An interview with Archie Panjabi

When The Good Wife returns in March, we’ll also meet Kalinda’s husband. Yes, that’s right: Kalinda is married. The bombshell was dropped by Blake in a flippant remark in Season 2, but now the writers are casting someone to play the role, something Panjabi knows nothing about.

“The fact that he was her husband would certainly suggest there’s something kind of long term — Kalinda’s definition of long term,” she said. “For her to have married somebody suggests there must have been something that long-termish. It’ll be interesting to see that. am really excited! I can’t quite get over the fact my character was married, the thought of bringing him in really excites me because I know nothing about that relationship and nothing about where they’re going with that. It kind of, in a weird way, makes me more excited.”

But since nothing is every so cut and dry with Kalinda, who knows what her motivation was to get married in the first place. Even if she were in front of me and telling me she married for love, I might not be able to believe her, as her stoic expression and cool demeanor reveal nothing.

“My character doesn’t smile,” Panjabi said. “When she’s at work, she very much has that poker face on. It’s what she needs to have when she’s in contact and dealing with people with whom she needs to talk. I think in more social circumstances, we’ll probably see a lighter side to her and how happy she really is in normal life. We always see her at work so it’s difficult to see that side of her. We see her at work and we see her at the bar with Alicia, which is not when it’s easy for her to lighten up. We’ll see more of if she is a happy person; can she be happy?”

Panjabi said that playing Kalinda is not only fun, but gives her a kind of freedom to explore chemistry with everyone she plays in a scene with.

“I think it’s been an eye-opener for me in that I don’t have any preconceptions when I play her. Male or female, if there’s no written chemistry in the scene, I wait and see what happens between two characters with a very open mind,” Panjabi said. “Kelli Giddish only came on for one episode and we just clicked and I allowed myself to just go with the flow and this big smile came on my face and we rewrote the entire last episode just so Kelli Giddish — we rewrote the scene to put Kelli Giddish in it. I almost allow — I let Kalinda play me, but I almost go in not thinking we there I attracted to that person or not, and sometimes you’ll be surprised who have chemistry with. You just click. I think sometimes they decide to write that and sometimes it doesn’t work. I think that’s just generally in life, you meet people with who you connect, some you don’t, and whether it’s paramount to the story, I like to keep an open mind. It’s definitely fun to play.”

Even though Kelli Giddish ruined everything, we still have the enigma that is Kalinda, and Panjabi said fans always have an excitement about the character, which gives her so much pleasure.

“People look at me and go ‘You’re so different, aren’t you?’ because I’m sitting there smiling,” she said. Which is the reason Panjabi said she can’t wear Kalinda’s clothes offset.

“The clothes are so much part of the character that if I wear it, I end up looking like her!” she said. She does love the wardrobe, though, and says that they have to be careful about what she wears because it has to strike a perfect balance between “provocative and professional.”

“We also want to make sure she’s acceptable because she works at a law firm,” Panjabi said. “She doesn’t show a lot of skin. She might like tight and short skirts, but she has a leather jacket on and she doesn’t carry a handbag.” Her not bringing a purse around with her is something that Panjabi thinks is one of the character’s trademarks.

“Kalinda never carries a handbag or a bag, yet she’s always able to get in and out of places really easily with all these gadgets,” Panjabi said. “A handbag would change my look, but she’s got boots and pockets on her leather jacket. She never carries anything where she goes except in these little secret pockets. I think a handbag wouldn’t allow her — It didn’t seem right for her now.”

If anyone has insight into who her character is and the things she carries, it’s Archie Panjabi.

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