ADTV talks to The Good Wife‘s Chris Noth about his seven seasons on the Emmy-winning show
It’s the morning after the series finale of CBS’s The Good Wife, and after seven years, the show has come to an end. Its star Chris Noth is in Budapest filming Tyrant, and I caught up with Noth after a long day of filming his new show to reflect on playing Peter Florrick, The Good Wife, and fly swotting…
“I have to warn you I’ve missed EVERYTHING! I haven’t seen any of it.” Chris Noth tells me before we start. “I finished the episode on the Friday and I was on a plane to Budapest on Monday. I don’t know what the hell is going on, except THE SHOW IS OVER!.”
ADTV: Did you think it would last this long? Seven years is a long time.
Chris Noth: Oh never. I was just surfing the wave. I didn’t know the wave would be that long of one. I was happy to keep riding it. I loved working with the Kings who are such wonderful producers. I loved the cast and the way they used actors from the New York Stage. But I was a glorified guest star. Not being a regular allowed me to do plays and other things at the same time which was important to me. It was great to come back home to The Good Wife after I had gone off on my own sojourns. How was it? (the finale) [laughs]
ADTV: I stayed off social media, especially as it was airing on the East Coast, and I really loved it.
CN: Well, I know what the ending was, and I love it too. The last moment with Alicia (Julianna Margulies) standing at the end of the corridor in the back kitchen where we had so many scenes together, she’s in this sort of purgatory that I found really fascinating and interesting.
ADTV: Do you have a favorite plot line that stands out that you really loved?
CN: I liked running for Governor and the intrigue around that. I didn’t enjoy being under house arrest. The scenes with Eli and his conniving ways were a lot of fun too.
ADTV: On the political note, how did you feel about the parallels of Alicia and Peter to Bill and Hillary Clinton?
CN: You know it’s very tenuous. I don’t think you could really ride that horse. It’s fun to think, and I’m sure that maybe they had an impulse of something like that. Certainly it wasn’t mimicking their relationship, but you know a political marriage and two very powerful smart people, that all makes sense.
I think that was a fortuitous moment in contemporary history that that relationship bore fictional fruits for us, but that’s as far as it went.
I heard Hillary was a fan of the show by the way.
ADTV: She is. She listed it as a favorite last year. So, how did Peter change over the years?
CN: Oh man. I’m not sure this particular animal in him changed his stripes that much. I think people become more of who they are as time goes on instead of changing.
[Up to this point, a fly in the room has been annoying Chris. He finally manages to swot this fly. It’s a proud and amusing moment when he finally swots the fly with his script].
So, I think he adjusted when he had to, for survival. Peter gets a bad rap. My character doesn’t always fare too well with journalists. They all think of my character as pretty much a scumbag [laughs].
ADTV: But you know, that is a testament to your acting. I mean, you’ve created some of the most iconic characters on TV and in 20 years we’ll be looking back on Mr. Big and Peter Florrick.
CN: It’s really hard to still have people ask me questions about Mr. Big. I’ve exhumed that from my psyche.
ADTV: He’s still haunting you to this day?
CN: Oh God yes! Even here in Budapest, people come up to me with cameras. I have a very good disguise, thou, so I’m able to get away with walking down the street.
ADTV: Something that’s a great testament to you and Juliana is the way your work dynamic is. It resonates with the fans and then you have those epic fights on screen. Were those scenes challenging?
CN: I remember one early fight when we both really went for it. The Kings thought it was too harsh that early. They thought it was too Virginia Woolf. We had to reshoot it. Through that marriage, I feel they were held together by the emotional scar tissue of their past and present. I think their battle was an essential part of their relationship. Her not really being able to forgive him. Then after a while, Peter resenting that he still has to prove himself to her. They were a match for each other intellectually and everything else.
Peter and Alicia made a lot of adjustments so they wouldn’t have to make the final leap that they did at the end, which was her saying, “That’s it. I want a divorce.” They did everything through the seasons not to do that but not actually live as a married couple. Their marriage is a fascinating evolution. Just when you think they’ve had enough of each other, something happens and they’re suddenly close again.
By the end, by finally giving in I think they opened themselves up to each other in a way they hadn’t in a while and found an intimacy in a shared past.
ADTV: After the finale, what would you see as the future for Alicia and Peter?
CN: I have no idea. [laughs]. I’m too busy in a fictional Mideast country trying to prevent a war.
ADTV: The Good Wife has such a loyal fan base. Do you ever read what they say?
CN: I’ve heard, but no, I’m really out of the loop of all of that. I can’t do it. I don’t mean it derogatorily, I simply don’t have the time to see what they like and don’t like. I just figure they hate my guts. [laughs].
ADTV: No. They love you. You know what they do? They write fan fiction about how they yearn for Alicia and Peter to be.
CN: Oh really? That’s funny.
ADTV: Well, it must be nice to be away from it all, especially in Budapest.
CN: You’re right. It’s a magical city. It has embraced its past and instead of tearing it down, you see a lot of the older people mixing with younger people. The scars of war and revolution are on the faces of buildings but they kept the outer structure and rebuilt the inside. It’s a beautiful city.
It’s fun to be away from the hullaballoo. You know I wish I could have gone to that [The Good Wife] cast party.
ADTV: Aww. Maybe they’ll throw another party just in your honor. OK, so let’s talk about Tyrant. Aside from being a fly killer, what can you tell me about that?
CN: [laughs] He’s a very interesting guy with a lot of emotional baggage, which as a General you can’t expose. The show allows for me to have a very interesting backstory with his marriage and what he’s doing in Aberdeen, representing America and trying to help out. I think it’s a really different kind of show.
We have a fantastic international cast from all over the Mideast and London with a great group of talented people. It’s so far from what I’ve been doing on The Good Wife, for me, Tyrant is a nice leap. I like obscure shows such as The Knick and Peaky Blinders. I think Tyrant is like that. It’s obscure and still waiting for a bigger American audience, which it deserves.
ADTV: I’ve not seen Peaky Blinders, but I’ve heard of that.
CN: Now, you’ve got to see it. [laughs] An American is telling you, a Brit to watch it. I put Tyrant in that category. It’s a well-kept secret.
ADTV: One last closing note, would you be friends with Peter?
CN: Yeah! I would I’d have a drink and smoke a cigar with him. He’s got a good sense of humor. I would.
The series finale of The Good Wife aired Sunday night. Tyrant airs on FX.