The Good Wife did a lot of things very well over the course of its seven seasons. All the awards and outstanding reviews were a testament to that, but there was perhaps nothing more impressive than the large, realistic and slowly shifting world it built around Chicago courtrooms. Between opposing lawyers, quirky judges and random side characters, The Good Wife was able to create a universe which felt very familiar. Characters that weren't on a particular week weren't gone, they were just doing other things, much like real life. It all worked really well, which is perhaps why The Good Fight, which exists in that same world with a few of the same characters, feels so comfortable so quickly. The Good Wife never ended. Its perspective just changed.
Unlike Robert And Michelle King's The Good Wife, their new show does not follow Alicia Florrick. Instead, the spinoff follows Maia Rindell (Rose Leslie), a young, nervous lawyer whose father was just arrested for running a Ponzi Scheme. The whole world hates her, or at least most of the world hates her, which is perhaps why she's so eager to do something productive---to make a difference and to find her place. In the pilot, that good is done through a class action lawsuit involving employers garnishing wages, but ultimately, that doesn't really matter.
Well, it matters to the people involved, but it doesn't matter to the larger arc of the show. The Good Wife and now The Good Fight has always been about the lawyers in question growing as people and as litigators. Sometimes you win cases and sometimes you lose them, but always, you move forward as human beings who are just trying to figure it out. That's why including Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) in the spinoff makes so much sense. She lost all of her money in the Ponzi Scheme run by Maia's father. Without a firm, without Alicia and without options, she is back at it again---just growing alongside the characters one case at a time. The same could be said for returning players Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo) and Marissa Gold (Sarah Steele), as well, though the specifics of their challenges and desires are obviously unique to them.
The Good Fight is airing on CBS All Access. More cynical fans will likely take that as a slight against its quality, but fortunately, the opposite seems to be true. The Good Fight is not a perfect show yet, but it's good enough that I expect many fans to actually follow through and stream it. Even if they don't, it won't change the fact that this show deserves to be seen.
The writing is crisp and very organized. The acting is understated and careful. The characters are both new and familiar. All together, it's a really polished show (maybe because of the rewrites), and if it's able to keep making forward progress, it could turn into one of the best streaming shows available.
The Good Fight's debut episode will air on regular CBS on February 19th at 8 PM ET. The subsequent episodes will stream on CBS All Access.