Archie Panjabi on Kalinda’s “Good Wife” exit and chemistry with Gillian Anderson on “The Fall”

AE: Cary has been a big part of Kalinda’s life as well. What can you say about the way that relationship ends?

AP: Unfortunately that was our last scene, which is why I put it on Twitter because when we were filming that scene, the atmosphere in the room was very sad because everybody knew that that was the last time those two characters would be together. Matt Czuchy is a very good friend of mine so it was sad that that was our last scene. Like he says, life is messy and I think that relationship doesn’t have full closure but life rarely does allow you to have full closure and I think that’s one of the things Good Wife does—it reflects reality.

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AE: People really want to see Kalinda and Alicia back together in the same scene without it being a phone call or somehow cut between them in two different places. What can you tell us about their scenes together in the finale?

AP: I guess my—I have a whole kind of interesting take on the Kalinda/Alicia relationship. I talked to you earlier about how Kalinda is so much dictated—the audience are the real kings when it comes to Kalinda. She was always meant to be a very small character in the show. And then of course she tested very high in the pilot, and as the first few episodes got bigger, the writers saw this great chemistry between Julianna and myself and saw the sort of unanimous love and affection from the audience and from the fans. And they developed it further and for that I’m always grateful because  I think I would have just been like having two or three scenes in every episode and I think that gave birth to this huge love for seeing two strong intelligent women on screen and this incredible relationship. I think the audience has missed that and they’re pining for it in such a big way. In the last episode, seeing them in a scene together, I think—it’ll be interesting to see how the audience respond because it’s been so long since we’ve seen them in a scene together, or seen the characters together. It’ll be interesting to see what the response is like.

The Good Wife

AE: What was it like for you to shoot that scene?

AP: It was my last day of filming and it had just been announced The Fall was nominated for an International BAFTA so I was really excited about that. And then Sunday, this Sunday, the day the episode is going to be aired is the day the International BAFTAS are happening so that’s a little bit weird. But I’ve known I’ve wanted to leave since Season 4 so I’ve kind of had two really good years of being able to say goodbye and hanging out with people. It was sad to say goodbye but it wasn’t a shock or surprise for really anybody on the job, including myself. 

 

AE: I read in an interview where you said when you were shooting The Fall, you knew you were ready to stop playing Kalinda because she was seeping into your other roles.

AP: I actually said that tongue in cheek! I said that to the Radio Times—I mean they didn’t do anything wrong, they printed what I actually said but it was tongue in cheek. I made a joke when I kissed her, I said to the whole crew, I said, “I think Kalinda’s got the better of me!” It certainly wasn’t my reason for leaving. I absolutely love that character. I think she’s a fabulous character to play, but I thought, if I were to stay on past my contract, I would lose that wonderful equilibrium with being professionally satisfied with the work and being happily employed and so I always felt, once my contract was done, it would be the right time for Kalinda to say goodbye.

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AE: Do you think with the continued success of the show, you could ever return in a one-off episode or a flashback?

AP: I don’t think I would be doing justice to Kalinda. I think Kalinda came as a mystery and as the past six seasons has established this very unexpected but phenomenal relationship with the audience. And I think if we were to bring her back—she leaves a mystery just as much as she comes in a mystery and I think I would like to leave it like that. But you know, with Kalinda you never know. Like I said, ultimately, with Kalinda I can’t quite control what happens to that character. It’s out of my hands.

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