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EXCLUSIVE: 'The Good Fight' Creators Originally Planned an Episode About Nate Parker Controversy

by Philiana Ng 3:20 PM PST, January 09, 2017
Photo: CBS

The Good Wife often featured storylines adapted from real-life headlines, and its spinoff, The Good Fight, continues that trend.

“What is always fun is to try to mimic what’s going on at the same time,” co-creator and co-showrunner Robert King told ET exclusively during a sit-down interview at CBS’ Television Critics Association press day on Monday.

The first episode of The Good Fight, in fact, kicks off with the swearing-in ceremony of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the U.S., which takes place in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Jan. 20.

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“The first episode starts with the Trump inauguration,” he said. “That hasn’t happened yet, that’s 10 days away, we just know that it will. So as many times as you can anticipate where the world was heading.”

King revealed that they had originally planned for episode two of The Good Fight to center on the controversy surrounding rape allegations leveled against Birth of a Nation director and star Nate Parker in 1999 that resurfaced in 2016 amid the film’s Oscar campaign.

“The second episode was going to be, for example, about the Nate Parker situation with Birth of a Nation,” King said.

He explained his thought process behind why he and the writers ultimately abandoned the idea altogether.

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“Part of the reason it was going to be, we knew the Academy Awards was going to be hitting right around when we were going to show the second episode," King shared. "Why we backed off is it didn’t feel like that issue played itself out in a way that would still be current in February. It just felt, because of the reaction to the movie, that the story sort of died away.”

An early frontrunner in the Oscar race, Parker addressed the controversy in a Facebook post in August. Parker appeared on 60 Minutes in October in a sit-down with Anderson Cooper, where he said he “was falsely accused.”

In 1999, Parker and his Penn State roommate, Jean Celestin -- who also co-wrote The Birth of a Nation with Parker -- were charged with raping an 18-year-old fellow student in their apartment. The woman claimed that she was unconscious, while Parker and Celestin argued that the sexual encounter was consensual.

RELATED: Nate Parker Apologizes for 'Insensitive' Response to Rape Case Controversy

Parker was acquitted by a jury in 2001, while Celestin was found guilty and sentenced to six months in prison. The verdict was appealed and a new trial was granted in 2005. However, the woman declined to testify again and the case never made it back to court.

The woman's brother revealed, in an interview with Variety, that his sister took her own life in 2012, at the age of 30.

The Good Fight premieres Sunday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and CBS All Access.

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