The Ending Of The Good Wife Explained
It was the slap heard 'round the world. The final moments of The Good Wife are memorable in part because of the controversy they stirred up among fans who were left unsatisfied, but the ending also built up to something bigger. Later, show creators Robert and Michelle King defended the climactic moment between Diane and Alicia as the appropriate ending for their series, as we'll get into.
Of course, the controversy around the slap is only part of the story when it comes to The Good Wife 's ending. The show, which ran for more than 100 episodes and lasted seven seasons, created a legacy that also includes a successful spin-off. And to build that legacy, it had to tell consistently compelling stories about Chicago's legal world episode after episode. Although the ending was controversial, no one could deny that the show proved itself to be one of the best political and legal dramas on TV over the course of its run.
The Good Wife ended where it began
In its very first moments, The Good Wife did a lot of work to establish the story it was trying to tell. The pilot follows Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) as she dealt with the news that her husband Peter (Chris Noth), who was then working as a State's Attorney, had a series of affairs. She puts on a brave face at a press conference but appears to be slowly unraveling as her husband comes under questioning from reporters. As soon as the two of them are alone together, she slaps him across the face.
It's a slap that firmly establishes who Alicia is and communicates all the anger and frustration she's feeling as a result of her husband's carelessness. It's not just that Peter had an affair, it's that he left her with an enormous mess she now has to clean up. She has to find a job and a way to take care of her family without Peter's help.
Diane can slap, too
It makes sense, then, that as the show drew to a close, the creators wanted to invoke the slap that had set the series in motion. The final moments of The Good Wife 's ending deliberately echo the first moments of the show: Peter enters another press conference with Alicia at his side to announce that he will be resigning as governor over allegations that he helped one of his donor's sons beat a murder charge.
Alicia's behavior in this final sequence is deliberately different from her behavior in the show's first episode. This time, she's confident and barely paying attention, distracted by the sight of a sort-of-boyfriend that she believes she's spotted. She abruptly leaves the press conference to find him and winds up in a similar hallway to the one where she and Peter stood in the pilot. This time, though, Alicia is the one receiving a slap — from her boss and mentor Diane Lockhart ( Christine Baranski ).
Alicia is slapped for betraying Diane
Just like in The Good Wife 's pilot, we know fundamentally that the person being slapped deserves it. In Alicia's case, the slap comes after she attempts to undermine Diane's husband Kurt (Gary Cole) in the course of Peter's trial. She reveals that Kurt had an affair and attempts to make him look unreliable in order to help Peter's case. At that moment, Alicia decides to put her own interests above Diane's, and she ultimately causes her former mentor a lot of pain as a result.
After Alicia gets hit, she wipes away a tear and quickly moves forward. She straightens out her suit, sets her face in a defiant glare, and prepares for whatever's coming next. In those small gestures, we see how far Alicia has come from where she was in the pilot. She's perfectly comfortable doing wrong now, and she knows how to use the power that she has to her advantage. Alicia doesn't need any help, not even from Diane, the person who was first willing to extend a hand to her.
The Good Wife creators defended the controversial ending
Although the final moments of The Good Wife offer some welcome parallels to the show's first episode, not everyone was pleased with the somewhat dark way that the show concluded. However, as Robert and Michelle King explained in an interview with Variety , that final moment was always part of the plan for how the show would conclude.
"It felt right," Robert said after the finale aired. "We knew fans, a lot of fans, would be upset. The difficulty we had that was that everything that was tempting to do was tempting to do in a way that undercut the seven seasons of the show."
"We're sorry if anybody's thrown by this, but we do think it will be more resonant for the show in the rearview mirror," Robert added. "You may want to return to the first episode — how did she change from the first episode?"
Conveniently, the slap also led to The Good Fight , the eventual spin-off that focused on Diane's character (and is one of the best shows to watch on Paramount+ ). Not only did the slap neatly wrap up the arc that Alicia had gone through, it also set up the next arc to come.
‘The Good Wife’ Bosses Defend Finale Ending: ‘We’re Sorry if Anybody’s Thrown’
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It was the slap heard around the Internet. “ The Good Wife ” ended its seven series run with an across-the-face slap from Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) to Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), after her betrayal in the courtroom.
Speaking to Variety , series creators and executive producers Michelle and Robert King defend the moment, as well as explaining Alicia’s future, what it was like having Josh Charles back on set, and their plans for “Brain Dead.”
Was this the finale you always planned?
Robert: At least with regard to the last five minutes. How we got there was a bit more of a negotiated route, with regard to what actors were available. We thought Carrie Preston would be the lawyer. We thought there would be moves we would have made if we had the actors available to us. So absent that, yes.
Michelle: We knew what the spine would be, but many of the details were created in the last three, four months.
Audiences reacted badly to the slap. How did you feel about it?
Robert King: It felt right. We knew fans, a lot of fans, would be upset. The difficulty we had that was that everything that was tempting to do was tempting to do in a way that undercut the seven seasons of the show. They were kind of good for the last episode of the show. We had a sit-down in our writers’ room about two to three months ago about the ending. And we had always had on our whiteboard, about the ending, the word “SLAP.” And it was, “OK, are we still sure of this?” It was a conversation that went all over the map. The other possible end had her running after a guy, falling into the arms of a guy, the usual running to the airport scene. We just thought that would be happy-making in the moment but it didn’t feel a wrap up to the seven seasons. And that seemed more important. We’re sorry if anybody’s thrown by this, but we do think it will be more resonant for the show in the rearview mirror. You may want to return to the first episode — how did she change from the first episode? That seems more important than whether she ends up with Jason and we see them setting up house together. That doesn’t seem to be what the show was really about.
