TV's most topical legal drama is almost back. CBS All Access' The Good Fight returns for Season 4 on Thursday -- and while the of-the-moment series won't be able to tackle social distancing any time soon (production was reportedly halted in March in response to coronavirus), it will kick off with even more creative political commentary.
"Diane at the beginning of Season 4 is actually coming out of a coma," star Christine Baranski told TV Guide in January. "So she's definitely in a different headspace."
After Season 3 ended with a dramatic cliffhanger as a S.W.A.T. team prepared to barge in on Diane (Baranski) and Kurt (Gary Cole), the new season debuts with a dream sequence: In the premiere, titled "The Gang Deals with Alternate Reality," Diane finds herself in a world where Donald Trump was never elected and Hillary Clinton is the current president of the United States.
"It's a very funny episode, but we set off on a journey starting with what's going on in the present moment," Baranski teased.
In addition to revisiting the 2016 election, the show will also look ahead to the 2020 showdown. Though Baranski and co-star Cush Jumbo, who plays Lucca Quinn, couldn't say exactly how the looming election will factor into the story, they stressed The Good Fight's gift for bringing big political issues down to earth.
"The strength of [the show] always is all the other little things that are happening to real people at real times as a result of what's happening in the White House," Jumbo said.
Baranski agreed, praising showrunners Robert and Michelle King for the way politics infuses every aspect of the drama. "I don't know if they plan to have individual characters have favorite Democratic nominees or face off in terms of politics that way," she said, "but the Kings somehow manage to not be overtly political and yet, as Cush said, it's always hovering in the atmosphere."
As always, that relevance extends to the courtroom. Diane's first court case in the new season pits her against Good Wifealum Michael J. Fox as Louis Canning. Baranski was thrilled to share the screen with Fox again.
"He's just utterly unscrupulous and perfect for this plotline," she said of his character, "because it's about a defendant simply not adhering to a subpoena, not feeling he is subject to any legal proceeding, doesn't have to show up. It's reflective of what's going on in the country where, gosh, people in the White House feel they don't have to honor subpoenas and judicial rulings."
In addition to Fox, the new season will see the return of Zach Grenier (now back as a series regular) as David Lee. John Larroquette and Hugh Dancy have also joined the ensemble for Season 4 alongside returning cast members Audra McDonald, Sarah Steele, Michael Boatman, Nyambi Nyambi, and Delroy Lindo.
For Baranski, filming The Good Fight is what axe throwing is to Diane: a way to channel some of her own political frustration.
"We're living in such a precarious, unpredictable time," she said. "I wake up in the morning, I read the paper, I watch MSNBC, and I'm pissed off. I'm pissed off coming to work. I get to play a character who's pissed off and fighting the good fight, and I go home and I'm like, huh, I vented a little bit of anger in my acting work today."
The Good Fight Season 4 premieres Thursday, April 9 on CBS All Access.
Reporting by Megan Vick