The Good Wife ends with a dose of cold, hard truth… and a slap around the face

It stings: literally and figuratively

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The Good Wife’s ending was a slap in the face, literally and figuratively: Diane Lockhart smacked Alicia Florrick across the face and viewers have been left with the sting of a brilliant series coming to an end.

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But it feels like it should sting. This isn’t a show that’s ever given us an easy ride: whether it was screwed up cases, courtroom shootings or racy affairs, The Good Wife has never been about how to get your whites whiter. I’ve watched the first six series three times, I should know. Alicia Florrick’s (Julianna Margulies) toughened up and we’ve had to jolly well get on with keeping up with her.

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There were some ticks in some Good Wife boxes as well. Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry) found his calling teaching the law, as well as swooping in at the last minute to fiercely defend the honour of both the State’s Attorney’s Office and the truth. The world of unemployment didn’t exactly suit him. The image of Alicia standing by husband Peter Florrick’s (Chris Noth) side played out again, but it came without the final hand holding to give us that proper full circle feel and – gasp – we saw the return of her former boss and lover Will Gardner (Josh Charles). 

Annoyingly, it went a little bit ‘Disney’ at this point. Alicia and Will dream sequences usually involve some sort of naughty romp, but this – aided by a mushy track banging on about feeling anything at all – seemed like at any moment she was going to leap up and dance around. Nevertheless, the finale wouldn’t have felt right without him.

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Will’s beyond-the-grave advice was welcome, too. He finally relieved Alicia of any guilt about loving someone else and pushed her away from cheating, scheming, ‘oops-did-I-sleep-with-someone-else-again?’ Peter and into the arms of Jason Crouse (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). But of course Jason wasn’t there. A finale with Alicia skipping off into the sunset with her rugged investigator who loves her but doesn’t want to be tied down by her? No thank you.

Nope, The Good Wife’s ending had to have bite. Like a Tequila shot without the salt and lemon. Enter Diane (Christine Baranski). The woman who helped re-train Alicia, helped promote her, was at the very end fighting for a female-led firm with Alicia by her side… was promptly thrown under the bus. With it went her marriage as Alicia used the fact that Diane’s husband Kurt McVeigh (Gary Cole) was – in a shock twist – actually having an affair with his ‘top student’ Holly Westfall. It was for this that Alicia earned a smart smack around the face before the entire show faded to black. An unusual ending, for sure, but one with teeth. 

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We have been left with a much sassier Alicia, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s an Alicia who still hasn’t got it all figured out. Forget comfort, this series ends with a wallop of cold, hard truth: no-one really knows what they’re doing.