Robert and Michelle King Interview: ‘The Good Fight’ creators
“We often think of satire as a missile directed at one target,” reveals writer/director/producer Robert King about tackling issues from a more nuanced and daring perspective in “The Good Fight.” He created alongside wife and collaborator Michelle King, who declares that they “satirize the left as often as we do the right.” Watch our exclusive video interview with the duo above.
“You can make fun of all views of something, kind of like what is good for the goose is good for the gander,” Robert notes. “The idea that it is not only one political bent or idea that you can satirize. You can look at both as being as sometimes equally suspect.”
“The Good Fight” is CBS All Access’ critically acclaimed spin-off from the Emmy-winning “The Good Wife,” which concluded back in 2016 having garnered 39 Emmy nominations and five acting wins. It stars Emmy winner Christine Baranski reprising her role as Diane Lockhart from “The Good Wife,” alongside multiple Tony winner Audra McDonald, Cush Jumbo, Delroy Lindo and Sarah Steele.
While this show shares some of the hallmarks of its predecessor (sharp writing, fully-formed characters and slick production values), “The Good Fight” is more daring and risque because it is not held back by the constraints of traditional network television. It is often outspoken about any number of issues and over four season to date it has poignantly reflected on the conflicts and controversies within the beleaguered US legal system that have sprouted during the Trump administration.
The show’s recently concluded fourth season was perhaps its strongest to date. It ran for seven episodes (truncated from 10 episodes due to the global pandemic), kicking off with a clever standalone episode in which Hillary Clinton had become president in an alternate universe. It was a complete eye-opener, which Robert jokingly says starts as “a liberal wet dream,” but which quickly evolves into a thought experiment aiming to suggest that the world might still be a mess, even if Donald Trump had never won the 2016 US presidential election.
That unexpected opener was followed by installments in which the show took a wrecking ball to issues like systemic racism, the N word, reparations, transgender discrimination, judicial corruption, political correctness and war crimes. The season then concluded with a highly entertaining “who-dunnit” as it deftly tackled the lingering question of who might have killed disgraced billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Not a minute of the shortened season was wasted as important issues were challenged in a uniquely entertaining way. “When you’re doing ten [episodes] or in this case this year seven, you’re really trying to look for themes in the zeitgeist that seem to matter that you can cross-pollinate between the episodes, so that you’re really of the moment,” Robert explains.
The connecting thread throughout the season was the mysterious “Memo 618,” a narrative tool employed by the show’s team of writers in which a corrupt judiciary appears to be stealthily allowing powerful people to disregard subpoenas and judicial rulings. Baranski’s character Diane sums it up perfectly when in the season finale she bemoans “that is America… there is a special f***ing off-ramp for the well connected.” For the Kings, it was almost a no-brainer that the season would focus on this point, as Michelle notes how “it’s shockingly obvious that things are not the same for those that are connected to those that aren’t.” Similarly, Robert explains that “this is a headline for the current zeitgeist, beyond the pandemic and the protest. The guardrails are gone in the law where some people seem to be given this pass.”