‘The Good Wife’: A Behind-the-Scenes Feud Destroyed a Fan-Favorite Friendship

Real-life interpersonal dynamics can wreak havoc on the set of a long-running television show — especially when it means that actors who don’t get along off the set have to make nice in front of the cameras. Feuds between co-stars are nothing new, and many actors are able to put on a professional face and fake it for their fans.

Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker didn’t get along behind the scenes, but they managed to make their characters best friends on Sex and the City. Claire Danes found Leonardo DiCaprio to be childish and immature, but she didn’t let it get in the way of Juliet’s love for Romeo. Sometimes, though, the real-life struggles are too big to mask, and a character’s story might be rewritten — or written out entirely — in order to make things manageable. 

That appears to be what happened on the set of The Good Wife. The show’s best on-screen friendship took a nosedive, and the reason appears to be a real-life dispute between the actors involved. 

‘The Good Wife’ premiered in 2009

Julianna Margulies as Alicia on CBS drama 'The Good Wife.'
Julianna Margulies as Alicia on CBS drama ‘The Good Wife.’ | Jeff Neumann/CBS via Getty Images

The Good Wife was a critically-acclaimed drama that revolved around Alicia Florrick. She was played by award-winning actor Julianna Margulies.

Alicia has to pick up the pieces of her life when her high-profile attorney husband lands himself behind bars amidst a humiliating sex and political corruption scandal. The show ran for seven seasons before ending in 2016, but it was so popular that it spawned a fan-favorite spinoff. 

The Good Fight picked up a year after The Good Wife ended and used a similar plot point — powerful women having to make it on their own in a corrupt and often sexist political landscape.

The spinoff focuses on actor Christine Baranski’s character Diane, so some fans are still sorely missing Margulies’s portrayal of Alicia Florrick. While producers have teased that Alicia’s return isn’t off the table, it doesn’t seem likely that fans are going to get any substantial airtime with the former leading lady.

Instead, they may find themselves turning to re-runs of The Good Wife. Revisiting the series will surely bring into stark view the deterioration of one of the series’ best on-screen friendships. What happened between Alicia and Kalinda? 

Fans loved Alicia and Kalinda on ‘The Good Wife’

Juliana Margulies and Archie Panjabi on CBS drama 'The Good Wife'
Juliana Margulies and Archie Panjabi on CBS drama ‘The Good Wife’ | John Paul Filo/CBS Broadcasting Inc.

RELATED: ‘The Good Fight’: Will Julianna Margulies Return as Alicia Florrick? ‘Never Say Never’ Says Producers

In early episodes of The Good Wife, Alicia was frequently joined by her close friend Kalinda, who was portrayed by actor Archie Panjabi. Kalinda was an investigator who often worked alongside Alicia in her law firm.

For the first few seasons, the characters frequently shared scenes in both professional and personal settings.

Within the show, there was drama in the friendship when it was revealed Kalinda once slept with Alicia’s husband. Understandably, this revelation caused some iciness between the friends, but they managed to patch things up and build their friendship again in Season 4. 

Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi allegedly did not get along

The friendship was complex, but that’s exactly what fans liked about it. It also meant that fans were quick to notice when the two characters abruptly stopped appearing on-screen together after the fourteenth episode of Season 4. This bizarre setup — with the two characters occasionally talking on the phone but never appearing together — continued for a long time.

When it was announced that Kalinda would be leaving the show in Season 6, fans expected to see at least one final scene with the women together. It looked like they got their wish when Kalinda and Alicia appeared side by side at a bar, but closer scrutiny revealed that things were not as they appeared. Honey Celebrity reports the scene was shot with the use of a green screen. The actors did not actually appear together. 

Fans have long suspected that the reason for this over-the-top separation of the characters was rooted in a real-life dispute between Margulies and Panjabi. When asked about the green screen shot, Margulies laughed it off and suggested that Panjabi’s schedule prevented them from getting together, but Panjabi took to Twitter to insist that she “was not even in production” when she came to film the scene.

Curiosity still surrounds the incident, but Panjabi has made it clear she won’t be spilling any secrets: “I’ve said what I’m going to say. We are living in a world where everybody wants to know everything. I completely understand why everyone asks about it.” Margulies, too, seems to be staying mum about just what happened.

After this long, it seems unlikely fans are going to get more than speculation and rumors — and re-runs of what used to be. 

[Correction: An earlier version mistakenly stated Margulies was not in production when the scene was filmed.]