The Good Wife’s Non-Ending and The Good Fight’s New Beginning
I’ve been rewatching The Good Wife in anticipation of the upcoming spin-off, The Good Fight, premiering February 19 on CBS All Access. The ‘education of Alicia Florrick’ had been one of my favorite stories since season one, and while the latter seasons were less enthralling, the series finale made me fall in love all over again. I can imagine an idealized finale — a ‘happy ending’ — for The Good Wife:
- Florrick/Agos is a successful upstart law firm with Cary and Alicia crowned as the successors to Will and Diane.
- Diane ascends to the judgeship she’s always wanted.
- Kalinda joins the FBI.
- Yet Another Scandal forces Peter to resign as Governor. Six months later the Florricks announce their divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. Peter writes a memoir about corruption, both personal and political, and becomes a favorite on the college circuit.
- Zach and Grace are poised to redeem their father’s mistakes in the public sphere. Eli is watching them, biding his time with other, less worthy candidates, but waiting to pounce. Zach has better optics, but Grace has her father’s fighting spirit and her mother’s sense of duty. Eli thinks she could go all the way.
- Will accepts a faculty position at the University of Chicago Law School. He and Alicia are in a stable, exclusive relationship of equals.
- Alicia is in control of her life, her image, and her destiny. She’s happy.
Of the above, only Peter’s resignation actually happens in the series finale of The Good Wife. The rest is wishful thinking — some possible eventual outcomes, others completely unattainable in the series’ reality. None of the characters, none, is where they want to be or where the audience has been groomed to want them to be. Which is exactly what I love about the ending and the series. It feels real.
It’s painful, sometimes heartbreaking, to watch the early seasons of the series and know that while the characters learn from their losses as much as their wins, it doesn’t save them. It doesn’t fix their lives. It doesn’t make them happy. But it’s relatable. And motivational, because they keep going anyway. I’m scared of what The Good Fight may say about the characters who don’t appear in it. Mainly Alicia, because she’s my survivor and wherever she ended up I imagine her fighting. And I need that, so I can be a survivor, too. But despite the fear I cannot wait to watch — and recap here! — The Good Fight. I cannot wait for the Kings’ world to move forward. I hope you all watch with me. Next up: The Good Wife Precap, everything you need to know before The Good Fight premieres