There's no character quite like The Good Wife's Elsbeth Tasiconi on TV and nobody knows that better than the actress behind the fan-favorite lawyer, Carrie Preston.
Preston, who won an Emmy for playing the quirky attorney on the hit CBS series, is back for a final victory lap as Elsbeth on the Sunday, Feb 21 episode. But she's not quite ready to say goodbye just yet.
"I think when it airs on Sunday—because right now she's alive because I did the episode and it hasn't aired yet, so in a way she's still out there in a creative way and now it's going to become definitive on Sunday. I don't know how they've edited it together, but that will become definitive for me," she told E! News in a phone interview. "We're, as actors, used to that. Nothing lasts forever. Everything always comes to an end, there's always something new, if you're lucky. There's always something else. I keep myself creatively active. I think that I will enjoy talking about her as long as people want to talk to me about her. She'll just sort of live on as part of a great show that really made impact culturally and in the television landscape. I'm very proud of it. I think it's going to be sad for me on Sunday night, watching it."
In the episode, Elsbeth is hired by Eli (Alan Cumming) to help Peter (Chris Noth) with the FBI investigation. "In a way it's kind of full circle," she teased. "I was brought on in season one to help Peter out, so it's kind of full circle to see her back again in that situation." Viewers will also meet Mike Tascioni (Will Patton), Elsbeth's ex-husband who viewers have heard about, but never met. By meeting Mike, viewers will "get another glimpse into what makes her tick."
"There's definitely still a lot of interesting chemistry that goes on between them. It's yet another glimpse into what this woman is like as a whole. That's something that I'll miss too. I learn about Elsbeth every time we do an episode," Preston said.
That's the No. 1 thing Preston said she'll miss about the character: the way her mind works. "It's so just free and mercurial and unexpected. You're always surprised where she goes. It's like being on a roller coaster ride when you play it. And just the way I prepare for it is different than any other role I've played, so I'll miss that. It was almost like I was sitting down and mapping out the way to Treasure Island every time. I'll definitely miss that particular way of working," she said.
Preston is taking away not only an Emmy for the role, but also critical acclaim and legions of fans. "I'll miss playing her, but I'm so grateful that I got the opportunity and the audience rallied behind it so much. That was a really fun experience for me," she admitted. "I've never had anything quite like that."
The actress credited The Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King with giving her one of the "best roles I've ever been trusted with playing." That's the biggest gift of Elsbeth Tasiconi, "being trusted with a character I could be so free with," she said.
"[The Kings] were very permissive of that, and encouraged that. So it was fun to learn that I could do that, that we could have a situation where there's real communication and a real sense of creativity from both sides. Sometimes when you're an actor, things get a little prescriptive. In this situation it was not that. It was a situation where the actors are always encouraged to bring their own freedom and creativity to the creation of this role and under a wonderful guidance… It was just really great to be able to do that on television. You don't always have that situation, I do feel like I was given a gift and I have definitely appreciated it every step of the way. "
So, should the Kings get their wish of a Good Wife ensemble spinoff with Preston's Elsbeth and Martha Plimpton's Patti Nyholm, Preston is there. "Oh sure, I would do anything to work with Robert and Michelle again. They're just some of the best writers out there…I would do anything for them," she said. "If it works out, I will be there. I will be there day one."
For now, Elsbeth Tasiconi is left on screen, part of TV history. Preston wasn't aware this would be her final turn as the kooky lawyer, so she said she hadn't thought about asking producers for anything associated with the character.
"I don't think I am. I don't usually do that," she said about keepsakes. "I feel like just the work itself, the final cut of the thing is what I most want, a record of this experience to have proof that I did it and there it is. There's this person that is now separate from me and so I'm happy with just that."
The Good Wife airs Sundays, 9 p.m. on CBS.