Almost ten years ago, Michael J. Fox made his first of many celebrated appearances on the CBS Emmy-winning legal drama “The Good Wife” playing lawyer Louis Canning, who notoriously garners sympathy with judges and juries with his disarming sense of humor about his neurological condition. Now, a decade later, Fox returns to the role in the fourth season of the critically-acclaimed “Wife” spinoff “The Good Fight,” rematching legal wits with Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) and reintroducing audiences to an unscrupulous character who fans love to loathe.
In the episode “The Gang Tries to Serve a Subpoena,” Fox’s Canning squares off against Baranski’s Lockhart in a straightforward eminent domain case, but progress stalls when Canning tells newly-minted judge Julius Cain (Michael Boatman) that his client refuses to comply with the court’s subpoena. Fox plays his scenes with a thin air of deference, lending a friendly face to his flippant attitude toward the impartiality of the law. Fox also appears in the next episode, “The Gang Gets a Call from HR,” as Canning and Lockhart continue to outmaneuver one another.
Fox’s return to the “Good” universe is not only a gift to fans, but it could also be a boon to the series’ Emmy prospects. For its three previous seasons on CBS All Access, “The Good Fight” has only nabbed two Emmy nominations, but neither of them are for acting despite the show’s staggeringly deep bench of on-screen talent.
But Fox could help buck the trend of “Good Fight” actors and actresses missing likely and well-deserved nominations in the Guest categories, not only because of his overall career success at the Emmys, but also because the Academy seems to love this character.
Over the past 35 years, Fox has racked up an impressive 18 Emmy nomination, including five victories (“Family Ties,” 1986-88; “Spin City,” 2000; “Rescue Me,” 2009). Most notably, five of those noms––more than 25% of his lifetime haul––are for the very role of Louis Canning that he reprises on “Good Fight” this season. Those stats could definitely help the series pull off what it seemed destined to do at least four times in the past by breaking into the Guest categories.
For the first season of “Good Fight,” both Carrie Preston and Dylan Baker were well-positioned for Emmy nominations in our combined odds, ranked second and fourth, respectively, with the backing of the majority of experts and editors, too. Like Fox, Preston and Baker had appeared on “Good Wife” and earned multiple nominations for those appearances. Preston even won the trophy in 2013. Their surprising snubs were, in hindsight, chocked up to voters not yet finding “Fight” on the then-new streaming platform.
The next season, with eyeballs and acclaim for “Fight” on the upswing, our combined odds once again foresaw two Guest bids for the series for industry veterans Margo Martindale and Alan Alda. Although both were just on the cusp of a nomination in sixth place, the majority of experts predicted them, too, and with good reason. Not only had Martindale earned four nominations in this very category, but she notoriously prevailed two times for her role on “The Americans.” Alda, even more impressively, has 34 career Emmy nominations and six wins, with four for acting (“M*A*S*H,” “The West Wing”). Their snubs, then, were even more shocking than Preston and Baker’s the year before.
Last year, our smart prognosticators wised up to these snubs and left “The Good Fight” out of our combined predictions in the Guest categories, but just narrowly. Recurring guest Andrea Martin sat just three slots outside of our top six, while four-time Emmy-nominee Titus Burgess and returning guest Alda were ranked seventh and eighth in our predictions, respectively.
If Fox does succeed in breaking this dry spell by landing “The Good Fight” its first major Emmy bid, he’d also further extend a record for himself. Fox already has the most Drama Guest Actor nominations in the history of the category with seven (Beau Bridges and Robert Morse are both runners-up with five bids a piece). A nomination this year would extend that already-estimable record even further.
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before the nominees are announced on July 28. And join in the fun debate over the 2020 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.