'The Good Fight': Cush Jumbo on How Her Pregnancy Breathed New Life Into Season 2 (Exclusive)
By Philiana Ng
CBS All Access
The undercurrent for The Good Fight's new seasonhas the Chicago legal world on high alert when disgruntled clients target their high-powered attorneys, some of whom die in broad daylight. It's the rare high-stakes, life-and-death danger presented to Diane Lockhart and company that elevate the sophomore season to new heights.
“Season one was all about establishing this new part of The Good Wife universe, but this season has been so much fun to shoot and do because it has elements of dark and light," Cush Jumbo, who plays brilliant attorney Lucca Quinn, tells ET. "It’s also the funniest season we’ve ever done."
It will also be the first time a cast member's real-life pregnancy will be written into the series. In January,Jumbo revealed she is expecting her first child with husband Sean Griffin in April, and in turn, Lucca's journey will reflect that significant life change. In a chat with ET, Jumbo shared how Lucca's priorities may have shifted due to her baby's impending birth, what this means for her relationship with ex Colin Morrello (Justin Bartha) and why powerful career women shouldn't have to choose between career or family.
ET: What were the conversations like with The Good Fight creators Robert and Michelle King over whether they would write your pregnancy into Lucca’s storyline this season?
Cush Jumbo: They bought me some fertility sticks and I peed on them over the summer, and they let me know when my husband and I could [get pregnant]. [Laughs.] I’m totally joking, obviously! It’s one of those things that was a happy accident. I was in England doing a play and I got pregnant -- it wasn’t something that me and my husband had particularly planned -- and like Lucca does, I had to tell my employers that I was having a baby. The Kings, being the wonderful and creative beings that they are, thought this was a great opportunity to explore a narrative that they hadn’t done before, in terms of a woman who isn’t with the father of the baby, is on a partner track on a law firm and is doing really well in her career and now is terrified about how that might impact her career in the way that she is seen -- especially since she has built up herself as a strong, non-vulnerable success story.
Even from The Good Wife days, Lucca has established herself as a woman who is always career first, family second. How does her pregnancy shift that focus for her, or does it?
It adds an extra facet to her character that even I hadn’t accounted for. It's one thing to say Lucca has always been strong and serious, but she's never done it before. She starts off approaching her pregnancy almost like how she approaches everything, almost as if it's a business transaction. She's expecting that she'll be back to work four and a half hours after she gives birth. As you do when you're pregnant, your body begins to take over. It's an interesting discussion: Does society accept a woman who is pregnant and working, and consider her to still be a sexual being? Is she taking any necessary help from the people around her because she is carrying a baby and this whole idea of "I am absolutely fine and I can do absolutely everything. I can balance everything. I can have everything all the time," is just not true. It sometimes takes more strength in asking for help and making yourself more vulnerable than there is in shutting everybody out. That's what she's going through now.
How important is it to Lucca to have the father of her baby in the picture?
She has to go through a black book and a calendar and work it out when she was ovulating. [Laughs.] She knows [who the father is]. It's kind of a Rachel situation from Friends. It's more like everyone else who is trying to work it out. She knows exactly who it is, but with her and Colin not together, there are questions about whether it is Colin or not, whether she should tell him or not. It's a one-night thing that happened between the two seasons.
What is Lucca and Colin's status this season?
Their relationship continues to be in flux. There are some girls who are really into having the happy ending, even if that means settling for not quite the right guy. And although Lucca knows that Colin is a great person to father a child [with], because he's reliable in some ways, I don't think she's ever been fully satisfied by what she gets from him in a relationship, and maybe that's because she's not quite satisfied with herself yet. She's not quite discovered who she is. It's more that he's chasing the happy ending a little more than she is, especially now that it might help his political career that he's trying to launch, and she's suspicious of that. She has no problem being a co-parenting single mother.
The new season also ups the stakes with lawyers being targeted by clients and dying, which wreaks havoc in the Chicago legal world and introduces the idea that inside the walls of a law firm actually may not besafe. How has that tonal shift been to play?
It's so exciting. It's the overriding feeling, which is very unnerving for them at the law firm, which prides itself on being the law firm that fights for the underdog and does the right thing and works against police brutality. Actually, some of the decisions that we're making are about money and about us and not about the law, and that's what's happening in the politics around them too. If you're going to lie, why don't I lie a little bit? If you're going to bend the rules to win, why don't I bend the rules to win? It shines a light on what the right thing to do is, and maybe that's why some of these clients are losing their minds. It forces the law firm to look at itself. That's quite an exciting place to be, because in the Good Fight and Good Wife universe, nothing is ever black and white, there's always a gray area in who is in the right and who is in the wrong.
Audra McDonald is in the mix this season as Liz Reddick-Lawrence, the newest partner at the firm. What is Lucca's take on Liz?
First of all, forget Lucca. Cush Jumbo can't even deal with the fact that multi-Tony Award-winning actress Audra McDonald walks on the same floor as she does on a daily basis! It's ridiculous! What's helpful as actors is when you bring another kind of energy and how that kicks the scales for the other characters. Diane and Liz have some great stuff together just simply because Liz's energy is totally different and brings out this other side of Diane. From Lucca's perspective, Liz comes from the enemy side of the line and that makes her sort of a double agent. Lucca's always got her eye on someone who's sneaky, and Liz is quite sneaky.
What challenges face Lucca as she progresses on the partner track?
Lucca's the only one who's in this in-between stage of trying to be taken seriously but also looking at the law in a different kind of way. Like any woman at any age at work, it is trying to be tough and likable, and balancing that with her pregnancy, trying to hold onto that narrative of "I can do this. Don't write me off. Don't downgrade me. Don't assume I can't handle this because I'm having a baby by myself." Those are the challenges that she comes up against. A lot of them are in her own mind; these are conversations she's having with herself.