Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.
In this week’s episode, Variety’s executive editor of TV Debra Birnbaum talks with Michelle and Robert King, the creators of CBS’s legal drama “The Good Fight,” which wrapped its second season in May and will return for a third run in 2019.
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A spinoff of the hit series “The Good Wife,” the show continues the story of Christine Baranski’s Diane Lockhart, who is adapting to the environment at a new law firm after losing her life savings. The show doesn’t shy away from touching on current events — especially when it comes to controversial actions made by Donald Trump’s administration. But according to Robert King, Trump was not initially supposed to be a focus of the second season.
“We started the season saying we would not talk about Trump at all or the current administration — that it would be an optimistic season,” he said. “Our worry — not even to be good little boys and girls — but because the current administration was infecting so much of the culture, it felt like people were tired of it. And then that didn’t work out.”
“You go in the writers room and then suddenly if that’s the only thing anyone can talk about, it has to be on the page,” Michelle King added.
The showrunners decided to reflect what Robert King called the “infecting” effect the Trump administration has had on American society in Diane’s disillusioned psychology.
“Part of Diane’s problem is how much of the culture is infected with how hard it is to get away from it, and that became the subject,” Robert King said. “You’re not so much the substance — although there was some of that — of it, but how it was infecting the culture.”
Though in the past, the showrunners have made an effort to critique both Democrats and Republicans in their political story lines, Robert King admitted the current divisiveness between parties in the country has made it difficult to avoid picking a side.
“There’s an insanity that comes with that much partisanship, and the difficulty was it would not really be honest to point the finger so much at the Democratic side, just because the Democrats were sort of out of power,” Robert King said. “It’s about how someone like Diane — who comes from a liberal family — how does she handle it in a country that she feels is going insane?”
The pair also discussed Diane’s Season 2 dabbling in drugs. In order to make it believable for her typically self-controlled character to indulge in narcotics, the creators said it was important to introduce drugs to Diane — and the audience — in small doses.
“She was so confused anyways, we liked the idea of then upping the ante — that now she doesn’t even know if it’s psychedelics or just the world is that off,” Michelle King said.
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This conversation was recorded live at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, TX. (For information on how to attend next year’s festival, please visit atxfestival.com.)