The latest season of The Good Fight takes the administration head-on
There’s something about the Kings and great elevator scenes.
The Kings — Michelle and Robert, spouses and writing partners — created The Good Wife a decade ago; about a lawyer, Alicia Florrick, who gave up her practice to settle for a life of domesticity, but whose politician-husband’s sex scandal forced her back into the courtroom. The show had a stellar run of seven strong seasons, and even though it was created before the current spate of cutting-edge TV shows became a norm, The Good Wife has aged rather well.
One of the show’s most memorable scenes had all its major characters — Alicia, her estranged husband, the woman her husband slept with, and Alicia’s current partner — stuck in an elevator. The uncomfortable pleasantries and awkward silences told us more about these men and women than reams of dialogues could and the Kings showed, in other instances, they had a penchant for crafting simmering drama within the closed confines of a lift.
It’s no surprise, then, that The Good Fight, a spin-off that’s once again shepherded by the Kings (along with Phil Alden Robinson), has some terrific moments staged inside elevators. One of them has the protagonist, Lucca, stuck with an attorney she’s up against and who’s, ironically, the father of her unborn child. The tension is similarly palpable, and the banter bitingly funny.
The Kings, though, have managed to inject more than one winning quality of the original show into the DNA of the spinoff. Much like its origin material, The Good Fight excels in weaving in sociopolitical talking points, and taking a firm anti-establishment stance. While the first season, which premièred last year, flirted with the changing face of America under a new regime, the latest season takes on the administration head-on.
The consequences of ‘Trump’ aren’t just talked about in hushed tones, or serve as abstract plot points, anymore. Instead, The Good Fight takes its title all too seriously, and puts its protagonists on a collision course with several arms of the government. The trio of Diane Lockhart (the inimitable Christine Baranski), Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo, adorable) and Maia Rindell (Rose Leslie) have to fight off immigration laws, gun control and a grand jury indictment within a span of 13 tight-knit episodes, and even though they often come up short against an all too-powerful force, their hard-fought survival makes for compelling TV.
What The Good Fight does differently from The Good Wife — and why it will have carved out a respectable place for itself, independent of the original, in time — is wrapping hard truths and uncomfortable realities in a steady dose of humour and wit. A delightful thread running through the season has Lockhart resorting to mind-altering substances that lead to bizarre hallucinations which, ironically, seem to fit in perfectly with the reality of America (and, at times, that of India).
It’s like the Kings know, and want to remind us, that the personal battles of Alicia Florrick (awe-inspiring and enthralling as they were) have no place in the current world, where the fight for survival itself is top priority. In this new world, even the good guys have to get their knuckles dirty.
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