My Take On…THE GOOD FIGHT on CBS All Access

When THE GOOD WIFE came to an end at the end of the 2016-2017 TV schedule, I was ready to see it go – not because the Kings had run out of ideas or I was ready to say good bye to this cast, but because it had functioned on high cylinders for 7 seasons and I never wanted it to overstay its welcome. When I heard that the Kings (Michelle and Robert, two incredibly smart humans that I trust to surprise me week after week) were bringing back this universe, my curiosity was peaked – I had faith but a healthy amount of skepticism. Would THE GOOD FIGHT (the new show that follows Christine Baranski’s incomparable Diane Lockhart, Cush Jumbo’s Lucca Quinn, and Rose Leslie’s Maia Rindell, not to mention many beloved former WIFE characters) be able to take up the mantle from the mothership, provide compelling stories with strong characters to root for, all the while not tarnishing the legacy left from how the original story came to a close?

Having screened the first two episodes, the first of which premieres on CBS proper at 8/7c Sunday before taking up residence on CBS All Access every Sunday, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that yes, THE GOOD FIGHT is able to do all of the above and then some.

When THE GOOD FIGHT kicks off one year after THE GOOD WIFE’s story ended, Diane is ready to embrace retirement, having accomplished everything in her career that she thinks she needed to.  Her god-daughter Maia is going to continue her legacy, starting her first day as a lawyer at the very firm Diane is departing. Diane’s last and Maia’s first cases are one in the same as they face off against Lucca and new-series-regular-Delroy-Lindo’s Robert Boseman.  When Maia’s family is embroiled in an embezzlement scheme that affects Cook County (and more), she’s left humiliated, Diane’s left essentially penniless, and they find themselves needed to fight the good fight (ah, get it) to recover from those losses. Lucca and Robert factor heavily in their future, and the show kicks itself into high gear. 

Diane remains my favorite character in this GOOD universe – headstrong, stubborn, smart, elegant, hurt, humiliated, knocked down, and full of fight, there is nothing that Christine Baranski can’t do.  A small look, a brilliant line read of the curse words now allowed for streaming cable, there is no one like her on TV. From her introduction on THE GOOD WIFE, Lucca was instantly a very close second to Diane. She’s resilient, she’s a great lawyer, Cush Jumbo plays her with an edge that cuts deeply. Here, Lucca is no longer shadowing Alicia; she’s confident, strong, and flourishing at Boseman’s firm. And Rose Leslie, whose story mimics Alicia’s – as a new lawyer (where Alicia was a lawyer returning to work) trying to weather the tides of a family scandal, and make a name for herself on her own merits – is a freaking delight. And don’t get me started on Sarah Steele – every Marissa visit on THE GOOD WIFE was better than the last; the fact that she’s a regular here?  Perfection.

What the Kings have managed to do with THE GOOD FIGHT is what all spin-offs should do: remember the story that came before (and hold it in high regard) while forging a brand new trail for new fans to embrace. They, along with Phil Alden Robinson, have given us the legal drama that we’ve been missing, well, since May of last year when Alicia Florrick was slapped out of the picture. The trademark courtroom scenes, loaded with symbolism and pulled from current events, exist here as they did in WIFE, and along with that comes familiar faces that literally had me cheering out loud. Personal stories are weaved seamlessly in with the legal drama that these folks are facing; it’s more of the same, while managing to give familiar characters even more depth than they had before.  Throw in some well-placed and never-over-used f-words, great diversity, much needed humor from some very welcome old friends, and some of the smartest dialogue on TV (or rather….TV adjacent), THE GOOD FIGHT is absolutely worth adding a streaming service to your list so you don’t miss the brilliance of the show. I’d go so far to say it’s worth not only the $5.99, but the $9.99 non-commercial option. It is that good and you’ll regret it if you don’t watch.

Random Notes:

  • You don’t need to have been a GOOD WIFE watcher to tune into THE GOOD FIGHT.  It will help to know what Howard or David Lee’s deals are, but it’s not a requirement because the show stands on its own.
  • David Lee remains THE WORST; no surprise there.
  • They packed more guest returns in the first two episodes than I was expecting; see if you can tell which one elicited an “OH YES” from me on first viewing.
  • Bernadette Peters is PERFECTLY cast – I don’t recall a more perfect actor for a part than her role here.
  • An alternate review could be this one, consisting of many fewer words: “I am in love with THE GOOD FIGHT.”

THE GOOD FIGHT premieres on Sunday, 2/19 at 8/7c on CBS, with new episodes being released every Sunday on CBS All Access.