The biggest surprise of the Super Bowl had nothing to do with football. After initially weighing continuing The Good Wife without its creators, Robert and Michelle King (who previously announced their impending exit from the show), CBS confirmed Sunday, via a Super Bowl ad, that the series will end at the conclusion of the current seventh season.
"The story of Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) could only support seven years," Robert said in a conference call with reporters on Monday.
"We knew we could control our fate, but we were very aware that we did not control the fate of the series," Michelle added. "That was for the studio and network to decide. So we felt very fortunate and flattered that we're being allowed to end the show with the writers and producers the way we want it to end."
While the Kings were hesitant to reveal too many spoilers, they did reveal a few juicy tidbits about what fans can - and can't - expect from the final nine episodes, which will conclude with the series finale on Sunday, May 8 (9/8c, CBS).
Everything will be wrapped up - including Alicia's future with Peter: Robert compared these last nine episodes to the third act of a movie and promised that all the main aspects of Alicia's life will be addressed, including: her marriage to Peter (Chris Noth); how she deals with an empty nest once Grace (Makenzie Vega) leaves; her relationship with Eli Gold (Alan Cumming); and her experience returning to Lockhart, Agos and Lee.
But don't expect any time-jumps to provide a quick answer to any of these issues. "We're not going to do that," Robert said. "Our show has always been built on the continuity of the moment."
There will be a lot of returning characters: While they could only confirm Gary Cole's return, the Kings indicated that "a lot" of familiar faces will pop up over the next nine episodes. "What we wanted to do is see some people you probably haven't even seen for two years, like Robyn (Jess Weixler) and so on," Robert says. "It's not going to be the end of Seinfeld in that way, but we just kind of wanted to get a little bit of check-in with any of the characters we've seen."
Kalinda will not be back - via green screen or otherwise: After Kalinda's (Archie Panjabi) controversial last episode, in which she "reunited" with Alicia via green screen, there are still no plans for the investigator to return and deliver a proper goodbye. "We really try to follow what makes sense for the characters," Michelle says. "Kalinda went off deliberately to disappear and we're honoring that choice. It wouldn't make any sense for her to come back."
There may be a spin-off: Though there's no concrete plans for a Good Wife spin-off, Michelle didn't dismiss the possibility. "Sure, maybe. We're not saying no to anything at this point," she says.
"There are all these fun characters that you maybe didn't see as much as you wanted," Robert added, pointing specifically to Carrie Preston's Elsbeth Tascioni and Martha Plimpton's Patti Nyholm. "What would be fun is if you could find a way to spin off an ensemble that maybe wasn't at the center stage of Good Wife, just because of all of those characters we wished we had more time with. We wished they were regulars and you could explore other lives."
There will be no Will Gardner flashbacks: Though Will has loomed over The Good Wife's final season, don't expect the Kings to work in any Josh Charles cameos through flashbacks or other means. "The only thing we'd say about the Josh character, Will, is he weighs heavily on the narrative even if we don't have him in person," Robert says.
The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9/8c on CBS.
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