“The Good Fight” Really Is the Best (Lesbian) Show You’re Not Watching

I hate the whole “X is the best show you aren’t watching” thing, but in the case of CBS All Access’ The Good Fight, the cliche feels apt, because what the hell even is CBS All Access anyway? We’re deep into the streaming wars now, and it’s nearly impossible to stay on top of not just the sheer amount of content but also the sheer amount of content platforms out there. But I am here today to tell you all about The Good Fight, a show so good and yet criminally underrated because of its obscure home. And yes, there are lesbians!


What Is It

The Good Fight is a spinoff of one of television’s greatest legal series of all time, The Good Wife. It takes Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski), an essential, magnetic, chunky-chain-wearing member of The Good Wife’s radiant ensemble and plops her into a new radiant ensemble of characters at a predominantly black law firm. Some other characters from The Good Wife’s universe show up — like the delightful Elsbeth Tascioni — but for the most part, a lot of the main characters are new (more on that later).

It’s worth noting that you do not need to have watched The Good Wife in order to watch The Good Fight, but you do need to have watched The Good Wife in order to ever have a conversation with me.

Structurally, it’s similar to The Good Wife, with cases of the week and also serialized arcs that touch on the tricky balancing act of one’s private and public lives, what it means when those lines get blurred, and the shortcomings of The Law. But because it’s on streaming instead of CBS proper, Christine Baranski can say “fuck!” which is very important.

Why You Should Watch It Part One

A lot of shows have taken on current political commentary, but I don’t think any other show has been more deliberate and direct in its positioning as not just a Post-2016 Election series but an Anti-Trump Series. Reacting to and grappling with the reality of a Trump-led America is foundational to the show’s very premise. His administration as well as the people he emboldens are the series’ Big Bad. The constant state of uneasiness and uncertainty about the news and ongoings of the world are woven into the show’s DNA.

But at the same time, The Good Fight injects just enough hope and levity into its narrative that it isn’t purely cynical. It strikes the right balance between being real but also not a total downer, because who wants that right now?! Not I!! Sometimes I just want to become lost in a kaleidoscope of gorgeous blazers, and this show also provides THAT!

On a similar note, this cast is so freaking good that watching them do their thing is almost mesmerizing. Baranski, Audra McDonald (who enters in season two), and Delroy Lindo are straight up masters of their craft. But one of the most striking performances comes from Cush Jumbo, whose Lucca Quinn was a character in the later seasons of The Good Wife but didn’t really fully flourish until now, on The Good Fight, where she is a very fun character to watch. There’s something about Jumbo’s acting that’s just so rare for television (and perhaps has to do with her theater background). She deserves to be a STAR!

Why You Should Watch It Part Two: Lesbians

Another stellar member of the cast is Rose Leslie, who plays Maia Rindell, a lesbian with trust issues! I feel so represented! Those trust issues are the result of her parents (her mother is, importantly, played by Bernadette Peters — where my musical theater nerds at?!) essentially gaslighting her and using her to carry out their pyramid scheme, so The Good Fight also similarly grapples with what it means to have one’s life torn apart by a very public scandal, much like The Good Wife did with Alicia Florrick’s shattered marriage.

Maia has a girlfriend right from the start, and the two of them have their own, uh, trust issues that I won’t spoil. But it’s safe to assume in this universe that most relationships will have their fair share of complicated drama that straddles personal/professional worlds. I do wish there was more physical intimacy between Maia and Amy (like even just more kissing!), but the pilot does include a shower sex scene between them, which is definitely a lot more than we ever got on The Good Wife when it came to Kalinda Sharma, the queer investigator who captured so many hearts INCLUDING MINE.

Look, I’ll be straight (lol) with you: Maia is no Kalinda. Kalinda Sharma is one of my favorite television characters of all time, and Maia is great but nowhere near on that level. But still, it’s exciting to see an out lesbian character in this ensemble, which is also much more racially diverse than that of The Good Wife.

(And sometimes Baranski and McDonald make very deliberate, unflinching eye contact, and I’m like BAIT ME, ROBERT AND MICHELLE KING!!!! Sorry.)

The Good Fight returns for a third season on March 14, and you can catch up on the first two seasons on CBS All Access. There’s a free week-long trial.

