Desperately Seeking Kalinda

We fell for private investigator Kalinda Sharma because she was mysterious and witty — the strong silent type who knows how to get everything she wants, and looks amazing doing it. And the material The Good Wife gave her was delicious.

In Season 1, Kalinda and Alicia (Julianna Margulies) forged a friendship as they came to work together on putting together the pieces of lawsuits and cases for important clients at Lockhart/Gardner. In Season 2, Kalinda was developed further, becoming one of the show’s most beloved characters as she kicks ass against ASA Cary Agos and tries to hide a secret from her new best friend, one that eventually is forced into the open: She’d had an affair with Alicia’s husband Peter Florrick. Her bisexuality is also a bigger part of her character growth, as we meet her jilted ex Donna, played by Lili Taylor.

But that was all in Kalinda’s past. In Season 3, Kalinda hit her stride as she is investigated by the FBI and strikes up a relationship with agent Lana Delaney (Jill Flint). In the meantime, she’s doing her best to both stay out of Alicia’s way at the firm, but also show what little remorse she can, being Kalinda. A short sexual relationship with a married woman (Kelli Giddish) throws Kalinda for a loop, but she’s never too shaken to do her job, which is what she does best.

Until Season 4, which is airing right now.

We knew that Kalinda was still married to someone she wasn’t looking forward to seeing again, so when we met him at the beginning of the season, we were ready to hate him, too. And hate him we did. A sexist con man with more of an interest in possessing Kalinda than having her love, Nick (Marc Warren) alienated viewers when he spent too much time bedding Kalinda and hanging around the office. Their love/hate relationship was not the chemistry that the show’s writers had hoped for. Instead we couldn’t wait to see Kalinda kick him out the door.

Since she did that at mid-season break, we have barely seen anything from her. We’ve had five Nick-free episodes and only very brief scenes with Kalinda, who has taken a back seat to the Eli Gold investigation and the holy quest for third years to become partners. With only four episodes left in the season, though, what can we expect? It sounds like Kalinda will have a storyline in this Sunday’s episode as she trains a new P.I. From the Examiner:

Jess Weixler is coming in as Robyn, a character described as “as opposite a young woman as [they] could find from Kalinda,” beginning with the next episode. Now that the firm has money, they have a whole new set of problems, including the firm heading towards civil war. They hire a second private investigator, and Robert shared that what thy wanted was to “see how Kalinda works through the eyes of somebody else and through someone, in theory, she’s supposed to train.” Kalinda’s job means that while does talk to many people, she can’t have a relationship with any of them. The character of Robyn allows them to explore something different for her, but there is also a “complicated dynamic” between Robyn and Kalinda.

In terms of romance, however, we won’t be seeing Kalinda and any new girlfriends in the near future. The only possibility of a spark with someone is Cary. King told reporters “One of the things Kalinda really likes is when Cary is in ‘take no prisoners’ mode.'” That must have been what she liked about Nick, too, although his methods were a little bit more illegal.

If Kalinda and Cary do hook up, it would probably please as many viewers as it polarizes others. Their friendship has been fun to watch on screen but would never work out well if it were to progress. And as King noted, “Kalinda to us is someone who is constantly resisting connection but also there’s something within her that is trying to find connection to other people, and I think that situation is just going to propel her closer to want to reach out.” So if she does reach out to Cary, it is likely to be a quick fix, not necessarily something everlasting. They don’t quite seem to match up as well as Kalinda and Lana do, where their power play is not only scandalous and sexy but incredibly satisfying to watch play out.

So why do Robert and wife/co-executive producer Michelle King not give Kalinda a chance for more long-term romance with Lana? It could be Jill Flint’s schedule, but now that she’s free of Royal Pains, it’d be great to see her become more of a permanent fixture on the show. The cast is sizable, to be sure, with many, many high profile guest stars on a regular basis, but if Nick could have an arc that was supposed to be longer than it actually was, how about giving some more of that time with someone she has some actual passion with? Let’s not waste Archie Panjabi’s potential any longer. She’s smoldering, and she’s gone missing.