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The Good Wife Death: the Creators on Why It Happened and What It Means for Alicia

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Yes, it really happened The Good Wife fans. It's not a dream, not a hoax. The Good Wife killed off…warning, spoilers.

Robert and Michelle King, The Good Wife creators and executive producers, posted an open letter to The Good Wife fans following the shocking death of Will Gardner (Josh Charles).

"We, like you, mourn the loss of Will Gardner. And while Will is gone, our beloved Josh Charles is very much alive and remains an integral part of our family," the kings wrote. "The Good Wife, at its heart, is the ‘Education of Alicia Florrick.' To us, there always was a tragedy at the center of Will and Alicia's relationship: the tragedy of bad timing. And when faced with the gut punch of Josh's decision, made over a year ago, to move on to other creative endeavors, we had a major choice to make."

MORE: How The Good Wife killed Will Gardner

Series star Julianna Margulies was at the center of a similar predicament on ER. George Clooney, her on-screen love interest, left the show after five seasons. Margulies was contracted for six seasons. Clooney's character, Doug Ross, jetted away to Seattle and left Margulies' Carol Hathaway behind. Ultimately the two reunited during Margulies' last episode.

"We could ‘send him off to Seattle,' he could be disbarred, or get married, or go off to Borneo to do good works. But there was something in the passion that Will and Alicia shared that made distance a meager hurdle," the Kings wrote. "The brutal honesty and reality of death speaks to the truth and tragedy of bad timing for these two characters. Will's death propels Alicia into her newest incarnation."

The Good Wife previously turned itself on its head earlier this season when Alicia (Margulies) and Cary (Matt Czuchry) left Lockhart/Gardner behind to start their own firm. Will's death is the latest dramatic catalyst.

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The Good Wife CBS

"Death also created a new dramatic 'hub' for the show. We're always looking for these turning points—some event midway through the season that will spin everybody's lives in new directions. These turning points keep the show from slipping into a numbing sameness, and keep the characters fresh: because you see how they react to a completely new status quo. Will's death in many ways becomes a hub for the whole series, violently spinning everybody in new directions.

"Finally, we chose the tragic route for Will's send-off for personal reasons. We've all experienced the sudden death of a loved one in our lives. It's terrifying how a perfectly normal and sunny day can suddenly explode with tragedy. Television, in our opinion, doesn't deal with this enough: the irredeemability of death," they said. "Your last time with the loved one will always remain your last time. The Good Wife is a show about human behavior and emotion, and death, as sad and unfair as it can be, is a part of the human experience that we want to share."

MORE: Carrie Preston dishes on Good Wife

Fans took to Twitter  following the shocking twist, some in disbelief, others vowing never to watch the show again. The Good Wife creators have a message for fans.

"Thank you for listening...and watching and caring and inspiring us to rise to the level of your passion and intelligence. There are seven wonderful episodes to follow this season and Josh will be directing one of them. We think you will enjoy them. It's not all tears—there is comedy too. Michael J. Fox is back for four episodes. Dylan Baker. Dallas Roberts. Stockard Channing, as well as amazing new guest actors. And of course, Julianna does some of the best work of her life. Archie [Panjabi], Christine [Baranski], Alan [Cumming], Chris [Noth] and Matt as well. Life does go on.

"We've always taken as a guiding principle of this show that drama isn't in the event; it's in the aftermath of the event. We think you'll find that true of this episode. Thank you for your devotion to the show—we are continually grateful," the Kings wrote.

Charles took to Twitter to thank the fans. "Sending out all my love to #TheGoodWife fans! Playing Will Gardner was an honor and a pleasure," he tweeted. "Thanks for all of your support & kind words!"

CBS released a behind-the-scenes video with comments from the Kings, Charles and the cast of The Good Wife. In it, Charles explained his decision behind leaving the show.

"I thought that I felt however much I've enjoyed the experience, I was ready for the next chapter of my life, both creatively and personally," Charles said.

Margulies said she cried when she heard Charles was leaving the show. "I think she's going to miss the excitement of Will. He was a powerful aphrodisiac in her life," Margulies said of her character and Will. "What it does to Alicia's storyline is it makes her start to rethink everything."

The Good Wife airs Sundays, 9 p.m. on CBS.

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