Nobody was more surprised than Archie Panjabi (“The Good Wife”) when she won an Emmy last year with her very first nomination. As she recalls, “I was getting ready to clap, and all I heard was ‘Ar…’ and my heart just stopped. I can’t even explain to you what it’s like. It was magical, it was one of the most memorable moments of my life.”
The actress, who plays the mysterious Kalinda Sharma on the hit legal drama, had just moved from London to film in New York. As she explains to senior editor Rob Licuria in the video chat below, she was so busy “uprooting myself and obviously focusing on the role, I didn’t have time to have a publicist, or run any sort of Emmy campaign, so to be nominated and to have won … I’m just ecstatic.”
Explaining the ongoing appeal of her character, Panjabi says, “I have different theories, but my current one is, here’s a character, that’s so provocative in the way she dresses and the way she communicates and has this great ability to get people to talk and reveal everything about themselves and yet when the shoe’s on the other foot and she’s asked questions, she’s extremely reticent about her personal affairs. People are intrigued and amused by that, and you don’t know how to take her, and that kind of creates a degree of mystery.”
She defends her Best Drama Supporting Actress title against co-star and previous Emmy champ Christine Baranski (“The Good Wife”) as well as Emmy winner Kelly Macdonald (“Boardwalk Empire”), returning nominee Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”) and Emmy rookies Michelle Forbes (“The Killing”) and Margo Martindale (“Justified”).
Her Emmy submission is the penultimate episode of the season (“Getting Off”) in which Kalinda and leading lady Alicia (Julianna Margulies) finally confront each other over the past infidelity between Alicia’s politico husband Peter Florrick (Chris Noth) and Kalinda, who had been Alicia’s closest confidant and best friend. Her character cracks after her verbal clash with the wronged wife. However, as Panjabi admits, “the scene in the lift was something initially I didn’t want to do because I just thought, I don’t want my character to break down in front of the whole audience, so it was challenging.”