Julianna Margulies, Alan Cumming
[WARNING: This story contains major spoilers from Sunday's episode of The Good Wife. Read at your own risk.]
It started with a voicemail and it ended with a voicemail.
OK, technically "Willicia" started when the former law school chums shared a passionate kiss in The Good Wife's 17th episode. However, it was only after Will (Josh Charles) left that voicemail declaring his love for Alicia (Julianna Margulies) in the Season 1 finale that the duo began their "conscious coupling" and eventual relationship in Season 3.
So, it only makes sense — as much as anything about the sudden and shocking death of Will Gardner can make sense — that their will-they-or-won't-they relationship ended with a mysterious and brief voicemail he left for her a short time before he was gunned down in the courtroom. "Alicia," Will said in a seemingly rushed tone before the judge could be heard in the background. "I'll call you back."
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The discovery of the voicemail — which came after Alicia heard of Will's death from Kalinda (Archie Panjabi), sobbed to herself in the car at the sight of a young boy and his mother, and cried in Diane's arms when she arrived at Lockhart/Gardner — gave Alicia some direction and a distraction as she struggled to accept what happened. And, more importantly, why it happened.
In the elevator, she imagined the best and worst possible scenarios for why Will was calling. "Alicia, this feud is stupid. I care about you too much to let this come between us," Will said in one vision. Or was it door No. 2? "Alicia, are you kidding me? Leave my clients alone, Alicia. Find your own."
Looking for answers, Alicia went to Diane (Christine Baranski), and then to the judge from the trial and Finn's assistant. Finally, she went to the man who tried to save and protect Will: Finn Polmar (Matthew Goode). When she went to visit Finn in the hospital, Alicia even imagined Will walking right up to her and saying, "It was all a mistake, can you believe it? They thought it was me because the body was shot in the face." (Alicia did not go to her daughter Grace to try and make sense of things, but Grace offered her unsolicited advice about God and how Will is in heaven in what has to be best payoff yet of Grace's ongoing religious story line.)
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During Alicia's search for answers, it was also interesting to see just how Will's death impacted everyone else. Diane was sad, but also tough as she fired an intern for crying too much and fired a client for not acting compassionate enough about Will's death. Cary (Matt Czuchry) was also mad, but channeled his anger as he fought for a client — the same client that was caught in the crossfire when Will fired Alicia from Lockhart/Gardner. Kalinda was determined. She used her relationships with various members of the Chicago P.D. to get a front-row seat for the investigation into the shooting and to get some face time with Jeffrey Grant (Hunter Parrish) after it was discovered it was the first bullet from Jeffrey's gun that killed Will. Eli (Alan Cumming) dealt with things the only way he knew how: by using Will's death to shut down the investigation against Peter (Chris Noth).
However, it was Peter's attempt to console his wife about her dead lover that led to the episode's most heartbreaking moment. As Peter put his arms around her, Alicia stood still and imagined a final scenario of why Will was calling. "Alicia, I'm sorry. I want what we had. I want to be with you and only you. Forever. Call me back, please." Tears filled Alicia's eyes as the episode cut to black. Ugh.
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Alicia will likely never get answers about why Will was calling, but she still has to move on. At a special screening held on Wednesday, Margulies said that the death will open a "plethora" of possibilities for her character. "The second half of the year is dealing with Alicia's dismay about life, dismay about her career," executive producerRobert King said. "Is she doing the right thing? Has she gotten off on the wrong track somewhere?"
The ripples of Will's death will be felt in more episodes to come. "The bottom line is the major event doesn't go away," King said.
Although Margulies admitted that she is "horribly sad" about the loss of Will, she said she is "excited" for what's ahead. "Of course there's going to be this hole in her life," she said. "But [it's about] how she fills it, and how she starts to question her choices: 'Why am I doing this and why am I representing these a--holes.' I think anything important that happens in someone's life is a game-changer, and it makes you, hopefully, a better person for it. I think you'll see this tremendous loss for her, but the choices she makes from then on are incredibly careful and mostly about her."
What did you think of Sunday's episode? Are you starting to accept Will's death?
The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9/8c on CBS.
(Additional reporting by Robyn Ross.)
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)