Michelle King: Not only that, but the acting there at the end with Julianna and Christine was so stellar, it’s hard to reject anything that brings that about.
Was Jason always conceived of as her final love interest or was the role expanded because of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s performance?
Michelle: The role was always meant to go the entire season.
Robert: Just as Alicia has always been trying to find the guy in her life, the show has always been trying to find the right guy. What we thought this last year was about was that Peter, the Chris Noth character, was about weight, was about holding her down; as Jason said, you need to be needed or you’ll tip over. Jason was the opposite. He was about weightlessness, he was free-floating. He gives her a property on Mars. The third character in her life was the one who was there from the very beginning, Will Gardner. He’s this romantic figure in her mind who she can manipulate and be a dream character in any way she wants. Those felt like the three poles in her life of men. Jason was always there as someone who was representing a direction in her life.
Talk about filming with Josh Charles. What was it like having him back on set?
Robert: He came to the set a little nervous. We still have all the same crew. This is a family that stayed together. He wanted to see how everyone took it. He fell right into it. He and Julianna have so much chemistry it burns up the screen. There were no problem.
Michelle: It was fantastic. Everyone lingered around wanting to see the two of them in scenes together. In the same way, with old friends you start talking if you haven’t seen each other in a long time as though no one time has passed, that’s what it was like watching the two of them together again. The characters were right there.
Does Alicia end up in politics or back at the law firm?
Robert King: I would actually say it’s law. I don’t think she loves politics. I think Eli will constantly be there pushing her to go to bigger and bigger things, but I actually think her love is with the law. I think the slap has woken her up to the collateral damage she’s causing in her life. And she will try to correct that.
Michelle King: I agree.
But can she patch things up with Diane?
Michelle King: That was a pretty big rift. I think it will take something really large for that relationship to mend.
What have you learned from this show that you will bring to your new show “Brain Dead”?
Robert: Try to be more cinematic. Build an operation from the ground up. Don’t try to keep change it as you go. Use New York actors as much as you can. Try to be more conservative in your page count. I think the biggest thing is try to be more cinematic. I think movies in trying to be more of a spectacle have lost their cinematic bones and they haven’t really stretched themselves cinematically. TV now with their bigger screens and hi-def have allowed a lot more maneuverability. I just love our show when it goes silent. When it goes silent and the images are allowed to take over, like the Regina Spektor scene, it’s just a dream. We’re trying to do some of that in “Brain Dead.” It’s harder with a comedy because comedy is built around dialogue. And it’s harder with other directors because you have something in your mind’s eye that you want to communicate.
Michelle: How valuable it is to work with great actors. We had spectacular actors on “Good Wife.” And we’ve been fortunate in “Brain Dead” to also have a marvelous cast.
Robert, you’ve said you regretted the title of “The Good Wife.” Looking back, what would you rename it?
Robert: One of the titles we had thrown about before “Scandal” was “Scandal.” It’s a very good title. “The Good Wife” is probably best for the irony of the show but I also think it has kept some of the male audience away. I think it’s a very muscular show, it’s very cynical, very knowing. It’s not as much about female empowerment as much about power. Another title might have allowed other people to find the show.
Do you think there’s a possibility for another quality, broadcast, 22-episode drama?
Michelle: Yes if the actors are willing to do it. When we started there weren’t as many cable and streaming options for actors. Now I think 22 is such a grueling schedule that a lot of actors are going to gulp if they have the choice.
Robert: It’s very hard to maintain a voice over 22 episodes. It really requires a micro-managing that’s very difficult over 22 episodes. The good news is that there are so many great smaller shows these days filling the gap. The advantage of 22 is that we really felt we could do anything. Suddenly we’d do an episode that’s completely in Alicia’s mind. Hey, why not? It’s the 15 th episode out of 22. Let’s do an episode about BitCoin. It doesn’t matter. We’ll teach the audience. Twenty-two allows more freedom to do that.
Aren’t lawyers supposed to zealously defend their clients?
Robert: That is the argument, isn’t it? Here’s the thing. Can you zealously defend a client to a point where you have strained the ethical demands of friends and family? And I do think there are needs for balancing out ethical demands. I think someone could look objectively at the situation, especially a lawyer, and say, “wait a minute, Diane, you’re overreacting. You’re the lawyer. Your husband got involved with this woman.” On the other hand, we were with Alicia at the party episode, two back. And we saw Alicia watch Diane and Kurt McVeigh huddling and kissing, and her jealousy in many ways of their relationship. And you can’t say that that didn’t play into this end. At least Alicia should have known what she was playing with. Either there was a hidden side of her that did want Diane brought down to her level: “If I can’t have a husband that I’m perfectly happy with, then I don’t mind that it happens to this other person.” On the other hand, you can view that under the guise of zealously defending your client. So what I love about the ending in my mind is one could defend both sides of this.
