The post The Good Fight Cast and Creators on the Final Season: “We Got to Do Everything We Wanted” appeared first on Consequence.
The Good Fight star Sarah Steele wants to clear up one rumor she’s heard: Season 6 of the Paramount+ original series does not conclude with everyone dying. “That’s not how it ends,” she tells Consequence via Zoom. “The only show that ends like that is Six Feet Under, which is called Six Feet Under and is about death. But [when I heard the rumor] I was like, ‘that would certainly break the mold.'”
“Break the mold” is a turn of phrase that has a lot of applications when talking about The Good Fight, because for six glorious seasons, the Paramount+ spinoff of CBS’s The Good Wife has defied all expectations of what a legal drama can, might, and should do.
To put it another way, if rocks did fall and kill the entire cast in the series finale, that would not be the weirdest thing to have happened over the course of the show’s run, which has encompassed musical numbers, animated sequences, a season where the characters occasionally broke out into Shakespeare-esque monologues, and a season where the characters talked regularly to the ghosts of Frederick Douglass and Ruth Bader Ginsberg (played, of course, by Ben Vereen and Elaine May).
For the show’s final run, co-creator Robert King tells Consequence that “each season has its own obsession” and this season’s obsession is “civil war.” “What is interesting is when you’re in the midst of danger and violence, it’s not the way people on TV are expected to be where everybody’s braced and hiding,” he says. “They’re still trying to work, as things are falling apart. That was the key thing of this season, wanting to focus on this coming strife that we’re all thinking we’re heading towards.”
Adds co-creator Michelle King, “We’re at a crisis point, but then we also want to see, what happens the day after a crisis point? You still need groceries. You still need to get to work.”
It’s a vibe very similar to a slightly obscure 1971 film called Little Murders, which depicts a New York on the verge of descending into complete anarchy, which Robert acknowledges: “This idea of how one day you’re upset because a hand grenade’s been thrown in your elevator. The next day, it’s just like, ‘Oh yeah, another one of those.'”
You Will Not Believe the Suits Andre Braugher Wears This Season
The Good Fight (Paramount+)
Complicating the final cases of Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) and Liz Reddick (Audra McDonald) is the arrival of Ri’Chard Lane (Andre Braugher), a new lawyer with incredible fashion sense and unclear motivations. The Kings didn’t create Ri’Chard for Braugher to play, but, says Robert, “Obviously we knew we could play the comedy. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Men of a Certain Age, both amazing shows. And we knew we could play the drama and then it was just like, ‘Okay, he’s never played this character before.'”
Braugher did not keep a log of how many different pairs of glasses he wore as Ri’Chard, but, he says, “I don’t think there were any repeats. Maybe there was some, I can’t remember, but it was a big character with big glasses and big double-breasted power suits. So I felt like I had to rise to the occasion, you know, he’s a big character and that’s precisely what I was hoping for after eight years of playing Captain Holt, who seems to be 180 degrees in the opposite direction.”
The Kings and Braugher both made sure to credit costume designer Dan Lawson for Ri’Chard’s looks as well as some of the other standout pieces of apparel worn by the cast this season. “I’m glad to be on board with a clotheshorse character,” Braugher says.
It Doesn’t Sound Like This Will End Like The Sopranos
The Kings say that in the writers’ room, they did discuss other series finales, even while acknowledging that The Good Fight‘s approach is slightly different. “It plays off so much of current events, so if this finale had been written last year or a year from now, it’d be completely different because it all plays off of what’s going on in the real world,” Robert says.
Examples of finales they liked? “Personally I really enjoyed the Breaking Bad finale,” Michelle says. “I very much enjoyed seeing where Walter White ended up.”
Adds Robert, “And I love the Mad Men finale. I thought that was very appropriate. And you know, I think the Sopranos finale was controversial, but it was a very good thing to talk about [in regards to] how much are you challenging the audience? How much are you satisfying the interest of the audience and how much are you allowing the audience a pleasure in things working out all right?”
When it comes to tackling their own final season, the Kings say they’re pretty satisfied by everything they were able to fit in: “This sounds terribly spoiled, but we kind of got to do everything we wanted,” says Michelle.
Robert agrees, noting that “the thing you’d almost wish you could have was Cush Jumbo and Delroy Lindo back, but we dealt with it so much in that ‘Previously On’ episode that started the fifth season, it would feel anti-climatic if we did.”
Eli’s Back, Though!
