• Delroy Lindo in The Good Fight reminds you why he makes for such a compelling on-screen presence. (SBS)Source: SBS
He’s heading up ‘The Good Fight’s law firm now, but Delroy Lindo’s been playing fighting men on the big screen for over thirty years.
Tony Morris

25 Jul 2017 - 10:05 AM  UPDATED 24 Sep 2020 - 3:18 PM

As a civil rights lawyer and leading partner in law firm Reddick, Boseman, & Kolstad, Adrian Boseman is the man who calls the shots on The Good Fight. Being played by Delroy Lindo doesn’t hurt his authority one bit: for over three decades now Lindo’s been Hollywood’s go-to actor when it comes to playing characters who can lay down the law no matter what side of the law they’re on.

With a career spanning close to forty years, there’s no shortage of highlights. So if you want to dig deeper into his career – or just want a reminder of all the great films he’s made greater – here’s five reasons why he’s one of the great hard men with heart. 

He’s worked with Spike Lee

While Lindo turned down an offer to appear in Spike Lee’s first film Do the Right Thing, he went on to appear in a number of Lee’s early 90s efforts, beginning with a small but flashy role as gangster West Indian Archie in Malcolm X. He followed up as father and struggling musician Woody Carmichael in Lee’s semi-autobiographical Crooklyn, but it was his starring role as drug dealer Rodney Little in Lee’s adaptation of novelist Richard Price’s book on street-level drug crime Clockers that brought him serious attention.


He’s a great bad guy

Lindo’s first big box-office hit was Get Shorty, where he played Bo Catlett – the only bad guy who poses a serious threat to John Travolta’s Chilli Palmer. Sure, he’s playing a drug dealer again, but this time he’s a drug dealer who wants to get into the movie business; in a film full of comedy characters, he gives Catlett a smooth sense of menace. For the next decade or so he put together a string of strong performances as a man on the wrong side of the law – sometimes as a traditional bad guy (Domino), and sometimes as a professional whose job just happens to be high-end crime (Heist).


And then there’s the times he plays a man who has bad and good all messed up together: In The Cider House Rules he’s an incestuous rapist who then helps his pregnant daughter get an abortion – and then when she later stabs him he makes the wound worse so his death will be seen as a suicide. That’s not a character every actor could pull off, but Lindo makes his contradictions seem as natural as breathing.


He’s a great good guy

When he wasn’t playing a guy who’d kill you if you got in his way, Lindo was playing a guy who’d kill you if you got in the way of the law. In Broken Arrow he was again a tough guy who was just not quite tough enough to defeat a (now villainous) John Travolta; in Ransom he was the FBI Agent you wanted to trust, but seemed too focused on playing by the rules to get the job done. And while playing a cop in the lawless free-for-all that was the remake of Gone in 60 Seconds seems like a thankless task, it’s really a sign of just how cool Lindo is: if you don’t have some badass cops in the mix (Lindo’s partner was played by Timothy Olyphant), how are we going to know the bad guys are cool?

While he may only seem like a good guy in comparison to just about everybody else running around kicking heads in trashy action flick Romeo Must Die – he’s a drug lord and property developer, but at least he’s not a murderer – in A Life Less Ordinary (Danny Boyle’s follow-up to Trainspotting) he got to play a literal angel, on a case with Holly Hunter to bring a couple of humans together and make sure they fall in love. Okay, so it’s not the best movie, but Lindo’s effortless cool makes him and Hunter one of the great double-acts almost nobody’s ever seen.


He was in Salute of the Jugger

Lindo’s movie career started in the 70s, but he took a decade off to focus on theatre. So when he decided to make a big-screen comeback, how’d he make his return? By appearing in the best post-apocalypse sports movie ever, Salute of the Jugger (which may also be the only post apocalypse sports movie ever). It’s set in a grim future where everything is desert (because it was filmed outside Coober Pedy) and people eat dogs, but still love sport more than they do regular bathing. Lindo plays Mbulu, one of Rutger Hauer’s team of juggers, hoping to make enough of a name for themselves that they can get the attention of “The League” – the professional players who get to hang out underground where all the rich folk live. How good is this movie? So good people now play the sport for real


He played Dopey Smurf on Robot Chicken

He was also in The Core. You know, the movie where the centre of the Earth stops spinning so a bunch of scientists have to tunnel down and re-start it? He’s the guy who not only designs the tunnelling vehicle, he gets to be the one who dies bravely saving the planet by doing something that makes no sense whatsoever but involves a whole lot of stuff exploding. Who doesn’t love that guy?

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The Good Fight season 4 premieres Wednesday 23 September at 9:30pm on SBS. Episodes are also available at SBS On Demand after each episode airs. Here is episode 1:

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