Broke but not bro­ken

The Good Fight is a court­room drama set in the Trump era. Ex­pect sto­ries ripped from the head­lines.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - What To Watch - JANE F. RAGAVAN

IN a few days, nom­i­na­tions for the 2017 Emmy awards will be an­nounced.

There is buzz that new­bie The Good Fight could be up for Best Drama Se­ries. That cat­e­gory has some strong con­tenders (three words: This Is Us) so whether it makes the short­list on July 13 is any­one’s guess. It would be a sur­prise, though, if it wasn’t nom­i­nated for Out­stand­ing Main Ti­tle Theme Mu­sic.

The song dur­ing the open­ing credit se­quence, com­posed by David Buck­ley, is an in­tense Baroque or­ches­tral piece that cul­mi­nates in crowd cheer­ing con­jur­ing up im­ages of joust­ing knights and every­thing that makes a good fight. Quite mar­vel­lous, re­ally.

It plays against a se­ries of ob­jects ex­plod­ing in slo-mo – mun­dane of­fice equip­ment like tele­phones and desks, and also con­tent-re­lated stuff like a set of law books and a gavel. But then whisky de­canters and a stiletto shoe ex­plode too. What gives?

The Good Fight is a spinoff of the highly suc­cess­ful The Good Wife, and picks up a year af­ter the events of the ear­lier se­ries fi­nale. It’s a ve­hi­cle for Diane Lock­hart (Chris­tine Baran­ski repris­ing her role) whom we first see star­ing in hor­ror at the tele­vi­sion as Don­ald Trump is in­au­gu­rated. This is the im­pe­tus for the life­long lib­eral to an­nounce her re­tire­ment from the law firm she founded and move to Italy.

But a Ponzi scheme wipes out Diane’s sav­ings, which means no 1.5-mil­lion-euro villa in Provence or idyl­lic re­tire­ment for her.

She had in­vested money with close friend and ac­coun­tant Henry Rin­dell and even rec­om­mended their fund to other now-equally-bank­rupt in­vestors.

Her rep­u­ta­tion is ru­ined and the only peo­ple who will give her a job are Red­dick, Bose­man and Kol­stad, an African-Amer­i­can law firm – one of the part­ners jokes, she is their “di­ver­sity hire”.

Diane takes young lawyer Maia, Henry’s daugh­ter, with her. Maia is just as toxic be­cause of her last name.

Al­ready at the firm is Lucca Quinn. They were on op­po­site sides ear­lier when they had gone up against each other in a case in­volv­ing po­lice bru­tal­ity.

These women are the three leads in The Good Fight, and they are a plea­sure to watch.

It’s about time Baran­ski head­lined a ma­jor TV show. She is still the el­e­gant, so­phis­ti­cated Diane Lock­hart, even se­vere at times (though not nearly as much as Leonard Hof­s­tadter’s mother on The Big Bang The­ory). Only now, she has fallen from grace and is no longer the boss. (So that’s what the ex­plod­ing stiletto is about.)

Cush Jumbo (how great is that name!) as Lucca is com­mand­ing – ev­ery time she comes on screen, I hear that un­mis­tak­able gui­tar riff from Eric Clap­ton’s Layla inmy head. You do not mess with Lucca Quinn.

As for Rose Les­lie (Maia), ever since her limited but solid parts in Down­ton Abbey and Game Of Thrones, I’d been hop­ing to see her in big­ger roles. Here, she is a fresh-faced new lawyer who proves how tough she can be de­spite hav­ing to deal with the trou­bles she is go­ing through, in­clud­ing death and rape threats.

These char­ac­ters’ sto­ries are told against the back­drop of cur­rent events. The ac­tual pres­i­den­tial in­au­gu­ra­tion (show cre­ators Robert and Michelle King had to tweak their ini­tial first episode af­ter Hil­lary Clin­ton lost) at the start of the se­ries opens up to other is­sues of the day such as racial pol­i­tics, the alt-right move­ment and Trumpian fake news.

It’s not a soap­box for any one side though. Whether you agree with them or not, you’ll get the big pic­ture.

For a show that deals with con­tro­ver­sial is­sues, it has a less se­ri­ous side too. Many of the funny bits are thanks to the Good Wife char­ac­ters who drop by as guest stars. The show is, af­ter all, set in the same Chicago court­rooms and it won’t be a sur­prise to see judges like the the­atrics-lov­ing Charles Aber­nathy (De­nis O’Hare) and Suzanne Mor­ris (Jane Alexan­der) or ec­cen­tric lawyer Els­beth Tas­cioni (Carrie Pre­ston).

The Good Fight keeps its weekly sto­ries in­ter­est­ing and weaves them well to­gether, fram­ing them around the on­go­ing scan­dal in­volv­ing Henry Rin­dell. If you’re look­ing for a stim­u­lat­ing bat­tle of wits and wills, you’ve found it here.

The Good Fight airs ev­ery Wed­nes­day at 10pm on Star World (Astro Ch 711).

— Pho­tos: Hand­out

Baran­ski reprises her role as Diane Lock­hart in The Good Fight, a spinoff of The Good Wife. Her plans to re­tire are ru­ined af­ter a fi­nan­cial scan­dal leaves her broke.

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