The creators of the CBS drama, Robert and Michelle King, sat down alongside Charles and co-star Julianna Margulies for a discussion Wednesday night moderated by "CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose, in which they explained the thinking behind Will's departure and where things will go from here. They also screened a preview of this Sunday's upcoming episode for a select audience at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City.
Charles explained how he came to the realization that he was ready to move on to something new last year, when his contract was up at the end of the show's fourth season.
"Somewhere in year four I kind of felt burnt out," he told Rose. "Michelle and I had a long conversation about it and I just felt a little fried. And that I was ready for something different."
Charles eventually agreed to stay on for part of the fifth season, and Will's fate was sealed.
Margulies said she first learned of Charles' plans to depart the series last March.
"I got a call from Michelle and Robert saying, 'We need to tell you something, Josh is gonna be leaving the show.' And I said, 'Why?' And they said, 'Well, his contract's up and he doesn't want to renew.' My head started spinning and I said, 'Well, well, well, wait -- did you see if he could do less episodes? Maybe offer him more directing gigs?' I just immediately became the Alicia lawyer trying to figure out how to negotiate this contract," she laughed.
"It was sad for us, the thought of this character we love dying, but it felt like anything else would have been a little too easy," Michelle King said. "We all would have wanted Alicia to have Will had he been only across the country or disbarred. What this also gave us was something more interesting for Alicia, to see the next step for [her], which is what the show is always about."
Margulies said Will's death "opens up a plethora of possibilities for Alicia."
"Of course there's going to be this hole in her life, but how she fills it and how she starts to question her choices... You'll see this tremendous loss for her, but the choices she makes from then on are incredibly careful," she said.
"The Good Wife" airs Sundays on CBS. For more from Margulies, Charles and the Kings, watch the video above.
And here's a sneak peek at what happens next on the show: