Mar 24, 2014 10:15 AM EDT

'The Good Wife' Shocker: Why Will Gardner Was Killed Off In Last Night's Episode & What Fans Think Of The Unexpected Exit of the Lead Character

'The Good Wife' shocker - the ultimate one to be exact - has already been dropped, and there is no denying that our hearts somehow stopped, our brains disconcerted, and our eyes slowly tear up while watching the final moments of Will Gardner unfold. Will, played by actor Josh Charles, has been one of the major characters of the hit CBS series, and for the most part, fans even recognize him as the male lead, the on-again, off-again, and undeniably the perfect soulmate for Alicia, played by Julianna Margulies. But after Sunday night's episode, we wish we could still say the same.

'The Good Wife' shocker indeed came as a big chunk of meat in our throats. It gave us a few hard-to-swallow minutes, and for some, a night-long bout of nightmare or a longing that episode 15 was just a dream. But then again, this is 'The Good Wife' and everything has always been unpredictable in the show. At the start of this season alone, we saw how a game-changing storyline took place as Alicia exited Lockhart Gardner and decided to lock horns with her former boss and lover Will. Although we saw the moments of hate, disgust, and clamor between the two coming, yet we weren't prepared for the horror of losing Will Gardner for good. (And we weren't even warned about it.)

For show fans who still need the right answer to the big WHY playing in your heads, show creators and showrunners Michele and Robert King already spilled the beans about episode 15 and the episodes that are yet to come before this season finally ends. If you haven't seen the latest episode yet, then please do be warned that you are free to stop reading now and watch it first, so you can relate to the grief of millions and millions of show fans right now. Anyway, for those who have seen it already, we're pretty sure that you were left stunned when Will Gardner got shot in the courtroom by a deranged client. Moreover, perhaps you felt your sweat rushing all over your forehead when it was confirmed that Will was (we don't want to say it) dead. Although the writers, producers, and actors did a great job of hiding and keeping the 'Good Wife' shocker under wraps, it still pains us to know that the show will never be the same again. Michelle and Robert King revealed that the real reason why they decided to kill off one of the show's lead characters was because actor Josh Charles really asked for it since last spring. "Josh Charles approached us almost a year ago about wanting to leave the series," the creators said, adding that, to be honest, Charles had already asked them for his exit ever since the show was still on its fourth season, by the time his contract was up.

In the most updated interview with TVLine, Josh Charles opened up about his decision on leaving the series. "Creatively, I was just ready to move on to the next chapter," said Charles. "You just kind of know sometimes when you're ready to move on to new experiences." For show fans who want more clarification on why Charles is exiting the show, he is scheduled to appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" Monday night, so don't dare miss it.

As the lead male actor of the series and because of his efficiency in delivering the role, Josh Charles has earned an Emmy and a Golden Globe nomination. According to the Kings, Josh didn't enter a standard, long-term contract for the show that's why when he told them that he was exiting the show after its fourth season, they, too, were pretty surprised. Good thing, lead star Julianna Margulies - who is also a producer in the series - managed to convince the actor to stay for another season. "She was instrumental in convincing Josh to stay for a fifth season," said the Kings. This gave the writers enough time and opportunity to plan out Charles' exit from the show, and that includes the death of his character.

Interestingly, the Kings also dished that the cast and crew had been informed about Josh's pending departure ahead of time. Hence, they knew all along that Season 5 already meant their last with Charles. "Their reaction was understanding," they said. "It's a very collegial and professional cast, and they understand an actor leaving because he wants to challenge himself. It helped that Josh was directing two episodes this season, and one of the episodes we specifically arranged for after he left the show so the band-aid wouldn't be completely ripped off."

Meanwhile, the show creators also dished that they have thought of finding a way to not necessarily kill off Josh's character in the series just like what happened to Margulies' love interest in her previous series ER, played by George Clooney. The actor's character was back then sent off to Seattle, only to be reunited with the protaginst at the final moments of the series. "We strongly considered the 'Sending Will to Seattle' route," the Kings said. "(Will) could get disbarred or run off to Borneo to do good works. But it didn't do much for us dramatically. It was the softer blow, but at a certain point the show wasn't looking for the softer blow. We wanted there to be a painful turning point in Alicia's life."

"Also there are major story hubs you're always looking for in building a season: points in the narrative where it changes every character's trajectory. It keeps the show from feeling stale. Earlier this season that turning point was Alicia and Cary leaving the firm and starting their own offices. This is the second hub. The death of Will will impact the show down to its core, it spins every character off in a new direction. And we were excited to see where everybody landed," they added.

And the aftermath of Will's death? "She will find herself shattered: not just because she's lost her sometimes-lover but also because Will left her on such ambiguous terms. That's what the next episode is about: sudden death being irredeemable. Whatever your last moment was with a loved one, it can never be changed."

Meanwhile, after last night's episode, it seems that a lot of fans couldn't bear not voicing out their thoughts on 'The Good Wife' shocker. Below are some comments from the fans of the Sunday night series:

"He was given a short-term contract for this season. His exit was a shockingly well kept secret. I'm certain that the producers would have loved for him to stay, but this was a personal career decision. I loved him on Sports Night, and thought he was great on The Good Wife. Hope we see him doing more wonderful work very soon," someone named Beverly commented.

"My god, I was expecting him to be injured, not dead?? They (Or Josh Charles) really underestimated how important this character was. Half the people who watched this show, did so, hoping to see Will and Alecia end up together. I feel like I wasted four seasons watching this show (I was getting bored in the fourth when they took away their relationship) to just kill Will off. Really unhappy with this ending of his character, and have no desire to watch it anymore," another one named Lisa wrote.

"This is EXACTLY what my husband and I were saying. They seriously underestimated how important a role Will Gardner was. I don't want to watch the aftermath...especially the lashing out Peter Florrick does to Alicia in the previews!!! I am stunned. And I cried. Still in shock," a fan named Susan opined.

"Couldn't have expressed my feelings better!! I'm SO bummed. I don't think I can bring myself to watch any further episodes!! And to think that the writers had an entire YEAR to write him off the show...Just terrible!!!" an anonymous fan commented.

He was given a short-term contract for this season. His exit was a shockingly well kept secret. I'm certain that the producers would have loved for him to stay, but this was a personal career decision. I loved him on Sports Night, and thought he was great on The Good Wife. Hope we see him doing more wonderful work very soon.

After losing the original male lead of the show, what can fans expect from the hit series? "the show has a strong ensemble cast, one we buttressed with the arrival of Matthew Goode (as a new prosecutor) and the return of (popular recurring guest stars) Michael J. Fox for four episodes and of Dylan Baker." So many new things are in store for all of us, and there is no reason to be sad and gloomy as 'The Good Wife' has recently been renewed for a sixth season.

What do you think of Josh Charles' exit from 'The Good Wife?' Sound off in the comments section below.

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