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‘The Good Wife’ spin-off ‘The Good Fight‘ is as clever as ever

By
Ellie Walker-Arnott
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‘The Good Wife’ was a clever courtroom drama with a brilliantly flawed woman at its heart, and for seven seasons we watched Alicia Florrick’s every move. Now it’s Diane Lockhart’s turn in the spotlight.

It’s clear from the opening seconds that ’The Good Fight‘ won’t disappoint. Just as we so often lingered on a wordless Alicia as she carefully raised an expressive eyebrow or a sizeable glass of red, ‘The Good Fight’ opens with Diane watching Trump’s inauguration in silent horror.

It’s got the same glossy sheen as its predecessor. It’s still as smart and reactive to real world politics (the pilot was hastily rewritten after Hillary Clinton’s defeat). ’The Good Wife’ writers Robert and Michelle King are back on board and still assuming their audience are as quick and clever as the show itself. 

Alicia (Julianna Margulies) is referenced by name now and then, but officially she’s out of the picture. Instead we follow Diane (Christine Baranski), who is soon forced out of the insanely long-named Lockhart, Deckler, Gussman, Lee, Lyman, Gilbert, Lurie, Kagan, Tannebaum and Associates. She’s joined by her goddaughter Maia (‘Game of Thrones’ actress Rose Leslie), a new associate fresh from passing the bar and Lucca (Cush Jumbo), Alicia’s former law partner. 

Life in ‘The Good Wife’ universe, like in the real world, rarely goes to plan. As Diane celebrates her retirement, she’s informed that Maia’s investor father has been arrested and all her life savings are gone. Considered ‘poison’ by Chicago’s leading law firms, Diane finds herself starting again, while Maia’s world collapses around her.

If you’re tuning in to find out what happened after ‘The Good Wife’ finale, you won’t be entirely disappointed. A year has passed, and while there’s no immediate explanation as to where Alicia is and what she’s doing, we do learn more about what really happened between Diane and her husband Kurt. Familiar faces like Howard Lyman and David Lee also make appearances. 

Really though, ‘The Good Fight’ quickly makes strides on its own as a show that isn’t afraid of dealing with issues of privilege, race, politics and gender. Like ‘The Good Wife’, every character is three-dimensional. The cast is diverse and, pleasingly, has three female leads; one mixed race, one in her sixties, and the third (Leslie) plays one of the few gay lead characters on US TV. 

‘The Good Fight’ airs as a web series in the US on CBS All Access but that doesn’t mean any corners have been cut. It’s as masterful as its inspiration.

‘The Good Fight’ starts tonight on More4.

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