“The Good Fight” is dead. Long live “The Good Fight.”
Paramount+’s daring political drama, its very first original back when the streaming service was called CBS All Access, released its final episode Thursday, wrapping up six tumultuous years of American history – and six seasons that tried to grapple with it.
Plenty of TV shows are set in the present, but not one – not even CBS’s “The Good Wife,” from which “Fight” was spunred off – understood what it feels like to live in modern times as “Fight” does. For a series that relies so much on magical realism, daring plot twists, talky scenes and guest stars snatched from Broadway stages, the true accomplishment of “Fight” could be boiled down simply (to use a 2022 slang term) to “vibes.”
What started as a show about the second act of Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) – an accomplished lawyer in her 60s and ready to retire, who had to start over after losing her life savings – turned into the most daring, dangerous and sometimes even deranged show on television. It might have offended huge swaths of the public, if only Paramount+ had a bigger viewership.
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“Fight,” ostensibly, was about Diane joining a Black law firm, and by its end the writers had openly questioned on the show whether Diane was the right protagonist for this story at all when many Black lawyers at the firm questioned her leadership. Baranski anchored the show, joined by tour-de-force performances from Delroy Lindo and Audra McDonald, who turned in some of the best work of her award-winning career.
There was no topic “Fight” would not tackle as its lawyers argued cases, from racism to sexual violence and transgender rights to political extremism, COVID-19 and government surveillance. What made the series different from any other ripped-from-the-headlines drama is that it was never afraid to put its beloved characters on opposing sides of these issues, whether they lived in gray areas or were simply wrong. It wasn’t about illuminating “both sides” of anything – it was about forcing us to reckon with the fact that we are not always in the right, even if our intentions are good. It’s about showing that well-meaning white liberals can be racist, Black people are not a monolith, the system is rigged, corruption is everywhere and capitalism is evil.
Maybe you don’t agree with that, but Robert and Michelle King, the married couple behind “Fight” and “Wife” (and Paramount+ series “Evil”) probably don’t care. They weren’t writing “Fight” to make friends, but to illuminate some very depressing truths.
The series cast was always impeccable, including supporting characters like investigator Jay (Nyambi Nyambi), investigator-turned-lawyer Marissa (Sarah Steele), lawyer Lucca (Cush Jumbo), and the great Andre Braugher, a final-season addition as a new firm partner who felt like he could have been there all along.
The trajectory of the series went from gloom to doom to darker still, leading to a finale that exploded in violence and wallowed in hopelessness (with a moment or two of romance and heroism).
Spoiler alert: Details of the finale below.
After a season of violent protests outside the offices of Reddick, Ri’Chard and Associates, white supremacists lock the lawyers in their offices and shoot up the building (without casualties, thanks to Jay). A disillusioned Diane reluctantly agrees to move to Washington, D.C., to take over a firm aimed at protecting women’s rights while Liz (McDonald) stays on to run the larger firm in Chicago. The two women spent all these years fighting, but it’s not remotely over yet. Like the rest of us, they are tired, worn out and often defeated. But they go on. So maybe the Kings have a little hope after all.
So yes, “The Good Fight” is over, but the good fight is not.
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Story Credit: usatoday.com