This article contains information that could be considered too revealing according to our spoiler policy. Proceed with caution. You can't unsee it!Reason The show doesn't premiere until a few days after this post's publication; we got screeners.
Is The Good Fight Worth Fighting For?
Is it worth signing up for CBS's streaming service to watch The Good Wife, Part 2?
What Is This Thing?
A spinoff of the late, lamented (and then a question mark?) The Good Wife, centered on -- or, at least, kicked off by -- Diane Lockhart, whose retirement plans get scuttled when her money manager (who happens to be her oldest friend, and happens to have a daughter starting as a legal associate) goes to prison for a Ponzi scheme he may or may not have actually committed, dragging his whole family, and all the rich white people who invested, down with him. Diane, suddenly lacking liquid assets and quite a few friends (she'd recommended the fund), but already having given up her position at the law firm she founded, has to go to work at a new firm, giving us the setup for a show very similar to The Good Wife, with plenty of room for familiar faces, but still technically a new show.
When Is It On?
New episodes will drop every Sunday at 8 PM ET on CBS All Access, starting with two on February 19. The first episode will also air this Sunday on traditional CBS, also at 8. But if you want Part 2 and beyond, you'll have to pay to stream them.
Why Was It Made Now?
CBS wanted an anchor for its paid streaming service, enough cast members from the original show were willing, and show creators Michelle and Robert King were free after the failure of Brain Dead, I guess?
What's Its Pedigree?
The aforementioned Kings are back to run the show, and the great Christine Baranski reprises her role as Diane. Also on the regular or apparently-frequently-recurring cast are Cush Jumbo, Sarah Steele, and Michael Boatman, returning to their Good Wife roles (Lucca, Marissa, and Julius, respectively), and new additions Rose Leslie (Game Of Thrones) as Maia, the alleged Ponzi schemer's daughter; Erica Tazel (Justified); Justin Bartha (The Hangover, The New Normal); Paul Guilfoyle (CSI); Heléne Yorke (High Maintenance, Broadway's American Psycho); Delroy Lindo; and Bernadette Peters.
Like TGW, the show shoots in New York (as evidenced by the office location in which nobody thought closing the curtains so we might think it was Chicago would be a good idea I am not a crackpot), so we can expect the same parade of Hey! It's That Guy!s and Tony nominees as we saw on Original Recipe. In the first two episodes alone, Christine Lahti, Gary Cole, and Denis O'Hare (as the quirkiest judge who ever quirked) reprise their TGW roles, and we can expect some sort of continued fight with the firm formerly known as Lockhart Gardner, allowing for the return of Zach Grenier and Jerry Adler (who both appear in the premiere as well), and more.
There are a lot of really good actors on this is what I'm saying.
I was sad to see The Good Wife go, but it was time, if only because a lot of its characters and their storylines had grown stale and repetitive. I always enjoyed cast shake-ups (regardless of the reasons for them) like Kalinda's departure and Lucca's arrival. So really, this feels like that on a grand scale: Season 8 of The Good Wife, minus the good wife -- who, let's face it, had become the least interesting part of the show. ...Well, maybe the second least interesting; we still had Cary. The new firm isn't exactly fresh territory, but Diane's circumstances are, and at least for a little while should keep her character -- always a fan favorite on TGW; certainly my favorite -- from getting stale any time soon. And even if it does, I'll watch Baranski do just about anything.
The Good Wife got dinged a bit for being overly white (and turned it into a storyline about the firm itself needing more diversity), so it's nice to see Diane working at a majority black firm -- they joke that she's a "diversity hire" -- which is the one significant way that this office is different from her old one. Plus, we have a central lesbian couple, and I'm pretty sure neither of them will get killed?
And as always, the costume department's blazer and jewelry games are on point.
Plus, they can curse now, and boy do they!
If you're not already a Good Wife fan...who cares? Certainly you could jump right into this with no backstory necessary, but would you? And if you are a Good Wife fan who's looking for Diane! The Series, it's unclear from the first two episodes who the protagonist is here. The advance marketing for the show would certainly have us think it's Diane, but that might just be because she and Lucca are the most known quantities from TGW. The premiere intercuts her story with Maia's, and the second episode plays in parts like an almost beat-for-beat remake of the Good Wife pilot, with Maia in the Alicia role. I'm much less interested in TGW-redux than I am in a show where Christine Baranski kicks ass every week.
On the more nitpicky side, if you liked TGW's visits to the "adorably" quirky NSA nerds, you'll love the two guys who run every case at Reddick & Boseman through an algorithm. Aren't nerds controlling all our lives cute? And it's possible that a normal person who is not me won't be bothered by this, but as good as Rose Leslie is, her accent is...less so. And she's dragging Cush Jumbo down with her in their scenes together. It no longer feels okay to make a joke about immigrants stealing our American acting jobs, especially about a show that opens with its lead watching with horror as Donald Trump is inaugurated, but, well, here I am.
It's difficult to recommend The Good Fight either way without talking a little about CBS All Access, a service most of us didn't know existed until this show -- and their upcoming series Star Trek: Discovery, which has been delayed several times -- were announced. If you're a cord-cutter and want access to this and current CBS shows (oddly, under "Classics," they only list Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek The Animated Series), its pricing is on par with Hulu, plus you can stream live TV. If, like me, you still pay for cable but you're a Good Wife fan, you can get the commercial version and cancel when the season is over; assuming they put out an episode every week, it comes to $1.75 each, which is less than you'd pay on iTunes or Amazon non-Prime. (Also hear me out: Madam Secretary is underrated; you could catch up.)
If you have cable or a dozen streaming services already and you weren't that into The Good Wife to begin with, eeeeeeehhhhhhhhhh. Normally I'd be giving this show the most whole-hearted of recommendations, and I'm all for paying for things you enjoy. But honestly, they're making it so difficult! (The show can't be cheap to make, and I have to assume that if this plan tanks they'll make it available on some other platform just to make their investment back. Not that I'm encouraging anyone to root for its failure.)
The Good Fight is a very solid show with some top-notch talent involved. If you're a Good Wife fan, you should definitely check it out, even if you'd soured on that show's later years. If you're not, but want a good legal procedural with some compelling characters (and character actors) at its center, you could absolutely jump in here with no prior knowledge required. The platform you choose to jump from to do that is up to you.