The latest election may now over but the political fighting continues on as always. With Trump sulking in his tent and muttering dark condemnations about the ‘biggest fraud in election history’, his supporters swayed by his claims of a ‘rigged election’, Republicans contesting the results in court with bogus claims of voting improprieties and Republican Senator Lindsey brushing off suggestions that he tried to block the counting of votes from Democratic precincts in his area, one might think that the Republican Party has cornered the market on election conspiracy theories and political silliness. Those that think the Republicans are unique in this regard may have never seen the CBS drama series entitled ‘The Good Fight’.
Over the course of four seasons the series has consistently milked the continual state of election hysteria in America and is a good indication that Democrats are just as prone to election conspiracy theories as the other side. ‘The Good Fight’ is a courtroom drama spin-off, drawn from the dying embers of ‘The Good Wife’ in which a politician’s wife, a woman who has to claw her way back into legal practice to support her family, stands by her two timing hubby when he gets caught with one hand in the cookie jar and the other on his mistress. The series ran seven seasons and had many memorable characters slithering between corrupt political machines and legal mayhem.
What’s different about ‘The Good Fight’ is its conviction that Donald Trump couldn’t possibly have won the last election without chicanery, fraud and Republican malfeasance. This belief fuels the moral outrage that drives the characters in their actions. It’s all too often a black and white picture: them the bad vs. us – the noble.
While the original ‘Good Wife’ also drew its inspiration from sleazy politics and wacko court cases, it was a little more balanced in its approach; often portraying both parties as cesspools of political corruption. The Good Fight’s obsession with the election of Donald Trump to the White House produces ridiculous plot contrivances to help foster their belief that Trump ‘stole’ the election through nefarious means. In a memorable scene I watched recently, Diane Lockhart (played by Christine Baranski) and her firm’s senior partner, Adrian Bosman (played by Delroy Lindo) are fighting in a court presided over by a supposedly crooked judge. At issue is a potential class action suit about an electronic voting machine that was hacked by Republicans so it cast votes for Trump, irrespective of who the voter chose. Great conspiracy theory stuff that, unfortunately, becomes completely silly when Lockhart and Bosman confront the judge, accusing her of ‘being on the take’ and demanding she recuse herself from the trial. They take this extraordinary measure without having a shred of evidence to back it up. I mean, that’s what big time lawyers do to judges all the time – right? I couldn’t decide if the intent of the episode was drama or comedy.
There’s little nuance in the series when it comes to peddling political paranoia and conspiracy theories about why Trump won his election. Now that Trump has lost the rematch and might have to be dragged out of the Oval Office, I can only wonder if ‘The Good Fight’ will lose its moral outrage – the very lifeblood of its current existence. One can hope that, with the Biden win, perhaps the writers will revert to a more balanced view of sleazy politics and wacko court cases, the formula that worked so well for ‘The Good Wife.’
In the meantime, you can derive some amusement or roll your eyes over courtroom antics that would only be possible in a legal system approved by Salvador Dali. They’ve also started adding little cartoons with musical lyrics to help bludgeon viewers with cutesy explanations about things like ‘non-disclosure agreements’ or any other legal concept that must be beyond the comprehension of the average viewer unless digested in bite sized bits of animation.
On the plus side, Christine Baranski is always worth watching and plays well against Delroy Lindo. lawyer Lucca Quinn (played by Cush Jumbo) is quite wonderful. There’s a scene in a park where she convinces an interfering biddy that her baby is stolen. The situation is funny, the dialogue is memorable, the humor turns dark and it’s played wonderfully. Sarah Steele’s investigative character, Marissa Gold, is also one of the show’s real treasures. She is nearly as captivating as the Eli Gold character in ‘The Good Wife’. Julius Cain (played by Michael Boatman) manages to hit just the right touch as one of the show’s two token ‘sane’ Republicans, a difficult task given the bias of the show.
While the series probably won’t appeal to many of the seventy million Trump supporters, that’s more than offset by the seventy-five million that just tossed him out.