“The Good Fight,” like its predecessor “The Good Wife,” has never shied away from incorporating real world news into its own storytelling, and that trend will continue in the second season of the CBS All Access drama.
“We’ll do any topic,” series co-creator Michelle King tells Variety. “We’re avoiding, if anything, earnestness, but that’s a tone, not a topic.”
This season, which bows March 4, will take on hot topics like the Democratic party wanting to impeach Donald Trump to the way the Aziz Ansari story played out in the media, says co-creator Robert King.
“We always feel better about our characters when they live in the real world you live in,” explains Robert King. “I think it always helps that they’re walking down the same streets you are, they’re reacting to the same news you are. It gives that extra sense of reality and specificity.”
The Kings also feel that pulling from the real world elevates the stakes, in addition to grounding the characters in something familiar and relatable.
“We think there’s an added element of danger, which you don’t get with a lot of TV, if you’re not sure what the reaction’s going to be to a real world event — whether it’s the Mueller investigation or the Russians targeting voters,” Robert King says.
There is also an added layer of danger this season, they tease. Season 2 of “The Good Fight,” in part, was inspired by the attacks journalists have been facing across the world. As it plays out in “The Good Fight,” though, the attacks become a “kill all the lawyers” campaign.
“We had a conversation between [Adrian] and Diane about what you can depend on. The thing you can depend on is the law — not the people but the law. And what we really wanted to show was what you do when that’s under attack,” Robert King says.
However, it is important to the Kings to come at these stories from a place of entertainment first.
“Even though we have an episode where they’re discussing Trump’s impeachment, it goes in a direction you should be surprised by — even a liberal audience that thinks they know where the show will go,” Robert King says. “The show, really, is meant to be funny. Even though there’s a lot of really serious subject matter, our hope is to always have one leg in the comic instance behind the serious stuff.”
Michelle King adds that it is also important to never make the audience feel like they’re walking away with “a message.” “If you [do], then we’ve probably failed,” she says.
Therefore, the second season will play with the general feeling of uncertainty of what is happening in the world through Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski), who has become somewhat baffled by the state of things and is now introduced to the idea of microdosing to cope.
“When you’re flipping through the news online in the mornings and you see headlines from the left side or Google News, and you have to say, ‘Is that really a headline? Is that a headline that’s happening today?’ that is the element we’re going for with Diane,” Robert King says. “She’s not quite sure whether the news she’s facing is real, and since we’re seeing the show sometimes through her eyes, sometimes the audience is unclear [too]. The world has gone insane, so is microdosing a reaction to that insanity?”
In a similar way, Maia (Rose Leslie) is struggling with the insanity of her new world of FBI agents trying to pump her for information on her father.
“She was traumatized by what she went through, so on an emotional level it doesn’t go away and it’s going to reverberate at times [in season 2],” Michelle King says of Maia’s arc. “She’s going to meet people that will have a reaction to her and she’s going to be a little bit guarded — other characters, when they meet new people, introduce themselves by their first and last names [but] Maia just gives her first name because she’s protecting herself.”
The world of “The Good Fight” will expand to introduce new characters — including Adrian’s wife and fellow lawyer (played by Audra McDonald) and a bartender friend of Diane’s (played by Tim Matheson) — but it will also return to some familiar faces, too.
“You can imagine if you live in that world where you’re going to turn a corner and bump into someone you know. There’s a sense that people don’t go away, and you run into some judges that you’ve seen before, but there are some episodes that are self-contained, but then there are so many good actors that you write for that make you want to grow the world a little bit more,” Robert King notes.
Justin Bartha will return as Colin this season, who the Kings reveal gets back together with Lucca, as will Gary Cole, whose character of Kurt the Kings note Diane will “struggle” with in their relationship. Jerry Adler pops up, reprising his “Good Wife” role of Howard. And Paul Guilfoyle’s Henry Rindell is still a part of the story, despite fleeing the country at the end of the first season.
“It speaks to our core characters because you want to know what their lives are like,” Michelle King says. “You want to know what Lucca’s family is like — you want to meet her brother. You want to know who Diane is spending her evenings with, so we might meet some of her old friends. It really starts there.”