The Good Wife’s Julianna Margulies on saying goodbye to Alicia

Jeff Neumann/CBS
Jeff Neumann/CBS

After seven seasons and 156 episodes the time has come to say goodbye to Alicia Florrick and The Good Wife. The series finale episode, “End,” airs this Sunday, May 8 at 9 p.m. on CBS and Global and is written by creators Robert and Michelle King. Series star Julianna Margulies says the drama has always been “a thinking person’s show. And that’s what I loved about playing Alicia.”

The three-time Emmy winner recently joined reporters on a conference call to discuss the finale and how the door may be left open. She also reflected on what she’s learned from Alicia and why she’s so proud to have played her for so long. Margulies also talked about saying goodbye to her second family and what the future may hold for her.

What she’s learned

The actress said The Good Wife was an important show for a lot of reasons, but it also taught her many valuable lessons along the way. “When the Reese Dipple (Oliver Platt) character came in and hired Diane, what I found fascinating about that and what it actually taught me a valuable lesson in life, is that there are two sides to every coin,” said Margulies. She recalled the April 5, 2015 episode, “Loser Edit,” where Diane was asked by Dipple to put on a mock trial to debate gay marriage. “I’m a liberal,” she said and “I think everyone should be treated equally regardless of race, gender or sexual preference.” But in hearing both sides during the mock trial, she realized the show was going “beyond just trying to defend gay marriage. But trying to understand why people don’t embrace it. That it’s not just a one way street in terms of, you know, everything should be fair for everyone,” explained Margulies. She went on further to say that “what the show touches on and what I think is so important is it shows all sides of the story. And that’s what I love about it and what makes me most proud to be a part of it.”

She didn’t know the end

Margulies said she never wanted the Kings to tell her how the show would end. “I feel that it’s an actor’s job to act out the part that they’ve written and the story that they want to tell,” she said. However, she always believed in what they had planned for Alicia and “I felt very secure in their hands. And I knew from the beginning that no matter how long the show ran, they always knew what the end would be. So because it was so engraved in their minds of how they wanted Alicia to unfold and to move through her life, I never questioned their choices,” said Margulies.

Jeff Neumann/CBS
Jeff Neumann/CBS

The ending leaves the door open

“What I love about how they’ve finished the series and how they did most of our episodes, was they don’t leave everything tied up in a neat bow,” Margulies previewed of the series finale. She further explained that the episode’s ending will “allow the audience to think and feel instead of shove something down their throat.” Margulies also predicted that audiences “will be left thinking where does she go from here? And some people will make their own conclusions.” Margulies also added that she thinks the door is open for more from Alicia, just not necessarily on screen. “In fact my very last scene–as I was standing there and the camera was pulling away and it was just me by myself, I thought ‘oh she has so much more to say and do.’ And I think that’s a great way to end,” she said.

What she loves about Alicia

“What I love about playing her and what I’ve loved about playing her for seven years, is watching her change and growing with her as a person,” Margulies said of Alicia. “The luxury of doing a series is that there isn’t a chance to have a beginning, a middle and an end and map out your journey. You have to sort of fly by the seat of your pants,” she explained. Realizing that fact also caused Margulies to learn that she’s forced to do something similar in her everyday life. “I don’t know how my day is going to begin or end. I have certain plans and they always end up changing because of circumstance. And that’s what happened with Alicia,” she said. As such, that’s the trait she ended up loving most in her character, “her ability to change.” So does that mean she’d be friends with Alicia in real life as well? “Oh absolutely. I think she’s fascinating. And I think she’s very smart,” the actress enthused.

On saying goodbye

“It was very emotional,” recalled Margulies of saying goodbye to her castmates, but also “incredibly exhilarating because we all knew we had come on this great journey together.” Being together seven years definitely caused Margulies to develop strong bonds with her castmates. “You’ve all witnessed each other at your best and at your worst. And through deaths and births and marriages, it’s a family,” she said. That’s why during those last few days on set “there was a lot of tears and they were good tears and these are all people that I’ll have in my life forever,” Margulies said. She said the cast wasn’t the only ones feeling it either. “I think the crew really felt it,” said Margulies who “wrote them all a letter the night before,” which said “you’re the best group of people I’ve ever met.” After all the goodbyes, Margulies said it feels like “a real loss of family.”

Jeff Neumann/CBS
Jeff Neumann/CBS

What’s next for her?

After seven years of Alicia Florrick and six seasons on ER, is Margulies ready to jump into another series? “I’m not quite ready,” she said, but has been “reading a lot of scripts that are coming in and I’m incredibly flattered.” She also said her next series will have to be on cable, because she’s done doing 22 episodes a year on network TV because “the time and the energy it takes–it just leaves you so depleted.” But for now she’s open to any good role that may come along, even if that’s sooner rather than later. “If the right part comes and it happens to be in a month rather than a year, I would jump on it. Sure. But I’m going to take my time and I’m going to be very selective,” she explained.

Who’d be good for a spinoff?

Finally, the actress offered up her suggestions for a possible spinoff of The Good Wife and said if one happened, she’d “happily moonlight as Alicia. Nothing would make me happier than never having to say goodbye to her.” So which characters does she think would work best? “I feel like the Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo) character was so intriguing,” said Margulies before adding that she felt as if the show “didn’t get to explore her role enough.” She also added that she’d “love to see more of Diane Lockhart. I would love to see those two together. And let me come in there and work one or two days now and then would be awesome.”

 

Are you ready to say goodbye to The Good Wife? Any predictions on how it’ll all end? Sound off in the comments below!

The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS and Global.