'Good Wife' leaves viewers shocked, bereaved

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'Good Wife' leaves viewers shocked, bereaved
NEW YORK - MARCH 14: 'Dramatics, Your Honor' - Alicia enlists Cary as her lawyer when Nelson Dubeck approaches her to participate in a deposition regarding his investigation into election rigging. Meanwhile, Will continues the difficult defense of Jeffrey Grant as he faces off against a new prosecutor who proves to be a formidable adversary, on THE GOOD WIFE, Sunday, March 23 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured L-R: Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick and Matt Czuchry as Cary Agos. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 3: 'A Few Words'' -“ When Alicia is asked to be the keynote speaker at the American Bar Association conference in New York City, she looks to her past for inspiration. Meanwhile, the competition with Diane and Will continues as Alicia and Cary battle to align with a powerful New York lawyer. Also, Will turns to an old acquaintance when it becomes clear that Nelson Dubeck's investigation into possible voter fraud isn't going away, on THE GOOD WIFE, Sunday, March 16 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Jill Hennessey guest stars as Rayna Hech. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 14: 'Dramatics, Your Honor' - Alicia enlists Cary as her lawyer when Nelson Dubeck approaches her to participate in a deposition regarding his investigation into election rigging. Meanwhile, Will continues the difficult defense of Jeffrey Grant as he faces off against a new prosecutor who proves to be a formidable adversary, on THE GOOD WIFE, Sunday, March 23 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured L-R: Alan Cumming as Eli Gold and Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 14: 'Dramatics, Your Honor' - Alicia enlists Cary as her lawyer when Nelson Dubeck approaches her to participate in a deposition regarding his investigation into election rigging. Meanwhile, Will continues the difficult defense of Jeffrey Grant as he faces off against a new prosecutor who proves to be a formidable adversary, on THE GOOD WIFE, Sunday, March 23 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Alan Cumming as Eli Gold. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 14: 'Dramatics, Your Honor' - Alicia enlists Cary as her lawyer when Nelson Dubeck approaches her to participate in a deposition regarding his investigation into election rigging. Meanwhile, Will continues the difficult defense of Jeffrey Grant as he faces off against a new prosecutor who proves to be a formidable adversary, on THE GOOD WIFE, Sunday, March 23 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured L-R: Matthew Goode as Finn Polmar and Josh Charles as Will Gardner. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 3: 'A Few Words'' -“ When Alicia is asked to be the keynote speaker at the American Bar Association conference in New York City, she looks to her past for inspiration. Meanwhile, the competition with Diane and Will continues as Alicia and Cary battle to align with a powerful New York lawyer. Also, Will turns to an old acquaintance when it becomes clear that Nelson Dubeck's investigation into possible voter fraud isn't going away, on THE GOOD WIFE, Sunday, March 16 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured L-R: Carrie Preston as Elsbeth Tascioni and Josh Charles as Will Gardner. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 28: 'Parallel Construction, Bitches'----Florrick/Agos and Lockhart/Gardner fight to keep Lemond Bishop as a client when he is arrested on a drug-related charge, which possibly resulted from a leak inside Alicia's firm. Meanwhile, the investigation into voter fraud in the gubernatorial election continues to move forward when Marilyn is approached by an agent in the Office of Public Integrity, on THE GOOD WIFE, Sunday, March 9 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Jack Davenport as AUSA Frank Asher. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 28: 'Parallel Construction, Bitches'----Florrick/Agos and Lockhart/Gardner fight to keep Lemond Bishop as a client when he is arrested on a drug-related charge, which possibly resulted from a leak inside Alicia's firm. Meanwhile, the investigation into voter fraud in the gubernatorial election continues to move forward when Marilyn is approached by an agent in the Office of Public Integrity, on THE GOOD WIFE, Sunday, March 9 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Wallace Shawn as Charles Lester. