The cast and creators of “The Good Fight,” the much-anticipated spinoff of “The Good Wife,” appeared Monday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena.
But, like at the Golden Globes Sunday night (and more or less every day since Nov. 8), all anyone could talk about was Donald Trump.
In this case, at least, the subject seemed germane. “The Good Wife,” which premiered in the early days of the Obama administration in 2009, centered on the wife of a Chicago politician who returns to work as a lawyer following her husband’s prostitution scandal. Over the course of seven seasons, it struck a balance between legal procedural and political commentary, tackling hot-button issues including surveillance, gun control and police brutality.
The new series, which will debut on the CBS All Access streaming service on Feb. 19, picks up a year after the end of “The Good Wife.” Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) loses her retirement savings in a Bernie Madoff-like Ponzi scheme and goes to work at a predominantly African American law firm. She’s also estranged from her husband, played by Gary Cole, following his infidelities. (Their love is yet another casualty of 2016 — sigh.)
Much like “The Good Wife,” “The Good Fight” will go beyond cases of the week to explore broader social, technological and political themes resonant in the era of Trump.
“If ‘The Good Wife’ was always a little about the Obama years, [Trump] gives shape to a new show,” said Robert King, co-creator with his wife, Michelle King, who described Trump’s win as a fertile source of creative inspiration. “What was good was the world changed on us.”
“The Good Fight” will examine cultural changes, particularly “the confusion between what’s real and what’s not real,” he added.
For Diane, a liberal feminist who prominently displayed a framed picture of herself with Hillary Clinton in her office, the electoral outcome is nearly as devastating as her financial losses.
Baranksi recalled filming the pilot episode on election night and learning that Trump had been projected the winner.
“We were all in free fall,” she said. “And I think the interesting thing is you have a lead character who is in more of a practical free fall in a similar way to what the country is feeling right now, like how do you take the next step up when there’s no foundation? Where are we? Where are we morally?”
During their tenure on “The Good Wife,” the Kings were vocal about the creative limitations of a broadcast show. Their new home online means they no longer have to contend with the standards and practices department.
Viewers can expect longer running times for each episode, and occasionally coarse language. But don’t expect Diane to drop a torrent of F-bombs just for the sake of it.
“You’re not going to hear them sound drastically different,” said Michelle King.
And regardless of “The Good Fight’s” venue, the series will retain the same political nuance that won its predecessor widespread acclaim.
“What we have always tried to do is present all our characters as intelligent, thinking beings, whether they have conservative points of view or liberal points of view,” said Michelle King, “and that’s not going to change.”