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Interview: Michelle and Robert King Talk Microdosing, Trump and ‘The Good Fight.’ – “The show is a great outlet.”

Tune into the streaming service to watch The Good Fight and you’ll soon be relating to Diane Lockhart as she spins through the news channels and sees the Trump administration everywhere. She reaches a point where she’s not even sure what’s real anymore and microdoses. It’s something we can relate to, right? Amidst all of this, the characters at the law firm try to keep sane and go to court and deal with their cases.

Its blend of politics, humor, well-crafted characters makes the show worth binge watching before the third season returns. CBS renewed the show for a third season the day I jumped on a call with Michelle and Robert King to talk about The Good Fight and bringing the real world into the seriously addictive show.

 

Day 450. What an episode. You never get Trump fatigue watching this show, that’s for sure.

Robert King: We looked at ourselves early on in the build of the season and we were really trying to go for a season that was going to be optimistic and the glass was half full and try to mention Trump as little as possible, but then we realized everybody around us and the whole culture around us had been taken over by a President and its administration.

It felt like a lie to move in the opposite direction so we decided it would be fun to dive right into the middle of it and poor Christine Baranski’s character starts to lose her hold on reality and not know what is real news and what is news that she is tweaking a bit because she’s micro-dosing and that became the arc for the year. It was this idea that what do you do in a time like this when the news is basically satire and how do you absorb it? At what point is the news so absurd that you can’t really figure out what your life is about. That’s what Christine’s arc is this year.

That’s where the micro-dosing story was brilliant. You are the best at writing this, by creating characters we can get so invested in. Diane Lockhart is one of the best female characters on TV and has been since her creation.

Michelle King: We’re fortunate that she is played by one of the greatest actresses on TV and Christine Baranski is just magical in the role.

How do you find that balance in writing something political and current without ever losing sight of who the characters are?

Michelle: Some of the characters are so long established in our world. They’re very real to us, so it’s easy not to lose sight of what they would be feeling in any given moment and that they’re going along in their own lives. Lucca Quinn is pregnant in season two and that has its own trajectory that has nothing to do with what’s happening in politics.

Robert: What was always fun is that people have continued to live their lives as they’re presenting a case. When Josh Charles’ character was killed, everyone around them was still living their lives and the lawyers were doing their duty. I think that was the sense this year, Christine Baranski dealing with all these things in the world, but she still has that relationship with McVeigh. Then there’s the tension with Audra McDonald’s character, all those things still come into account. If you pursue the truth of what you’re going after with the character, you don’t lose sight within the politics.

On the subject of Audra McDonald who is a fantastic addition to the cast, how did you get her back?

Michelle: We were so fortunate. She had appeared in The Good Wife. We were thrilled when she was willing to reprise the role.

Robert: We needed someone who would take it to Delroy. He’s so commanding and what we wanted someone who knew where the skeletons were hidden, and that’s where Liz who is an ex of his and Audra McDonald gives that strength who never backs down and takes it right to him.

Aside from politics, you tackle reality TV. What is this country’s obsession because I’ll never get my head around it?

Michelle: A lot of Americans can’t quite get their head around it either.

Robert: It’s a guilty pleasure. I’ve probably seen every episode of Survivor. It’s a way to tie yourself into someone else’s personality and at least have the veneer it’s a real thing. It’s a danger. We make the connection between our third episode which was inspired by the Bachelor in Paradise incident. The fact that audiences are accepting reality TV as reality. A lot of it is fiction being guided by y producers to have an effect.

Michelle: It’s entertainment and sometimes it’s not being treated that way.

Robert: I think we lose track of the fact that Donald Trump was cast in The Apprentice. That was not his idea. He was cast in it and if it wasn’t him, they would have found another millionaire. I do think people tend to embrace the story that fulfills some need in their own need.

Is it fun to pull from the real world and mix that into the world?

Michelle: What’s fun is that we had seven fun writers. It’s fun to be in there and discuss what’s going on and have a way to use that outrage or surprise and there’s a creative outlet.

Robert: With this administration, we’re seeing an acceleration of the news cycle. changes in the news are happening so quickly. There could be a story we wrote two months earlier and you’re shooting, could be changed by what’s going on right now. We’ve often changed some lines as the news was changing so we wouldn’t be outdated.

That’s crazy.

Robert: The other story that mattered this year was the #MeToo movement. There are three stories, and another one regarding the Ronan Farrow story and the rejection of his story by NBC. There’s the story about dates that went wrong. It’s not just about national news, you’re playing off what people are talking about at home or at work and you’re trying to have a comic spin on that conversation.

Even if it’s sad, it’s always fun to find a satirical spin on it.

Michelle: What’s nice is the writer’s don’t always share the same point of view on any given story. The characters don’t always have the same point of view, even though these are all very intelligent, articulate characters, they don’t all think the same way.

With everything going on, how does this affect you in a personal way?

Robert: I would say this, reading the news gets you depressed and that depression can be alleviated by having the outlet of the show.

The show is a great outlet. It’s not just the administration, it’s with everything. when NBC decided to can that SVU episode that touched on the accused rape of a politician, Michelle and I looked at each other thought there was a story. The ability to write about something and explore the ins and out of it is fun. It gives energy to something that otherwise adds to your ulcer.