Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) is a bit adrift and turning to an alternative therapy to help her find balance. With new blood at Reddick & Associates in the form of RiChard Lane (Andre Braugher) and Liz Reddicks (Audra McDonald) authority on uncertain ground, Diane is trying to recalibrate and figure out what the country will do next.
The Kings talked about their experience of writing a story for 13 years, how they decided that now was the perfect time to close the series, their struggles during the final season, what Braugher's return implies in Season 6, and how Ginni Thomas became a part of the narrative.
Collider: You're nearing the finish line with The Good Fight. What's it like to be able to tell a story that started 13 years ago, as storytellers, showrunners, and as television producers, when you first created the pilot for The Good Wife?
MICHELLE KING: Thirteen years? No. We were wondering if it might last 13 episodes, so to have gone 13 years is more than we could have imagined. On the one hand, Im sorry to say goodbye to these characters and the opportunity to tell these very current stories. But on the other hand, I am aware that many shows are canceled without the creators having the opportunity to express themselves.
You guys have stated that your decision to terminate the series was your decision. How long did you think about and contemplate that before making the decision? Had you considered it earlier this season?
ROBERT KING: No, at all. This is a relatively recent episode. Unlike The Good Wife, where we had to think ahead, The Good Fight is not a planned-out show because it is reactive to the present moment. I do think that after Trump's death, it started to feel like, okay, if you're reacting to the politics, the characters might start getting repetitive, and then you could end the show repetitive.
Ive spoken to showrunners who said they knew from the start how their program would conclude, and that they even pitched the conclusion when they pitched the program to networks. When did you know how this program would conclude? Did you have any sort of final thought in mind?
MICHELLE: Not really, no. Were editing it, so it's still in the future.
ROBERT: We didnt know what we were talking about until this year. The program is trying to determine if there is peace in the world, but is there inner peace to be found? That was our intention throughout the season. A lot of our writers and us are dealing with that every day. How do we keep ourselves afloat in the news and avoid getting upset if you do?
Would you say that finishing the series was more fulfilling than finishing filming it?
ROBERT: Excellent question.
MICHELLE: It depends on who. For the writers, it was when the room ended. For the actors, it was when their final scenes finished. For the producers, they were still working on the project.
ROBERT: What was really sad for me is that all of these actors were finishing at different times over the two and a half weeks that we were filming it. Gary Cole was finished in the first five days of the shoot, and he had been with us for 13 seasons. It was very emotional, especially the speech he gave, which we filmed. Sarah Steele, I think Audra [McDonald] was two days away from the end. Everybody was just falling away at different times.
Diane and Liz are wonderful individuals; seeing just one of them would be enough. But then, in this last season, you introduce RiChard and Andre Braugher, who are both outstanding. How did this happen?
MICHELLE: We liked the idea of bringing a bigger-than-life presence into the company. And then, we got Andre Braugher, who is hilarious and brilliant as RiChard. And then, of course, Dan Lawsons' wardrobe just goes above and beyond.
ROBERT: We thought it was funny to see a character who thought of his life and his work as a brand, which seemed to be the opposite of Liz's beliefs, which is about the good work. It's about how he can fulfill what he considers his destiny, as this bigger than life individual. Andre just grabbed it and ran with it.
Aside from that, you brought back Eli and Elsbeth, who are a couple of the greatest characters that have been on the show. What is the joy of returning characters like that for the last season?
ROBERT: Even when you mention their names, you make Michelle and I smile. The thought of that is so relaxing.
MICHELLE: It was a pleasure to witness. You notice that the other characters respond, when they enter their world, with the same level of delight as we did.
ROBERT: I think it was very important to see these characters that have been there for a decade. Alan Cumming was with the program from the very first season. He came back halfway through the first season. And when I say the first season, I mean of The Good Wife. So, for someone who is a mechanic within the Democratic Party, it seemed important to catch up on whats happening with Alicia, for a decade.
What happened to the whole Ginni Thomas thing? It's a hoax, but this program is able to pull it off and make it work.
MICHELLE: It's a bit spooky, and we had a lot of fun with it.
ROBERT: It all started with Ginni Thomas' comments. I believe someone mentioned it in the room, or maybe we saw it online, that Ginni Thomas actually called Anita Hill ten years ago and said, I really want an apology. So, it was like, Okay, it would be cool if she is doing the same thing to Liz. It seemed to bring together people of very different beliefs and political beliefs. So, that just seemed like a fun way to discuss what was going on.
MICHELLE: The message is that what's going to save us is frivolousness.
Paramount+ has an option to stream The Good Fight.