Spoiler alert! The Jan. 5 episode of The Good Wife revealed the “Peter” who’d fathered the child Marilyn (Melissa George) is carrying. We asked co-creator Robert King to explain how that man turned out to be… Peter Bogdanovich. His emailed answer doesn’t disappoint.
We liked the end of the 10th episode because of Eli’s spit-take, but we felt cursed by the end of the 10th episode due to the resulting cliffhanger. The difficulty is that the length of time after a cliffhanger forces the resulting solution to be better and better. There is probably some mathematical algorithm for this: “cliffhanger x time = solution-squared.” But either way, we argued in the writers room that the month hiatus would force us into some kind of solution to this spit-take. We couldn’t just say that “Peter” was the name of Marilyn’s gynecologist.
So Carl Reiner and Steve Martin came to our rescue. They did a movie called The Man With Two Brains. Very silly and very funny. But they had a killer in the movie, and throughout you could only see his feet. The movie had a whodunit thread, and the movie forced you into guessing who was the killer. The killer turned out to be – spoiler alert – Merv Griffin. Merv Griffin wasn’t in the rest of the movie. He just popped in as the killer. This gave us the direction to go with “Peter.” Arbitrary cliffhangers with spit-takes are best answered with comic throwaways. And the wonderful Mr. Bogdanovich gave us the throwaway.
We were worried about this solution, and cut it from the script just before shooting. But then when we were editing the resulting episode, it screamed out for some answer to the pregnancy. So we pulled together that last scene five days before the final mix. All very much on the fly. Mr. Bogdanovich was an amazing sport.