Michelle: I would say that’s what characterizes our best episodes. You can see the argument from both characters’ point of view.
Robert: I think that’s something that’s building over seven seasons. Will, when he cleared her desk said, “You’re awful and you don’t even know how awful you are.” There have always been justifications for certain ethical maneuvers. But in the long run, those justifications either became thinner or were built on shakier ground. This sounds like we’re ending up hating Alicia. Not at all. She’s as human as any character we’ve created. The character is not served well if she’s given a happier ending that doesn’t allow for who she is.
What did you think of “The Good Wife” finale? Weigh in below.
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The Good Wife series finale: the one moment that explains this entire show
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This article deals with the plot of The Good Wife and contains spoilers about what happened during the show's series finale.
The Good Wife ended its seven-season, 156-episode run in the same way it started: with a speech, a slap, and Alicia Florrick once again all by herself.
Fan reaction to the series finale has been mixed. That's understandable. Vox's Todd VanDerWerff argued that the show never quite recovered from a major twist in its fifth season, unable to regain its momentum.
But there was one fantastic moment in the finale that exemplified the story this show wanted to tell and reminded viewers how when the show was firing on all cylinders, it was one of the most rewarding pieces of television in recent memory.
That moment is a shot-by-shot recreation of the series' pilot episode.
The Good Wife started with a walk of shame and a slap
The one thing to understand about The Good Wife is that it's a story about one woman's evolution. The show premiered in 2009, a little over a year after federal agents determined that former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer had patronized a high-priced prostitution ring, leading Spitzer to resign.
The Good Wife 's premise was similar to the scandal — State's Attorney Peter Florrick (Chris Noth) has admitted that he slept with prostitutes, and his wife, Alicia (Julianna Margulies), has to pick up the pieces. She must figure out if her marriage is worth saving, find a job to support her family, take care of said family, adapt to her husband's incarceration, and deal with all of this with little to no help.
The challenge for the show was to figure out a sweet spot between drawing upon the familiar (the Spitzer scandal) and being distinct enough to stand apart from the headlines.
The show's pilot gets at that in its first few minutes. There's an establishing scene that looks like it could be a Spitzer dramatization — Peter and Alicia enter a press conference holding hands and, under the hot glare of the spotlight and prodding journalists, try to put up a strong, mutual front:
At this point, we don't know the Florricks. We have no idea what's going on in their personal lives. We haven't a clue about how much Alicia knows or doesn't know about her husband's indiscretions. And the characters are presented to us as strangers — the above close-up of their hands (shot from behind) builds a wall between them and us but keeps us intrigued, looking for any kind of clues as to who these people might be.
But something fascinating happens. The show slowly begins to peel back the curtain on Alicia's mindset. She gets distracted. She gets fidgety. You get the feeling that she doesn't have a handle on things. And at the end of the press conference, she reveals her vulnerability and rage.
She slaps Peter:
That slap — its violence — tells you everything. It's anger, but also frustration. Alicia wants to hurt Peter for hurting her, but there's a sense that he betrayed her not just by sleeping with other women but also by leaving her with a mess to deal with. Right before she slaps him, Alicia pauses briefly, and it's obvious how overwhelmed she is.
The moment following the slap is also important. She adjusts her suit. She straightens herself out. Even if her world is crumbling and she's struggling to breathe, she will not let anyone know it.
You're on this woman's side. The slap is the least that Peter deserves. You want to see how Alicia will adjust to her new life. And just like that, The Good Wife and Alicia have you.
The Good Wife ended with a walk of shame and a slap
The Good Wife ends where it all began. Peter and Alicia hold hands. They enter a press conference where he will resign his governorship because of an allegation that he helped one of his donors' sons get off for murder.
Again, these moments are shot from behind, and we focus on the couple's hands. We once again get a hint of Alicia's mental state. She's wearing a black suit. And instead of playing for the cameras, she gets distracted by a man she believes is Jason (her private investigator and kinda-sorta boyfriend) looking at her from the wings.
This is a different Alicia.
She runs to find Jason — abruptly leaving Peter's press conference. She finds herself in a similar hallway (keep an eye on the red bars!), by herself and overwhelmed.
But this time, instead of doling out the slap, Alicia receives a faceful of open hand, courtesy of her former boss and mentor Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski):
Unlike her husband, Alicia is not getting slapped for sleeping with prostitutes. Rather, Diane slaps her because Alicia (during cross-examination at Peter's trial) undermined Diane's husband, making him look unreliable and not credible, in hopes of saving Peter from going to jail. It was a cutthroat move, considering how close Alicia and Diane are.
But Alicia goes through with it to save Peter. If she can accomplish that, maybe she can save her own independence. Jason first made the point a few episodes ago that if Peter goes to jail, Alicia wouldn't divorce him. Lucca Quinn repeated it again in the series finale.
Make no mistake, Alicia is putting her life and her interests ahead of Diane's.
A tiny moment of realization flits across Alicia's face after she gets hit. But it's unclear whether she's in shock because she got hit, in shock because she knows why she got hit, or in shock because she's flashing back to something similar happening seven years ago in this same exact spot:
What's fascinating is what Alicia does after she takes the hit. The slap hurt, yes, but she brushes it off. (Margulies is brilliant at conveying this.) Alicia wipes a tear, and her face quickly sharpens to a glare. It's back to business:
When she straightens her suit — the same exact gesture we see her perform in the first episode — we don't see her face, making us feel like we shouldn't be able to relate to her as much anymore. We're being shut out of her life.
