“The Good Fight” has taken a few weeks to get us firmly established in its world: A divorced Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) loses her money in a Ponzi scheme and leaves her “Good Wife” lawfirm to join her her protégée and goddaughter — and the child of the alleged Ponzi scheme masterminds — and Lucca (Cush Jumbo), who has recently become involved with AUSA Colin Morello (Justin Bartha). Chicago law and politics are just as complicated as ever, the new firm is majority African-American, and the cases reflect the title of the show.
But now that we know where we are, “The Good Fight” is diving into some very slick episodes that balancing the overarching plots with cases of the week in a way “Good Wife” only truly began nailing well into the series’ run. Now, midway through Season 1, “Fight” is ramping up for an explosive back half — and reinforces our initial reaction that this spinoff might just be better than its predecessor.
In “Stoppable: Requiem for an Airdate” (Mar. 12), the case of the week is a ripped-from-the-headlines plot about an NBC/Dick Wolf ripped-from-the-headlines episode… That isn’t airing because it features a thinly veiled storyline about Donald Trump. Already incredibly meta, and that’s before you add in the mix that the real-life NBC episode of “Law & Order: SVU” basically about Trump stars Gary Cole as the Trump character… And as Diane’s estranged husband Kurt McVey, appears this week in “The Good Fight.”
That case on its own is fairly interesting, between its twists and turns and the baby-voiced new lawyer Amber Wood-Lutz (“High Maintenance’s” Greta Lee) the firm faces — but especially in the end, when a Tweet by Trump himself turns their copyright/fair use argument into a First Amendment one. But the real juiciness comes from the fact that Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad fighting this case in the first place gets the attention of one Mr. Neil Gross (John Benjamin Hickey) — the recurring “Good Wife” egotist who created the Google analog “ChumHum.”
Gross sees Diane’s new firm as a bunch of fighters, and bringing on his $58MM a year gives her the leverage not just to forego that damned capital contribution, but become a name partner. (Side note: We hope to meet the “Reddick” part of the law firm at some point.)
But wait! There’s more to the story here, as the consequences of this interesting case continue to unfold: It appears that next week we may learn Gross’ motives may not be as pure as they seem — and possibly tie back into the Rindell plot that this week brought Mike Kresteva (Matthew Perry) face to face with Elsbeth Tascioni (Carrie Preston) in a couple of scenes of “Good Wife” MVP guest-star magic.
Michelle and Robert King are firing on all cylinders with “The Good Fight,” seamlessly weaving the plotlines together, and offering up intense drama worthy of “The Good Wife” while also creating a show that stands on its own two feet. Looking forward at the five weeks left of the “Good Fight” season, we’re almost sad it only comes to ten hours — although of course if the creators had to stretch this all out over a longer season, the episodes probably wouldn’t be as tight as they are. It’s a win/win, really.
After all, “The Good Wife” suffered this spread from time to time, with episodes that could feel a bit too much like treading water. And though “The Good Fight” has felt on occasion overstuffed, we’d much rather have too much story than not enough — and if the shorter season means 10 tightly-written episodes that make a cohesive, exciting Season 1, we’ll just have to grin and bear it. It’s certainly easier to cope with when “The Good Fight” is so dependably great.
“The Good Fight” drops Sunday mornings at 3 a.m. on CBS All Access.