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 28: 'Parallel Construction, Bitches'----Florrick/Agos and Lockhart/Gardner fight to keep Lemond Bishop as a client when he is arrested on a drug-related charge, which possibly resulted from a leak inside Alicia's firm. Meanwhile, the investigation into voter fraud in the gubernatorial election continues to move forward when Marilyn is approached by an agent in the Office of Public Integrity, on THE GOOD WIFE, Sunday, March 9 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured L-R: Wallace Shawn as Charles Lester and Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 28: 'Parallel Construction, Bitches'----Florrick/Agos and Lockhart/Gardner fight to keep Lemond Bishop as a client when he is arrested on a drug-related charge, which possibly resulted from a leak inside Alicia's firm. Meanwhile, the investigation into voter fraud in the gubernatorial election continues to move forward when Marilyn is approached by an agent in the Office of Public Integrity, on THE GOOD WIFE, Sunday, March 9 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured L-R: Matt Czuchry as Cary Agos, Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, Wallace Shawn as Charles Lester, Mike Colter as Lemond Bishop, Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart, and Josh Charles as Will Gardner (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 28: 'Parallel Construction, Bitches'----Florrick/Agos and Lockhart/Gardner fight to keep Lemond Bishop as a client when he is arrested on a drug-related charge, which possibly resulted from a leak inside Alicia's firm. Meanwhile, the investigation into voter fraud in the gubernatorial election continues to move forward when Marilyn is approached by an agent in the Office of Public Integrity, on THE GOOD WIFE, Sunday, March 9 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured L-R: Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, Eric Bogosian as Nelson Dubek, and Matt Czuchry as Cary Agos (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 08: Actress Julianna Margulies (R) accepts the Favorite Network TV Drama award for "The Good Wife" from actor Josh Holloway onstage at The 40th Annual People's Choice Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on January 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 8: Winner, Julianna Margulies, for THE GOOD WIFE (Favorite Network TV Drama) during The PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS, the only major awards show where fans determine the nominees and winners across categories of movies, music and television, will air live from the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 15: 'We, The Juries' --Alicia and Will each represent one-half of a couple accused of smuggling drugs, but the courtroom becomes mired in confusion and legal technicalities when they insist on separate jury pools. Meanwhile, Cary attempts to woo a Lockhart/Gardner client, Kalinda tries to repair a damaged relationship and Marilyn begins her investigation into possible voter fraud during the gubernatorial election, on THE GOOD WIFE, Sunday, Jan 12 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured L-R: Josh Charles as Will Gardner and Chris Noth as Peter Florrick. (Photo by Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 8: 'Goliath and David'--Alicia represents a band suing a TV show for copyright infringement, but the simple case becomes psychological warfare when Will joins the opposing council and uses his knowledge of Alicia's strengths and weaknesses against her. Also, Eli hires Kalinda in an attempt to get ahead of a potential scandal, on THE GOOD WIFE, Sunday, Jan 5 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network Pictured L-R: Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, Alan Cumming as Eli Gold and Melissa George as Marilyn Garbanza (Photo by David M. Russell/CBS via Getty Images)
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BY FRAZIER MOORE
AP TELEVISION WRITER

NEW YORK (AP) -- Viewers of "The Good Wife" were gobsmacked by the sudden, unexpected death of its dashing attorney, Will Gardner, on Sunday's episode of the CBS legal drama.

Gardner, a prominent character portrayed by Josh Charles since the series' debut five seasons ago, was gunned down in a Chicago courtroom by his unhinged client. He was pronounced dead shortly afterward.

Once the episode had aired, Twitter lit up with astonished, sorrowful and even irate posts.

One viewer called for a group hug, while another issued a plea for a counselor to treat jolted fans. Yet another viewer expressed hope that, as with "Dallas" long ago in revealing Bobby Ewing's death to be only a dream, "The Good Wife" would find Gardner stepping out of his shower next week, alive and well.

Shocking Death Changes Everything On 'The Good Wife'

Other viewers vowed never to watch the show again, as payback.

Gardner was a rival lawyer and former lover of the character played by series star Julianna Margulies.

His death and Charles' decision to exit the show had been well-guarded secrets. Charles, who entered the series with a four-year contract, opted not to re-up when it expired after last season, according to his publicist.

Charles' past TV work includes the ABC dramedy series "SportsNight" and a season playing a client of therapist Gabriel Byrne on the HBO drama "In Treatment."

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