The Good Fight is leaner, meaner and fans are in for a treat come February!
The hour-long spinoff, which picks up one year after the events of the series finale of The Good Wife, kicks off after the father of a young lawyer, Maia Rindell (Rose Leslie), gets caught in a national Ponzi scheme scandal, which wipes out her godmother Diane Lockhart’s (Christine Baranski) entire life savings. Forced out of Lockhart & Lee after her plans to retire go awry, Diane and Maia join Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo) at one of Chicago’s preeminent law firms.
For Baranski, who returns as Diane after playing her for six seasons on The Good Wife, she and creators/showrunners Robert and Michelle King had deep discussions over her character’s big life moments in the 12 months in between the two shows.
“We certainly talked about the year in between,” Baranski told reporters at The Good Fight’s Television Critics Association panel on Monday. “We did speak about how she processed all that happened to her especially in those final episodes [of The Good Wife] and where her life was as the new show began — in terms of her marriage, in terms of her position at the firm. It seems as though she’s estranged from her husband [played by Gary Cole], for reasons of his infidelity. But she’s at the top of her game when this show starts.”
Like the new extended trailer — which featured swearing — released ahead of the panel depicts, Diane’s entire life falls apart in a matter of minutes.
“Halfway through the pilot, I lose everything, so I’m left scrambling,” Baranski said. “There was a discussion about the interim, which I’m sure people will be curious about because it jumps off from where The Good Wife [ended] in a very interesting way, but then it turns very dramatic very quickly, especially for Diane.”
Though The Good Fight features several characters from the original show, including cameos from recurring guest players like Matthew Perry, Denis O’Hare, Jane Alexander, Paul Guilfoyle, John Benjamin Hickey and Rita Wilson, don’t expect to be inundated with Good Wife regulars. As the Kings explain, because characters still exist in the world — The Good Fight is still set in Chicago — it only makes sense for former colleagues to be mentioned in passing.
“It’s somewhere in between. They’re mentioned, I would say constantly. The whole point of the show is to try to treat the world as it’s real,” Robert King said. “You might bump into Carrie Preston walking down the hall, so we want to keep that alive.”
But don’t expect Julianna Margulies, who played Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife, to make an appearance.
“We talked to Julianna about the show and her relationship with it, and we agreed that The Good Wife ended that story,” Robert said. “It would be weird if she comes in and we see her pushing a garbage can in the background.”
“Look at this amazing cast. We have 10 episodes to tell these stories and that’s where we want to focus,” Michelle King added.
Much has been made about the post-Donald Trump landscape and how it affects The Good Fight creatively. Interestingly, the first episode — of which the script had to be tweaked following the results of the election — was in production in the days leading up to Election Night and after it and shows footage of Trump getting elected.
“The election gave us a spine,” Robert noted, adding that it “gives shape to [the] new show.” “This is all going to change. Some people say for the better, some people say for the worse.”
With The Good Fight living exclusively on CBS’ digital streaming platform versus the traditional broadcast network (the first episode is seven minutes longer for CBS All Access than it is for CBS), expect a lot more swearing.
“You’re going to hear people talk the way they speak in life,” Michelle said. “These are educated people. They’re cultured. They’re elegant. You’re not going to hear them sound drastically different, but they’re going to use the swear words you would’ve expected them [in real life].”
“If you found out you lost all your money, even if you’re lady and dress elegantly, you’d say ‘F**k!’” Baranski quipped.
The Good Fight premieres Sunday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and CBS All Access, with the second episode debuting exclusively on CBS All Access that same night.