The creators of The Good Wife, Robert and Michele King, and Josh Charles revealed the reasons for killing Will off in Season 5, in a recent interview.
In the latest episode, Dramatics, Your Honor, the CBS series took the idea of twists to the next level. It sounds like a bit of an undersatement considering that the show knocked off one of its main characters. Fans are bound to be shocked beyond belief and dismayed at losing The Good Wife's lead man. But as is the case with most shows that drop beloved characters, the fans cannot direct their anger at the creators alone, because Charles, who plays Will Gardner, also wanted out.
"Josh Charles approached us almost a year ago about wanting to leave the series," Robert said. Charles was ready to move on as his four year contract was up. But Juliana Margulies, who is also a producer on the show, convinced Charles to stick on for the fifth season.
The legal drama's cast was also on board and understanding of Charles' decision to leave to challenge himself as an actor. And Charles hasn't quite left the building yet as he has directed two of the upcoming episodes of season 5.
"Their reaction was understanding," Michele said. "It's a very collegial and professional cast, and they understand an actor leaving because he wants to challenge himself. It helped that Josh was directing two episodes this season, and one of the episodes we specifically arranged for after he left the show so the band-aid wouldn't be completely ripped off."
While the writers and creators plotted an exit for Charles they did contemplate less shocking routes, like Will getting disbarred and leaving but they realised this posed as great opportunity to shake things up on the show and lending it some freshness.
"It was the softer blow, but at a certain point the show wasn't looking for the softer blow. We wanted there to be a painful turning point in Alicia's life. Also there are major story hubs you're always looking for in building a season: points in the narrative where it changes every character's trajectory," Michele said. "It keeps the show from feeling stale. Earlier this season that turning point was Alicia and Cary leaving the firm and starting their own offices. This is the second hub. The death of Will will impact the show down to its core, it spins every character off in a new direction. And we were excited to see where everybody landed."
Watch the interview here: