The upcoming season of “The Good Fight” will be its last. Showrunners Robert and Michelle King will bring a 13-year journey with Christine Baranski’s Diane Lockhart to a close when Season 6 premieres Sept. 8 on Paramount+.
For the Kings, the decision to call it a wrap with a final 10-episode season is a matter of not wanting to “overstay your welcome,” as Robert King told Variety. The husband-and-wife showrunner duo want to take “Good Fight” out on a high note. The series debuted in February 2017 as a spinoff of the Emmy-winning CBS legal drama “The Good Wife,” which ran from 2009-2016.
“We felt we could end the show with a pretty big bang,” Robert King said. “That’s better than getting to the season where we’re struggling to find plot. We thought the sixth season could get us off the stage pretty grandly.”
The dawn of “The Good Fight” coincided with the rise of Trump and the heightened vitriol, partisanship and breakdown of cultural norms that gave the Kings and their team plenty of material for a series that smartly captured the surreality of the past half-dozen years. The Kings, who co-created “Good Fight” with Phil Alden Robinson, said the final season will pick up on threads from the end of Season 5, which explored the real-life rise of extremist violence in the U.S. and threats to the rule of law.
“It’s civil war these days and it’s more than just a metaphor for the law firm. There’s rioting in the streets of Chicago and they are surrounded,” Michelle King told Variety. “How do you conduct your business — the business of justice — in the midst of that?”
Baranski’s Lockhart, an upper-crust criminal defense lawyer, was a key character in “Good Wife.” The Chicago-set series revolved around Julianna Margulies’ Alicia Florrick, a political spouse who is humiliated when her politician husband is caught in a sex and corruption scandal and is thus forced to revive her legal career to support her family.
The Lockhart character was a natural choice for a spinoff. Baranski’s regal legal eagle began “Good Fight” at a low ebb, having lost her wealth to a Bernie Madoff-style Ponzi scheme, among other personal trials. She winds up becoming a partner at Chicago’s most prominent Black-led law firm.
Like “Good Wife,” “Good Fight” is executive produced by Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Prods. and CBS Studios. In addition to the Kings, Scott and Baranski, executive producers are David W. Zucker, Liz Glotzer, William Finkelstein, Jonathan Tolins and Jacquelyn Reingold.
“In this day and age, where long runs are more the exception than the norm and where discerning audiences have so much choice for quality content, the success and longevity of these series are a testament to how excellent both shows were,” Scott said. “David Zucker and I, and the entire team at Scott Free Television could not be more grateful for this experience.”
“The Good Wife” was among the few broadcast network drama series over the past decade to be a contender in the Emmy Awards race (Margulies won the lead drama actress Emmy in 2011 and 2014). “Good Fight” has not been an awards magnet but it has never been far from most critics’ top 10 lists at year’s end.
“Robert and Michelle took the bones of their network hit, ‘The Good Wife,’ which pushed creative boundaries, and transformed it into a signature streaming series. It is a series that taps into the zeitgeist of the nation’s mindset to artistically reveal the absurdity and anxiety of a nation in transition, both culturally and politically,” said CBS Studios president David Stapf.
While “Good Wife” was at heart a case-of-the-week procedural, “Good Fight” has tackled its storytelling arcs on a season-long basis. The Kings noted that the shocking events of the riot in the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, gave them a burst of ideas for Season 5. The pair promise that the vision for Season 6 is big but not overly dark. “It’s still a dark comedy,” Michelle King assured.
Fans should not hold their breath for Margulies to make an appearance in the final season as Florrick. “That is not the expectation,” Michelle King said. But Alan Cumming will return in the “Good Wife” character of Eli Gold, the political operative who once worked alongside Florrick’s philandering husband.
The success of “Good Wife” put the Kings on the Hollywood map as A-list showrunners. The pair are shepherding a number of projects at present — including the CBS drama “Evil,” serving as executive producers on Season 2 of Showtime’s “Your Honor” and the CW game show “Would I Lie to You.” The pair expect to stay in business with CBS and Paramount+ for the foreseeable future.
In other words, there’s no talk of retiring. Asked to reflect on the difference between producing “Good Wife” for linear broadcast network compared to “Good Fight” as an early scripted effort for what was then CBS All Access (which was transformed into Paramount+ early last year).
“It’s like going from a county fair to Disneyland,” Robert King said. “You can imagine Orson Wells coming along streaming and saying ‘Wow this is the biggest train set a kid could ever have.’