Michael J. Fox Explains His ‘Good Wife’ Character: ‘I Wanted to Prove Disabled People Can Be A‑‑holes Too’

Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox as Louis Canning on The Good Wife. Michael Parmelee/CBS via Getty Images

Michael J. Fox’s portrayal as manipulative defense attorney Louis Canning in The Good Wife has earned him his 17th Emmy nomination — and he’s proud to have portrayed a “d‑‑k.”

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In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the actor, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 explains why he wanted his powerful character to have a disability.

“I thought it might be interesting to have a kind of version of Parkinson's, maybe not Parkinson's explicitly, but dyskinesia, which is a side effect of it,” he explained of his guest-starring role. “So we toyed with that idea, and they came up with that scene in the courtroom where I stand in front of the jury and say, ‘You may see me move this way or that way’ — I think it kind of blew people away on the set that I would be so open with it, but I just knew this was a perfect opportunity to funnel a lot of my life experience into a character and be coy with it and kind of let it out in dribs and drabs and see if I can make it an effective tool for him to do his job, as opposed to something that prevented him from doing his job.”

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While experimenting with art imitating life, Fox also wanted to establish that disabled characters don’t always have to be softies.

“It's funny because whenever a show or any representation of characters with disabilities on television tend to be sentimental, with soft piano music playing in the background, and I wanted to prove that disabled people can be a‑‑holes too,” Fox said. “And you want to feel sorry for him, but he's such a d‑‑k, whether intentionally or not. I think he's pure-hearted, I think he just wants to win, and whatever may be seen as a deficit, he'll turn into an asset in order to prevail.”

The hit CBS show ended after seven seasons this past May. As previously reported, some fans were disappointed by creators Michelle and Robert King’s finale, but Fox appreciated the legal drama’s swan song, including Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) slapping Alicia Florrick (Juliana Marguiles).

“I thought it was perfect,” he told THR. “I don't question Bob and Michelle. They always know the right note to begin and end.”

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