Diane and Kurt’s stark political differences became insurmountable this season on The Good Fight, leading the couple to go their separate ways. At least that was the original plan.
In the following Season 5 post mortem (the finale is now streaming on Paramount+), series creators Robert and Michelle King reveal why they ultimately backed off on the breakup plot. The EPs also explain the origin of this season’s “vigilante justice” theme, and weigh in on Mandy Patinkin’s possible return in the already-ordered Season 6.
TVLINE | I thought for sure Diane and Kurt were headed for a divorce in the finale. Instead, they ended the season seemingly closer than ever. Why weren’t Kurt’s MAGA politics ultimately a deal-breaker for Diane?
ROBERT KING | [Laughs] I’ll throw that to you, Michelle.
MICHELLE KING | I think Diane loves Kurt as much as I do. Gary Cole is so wonderful. Their relationship is, in some ways, aspirational; regardless of their disagreements they still support each other. Maybe it’s a weak[ness] on my part, but I’m just not quite ready to let that [relationship] go.
ROBERT KING | The [original plan] was to break them up by the end of Episode Six [of this season]. We wrote it in the [writers’] room. But we all looked at it and just didn’t have the heart to pull that trigger. For some reason, their chemistry [is stronger than their] political [differences].
Most of the arguments in the room involved how far on the right we wanted to push Kurt, because we didn’t want him to be a ‘Sorkin Republican,’ which is a democrat who just calls himself a republican. We wanted him to, you know, [support the] NRA and everything. And that just makes it a hard relationship.
TVLINE| Kurt refused to tell Diane who he supported in the 2020 election. Can you please tell me?
ROBERT KING | Oh, that’s a hard one. [Laughs]
MICHELLE KING | I do not personally believe that he voted for Trump in 2020.
ROBERT KING | And I think he voted for Trump.
TVLINE | Where did the idea for this season’s alternate justice theme come from?
MICHELLE KING | One of our writers, Aurin Squire, pitched it fully formed out of his head. Typically in the [writers’] room somebody will have an idea and it will get tweaked and spun, and we’ll go forward and backwards, and it’s a little bit hard to know the exact genesis of it. This was atypical in that Aurin had this fully formed, completely out of leftfield idea about somebody starting an alternate court in the back of a copy shop.
ROBERT KING | Aurin’s been a writer with us since BrainDead, and so many of his pitches [for The Good Fight have been] so bizarre that we were just like, “No, we wouldn’t do that.” And then this year… reality caught up with his ideas. The real world has just gotten that weird.
TVLINE | Mandy Patinkin was such a good foil for the cast this season. His chemistry with Sarah Steele, in particular, was really strong. His arc as Judge Wackner was clearly wrapped up in the finale, but can you envision a Season 6 that somehow includes him?
ROBERT KING | We had so much fun with him. We [actually] added one more episode [to his contract] this year because we were having so much fun with him. When the [writers’] room [convenes for Season 6] we will talk about it. It all comes down to whether we can all agree on how it would work.
TVLINE | The status of Liz and Del’s relationship was left up in the air in the finale. Was that because you don’t quite know if Wayne Brady will be back next season?
ROBERT KING | [Laughs] Yes. The fates of our TV show are often in [lock step] with the fates [actors’] agents. But we loved him. We loved their chemistry.
TVLINE | The show has experienced a lot of cast turnover in its first five seasons. By all accounts, it seems like a very happy workplace. And most actors would kill to get on a prestige drama like this. So what’s going on? Is the craft services subpar or something?
ROBERT KING | [Deadpans] I’m a screamer.
MICHELLE KING | It is actually a happy place to work. And people do enjoy the material. It ends up being [about the] individual… It is not an exodus because of unhappiness…. and if it is they’re keeping it quiet from me.
ROBERT KING | I will say that this is an ensemble show. And I think some actors want to lead the show and not be part of an ensemble… It was very, very sad for us to lose Delroy [Lindo] and Cush [Jumbo] this season. But Cush wanted to go do Hamlet…
MICHELLE KING | … which we can’t quite compete with yet. [Laughs]
ROBERT KING | And Delroy, at least in the beginning, wanted to do [ABC’s ill-fated drama series] Harlem’s Kitchen. And then he did such a great job in Da 5 Bloods that it was clear this was a person who was feeling his oats with movies.
TVLINE | How many seasons do you see the show running for?
ROBERT KING | Look, if we lose the core, which is the [cast] we have now, we will have to [ask ourselves], “Do we really want to do [the show] with puppets?”