This is a different creature from the one we saw 155 episodes ago. She's gone from someone who's been wronged to someone doing the wronging. She's learned so much in these seven years. She's seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. And she's figured out how to separate business from the personal.
She knows about power and knows what makes it work.
She's also morally compromised, and we're not bound to be on her side. We never had to sign a pledge of fealty to Saint Alicia to watch the show, but especially in the beginning of the series there was a sense that her side was the "right" side. Now we may still want to see her win, but we also know her best interests aren't always the morally correct ones.
Perhaps the most beautiful part of this ending is that it really isn't an end.
We're back at the beginning — geographically we're in the hallway again — but the Alicia in front of us is far more ready, far more capable, and far different. She's become a cunning, menacing presence — the kind of person her husband was, the kind of person she would have slapped seven years ago, the kind of person who, after the intervening years, can get as ugly as anything thrown at her.
And the show, even if it's lost its way at times, has never wavered from telling that story.
Watch: How a TV show gets made
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Why The Good Wife Creators Think That Finale Was a Tragedy
By Joanna Robinson
It’s been clear for several episodes know that The Good Wife was aiming to come full circle with its season finale. That point was made all the clearer by the surprise return of Josh Charles as the deceased Will Gardner in Sunday’s finale titled “End.” As the series wrapped up, Peter was back on trial, Alicia was in a bind, and, once again, there was a handsome man waiting for her in the wings. Would her decision be different this time? Well, yes and no. The Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King weigh in on the ending that even star Julianna Margulies said would be very divisive.
The Good Wife is a holdover from an earlier age of network—or really any—TV drama. While Alicia took her final bow in an era when the ice zombies on Game of Thrones and the sweaty zombies on The Walking Dead rule pop-culture, Alicia Florrick belongs to the time of Walter White, Don Draper, and the other stars of the golden age of the TV antihero. So it makes sense that her ending, like theirs, would be about moral decay and self-realization. As the Kings put it in a video posted on CBS.com , “The victim becomes the victimizer.” As many predicted, Alicia ended the series by deciding to become a “bad“ wife, but that looked a little different than they might have expected.
Alicia still stood by Peter’s side and helped him evade conviction, but according to the Kings, she was motivated by selfish interest. She has to save Peter, they argue, in order to “save herself.” And in order to achieve those ends, Alicia ends up more callous than either Walter White (who at least went out apologizing to Skyler and saving Pinkman) or Don Draper (who, hey, bought the world a Coke!). Alicia throws Diane right under the bus in a way that the Kings describe as “collateral damage.” The most charitable interpretation we can come up with is that at least Alicia was partially thinking of Grace as she did it. Still the scene where Diane slaps Alicia is a perfect mirror for the premiere where Alicia slapped Peter. The role reversal couldn’t be clearer and the self-recognition on Alicia’s face closes the series.
As Breaking Bad famously tracked the evolution of Walter White “from Mr. Chips to Scarface,” The Good Wife followed Alicia as she evolved into Peter. The Kings claim the show was “moving in the direction where there wasn't much difference between who Alicia was and who her husband was.” Is Alicia a villain or an anti-hero? It’s hard to quite see her that way after all the good she’s done for so many seasons. But the inclusion of Will Gardner in the finale momentarily humanizes Alicia while also highlighting the idea that Alicia’s transformation into Peter has been a longtime coming.
As Alicia’s vision of Will points out in the finale, their romance was the most appealing to her when it was the road less traveled. The narrative of Will and Alicia that we accepted for so long was that Alicia stuffed her needs and wants down for much of the series in order to be the “good” wife to Peter. But Will was always her fantasy, her “what if.” And while, yes, Eli can take some of the blame for their star-crossed relationship, it was Alicia who walked away from the reality of Will in Season 3. In that episode Diane, thinking that it was Will who broke up with Alicia, told him, “She’ll get over it.” Will replied, “She will,” but the delivery of that line implied that he never would.
Alicia dropped Will but then spent several seasons elevating their love to a thing of myth. Was she really the victim of a “the one who got away” scenario, or did she make a decision to close off her heart to the reality of a true and loving relationship? Was she already more like Peter than we suspected? With all due respect to Cush Jumbo , Jeffrey Dean Morgan , and the Hail Mary inclusion of Lucca Quinn and Jason Crouse, the show was never really able to fill the vacuum left by Josh Charles’s exit and the rumored dissolution of the working relationship between Margulies and Archie Panjabi .
Without Will and Kalinda, Alicia lost the people who made her the most human, but in the end that worked perfectly in a story that wound up being about the “slow corruption” of a good woman. And Jason’s role in the finale might have carried more weight if the character had been on for more than 19 episodes.
The Kings argue that Alicia is still the hero of this story. Just, perhaps, a more brittle one. We see her square her jaw, wipe the tears away, and walk off into her future full, as the Kings say, of more “confidence” and more “strength” than she had seven seasons ago. Her actions had consequences and she’s irrevocably changed by what she did to Diane. We should have seen it coming when she mock-wept in front of Louis Canning last week, but Alicia has put her self-pitying days behind her. She’ll go on a little less human, but no less impressive.
