enough: the irredeemability of death. Your last time with the loved one will always remain your last time. The Good Wife is a show about human experience that we want to share.

Thank you for listening... and watching and caring and inspiring us to rise to the level of your passion and intelligence. There are seven wonderful episodes to follow this season and Josh will be directing one of them. We think you will enjoy them. It’s not all tears – there is comedy too. Michael J Fox is back for four episodes. Dylan Baker, Dallas Roberts, Stockard Channing, as well as amazing new guest actors. And of course, Julianna does some of the best work of her life. Archie, Christine, Alan, Chris and Matt as well. Life does go on.

We’ve always taken as a guiding principle of this show that drama isn’t in the event; it’s in the aftermath of the event. We think you’ll find that true of this episode.

Thank you for your devotion to the show – we are continually grateful.

With all our thanks,

Robert & Michelle King

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