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Josh Charles explains 'Good Wife' shocker to Letterman

Says he has 'no plan,' but he has plenty of work

By David Zurawik

The Baltimore Sun

7:46 PM EDT, March 24, 2014

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Here's a first look at Josh Charles talking to David Letterman about the death of his character, Will Gardner, on "The Good Wife."

The appearance, which will air at 11:35 p.m. Monday, was taped earlier in the day.

Letterman: “What the hell happened?”

Charles: “What an intro!”  (audience laughs)

Letterman:  “You got killed off!” 

Charles:  “That’s what you gotta do to get on the Letterman show.  I had to do that, I had to get killed off to get on your show.”

Letterman: “Now, you knew this was going to happen?”

Charles:  “Yeah, we’ve known this since last year.   It’s been one of the greatest gigs for me in my entire career, but at the end of last year, my contract was up and I was just ready to kind of move on…”

Letterman: “That’s a very courageous thing to do.”

Charles: “Ah, you know – “

Letterman:  “In show business, don’t you think?”

Charles:  “It might be. Yeah, I guess it is.  It is tough to leave stability and leave sort of structure…”

Letterman:  “Yes, but moves like this always pay off.  I think they’re always for the better.”

Charles:  “Well, I could just tell you that I think what we decided last year was to come back and do these 15 this year, which I think really was great for the show and also was a really proper goodbye to the character, so that was special.”

Letterman:  “What has been the reaction of fans, friends, family to this?  It was all secretive, right?  You couldn’t tell anybody.”

Charles:  “It is kind of amazing.  We’ve been able to keep it a secret for an entire year…Yeah, I told some family members that I know could keep a secret, which is a very
few.”

Letterman: “Yeah.  What about neighbors and people on the street?”

Charles:  “Uh, no, you know, there’s the neighbors – today, I will say this.  When I went out to – I went downstairs, and I saw by our mailbox, the neighbors across the street, who I don’t even know, had left my wife and I a really beautiful note just saying that we feel like a family member had died and we know this is just a TV show and all that.  But it was, I have to say, I was very touched by it.  A lot of the, you know, the response on Twitter has been much the same and I just want to say to the fans that, you know, I really appreciate all of your comments.”  (searches to look directly into camera) “I don’t know where I’m  looking, but I just want to tell them that I really appreciate that.  Sorry, Dave.” (Charles, audience laugh)

Letterman:  “That’s all right.”

Charles:  “But I really do.  It’s meant a lot.  I get invested in characters in TV shows, too, so.  Everything’s going to be ok!  I’ll call your mom later.”  (Letterman, audience laugh)

Letterman:  “Do you have, in the back of your head, a plan – you must have a plan of things you want to do now?”

Charles:  “Oh, I have no plan.”  (audience laughs)

But in fact, Charles has all kinds of projects that he's involved in.

Stop back later after the show, and I'll talk about those.

ALSO SEE: Josh Charles talks about 'Good Wife' departure | TV's most shocking deaths