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is a Brooklyn-based writer, television critic, and comedian who spends most of her time over-analyzing queer subtext on television, singing "Take Me Or Leave Me" in public places, and assembling cheese platters. She has a cat named after Piper Halliwell from Charmed, and her go-to karaoke song is "Everywhere" by Michelle Branch. Her writing can also be found at The A.V. Club and The Hollywood Reporter, and she wrote the webseries Sidetrack. You can catch her screaming in all-caps about Kalinda Sharma, Jennifer Lopez, and oysters on Twitter and Instagram.

Kayla has written 181 articles for us.

17 Comments

    • How great are those blazers….The whole show is such a fashion guide for work – how to look outstanding at meetings in your fifties? Wear the biggest beaded necklace ever and claim that desk under the air con vent with your massive handbag/tiny computer combo!

  1. On it. Thanks for the heads up! Aside from crushing on Julianna Margulies and HARD on Archie Panjabi, the Good Wife was certainly held back by its relative super-whiteness. So a more gay, more colorful version is very welcome! And anti-Trump you say?… I’m here for it!
    ‘a lesbian with trust issues! I feel so represented!’ Lol, it’s good to be seen, isn’t it? Thanks for the article.

  2. feel kinda offended that someone just accused me of such terrible thing as not watching the Good Fight
    anyway…
    I had no idea that it’s criminally underrated in the US. I thought that it’s just here 🙁

  3. FYI, I found the bootleg version So you don’t have to subscribe to anything to watch: https://newepisodes.co/watch-the-good-fight-online-free/69158/season-1-episode-1-inauguration
    Be careful though, I watched the vshare.eu link with no issues, but these bootleg versions can have popups and potentially unsafe scripts, so I have anti-virus, plus Noscript and PrivacyBadger, which feels safe enough for me. I block absolutely everything that isn’t necessary for it to run, and even that stuff I set to not let them track me/use cookies. Have been using this site for years for all the shows I can’t get elsewhere, and has been fine so far with the added script blockers for protection.
    I miss my Archie fix though! 🙂 Kalinda was hot AF!

  4. I binged the first season on a plane and have wanted to watch more since but haven’t wanted to sign up for another platform. Maybe I’ll sign up for the free week trial when season 3 comes out and just watch seasons 2 and 3 as quickly as possible.

  5. This convinced me to do my homework aka watch the good wife and I can’t believe I’ve lived my daily life so parched of Christine Baranski and I’m already preparing to die for Kalinda

  6. Oh Kalinda…my favorite part of The Good Wife, for sure. Otherwise, I know someone that works on this & somehow I still had no idea that Bernadette Peters & Audra McDonald were in it! (theatre person here, if that wasn’t obvious) This show will definitely go on my list.

  7. I tried watching The Good Fight when season 1 started but I can’t bear not seeing Kalinda, my long time TV crush :/ After The Good Wife ended, I proceeded to watch all other movies Archie Panjabi ever starred in.

    • Netflix was being buggy the other week and it showed me a description for a legal drama starring Archie Panjabi and I got super excited that she was in some other lawyer show, until I realized it was just the text for The Good Wife showing up on the image and title of some other show. Heartbreaking.

  8. I actually prefer this show to The Good Wife. Chris Noth not being on it may have something to do with it. IDK. Anyway, I LOVE Lucca. She is my favorite but I cannot stand her love interest. He is such a rich, straight, white male stereotype and not the least bit as charming as the show thinks he’s supposed to be.

    This show would have a lot more viewers if it were on regular network tv and not CBS’s little streaming site. Nobody wants to pay for that shit.

  9. Really, is The Good Fight a lesbian show? It would have been a very nice article if you didn’t included that in the title. Is a show that has one lesbian character and the story doesn’t focuses on that not one second. The great thing about TGF is that they don’t make a big deal about Maia being gay, is treated like it should, normal. The same thing goes for Diane’s age, they don’t make a big deal about it,don’t make you aware of the fact that is an older woman. Is a natural, normal thing. The sex shower scene from the pilot isn’t a sex scene is one person, holding her lover who is in pain, comforting her. The bad thing is that people might read this title and think that TGF must be some kind of The L Word. Not that is something wrong with The L Word, but the two shows have nothing in common.

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