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Joanna robinson is a senior staff writer at *vanity fair.*.
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The Good Wife Bosses Explain the Series Finale Ending Slap and Betrayal
Robert and michelle king break down the big moments.
The Good Wife ended how it all began: with a slap. But this time, Alicia ( Julianna Margulies ) was getting the rude awakening. In the series finale of The Good Wife , Alicia stood by Peter one final time, but in the process squandered her relationship with Jason Crouse ( Jeffrey Dean Morgan ) and betrayed her partner Diane Lockhart ( Christine Baranski ).
"We started with this feeling that it should begin with a slap and end with a slap. The show is about a woman who becomes more and more confident and more and more cunning and excited about her abilities and also about power. So that slap at the end is very similar to the slap at the beginning. We always had this idea of Alicia becoming more and more of something that she also was not liking in her husband," series co-creator Robert King said in the video below.
"We had talked about that the victim becomes the victimizer and that's really the circle that we see of Alicia," co-creator Michelle King said.
The entire series has been about the education of Alicia Florrick and it's safe to say the character has changed over the last seven years. The slap woke her up to that.
"You can see on her face…She is contemplating everything that came before. So the question of what is her next stage of her life, is she going to take that into account? I think that's also what we see with the ending," Robert said. "The story of Alicia is a bit of a tragedy, now that doesn't mean we love Alicia any less…but to be honest with the character, she was moving in the direction where there wasn't that much room between who she was and who her husband was."
As for her relationships, the Kings said Alicia didn't knowingly betray Diane, she was "collateral damage" in her attempts to save herself and her family.The finale saw Alicia rectifying (or attempting to) her relationships with the three main men in her life: Peter Florrick ( Chris Noth ), Jason and Will Gardner ( Josh Charles ). The ambiguity of who she ends up with (nobody) was intentional.
Click play on the video above for more from the Kings on the series finale and be sure to check back with E! News for more about The Good Wife ending.
Vote in the poll below to let us know how you felt about the finale!
The Good Wife Series Finale
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The Good Wife Creators: Alicia Was Supposed to Have Happy Ending, But…
Michael ausiello, president & editorial director.
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That epic slap was not the end of the story.
Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King intended to tack an extra scene onto last spring’s polarizing series finale. The additional footage would’ve made it clear that Alicia (Julianna Margulies) ended up with Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Jason. Instead, the episode concluded with Diane (Christine Baranski) smacking Alicia upside the head.
During a Q&A Thursday at the Scripted television conference in New York ( attended by our sister site Variety ), the Kings confirmed a statement made by Morgan over the summer that shortly after production on the finale wrapped they tried to bring him back to New York to shoot a quick new scene with Margulies. But Morgan couldn’t get the time off from The Walking Dead , which is based in Atlanta.
Robert King (who is currently in production on the Good Wife spinoff The Good Fight ) added that perhaps it all worked out for the best, musing that a shot of Alicia falling into the arms of [Jason] would have been “too much of a cop-out.”
Back in August, Morgan told Entertainment Weekly that he, like many fans, “didn’t like” the dark, ambiguous ending that aired . “We raised so many questions about Jason and this relationship that he had with Alicia that I felt like nothing was ever answered, you know?” he said. “So I walked away frustrated for my character and Alicia’s character in not having any kind of closure with that.”
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I HATED the ending
I would love to see Alicia come to the good fight with Jason knowing they are together
I really hated the ending… so many sleepless nights and it was not worth it.. They messed up the show when they killed Will I was really disappointed, so I regained confidence when Jason came into the picture and she does not end up with him either…Alicia suffered so much as a woman not being loved and having a husband or man to value the way she deserved and she still ended up alone, career wise she became successful but really the slap meant what? …. really dissapointed.
Her character deserved a better ending! What a hugh disappointment for me, and I’m so sure allot of the viewers. Other than that, i binged watched the hell out of it!
There was no ending in the final season, it finished in suspense of Alicia choice
Loved the ending and I’m glad the show didn’t end with them. That abrupt, dark ending was too great to have ruined by something so mushy and so unlike The Good Wife. Everything happens for a reason
To me the ending said that despite everything that had happened, ~Alicia ended up with what she started with NOTHING, it went to show that one has to be careful how one goes through life and take care. Shame Peter ended up so badly, just goes to show what politicians are like, and l think that he still loved Alicia despite everything.
We all know the original ending would have been Will and Alicia. Unfortunately he died and that threw the last two seasons into chaos on what to do next and hence the slap ending. They realised how much they ruined Alicia in the mess and hence the slap was created. End of story.
More like Julianna Margulies ruined Alicia by being unable to do her job and convey any kind of humanity.
I disagree. I don’t think they ruined Alicia’s character. I thought this was a fascinating story portraying a deeply flawed woman who slowly became more and more corrupted by the world of law and politics. Any rumored behind-the-scenes drama aside, I think Julianna Margulies played the role superbly. You can see over the series how Alicia progressed from Saint Alicia (the perfect, scorned suburban housewife) to the morally compromised woman we had at the end of the series. We see how much she’s changed and how in the end, she wasn’t really The “Good” Wife that the rest of the world saw her as. And the slap at the end, when you see the look on her face, there’s a sort of realization of the type of person she’s become where she betrayed someone who she deeply admired and liked. You see her straighten herself and we are left to wonder where she’ll go from that point. Is that a wake up call? Will she change? Personally, I think she did an excellent job in the role.
