Late Friday night, as the nation was preparing to learn whether Don Draper was D.B. Cooper and be disappointed either way, another television mystery was solved. And as with most great television mysteries, the answer only raised more questions. TVLine broke the news fans of The Good Wife yearned to know even as they feared the answer: Julianna Margulies and her departing co-star, Archie Panjabi, weren’t even in the same room when they shot their final scene together. Why? No one knows, but probably because they hate each other.
Some background, for the Good Wife agnostic: The relationship between Margulies’ character, Alicia Florrick, and Panjabi’s character, Kalinda Sharma, evolved from a prickly professional association to a genuine friendship, and their bond became vital to the show. During the show’s stellar fifth season, however, fans began debating an alarming trend: the lack of scenes between Alicia and Kalinda. As their separation continued, rumors arose of a personal rift between the actors, one so severe the show’s producers just accommodated them by keeping the characters separated. The speculation peaked with a Buzzfeed piece calling attention to the complete absence of Alicia-Kalinda scenes since season four’s “Red Team, Blue Team,” which originally aired in February 2013.
Jump ahead to the just-concluded season six, The Good Wife’s most polarizing stretch of episodes ever, due in part to Panjabi announcing her departure from the show at season’s end. Fans of Kalicia, as the characters are known according to Kepler’s Law of Adorable Portmanteaus, hoped Kalinda’s last appearances would finally include some face time between the characters. In the season finale, “Wanna Partner?”, Kalicia shippers got their wish, as Kalinda sidles up next to Alicia on a bar stool and the two have a drink like old times, with Kalinda apologizing to Alicia for how “things got messed up.” But fans quickly noticed something “off” about the scene, in which Margulies and Panjabi seem unable to make eye contact and generally display the chemistry of Colin Jost and Michael Che. At least Margulies and Panjabi have a good excuse, according to TVLine: “Body doubles were employed for the single shots, and the two-shot was spliced together in post-production.”
Entertainment Weekly later confirmed the report, with CBS admitting the actresses didn’t shoot together while both actors’ camps reserved comment. Creators Robert and Michelle King have also never addressed rumors of the rivalry, which reportedly dates to as far as season one. (Part of the conspiracy includes the season two revelation that Kalinda once slept with Alicia’s husband, which was allegedly written for the express purpose of keeping the actors apart.) With Panjabi leaving the show, it seems the demise of Kalicia will never get a full explanation. Unless Buzzfeed’s Louis Peitzman gets his wish: