The Good Wife stunned audiences Sunday evening when a major character was killed off the show, and creators and showrunners Michelle and Robert King have addressed the surprise death in a letter addressed to series fans.
Will Gardner (Josh Charles) died in Sunday's episode after he was shot in court by his own client, Jeffrey Grant (Hunter Parrish). Grant was a suspect in the murder of a young woman, and seemed to snap in court after Gardner requested that he be placed in protective solitary confinement. Grant grabbed the court deputy's gun, fired several shots, and the young man was left desperately pulling the trigger of an emptied gun under his own chin. Gardner was shot in the crossfire and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
The unexpected and tragic turn of events was a shocker for series fans. Gardner had appeared on the show for all of its five seasons, and had become the male lead. The character was a former classmate of main character Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) and her coworker at Lockheart & Gardner. The two became lovers at the end of season two, then eventually rival attorneys when Florrick left the practice to start her own firm.
The Good Wife creators Michelle and Robert King wrote a letter to fans explaining their reasons for Gardner's violent death, and say that the character's exit was actor Josh Charles' own decision.
"We, like you, mourn the loss of Will Gardner," the Kings began. The two stated that "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."
That choice was the manner of the character's death. "We could 'send him off to Seattle,' he could be disbarred, or get married, or go of to Borneo to do good works," the Kings wrote. "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," the two continued. "Will's death propels Alicia into her newest incarnation... Will's death in many ways becomes a hub for the whole series, violently spinning everybody in new directions."
"We chose the tragic route for Will's send-off for personal reasons," the Kings explained. "We've all experience the sudden death of a loved one... The Good Wife is a show about human behavior and emotion, and death, as sad and unfair as it can be, is a part of the human experience that we want to share."
The Kings ended the letter with their thanks to series fans. The Good Wife will continue without Gardner at 9 p.m. ET Sundays on CBS.