I agree! I just watched the entire series and I agree completely. That being said, I think that the show went downhill after Will died. I did not enjoy the last two seasons as much. Julianna Margulies is a superb actress and overall, this show was my second favorite series ever ( Homeland was my first ;)
Agree with you there Dude. the actress was too much of everything being about her and not the other characters she affected. ln the end she really got what she deserved, nothing, that is what greedy people get, always want something else and have her cake and eat it.
“unfortunately he died.” The character died, not the actor. LOL
She was talking about the characters (Will & Alicia) and not the actor, so obviously the character died.
Alicia ending up with Jason would NOT have been a happy ending. A creepy ending, yes, but happy? No.
I agree! The ambiguous ending Alicia got was far better for her, IMO. It left her free to find somebody worthwhile.
I will forever love this series, flaws and all. Even the worst episode of the show was better than most television out there. I was among those that didn’t hate the finale that much and I’m glad they didn’t add a Alicia/Jason end scene. I’ve seen many people say how the show ruined Alicia’s character, but I enjoyed her character on the show from start to finish and I was fascinated to see her progression throughout the series. Alicia was a deeply flawed character and as the series progressed each season you can see just how much she had deviated from the scorned, perfect suburban wife she once was to how she kept compromising her morals as time went on and doing things she wouldn’t have done before. She’s not black or white, but very gray. There are moments where you can see just how terrible a person she became at times (e.g., questioning whether she even liked her kids, destroying Diane’s relationship, etc.), but that’s part of what I found so fascinating about her character and how her reaction to the slap seemed to be somewhat of a realization of just how morally compromised she’s become and the terrible things she had been willing to do and then having her straighten herself up and leaving the audience wondering just how will that slap affect her. I’m not crazy on ambigious endings (I’m still pissed about the American Crime season 2 ending to what was a magnificent season of television), but I thought this ending worked, I’m excited for The Good Fight (not crazy about the name yet). I wonder what the state of Lucca’s friendship with Alicia will be. I kind of forgot a bit of the finale, so I may have to re-watch the finale before the spin-off premieres
My problem is that I don’t like characters that are bad people. I want to like the protagonist. Over time I came to dislike Alicia, which ruined the show for me.
Honestly, I don’t like either ending.
I thought the ending was perfect. It made sense, in my opinion.
I agree! And I like what you did there, in my opinion. Judge Leasner would be proud!
I like Jeffrey Dean Morgan, but I thought there was way too much emphasis on Jason in the final season. I mean, Cary was there since the beginning, and they had him just quit the law firm and be like whatever ok peace out. And all those characters they introduced that never got an explanation to their whereabouts.
Well, she’s not gonna live happily ever after with Negan. Duh.
I hated that she betrayed Diane at the end. I didn’t care for the ending at all. But, I did not want her to end up with Jason. The sex may have been great, but they were not right for each other and he probably would have taken off sooner or later anyway because that was his m.o. But now I understand the ending and think that’s how it should have ended. Alicia was the good wife and she was no longer good because she became just as bad as the rest of the lawyers and such.
I wanted her to be with Jason ! I really liked him wished had been on longer .
Ug, I’m STILL upset with that smack ending and the events leading up to it. It was just so derrivatively sexist. Spend all those seasons exploring these complex female characters to end up back at the exhaustive trope of ‘women can’t be trusted/we’ll screw each other for a man/etc’. . It was offensive.
I really enjoyed the series up until the last season when it started dealing with her “husband”s legal woes. It was the one factor of the show I could never understand is why she stayed married to him……yeah I know she would not be “The Good Wife”. But for a character that was appeared to be strong and independent she could have shown him the curb after a couple seasons.
She was still married to Peter because David Lee AND Will asked her to. They used her married name for manipulation and she went along with it. That was the beginning of her demise.
Who cares. This show had jumped the shark and the last season was a total waste.
Let me put their mind at rest – it DIDN’T work out for the best. Ending, like most of the final season, was a mess.
This answer really does not help the situation it anyway. The kids have always said but they started off to do a 7-year series with a fission vision. While some things had to be adjusted you’ve known for a long time when the series was going to come to an end. You could have given us A better ending he could have wrapped up some of the story lines instead of this whole production the last season was. With 7 years notice they should have done better.
Kings not kids
Wait a minute, didn’t the Kings say during their explainathon that they had always planned for the show to end with a slap? So, now it’s Morgan’s fault because he wasn’t available?
The ending SUCKED. Next time DO NOT hire an actor that’s already doing another show or series then there won’t be a conflict of any kind. There are a lot of actors available that wouldn’t have had a scheduling conflict. When will these people learn? The GW could have gone on for a couple more years, but the writers eventually killed it when they turned it into a soap opera instead of keeping with the original ideas of her in the court room. Too bad because it WAS a good show and many of us would have loved Diane and Alicia kicking butt in the courtroom.
Christine Bzanski has been playing on the Big Bang for years– Morgan took the other role when he knew this one was ending. Nothing wrong about that. Actors do it all the time.
