When legal drama “The Good Fight” debuted last year, celebrated actor Delroy Lindo quickly became a standout of the series’ enviable ensemble led by Christine Baranski, Cush Jumbo and Rose Leslie. Lindo’s role of name-partner Adrian Boseman recently landed him a Critics’ Choice Award nomination for Best Drama Supporting Actor for his performance in the first season of the show, a spinoff of the CBS prestige series “The Good Wife.” Following his performance in the second season’s “Day 443,” which originally streamed on CBS All Access on April 8, Lindo certainly should be considered a contender for an Emmy nomination at the upcoming 70th annual ceremony to complement his Critics’ Choice bid.
In “Day 443,” Lindo takes center stage in three of the installment’s four storylines. The episode opens with Adrian’s first appearance on cable news show “Review of the Day,” which he films in isolation via satellite in a skeevy studio. Although he thinks he flubbed the opportunity, Adrian’s brief segment goes viral and draws the attention of legal bigwig Franz Mendelssohn (Kevin McNally), who extends an invitation to him and Diane (Baranski) to attend a conference of the “Big Six” Chicago legal firms to address the recent smattering of attorney homicides plaguing the city. Adrian’s newfound celebrity also follows him to the courtroom, where he defends a news organization that published the home address of a neo-Nazi online.
Lindo has standout moments in each of these three narrative arcs. In his second appearance on cable news, this time in the same room as the other panelists, Adrian struggles to maintain his composure as a conservative pundit denies that religious prejudice played a factor in the murder of an attorney Adrian knew personally. Lindo plays Adrian’s conflicting emotions beautifully, particularly with his body language and facial expressions.
When Adrian returns for his third, and what later appears to be final, appearance, the host asks him, in so many words, to don the persona of the “angry black man.” At first, Adrian viscerally rejects the suggestion, but when the cameras roll he employs it to lambast the group, goading the all-white panel to say a racial slur in response to their feeling of hypocrisy surrounding hip-hop music. Lindo relishes in the material with such Machiavellian glee, but moments later, when the episode ends on a close-up of Adrian’s introspective gaze at his reflection in the mirror, the audience realizes the full range and depth of Lindo’s remarkable performance.
In between these two moments, Adrian cross-examines the neo-Nazi of the episode’s central trial, where Lindo shows off his quick-wittedness, sarcasm, and undeniable charm in a court-room performance reminiscent of James Spader, who took home three Emmy Awards for “The Practice” (2004) and its spinoff “Boston Legal” (2005, 2007). At the conclusion of the scene, the jury box applauds Adrian’s performance, just as the audience does Lindo’s, while Adrian and Lindo take a well-deserved bow.
Though Lindo will face stiff competition in the “good fight” for a nomination from a number of returning nominees (Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”; David Harbour, “Stranger Things”; Jeffrey Wright, “Westworld”; Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”), there will be at least two vacancies, leaving plenty of opportunity for the two-time Screen Actors Guild Award nominee (“The Cider House Rules,” 1999; “Get Shorty,” 1995) to earn his career-first Emmy bid.
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