“The Good Wife” showrunners talk Kalinda, Kalicia and more


The Good Wife is having a busy season. But amidst all the guest stars and character hook-ups and shake-ups at the firm, AfterEllen.com TGW fans ask one question consistently: What’s up with Kalinda Sharma?

Our friend @televisionary, Jace Lacob, got some answers in an interview this week with TGW creators Robert and Michelle King. Fans of the show definitely will want to read the entire interview at The Daily Beast — the Kings were in a talkative mood. We’ll highlight the scoop about Kalinda in a minute.

First, though, you need to know this: Bisexual Women are TV’s Hot New Thing. I read it on the internet so it must be true. According to slate.com’s Browbeat, a bisexual character will “double a show’s chances of building a fan base.” The article contains much such insight and unless I am missing some obvious cues, is for real — and from 2012.

That must be why we’re so interested in Kalinda.

Right, that’s why.

Remember back in the fourth episode of the season, when a very attractive young woman from the Justice Department showed up at the State Attorney’s Office to observe for racial bias? (I actually forgot that storyline, but I sure remember the woman.)

Her name was Imani Stonehouse, played by Nicole Beharie. At the time, I thought that Kalinda would very likely enjoy having her around permanently. Turns out the Kings were thinking the same thing. Beharie was cast to be the “corner of a love triangle” between Cary and Kalinda, but Dana Lodge replaced her.

“What we were planning was a character like the Greta Garbo character in Billy Wilder’s Ninotchka,” R. King told Lacob. “There was a sense that the Imani character was a very tight-assed or by-the-book character and then gets a little bit seduced by the corruption around her, and the question was meant to be, is this a good thing or a bad thing? But once we lost the actress, we had to create a character for Monica Raymund, which is where we decided to go the route of someone who was not a lesbian but who was seduced by the possibility of someone having a crush on her.”

The tension remained, but without romance.

“The tension there was always, well, will they end up sleeping with each other? But we didn’t want it to be that everyone just drops their drawers whenever Kalinda is around. And yet there was something hypocritical in this woman for playing the sexual card when there was never going to be any consummation… It was more of an intellectual idea that we were pursuing because it seemed fun, but I think it had a few dramatic drawbacks.”

“Next year is going to blow the pants off of it. This year with Kalinda was slightly hurt by the loss of Kelli Giddish at the beginning of the year … she was a kick in the ass for Kalinda and for the show, because she had such a different, genteel Southern energy that really was fun. We wanted to play with the idea of whether Kalinda would stick with her morals with this woman or bend them because she likes sleeping with her.”

Unfortunately, King doesn’t tell us exactly whose pants are going to blow off or how that’s going to happen. He is a cruel, cruel man.

He did, however, give us some hope for Kalicia. The rift between them, once Kalinda decided to stay with Lockhart & Gardner, has been a major factor during Season 3.

“One of the things that we really wanted to do with the show was be not careful with the characters. We wanted to be more like bumper cars—they just slam into each other. The reality would be how hard it is to come back from this massive betrayal or what Alicia considers to be this massive betrayal. We’ve been wanting to show different colors of that with this Nora Ephron–like quality of when are they going to do it? Not sexually, but friendship-wise. Julianna [Margulies] and Archie [Panjabi] are both so great in this that it was a matter of figuring out how fast or how slow we can peel this back. What is the new configuration of the Alicia/Kalinda relationship?”

But the Kings think about how the new Kalicia will look “endlessly.”

“We devote two hours a day to just that thought. We would acknowledge that one of the magical moments in the show up until now, and even seeing the dailies, is seeing these two drink together. If that’s not one of the main relationships of the show, it’s the main relationship of the show. We’re working as if these are two real people, what would this new configuration look like, and we’re obsessed with it.”

So are we.

Check out the rest of the interview at The Daily Beast to get insight into the season’s storylines and characters. Every time I watch or read interviews with the Kings, I understand why The Good Wife is such a great show. They haven’t just created a series; they’ve created a world. And they really understand its complexities and residents.

If you happen to have any ideas about how things should go in that world, keep the comments coming. Unlike many showrunners, the Kings admit that they pay attention to what TGWfans think.

“I always watch to see what people are saying. I was very aware of the first three episodes not connecting the way they should. That was a function of how we didn’t build some structural outside force that would have created some jeopardy within the world.”

Do you agree with the Kings’ thoughts on the Kalinda storyline in Season 3? What would be your dream scenario for “blowing the pants off” of that story next year?