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Final ‘The Good Fight’ Season Is Electrified by New Characters

With impeccable additions to the cast and a sharp eye on national anxiety, this show's final episodes have kept the foot on the accelerator.

André Braugher as Ri’Chard Lane and Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart in The Good Fight episode 2, Season 6 streaming on Paramount+, 2022. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+.

“The Good Fight”

Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

“What do you do when the world is falling apart around you?” is a question “The Good Fight” has been spending five years answering. First came the daily anxieties of the previous presidential administration, which gave way to daily anxieties about the pandemic. In the opening of Season 6, all of those issues are made manifest in an unending state of unrest in the streets outside the law offices of Reddick and Associates. Through all the explosions and horns and other noise coming from the area right beyond the walls of the ground floor, life goes on for the people inside.

But it’s not the additional chaos that’s standing out in the show’s final season. Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski), Liz Reddick (Audra McDonald) and their fellow associates aren’t succumbing to the pressures of white supremacy, corporate takeovers, and eroding rights. For a show that has fueled itself off national and global anxieties by channeling them into action, that was never how Season 6 was going to go. Instead, the Paramount+ drama’s already-rock-solid cast has gotten some top-tier reinforcements in its fight to the finish.

It’s unfair to fully reduce charisma whirlwind Ri’Chard Lane (Andre Braugher) to what he wears. But in “Good Fight” tradition, the clothes certainly go a long way to making the man. Within seconds of arriving on screen, he lays claim to the greatest collection of eyewear of any character in history. His suits aren’t a stand-in for his personality, only a perfect expression of it. By Ri’Chard’s own admission later in the season, his ability to make an entrance is what helps him rising upward through the professional ranks. On “The Good Fight,” he is certainly not alone.

John Slattery as Dr. Lyle Bettencourt in The Good Fight episode 4, Season 6 streaming on Paramount+, 2022. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+.

“The Good Fight”

Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

“The Good Fight” has always thrived on its ensemble. There are people like Baranski and McDonald who are the mainstays. The change around them has always been an engine for excitement and experimentation. Like Michael Sheen and Mandy Patinkin before him, Braugher has glided in effortlessly into the fabric of the show. And, like those other two (not to mention the revolving door of Broadway talent that’s become a standard for shows created by showrunners Michelle and Robert King), Braugher arrives with the bold flourishes that keep “The Good Fight” fresh.

He’s not alone among the Season 6 additions. This week brings Phylicia Rashad, as a leader of a group monitoring alt-right extremist groups. (She makes her own entrance statement by making the action come to her.) There’s also a pair hopping over for some fun on another long-running drama in the greater Paramount+ family: fellow “Billions” cast members Ben Shenkman and Daniel Breaker. (The former seems to be having at least a little bit of fun playing one of the most stoic-but-menacing fictional mob bosses in recent memory.) The show’s rotating roster of judge roles makes it possible for someone like Jennifer Ehle to drop in for an episode for an extra dose of gravitas.

And then, to prove that not all guest star energies are created equal, John Slattery arrives in Season 6 with a curveball kind of calmness. As the doctor behind a local ketamine therapy clinic, he’s the even keel for not just Diane but a world surrounding them that could use a gentler kind of hallucination now and again. “The Good Fight” has never been afraid of color (see again: Ri’Chard’s matching glasses for every new outfit), and the brightness of the flowers inside and outside of Dr. Bettencourt’s office have kept the encroaching darkness at bay.

That penchant for memorable entrances in Season 6 also goes for returning cast members. Alan Cumming gets a fun little fourth-wall break where he gets to wink at the audience about being allowed to curse now that his former “The Good Wife” character is free from network S&P restrictions. As the spacey-yet-brilliant Elsbeth Tascioni, Carrie Preston makes the most of every frame, particularly as she’s passing the Reddick and Associates front desk. There’s enough of a nod to the past for each of them that “The Good Fight” can wink to their past adventures, but they’re also key examples of the show always treating each new arrival with the level of excitement it deserves.

Daniel Breaker and Phylicia Rashad as Renatta in The Good Fight episode 7, Season 6 streaming on Paramount+, 2022. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+.

Daniel Breaker and Phylicia Rashad in “The Good Fight”

Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

In truth, the show has already had its share of goodbyes. The expertly executed Covid episode, which saw cast members separated by oceans and safety protocols, bid adieu to main cast members Delroy Lindo and Cush Jumbo. That felt like a mini series finale, in a way. The season and a half since then have been marked by that same go-for-broke energy the show has always had, hypercharged by a giant reminder that in our world and the world of the show, life is short.

Even while forging new paths, “The Good Fight” Season 6 has still managed to bring things full circle. Given the show’s headline-making stands over the years, there’s a meta gleefulness to having one character in the season premiere scream, “Do not fuck with China!” The employees of Reddick and Associates are no strangers to threats, having dealt with the “Kill all lawyers” (not to mention the infamous shocking death that defined the later seasons of “The Good Wife” before it). It’s embracing those ideas of taking on forces far greater than itself that has helped define the show. It was never going to bow out without taking swings at the NFL, the RNC, and certain Supreme Court justices along the way.

That spirit of exploration — even with the end in sight — goes beyond performances and writing. The sequences of Diane during and after her sessions with Dr. Bettencourt, particularly the ones that find her floating in more ways than one, bring a new sense of movement to a show that certainly has its own rhythms. The legendary opening title sequence has escalated its collection of exploding objects, adding grenades and guns into the mix. (They’re additions made even more surreal when set against Mississippi John Hurt’s rendition of “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord” rather than the usual theme music.) And speaking of that score, David Buckley has added some new musical layers to the baroque template he set up at the show’s start. The dread is coming through when even the music takes on a more aggressive, jagged edge.

So rather than be hemmed in by expectations or easing up with the finish line in sight, “The Good Fight” isn’t just sticking to its old tricks. It’s welcoming new ones with open arms and a racing mind.

“The Good Fight” Season 6 will release new episodes every Thursday until November 10 on Paramount+.

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