Last week was a big one for The Good Wife’s Matt Czuchry. His character, Cary Agos, successfully convicted a man for Murder I, negotiated a raise at the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, and squared off against Blake (Scott Porter), rival of his sometime BFF, Kalinda (Archie Panjabi). We met Czuchry at New York's Café Minerva last week, upon his return from the SAG Awards, where co-star Julianna Margulies (a.k.a. Alicia Florrick) had won for Best Actress in a TV drama. Tennessee-raised, he was unfailingly polite, even rearranging his silverware neatly as he got up from the table.
Cary seems to be very revenge-minded this season.
Winning that competition [for the associate position at Lockhart Gardner] was the biggest moment of his life, and Alicia undercut him by using her name. So at the beginning of the second season, it is very personal for him against Alicia. But I think it’s moving away from that. Getting fired humbled him. He’s gone from this giant firm to the SA’s office where he probably gets his own coffee. He’s more grounded and mature.
How does Cary feel toward Alicia now?
They’re certainly not friends, but I think he’s become real focused when he’s around her on just doing a good job and being a good lawyer.
Then why did he ask Diane twice for Alicia’s salary and a position above her?
He loves his job at the SA’s office, so he’s negotiating from a position of strength. I think him asking for so much shows that revenge isn’t important anymore; if he were so invested in trying to get Alicia back, he would have taken the job.
Are Cary and Kalinda friends or frenemies?
Friends. Initially that friendship was a way to bridge the SA office with Lockhart Gardner. But in episode three of the second season, there’s this moment where Cary says, “Do you miss me?” That could have been cocksure Cary, but I felt like maybe he did feel very alone going to a new job by himself. So I made it a moment of genuine want, and the writers, thankfully, liked that choice. So they keep writing to that.
What will happen to their friendship now that the state attorney’s office is investigating Kalinda?
You’ll see him taking it upon himself to protect her. It’s a balancing act, because he has to figure out how to keep his job, please Childs, and protect his friend.
Will Cary and Blake come to blows?
I think Cary understands the law so fully that he feels he can go into those dark areas with Blake without using force. You know, you’ll see Blake with a crowbar, but you’ll see Cary with five policemen backing him up. There are a couple more scenes coming with Blake. It’s all going to come to a resolution around episode 17.
I love how Cary just laughs off Lockhart Gardner’s tricks.
He’s a guy who knows success. He went to the best schools. He had the best job. He was fired from that job and immediately got another one. He’s always been able to navigate his way through life and he’s confident he knows the law. He also sees the benefit of representing innocent people. As he says, “I like the moral clarity.”
On to random questions. What’s up with Childs’s toupee in the most recent episode?
[Laughs.] It wasn’t a toupee! Titus [Welliver] is working on another movie [Man on a Ledge], so that’s why it looks different.
Who do you want to win the SA’s election?
Of course I want Childs to win. I want to keep my job!
Can you explain why everyone on this show always says “phone” instead of “call”?
[Laughs.] No, I can’t explain that.
Will Cary get a sex life again?
That would be exciting, but I don’t know. I liked that one episode in the first season when he was on mushrooms with the girl. That was a way for him to show he’s human, make a mistake and come to terms with that. And that’s when his friendship developed with Alicia. The second relationship we had was all about him trying to get information about Stern. I’d like to see what kind of woman he’d be with if he wasn’t using her for leverage.
Are you dating anyone?
No. I’m enjoying dating. I’m single, though, I’m not in a relationship.
Do you keep in touch with anyone from Gilmore Girls?
Any reason why not?
No, no I’m grateful that on a lot of casts I’ve gained friends for life. But it’s more of a rare thing than a normal thing. I have a small group of friends, and I just, uh, feel fulfilled by the people that are in my life.
Lastly, how do you pronounce your name?
The main thing is that the “C” is silent, so it kind of starts with a “Z.” Z-O-O-K-RIE. It’s Ukrainian, on my dad’s side. When I first moved to L.A., I was asked to change it and I wouldn’t. It’s a piece of who I am. When I was in kindergarten, it took me like three months to learn how to spell my own name. But that’s also not saying much considering I’m a terrible speller.