It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since Donald Trump was sworn in as president of the United States and, furthermore, that he’s still occupying that office given the myriad scandals in which he’s been embroiled. But everywhere we turn, TV is constantly reminding us of the, er, stormy weather we’re navigating. In The Good Fight, House of Cards, Scandal and Homeland, female characters are leading the charge against Trump's brand of leadership and/or taking on this frightening new world.
Following on from last season, The Good Fight continues to use Trump’s looming presence as a guide for everything it does. Hell, the title of each episode this season is the number of days into his presidency it airs in the US.
In the first instalment of season two, “Day 408”, Liz Reddick-Lawrence (Audra McDonald) buried her father, who was “born and died when Nazis were marching in the street”, a reference to the resurgence of white supremacy. In the season's continuing storyline, lawyers are being killed by their clients, with Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) and her fellow attorneys fearing for their lives amid rising tensions.
Meanwhile, an impeachment arc is also in the works. “[The upcoming storyline is] very much a threat to an occupation and not just someone's personhood, which is true to the way the current administration is attacking the bar association,” The Good Fight co-creator Robert King told The Hollywood Reporter.
House of Cards has a history of disposing of any and all characters who get in the way of President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and First Lady Claire Underwood (Robyn Wright). Fittingly, Claire herself ascended to the office of President at the close of season five, and this plot development managed to save the series in its final season, enabling a swift disposal of Frank in the wake of Spacey's firing over admissions of sexual misconduct.
Homeland — currently in its seventh season on SBS on Friday nights at 8:30pm — is another show with a morally compromised female president in Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel). In recent events, Keane has had an attempt made on her life, subsequent attacked the intelligence community and, much like the Underwoods, is suspected of “fixing” people she doesn’t like by having them killed. Another woman, Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), is determined to take Keane down.
Then there's Scandal, which has never quite found as much success in Australia as it has in the US. The long-running series is about to bid farewell to political fixer Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and the female president she formerly served, Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young), amid outlandish Russian hacking subplots, assassinations and electoral college controversies, many of which were foretold prior to being mirrored by real life.
“We try to stay up with everything both conservative and liberal, and then try to extrapolate it to its most crazy degree,” Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes told Vulture last year. “Unfortunately, reality is extrapolating itself to its most crazy degree right now… How dark do you want to be at a time when people aren’t feeling so happy?”
The Good Fight leans into this darkness, juxtaposing terrorist threats with Diane’s newfound IDGAF attitude. But by giving as much time to its female characters’ personal lives as it does their profession and the threats to it, The Good Fight gives us something to root for when everything can seem bleak.
Stream The Good Fight anytime at SBS On Demand: