Let’s get a little housekeeping out of the way first. I never watched The Good Wife. Okay, this is a lie. I’ve watched a couple episodes of The Good Wife, but only those pertaining exclusively to Kalinda Sharma being a badass. I mean, that’s a rule. Thou shalt not miss Kalinda going H.A.M. on some dude’s car. Still, as far as following the players and any other characters that were not Kalinda, I am at a loss. Like, Big and Carol Hathaway were also on that show, right?
Coming into The Good Fight my main point of reference to the series is a baseball bat and fond memories of Christine Baranski on Cybill. If you have even the foggiest notion of who Maryann Thorpe was please meet me around back for a martini and to discuss our pending hip replacements.
Right, so now that all that’s out of the way, we shall proceed. We open on the worst day of modern American political history. Donald Trump’s inauguration. In voiceover he is being sworn in as a stunned Diane Lockhart watches, slack-jawed, in a darkened room.
Same, girl, SAME.
Then we cut to – Ygritte. The red-haired wildling warrior from Game of Thrones is taking the bar exam. So while Jon Snow still knows nothing, Ygritte (who now goes by Maia Rindell) knows a shit-ton about the law.
Hey, did you know Ygritte/Maia actress Rose Leslie descends from honest-to-goodness Scottish nobility? Like, she grew up in a castle. A castle. The more you know.
Speaking of castles, Diane is buying her own chateau in Provence. Look, don’t pretend that if you were also a liberally minded, incredibly wealthy attorney from Chicago you wouldn’t consider checking out of this country for the next four years.
While the inclusion of our new Cheeto-in-Chief was an obvious last-minute addition to the show (like everyone else, showrunners assumed Hillary would win when they filmed the premiere and that the world wouldn’t teeter on the whims of a narcissistic toddler with a Twitter account), I actually think Diane’s new-found inclination to flee is understandable – if not exactly commendable.
Meanwhile Ygritte/Maia is now in her apartment obsessively refreshing the bar exam results page. Behind her a blonde woman slumbers in bed. So at less than two minutes into The Good Fight we have our first bona fide gay ladies. Cue rainbow balloons, streamers and drone delivery of a toaster oven.
Suddenly the page refreshes to results, and Maia is now a real-live lawyer. Jon Snow Status: Still knows nothing, and also kind of a zombie. She bounces up-and-down in bed on top of her girlfriend in celebration because the universe still wants us to have good things – despite what the new White House says.
Things now start to move quickly. Diane announces she is retiring from her law firm. Maia, who is Diane’s goddaughter and has a last name that carries powerful cache, joins her firm as an associate while worrying about seeming entitled. Maia’s father (played by that guy who was the police captain on CSI), who is in charge of investing all of Diane’s savings, and mother (played by Bernadette freaking Peters) arrive at her lavish retirement party where they needle their daughter about getting married because there’s finally no pesky Supreme Court to get in the way.
Marriage equality jokes! You know, I’d feel a lot better about this if Merrick Garland had been confirmed. Fucking Mitch McConnell.
As her mentor, Diane passes Maia the incredibly metaphoric baton/leather portfolio of the first female public defender in the city. They then join forces on Diane’s last case, a police brutality lawsuit. Unfortunately, they are not representing the black man getting the shit kicked out of him by the cops. So much for that fight being good.
Across the table are lawyers from the city’s most prominent African-American law firms, which also includes Lucca Quinn (played by Cush Jumbo, who you might remember as the fiancée to horrible Jay on Lip Service). Google tells me she is a former associate and friend of Alicia Florrick. Wait, are we allowed to say her name on this show? Or is she the Voldemort of The Good Fight?
I like Lucca because she calls Diane out on being on the wrong side of the table on this case. We can only hope this series delves more into the racial dynamics of Chicago and/or the whole damn country. We can also only hope the increased diversity in front of the camera is reflected behind it as well.
Maia points out what could be a pivotal piece of evidence to Diane. Helps when your family can afford a fancy car with a built-in security camera. But then, bam, shit starts to go very, very wrong. Like FBI agents are in Maia and her girlfriend’s apartment with a search warrant. And agents are at her parent’s house with cuffs. And, oh, did I mention all of Diane’s money – and that of pretty much all the nation’s “liberal elites” – is gone? Ponzi scheme says what?
Cue opening themes with lots of shit blowing up. We get it, show. We get it.
Maia is in shock, soon to be the most hated person in America because – wait, shouldn’t that be her dad? Oh, misogyny. You’re so fun. Her parents’ attorney comes over and wants her to look over papers, but her very smart assistant state’s attorney girlfriend (played by Heléne Yorke of Masters of Sex) tells her she shouldn’t because he is not her lawyer (I know, so much lawyering). Maia wisely turns him down proving for the umpteenth time how much more she knows than Jon Snow. I. Will. Never. Give. Up. On. This. Joke.
So now Diane wants her old job back, but even when your name is on the wall they refuse for reasons I don’t fully understand but will chalk up to old white man nonsense. And Maia is in trouble as an associate for reasons I don’t fully understand but will chalk up to slightly younger white man screaming threats at her nonsense.
Thank heavens for Lucca who has picked up the Kalinda badass mantle for The Good Fight. She tells that angry dude to piss right off. Then she follows Maia into the bathroom where she tells her to get her tears out within its aluminum stall walls. She tells her to harden herself and focus on the work. Also, can we talk for half a second about why American public restrooms have such wide slits in the doorframes?
At this point Diane and Maia find themselves on opposite ends of the same shit spectrum. The veteran who finds herself suddenly unemployable and broke. The newcomer who finds herself suddenly a social pariah and probably also broke. Instead of passing the torch to a new young female lawyer, they’re both struggling for daylight underneath that same, still uncracked, glass ceiling.
Just when it seems all hope is lost, in comes Adrian Boseman (Delroy Lindo who was so great in The Chicago Code which seemingly no one watched except me because, hello, Bette Porter in a cop uniform) from the lawsuit’s opposing firm. He gives Diane the proverbial offer she can’t refuse – or believe. Come work for him. They joke that she will be his firm’s “diversity hire.” Hahaha, see, because reverse racism isn’t a thing. Like, for real, it does not exist.
He isn’t mad at her like the rest of her progressive friends about the Ponzi scheme. Because, here’s the thing, the Rindell Fund was invitation-only. And, wouldn’t you know it, they never got around to inviting black folks. Like I was saying, reverse racism isn’t a thing.
One of his firm’s other partners, Barbara Kolstad (played by Justified’s Erica Tazel) is none too pleased with Adrian’s audible to hire Diane. Barbara asks Lucca, who once worked with Diane, if they should hire her. And Lucca surprises them and says they should. Something tells me Lucca is the stealth hero of this whole damn series.
In the waning moments of the premiere, just when you’re thinking, this is great. Maia and Amy’s sexual orientation has been almost a non-issue – as it should be in 2017 – we get a “sex tape.” Granted, it’s not really a sex tape of them. It’s just a sex tape that has been posted on TMZ purporting to be them. I know this is meant to illustrate how far tabloid culture will go to sensationalize her family’s scandal.
But, let’s be honest, it’s mostly so The Good Fight could flash “Lesbian Sex Scandal!” across their teaser trailers. Nothing brings in that prime CBS viewership like a “lesbian temptress,” amirite?
Diane now triumphantly announces her departure to the firm and tells them not to let the door hit them in the pocketbook. You see, they’re about to have to pay out big-time in that police brutality lawsuit because of the evidence Maia discovered.
But while things are finally looking up for Diane, Maia is getting unceremoniously shitcanned by the other partners. She sheds one single tear before Diane swoops in, returns the leather portfolio/torch and telling her things aren’t over.