Julianna Margulies with Josh Charles
During The Good Wife's first season, the question has changed from whether politician's wife-turned-junior associate Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) will forgive her cheating spouse to whether she may leave him — specifically for law school buddy and boss Will Gardner (Josh Charles).
Although Peter (Chris Noth) has returned home, anger and accusations about the nature of Alicia and Will's relationship have escalated in recent weeks. Things only get more heated on Tuesday's episode (10/9c) when Will and Alicia get involved in a fight for a couple whose unborn child needs emergency surgery not covered by health insurance.
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"It's a really intense case that I think sort of lends itself to the dynamics that [creators and executive producers] Robert and Michelle King are working on on the show," Charles says of the escalating romantic tension between Will and Alicia. "There's a sort of rawness to Will that we see in the episode because what happens in the case really shakes him to his core."
The episode reveals a new side to Will, as the case forces him to face personal demons. "What's made the character of Will more interesting to play is that you don't get to where you are, being that young and that successful ... without sort of killing off a part of yourself," he says. "He's invested himself in his work extensively and I think that there's where the womanizing comes in and that's where the lack of real relationships comes in ... He doesn't really have that family that maybe, on some level, he might want."
Recent revelations about Will's past may have caught viewers by surprise, but Charles has enjoyed seeing his character's darker side. "I like the fact that they're not trying to oversimplify the characters and make somebody bad or good. There's all kinds of shades of gray," he says. "I'm not interested in having him be likable, the flaws are what interests me; the more flaws, the better."
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Charles says Alicia — as someone who knew Will back when he was more idealistic and his heart was more open — eventually helps him to change. "Having her back in his orbit maybe reawakened some of those feelings that he has put on the back burner while he leads the playboy, successful life," Charles says. "I don't think Alicia's seen that side of him since maybe way back when and that's part of what also escalates the connection between the two of them."
But no matter what happens between Will and Alicia on Tuesday's episode, Charles says: "I think it's an important relationship in the show and I think these two have a bond that goes beyond just friendship. I feel like towards the last part of the season, [the question will be] what happens when this level of intimacy increases? What happens after that?"
This lack of resolution may be frustrating for fans. But as half of one of TV's newest will-they-or-won't-they couples, Charles is just fine with the pace. "Ultimately, I think its something that [the producers] have handled really slowly and I really appreciate that," he says. "If you don't handle this in a careful way, where do you go from it?"