The Good Fight‘s Justin Bartha talks to Awards Daily TV about joining Emmy-winner Christine Baranski on the new CBS All Access streaming platform.
Justin Bartha initially turned down the audition for his role as Colin Morrello on The Good Fight. Although he was a fan of Robert King and Michelle King’s original series The Good Wife, Bartha hesitated to jump on the sequel. He believed the series would emerge as a by-the-numbers spin off that would air on the CBS network. Yet, The Good Fight‘s positioning on CBS’s new CBS All Access streaming platform excited and drew him to the project.
“This seemed exciting and new. CBS has the luxury of being able to try this out first. I think it’s obvious that this is where all the networks will eventually live,” Bartha said. “It intrigued me more than made me nervous. If you’re going to swing, you might as well swing big.”
The risk appears to have paid off for CBS and for Bartha. Critics love the new take on Christine Baranski’s Diane Lockhart and the respectful treatment of ripped-from-the-headlines stories. The urgent material and stellar cast put Justin Bartha squarely in the conversation for Emmy® attention.
The Story of Lucca and Colin
One of Justin Bartha’s major Season 1 character arcs involved his relationship with Cush Jumbo’s Lucca. Throughout the season, the characters grew closer together before seemingly drifting apart at the end of Season 1. The on-screen chemistry between Bartha and Jumbo stemmed from their similar acting styles.
“We immediately had an ease to the way that we worked together. I think we have similar ways of working,” Bartha said. “We also had an understanding that the two characters had a lot of personality crossover. There’s a shorthand between us as actors that allowed us to jump right in.”
Despite the significant chemistry, Season 1 ended with Lucca and Colin effectively splitting ways. The dissolution of their relationship emerged as a natural extension of their personalities, according to Bartha. Both characters ultimately keep the world at arm’s length. That in-common trait ultimately contributed to the dissolution of their relationship.
But how does Colin really feel about Lucca?
“I won’t tell you exactly how he feels about her. Obviously, Lucca has some specific issues when it comes to relationships, and Colin could clearly see she had some hangups. Maybe she wasn’t ready to dive in the way that he was ready at that point,” Bartha explained. “That being said, the most fascinating part of their relationship is the mix of the professional and the personal. As the season ramped up, it muddied the waters.”
Reacting to an Ever-Changing Political Environment
When Donald Trump won the presidency on November 8, 2016, the writers of The Good Fight needed to make immediate adjustments to their series. The series already sets itself in a very modern era, tackling very current affairs. Baranski’s Diane Lockhart loses her money in a financial scam and joins a prestigious African-American law firm that handles police brutality cases. But the series kicks things off with Lockhart watching Donald Trump’s inauguration. That required some quick rewrites.
“That was not initially part of the show. They had to rewrite, and they had to adjust,” Bartha explained. “I actually met with [the producers] the day after Trump won, so they were scrambling already.”
However, The Good Fight does not explicitly take a liberal stance on its subject matter, and Bartha loves the series for it. He sees the show as occasionally offering commentary on the blindness of liberals and the liberal mindset.
The critically acclaimed first season of The Good Fight would stand as a completely different show if November 8, 2016, went a different way.
“I think what’s happening in the real world, one of the only benefits I’ve seen, is that it’s added a deeper, darker layer to this show that would not have been relevant if Hillary won. The writing is so strong that I think it’s given them more fodder to play off of.”
Looking Forward Into Season 2
With the great success of The Good Fight‘s first season, Justin Bartha hopes to further explore Colin’s great ambition. How much ambition is required to get ahead in your career? Can you get what you want without hurting others? These topics are but a few of what Bartha anticipates furthering in Season 2.
“Personally, I think ambition is the most interesting aspect of Colin and Lucca. She doesn’t have the resources Colin has, so seeing that difference between the haves and haves not is really interesting. Also, when you’re able to achieve amazing things, do you choose to do them or are you scared off? I think it’s really fun to see a character who is possibly gone down a path that he maybe doesn’t necessarily wish to go down. I’d like to see how he navigates the future and what relationships he cultivates along the way.”
The Good Wife currently streams on CBS All Access.