After weeks of playing cat and mouse with the firm's new investigator, Blake (Scott Porter), Kalinda sent a clear message by smashing in his car windows and sealing the wreck with a kiss. What followed between the two was one of the season's hottest confrontations yet.
"We were not given any direction for that scene and we just kind of went with our instincts. It got steamier and steamier and by the end we were really surprised," Panjabi tells TVGuide.com. "Is it sexual, or is it violent? You don't know. It's kind of in between."
The difficulty in defining their relationship is one of the many questions surrounding Kalinda. Her sexuality has been a watercooler topic since The Good Wife's debut. Although Kalinda has been very guarded about sexual orientation, Panjabi says viewers will get a "clearer understanding" in next week's episode when Blake brings her old friend, Donna (guest star Lili Taylor) into the mix.
"It's safe to say there was an interesting chemistry," Panjabi says of her scenes with Taylor. "What type of chemistry, you'll have to say wait and see."
Donna's introduction, which was alluded to in the series' fourth episode (Donna once answered the phone for Kalinda), is what initially spawned the speculation regarding Kalinda's lifestyle. It's a storyline that Panjabi says the writers didn't see coming. "If there's one adjective that was never used to describe Kalinda from the first day, it's mysterious," Panjabi says. "That was something that actually came out from the audience reaction. It was never intended."
And while Donna will bring some clarity to Kalinda's love life, there's also Blake, who has proven to be both a turn-on for and a threat — he knows about "Leela" — to Kalinda.
"Kalinda has probably never met someone who has challenged her to this level. On the one hand, its fear that he has something on her that she's worried about coming out," Panjabi says. "But on the other hand, he's somebody to meet up to her standards, so there must be something within her that is intrigued."
Viewers will get more peaks into Kalinda's vulnerable side as the season progresses, and as Blake digs further into her past. "She definitely has reason to worry and be concerned. I don't think we've ever gone down that route with Kalinda because she somehow always managed to get out of it," Panjabi says. "This time, fans will be a little bit more genuinely concerned for her because the stakes are high."
Panjabi, who won an Emmy for her portrayal of Kalinda in August, credits series producers for being receptive to new directions and says it's helped The Good Wife stand out from other network dramas.
"It's very much a work in progress. You can have a discussion one minute and then the producers will watch something in the dailies and suddenly decide they want to take the character another route," she says. "That's what keeps it fresh, exciting and unpredictable and that's why the audience loves it. That's more of a depiction of real life, having people where you don't know which way they're going to go."
One thing is for sure: viewers will never truly have Kalinda all figured out. "It's not so much that she's necessarily hiding some major big secret. She's an incredibly private person as well, and that's one of the biggest reasons as well that she comes across as mysterious," Panjabi says. "There will always be a degree of mystery around her."
The Good Wife airs Tuesday at 10/9c on CBS.