"Recent TV history has no shortage of shows that floundered after running through their original premises, including Killing Eve and Big Little Lies," says Inkoo Kang. "But if The Good Fight’s creative team was ever flummoxed about which direction to go after Trump, little of that disorientation shows after the season premiere." Kang adds: "Thankfully, the Kings’ unparalleled knack for topicality has confidently steered Season 5 toward where we are in 2021: largely done with Trump the man (for now), but certainly not his influence. Based on the first four episodes and interviews with the creators, the events of Jan. 6 will cast a shadow over the rest of the season, pitting Diane (spoiler alert!) against her conservative husband Kurt (Gary Cole), who, according to Thursday’s installment, unwittingly facilitated at least one insurrectionist’s participation in the attack on the Capitol...But the Season 5 story line that may capture the current moment even better is one that appears to be purely fictional. Most of The Good Fight (and The Good Wife) took place in a court system that was depicted as mostly rational, if heavily politicized and chock full of quirky arbiters. But this new season takes a populist ax to the legal system’s elitism, with self-appointed Judge Wackner (Mandy Patinkin) setting up his courtroom behind a copy shop — complete with a scoreboard on which lawyers rack up points mid-trial in front of an applauding audience — as a protest against the deep pockets and artificial pretenses necessary to go through the official channels. And at the end of each case, to counter the adversarial nature of the trial system, the plain-spoken judge orders the defendants and plaintiffs to tell each other, 'I respect and I love you.' Diane sees Judge Wackner’s experiment as a harmless nuisance at best, but he insists his version of court is a preview of 'the future,' adding, 'justice is only just if it’s available to everyone.' It’s the kind of larkish story line that The Good Fight does like no other show: one that reflects, with a painful accuracy and an utter lack of self-seriousness, the ways that our institutions fail most of us every day. But Judge Wackner also embodies the tendency of today’s version of populism to turn reform into spectacle and entertainment. The rest of the season will bear witness as to whether his common-sense approach can withstand many more refugees from the legal system — and fix America in the process."
TOPICS: The Good Fight, Paramount+, Mandy Patinkin, Michelle King, Phil Alden Robinson, Robert King, U.S. Capitol Takeover