Will Gardner Comforts a Fan From the Grave: Why Twitter is Worth More Than You Think

I'm serious about being dead.

I’m serious about being dead.

“The Good Wife” on CBS is a terrific show. I watched the first couple of seasons, then drifted away to only watch sporadically since. I have caught a few sensational episodes this season, including the bombshell a few weeks ago that killed off main character Will Gardner, played by Josh Charles.

Today I stumbled across this gem from a N.Y. Times piece covering a promotional “postmortem” panel of the show’s stars and creators. It refers to the overwhelming emotional response of the viewers:

“Mr. Charles, a Twitter devotee, said he noticed when a follower wrote that her mother was upset by Will’s death. Asking for the mother’s number, he called her, saying, ‘I just wanted to check in with you.’

‘She was devastated,’ he said,’ ‘But I talked her through it.’”

First of all, this makes me an even bigger fan of the talented Charles. He’s deftly emotive onscreen, convincing in swift turns as powerful, passionate and playful. And although I haven’t followed him on Twitter before today, I’ve heard he’s genuine and enthusiastic in connecting with fans there.

This all also reminds me why, through all of the clutter and self-indulgent blather of social media, Twitter and other sites can connect us in such remarkably personal ways we couldn’t have conceived of even a few years ago.

And this stuff matters. I posted about this among a small group earlier, and a good friend replied with this:

“I was afraid to bring this up because I thought I would sound ridiculous, but I was devastated about his departure. I look at his twitter occasionally because I have been a huge fan since his role on In Treatment and of course I loved his work going back to Sports Night. I am seriously questioning my sanity over how upset I got during the past two episodes. R.I.P. Will Gardner!”

I appreciate how Charles recognizes exactly that very real emotional connection the audience forms with characters, especially ones drawn with such depth and passion and spirit as Gardner on “The Good Wife.” From him the phone call seems like a completely earnest, heartfelt gesture, not a self-serving gimmick. To be a little more corny, it seems like something that could be part of Charles’ own process of mourning a character he has invested so much in over five seasons.

This blurred line of our reality and our dramatic entertainment fantasy is astonishingly cool–Will Gardner reached out from beyond the grave to directly console an emotionally despondent fan. That’s just cool.