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Diane Lockhart is back. Last night, CBS premiered The Good Fight, the spinoff of successful legal drama The Good Wife, which featured the return of Diane (Christine Baranksi) and Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo) after last May’s series finale.
Baranski sat down with Entertainment Weekly and talked about her decision to continue playing the character she built up for seven seasons instead of moving on to different projects.
Baranski said that talks about the spinoff started around the same time that it was announced that The Good Wife would be ending, though it was incredibly informal. She said she started to get some offers from other shows, but wanted to hold off on taking anything in case the spinoff ended up happening.
She also said she was motivated to stay on if Robert and Michelle King, the co-creators of the show and two of the writers on the show, would also be involved in the project, which Baranski said almost didn’t happen.
“The Kings were deeply preoccupied with BrainDead, but then it turned out that once BrainDead neared its end the Kings said, ‘You know, we really actually are very interested in writing full time for this.’ And I was of course overjoyed because that’s why I wanted to stay on. So, it’s all worked out perfectly.”
As for her on-screen persona, Baranski said she “loved the character,” making it easier for her continue portraying Diane, adding that “For an actress at this point in my career, to play a character, a female character as smart and as elegant as Diane… there’s a kind of integrity to her. I could see over the course of seven years how much women responded to the Diane character, to say nothing of how well dressed she was. I thought if I could get that character back, I was willing to stay rather than venture into something unknown.”
Meanwhile, the pilot episode of The Good Fight slightly paid tribute to The Good Wife, at least in terms of Will (Josh Charles) and Alicia (Juliana Margulies). Will was remembered in a photograph in a slideshow in Diane’s going away party and Alicia was alluded to when Diane said “people who I thought were saints, weren’t,” a reference to Alicia putting Diane’s husband, Kurt, on the stand and asking if he’d had an affair in the series finale, according to Entertainment Weekly.
The premiere of The Good Fight scored a 0.7 rating in the 18 to 49 demographic and was watched by 7.16 million viewers, according to TV by the Numbers. From now on, the show will be available for streaming on CBS All Access.