Alicia never loved Will enough for their relationship to work long term. It was easy for Alicia, who never was the most self aware person, to tell herself she loved him after his death. But obviously, when he was alive, she didn’t love him enough to leave her husband. Alicia loved the sense of freedom Will gave her, but wasn’t in love with the man he was. She was in love with the idea of being in love, as she once told her brother.
Everybody who was paying attention knew that the true heart of the show was between Kalinda and Alicia (Archie Panjabi even said something to that effect in an interview IIRC). Kalinda was the only one who loved Alicia without asking for anything in return, and at the expense of her own safety. And if those behind the scenes Shenanigans hadn’t happened, their friendship could have made television history: two very different women supporting and helping each other regardless of their background, flaws and baggage. It would all have remained platonic of course, because the Kings would never have had been able to sell a same gender relationship story line between two leads on CBS — no matter how groundbreaking it could have been — but it would have been a whole lot better than the narrative train wreck that followed, caused by Kalinda’s gradual sidelining and eventual obliteration.
Many people thought that Jason was a recycled male iteration of Kalinda, by the way.
Even if the finale was flawed (like most of S7) I thought the way it ended was a bold move. Alicia walking into the sunset, in the arms of yet another man would have betrayed what the show stood for: Alicia becoming her own person, making choices for herself, even if some were morally ambiguous ones.
I think Julianna Margulies aced that final shot and even if my dream ending had Alicia jump in a sleek black Jaguar driven by Kalinda, I was okay with how the Kings chose to end this wonderful show.
Thank you for your well reasoned, cogent comment. It’s a shame the writers didn’t think the general public could handle what was the most dynamic relationship on the air.
makes sense that this is how he turned into Negan…
I loved the ending. It was a Scarlett O’Hara ending. I, as the watcher knew that she was strong, talented and determined enough to move forward on her own. She was no longer a victim in her own life.
What I don’t understand is, if you couldn’t go any further with this show and you quit. How can you go with the Good Fight? Sounds fishy to me.. The Good Wife was a great show with great characters. I miss it. I think that if you ran out of ideas for the Good Wife (which definitely happened in the two years prior to the ending but not in the last year), how can you now come up with ideas for the Good Fight? Its the same show – just some main characters!
I just loved the show. But… I live in France and watch the Good Wife on Teva. Heaven knows when we will get it over here…
HATED, HATED the ending. What’s wrong with happy endings? The Kings must think happy endings are for saps and are boring, they are jaded missed the big picture, that’s this was a show where we could escape reality, why did they ruin a good drama with their grim ending and their jaded views.
Perfect ending, Alicia deserved that slap!
It would be great if The Good Fight reveals that Alicia had been elected governor of Illinois. Then her journey to the dark side would be complete.
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The Good Wife ’s Powerful Finale Was Exactly the Ending This Great Series Needed
The Good Wife was inspired by a question, one that has occurred to almost anyone who has watched the familiar bit of political theater that is the busted politician, contrite at a press conference, apologizing for his sexual sins, his wife standing beside him, her presence a sign of support, her face a sign of nothing: Who is that woman? If we can never really know Hillary Clinton, Silda Spitzer, Jenny Sanford, Elizabeth Edwards, Huma Abedin, then Robert and Michelle King, the creators of The Good Wife , would let us get to know Alicia Florrick (Juliana Marguiles), who stood by her husband Peter Florrick (Christopher Noth), Illinois State’s Attorney and solicitor of prostitutes—and, in a great series finale, stood by him once again, simultaneously back where she started and nowhere at all.
For seven seasons, The Good Wife has been generally excellent, and very occasionally spotty, showing, in the home stretch, some signs of fatigue. Alicia Florrick’s introduction to, familiarization with, and eventual comfort in the ways and means of power has been the long story arc of the series, but it has been wedded to the smartest procedural ever made. The Good Wife treated its genre mandate—to be a lawyer show—not as a drag or a crutch or an excuse to do the same thing over and over again but as an impetus to explore issues with uncommon energy. Its treatment of everything from search engines to online harassment, to the National Security Agency and drones has been complex, droll, and curious. The same can be said of its stellar and vast supporting ensemble, another genre necessity that The Good Wife elevated with unflagging verve. The scores of judges, lawyers, and investigators that have popped in and out of The Good Wife are nearly all characters in the “what a character!” sense and are played with so much mirth and distinction that it is hard to pick a favorite.
Most importantly, The Good Wife used its procedural format to explore a sophisticated, and often cynical, moral universe. This wasn’t a show in which there were good guys and bad guys; this was a show working in a genre we associate with “good guys” and “bad guys”—those prosecutors working hard to put away the guilty; those defense attorneys working hard to free the wrongfully accused—that demonstrated how insufficient these concepts are at addressing the complex motivations, desires, needs, and realities of adult life.
All of these qualities—the intricacy of the case, the depth of the cast, the confounding morality—was on display in the final episode, one chock-a-block with action, performances, and ethical conundrums. (Sutton Foster even appeared for all of 30 seconds in a role that must have been longer on paper.) In the final weeks of the show, Peter Florrick, now the governor, was arrested for allegedly throwing a murder investigation on behalf of one his supporters. Peter, who began the series going to jail, was at risk of ending the series going to jail, which provided a very neat benchmark against which to measure Alicia’s development. She stood by her man last time. Would she stand by him again?
