It’s Diane and Maia’s first week at Reddick, Boseman, & Kolstad, and the Kings are running full speed ahead into Season 1 of THE GOOD FIGHT. The show feels like their direct response to our country’s current political climate, and they’re doing it simply by writing a show about smart women and people of color. Race is clearly going to be a strong theme in this first season as Diane and Maia appear to be the only white lawyers at RB&K.
Barbara Kolstad seems hesitant about giving Diane a chance, especially after she learns that Diane is struggling to get her capital contribution back from her old firm, but Adrian (he’s definitely named Adrian despite what IMDB says) convinces her to give Diane two weeks to come up with the money.
Barbara also arranges for Diane to interview new assistants, but not before Marissa Gold returns to our lives! I’ve always been a fan of Marissa’s. She’s got her father’s cunning and intelligence, but she’s more personable, and she knows how to use that to her advantage. Marissa arrives from Deckler, Gussman, Lee . . . with boxes from Diane’s old office, and immediately tries to talk her way into a job as Diane’s assistant. Diane is polite, but noncommittal—just you wait Diane, Marissa will convince you yet!
In other returning characters, Julius is back! Julius had a tendency to come and go from The Good Wife with no explanation (which was true for a number of characters. Wherefore art thou, Taye Diggs?), so it’s good to see that he’s found his place as managing partner at RB&K. He enlists Maia and Lucca to assist with a pro bono contract the firm has with a local union. RB&K lawyers regularly donate their time to union workers to give legal advice, not to actually help them—Julius is clear on the latter. But, of course, Maia finds a real case—a sporting goods store employee who’s been accused of stealing, was forced to confess, and has had his wages garnished.
Maia’s been receiving harassing voicemails and text messages since her father was arrested. Lucca sees how Maia’s focus on another person’s problems can help distract from her own, and backs Maia’s request to represent the client at arbitration.
What’s so great about this episode is watching Lucca mentor Maia. It’s a rare thing to see women mentoring women (in real life and on TV), and even rarer to see the mentor be a woman of color. Maia clearly looks up to and respects Lucca, and their chemistry feels genuine. Lucca even decides to attend the arbitration as “an observer for the union” to support Maia. It’s lovely to watch Maia’s confidence in her skills build as the episode progresses. Lucca is supportive but never micromanaging.
Maia pursues a lead based on the store manager saying he used “The Friedman Method” to interview the employee, and get him to confess his so-called crime. This is a play on the Reid Technique, which is used often by police officers and has a reputation for producing false confessions. Maia and Lucca attend a “Friedman Method” seminar, and notice that many of the attendees are retail store managers . . . this is more than just an individual case.
Maia’s not the only woman taking control in this episode. Upon overhearing that Lucca and Maia need to find at least twenty other employees facing similar wage garnishment in order to form a class action suit, Marissa returns to her old job at the mall juice bar. She visits her old friends, chatting them up, flattering them, and asking them to call if they know of anyone who fits the bill. Just as Lucca, Maia, and Diane are about to give up on the case, Marissa triumphantly returns, presenting them with a full class.
Diane’s duly impressed, and Marissa knows the assistant job is hers. Barbara Kolstad however, is less than pleased to see that Diane has chosen a young, white woman she knows over the three qualified black women she set up interviews with.
At the motion to dismiss, we’re once again greeted with familiar faces in the form of Judge Abernathy (Denis O’Hare) and Andrea Stevens (Christine Lahti). Andrea and Lucca have a delightful contempt for one another, and Judge Abernathy is as liberal as ever. It’s good to see the Kings returning to some of The Good Wife’s best guest stars. It creates a sense of continuity in the world despite the absence of Alicia, although she’s been mentioned in both episodes so far. Now if only Cary Agos would show up . . . a girl can dream.
Ultimately, Maia loses her case, but it’s clear she’s learning. I actually like seeing a young lawyer lose, not because her client was guilty, but because the opposing counsel was better and more seasoned. It’s more realistic than the frequency with which Alicia won cases.
Two episodes in, and I’m really starting to enjoy The Good Fight.
Cheers to the Kings for not just passing the Bechdel test, but smashing it! I’m not sure there was a single scene in the whole episode that didn’t include a named female character speaking. Add to that the lack of romantic drama and the focus on real, complex women trying to kick ass at their jobs, and we’ve got the makings of a great piece of feminist television on our hands.
Lenore and Henry Rindell both try to convince Diane that Henry’s been framed by his brother Jack, and that Jack was the one running the Ponzi scheme. Henry even tries to convince Diane to be his lawyer, but she smartly declines. At the end of the episode Maia goes to see her mother, and is shocked to learn she’s having an affair with Uncle Jack! This storyline leans a bit into soap opera territory, but Bernadette Peters is fabulous, and I’m interested to see how tangled a web this becomes.
Barbara Kolstad has mostly served to throw side-eye at Diane thus far. I’m hoping to see more substance from her character in the future. I have a feeling she’s going to be one to watch.
Season 1, Episode 2 (S01E02)
The Good Fight airs Sundays at 8PM on CBS All Access
A.R. Wasserman | Contributor