Will Kalinda Die In Season 6 Of 'The Good Wife'? It's Still Not Clear How Archie Panjabi Is Being Written Off The Show
The TV gods giveth, and the TV gods taketh away. While it's great news that The Good Wife co-star Archie Panjabi will soon be headlining her own series for 20th Century Fox TV — both for the actress specifically and for diversity on television generally — it comes at the expense of her role as private investigator Kalinda Sharma on CBS's legal drama. Though we've known since last October that Season 6 would be Panjabi's last on TGW, that hasn't made it any easier to imagine the show's future without her... especially now, as we grow ever closer to the character's departure date. With only four more episodes left in the season, the question of how Panjabi will be written out of the show still hangs in the air like the sword of Damocles: Will Kalinda die on The Good Wife ?
Only one season after traumatizing us all with the sudden and horrible death of Will Gardner, shot to death in the courtroom by a young man he was trying to defend, it seems unthinkable that show runners Robert and Michelle King would be so cruel as to kill off another beloved character. But the possibility certainly has to be considered. There are plenty of other ways Panjabi could be written out, including having Kalinda go to prison or go on the run; but if the actress is truly uninterested in returning to the show, then death is certainly the most conclusive option.
Not only would Kalinda's demise explain her sudden absence from the show, but the death of a show's key figure can be an effective way to spin off the surviving characters in surprising new directions. (Think Alicia in the weeks following Will's death.) And if there's anything the Kings are good at, it's misdirection. They've proven over the past several seasons that they rarely take the predictable path for their plots or their characters.
Right now, the show seems to be very clearly setting up a storyline that will land Kalinda in prison for faking the metadata that led to Cary's exoneration earlier this season. I would argue that this is exactly the reason why that won't happen. There are still four episodes left — surely the writers wouldn't be telegraphing Kalinda's fate so far ahead of the endgame. Of course, there are still plenty of possibilities other than jail that don't involve death, but as Han Solo would say, "I've got a bad feeling about this."
The mystery of Kalinda's exit is particularly infuriating since not even reliable TV insiders seem to have a clue what's going on with the character. In his most recent "Ask Ausiello" column, TVLine's Michael Ausiello had this to say when asked about Panjabi's impending departure:
I heard she was getting killed off. Then I heard she was going to jail. Then I heard she was entering witness protection. Then I heard none of those things are true. Then I heard the killed-off rumor again.
Then I saw the below photo Archie Panjabi tweeted Tuesday while on a break from shooting the season finale, and I thought to myself: “Self, that’s not the face of someone who’s about to shoot a death scene.” Does that answer your question?
(No. No, it does not.) Here's the tweet he's referring to:
Not to burst your bubble, Ausiello, but that looks to me like a picture of two coworkers hanging out between takes, regardless of what kind of scene they're about to shoot. Not to mention the fact that if Kalinda were being killed off, then of course Panjabi wouldn't tweet a photo that spoiled that fact. We know from Twitter that her last day on set was two days after that photo was taken...
...which would've been plenty of time to film a dramatic death scene after her cheery photo with Matt Czuchry. I'm not saying that's proof that Kalinda will die, but it's certainly not proof that she won't, know what I mean?
So if the Kings are preparing to kill Kalinda off, how will they do it? The most likely culprit at the moment is Lemond Bishop... but, again, isn't the most likely culprit really the least likely culprit? The Kings have done such a good job of instilling the past couple of episodes with so much paranoia, that I feel like it could almost be anyone. (I've got my eye on you, Finn Polmar. Nobody's that good-looking.)
As long as Kalinda and Cary get some closure before Panjabi's departure... I can't say I'll be happy, but I might at least be satisfied.