Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times: The episode “Dramatics, Your Honor” took a strange, and, it must be said, uncharacteristically clunky turn toward its end … No doubt, the ramifications will make for excellent viewing for the remainder of the season. But the show has sustained a catastrophic injury; any development that makes Kalinda cry should not be taken lightly.
Sonia Saraiya, A.V. Club: This episode triggers so many “jumping the shark” flags for me that it’s hard to write about it with the faith that this is an episode of The Good Wife, a show that I consistently find to be one of the best on television … As horrible as this is, it is a dramatic response to a real-life problem: Josh Charles wanted to leave the show, and this is how it played out. And they handled this as well as any show could, I think (with the exception of, I don’t know, Blackadder Goes Forth).
Brian Lowry, Variety: Sunday’s surprise reinforced the sense of The Good Wife as an outlier on CBS — a series so niftily written and acted, and so deftly mixing comedy with its drama, as to avoid all the procedural cliches that characterize most of the network’s drama lineup.
Joanne Ostrow, Denver Post: Hand it to the writers and producers for shaking up a series that didn’t seem to need shaking up. This surprise shooting death ranks with the Downton Abbey surprise fatal carriage accident — presumably another case of an actor getting antsy. Here’s hoping the Good Wife team can reset for another season as cleverly plotted as the first five.
Breia Brissey, Entertainment Weekly: I kept talking to the TV, assuring myself mostly, that what I was watching couldn’t actually be happening. There’s NO WAY Will Gardner is dead. But it’s not just some hallucination. He’s gone. And I can’t stop the tears! At this point in all the dramatics, I reminded myself that Will is just a fictional character, and that I probably should be having such a reaction to his death. But I was just in pure shock.
Linda Holmes, NPR: Sunday night’s episode wasn’t necessarily bad, but it instantly extinguished any interest I had in the rest of the season. It seems inevitable that it will make more room for stories about Peter’s political career, which has always been a part of the show I’d be happy to have replaced by dead air, or at least a nice nature shot and an instrumental version of “Do You Know The Way To San Jose?”
Adam Newland, TV Equals: It’s one heck of a stomach punch. At the end of the day, it’s important to let this situation play out. Because of the suddenness, it is impossible to place this episode in an appropriate context. Let’s agree to try our best to maintain a level head and give the Kings an opportunity to steer this ship in the right direction. Given the quality of work being done over the past 18-20 months, I believe they’ve earned it.
Amy Amatangelo, Paste Magazine: I spent a brief amount of time in denial. (This is all just a dream sequence. The Good Wife does elaborate dream sequences, right?) And I dabbled in bargaining. (If Will isn’t really dead, I promise to never bring up the Kalinda ex-husband storyline again.) But now I’m solidly back in the anger phase. And I don’t see myself ever getting to acceptance.
Mark Harris, Grantland: Alicia’s search for her identity — how much she’s willing to define herself apart from the men in her life, how she seems to become more like Peter (and in some ways like Will) the less she depends on them, how she chooses to be “good,” and how slippery she lets her definition of that word become — is the engine that has long powered this excellent, chance-taking series … Dramatic possibility is, by the way, the quality that is supposed to keep us watching, and one that TV dramas reach for too rarely. I’m sympathetic, I guess, to those who were so invested in “Willicia” that they feel they’ll no longer have a rooting interest in the series. But I don’t think we’ve been watching the same show.
Daniel Fienberg, HitFix: The Good Wife delivered a rambunctious kick-to-the-nads on Sunday night and at least for viewers on the East Coast, who weren’t especially chivalrous with their Tweeting and the notion that people in different time zones like surprises as well, it was out of the blue. You can hate the word “gamechanger” as much as you want, but what happened on Sunday’s The Good Wife will most certainly change the game being played by The Good Wife and it will equally certainly change the interest that many fans have in that game.
James Poniewozik, Time Magazine: How successful this move is will depend on what happens afterward. I can only give a few immediate reactions. The idea of killing anyone in sudden violence doesn’t really seem like The Good Wife‘s world; I’d expected that Will was eventually either going to make a career move (to another city maybe) or be disbarred. Then again, if you want a departure to truly shake your audience and characters, maybe it needs to be something that feels like an asteroid striking.
Kate Stanhope, TV Guide: When The Good Wife first teased its “most shocking moment ever” earlier this month, it seemed (almost) implausible. How can a show that already broke up the relationship between its two central female characters by revealing Kalinda’s affair with Peter (Chris Noth) and orchestrated one of the most grand workplace walkouts in TV history have yet another trick up its sleeve? Oh, wait. This is The Good Wife. Anything can happen.
What did you think of “Dramatics, Your Honor?” Will you keep watching The Good Wife?