The Good Fight (Paramount+)
The Kings were able to bring back Alan Cumming, who originated the role of political fixer Eli Gold on The Good Wife. It’s something Steele (whose character, Eli’s daughter Marissa, was first introduced on The Good Wife) was thrilled about. “Whenever people stop me on the street, they ask me when he’s coming on The Good Fight. So I’m very, very glad to finally be able to say Season 6.”
Eli’s return in Season 6 also includes an update on the status of Alicia and Peter Florrick, the characters played by Julianna Margulies and Chris Noth for seven seasons of The Good Wife. Margulies (somewhat infamously) didn’t return for a cameo as Alicia during The Good Fight‘s run for salary reasons, and Noth is now the subject of multiple accusations of sexual assault.
In dialogue, it’s revealed that Peter, despite having served at one point as Governor of Illinois, is now back in jail. Michelle says the decision to reveal where the Florricks were “came from just what felt real to the characters — that if Diane hasn’t seen Eli in so many years, she is going to wanna know what’s going on with the Florricks, and he’s going to have something to share.”
“And so many of the Illinois governors have ended up in jail and then ended up in jail again that that felt appropriate,” says Robert. “And it also explained why Eli was not still his campaign manager or he wasn’t moving on to the next thing. We wanted to give Eli his independence, in a sense.”
The Last Days
The Good Fight (Paramount+)
“I’ve been through so many last seasons in the course of a career, you know, and sometimes when you’re working with younger actors, they’re like, ‘Oh, I can’t believe it’ and there’s a lot of tears at the end,” Braugher says. “But I feel as though I’ll have the opportunity to be on another season. I’m moving further into my career — I’m 60 years old now, so I’m playing different kinds of characters, but I continue to have my fingers crossed and a lot of optimism about that, that I’ll have the opportunity to close out another superb series.”
Braugher wrapped his time on the show before the last scenes, so he can’t speak to the tone of the finale, but his character’s final moments “for me are, once again, bittersweet, there’s no doubt about it. And I feel as though I’ve made some friends on the show, that I could call up and, you know have lunch with any time. Michael Boltman and I are having lunch tomorrow. There are keepers on this show and and I’ve been lucky enough to find them.”
When it comes to her last day of filming, Steele says that her last scene was filmed on the very last day of production, and prior to then other cast members had been wrapping their final shots with a speech to the crew. “And we’d all cry,” she says. But when the time came for her to make her final speech, “we went like one day over, as we do often… So by that time I was definitely feeling like, ‘I’m going to keep my speech pretty brief, because the crew wasn’t supposed to work today.'”
She laughs, then continues, “It was beautiful, and then we got to go have a party and talk about how we really shot this great show through so much chaos and insanity and COVID. we’d been through a lot together.”
As she continues, “It’s funny to think about it now, because I don’t think about this very often, but when I signed onto it, I had no idea that it would be as crazy as it was. I thought I was on a sort of straightforward spinoff of The Good Wife, which was of course much less surreal… So I’m so excited that I got to be a part of something way weirder. Never did I imagine that I’d be talking about Donald Trump’s pee tape on TV, but there I was.”
The Good Fight (Paramount+)
Steele adds that “I’ve been in this business for some time, you know, and I think that I was pretty resistant for a while to being a series regular because I felt like, ‘Why would it be interesting to play the same character for so long? I don’t think I would want to do that.'”
“And what I think I really learned from this is that I actually loved it. Just because you’re playing the same character doesn’t mean that you don’t get to do a bunch of different things, if you’re working with people like Robert and Michelle King, who are very collaborative and were interested in what I wanted to do and allowed me to grow up on the show. They really let her and me evolve together and I had a blast.”
Moving forward, the Kings — who have been pretty open about how for the last six years, they’ve been able to use The Good Fight as a way of processing the increasing insanity of today’s world — say it’s going to be difficult to say goodbye to Diane and the gang. Also, says Michelle, “It’s going to be hard not to have the writers’ room, because they are the smartest, best informed, wittiest people you can imagine. To not have them there to process this through, and these characters to see the world through, is going to make it harder. At least for me.”
“The news never stops,” Robert continues. “The news today about student loan forgiveness, and the reactions of a lot of spokespeople being exposed by the PPP loans they took out — these things are interesting and become stories you want to tell, but it’s like, oh shoot, we don’t have a TV show anymore. What are we gonna do now? Just write it down?”
“[Talk about it] over dinner?” Michelle suggests.
“We’ve got a series of puppets,” Robert says. “We’re just going to do puppets.”
The final season of The Good Fight premieres September 8th on Paramount+.