The Good Wife Design Team Breaks Down Florrick/Agos' "Hipster" New Digs
On last week's episode of The Good Wife (Sundays, 9/8c, CBS), Alicia (Julianna Margulies), Cary (Matt Czuchry) and the rest of the team finally moved out of Alicia's apartment and into office space. However, fans expecting their firm's headquarters to be some variation of Lockhart/Gardner 2.0 were surprised to see the group move into ... an old t-shirt factory.
"Obviously we wanted a 100 percent contrast from Lockhart/Gardner to show that they were struggling," production designer Stephen Hendrickson tells TVGuide.com. "And we thought it would be fun to do a loft and have them make it over week by week to build into what their law firm is going to become."
Although Alicia and Cary originally had looked at more traditional corporate office space in earlier episodes, their recent financial woes combined with immediate need for space led them to settle for more - shall we say, unconventional? - pastures. "You have to believe that this is all legitimate from a financial point of view," set decorator Beth Kushnick says. "It also gives this really great backdrop to Alicia's resolve because she really doesn't care whatever happens. She's plowing through."
That resolve was just as important behind the scenes. After having scouted several locations near The Good Wife's production offices in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, New York, the decision was made to instead build an entirely new set, a feat that had to be finished in just six weeks. "Julianna was thrilled to see something new and have a whole new world that's hers. It's her name on the door and to participate in the evolution of the place as it's going to get furniture and she's going to get her nice desk and her nice chair and her working corner," Hendrickson says. "It's been fun for all of us to do because we haven't done anything on this scale yet in the show: to create a whole new world."
In addition to pulling inspiration from several locations the team had scouted, it also helped that series creators and showrunners Robert and Michelle King knew early on just where they wanted Florrick/Agos to end up in a T-shirt factory a few neighborhoods (and more than a few dollar signs) away from their old midtown haunt. "Nothing glamorous or reflecting money," Hendrickson says.
This meant trading in Lockhart/Gardner's beautiful hardwood floors, expensive wallpaper, and skyscraper views for concrete floors, brick walls and well, no views whatsoever. "It's kind of stark," Kushnick says. "The space is open which is individual to begin with. There are glass panels on wheels that we've built to define the space, and the space is also defined by old funky wood beams. Again, each one of these decisions: rustic lighting, the brick, all of the windows, everything is just the polar opposite of Lockhart/Gardner. It truly feels like a very young, hipster start-up." Adds Hendrickson of the cubicle-free offices: "They're not surrounded by walls that separate them, so they can talk to each other directly across the space and it gives a little more flexibility and freedom than they had."
Florrick/Agos may be worlds away from Lockhart/Gardner, there are a few similarities between the two offices, one being the heavy use of red - the color of Florrick/Agos' desk chairs as revealed last week. "Because we know law is a blood sport," Kushnick says with a laugh. "That's our directive from the Kings, and what we based all of Lockhart/Gardner on."
Also, although Alicia and Cary won't have their own offices, "Cary's desk area faces Alicia's desk area, the same as [how] Will's office faces Diane's office," Hendrickson says. "Then we're creating a conference room in the middle of the space and again, that is the way Lockhart/Gardner is laid out. We wanted to have a structure that paralleled what they left as a working area."
Perhaps most intriguing to the show's diehard fans, like the elevator at Lockhart/Gardner, the freight elevator at Florrick/Agos will play "just as important a role," says Kushnick, who notes the industrial elevator actually mimics the one in The Good Wife's warehouse-based production offices. "The elevator is the most fun part of it all," Hendrickson says. "With the use of green screen, we're able to give the impression that it's actually moving."
And the fun is just beginning. The show's 100th episode, airing Dec. 1 at 9/8c, will mark not only Florrick/Agos' first-ever Christmas party, but also the firm's official unveiling to family, friends and clients. "Because it's a loft and it's a flexible space, we were able to clear out the furnishings. It was totally decorated for Christmas which was also a lot of fun with Christmas lights and trees and wreaths and a catered affair and bars," Hendrickson says. "We made a real party out of it all."
But that doesn't mean the work is over. Both Kushnick and Hendrickson noted that the look of Florrick/Agos is still evolving. "Lockhart/Gardner was finished the first time you saw it. We changed minor things here and there, but the structure and the look of the place has been the same from Day 1," Hendrickson says. "This one grows episode by episode, new things happen and new elements come in."
As the season progresses, the firm will continue to add new small touches like art, wooden blinds and antique rugs to bridge the gap between their low-rent space and their high-end clients. "The architecture is what reflects what they could afford a square foot, but the level of what's being dressed in set décor-wise and their wardrobe have both stayed at the same level, which is the look of our show, which doesn't get compromised," Kushnick says. "Even though there were toilets where the Xerox machine went, we still have the look of The Good Wife."
The Good Wife airs Sundays at 9/8c on CBS. What do you think of Florrick/Agos' offices?
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)
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