Emmy Episode Analysis: Will voters embrace a heartbroken Julianna Margulies on ‘The Good Wife’?

After being snubbed out last year, 2011 Best Drama Actress champ Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife“) is back in the hunt for a bookend. This marks her fourth nomination in five years for playing  Alicia Florrick and her tenth overall bid. She won the first of her six nominations for “ER” for its first season back in 1995. Let’s take a look at “The Last Call,” her episode submission this time around. 

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SYNOPSIS: The episode opens on Alicia as she hears the news that Will Gardiner (Josh Charles) has been shot and killed in a courtroom shooting by his client. Grieving over the loss of her former lover, friend and colleague, she tries to make sense of the tragic killing she turns to Diane (Christine Baranski) for comfort.

In her grief, Alicia finds a voicemail that Will left for her shortly before he was shot. Still in shock and denial, she wonders what Will meant to tell her in the interrupted message. This haunts Alicia throughout the episode as she not only struggles to find answers to how this tragedy happened, but also as she deals with her guilt about how her connection with Will had so badly deteriorated before his untimely end.

Alicia tries to unlock what happened in court by talking to the presiding judge (Vincent Curatola), who is sympathetic but is not able to offer much information apart from how the shooting took place. She then turns to ASA Finn Polmar (Matthew Goode ), who recounts Will’s last few minutes as he lay dying on the courtroom floor.

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Empathy is always a factor when judging Emmy episodes and you certainly feel this watching Margulies as the grief-stricken Alicia. She conveys shock, anguish and even guilt over the tragic and senseless death of Will. 

The Good Wife” has won an Emmy for an actress in each of its first four years: In 2010, Archie Panjabi won Best Drama Supporting Actress. In 2011, Margulies won Best Drama Actress. In 2012, Martha Plimpton won Best Drama Guest Actress, and last year Carrie Preston won the same category. 

Margulies’ has lots of screen time in this episode; let’s not forget that she is the titular “good wife.” She appears in all of the key scenes in the episode, and is almost always the focal point, driving the narrative.


Even during her most emotional scenes, Margulies’ performance might be seen as too subdued or understated. Alicia is in shock and a lot is left unsaid, as she quietly processes the tragic events of the prior episode.

Much has been written about the creative resurgence of “The Good Wife” last season. But Emmy voters must have missed that memo snubbing it for Drama Series, Drama Writing, and Drama Directing. So there may not be enough overall support for the show, which has five nominations in all.

According to Gold Derby’s Experts, Editors and Users, Margulies is currently in second place to win with 3/2 odds. Do you agree with those odds? Make your own predictions below, then discuss all the episodes in our Emmy forums.

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