[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about the Season 1 finale of The Good Fight. Read at your own risk.]
A Rindell was arrested for the Ponzi scheme on The Good Fight's Season 1 finale — but not the one you'd expect.
Maia (Rose Leslie) was arrested at the end of the episode after Henry (Paul Guilfoyle) fled instead of turning himself in to take the 35-year deal he had told everyone he would. If he had taken the deal, Maia wouldn't be prosecuted (for a five-year sentence) for lying in her proffer session last week. Father of the Year right here. Before climbing into his getaway's car, Henry confesses to Maia that he, her mother (Bernadette Peters) and her Uncle Jax (Tom McGowan) were all part of the scheme, and that they had paid off the FCC to cover it up. You know this will muddle Maia's mind more about what she did and did not know.
But according to co-creators Robert and Michelle King, the season almost didn't end that way. Find out below the alternate ending they scrapped at the last minute, what's next for Maia, and if Diane (Christine Baranski) and Kurt (Gary Cole) are really back together.
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Had you always known it would end with Maia's arrest?
Robert King: We've gone back and forth. We were bouncing back and forth up until the day the script was being turned in. The other way to go was the father truly sacrifices himself for her and gets her off and he ends up in prison for 35 years. And the cynical ending was the one you saw. We knew it was a binary choice; we knew it was one or the other. It was never going to be something in between.
Michelle King: The question was on the table from the very beginning. We landed on what we had talked about from the very beginning
How close were you to having Henry take the deal?
Robert: Very close. [It was] probably a week before we shot it and [Henry taking the deal] was the ending. The reason not to [use that ending] was we always felt the theme of Maia's story was the reconstructing of family. She always thought she was happy in her life, had a happy family, and it actually came about from her turning a blind eye to the problems of the family. When all that falls, she still tries to tell herself that the family is good, but her real family is work — her workmates, not at home. So I think we had to end it this way. There's always something that fights against what the show wants to be. We love Guilfoyle and we love what he did this year. We knew someone like that wouldn't turn on his daughter, but then —
Michelle: But at the end of the day we knew he actually would. [Laughs]
He has that selfish streak in him. It's completely in line with what we knew about him.
Robert: Yes, exactly right. That selfishness is part of his character. It's very hard for someone like that to do something selfless.
Michelle: Yeah, one gets the sense he can justify anything to himself. In this case, it's "Well, my daughter's only going to serve a certain number of years than I would."
Robert: Can we also add one thing here? I think TV can be more cynical than features. Features worry about sending you home without despair. They want to end happy, whereas TV is OK with unsettling you because you know the story is not over yet.
It's also more tragic this way. He apologizes for disappointing her after confessing and she tells him, "you never could." Is their relationship irreparable now?
Robert: I think it's doing to be a delayed situation [in addressing that].
Michelle: He's in the wind! [Laughs]
Robert: It's a tenuous situation where he is no longer someone you can have a relationship with.
Do you see her forgiving him?
Robert: That's a hard one. I don't know. I think she has to face her own understanding of the situation. The problem is her life has kind of been a lie because she's been looking at her family as an agent of good and now she has to review everything in her life. Was she just blinded to the truth? I think she has to come to that realization first before she can either forgive or blame someone.
Michelle: I think it will be a fun internal struggle to play over this next season.
Did he tell Maia the truth? That they all knew about the scheme — him, Jax, Lenore, everyone knew, and they paid off the SEC?
Michelle: Was Henry telling the truth? Yes, he was.
Robert: I think what we're going towards is some type of Madoff conclusion, which is, yes, Madoff did the crime, but the crime was that everyone knew that they were getting an impossible deal. They didn't know if that impossible deal was insider information or something else ... so yes, he was telling the truth about the fact that he's guilty, his wife's guilty, Uncle Jax is guilty and basically everybody knew they were paying off the SEC. We all look for the one monster in a situation for any scandal, but I think the interesting thing about this pyramid scheme is the net is extended a little more widely.
Where is he going? Are we going to see him again?
Michelle: I would say TBD. The writers have not started talking yet about Season 2, so we don't know yet for sure. We love what Guilfoyle is doing and we love the character and we love what it does to Maia and Diane, so it's certainly tempting to see him again.
