From the very start of The Good Fight the series has been defined by America’s changed relationship with Trump. The series explored how the former President impacted on democratic norms and how concerns about Trump (real and otherwise) resulted in a dramatic cultural shift across the US.
With the Trump years behind the show (if you need a catch-up on where things ended, head here) the series hasn’t lost any of its savage bite. So-called Trumpism remains, with the impact of Trump politics still reverberating. But the show will continue to look at racial imbalances, police misconduct (already a strong focus in early episodes, but this will be heightened now following the murder of George Floyd and last year’s riots), and a badly disrupted justice system.
The centrepiece of the new season is a high-stakes battle between Liz Reddick (Audra McDonald) and Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski). The pair are friends and respect one another dearly, but there is an ideological question that cuts to the heart of their law firm (and the series itself): Should a law firm that purports to represent African American interests have Lockhart, a white woman, as a managing partner?
Here’s what you shouldn’t expect in the new season: easy answers
Do not look for the show to give you answers to any of the difficult issues it’s raised. While laugh-out-loud funny at times with a wry, satirical take on the issues of the day, this is a show that is thoughtful about what is being discussed. That means it won’t try to give the audience easy TV answers.
During a recent panel chat to promote the upcoming season, star Christine Baranski addressed this head-on:
“I don’t know if we’ll have any resolution. I think the show speaks to how intelligent human beings are trying to find the language of reconciliation, and trying to figure it out,” said Baranski. “We’re living the questions. We don’t have answers; we’re walking question marks.”
But there will be new characters
The big news for season 5 is that Mandy Patinkin (Homeland, The Princess Bride) has joined the cast. He plays Hal Wackner, an everyday person with absolutely zero legal training who decides to open a court in the back of a copy shop. The court gains traction – even though the judgements mean nothing, they are still being honoured by an entertained public. It’s the show once again examining our relationship with the law and just how elastic the framework of a legal system can be. Patinkin will be around all season.
Also joining the series is Aussie actress Charmaine Bingwa. She will play Carmen Moyo, a working class lawyer who is described as “tough and unsentimental”. Like several Good Fight cast members, Bingwa has a history of stage work, appearing in an Australian production of Doubt: A Parable and was the 2018 recipient of the Heath Ledger Scholarship. She’s the first woman of colour and openly gay person to receive the scholarship.
In a recurring role, comedian Wanda Sykes (Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Upshaws) will also be appearing this season. Sykes’ lawyer character is returning to work after 10 years away from the profession trying to write a book.
We say goodbye to some of our favourites
The reason why there will be an influx of new characters is connected to some of our favourites leaving the show. Gone will be Delroy Lindo and Cush Jumbo. Both have been with The Good Fight from the very beginning (Cush Jumbo had been a cast member in the final season of The Good Wife before joining this spin-off series).
It was expected that both actors would conclude their time with the show last season, but with COVID-19 forcing production to shut down, storylines for their respective exits were never realised. Lindo was looking to do something new and with everyone knocking on his door following an excellent turn in the Spike Lee film Da 5 Bloods, this was a good time to give that a go. Meanwhile, Jumbo was eager to return home to the UK with her family.
While it is sad to see both actors leaving, the good news is that they are each being given a send-off. You’ll see them both return in season 5 to find out what the future holds.
The Good Fight season 5 premieres on SBS at 8.30pm, Thursday 1 July airing weekly. Episodes will be available to stream at SBS On Demand after broadcast, but will only be around for 90 days, so be quick to catch up.