After seven stunning seasons, The Good Wife is finally coming to an end on May 8.
When the cast looks back on the show’s early years, it’s hard not to be surprised by how far they’ve come – especially for the show’s lead, Julianna Margulies, who had a particularly hard time in the first season.
“I was so overwhelmed with being a new mom and being the lead of the show and trying to make everything work,” Margulies told PEOPLE Thursday at the show’s series finale party at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. “Anyone that has done a show can tell you that your first season is the hardest because nothing has been fleshed out yet.”
When The Good Wife debuted in 2009, Margulies’ son Kieran was 13 months old and was working 13 to 14 hours days. At that point, the show was using the city’s courtrooms because they didn’t have their own court sets yet. So, they would go in at 5 p.m. when the courts closed and wouldn’t leave until 6 a.m.
“So, the first season is such a blur to me,” said the ER alum. “Honestly, I don’t remember much except being really tired all the time.”
For Matt Czuchry, 38, that first year was all about transitioning.
“I had to move from L.A. and came to New York with a new a job and didn’t know these people, didn’t know this world, didn’t know where my character was going, and didn’t know how long the show was going to last. So, so many unknowns,” he said.
Reflecting on the past seven years, Czuchry can’t believe how strength and “fine tuning” he has gained from playing Cary Agos, both professionally and personally. Margulies feels the same way and says that, after the first few seasons, she was eventually able to sit back and learn from Alicia Florrick.
“She was navigating her life, as was I. It was like we grew up together,” said Margulies, 49. “She taught me how to slow down a little bit and she had incredible composure in the worst circumstances that I’ve tried to emulate.”
Although the series’ end still hasn’t quite set in yet, Margulies is definitely looking forward to some much needed relaxation.
Said the Emmy Award winner with a smile, “I need a break.”
The Good Wife airs Sundays (9 p.m. ET) on CBS.