If you haven't seen The Good Wife season 5 episode 15, don't read any further. If you have:
Shocker! It all happened because Josh Charles wanted out of the series. And as sometimes happens when an actor or actress wants to leave, the producers decide to grant the wish, with a vengeance, and have the character leave not only the series, but life on the series, completely. Last year, at the end of the season of Downton Abbey, Matthew got this treatment.
And, last night, Will Gardner got it in on The Good Wife. The character had already lost twice in the past year. First, he lost Alicia, as a lover, when she went back to Peter - even though Alicia still loved him on some deep level. Second, he lost Alicia as a partner in law, when she left the firm. Tonight, he lost a third and final time: he lost his life.
Will reacted far worse to the second than the first loss, but both vexed him and shaped his personality this year. Nonetheless, as tonight's episode clearly showed us, he was still a brilliant attorney, and the best one on the show at that.
How will the series continue without Will? It can survive the loss of the romantic tension between him and Alicia, because some of that was gone already. It can also survive the antagonism between him and Alicia about her leaving the firm, because that was getting a little tired anyway.
One positive result of Will's death is that the case against Peter, which could have ripped Alicia and Will further apart, not to mention what it could have done to Peter, will have no longer have Will as a possible witness, which was the best and likely only real shot the integrity guy had of nabbing Peter. So that's to the good.
But the series will lose one of the best attorneys ever to plan a strategy and argue in a courtroom in television drama. Will Gardner is right up there with Perry Mason and Petrocelli - Victor Sifuentes and Bobby Donnell, too.
And since one of the most enjoyable and riveting parts of The Good Wife has always been the law, the superb series will be weaker for that.
Still, it will be well worth watching.