TV dramas start with an elevator pitch, like, say … wife of disgraced politician stands by her man, here’s what happens next. But as shows go on (if they are lucky enough to do so), it’s the stuff outside the elevator — all the tertiary characters, their plots, and their quirks — that keeps people interested.
This was certainly the case with CBS’s long-running The Good Wife, which wrapped up its seven-season run in May. For the most part, The Good Wife tracked the life, work, and loves of Julianna Margulies’s Alicia Florrick character as she dealt with the fallout of her governor husband Peter’s philandering. She went to work at a law firm, won some cases, had some tequila, acted on a split screen with Archie Panjabi for reasons that are guarded at Area 51, and then got slapped in the face in one of the more controversial finales since “Don’t Stop Believin’” played in a New Jersey diner. It was a great, great show — one of the last network warhorses capable of entertaining throughout a grueling 22-episode season. Then it came to an end.
Less than a year later, it’s back. Sort of. Cocreators Robert and Michelle King pulled a Clemenza: leave the wife, take the good.
The Good Fight, which will air in February on CBS All Access, the Eye’s over-the-top subscription service, brings back many familiar faces and perfectly tailored women’s blazers and hits eject on The Good Wife’s main character and story line generator. Based on the small-sample-size theater of the 30-second teaser above, I can safely say that Rose Leslie joins Christine Baranski’s law firm, shit hits the fan, laws are upheld and broken, sex is had, and Cush Jumbo is in the building. You may not know what half of those words mean, but for The Good Wife fans, it’s music to the ear.
Building a show around Baranski’s Diane Lockhart character makes a lot of sense, given what happened in The Good Wife finale (which I won’t spoil here). It makes you wonder how far back into The Good Wife the Kings were thinking of this next step.
Here’s hoping for an Archie Panjabi hologram cameo. A boy can dream.