"The Good Fight" Review: These Are the Kind of Strong, Real-World Female Characters We Need Right Now
"The Good Fight" is the most feminist show online. Yes, that’s right, online; in order to watch the "Good Wife" spin-off, you’re going to have to sign up for CBS All Access, a $5.99-per-month subscription streaming service that gives you access to every episode of all CBS shows. (Come on, haven’t you been itching to rewatch "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" from the beginning anyway?) But best of all, it gives you the ability to revel in Christine Baranski’s unsurpassed ability to make legal jargon compelling. Still feeling hesitant to drop your hard-earned dollars on yet another streaming service? Guys, much like Fifth Harmony, "The Good Fight" is worth it. Here's why.
The show centers around Diane Lockhart, the brilliant partner who helped guide Julianna Margulies’ Alicia Florrick through the treacherous waters of Chicago law for seven seasons on "The Good Wife." In the series premiere, Diane, dispirited by the election of Donald Trump, decides to do what so many of us dream: retire and start a new life eating baguettes and making lavender bouquets (presumably) in France. However, before she can hit the Air France first-class lounge, her savings are wiped out in a Ponzi scheme, and her reputation is shattered for having unwittingly pushed that Ponzi scheme on all of Chicago’s rich and powerful. Diane has to go back to work to prove herself and hopefully gain back a little bit of that fortune so she can at least take a weeklong bike tour of Provence.
Joining her is Cush Jumbo as fan favorite Lucca Quinn, the brilliant but depressingly underestimated bond court attorney turned big-time-law-firm lawyer. Lucca was a breath of fresh air when she joined "The Good Wife" in season seven — offering a grounded, youthful foil to Alicia — and thoroughly whetted my appetite for more character development and background. Plus, as mentioned in episode two of "The Good Fight," she rocks bangs like no one’s business.
Rounding out the main trio is Rose Leslie, so tough and delightful as the taunting Ygritte in "Game of Thrones" (would really love a throwaway “You know nothing, David Lee!” line at some point). Here she shows a more vulnerable side as Maia Rindell, a freshly minted lawyer and Diane’s goddaughter. (She's also, of course, the daughter of the Bernie Madoff stand-in.) Maia is down-to-earth and hardworking despite her privilege, but she also has to prove herself after being shunned by society at large for her father’s financial wrongdoing. Women being punished or carrying a burden because of the actions of the men in their lives was a speciality of the "The Good Wife" writers, and I’m glad to report that shedding light on that particular societal failing is being carried over into this spin-off.
Most exciting about "The Good Fight," however, is how these three main characters respect one another despite (or perhaps, because of?) their differences. As we all know, it’s possible to be a feminist and disagree with other women on a litany of issues — that's part of what makes the world go round. More important than always agreeing is always respecting that all women have the right to their opinions, voices, independent thought, and choices — something "The Good Wife" did an exceptional job of showing. Two episodes in "The Good Fight" continue to illustrate that. Plus, I want to make clear that despite being about lawyers and the broken justice system, this show is also very funny. And we all need a laugh these days, right?
"The Good Wife" was regularly one of the best shows on television to demonstrate that there is no one type of woman and that women can’t be judged by their covers. The female characters on the show ranged beautifully in age, ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation, and tax bracket, and those differences never seemed forced or ham-fisted. They were just well-rounded, fully formed ladies…kind of like all the women I know IRL.
But, OK, I know you might still be thinking, $5.99? I could be spending that money on art supplies for my next resistance rally posters! I totally get it. But the fact is, per-network streaming services and original content are the future of entertainment, and thanks to programming like "The Good Fight," that future is already looking awfully female. So I’m more than happy to cough up the price of a venti latte to enjoy and support it. If, post-rally, you're looking for some feminist-friendly entertainment, you really can't do better than this. ￼
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Photo Credit: Patrick Harbron