How Did “The Good Wife” Make it Appear that Margulies and Panjabi Filmed S6 Finale Scenes Together?
By the show’s sixth season, fans of The Good Wife are well aware that Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi have not shared screen time together in a long time (three seasons, to be exact). The actors have been very tight-lipped on the reason for this, and fans of the show were intrigued to see the two finally together in the season six finale. But were they? No.
The actors have confirmed that the scene was indeed faked. When asked about how they handled the scene, Archie Panjabi responded “All I can say is this: the decision-making process is not something I’m privy to.” In other words, we’re not going to say how we did it or why we did it, but we’ll admit we didn’t shoot together.
Although the production and post production teams for The Good Wife did their best to make it look as though the actresses were sitting next to each other, there are a few inconsistencies that uncover the gimmick used.
Firstly, the face of Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) are never seen in the same shot during the over the shoulder shots.
This is not the case in the prior scene with Alicia and Finn (Matthew Goode).
When we see the back of Alicia’s head or the back of Kalinda’s head, it is in fact a body double. Most people have seen the tactic at work in films like The Parent Trap (1961 and 1998) - or, more recently, television shows like Liv & Maddie (2013), where Dove Cameron plays a pair of twin sisters who frequently share the screen at the same time. When one character is talking to the other, they’re actually speaking to a body double who looks like the actress from behind. The humor in this case is that the actresses are two different people and good easily perform the scene together.
In the shot where we do see the face of both Alicia and Kalinda, the actresses never touch or overlap.
You will also notice that there is never an extra in center frame in the background throughout the scene, though once again there is one in the prior scene with Matthew Goode.
In order to achieve having Alicia and Kalinda in the same frame, a stationary camera films one half of the scene with Alicia and then the other half with Kalinda, and the two scenes are connected at the “seam” in the middle. There are moments of near contact where rotoscoping is used prevent contact between the actresses.
One of the struggles with filming a scene in this way is matching the eye line of the two characters. There are a couple of instances in the scene that prove to be awkward due to different eye lines.