What will “The Good Wife” look like without Kalinda?

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The Good Wife has a huge ensemble cast, especially if you include their top-of-the-line recurring guest stars, but the hit CBS drama will feel the loss of Kalinda when Archie Panjabi exits at the end of Season 6. 

“It will be tough,” says co-star Matt Czuchry, who plays Cary Agos. “It’ll be sad. She’s a great friend, personally and professionally as well. I’ve learned a lot from her, as an actress. I think that’s the biggest thing that’ll be different. She won the Emmy, she won the NAACP Award, she’s incredible to learn from. I’ve sought that out in her, sought that knowledge out, so to not have that there is going to be a loss as an actor.”

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Archie is leaving to star in her own show for CBS, but her castmates and show creators Robert and Michelle King acknowledge she will be leaving a void that they will try to fill, but not in the way viewers might expect.

“Can we say it this way? There’s a certain amount of money for regular actors, actors you have on every episode,” Robert King said during The Good Wife‘s PaleyFest red carpet. “And with the loss of Archie, there’s a gap—there’s a hole. Just like there was with the loss of Will Gardner—Josh Charles last year. We didn’t want it to be a Josh Charles type, which is why [we cast] Matthew Goode. There will be, but it’s not like Archie-specific.”

“It’s not like you’re gonna swap somebody else in that can take Archie’s place,” Michelle said.

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When Will was killed off last season, it took viewers by complete surprise. While we’re concerned that Kalinda could also be dealt with in a similarly violent situation, Robert assures us it’s unlikely.

“She can’t go out Will Gardner-style because you guys know that she’s leaving,” Robert said. “Will Gardner-style was that no one knew. Since everybody expects it, it’s a whole different beast.”

Christine Baranski, who plays Diane Lockhart and works closely with Archie, says she hopes there will be some shared intimacy with Kalinda/Archie before her exit.

“I would hope you would see there’s a genuine affection between those two women, who are so different and yet, like in a time of great grief, they reached across to each other and it was Kalinda who encouraged Diane to move on and have faith and looked her in the eye and said, ‘I’m here for you. Will’s not here anymore, but I’m here,'” Christine said. “It’s a beautiful moment, so you know, she’s actually been kind of like my girl. She used to be Will’s girl and she was really there for me. I’ve often wished I could have more material with Archie because I like working with her and I love the dynamic and she’s such an interesting character, the Kalinda character. She’s just so powerful in her own way. I hope we have a moment of—whatever happens, and I have no idea how they’re going to write it—but I hope there is a moment of something, between actresses.”

All Tapped Out

Matt Czuchry says he’s enjoyed the character of Kalinda just as much as he has working with Archie, especially because she’s so multi-faceted. Her being with women as well as men (including his character) has been treated respectfully, even when Cary finds Kalinda is sleeping with Agent Lana (Jill Flint). His jealousy is about Kalinda being with anyone other than him, not about the fact it’s a woman.

“In terms of that character, in terms of Kalinda, that’s one of the great things about that character. She’s also a woman of color, which is often not really addressed at all. She’s Kalinda. Whether she be bisexual, woman of color, whatever it is—she’s Kalinda,” Matt said. “An as audience member, I love that and as an actor I love that, and a person I like that because I think it says a lot about what’s the right way to be and the right way to go in the world, so I’m incredibly supportive of all that.”

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Archie will be around for the entirety of Season 6, but there is still no word on if any of her female lovers will make a reappearance. 

“The problem is they’re all on shows, damn them! ” Robert joked, as Jill Flint is on The Night Shift, Kelli Giddish (Sophia) stars on Law & Order: SVU and Lili Taylor (Donna) has been busy shooting American Crime. “They should make themselves available. It’s coming down to scheduling.” 

“They’re never too far away!” Michelle said, leaving us with hope that Kalinda won’t go out on a lonely note, if she has to go at all. But with Archie certainly leaving for a show that is more about her (and rightfully so), we mourn the loss of one of TV’s best, most multi-faceted queer female characters ever. Kalinda is smart, savvy and unapologetically sexual. Without her, The Good Wife will be a little less fun to watch, but here’s hoping they let her go out in style.

The Good Wife airs Sunday nights on CBS.

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