One of many advantages of getting a TV present on a streaming platform is one thing few really benefit from: you may kind of do something. Free of the shackles of broadcast rankings, as soon as a streaming present is greenlit for a season, it’s mainly assured that season. The Good Struggle, a authorized drama on CBS All Entry, has spent three years enjoying by no guidelines aside from its personal, upending the whole lot you would possibly count on from a authorized drama to turn out to be one of the crucial slept-on exhibits on the market. Its season four premiere, out this week, is the sequence at its most absurd and most incisive.
To grasp The Good Struggle’s audacity, it’s important to know the place it comes from. The primary episode of The Good Struggle started with the Trump presidency. The present, a authorized drama spun out of The Good Spouse (you don’t actually need to look at that to get pleasure from this one) leaned into this. Its first scene featured protagonist Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski), a rich, profitable lawyer, watching the inauguration and swearing. Then, she makes plans: she quits her job and makes preparations to run off to Italy, the place she will ignore the looming political carnival. Issues don’t go as deliberate, and she or he’s caught right here with the remainder of us — her cash gone, her former agency shutting her out, and her previous lifestyle upended.
She’s employed by a legislation agency owned by black companions, and The Good Struggle turns its premise on its head. As a substitute of being a narrative a couple of rich white girl coping with Trump’s America, it’s about her confronting simply how completely different that America is — and at all times was — for individuals of shade.
Maybe that makes the sequence sound didactic, prefer it’s serving civic greens. And whereas it’s cathartic to see the writers deal with topical points like ICE’s lack of accountability or the results of a file variety of barely certified judges being accepted by Congress, The Good Struggle can be unbelievably watchable. Like every good courtroom drama, its instances are stuffed with strikes and countermoves that make every episode really feel like a dance, and it’s continuously laugh-out-loud humorous. Some of the memorable characters is Roland Blum (Michael Sheen), and amoral, fentanyl-sucking sleaze who blows via the present’s universe like a dirtbag hurricane that feels too cartoonish to be true. Then you definitely discover he seems in an episode referred to as “The One Impressed by Roy Cohn” and understand that he’s, in actual fact, impressed by Roy Cohn.
At its greatest, The Good Struggle’s jokes at all times have a bit of chunk.
Take this season premiere for example. In a very out-of-nowhere twist, Diane wakes as much as discover she is in one other universe the place Hillary Clinton gained the 2016 election, and she or he’s the one one who remembers the timeline the place Trump did. Once more, I need to stress that The Good Struggle is a authorized drama. It does not dabble in science fiction or the multiverse or alternate timelines. And but, that’s what the premiere does as a result of The Good Struggle determined it needed to make some extent, one which it perhaps didn’t underline properly sufficient in earlier episodes and one which feels particularly resonant in an election yr: the issues don’t start and finish with the particular person within the White Home. Folks have blind spots.
The Good Struggle excels at satire that’s each over-the-top and extremely sharp — a expertise that has made it the primary really good sequence in regards to the Trump period, even because it continues to unfold. It’s a present that’s not afraid to be ridiculous in an effort to underscore the absurdity of the instances, whereas affixing its drama to underappreciated tales ripped from headlines that the information cycle glosses over all too shortly. The thread tying this season collectively, for instance, includes a top-secret memo that enables the wealthy to utterly decide out of the authorized course of, a plotline clearly lifted from final yr’s lengthy line of Trump associates who merely refused to adjust to subpoenas — a legal offense.
However maybe the largest motive The Good Struggle resonates is in the way it takes benefit of its case-of-the-week construction to repeatedly widen its lens to have a look at how the systemic corruption of the judicial system is felt by individuals past its world of legal professionals, who, by nature of their occupation, should frequently compromise. Typically it falters on this, reflecting the blindspots of the characters it often is self-aware about. One season will get a bit of too mired in a #Resist plot, and in one other, the precise pee tape seems. (Sure, that pee tape. What different one might we presumably be speaking about?)
But, on the entire, The Good Struggle doesn’t need the wealthy and highly effective to be the one ones writing the story of our surreal, nightmarish current. It is aware of that the justice system is hopelessly compromised, and it isn’t naive sufficient to assume it may be mounted from the within. The nice guys can’t at all times win, however they will go away a file.