Several of spring’s most anticipated series have been postponed due to COVID-19 shutdowns, but CBS All Access is still moving forward with Thursday’s Season 4 premiere of The Good Fight.
That drama also had to halt production because of the novel coronavirus, but the streaming service will run the first half of the season now, then air the second half after production resumes.
The Good Wife spinoff, which Adweek named one of the 10 best shows of the decade, could have a higher profile when it returns. CBS aired Season 1 last summer to help build awareness for the series, and CBS All Access is one of several streaming services offering a free 30-day trial to woo housebound Americans during the pandemic.
Before the coronavirus shut down production, co-creators and showrunners Robert and Michelle King spoke with Adweek about the new season—which tackles corporate mergers and the breakdown of the rule of law—plus juggling The Good Fight and their creepy CBS drama, Evil, and how much longer they’d like the spinoff to run for.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
The series started out with the results of the last presidential election, so how important was it to incorporate this election year into the new season?
Michelle King: Our thoughts were, A: All the episodes are going to air before that election, and B: Nancy Pelosi brought up impeachment right as the writers room was starting [last fall], so it was pretty clear we didn’t know which way things were going to go, and we had to tread carefully.
Robert King: So it’s there and there are issues there that are going to be explored, issues of Facebook allowing lying ads, issues like that will be part of the election, even if this were a neutral year. The difficulty is, we don’t have a failing of will to explore the election this year, we just have a failing of timing. It’s so easy to show yourself as dated during an election year.
Corporate mergers are a big theme this season. How did you settle on that topic?
Michelle: Part of it is it’s interesting to see our characters not be entirely in charge of their own fate, to see them as underdogs. And given the way of the world, mergers seem to be the norm these days.
Robert: You’re seeing how CBS is dealing with the [Viacom] merger but also with human resources, with the falling out of the Les Moonves years. We’ve obviously had a similar mythology in the show, in that [the Good Fight firm’s founding partner Carl] Reddick was found to be raping secretaries. So a lot of it is trying to see how much you can get what’s going on in our current environment into the show itself.
Speaking of mergers, now you’re part of ViacomCBS. Has there been anything different on your end since that deal closed?
Michelle: We have not felt the repercussions at all.
Robert: How would we feel it, though? I was trying to think.
Michelle: If everyone in the network got fired?
Robert: Yes, that’s right.
One topic you’ve included this season is the idea that the law has broken down and subpoenas now mean nothing. Given that every day, there is a new issue that could potentially inspire an entire season’s worth of stories, that does seem like a topic that dovetails perfectly with your show.
Robert: You’re always also looking for, “What is the lasting effect of what has been a very strange four years in history—and maybe it will be eight years in history?” The four years in history have led to a feeling that there’s more bullying in schoolyards, but also in the area that we usually think of as un-tinkerable, which is the legal system. There is also that, whether an appointed judge or judges, or in this case, the feeling of what you have to obey and who has to obey it—and who doesn’t.