I liked last week's episode when you brought back the memory pops and Maia felt guilty like she had known all along. But it's that whole thing where we interpret things to fit what we know at the moment, and at that point she had no reason to suspect her parents of doing anything wrong, but now she retroactively thinks she's guilty of knowing and she told Lucca (Cush Jumbo) as such. How is that going to play into her state of mind now that she knows the truth and is arrested?
Robert: That's a great way of putting it. You know, Maia is someone who's trying to develop her own personality and if you stop trusting your memories, you're really in a bad situation to defend yourself. I think what Maia first has to do is she has to find something where she can depend on what she knows of her past. I think we make the connection between Maia and Alicia Florrick's character. We always said the subtitle [of The Good Wife] was "The Education of Alicia Florrick" because she really was trying to find herself as a lawyer. Here, that's true with Maia, but she's also trying to find herself as a human being. Is she essentially bad? Is she essentially good? What of her memories can she trust?
I think we love those episodes where people delve into their minds, trying to figure out what is real and what is not. We love how filmically that represents what really goes on in people's stream of consciousness. We're not using stream of consciousness the way Joy does, which is kind of a random stream of all the degrees of your life. Usually our stream of consciousness is directed toward solving a problem. The problem of: Am I complicit? Did I ignore the warning signs? And that I think makes it a much more directed stream. I find that more entertaining because it is about drama; it's not just about life. It's about trying to problem-solve your life, which is where I think drama comes from.
How will the firm react to Maia's arrest? Is it all hands on deck?
Michelle: I think one of the themes is work is family and so when a family member's attacked, certainly they're going to be energized, but exactly in what way we can't speak to yet.
Robert: We love the relationship with Lucca, so I think the most activated would be Lucca, who really does care for Maia. Lucca tries to think she's an island and she doesn't need other people, but she's stumbles into tight relationships, like the one with Alicia, where she starts to care. She cares when people are in trouble and I think that's one of the things that binds her to Maia.
Where are we going to find Lucca and Colin (Justin Bartha) next season? He just tells her to take care of herself at the end.
Robert: Justin Bartha is coming back next year. ... I think it's a relationship that is fraught, but I also think that they also do like each other and want something to come out of that.
On a happier note, Diane and Kurt appear to be getting back together. What's the plan for them?
Robert: We love Gary Cole. We'd use him in every episode if we could. He works all the time, he's one of the most desired actors, so I think it comes down to a story we always want to pursue. We wanted to see how these two people who are very mature in their lives — how do they create a mature relationship, especially when they hit a pothole like theirs did. So yes, we want to pursue it, but it all comes down to scheduling.
There are a couple developments on the job front for a few people. Lucca's told she's on track for partner, Marissa (Sarah Steele) wants to be an investigator, Colin wants to resign but he's promoted to deputy, and Barbara (Erica Tazel) seems unsure of her standing in the firm. She's eavesdropping on Adrian (Delroy Lindo) and Diane. How are those going to shake out?
Michelle: You've hit all the fun things we're looking to play with next season. [Laughs] We're looking to follow up on all those stories; we just haven't started yet.
Robert: I think what's interesting about Barbara is her concern at the beginning of the year is kind of played out by the end of the year. Diane is one survivor who keeps moving up in a company. Is there only room for one person like that in this law firm?
How do you look back on this first season? You didn't have to do 22 episodes and you got a lot of mileage out of Trump.
Michelle: We're just putting the finishing, finishing touches on the final touches on the last episode, so we don't really have the objectivity to stand back yet and look back.
Robert: You know, what I think works is something that's causing problems for the country and that is the show can comment on what is happening in present day. And there seems to be so many pressing issues that came about with the new administration, not just, oh, we're going to address the changes in the world? It's more of like, how has the culture changed people's lives? How have we all adjusted to the news now? How have we all adjusted to social media now? I think am most happy about the way the show has dealt with current events. I think throughout every episode, after we wrote the first four, because Trump was elected and we wanted to have the show seem current with what's going on with the new administration and I'm very happy about that.
What else can you tease for Season 2?
Robert: I think one of the ways the new season might be different is being a little more optimistic about the idealism of the law. I think The Good Wife was always about the law as a hindrance — what is a way we could use a loophole in the law to our advantage? I think there's going to be a new way to address that, which is the law not as a savior to whatever the chaos is at the moment. I think that'll be one of the themes next year.
Season 1 of The Good Fight is available to stream on CBS All Access.
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