The new season of The Good Fight returns to a much-changed world. After season 4 was cut short by three episodes due to the pandemic, season 5 opens with a kind of catch-up episode that gallops across a year’s worth of crises, developments, departures (so long Cush Jumbo and Delroy Lindo), and more. It’s a fantastic piece of TV, especially on a scripting level – where other shows may struggle to contend with incorporating recent real-world events into their narratives, The Good Fight takes the bit in its teeth.
But it’s not a reset button – the world in general and the Chicago legal community in the specific is still reeling from Covid-19, and the exact symptoms, if you’ll pardon the expression, crop up in unexpected ways.
Investigator-turned-lawyer Marissa (Sarah Steele), now an associate at Reddick, Boseman & Lockhart, discovers this in the second episode when she heads off for a court hearing that apparently doesn’t exist. Following the clues, she makes her way to the back room of a copy shop where a man has set up a makeshift courtroom with himself presiding as judge. What’s even weirder is actual lawyers with actual civil cases are showing up – as one explains, the backlog for hearings in the real judicial system is so long that many clients will take a quick, albeit technically non-binding, ruling rather than wait. It’s crazy, but it works.
Who’s the genius and/or madman behind this venture? Judge (not really) Hal Wackner, the copy shop proprietor. And he’s played, delightfully, by Mandy Patinkin.