The Good Fight Season 6: The final season made its new cast shine

With impeccable new additions to the cast and a keen eye on national concern, the final installments of this series have kept their foot on the accelerator.

“What do you do when the world collapses around you?” is a question The Good Fight has spent five years trying to answer. First came the daily fears of the previous presidential administration, giving way to daily fears about the pandemic. As Season 6 begins, all of these issues manifest themselves in an endless state of unrest on the streets outside the Reddick and Associates law offices. Despite all the explosions and horns and other sounds coming from the area just beyond the ground floor walls, life goes on for the people inside.

But it’s not the added chaos that’s apparent in the show’s final season. Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski), Liz Reddick (Audra McDonald) and their colleagues are not succumbing to the pressures of white supremacy, corporate takeovers and eroding rights. For a show that fueled itself from national and global fears by acting on them, that was never the way to go for Season 6. Instead, the already rock-solid cast of the Paramount+ drama has some high-profile ones in their fight to the end received reinforcements.

It’s unfair to reduce charisma whirlwind Ri’Chard Lane (Andre Braugher) entirely to what he wears. But in the Good Fight tradition, clothes certainly help make the man. Within seconds of arriving on screen, he lays claim to the largest collection of glasses of any type in history. His suits are not a proxy for his personality, just a perfect expression of it. By Ri’Chard’s own admission later in the season, it’s his ability to perform that’s helping him rise in the professional ranks. He’s certainly not alone on The Good Fight.

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

“The Good Fight”

Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

“The Good Fight” has always lived from 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 blended effortlessly into the fabric of the show. And like those other two (not to mention the revolving door of Broadway talent that’s become the standard for shows created by showrunners Michelle and Robert King), Braugher comes with the bold flourishes that call “The Good Fight” keep fresh.

He’s not the only new addition to Season 6. This week, Phylicia Rashad arrives as the leader of a group that monitors far-right groups. (She makes her own opening statement by letting the action come to her.) There’s also a couple who hop by for some fun on another long-running drama in the larger Paramount+ family: fellow “Billions” cast member Ben Shenkman and Daniel Breaker. (The former seems to have at least a little fun playing one of the most stoic yet 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 by for one episode at a time Extra dose of gravity.

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

This penchant for making memorable appearances in Season 6 extends to returning cast members as well. Alan Cumming gets a fun little fourth wall break where he can wink at the audience that he can now swear since his former The Good Wife character is free of network S&P restrictions. As the spacey but brilliant Elsbeth Tascioni, Carrie Preston makes the best of every picture, especially as she walks past the Reddick and Associates reception. There are enough nods to the past for each of them that The Good Fight can blink with their past adventures, but they’re also key examples that show the show always treats each newcomer with the level of excitement they deserve.

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

Daniel Breaker and Phylicia Rashad in The Good Fight

Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+

In truth, the show has already said its share of goodbyes. The expertly executed Covid episode, which saw cast members separated by oceans and safety protocols, said goodbye to leads Delroy Lindo and Cush Jumbo. It kind of felt like a miniseries finale. The season and a half since then has been filled with the same go-for-broch energy the show has always had, fueled by a huge reminder that life in our world and the world of the show is short.

While breaking new ground, Season 6 of The Good Fight still managed to come full circle. Given the headlines the show has made over the years, it’s a meta-joy when a character yells in the season premiere, “Don’t mess with China!The staff at Reddick and Associates are no strangers to threats, having dealt with the “Kill all Lawyers” (not to mention the infamously shocking death that defined the later seasons of “The Good Wife” before it). It’s embracing these ideas, embracing forces far greater than themselves, that helped define the show. It would never say goodbye without beating the NFL, the RNC, and certain Supreme Court justices in the process.

That spirit of discovery—even with the end in sight—goes beyond performing and writing. Diane’s sequences during and after her sessions with Dr. Bettencourt, particularly those who find her soaring in more ways than one, bring a new sense of movement to a show that certainly has rhythms of its own. The legendary opening title sequence has escalated its collection of exploding objects, adding grenades and weapons to the mix. (They are additions that seem even more surreal when juxtaposed 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 some new ones added musical layers to the baroque template he set up at the beginning of the show. The fear comes through when even the music takes on a more aggressive, jagged edge.

So instead of being hemmed in by expectations or slacking off in sight of the finish line, The Good Fight isn’t just sticking to its old tricks. It welcomes newcomers with open arms and a frenzied spirit.

The Good Fight Season 6 will be releasing new episodes every Thursday through November 10th on Paramount+.

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Lindsay Lowe

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