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The Good Wife spoiler alert: Why fans were shocked by the show’s latest plot twist

Chris Noth and Julianna Margulies in The Good Wife


There was no joy for fans of The Good Wife on Monday morning: One of the show's most beloved characters has left the building – and there's no chance he's coming back.

All the usual spoiler alerts apply from this point onward.

However devoted or casual, Good Wife viewers have been left reeling by the sudden departure of series regular Josh Charles, who played attorney Will Gardner for the past five seasons of the popular legal drama.

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And really, who could have predicted this sort of exit?

In Sunday night's new episode of The Good Wife, Gardner was gunned down by his own client in a Chicago courtroom.

The fact Gardner was pronounced dead moments later would seem to preclude any chance of the character's return, à la Bobby Ewing on Dallas.

As is the norm these days, Gardner's shocking demise prompted immediate Twitter reaction.

Shortly after the character went to room temperature, Good Wife co-creators and showrunners Robert and Michelle King posted a note on the show's Twitter account explaining why they decided to axe the character, which apparently had much to do with Charles expressing his desire to leave the show.

The Kings posted the letter along with a tweet directed toward Charles stating, "Every moment has been a pleasure. We'll more than miss you. With all our gratitude."

Soon after, Charles (@MrJoshCharles) himself responded with the tweet, "The pleasure has been all mine. I've learned so much working with both of you & I'm in awe of your talent and storytelling."

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There was also a tweet from Scottish actor Alan Cumming (@Alancumming), who plays political hotshot Eli Gold on The Good Wife, which read, "I am so relieved that the big Good Wife secret is out. It's been the hardest thing not to blab about it."

But as always, the best social-media responses came from fans and TV experts:

Like this tweet from David Sims (@davidsims): "Considering leaving earth and starting a new society on some other, less horrifying planet after The Good Wife."

Or this tweet from Amber Payle (@AmberTraffic): "DOUBLE OMG. Totally didn't see any of that coming. What an amazing, smart show."

Or this humorous take from ace TV columnist Bill Brioux (@BillBriouxTV): "Dammit, I didn't do it!' [Jack] Bauer denies killing someone last night on The Good Wife."

But overall, the most entertaining tweet came from 92-year-old comedy legend Carl Reiner (@carlreiner), who was apparently watching The Good Wife on Sunday night with his best friend and former standup partner Mel Brooks, 87.

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Reiner's tweet: "Mel and I enjoyed watching The Good Wife tonight… A well written, well acted episode with unexpected twists and surprises."

Which in its own way was the most straightforward and dignified response to the death of a fictional TV character.

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