Good Wife

While most shows' endings are announced in quiet on a Friday afternoon, CBS set aside 30 seconds of the most valuable airtime in television to announce that "The Good Wife" would be wrapping up at the end of its seventh season, on May 8.

As someone who's long considered "The Good Wife" of the best shows on television, my reaction is: Thank God it's ending now.

"The Good Wife" had five thoroughly strong seasons, with many great episodes among them, but the last two years — the sixth season, and what we've seen of the seventh — have been its weakest. The sixth was hampered by the absurdly distended departure of Archie Panjabi's Kalinda, culminating in a tepid, green-screened farewell to protagonist Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and centered around an equally drawn-out storyline about Alicia running for political office, which everything we'd known about the character to that point suggested she was too savvy to undertake. The seventh has been worse: Reassigning Alicia to bail bonds hearing has produced some novel storylines, but it also reeks of a desperate need to find stories the show hasn't already told. The addition of Cush Jumbo and Jeffrey Dean Morgan brought in some fresh blood, and even at its worst, it's still a solidly acted, well put-together show, but "The Good Wife" was beginning to feel like a fish flailing about in an ever-diminishing puddle.

Robert and Michelle King, who created "The Good Wife" and have run it since its inception, had always said they had a seven-year plan in mind. It was encoded into the show's very fabric, with episode titles building from one word to four over the first four seasons, then decreasing backwards with each season since. The Kings went so far as to announce they were leaving after this season, but CBS made noises about continuing on. Margulies said in public that she'd be "unemployed" come May, but a firm end date wasn't definite, or at least public, until last night.

According to director Rosemary Rodriguez, the show is currently shooting its 20th episode, which means the Kings will have time to write the ending they wanted, and put a period on the end of Alicia Florrick's story rather than a trailing ellipsis. A rousing ending won't redeem this entire misbegotten season, but it gives "The Good Wife" a chance to go out on a high note, and remind us what a great show it could be.

Here's the Kings' announcement, via their Twitter account: