The actress says Diane is "tempted away from her marriage" in the final season of the Good Wife spin-off.
Advertisement

The Good Fight arrived just when so many of us needed it most. The ludicrous (and ludicrously smart) legal drama — a spin-off of CBS' The Good Wife — arrived in February 2017, just as America found itself adjusting to the strange, scary, and often maddening period that would come to be known as the Trump era.

Since season 1, The Good Fight guided us through all the craziness through the eyes of Christine Baranski's Diane Lockhart, a fiercely liberal, formidably brilliant, and always fashionably dressed lawyer at a high-profile firm in Chicago.

Alas, the sixth season (premiering Sept. 8 on Paramount+) will be its last. "I always say this, but I think I like this season most of all," Baranski tells EW. "I can't tell you how proud I am to have done it for six years — or 13 years [counting The Good Wife]." The actress called EW from the Good Fight set to tease what's ahead for Diane in this final season — including burnout, a potential new love interest, and levitation (yes, you read that right).

John Slattery and Christine Baranski on 'The Good Fight'
Dr. Lyle Bettencourt (John Slattery) and Diane (Christine Baranski) make a connection on 'The Good Fight'
| Credit: Elizabeth Fisher for Paramount+/CBS Studios

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Series creators Robert and Michelle King told us the final season will deal with an "upcoming civil war." What will Diane be doing as society seems to be collapsing around her?

CHRISTINE BARANSKI: Diane is a character who's always trying to keep her balance and cope with what's going on. Being a liberal-minded feminist and someone with a very strong moral center, you can imagine what the times we're living through are doing to someone of that character.

The wonderful thing is that the season starts with Diane coming back from an Italian vacation. When season 9 ended, she was going off [on vacation], having willfully demoted herself and stepping down from being a name partner. She agreed to step down and take an office downstairs. And she said, "I need a vacation." We see her come back from this vacation feeling like she really, for the first time, was not happy about getting on an airplane and having to come back into the fray.

When she does get back, she wakes up in her apartment and she's hearing explosions and noise outside. And when she shows up for work, it's an empty street that's been closed off and we don't quite know why, but then we see smoke in the distance. We don't know what it is. The Kings have written that this is a civil war going on outside in Chicago, and it just keeps closing in on the law firm.

It's the result of what's going on. In fact when I was on hiatus, I sent Robert King a book called The Coming Civil War, [which is] about the fact that there could possibly be so much divisiveness in this country that there will be a civil war. You could argue Jan. 6 was the beginning of an indication that there are two sides that are so at deeply divided in this country, and there are militias and there are armed militias.

I think we're addressing that in this season. And for Diane, she's trying to figure out once again, how does she live in this world? How does she manage being sane and conscious? She seeks out help, oddly enough, through the metaverse. The first episode is about the metaverse and goggles and an assault that happens in the metaverse. She explores a metaverse and is given a card for a treatment that is rather quote-unquote "like ketamine." At first she says, "No, I've already tried psilocybin and it's not for me," but then something happens… and she winds up trying a treatment just to get out of the reality she's in. It's not about her love affair with taking drugs. It's about wanting some kind of release from the madness, frankly. So what we see through the season is Diane seeking out treatment, but then developing a relationship with the man who's administering the treatment.

Christine Baranski on 'The Good Fight'
Diane (Christine Baranski) stops to smell the sunflowers in 'The Good Fight'
| Credit: Elizabeth Fisher for Paramount+/CBS Studios

The man administering the treatment is Dr. Lyle Bettencourt, played by John Slattery. What can you tell us about his relationship with Diane?

He's wonderful. He was my first choice. Given where Diane and Kurt's marriage is, it's got to be really tough now — with school shootings and violence and the Supreme Court, how is she holding that marriage together? It was always a tough marriage, and they didn't talk about politics, but it's finally getting into the bedroom [with them]. She's up at night, not being able to process the fact that she's in an intimate relationship with someone whose views are so profoundly different from hers.

So there comes Lyle Bettencourt, who shares her literary and cultural preferences. And they obviously have an attraction. It's the first time we see Diane really being tempted away from her marriage — because [with Lyle] she's with a man who makes her feel safe, who makes her feel that they're simpatico in how they feel about the world. She finds a release with him. So we follow that plotline.

