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Robert King and Michelle King On Producing ‘The Good Fight’

Showrunners Robert King and Michelle King discuss the first season of CBS All Access’s first scripted series The Good Fight, a spin-off of The Good Wife.

Showrunners Robert King and Michelle King are the creators and power behind The Good Wife. That show ended in 2016, but a year later, fans were treated to CBS All Access’s The Good Fight. Christine Baranski’s Diane Lockhart was front and center as she joins forces with Maia Rindell after a financial situation destroys her savings. The new series explores hot button political topics while deepening character relationships across its first season.

I caught up with the Kings to talk about all things Good.  The Good Fight contends for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Christine Baranski), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Rose Leslie, Cush Jumbo), Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Justin Bartha) and Outstanding Direction for a Drama Series as well as Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.

That finale was quite an ending. So, did you know you’d been picked up for a second season?

Robert King: I think when we wrote it we knew.

Michelle King: We did.

Robert King: When we built it, we did not. We built it so it could be binary, and it could go one of two ways. By the time we shot it, we knew.

Did you make any changes given what was going on in the world, and by that I mean America?

Robert : [Laughs]

Michelle: Did we?

Robert: Because of all the immigration arguments and the travel ban arguments. Democratic appointees were siding one way, and Republican appointees were siding another way. What we were trying to do with the finale was end on a black out. We wanted the ultimate confusion and failure of society. There is some beauty that comes with that. When there’s a blackout you can see the stars, people get to “fuck a stranger,” so there’s that beauty.

What you really want is to touch upon is how lawyers worry and what is the next step when there is that kind of chaos. It was basically about the travel ban and what rolled out of that.

How are you getting these amazing guest stars such as John Cameron Mitchell and Jane Lynch?

Michelle: We have this fantastic casting director who is a great asset on getting everyone and everything on board.

Robert: There are a lot more shows shooting in New York than when we were starting out on The Good Wife. We are still a show built for actors who are working on the stage, and we are willing to work around the stage schedule to make it all work. I guess the last thing is we can do write towards quirks that actors that can have fun with. Even if it’s a judge or an attorney. When you add a quirk or something fun, the Jane Lynch character started off as a guy who was a stodgy FBI agent, and we were just getting no one to bite at the role. We tried a lot of different ways, and no one was going for the role. So, late in the game, we decided to make it a woman, and why not add elements of cat and mouse where she pretends she has a husband. The more you add those elements, the more the actors know they have something to play with.

Michelle: She turned out so spectacularly well. My very favorite of all the years we’ve been doing shows is her performance. She was magnificent.

Robert: She was amazing.

Lucca and Colin, what’s next for them. What can you reveal? Or do I have to wait?

Michelle: You have to wait. [Laughs]

Robert: The thing is there is a lot of room for growth. They have baggage from their families, so we’ll be seeing more of what their families are about in the second year. Lucca is guarded. She’s a little bit like what Alicia was in the first year of The Good Wife. You didn’t know all the elements. You didn’t know about her brother or the mother. There are all these elements you’ll find out about.

I’ve seen Diane does better with men.

Michelle: I think Diane does well with women. She is a woman in power, and given this society that she walks through, there are more men in those high powered positions. I don’t think she has negative feelings about women.

Robert: I think she’s just comfortable with men. I think she doesn’t mind male friendships. I think it’s refreshing because usually with TV you fall into lover role. Maybe that’s the case of Josh Charles. That was a great friendship, and they had everything but sex.

Barbara (Erica Tazel) is great. She’s one character I’m looking forward to seeing develop and who she is.

Robert: You’re right, we didn’t see as much as we wanted. What we wanted to show was what was going on in that law firm. I think with only ten episodes we wanted to focus on the three women.

Has anyone surprised you?

Robert: That chemistry between Delroy Lindo and Christine Baranski. The character of Boseman was written as a little more silly and flamboyant. With Delroy, what comes with that is gravitas. You didn’t want it to be weighed down. What keeps it from being weighed down is that very fun relationship that develops between him and Christine. The other thing for me, Michelle, would be the friendship between Christine, Rose, and Cush. Cush’s character was a friendship similar to the one she had with Alicia, but we didn’t want it to being caught in the storm. We noticed how much they liked each other. What was fun is that Cush’s character acts like a mentor to someone who is an injured bird in the case of Alicia and again with the case of Rose Leslie. I think there is a great charm in that.

Michelle: Sarah Steele is very much a burst of energy. She has such great comic energy. That new relationship with Nyambi Nyambi.

Robert: It’s a bit like being in a lab and seeing which chemicals work together. As you work more on it, you get better at throwing components together.

You sure do. The fans are sure vocal about those components. Do you follow it and what they have to say?

Robert: I will look at the recap and see if plot points are landing. I’m not that close to social media as I was back in the early years of The Good Wife. I keep track of the recaps to see if people are connecting with what we’re trying to do with the episode.

Michelle: I keep track in the same way as Robert, only to see if the intention is landing, otherwise I don’t keep too close to it.

Let’s talk about Maia and what can you say?

Michelle: The writer’s room doesn’t meet until late August so we don’t know anything yet.

Robert: The only thing we know is we will pick up seconds later after where the first season ended.

We have to wait so long.

Robert: Oh my gosh, it’s a lifetime away. Who knows what will happen.

Do you have a wish list of guests?

Michelle: If we could get Jane back I’d be really happy.

Robert: Fisher Stevens would be great. We’d love to grab John Lithgow and Julianne Moore. That’s who is on our dream list.

I want Carrie Coon, she is fantastic.

She is great. 

The Good Fight returns to CBS All Access in 2018.