When The Good Wife first began, Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) became a household name after being cheated on and publicly humiliated by her politician husband, Peter (Chris Noth).
Now in Season 5, Alicia will be the one betraying those closest to her. "It's going to be a completely different ball game," Margulies tells TVGuide.com. "There's going to be a lot of tension and a lot of friction and a lot of heartbreak. Diane and Will will end up feeling, when they find out, like she stabbed them in the back. And she did."
After realizing she still had feelings for Will (Josh Charles), Alicia decided to jump ship at Lockhart/Gardner and start a new firm with Cary (Matt Czuchry) in the finale. The season premiere (Sunday, 9/8c, CBS) picks up where we left them as the former rivals plot when to leave and how to tell their bosses. "It is fun to see Alicia, knowing that she made this decision that will hurt Will and Diane, still act like she hasn't made that decision," co-creator and executive producer Robert King says.
However, Alicia will begin to question her decision to fly the coop rather quickly. "The biggest thing is watching her realize that her and Cary are not Will and Diane," Margulies says. "I think the uphill battle will constantly be like, 'Did I make a mistake? How do I rectify the situation?' and realize she's with a lot of kids and they're ambitious and idealistic, but they're not realistic."
Surprisingly enough, the "kid" causing Alicia the most grief may just be her partner in crime, Cary. "Ultimately the three biggest clients from Lockhart/Gardner are Sweeney, Chum Hum and Lemon Bishop, and they're all going to come with Alicia," Margulies says. "The question is going to be --Does she trust Cary enough to take these on? -- because already in the second episode, you'll see she's being asked to join meetings that were supposed to be with just him and the client wasn't happy. So it's going to feel like, 'Wait, I'm doing all the heavy lifting.'"
Page 2 of 3 - But with great responsibility comes great power. Alicia has never kept quiet about her objections to Lockhart Gardner's less ethical and more financially motivated decisions, but it will prove much harder for her to stay on the right side of the law at the top. "Alicia and Cary are going into this with the idea that they are going to do Lockhart/Gardner better: That they're going to be more ethical. That they're going to hire the right people. They're going to make all these right decisions," King says. "The difficulty, obviously, with any venture that involves more than one person is that you have room for corruption, disagreement and bad decisions based on democracy. I think one of the things that we wanted to see is if Cary and Alicia could triumph over those problems or be susceptible to those problems."
Despite her good girl wife image, Alicia may be the one at Florrick, Agos & Associates on particularly questionable moral ground now that she is the soon-to-be First Lady of Illinois. "In many ways, she's relying on the power of the governor to bring in business and to help her with that business and that puts her in an awkward position," King says. "So in many ways, [their marriage] is a more stable relationship because they need each other, but that stability isn't always based on love."
After recommitting to Peter and to their marriage at the end of last season, their relationship will be under a close microscope. "One of the reasons Melissa George's character matters this year is because she's the head of the ethics commission in the governor's officer and there's a lot of problems with spouses, especially spouses who have their own jobs," King says. "There's always a worry that people will try to lobby the governor through the spouse."
Adds co-creator and executive producer Michelle King: "The great irony in Season 5 is that you would think being the wife of the governor would be all positive. As with everything in Alicia's life, it quickly turns into a complication."
George's character, Marilyn Garbanza, will also complicate things for Alicia and Peter because of her good looks, which will not go unnoticed by Peter, at least according to the Season 5 preview. "For these guys, what makes them comfortable is when they're in trouble," Robert King says. "When they're striving, they put themselves on their best behavior, but when they're comfortable, that's when you got to watch them."
Page 3 of 3 - But if Alicia can at least try to ignore temptation and start fresh with Peter, can't he do the same? Or is their marriage destined to go down the same path of infidelity once again? "Whether they can find their romance, I'd love to see them try," Margulies says. "She's giving this marriage a second shot because I think she's truly looking for happiness. I don't know if she's going to find it with him because I can't imagine he's not going to wander somewhere, but I don't know for sure."
Either way, it's safe to say Alicia Florrick is not the same woman she was four years ago.
The Good Wife airs Sunday at 9/8c on CBS. Are you excited for Florrick, Agos & Associates? Do you think Alicia and Peter can make it work?
(Full Disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)
Additional reporting by Robyn Ross
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