SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t yet watched the Sunday, March 23 episode of The Good Wife, don’t read this post.
No one was prepared for what happened to Will Gardner on Sunday night. No one would have thought that his client, a sweet looking young man accused of murder (played so well by Hunter Parrish) would have stolen the gun out of a policeman’s belt and shot multiple people in the courtroom. It never crossed anyone’s mind that Will might die on last night’s episode- but he did. Just when things seemed to be smoothing out between him and Alicia, and it seemed possible that, if not lovers again, they might be friends sometime soon.
(Who are we kidding, right? Everyone wanted them back together. They were so hot.)
Reports indicate that Josh Charles, the actor who played Will Gardner, wanted out of his contract to pursue other opportunities. Let’s hope he doesn’t go the way of David Caruso (NYPD Blue), Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy), T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy), Anthony Edwards (E.R.) and others whose careers never quite took off when they left successful shows to spread their creative wings. Only time will tell.
As surprising as the loss of Will Gardner is, the truly shocking thing about last night’s episode is how commonplace the experience of sudden death is. It happens in such random ways. Like to my hair stylist’s friends and coworkers, at his place of employment. Maybe, like the poor souls on Malaysia flight 370, on an airplane somewhere over a lonely stretch of the ocean. Or it could happen like it did to my friend Dean, on a freeway. Sudden death, unexpected and untimely, is always shocking and impossible to understand, and yet it happens. A lot.
We become attached to the characters on our favorite shows, looking forward to catching up with them during episodes, then forgetting about them during hiatus or between seasons. We’re not invested in them emotionally, except for the hour we spend with them each week. And yet when something like this happens we feel shocked at the suddenness and unfairness of it. Remember, way back, when Colonel Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson) was killed off of M*A*S*H*? It was as if we had lost a family member. How about when George O’Malley (Knight) died after being hit by a bus on Grey’s Anatomy? Good grief that was gruesome. But we get over it, because these are just characters on TV. We get over it because it isn’t real.
In real life, people die for no good reason too. They die in car crashes and bank robberies. They die when they choke on a piece of steak. They die of sudden, massive heart attacks, in house fires, of accidental drug overdoses. People die for no damn reason at all. And since this happens, we should keep in mind that, as morbid or depressing as it may sound, you never know what can happen.
Obviously you don’t want to live your life waiting for the worst to occur, but don’t live it wasting your days being thoughtless or angry or dismissive, either.
- Let the people you love know that you love them, often and genuinely.
- Try to appreciate, amidst the drudgery of everyday life, the moments that make the day good.
- Don’t spend your time in regret and bitterness – though a little anger here and there never hurt anyone.
- Say what you think when it matters, but keep quiet when it doesn’t.
- Don’t waste your time on books you don’t love or people who don’t interest you.
- Be kind to people.
- Don’t take any crap from people who are rude.
Will Gardner was a take-no-prisoners type of person. As he said to Kalinda last night, “Real life isn’t for us.” He lived his life on his terms, especially during this last season, and looking back now it’s clear that his death was what his new and improved “screw the world” attitude was leading up to. While not many of us can live that way, we can all try to seize the moment as often as possible.
Rest in peace, Will. You made the most of everything you did.