I am quite excited that the critically acclaimed Paramount+, the streaming service from Viacom CBS’s original series THE GOOD FIGHT is back for a fifth season.
The Good Fight is the spin-off series of the CBS series The Good Wife. I watched The Good Wife from time to time and enjoyed it but not enough to be diligent in watching. However, when The Good Fight started, I was hooked.
In the fifth season, Diane (Christine Baranski) is forced to question whether it’s appropriate for her to help run an African-American law firm with Liz (Audra McDonald) when the firm loses two top lawyers.
Meanwhile, Marissa (Sarah Steele) and the firm become entangled with Hal Wackner (Mandy Patinkin), a regular Chicagoan who decides to open his own courtroom in the back of a copy shop. How wild is that?
Two reasons I love this show are Michael Boatman, who plays Judge Julius Cain, and Nyambi Nyambi (no I didn’t write his name twice as a mistake; it is his actual name), who plays the handsome investigator, Jay DiPersia.
I have enjoyed both actors for a long time and was so happy to have the chance to have a conversation with them. Last season was cut short due to the pandemic, so I asked the guys to bring me up to speed.
Michael kicked it off, “As fans of the show might remember, we were truncated last season. We were cut off two-thirds of the way through last season, so we didn’t get to finish three episodes. So, there’s a lot of storylines, there were a lot of loose ends left, not only my character but all the other characters. So, in the very first episode of this season, our writers do an unbelievable job of bringing everything up to speed, letting us know what we would have seen in those last three episodes from last season, including what happens to my character.”
I thought the writers did an amazing job of intertwining world issues of what went on during the pandemic and making it relevant to the series.
Nyambi Nyambi continued, “My character came down with COVID and it’s actually a long haul. And the effect of that is having hallucinations. I’m hallucinating historical figures. So, it’s like, “Well, why are these historical figures visiting me? What is this all about? Why am I seeing Frederick Douglass? Why am I seeing, Malcolm X? Why am I seeing Jesus? Why am I seeing Karl Marx? And throughout the season, you will see that unfold. And yeah, it’s a lot of fun.”
One of my favorite episodes was when Michael’s character had to admit he voted for Trump. I had to ask how he dealt with that as his character and personally.
“I will tell you, Bonnie, me Michael Boatman, it was the very first time I’ve ever considered turning down a job because I didn’t know how I was going to do it.
“And remember, this is right around the time he was first elected when the passions about it were really high. And everybody was mad on the side of the left, where I live in real life. I just didn’t think I’d be able to do it. For me, the biggest challenge to any role has always been how to do it honorably, how to do it set in a way that it’s not a cartoon. It’s that the characters’ emotions are performed with sincerity. And so that I, as the actor, am not commenting on this person’s character, even though the character may be different than I am in real life.
“But after a couple of weeks, I began to realize, well, you do it the same way I do any job that I’ve played, which is, where is this character like me? What do we have in common?
“Well, I learned that they said he’s from Chicago. Okay, got that one easy. The next thing they said though, was that he was Catholic. Now, I’m not Catholic in real life, but my family grew up in a Southern Baptist home. So, I know the Bible, and I understand the kind of conservatism that can come from a religious background. So, I was able to get at it like that.”
One of the things that stuck out to me is how the all-Black firm brings in a white female attorney and makes her a partner, who in turn brings in a white female attorney and a white female assistant. I had to stop and think, “Is this how it feels when a Black attorney is brought into an all-white firm? However, would that Black attorney be able to make partner?”
Nyambi Nyambi: “The big, larger questions as far as, who are we? And let’s make sure we don’t become something that we’re not, and that’s the constant battle that we’re battling throughout the four seasons, that going into season five where we lose two great lawyers, one of our top men and the other an up-and-coming lawyer.
And because she’s been there for a while and she’s a named partner, being Diane it’s like, “Hold on now, there’s two of you. Now we have Diane, we have Liz played by the great Audra McDonald and the optics of it right now. It’s like you have this white woman lead an African American firm. Is that possible? Can, that is, can, cannot be done. And so those are the burning questions that we tackle, one of the burning questions that we’ve tackled throughout the season.”
Season five does not pull punches or sidesteps controversial topics. I am thoroughly hooked on this series. I think you will be also.
Until next time keep your EYE to the sky!