If there have been moments this season when The Good Wife started to feel repetitive, this episode redeemed them. Sticking with Peter, or not, was too simple a framing of Alicia’s options. As the episode began, Peter’s plight seemed to have the most bearing on Alicia’s personal life. Would she choose Peter? Or would she divorce Peter and end up with the dreamy investigator Jason (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), with whom she’d been having a love affair? The ghost of Alicia’s true love, Will Gardner (Josh Charles), even appeared to help guide her through this choice. (His vote was for Jason.) But as the episode played out, romance became an arena for realpolitik. Alicia’s long teased political career, which had been cut short in Season 5, was revived. Eli Gold (Alan Cumming) was once again pulling strings, telling Peter’s donors to move their money to an unknowing Alicia, who would divorce Peter after his trial and run for office herself, keeping power in the family. In this arrangement, being the good wife would mean being a divorcée.
As Alicia pondered what man she wanted to be with, she continued to fight like hell on behalf of Peter, which ultimately put her in direct conflict with her longtime colleague Diane Lockhart (the great-is-insufficient-to-describe-her-greatness Christine Baranski) and Diane’s own husband. By zealously protecting Peter’s interests—being a “good wife” to him—she sabotaged Diane’s ability to be a good wife and revealed herself to be a terrible friend, a mercenary colleague, and a ruthless person in the process. Over seven seasons, Alicia has learned how to be a more effective partner, in the romantic and legal sense: This by no means makes her a more decent one.
In the last moments of the show, Alicia agrees to support Peter as he gives up the governorship and accepts a period of probation. There she is again, standing by her man. But this time, she sees, or thinks she sees Jason in the wings. Peter reaches for her hand, but Alicia flees, chasing after Jason, though she is unable to find him. Walking back through the hallway, she sees Diane, who comes up to her and slaps her hard in the face. Alicia’s reaction to the slap is the final sequence of the show, and in its way, it is chilling: Alicia is shocked by the slap, though she shouldn’t be. She begins to tear up. Then she takes a beat and her eyes cut back and forth as though she is suddenly aware that someone could see her, and then she suppresses her feelings. She dries her eyes. She calms her face. She adjusts her jacket. She is once again unperturbed.
One of the great things about the finale is that it ends smack in the middle of everything, as was pointed out to me on Twitter , essentially in media res . Life doesn’t stop because the TV show does. But I did not find all the loose ends frustrating, because though there is plot left up in the air, Alicia’s character is a certainty. She will find Jason or she won’t; she and Diane, who run a law firm together, will make amends or they won’t; she and Peter will go through with that divorce or they won’t. But through all those things, Alicia will be herself, a woman wedded to the idea of herself as decent, even when that makes her ethically indecent, a woman stringing so many people close to her—Peter, Jason, Diane, Eli, Cary—along.
In the finale, the Kings paid out the premise of the show, completely: that political wife, standing on stage, beside the husband who has besmirched her—we know her, and we know her better than she knows herself. Alicia is a woman who reflexively believes in her own integrity and decency, even as she makes moral compromises. Alicia wants to feel as if she is good, to appear as if she is good, more than she needs to be good. She dried those tears, she adjusted that jacket. In The Good Wife ’s last moment, Alicia’s political education ended; alone in that hallway, she revealed herself to be a candidate.
Everything That Happened on The Good Wife Finale
Spoilers ahead for the last-ever episode of The Good Wife
Will came back
Jon Snow wasn’t the only dead character to return to TV this week. Will Gardner (Josh Charles), who died in the fifth season of The Good Wife , returned, at least in Alicia’s imagination, in the show’s final episode.
Diane’s Husband May Have Had an Affair
Just two episodes ago, Alicia (Julianna Margulies) was asking Diane (Christine Baranski) and her husband Kurt (Gary Cole) on how to achieve happiness. Kurt had given up his business to move in permanently with Diane and spend more time with her. Things were on the up and up. But during Lucca Quinn’s cross-examination of Kurt’s former associate Holly Westfall during Peter’s trial, we found out that he was at least accused of having an affair with his favorite student. Diane leaves the room during the cross, and we never hear how he replies to her question. His lack of immediate protestation suggests that he did indeed cheat on Diane.
We Never Find Out if Peter Did It
We never really knew throughout the show exactly how corrupt Peter was. So perhaps it was appropriate that we ended the series with Peter emphatically denying that he buried evidence and those advising Alicia saying that he probably did.
Alicia Gets Slapped
The most stunning moment of the episode was, of course, the slap, which will likely go down in television history as one of the most daring endings to a show ever. After Peter’s press conference, Alicia thinks she spots Jason. She chases the man down the hall only to discover it’s not him. She turns around to see her partner at her law firm, Diane Lockhart, walking toward her. For a moment it seems this might be symbolic: Alicia was never supposed to end up with a man but concentrate on building her all-female law film. Instead, Diane slaps Alicia hard across the face for goading Lucca into asking Kurt about the affair and humiliating the couple in court.
Alicia Ends Up Alone
Will is a ghost. Alicia drops Peter’s hand at the press conference and doesn’t respond to his calls. Jason doesn’t show up. Despite all the romantic ups and downs of the show, Alicia ends the series very much single.
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Write to Eliana Dockterman at [email protected] .