Josh Charles received his second Best Supporting Actor nomination this morning for playing (the late) Will Gardner on CBS’s The Good Wife. Sick with a cold and cough, he went back to bed after getting up early to let out his dog, Zeus—and learned of his nod when he rolled over and saw a congratulatory email on his iPhone. “Nothing super fancy or exciting, sorry,” he jokes to EW. “I’m really excited about it even if my voice doesn’t sound normal.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Lead and supporting actors don’t have to choose an episode to submit until after they’re nominated. Will you go with “Hitting the Fan”?
Josh Charles: The two episodes that stick out to me, as an actor, would be “Hitting the Fan” and “The Decision Tree.” So one of those, probably. I’ll just have some people who I really trust watch them both and tell me which one they feel is best. Or however that works.
The “Hitting the Fan’ ” scene when Will sweeps off Alicia’s desk in anger after learning she’s leaving the firm [No. 3 on EW’s list of the 50 best TV scenes of the year] is almost iconic now. When did you know how great that was going to be?
I knew when I read that script that it was brilliant writing. The accumulation of everything that had been planted at the end of season 4 and the build-up of the first four episodes of season 5 to that moment—you were anticipating when you were gonna read the episode where Will found out. How it was structured, it was a master class in writing. It got me super excited to play it, because Will goes through so many different things. I think in both of those episodes—but maybe more so in “The Decision Tree” when Will cross-examines Alicia [EW gasps]—you get to see a little more under his armor. You got to see more raw emotion that was covering a lot of the anger and rage.
I see your dilemma.
I’ll figure it out. I have no shot of winning anyway. [Laughs] I’ll go with which one I feel proudest of.
Watch this scene from “Hitting the Fan.”
Watch this scene from “The Decision Tree.”
The two snubs our readers are most upset about today seem to be Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany not cracking the lead actress category and The Good Wife not returning to the Best Drama race. What was your reaction to the latter?
I was bummed, obviously. I was hoping and expected that we would, just because we had such a strong season. But you just never know how these things are gonna play out. There always seems to be things that people get right, and then there’s other things people scratch their heads at. I feel like everybody’s been on different sides of it at different times. I’m biased, but I thought the show should be nominated for anything that it was up for. So I was bummed that the show wasn’t, and also the writing. But I was very happy for my fellow performers, Julianna [Margulies], and Christine [Baranski], and Dylan Baker, who was nominated for an episode that I directed him in, so that felt particularly special. I’m really happy for Mark Saks, our tireless casting director who does such a great job. He gets nominated quite a bit, but I really would like to see him win one of these. He just does heroic work putting all these wonderful actors in the show.
Last March, there was a screening of the episode following Will’s death, and during a Q&A, you asked [Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King] what they thought was the ideal number of episodes to have in a season story structure-wise. Robert answered 15. Is that the kind of show we’re likely to see you on next?
I just have such a respect for them as writers, and I had never really had the ability to ask them that question. How do they feel a season would structure best? So it was interesting to hear him say 15, but it didn’t surprise me. I think for everybody, the models—six, eight, 10, 12, 13, 15, whatever number—are just more sustainable creatively and also personally. You have more of a life, you can do other things. The 22-a-year model, it’s harder to hit every one solidly. I didn’t ask the question thinking in terms of me, but yeah, my hunch would be that when I do more TV, it’d be something that’s not 22 episodes a year. At least not right now. [Update: CBS confirms Charles will return to direct another episode of The Good Wife in season 6.]
After you left The Good Wife, Adam Scott and Andy Samberg were quoted as saying they really wanted you to guest on Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, respectively. Will we see you doing either of those—or pop up on other comedies—in the fall?
[Laughs] You never know. That would be great. I would absolutely love it. I hope I get to do more Inside Amy Schumers next year. I absolutely loved working with her. That would be amazing. And either of those shows you mentioned would be a blast, absolutely.
Last question: We’re asking everyone we talk to what show, past or present, would get an Emmy from you, just because you love it that much.
Past or present? That’s a good question…Eastbound & Down and Danny McBride. I just loved that show, loved the character, loved how it was directed and made, loved everybody in it. Comedically, he’s a genius. That was so much fun to watch.