‘The Good Wife’ Series Finale Recap: Alicia and Peter’s Fate Revealed, One Character Shockingly Reappears

Goodbye, Good Wife! After over 150 episodes, here we are: the series finale of CBS’ Emmy-winning drama The Good Wife, called “End.” The titular character, Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), was there to guide Us through every surprise in the Sunday, May 8, episode, and you’d better believe there were surprises. You may have heard a little rumor about Alicia’s late lover Will Gardner (Josh Charles) coming back, and if you read on, you’ll learn if that rumor was true, and a whole lot more. …

Julianna Margulies
The Good Wife Jeff Neumann/CBS via Getty Images

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Guess Who’s Back, Back Again? Will Is Back, Tell a Friend …

The episode began right where last week’s episode, “The Verdict,” left off: Everyone was in the car arguing on their phones. When Alicia heard that the initial agreement to a two-year plea deal for her husband Peter Florrick (Chris Noth) was facing opposition, she sought out the prosecutor going after him, known governor jailer Conor Fox (Matthew Morrison).

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Conor tried to argue a little, but she squared off, demanding, “Look at me. Do I look like I’m breaking down?” In seven seasons, she’s never looked like she was backing down, so we think you know the answer as well as Conor did.

Back in the courtroom, the judge tried to move forward with the proceedings regarding the plea, but the jury interrupted with a note that asked, “We have read the transcripts of the victim’s 911 call, but we would like to hear the call ourselves. Is that possible?”

Grace Florrick (Makenzie Vega) asked her mother why that was good, and Alicia hissed that it meant the jury was more interested in the murder than Peter’s guilt. The tapes played. Jason Crouse (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) snuck in and hit “record” on his phone just before the victim was audibly shot. As the jury asked about an inaudible sound in the recording, Jason suddenly realized the mysterious sound was a ringtone. Someone else had been present at the murder scene.

After hearing this, Alicia tried to get to work remembering a previous case that had used a similar defense. Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo) walked in, closed the door, sat down and told Alicia that she needed to talk to Jason because she had major choices to make about which man she wanted to see every day when she walked through the door of her apartment.

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Lucca exited, and Alicia was left to imagine the scenario her partner had presented. In her mind, first she walked in to see Jason. Then she walked in to see Peter. Finally, she walked in to see … Will. She tried to snap herself out of the daydream, but it wouldn’t quit, so she slammed her laptop down and went to the office, where she found the documents she had been looking for. There was a sticky note on it that she couldn’t read, though it clearly said Núñez v. US.

She flashed back to a moment with Will at the office, when he had explained that very case to her.

“It’s really good to see you again,” she said to the specter.

“Again?” he asked. “Where was I?”

Band-Aids Don’t Fix Bullet Holes

Later, Jason approached Alicia and urged her to speak to Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry). She brushed him off, saying Cary would never help them, but Jason was adamant.

As this was happening, Peter was meeting with a donor, who matter-of-factly told him that Alicia needed to divorce him and use her good approval ratings to run for office. It was clear that he and the rest of the investors weren’t interested in backing Peter anymore, regardless of whether he went to prison. The governor looked shocked and was even more horrified when he learned that the idea of backing Alicia was being floated by none other than his crisis manager, Eli Gold (Alan Cumming).

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Meanwhile, the good investment known as Alicia was with Jason, looking for Cary. Jason tried to talk to her about their strained, complicated relationship, and though she was hesitant, he pushed on. She leaned close, whispered, “Wait for me …” into his ear, and then stepped toward Cary.

Somehow, they got through to Cary and were able to procure a witness who swore she was the one whose phone was heard on the 911 call. During her testimony, Alicia was sidetracked by the fact that Grace was sitting in the courtroom when she was supposed to be on her way to Berkeley. The teenager revealed she had pushed her entry to university back a year to support her father in court and in the event that he went to prison.

The testimony of the woman with the cell phone was excluded from the jury’s deliberation, and Cary had suddenly had enough. He walked out of the courtroom to pursue the truth about what happened to those bullets everyone thought Peter tampered with, even though we all know how much he hates Peter. Was it too late? Would finding out more about the bullets even be enough to fix the whole situation?

The Donors and the Loner

During one of their one-on-one meetings, Conor told Alicia to agree to let Peter take one year in prison. She flatly refused, and Conor informed her that they had met once at an event years ago. He lamented that she was funnier then, and she fixed him with a nasty look and told him that if he found a way to get her husband a year of probation with no jail time, she might actually smile for him.

Peter didn’t care about that at the moment. He was confronting Eli about his urging of everyone to “move political assets over to Alicia.”

Eli hissed that Peter was tainted, and donors wouldn’t continue supporting him even if he didn’t do jail time. Peter looked sad and shocked, but was disrupted when Alicia called. The bullets had been found.

The bullets were immediately sent for testing. Shockingly, they were determined to have come from Richard Locke’s gun, meaning Peter really did have a reason to tamper with them.

Forever embodying what it means to be a composed boss lady, Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) took a deep breath, saying they’d back down on the bullet issue and assuring Alicia that it didn’t mean Peter was guilty.

“I don’t know if I care anymore,” Alicia sighed.

“He’s your client,” snapped Diane. “That’s why you care.”

Contempt in Court

Back in the apartment, Peter confronted Alicia, telling her he’d heard about the ballistics test. He swore he hadn’t tampered with any evidence.

In the courtroom, the real origin of the bullets was made known, and Conor jumped at the chance to allow the jury to be made aware of it. Alicia begged Diane to let Kurt McVeigh (Gary Cole) testify to help them, and as she was refusing to call her husband as a witness, Conor stood up. He called Kurt to the stand.

Diane refused to cross-examine Kurt, so Lucca (after teaming up with Alicia) jumped up to do it for her. Lucca pointed out that Kurt had an affair with Holly Westfall, the ballistics expert for the prosecution to whom he had inexplicably sold his own business recently, thus making it impossible for him to be unbiased while also making it very suspicious that he had checked his analysis of the bullets against hers before testifying …

Diane flinched. She stood and walked out of the courtroom.


The ploy worked, and the jury didn’t get to see the ballistics testing results. A defeated Conor spoke to Alicia about moving forward with the plea for a one-year probation. He urged her to just take it. She, in turn, counseled Peter to just take it. He said he worried his career would be over, and she responded, “I think it’s over anyway, isn’t it?”

Peter agreed to take the deal on the condition that when he announced it the next day, she would stand by his side. She agreed, but once he left the apartment, she whispered to herself, “What do I do now?”

Out came Will again. He told her to go to Jason because she was finally free of Peter altogether. She was quite clearly no longer the good wife.

“I’ll love you forever,” she said tearfully to the apparition.

Will responded, “I’m OK with that,” and moments later, she was rushing to her office. She asked Lucca where Jason was, but no one knew. She left a voicemail for Jason, telling him she and Peter were finally through, and they needed to talk right away. The camera lingered on a shot of her phone displaying, “Ending Call.”

The next day, she fulfilled her final duty as Peter’s wife and stood beside him as he announced that he would be taking the plea and resigning as governor.

He reached for her hand after his speech, but she had already turned sharply and run off the stage in search of Jason; she swore she’d seen him as she was standing before the press. When she ran to the bowels of the building to find him, he wasn’t there, but she did come across Diane.

Diane slapped her harshly across the face and walked away. Just as the show began with a slap in a hotel kitchen, it drew to a close with one.

Alicia looked hurt, but quickly composed herself and kept walking down the hallway all alone. Jason wasn’t there. No one was there.

That was the end.

Tell Us: Did Alicia get the ending she deserved? And what did you think of that surprise return guest?

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