Fans of " The Good Wife" were still reeling from the unexpected death of one of its major cast members when they heard from the star and the show's creators following last night's shocking episode.
After attorney Will Gardner, the former boss and lover of Julianna Margulies' Alicia Florrick, was gunned down in a courtroom by his own client, actor Josh Charles, who has played Gardner since the show's premiere in 2009, sent a tweet to his fans.
"Sending out all my love to #TheGoodWife fans! Playing Will Gardner was an honor and a pleasure. Thanks for all of your support & kind words!" he wrote.
Charles earned an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for his role as Gardner.
The stunning exit was prompted by the actor's decision more than a year ago to "move on to other creative endeavors," according to the show's creators, Michelle and Robert King, who addressed the fans in an open letter on Twitter immediately following the episode.
Their letter read in part:
"Dear Loyal Good Wife Fans, we, like you, mourn the loss of Will Gardner. And while Will is gone, our beloved Josh Charles is very much alive and remains an integral part of our family."
In fact, Charles will direct an upcoming episode of "The Good Wife" while transitioning from season regular.
"To us, there always was a tragedy at the center of Will and Alicia's relationship: the tragedy of bad timing," the letter read. "And when faced with the gut punch of Josh's decision, made over a year ago, to move on to other creative endeavors, we had a major choice to make."
The Kings revealed that they considered various fates for Gardner, including sending him to Seattle, marrying him off or disbarring him. But in the end, "the brutal honesty and reality of death speaks to the truth and tragedy of bad timing for these two characters. Will's death propels Alicia into her newest incarnation."
They explained that the character's death also creates a new dramatic "hub" for the show, keeping the other characters fresh and "violently spinning everybody in new directions."
The creators added that they chose a tragic end for "personal reasons" as well.
"We've all experienced the sudden death of a loved one in our lives," the Kings wrote. "It's terrifying how a perfectly normal and sunny day can suddenly explode with tragedy. Television, in our opinion, doesn't deal with this enough: the irredeemability of death."
There are seven episodes remaining of the season, and the Kings promised that it won't be "all tears - there is comedy too," with the returns of Michael J. Fox and Stockard Channing.