Founding partner Carl Reddick returns to the firm to challenge Adrian's leadership
The Good Wife season 1 is all over “Reddick v Boseman,” The Good Fight‘s latest episode. First, there’s the return of a Good Wife character we first met in season 1, and more importantly, the Stern to Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad’s Stern, Lockhart & Gardner returned to the firm with less-than-pure motives. I always appreciated The Good Wife‘s historical memory, so it didn’t bother me much that the show borrowed heavily from its predecessor.
The episode opens with the surprising return of the firm’s founding partner, Carl Reddick (Louis Gossett Jr.). Like Jonas Stern, Reddick is a legendary civil rights lawyer with a history of fighting police brutality cases. In fact, Reddick even marched on Selma.
When we meet him in tonight’s episode, he’s regaling the law firm with stories of the fight, which aren’t meant to inspire the employees. “If you have anything worth fighting against — whether it’s injustice or an out-of-control president” [cut to Julius, because lol] — “you must stand in the face of opposition fearlessly. That’s what this firm represents,” the dapperly dressed elder says to the firm. It’s immediately clear that Reddick has the same relationship with Barbara and Adrian that Stern had with Will and Diane, which is that he’s never really around. (In fact, Robert King recently told The Ringer that they viewed Barbara and Adrian as this show’s Will and Diane.) So Adrian and Barbara are definitely concerned about his return.
This is a legal show, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that Adrian and Barbara were right to be worried about Reddick coming back. Reddick wastes no time in revealing that he plans on calling a vote to remove Adrian as managing partner because he’s worried that the firm has lost its way under Adrian’s leadership. Not only was the firm almost indicted, but it also just signed Chum Hum, “one of the whitest Silicon Valley companies,” as a client, which leads Reddick to think that Adrian cares more about money than fighting the good fight. And there’s definitely a sense that Reddick at least has some kind of point. Remember, Adrian told Barbara to let Neil Gross’ casual racism slide because of how much money he’s bringing in. I bet Reddick definitely wouldn’t have let that go. This desire to set the firm back on the right path is what keeps this episode from feeling like it’s retreading the steps of The Good Wife‘s “Threesome,” since Stern was only interested creating a new firm out of spite.
In addition to throwing the leadership of the firm into question, Reddick also brought with him a case: Pastor Jeremiah, whom we met on The Good Wife, needs the firm’s help to evict a halfway house tenant, Paul, who has started using again. However, the case becomes more complicated when Paul accuses Jeremiah of only evicting him because he stopped sleeping with him. Enter Paul’s sleazy-as-hell lawyer, Gabriel Kovac, who is not above using shady-as-hell tactics to get some money out of the pastor. Kovac assumes the mere optics of a well-respected black pastor being accused of rape will scare them enough to settle.
Naturally, Jeremiah denies Paul’s allegations. Each time Diane returns to Kovac with more proof disputing his evidence of the sexual assault, Paul reveals he has another piece of evidence that proves Jeremiah’s guilt. Given that we live in a post “Spotlight Investigation” world, the audience keeps waiting for some of Kovac’s evidence to stick to Jeremiah. However, it never does. Instead, Marissa and Jay do some investigative work and discover that Kovac is merely doing the bidding of an alt-right organization that wants to discredit Pastor Jeremiah. While the alt-right has employed some awful tactics to discredit their opponents, this case did give me pause because I don’t think we need a story with a false accusations of sexual assault. When victims come forward, they usually face a very steep uphill battle since no one believes them even though the number of false accusations is very low.
Maia does work with Diane a bit on the Pastor Jeremiah case, but for the most part she’s busy dealing with a family crisis. After failing to make up with his daughter, Henry decides to commit suicide. He dresses in his suit, writes his suicide note, and heads out to the family’s barn, where he tries to hang himself with a hose. Fortunately, he fails and ends up just falling from the barn roof and hurting his back. It’s not really explained how Henry went from last week’s episode to being so depressed that he was willing to kill himself.
Anyway, Maia and Amy, worried that Henry might do something drastic after a troubling phone call, rush to the Rindells’ home and find Henry flat on his back. Henry tells Maia that she has to get rid of all signs of his suicide attempt before the ambulance gets there or else his bail will be revoked. Despite the fact that she still feels betrayed by him, Maia rushes to make sure her father doesn’t go back to jail.
Lenore meets Maia and Henry at the hospital, and for some reason she thought it would be okay for Jax to give her a ride. Maia takes her mother aside and tells her she needs to break things off with Jax. Lenore denies an affair (because she thinks her family is stupid?), but Maia shows her Henry’s suicide note, and that’s all the convincing she needs. Eight episodes in and I remain very much confused about Lenore and Jax of it all.
While all of this is going on, Lucca has the misfortune of being introduced to Colin’s wacky family. It’s clear from the moment she arrives at Colin’s birthday party that she’s the token black person there because his mother spends the entire night asking her for her opinions on Trump, since she’s supposed to speak for all black people. It’s not-self-aware white liberalism at its finest. Unfortunately, her experience at the party ends up shattering her relationship with Colin because one of the attendees suggests that Colin’s family only wants her there because having a black woman on his arm will make Colin look good when he runs for office. So, she leaves the party early. The next day, Colin tries to convince her that she isn’t his ticket to a Senate seat or whatever, but Lucca doesn’t believe him and ends things. She’s pretty heartbroken about it because she starts crying as soon as she’s alone.
Now, it’s time for the firm to vote on Adrian as managing partner. Adrian ends up losing 11 to 12, and then Reddick moves to oust him. However, at the last minute, Barbara speaks up and sides with Adrian, which leads to a tie. Her reasoning is that she believes Adrian is better suited to the fights of today. Reddick says she’s foolish if she thinks the fights have changed. It’s an interesting conflict that I hope the show dives into going forward; however, it still hasn’t explained why Julius is conservative, so I’m highly doubtful it will manage to go forward with this.
The episode ends with a very Will and Diane moment, minus some dancing: Barbara and Adrian celebrate their latest victory by opening a bottle of wine and toasting to idealism and pragmatism. It’s a great final shot that I hope promises more development for this duo’s working relationship.
- Other business: Jay, impressed by Marissa’s work on the case, agrees to sponsor her investigator’s license application.
- “We’re here fighting the good fight,” says Barbara to Reddick at the beginning of the episode. You know, this dialogue tick is starting to lose its charm.
- Lucca’s experience of Colin’s party reminded me of the “How’s He Doing” SNL sketch where Kerry Washington says, “Have you ever been to a party where a white person approaches you with a smile and you just know they gon’ want to talk about The Wire?”