For those who have seen and witnessed the mortifying death of one of the show's major and beloved cast, I share your sorrow. To Alicia Florrick, wherever you are, I wish you the best of luck. Losing the man you desire and love is in no way imaginable.
This is indeed, a tough time for all followers of the legal drama. (Sorry to start in such a dramatic tone, I'm still in mourning!)
Now, let's snap out of it for a moment and go back to the real world. Josh Charles' character, Will Gardner, is D-E-A-D. Nope, the episode didn't leave any cliffhanger as to whether he has survived the shooting in court or not. The writers made it clear, he's a goner. And there's no way we shall see him kicking butt in court again, except for flashbacks of course.
The episode did leave us hanging for Alicia's reaction though, one that I'm assuming to be a gut-wrenching scene -- worthy of an Emmy nomination for Julianna Margulies. (So fingers crossed!)
Aside from Alicia's reaction, we get to see Will Gardner again, but only through flashbacks. On TV Line's interview with creators Robert and Michelle King together with Josh Charles, we learned that fans can expect for a profoundly emotional hour as the characters deal with the aftermath.
Keep reading for the scoop:
You’re returning in next week’s episode in a series of flashbacks from Alicia’s POV. Was it weird to shoot your death scene and then turn around and come back?
JOSH CHARLES: I told them when the decision was made last year, “Look, I don’t know what my schedule is going to be like, but let’s see how the season is going to play out. If you need me to do one or two more and I’m around and available and it can help tell the story you want to tell and help elevate whatever you want to do, let me know.” So Robert reached out to me and said, “As we’re crafting [Episode] 16 in the writers room, we [need Will].” And I immediately said I’m game. Let’s do it. And that really was my last time shooting on the show. Will’s presence is deeply felt in [next week's episode]. And the script is extremely powerful. The shock is in Episode 15, but Episode 16 is where you see the ripple effect of how everyone is taking the news. Reading the script was very hard for me. The scenes between Alicia and Diane… it really broke me up reading it. It was beautifully written and crafted and I was thrilled to be a part of it. There’s a moment at the end of the episode where Alicia is dealing with her memory of the day that it happened… Let’s just say that there was a phone-call moment that I had [which was] the last piece of real acting that I did on the show, and that was a very emotional moment for me. I think we did about five or six takes. And as each take progressed, I found myself getting more and more emotional, because I realized this is the last time I’d be talking as this character. This emotion came from some sort of deep place inside of me. And I had to kind of contain it somewhat. But that was when it hit me. That moment was one I will remember for a long time.
Any final thoughts?
JOSH CHARLES: I know people will be shocked and some fans will be upset, and maybe even angry, and I can take the hit on that one. If they’re going to blame anybody, they can blame me. But I think it’s going to send the show in a new direction and it’s going to just keep being fantastic. I’ve been really proud to be a part of it. It’s the longest job I’ve ever had. I leave with my head held high and feeling, hopefully, that I contributed in some small way to make it what it is.
Will had some nice moments with many characters in this episode, particularly Kalinda, but his final scene with Alicia wasn’t nearly as weighty. Was that intentional?
ROBERT: Yes, and there is a point to that which is played out [in next week's episode]. We wanted something that was not as emotionally heartfelt or even on the passionate side or the loving side, because a lot of [next week's episode] is about Alicia dealing with the irredeemability of death. Can you find closure in your memory if life doesn’t give you closure?
Does next week’s episode pick up right where this week’s left off?
ROBERT: We rewind just a little bit, like a minute. And then the next eight hours are compressed into one episode.
What else can you say about the episode?
ROBERT: I will only say that some of it involves flashbacks. We asked Josh to work in that episode, too. The episode really puts us quite a bit in Alicia’s mind. There has been the accusation – and even we felt it – that sometimes Alicia feels like a character who closes herself down emotionally. And we always think of her as a passionate character, so this year we’ve been moving more and more into her thoughts – and Will‘s thoughts too, as with “The Decision Tree.”
What does Alicia’s life look like beyond next week’s episode?
MICHELLE: Our efforts are to play this like life. If someone you care about dies suddenly and violently, it isn’t just going to impact you for a week. It will probably reverberate the rest of your life. And certainly the next few months.
ROBERT: One of the reasons we wanted to have this incident [to take place] two-thirds into the season and not at the end of the season is so that you really could see the outcome of all of this on all levels in Alicia’s life. What impact does this have on Peter and Alicia? What impact does this have on Alicia and her kids, especially with her daughter who believes in God? And what about Cary, who has never had the best relationship with Will? And, obviously Diane, where it’s been almost like a marriage. And Michael J. Fox, who comes back into this [as attorney Louis Canning]. There are two earthquakes in this season — one was the split up of the two firms, and the other is [Will's death], and you will see how it plays out over the next seven episodes.
How does this affect Alicia and Peter?
ROBERT: Having something end like this in her life doesn’t just make her question her love life, it makes her question all of her choices in her life. Did she make the right choices in her life and career? And it’s complicated by the fact that Will was not the [most] ethical guy, either. It’s a little bit of a mix of whether she’s doing the right thing with her life on five or six levels.