The Good Wife found ways to dramatize current events within its storytelling, and The Good Fight is following in those footsteps, particularly as it addresses the world under a Trump administration. The fifth episode of the series, “Stoppable: Requiem for an Air Date,” took that “ripped from the headlines” conceit to a new level this week, using the recent revelation that NBC’s Law & Order: SVU had produced an episode featuring a Trump-like politician involved in a sex scandal that the network was forced to delay twice due to Trump’s momentum at the polls and subsequent election, and has apparently scrapped altogether at this point.
The Good Fight version of this story focused on a similar show with a similar dilemma (even going so far as to using the same Law & Order font to kick off the episode) with the episode’s writer being sued by the network for posting the episode online. His argument is that they were not going to air it and he felt it needed to be seen and he wasn’t profiting so no harm, no foul. If neither he nor the network were making money, and the script was his own work, then he had the right to make the episode available.
Of course it’s never that simple when it comes to intellectual property, and the case faced many obstacles including a deceptively cheery prosecutor who would cut you if you got in her way and a network that claims as they paid the writer as a freelancer, the show was written by the network. Boseman and Lucca went back and forth about how far to take the case with Boseman believing this could open up new avenues for his firm. But screwing with a multi-billion dollar media conglomerate was only going to make Reddick, Boseman and Kolstad a pariah. It was a threat and a challenge, but when it seemed that there was no winning, they were ready to settle for the smallest amount possible, which would still completely bankrupt the writer.
But new evidence came to light in the form of a letter from the network. Typically a network orders 22 episode for a full season, and it was revealed that for some reason 23 episodes were ordered for this particular show. The network suit tried to play it off as just an extra episode, but it was shown that the extra episode was ordered right before the decision was made to pull the episode in question off the air, showing that the network had intent to not air the episode in question and the “23rd” episode was in fact ordered to make a complete season. It was a win for Boseman but at what long-term cost to the firm?
Meanwhile, Mike Kresteva continues his quest to bring to Reddick, Boseman and Kolstad because of their record of taking on police brutality cases. But since he can’t actually persue them for that, he’s using the Rindell scandal to his advantage, playing Maia’s father to help bring down the firm. When it was revealed that Maia visited her father, twice, without any counsel present, and when it was revealed that she downloaded a file with a list of name that Kresteva now had in his possession, it was looking bad but Maia assured her lawyer that there were no RB&K clients on that list. So who could be associated with both the firm and the Rindell case? Maia, of course. Kresteva was using Maia as his leverage to build a case against the firm.
But Lucca had an ace up her sleeve. No, not her flirtmance with Colin Morello (which helped get Kresteva off the police brutality track but inadvertently sent him in this new direction), but with a familiar face, Elsbeth Tascioni, a character who made quite an impression during her The Good Wife appearances. And let me tell you, this is one weird, quirky character but does she fit in this particular world? Yes, the writing for the show (both of them, actually) has always had a wry sense of humor here and there, but Elsbeth is completely over the top.
When Lucca brings Boseman to meet her (and her new office is in a doctor’s office), Boseman is taken aback by this woman who may or may not have recently spent time in a psychiatric hospital and who is flustered by an Alexa type of device. Her thought processes are all over the place but somehow she makes sense in the end and Boseman has enough confidence in Lucca to allow Elsbeth one day to see what she can find on Kresteva. Next thing you know, she’s popping up over an adjoining booth in a diner, eavesdropping on Kresteva’s phone conversation, inviting herself to sit with him, and then even turns up at his home, having lied to his wife that she works with Mike! And then snoops around his home office while getting the wife tipsy.
Kresteva is naturally upset and threatens to have Elsbeth disbarred for her actions, but she is more clever than he realizes, presenting him with a recording where he said if she tries to come after him professionally, he will come after her personally. He’s not worried because it’s an illegal recording, but apparently it can be used to contradict a lie. Checkmate. Will Kresteva be able to continue his pursuit of RB&K with Elsbeth Tascioni on the case? And what purpose will be served by putting up the bond for Maia’s father and getting him released from prison? Henry is acting particularly strange at home when Maia pays a visit, and we’re not sure what’s going on with he, his wife and his brother. Does he know his wife was having an affair, or was that some plan between them to ensnare his brother?
With all of this going on, Diane Lockhart pretty much took a back seat this week, however, she did have a rekindled romance with her sort-of ex-husband. He was asked to give a speech about ballistics and wanted her to read it beforehand. She did and red-lined the whole thing, telling him it wasn’t that bad! Basically he was too technical and needed to be himself and speak in terms than anyone could understand. The help she gave led to the two hitting the sheets, but she’s still resistant to allowing him back into her life on a permanent basis. (A little trivia here, Gary Cole, who plays Diane’s husband, also played the Trump-inspired president-elect in that unseen Law & Order episode referenced in this episode.)
While Diane wrestles with her personal life, she’s also got a battle brewing at her firm which is still waiting for her partner contribution. Giving her a week to kick in or be reduced to just a counsel, Diane is considering selling her home. But a chance encounter with an old friend, Neil Gross (who popped up on eight episodes of The Good Wife) the founder of ChumHum (a Google-like internet company that everyone on the show uses, probably because Google wanted too much money). Gross is fed up with his yes men law team and is looking to shake things up. Knowing Diane now works for, as he puts it, “an all African-American law firm,” he believes switching firms would do wonders for his image while sticking it the current administration. Diane sees this as her chance to make things right financially with the firm, delivering the $58 million account on a platter — with two caveats: he contribution comes from the retainer. And, fulfilling Barbara Kolstad’s prophetic words from episode one, demands that she be a named partner in the firm. Boseman agrees, and Barbara says Diane is gonna be trouble. Whatever comes over the next five episodes, one thing for sure is that Diane is now sitting more pretty than she’s been so far this season.
And, if you missed the news earlier in the week, CBS All Access has renewed The Good Fight for a second season, so there’s no better time than now to dig into all this deliciousness.