Panjabi promises surprises in ‘Wife’

Brit has no problem being the other woman

Archie Panjabi promises that as CBS’ new series “The Good Wife” progresses, viewers will discover many surprises surrounding her role as Kalinda.

Panjabi’s charcter is of a sultry, street-smart inhouse investigator at the law firm of Julianna Margulies’ Alicia Florrick, who is forced to work when her politico husband is jailed after a sex-and-corruption scandal.

“She has a number of secrets up her sleeve that explain why she’s so difficult to understand,” Panjabi says. “It’s quite exciting for me. Every time I read a new episode, there are new insights into her, but so far they’re never at odds with what I’ve done in my performance. You get a lot of insight into what makes her tick. There’s something quite mysterious about her.”

Panjabi calls Kalinda “an Erin Brockovich character. She has many tools in her toolbox, and sexuality is one of them. Sometimes that’s not the right tool, but she usually has the right one. God, I wish I was her,” she adds with a laugh.

Panjabi has plenty of resources in her own right, having played a wide spectrum of wry to wrenching characters in films such as “A Mighty Heart,” “Bend It Like Beckham,” “The Constant Gardener” and “A Good Year.”

“Three of the most important things in helping me find my characters are the accent, costumes and makeup,” she explains. “It’s helpful in changing myself into those characters. It’s so easy to be typecast, but if I play around with things like the accent, I can play characters in very different ways.”

Given her eclectic and rewarding film career, it might seem odd that Panjabi is willing to commit to a series that could run several years.

“If I had been offered this a few years ago, I would’ve been more nervous,” she admits. “One of the things that scares actors is commitment. But this project is right, and this character is right, so if the show is successful, I’m ready for that commitment.”

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