The Good Wife Addresses the Gay Question


Of the many engrossing, long-gestating plotlines of The Good Wife, none is quite so juicy as the season-long tease about Kalinda's (Archie Panjabi) sexuality. It's not that her character would change drastically as a result — Kalinda is a smart and aggressive investigator, which at this point is of more importance than who she sleeps with — but more that the writers are dropping hint after conflicting hint, in a way that just makes us want to know. Last week, Kalinda had an affair with a male detective, but then eyed a female bartender longingly, and this week sees the return of a flirtatious female FBI agent. The question was on our mind back in February when we spoke with Panjabi, whose answer as to whether her character is a lesbian was as vague as the show's subtle clues. "That’s all going to be a slow, gradual release rather than one big surprise. I think the more time you spend with a person in life, the more you actually get to know about them," she told us.

On last night's penultimate episode of the season, when Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Kalinda were out celebrating Alicia's Junior Associate victory with tequila shots, Alicia finally voiced our collective curiosity. "Are you gay?" she said, eyeing Kalinda, who answered with a silent stare. "Oh come on, we're talking about every single little detail of my life here. It's a simple question," Alicia continued. But clearly, for Kalinda, it's not so simple, or else Alicia (and we) would already know. In this week's magazine, Mark Harris writes an essay extolling The Good Wife's master plotting, specifically calling attention to the mystery of Kalinda. "[Creators Robert and Michelle] King really go to town with Kalinda, the ambisexual (for now), sanguine private investigator who, says Robert, 'doesn’t like the American idea that every part of your soul should be bared. We won’t cheat the audience — we’ll continue to unpeel her. But very slowly,'" writes Harris. As an audience, we've been programmed to expect our curiosity to be sated within a short episode arc — take last night's Glee, which brought on Rachel's true mother after introducing her just four episodes ago — and so while mildly frustrating, The Good Wife's take on the slow reveal is actually refreshing in a world full of instant gratification. (Lost, of course, is the exception to this rule, though never fully understanding a character's backstory comes with its own set of issues.) It's also interesting that it's Kalinda's sexuality in question (notable, too, that Alicia asked if she was "gay," not a lesbian, as lesbian seems a more viewer-friendly word), which, if you think about it, is totally realistic for an office setting in which even one's closest co-workers' personal lives can remain shrouded. And so all of this aside, the question still remains: Is Kalinda gay? Come on writers, just tell us!