"The Good Wife" hit fans right in the feels on Sunday night with a shocking episode that sent thousands to Twitter in outrage and sadness. But producers say they had a good reason for doing what they did, and penned an open letter to explain themselves today.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Robert King and his writing partner--and wife--Michelle say they chose to throw fans a curveball because it's pivotal to the direction a major character will now take in the story.
"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 tragedy at the center 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 endeavors, 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 meager 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 behavior and emotion, and death, as sad and unfair as it can be, is a part of the 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."
Fans took to social media to mourn the loss of Will and to start a dialogue about the show's gut-punch, which was totally unexpected.
I'm about to wake up everyone in my house just to punch them in the face over what had happened on @TheGoodWife_CBS goddammit. hurts so good
— Willam Belli (@willambelli) March 24, 2014
Mel & I enjoyed wathing The Good Wife tonight.. A well written , well acted episode with unexpected twists and surprises.
— carl reiner (@carlreiner) March 24, 2014
— Hollywood & Swine (@hollywoodswine) March 24, 2014
Considering leaving earth and starting a new society on some other, less horrifying planet after The Good Wife
— David Sims (@davidlsims) March 24, 2014
Experiencing the 5 stages of grief for the death of a TV character. Currently still in "bargaining" #thegoodwife
— Kristina Moore (@kristina_moore) March 24, 2014
I'm not sure what happens on #thegoodwife tonight, but based in my timeline, there's not enough alcohol in my house to survive watching.
— melissa miller (@Serrae) March 24, 2014
Image via YouTube