The cast is reliably great, but one character in particular stands out - the awesome Kalinda. We caught up with Archie Panjabi, who plays the private investigator, at the Monte Carlo Television Festival for a chat about Kalinda and Sophia, Kalinda and Cary, and Kalinda and those boots...
Are you pleased with how Kalinda changed in the second season?
"It's been nice to have some layers peeled off and to get an insight into that character. [Executive producer] Robert [King]'s given me some adventurous, risky stuff and the way he's ended the season sows a few seeds for season three, so I'm really thrilled."
Kalinda's been really tough in the past, but we saw her start to break down towards the end of season two...
"I think it was good to see some of her vulnerability. In the first season we saw how great she was at her job and how she manipulated people into giving her information. In the second season Blake was a big threat to her professionally, personally, and the result was inevitable once he came onto the scene. I think it just revealed a different side to her which people were intrigued by."
What about Kalinda and Alicia - can their relationship ever recover?
"I think what's so great about The Good Wife is that Robert and [fellow executive producer] Michelle [King] can take such great risks. I think one of the challenges next year is to see whether that friendship can survive. They both work at the same place, Kalinda I think is just instinctively so protective of Alicia - it'll be interesting to see the office dynamics in the next series."
Yes, because Kalinda almost left Lockhart Gardner...
"She left and she had to stay back because the other job would have been with Peter Florrick. It's interesting she doesn't actually say anything to Alicia - that to me suggests she still has a bit of a soft spot for Alicia."
How have fans responded to the news that Kalinda slept with Peter - have they been angry?
"It's interesting. I think the way they wrote it and the way they played it out, I thought the audience would react in a negative way. It's been intriguing because the audience have said, 'I don't know why but I kind of don't hate her'. The emphasis has been on, 'Oh my God, this is such a great friendship, why can't they get back together again?' I think it's great because I think they could have done this so differently - best friend sleeps with husband - but the circumstances are such that I think the way the scene was written you get to see the vulnerable side of Kalinda and you see the regret she has. So the audience is kind of in two minds about it and was forgiving her and just wanting to see that friendship salvaged."
I liked the moment when Kalinda was in bed with Sophia and realized that she was married.
"[The writers are] very clever about trying to get the audience to understand the characters' personalities even when they do something that maybe in another television show would spark a lot of anger. I think it's a much more interesting way to go."
Kalinda and Cary's relationship has been very interesting in the second season.
"Their relationship's been fascinating. In season one Kalinda said, 'There is nothing we two will have in common'. In season two he really looked out for her. There's a real honesty to that relationship - they both looked out for each other, they both helped each other, but yet they're both quite guarded because they're usually on opposing sides. I think in season three that's definitely going to develop. I don't know which route we're going to develop it through but you're definitely going to see some sort of relationship and affection for them."
Do you think it could ever become romantic?
"You never know with this show. This show tends to take risks in areas you'd be least likely to expect. Kalinda being romantic would be a surprise! There's so many times I read things and I'm like, 'No, no, no' and then I'll do them like, 'God, Robert, you were right'."
Has the amount of speculation about Kalinda's sexuality surprised you?
"I like the idea they didn't sensationalize it. They didn't have one big reveal. It's not been a big issue. People have been intrigued with Kalinda full stop and her sexuality is just one aspect of it, so I just think it's clever writing. It's a very collaborative process so I kind of get to have an input on it. It's a very, very rewarding feeling to know you're contributing to what's ultimately coming out. For some reason people from all sorts of backgrounds seem to connect to that character. It's hard to pinpoint what it is but the quality of that character seems to resonate with people from all ages, both sexes. I wish I could just nail it down to what it is and use it for all my characters, but I don't know what it is!"
Do you think we'll see more of Sophia (Kelli Giddish)?
"I think she's coming back. I certainly got on with her very well, Kelli Giddish, and I think they liked the chemistry between the two of us so hopefully, yeah."
Would you like to see more of Kalinda's personal life or would you like to keep some mystery about her?
"I think it's really interesting to keep that balance between revealing aspects of her, because otherwise you can lose interest just by being too mysterious. I think it's nice to reveal aspects of her but still hold onto a degree of mystery. Little by little, so the audience get to understand more about her. I think two seasons in, you don't know an awful lot about her. She played a pivotal role in the storyline of season two but what that actually revealed about her - we saw her emotional side, we saw her regret, we know how she slept with Peter - it was just enough to keep the audience interested. So we've got a challenge for season three to see how they're going to find that balance."
Do you think she has more secrets?
"Definitely. Definitely. Secrets I don't even know!"
Kalinda has a really distinctive look with the boots and jackets - does the costume help you get into character?
"For sure. I mean, the boots give me a certain walk and they make me stand a certain way. That helps. My character's very minimalist in terms of her movements, in terms of what she says, in terms of the gestures, so the leather jacket and the tightness of the clothes definitely helps me to get into character."
What do you think we can expect from season three?
"Lots more surprises. With the Kings, you don't know what they're going to come up with. I always say that the most predictable thing about the show is just how unpredictable it can be!"