Review: The Good Fight

by - 15:19

In a few days, nominations for the 2017 Emmy awards will be announced.

There is buzz that newbie The Good Fight could be up for Best Drama Series. That category has some strong contenders (three words: This Is Us) so whether it makes the shortlist on July 13 is anyone’s guess. It would be a surprise, though, if it wasn’t nominated for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music.

The song during the opening credit sequence, composed by David Buckley, is an intense Baroque orchestral piece that culminates in crowd cheering conjuring up images of jousting knights and everything that makes a good fight. Quite marvellous, really.

It plays against a series of objects exploding in slo-mo – mundane office equipment like telephones and desks, and also content-related stuff like a set of law books and a gavel. But then whisky decanters and a stiletto shoe explode too. What gives?

The Good Fight is a spinoff of the highly successful The Good Wife, and picks up a year after the events of the earlier series finale. It’s a vehicle for Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski reprising her role) whom we first see staring in horror at the television as Donald Trump is inaugurated. This is the impetus for the lifelong liberal to announce her retirement from the law firm she founded and move to Italy.

But a Ponzi scheme wipes out Diane’s savings, which means no 1.5-million-euro villa in Provence or idyllic retirement for her.

She had invested money with close friend and accountant Henry Rindell and even recommended their fund to other now-equally-bankrupt investors.

good fight

Baranski reprises her role as Diane Lockhart in The Good Fight, a spinoff of The Good Wife. Her plans to retire are ruined after a financial scandal leaves her broke.

Her reputation is ruined and the only people who will give her a job are Reddick, Boseman and Kolstad, an African-American law firm – one of the partners jokes, she is their “diversity hire”.

Diane takes young lawyer Maia, Henry’s daughter, with her. Maia is just as toxic because of her last name.

Already at the firm is Lucca Quinn. They were on opposite sides earlier when they had gone up against each other in a case involving police brutality.

These women are the three leads in The Good Fight, and they are a pleasure to watch.

It’s about time Baranski headlined a major TV show. She is still the elegant, sophisticated Diane Lockhart, even severe at times (though not nearly as much as Leonard Hofstadter’s mother on The Big Bang Theory). Only now, she has fallen from grace and is no longer the boss. (So that’s what the exploding stiletto is about.)

Cush Jumbo (how great is that name!) as Lucca is commanding – every time she comes on screen, I hear that unmistakable guitar riff from Eric Clapton’s Layla in my head. You do not mess with Lucca Quinn.

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Rose Leslie (centre) is Maia in The Good Fight.

As for Rose Leslie (Maia), ever since her limited but solid parts in Downton Abbey and Game Of Thrones, I’d been hoping to see her in bigger roles. Here, she is a fresh-faced new lawyer who proves how tough she can be despite having to deal with the troubles she is going through, including death and rape threats.

These characters’ stories are told against the backdrop of current events. The actual presidential inauguration (show creators Robert and Michelle King had to tweak their initial first episode after Hillary Clinton lost) at the start of the series opens up to other issues of the day such as racial politics, the alt-right movement and Trumpian fake news.

It’s not a soapbox for any one side though. Whether you agree with them or not, you’ll get the big picture.

For a show that deals with controversial issues, it has a less serious side too. Many of the funny bits are thanks to the Good Wife characters who drop by as guest stars. The show is, after all, set in the same Chicago courtrooms and it won’t be a surprise to see judges like the theatrics-loving Charles Abernathy (Denis O’Hare) and Suzanne Morris (Jane Alexander) or eccentric lawyer Elsbeth Tascioni (Carrie Preston).

The Good Fight keeps its weekly stories interesting and weaves them well together, framing them around the ongoing scandal involving Henry Rindell. If you’re looking for a stimulating battle of wits and wills, you’ve found it here.

The Good Fight airs every Wednesday at 10pm on Star World (Astro Ch 711).

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