“The Good Fight” is the perfect show for today’s shifting culture in Hollywood and beyond. It deals with challenges for women in the workplace, life in the Trump era and the effects of gun violence in Chicago. Tony Award Christine Baranski stars as Diane Lockhart and leads a talented cast as the show heads into season two on CBS All Access.
Baranski and co-star Cush Jumbo chatted with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith about their careers, what to expect on this season of the show and the impact of the changes in the entertainment industry over the past year.
DJ Sixsmith: How would you both describe your experience on “The Good Fight” so far?
Christine Baranski: Creatively, it’s really exciting this season. The writers have decided to pull out the stops and really address what’s going on in our crazy world and have the characters react to this crazy landscape we are all living in. It’s going to be a funnier show than it has ever been and also deal with a lot of issues head on that are going to be very exciting for viewers.
Cush Jumbo: It goes very dark and gets very funny at the same time.
DS: How have your characters grown since “The Good Wife?”
CB: I’ve been doing this character for nine years. It’s funny though, for seven of the nine years, we rarely saw Diane lose her cool. She was the cool sensible one in the room and the grown-up. She suffered tragedies and we’ve known this character as someone who is resilient, dignified and well-dressed. In this season, which is my ninth season, she becomes unhinged and kind of loses it in all kinds of different ways in her behavior, thinking and values system. For me, it’s been my favorite season.
CJ: What’s going on with Diane is having an effect on all the characters in the firm because she has always been the secure linchpin for everybody. For Lucca, that represents her becoming pregnant like I became pregnant. She’s going through that at the firm and not wanting to show any vulnerability, but she really needs some support. That’s been interesting too.
DS: What’s been the greatest challenge of your professional careers?
CJ: Filming pregnant. I’m currently eight months pregnant and we wear amazing clothes on our show and high heels. That’s hard, but I enjoy what I do so much. I’ve found it to be quite a cathartic experience to be going through this on-screen and off-screen at the same time. I joined the show via Christine and seeing Lucca develop has been a crazy exciting challenge of how much a character can be developed just by you doing and writing. It’s been amazing.
CB: Cush is about to begin that journey. Honestly, being a working mother and a working actress is utterly challenging. My kids are grown up and I now have two grandchildren, it’s wonderful. I’m so glad, I loved those years and I wouldn’t trade them for anything, but it takes a lot of stamina. It’s still not an issue that is dealt with enough in our society. How do we allow women to have families and not give up their careers? Especially a legal career, which takes years to get a law degree and years to get traction. Why should a woman be punished if she has a child and have to give up all those years because she simply can’t put in the hours. Acting is a pretty demanding profession. I admire so much the women who manage to do it and have healthy, happy families and marriages. It’s a real trick.
DS: Those conversations are becoming more common thanks to the shift occurring in Hollywood. What do you make of all the changes we’ve seen in the last six months?
CB: It’s great and it’s overdue. I think as messy as it is right now and the rhetoric can get really strident and angry on both sides, I think the fact that we’re talking about this and it’s out in the open means everything. We just have to keep up a dialogue and say, ‘what can we do, let’s just keep looking at this.’ For so long, we chose not to look at it and accept what it was in order to keep some system in place that kept things going. That’s men and women saying, ‘I can’t speak out of the sake of my career.’ It will remain messy, but eventually we really achieve a real clarity and change.
DS: Finally, what can people expect on the next episode of “The Good Fight?”
CB: Things are just beginning to heat up. I would say starting from episode one, we hit the ground running because we’re living in this crazy world. Let me just say that each episode presents a different issue that’s going on right now in the culture as well as living in this strange age we’re living in of gun violence, the Trump world and how people are dealing with the stridency of the dialogue. We have pro-Trump people in the law firm and we have anti-Trump people. There’s a lot of classing and it’s really interesting and makes for great television.
CJ: The metaphorical idea that the people who are holding up the justice system are now being attacked the other way around, aren’t always the right people and aren’t always doing the right things.
Watch “The Good Fight” on CBS All Access.