THE GOOD FIGHT Review: “The Schtup List”

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Well the Kings definitely aren’t shying away from politics in THE GOOD FIGHT. This week we get terrorism and Trump in a one-two punch of timely topics. I wonder if next week will give us an immigration or LGBT-discrimination storyline. I would bet good money we’ll see those issues and a lot more addressed before the end of the season.

First let’s pick up where we left off last week . . . Maia goes to see her mother to find her Uncle Jax in a suspicious state of dishevelment. Maia storms out, and her mother chases her into the rain. (Side note: Why does it always seem to be raining when Maia is at her childhood home? This is an ominous sign. Get out, girl!) While it’s still not clear if Lenore is in on the Ponzi scheme, she’s definitely sleeping with Jax. Lenore insinuates to Maia that she’s doing it to get Jax to confess, but Maia doesn’t trust her mother.

Maia decides to go see her father, but her lawyer insists on attending to protect the conversation under attorney-client privilege. Henry’s lawyer has the same idea, and Maia and Henry speak cautiously and cryptically across the table at one another. When Henry hugs his daughter goodbye, he whispers something about “Jax’s computer” into her ear. Maia’s lawyer is pissed at being left out of the loop, but Maia goes rogue anyway.

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With assistance from Marissa, Maia visits her uncle and steals a file from his computer titled “The Schtup List.” It’s a list of names and phone numbers that Henry is convinced will incriminate Jax. As for Lenore . . . that remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Barbara Kolstad still has it out for Diane who has yet to gather the money for her capital contribution to the firm. Barbara makes a power play, and assigns Lucca to be Diane’s second chair on a case. Diane feels undermined, but ultimately, she and Lucca find that they make a good team. Adrian calls out Barbara for her attitude towards Diane. The Diane/Barbara relationship is the one that concerns me the most on this show. While it’s realistic for women, particularly of the older generation who were taught that there was only room for one woman (if any) at the table, to compete, I worry that the show is painting Barbara with a single brush. I’m fine with Barbara being an antagonist to Diane, but I’d like to see more complexity in Barbara’s character. What is her motivation? Why is she so threatened by Diane? There’s more to mine here.

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Diane and Lucca are tasked with defending a doctor who has been assisting with a surgery in Syria via Skype. The AUSA Colin Morello (Justin Bartha) contends that the the patient is a terrorist, and therefore the doctor is guilty of aiding in terrorism. While there is a lot of back and forth in this case about the specifics of the law, what stands out here is the question of humanity. The doctor is trying to save a life, regardless of who that life belongs to. In the end, it turns out the government was using the case to draw out the patient’s brother, the real terrorist, so they could kill him. In the end both the patient and his brother die, and it’s clear that neither the defense nor the prosecution’s attorneys understood what was really happening while they were arguing their cases.

The show is asking a big questions here about the sanctity of life. I certainly don’t have the answers, but I appreciate the Kings’ willingness to challenge their audience. When, if ever, is it okay to let a man die, and who gets to make that decision?

On a lighter note, the case is punctuated by the interactions between Lucca and Colin. We saw these two together for a brief moment in the pilot, and one wonders if they are perhaps The Good Fight’s version of Alicia and Will. Cush Jumbo and Justin Bartha have great chemistry, and seeing their antagonistic flirtation brings some much welcome lightness into what is an otherwise very heavy storyline.

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Back at the RB&K offices, Marissa meets the firm’s investigator, Jay (Nyambi Nyambi) who is annoyed that she did investigative work on last week’s class action suit. These two have a fun chemistry as well, and I like the idea of Marissa taking a Kalinda-esque route in her career. She certainly has the chops for it.

And now let’s get to the biggest surprise of the week . . . Julius voted for Trump! One of the firm’s biggest clients, Ventura Bridge, a cell phone tower company, hasn’t paid its retainer, and that money is the difference between the partners getting a cut of the profits or owing the firm an extra $300,000 each. Adrian and Barbara go to see the company’s CEO, and he gives them the runaround. Jay figures out that the other firm Ventura Bridge met with is run by Andrew Hart, one of the only African Americans to run a Trump PAC. Ventura Bridge wants to stay on the new administration’s good side while still benefiting from the tax break they receive by hiring a minority-owned law firm.

Adrian and Barbara need to find a Trump supporter in their firm to get Ventura Bridge back, and they find it in Julius! Little explanation is given for Julius’ choice beyond “conservative politics.” Adrian and Barbara promise Julius no one else will find out except the two of them, and Julius is celebrated by the firm when he returns after securing Ventura Bridge. However, Andrew Hart comes to see Julius. He tells Julius it’s only a matter of time before the other lawyers in the firm freeze him out, and that before that happens, he should come to Hart’s firm.

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The idea of Julius as a Trump supporter is an interesting one, and I’m curious to see how the Kings play this out. It’s always been clear that the politics of the show run liberal, but I wonder if they will stand by Julius in spite of his choice or crucify him for it.

Final Thoughts:

The episode was directed by Marta Cunningham, and I think it’s important to highlight female directors. We don’t just need more of them, we need to see more of the ones who exist being hired. It’s good to see a show like The Good Fight putting its money where its mouth is and championing inclusion both in front of and behind the camera.

TB-TV-Grade-B

Season 1, Episode 3 (S01E03)
The Good Fight airs Sundays on CBS All Access

Read all of our reviews of The Good Fight here. (Change title & adjust tag to show title)
Read our reviews of more of your favorite shows here.


A.R. reads and writes YA, watches too much TV, and serves at the pleasure of her cat.
Follow A.R. on Twitter: @ARWasserman

Keep up with all of A.R.’s reviews here.

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