Strolling through the summer TV line-up can feel like a trip to a perverse flea market.
There’s a miniature-golf show (really, on ABC) … and a 3-on-3 basketball league … and the sort of soap opera where the groom denounces the bride and attacks the wedding singer. There are magicians and jugglers and feuding roommates and ’80s game shows and ….
Wait … flea markets also have their gems. In the midst of all this nonsense, “The Good Fight” is spending summer Sundays on CBS. It has strong stories, great dialog and gifted actors.
And for most viewers, it’s not a rerun. It’s had three 10-episode seasons on CBS All Access, a streaming service that reaches less than 4 percent of U.S. homes; now the rest of us get a chance.
Actually, the first episode might seem familiar. CBS debuted it on Feb. 19, 2017, before moving the rest to All Access.
That required two versions in the editing room, co-creator Robert King told the Television Critics Association back then. “One version will be 49 minutes and 10 seconds and the other version would be 42 minutes (and) cleaner for network TV.”
Cleaner? On the All Access version, co-creator Michelle King promised then, “You’re going to hear people talk the way they speak in life.”
They don’t spew like “Deadwood” cowboys; these people are upper-crust lawyers. But they can be provoked: In the first episode, Diane (Christine Baranski) learns that Donald Trump has been elected. She lets out an F-bomb on All Access, settles for an SOB on CBS.
After seven seasons in support on “The Good Wife,” Diane became the center of this show.
“I always live in admiration of Diane Lockhart …. She was always the grownup in the room,” Baranski, 67, said his year. And now “the culture has kind of caught up with her, because we have women in power who are well over the age of 40 or 50, who are kicking ass.”
As the series starts, life is kicking her. She’s lost her money in a Madoff-type scam and needs to start over. Lucca (Cush Jumbo) steers her to what’s basically an all-black law firm, with Delroy Lindo as its chief. Also joining the firm is Diane’s goddaughter (Rose Leslie, shown here with, from left, Baranski and Helene Yorke) … whose father is the Madoff figure.
From there, the Kings – a married duo who also did “Good Wife” — are free to go anywhere.
“Rob and Michelle are always breathlessly reading the newspaper, thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, what fresh Hell is this I’m writing about?” Baranski said this year. “So it’s exciting. It’s exciting for us.”
— “The Good Fight,” Sundays, CBS.
— 9 and 10 p.m. June 16 and 23; then 10 p.m. (with “Instinct” at 9), from June 30 to Aug. 4
— That concludes the first season; the first three seasons are on CBS All Access