With the shocking death of Will Gardner on The Good Wife, the fans were left in shock. This wasn’t a season finale. There was no time to do our research and see if he would make it. Instead we are left mourning, but we are not alone.
In a letter from the writers of the show, Robert and Michelle King, they explained their actions:
We, like you, mourn the loss of Will Gardner. And while Will is gone, our beloved Josh Charles is very much alive and remains an integral part of our family.
The Good Wife, at its heart, is the “Education of Alicia Florrick.” To us, there always was a tragedy at the center of Will and Alicia’s relationship: the tragedy of bad timing. And when faced with the gut punch of Josh’s decision, made over a year ago, to move on to other creative endeavors, we had a major choice to make.
We could “send him off to Seattle,” he could be disbarred, or get married, or go off to Borneo to do good works. But there was something in the passion that Will and Alicia shared that made distance a meager hurdle. The brutal honesty and reality of death speaks to the truth and tragedy of bad timing for these two characters. Will’s death propels Alicia into her newest incarnation.
Death also created a new dramatic “hub” for the show. We’re always looking for these turning points—some event midway through the season that will spin everybody’s lives in new directions. These turning points keep the show from slipping into a numbing sameness, and keep the characters fresh: because you see how they react to a completely new status quo. Will’s death in many ways becomes a hub for the whole series, violently spinning everybody in new directions.
Finally, we chose the tragic route for Will’s send-off for personal reasons. We’ve all experienced the sudden death of a loved one in our lives.