We have a couple of photos with Diane in a stunning red ensemble carrying a sunflower. And there are riot police in the background in one picture. What can you tease about that?

She's walking to work, and because of the riots she has to get through a police barricade. But she's just been to a florist because her treatments make her kind of see colors more intensely. So she goes and picks out all these flowers to decorate the office because she feels that the office is dull and drab. There she is in this red coat with all these yellow sunflowers on her way to work. It's a wonderful visual because there's the security line and she has to show her ID — there's a sense that she's living in a police state, but there she is, a flower child.

Christine Baranski on 'The Good Fight'
Christine Baranski is a vision in red in 'The Good Fight'
| Credit: Elizabeth Fisher for Paramount+/CBS Studios

Diane and Liz (Audra McDonald) had some ups and downs in their relationship last season. What is ahead for them in the final episodes?

It turns into a very genuine relationship, and they both let go of the tension in favor of their respect and affection for each other. Liz redecorates Diane's office downstairs. She says, "You don't have to be downstairs." Diane says, "Actually, I like the corner office downstairs." I'm mingling with the associates downstairs and inviting them in for drinks.

You see a lot of a Diane who's just looser and more relaxed. She's going through these treatments because she really wants another view on the world. The levitation is almost like a metaphor for just trying to see things from a higher ground. There's wonderful stuff [this season]. I'm literally in bed with two men in a fantasy sequence — I'm with Lyle Bettencourt, who appears in my bed as a fantasy, and Kurt [Gary Cole] is there, and I'm in the middle. It's like, what actress gets to have these great actors — it's like a man sandwich.

It's fun. We have the addition of Andre Braugher, who came in and did great work. It's going to be another great season, and I can't tell you how proud I am to have done it for six years — or 13 years [counting The Good Wife].

Audra McDonald and Christine Baranski on 'The Good Fight'
Audra McDonald and Christine Baranski on 'The Good Fight'
| Credit: Elizabeth Fisher for Paramount+/CBS Studios

Diane Lockhart always has such iconic outfits. Do you have a favorite look from the final season?

My final look is one where I borrow Carmen's outfit because I've been tear-gassed, and I have to take a shower and borrow her clothes. So I'm in a really sexy jumpsuit with this really badass, short black leather jacket by Michael Kors — and it's so cool. But how do I even begin to say what's a favorite outfit? Of all the things that I will miss, perhaps working with [wardrobe designer] Dan Lawson and, and dressing Diane and being his muse and his Barbie doll, that's been a very wonderful collaboration.

Any final teases you can offer?

Robert being Robert, he takes the characters wonderfully whimsical places. Diane actually does levitate several times over the course of this season. And there's some pretty emotional stuff by the end. There's a reckoning. She has to finally make some very big decisions — she has to choose where she's going to go in her marriage, and she has to choose what she's going to do with her career. We see a Diane who's fairly burnt out by the end.

Unfortunately, Roe v. Wade was overturned while we were shooting this show. You can imagine Diane pretty much saying, "I'm giving up on the law. It doesn't work anymore. The country doesn't work anymore. It's all hype, and the loudest people are running the show. I can't do it anymore." We actually see Diane go on the internet and notice that beautiful French villa that she saw in season 1 — it's still available, with a 20 percent reduction [in price]. So we see that Diane is confused once again.

It's a wonderful full circle. One day we were shooting an episode that has a memorial service. I leave the ceremony and try and get a drink at the bar, and I notice everyone looking at a television screen. The television screen is saying that the Supreme Court has just revoked gay marriage rights. As they were setting up my close-up for that moment, the director came in and said, "They've just reversed Roe v. Wade." Once again, this show just sort of follows on the heels [of current events]… The Good Fight has been [about] living in a Trump world and a post-Trump world, and how do we manage the craziness of living during these times?

That's been Diane's journey, and it has been just so extraordinary to surf the ways of the present historical moment through a character who is high-minded and liberal and fought the good fight for women. [The show is] ending in a very poignant and very electrifying way. I hate to let the show go, but it really is a moment — and it will air right before the midterms.

Related content:

Episode Recaps

The Good Fight
type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 5
rating
genre
network

Comments