‘The Good Fight’ episode 3 recap: Top 6 moments from ‘The Schtup List’

After two character-driven episodes, the new CBS All Access series “The Good Fight” continued its debut season with “The Schtup List,” an hour focusing on an interesting and topical legal trial. Diane (Christine Baranski) and Lucca (Cush Jumbo) represent a heart surgeon accused of being a terrorist sympathizer for helping Syrian medics perform a life-saving procedure via Skype, while Adrian (Delroy Lindo) handles the possibility of the firm losing a major client, and Maia (Rose Leslie) goes further down the rabbit hole of her parents personal indiscretions. Below, let’s look at the Top 6 moments from “The Good Fight” Season 1, Episode 3.

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A Not So Good Wife? — The cliffhanger ending of the last episode, in which Maia discovers that her mother Lenore Rindell (Bernadette Peters) has been sleeping with her uncle Jax (Tom McGowan), suggested to viewers that Lenore didn’t have her incarcerated husband Henry’s (Paul Guilfoyle) back after all. When Maia storms out of the house, though, Lenore chases her down and tries to convince her that she’s only sleeping with Jax in order to coax him into clearing Henry’s name and taking the fall for the Ponzi scheme. It seems like a desperate attempt to explain away an infidelity, but the way Bernadette Peters plays the moment makes the audience question whether Lenore actually conspired against her husband or wants to help clear his name, injecting an added layer of mystery to the Ponzi scheme story arc.

Barbara’s Executive Power Play — In the first two episodes of “The Good Fight,” Barbara Kolstad (Erica Tazel) has primarily served as an adversary for Diane, first opposing her being hired and then acting unsympathetic when Diane needs more time to make her capital contribution to the firm. When Barbara surprises Diane by adding Lucca to her new case, it seems like a simple exhibition of her power over the newly-minted junior partner. When Adrian asks Barbara why she assigned Lucca to the case, though, she reveals her hand, admitting that she fears Lucca will feel undervalued at the firm if Diane receives special treatment. It’s a simple scene, but it goes a long way in softening an otherwise unsympathetic character, which Tazel plays extremely well.

‘The Good Fight’ series premiere recap: Top 5 moments from ‘Inauguration’ and ‘First Week’

A New Administration — “The Good Fight” hasn’t shied away from tackling real-world political issues and this week’s installment proved to be an interesting exploration of how personal political beliefs may come into play in the workplace. When Adrian and Barbara notice that one of their biggest clients has not yet paid their $12 million annual retainer, they discover that the company wants to hire a conservative, minority-owned business with the hopes of staying on the good side of the Trump administration. In order to compete with a small firm that started a pro-Trump PAC, Adrian and Barbara ask if any of their attorneys voted for Trump and a surprising individual identifies himself: “The Good Wife” recurring character Julius Cain (Michael Boatman). With a conservative on staff, the firm secures the contract and applauds Julius’ work, but he must now face the scrutiny and thinly-veiled disgust of his colleagues.

A New Administration — “The Good Fight” hasn’t shied away from tackling real-world political issues and this week’s installment proved to be an interesting exploration of how personal political beliefs may come into play in the workplace. When Adrian and Barbara notice that one of their biggest clients has not yet paid their $12 million annual retainer, they discover that the company wants to hire a conservative, minority-owned business with the hopes of staying on the good side of the Trump administration. In order to compete with a small firm that started a pro-Trump PAC, Adrian and Barbara ask if any of their attorneys voted for Trump and a surprising individual identifies himself: “The Good Wife” recurring character Julius Cain (Michael Boatman). With a conservative on staff, the firm secures the contract and applauds Julius’ work, but he must now face the scrutiny and thinly veiled disgust of his colleagues.

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Maia Plays Detective — In one of the most exciting sequences of the episode, Maia pays a visit to Jax to confront him about the Ponzi scheme and sleeping with Lenore. Maia has alternative motives for her house call, using a password provided by Henry to get into Jax’s computer and take photos of the titular “schtup list,” presumably a record of all of the large clients Jax defrauded. Maia wouldn’t have been able to do the job without the help of Marissa (Sarah Steele), Diane’s assistant and occasional investigator. In an otherwise heavy episode, it’s great to have Steele interject some much needed levity as she tries to keep Jax occupied with a bogus phone call while Maia snoops around his documents.

A Higher Purpose — The topical case of the week, which is reminiscent of how “The Good Wife” frequently tackled the intersection of technology, the law, and national security, ended with an unexpected twist. Diane and Lucca successfully prove that the dying patient who their client was trying to save was not a terrorist, but in fact the brother of an ISIS recruit who went to Syria to get his brother to return home. Over drinks, Lucca and opposing counsel Colin Morello (series regular Justin Bartha) learn, however, that the U.S. government wanted the case to linger on in court long enough to drawn the terrorist out of hiding to visit his ailing brother and use the occasion to carry out an airstrike. In addition to the heartbreaking end of the case, the scene caps a great introductory episode for the recurring character of Colin, who Bartha plays with equal doses standoffishness and self-consciousness.

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