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‘The Good Fight’ Debuts on CBS Before Moving to CBS All Access – and You May Want to Follow It
February 19, 2017  | By David Hinckley  | 7 comments

If the last thing you need is one more place where you have to buy a TV show, then you’d probably be delighted if the first original drama on CBS All Access, The Good Fight, were a piece of junk.

Sorry. It’s not. The Good Fight, a spinoff from CBS’s acclaimed The Good Wife, turns out to be a really good show.

You can see for yourself Sunday at 8 p.m. ET when CBS’s regular broadcast network airs the first episode.

But that’s all the taste you will get unless you then subscribe to CBS’s new pay streaming service, CBS All Access. The other nine episodes in the first season will only be available on All Access, also on Sunday nights at 8.

All Access, which runs $5.99 a month with commercials and $9.99 a month without, essentially gives viewers anytime access to multiple episodes of regular CBS shows, plus some exclusives.

The Good Fight, created by the same team of Robert and Michelle King that produced The Good Wife, is the first All Access exclusive. The second will be a new Star Trek: Discovery series, scheduled to premiere later this year.

The Good Fight is a good start.

Most of the main Good Wife characters have moved on, notably Julianna Margulies’s Alicia Florrick. But The Good Wife also built strong supporting characters, and the focal point now shifts to Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski, top), who was mostly Alicia’s friend and occasionally her rival.

Equally important, Diane has a new pal. Maia Rindell (Rose Leslie, below, right) is a raw rookie of a lawyer who happens to be Diane’s goddaughter, and a series of events quickly brings their professional paths together.

As terrific as Baranski has been, and continues to be, Leslie plays the game on the same level.  

The Good Fight opens in deceptive calm, with Diane retiring from the law firm she founded and dreaming of a new stress-free life in the Italian villa she’s about to purchase.

Truth is, we’d have a pretty boring TV show if that plan went down. Look, here’s Diane having a glass of wine and watching another Tuscan sunset.

Happily for us, less so for Diane, it turns out she’d invested all her money with a family friend named Henry Rindell (Paul Guilfoyle), who gets arrested for being the new Bernie Madoff.

Long story short, Diane is broke. The partners, led by her old antagonist David Lee (Zach Grenier), won’t hire her back. So she has to find another job, in an unexpected place that sort of takes her back to her moral roots.

The Ponzi scheme story works well, weaving in just enough mystery and uncertainty to create a substantial subplot. Besides Henry Rindell, the players involve his wife Lenore (Bernadette Peters) and Diane’s estranged husband Kurt (Gary Cole).

What lifts The Good Fight above an ordinary decent drama, though, is the addition of Maia’s story. As her last name suggests, she’s Henry’s daughter, and while she was not involved in the Ponzi scheme, it’s crippling a good part of her life.

She soldiers on, with the help of a supportive female partner, and she soon becomes a twin heart of the show.

True, the nervous newbie who rises to the challenge despite crushing odds is not a unique character in TV or movie drama. Leslie makes Maia feel fresh.

As with The Good Wife, the supporting cast here is strong and well drawn; Delroy Lindo stands out as Adrian Boseman, who starts on the other side of the table from Diane.

As a pay service, All Access is not bound by FCC content guidelines, which probably means it’s admirable that The Good Fight waits almost 20 minutes before dropping its first f-word. The first couple of episodes show no more flesh than a broadcast show.

That may not turn out to be the template, but that’s how it looks coming out of the gate.

It still might have been easier if The Good Fight weren’t worth your time. But it is.

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I loved The Good Wife & The Good Fight is just as good, in my opinion, but I don't live love it enough to pay for an entirely new monthly service. CBS, your not that great.
Mar 25, 2017   |  Reply
Ditto everybody else. It's inexcusable to charge extra on top of cable/Direct TV/Dish to get TV shows that you have to watch online. CBS should be ashamed of itself for the greedy attempt at more multi-billions of dollars at our expense!
Feb 26, 2017   |  Reply
Not paying for another cable/comcast/premium tv show. It's a shame but life goes on pretty well without the shows that receive great reviews. Always feel like I am missing out but not really. Poor decision by CBS.
Feb 24, 2017   |  Reply
My husband and I were devoted followers of The Good Wife and believe The Good Fight will be just as good. However, charging a fee to watch online is ridiculous. I personally don't like watching programs on the computer. We already pay enough monthly just to have cable which I believe is way overpriced. Sorry to say you are loosing a follower.
Feb 22, 2017   |  Reply
Barbara Flock
Damn.......I watched it......I liked it.............I can't afford one more penny on my monthly TV bill. This is so unfair for we seniors who live on fixed incomes......already we are paying too much. Not fair.
Feb 21, 2017   |  Reply
I agree with Jayne. Whatever happen to free TV. I pay so dam much just to have cable to find out I now have to pay for my favorite show. CBS should be ashamed for what they are doing to people who can't afford to pay extra.
Feb 20, 2017   |  Reply
Hey CBS Execs, way to screw us little people!! The Good Wife was my favorite series ever and I was thrilled w/tonight's premiere of The Good Fight only to learn we have to PAY (ANOTHER fee) to see it!! Some of us live on small fixed incomes and just having cable ($157 from our new over-lords at Spectrum) is a stretch. Now I wish I'd not even watched the first episode of The Good Fight.....then I wouldn't be going to bed mad!
Feb 20, 2017   |  Reply
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