writinglessons: The Good Fight

I spent a few days watching episodes of The Good Fight with my cousin recently. She’s pregnant and the baby had her sleep cycle on ridiculous, so scripted tv programs were a perfect way to bide the time.

She (my cousin) informed me that The Good Fight (TGF) was a spinoff of The Good Wife. Neither shows had ever been of interest to me and with an already stacked to-watch-list, I didn’t think I should add TGF to my schedule. Boy, am I happy I did.

the-good-fight

Source: Variety

The show is set in the city of Chicago and specifically in the offices of the city’s most prestigious all-Black law firm. You’d think it would be a show about black people and the crucial or tangential issues involving them.

Instead, and quite cleverly, the story is really about three female attorneys trying to find their way at the firm. Two of those attorneys are white (yes, I know it’d obvious from the poster above).

Their race, while sometimes important, is far from crucial to what makes the show so incredible. Its the complicated relationships between themselves and the characters they encounter that produces the tension, conflict and pleasure of this program.

Take Ygritte Maia (lady number 3 in the poster). The complexity for her lies in her relationship with her parents and particularly her father.

He’s a deadbeat who’s used his daughter over and over and over. Yet, she continues to fall for his games even to her personal and professional detriment.

He’s the cross she has to bear. The hurdle she must overcome to come into her true self.

There’s Diane (lady number 2 in the poster). She’s played by Christine Baranski, who’s the only reason I stayed awake to watch Bad Moms Christmas.

She has a monotone in this show that forces you to pay attention to her whenever she speaks. It commands attention in it’s own quiet way. Very opposite of what most tv lawyers and frankly, real lawyers are like. Despite her legal chops, she’s burdened by something from her past and the challenge of moving over to a predominantly-black law firm, where she must take into account it’s history and culture plus more. She has enemies who want to bring her down at all costs and her marriage is on the rocks. Watching her navigate the various hurdles in her path was entertaining but better yet, eye opening.

Finally, Lucca. I might have to watch more of the show but of the episodes I saw, Lucca was dealing with some interesting relationship issues with her beau.

It raised issues of trust, commitment to the jealous mistress (the law) vs. a partner and much more. She also played a role in helping Maia stiffen her spine against not just her father, but a district attorney’s office that had it in for the entire firm.

giphy

And the main point of this entire exercise of mine was simply to highlight how the strength of a story can depend on the interconnections between interesting characters. None of the main characters is particularly unique as far as characters go, but the ties that bind them and the way they traverse the landmines before them can make for a story that keeps viewers glued to their screens.

As a writer, I need to find a way to make my characters, who are very complicated, appear thus on the page. Having watched episodes of TGF, I now aim to not only make my individual characters complex, but make the relationships between them complicated as well.

My hope is that by doing so, I’ll be able to flush out my character arcs in a way that is satisfying to my readers. And in turn, that will bring them back to read more of what I write.

Do you watch TGF? If you’re a writer, have you found that the show has influenced your storytelling? Have any shows had that impact on you? Let me know!

 

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