Spoiler alert: Josh Charles wasn’t the least bit surprised that his character was killed on The Good Wife, but that doesn’t make the departure any less emotional for him.
Fans are still reeling from Sunday night’s new episode of The Good Wife in which Charles’ TV persona of lawyer Will Gardner was gunned down in a Chicago courtroom by his own mentally unstable client.
Gardner was pronounced dead at the scene, which obviously precludes any chance of him returning to the series.
The Charles interview was taped the following day and isn’t slated to air in its entirety on Letterman until next week, but since CBS owns both Late Show and The Good Wife, the network released several advance clips, including one in which the 42-year-old actor explains that idea to kill off the character was his own.
“We’ve known this since last year,” said Charles. “It’s been one of the greatest gigs for me in my entire career, but at the end of last year, my contract was up and I was just ready to kind of move on…”
In the end, Charles, who also starred in the TV series Sports Night and HBO’s In Treatment, brokered a deal that saw him coming back for half of the current season.
“[Coming back for season five] was great for the show and also was a really proper goodbye to the character, so that was special,” he told Letterman.
Charles also said he was touched by the fan reaction to his character’s sudden passing and shared an anecdote involving his own neighbour.
“I went downstairs,” said Charles. “And I saw by our mailbox, the neighbours across the street, who I don’t even know, had left my wife and I a really beautiful note just saying that we feel like a family member had died and we know this is just a TV show and all that. But I have to say, I was very touched by it.”
And naturally Charles also felt the same way about the thousands of tweets from Good Wife viewers and other people expressing their condolences.
“The response on Twitter has been much the same and I just want to say to the fans that, you know, I really appreciate all your comments,” said Charles. “It’s meant a lot. I get invested in characters in TV shows, too, so everything’s going to be okay.”