Christine Baranski on Starring in 2 Shows and Channeling Viewers’ Feelings About Trump

She's back in Season 4 of The Good Fight, and will also appear in HBO's The Gilded Age

Between The Good Wife and spinoff The Good Fight, Christine Baranski has now played Diane Lockhart for 11 seasons.
Patrick Harbron/CBS

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Starring in one TV series is a tough enough feat, but Christine Baranski will soon be headlining two different shows. In addition to continuing as Diane Lockhart on The Good Fight, which returns for Season 4 today on CBS All Access, she’ll also be starring in the upcoming HBO series The Gilded Age, from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.

After playing Diane for seven seasons on CBS’ The Good Wife, Baranski stepped into the lead for the legal drama’s spinoff, which was CBS All Access’ first scripted original series in 2017 and was named one of Adweek’s 10 best shows of the decade. Season 4 tackles a new reality where the rules of law have broken down.

The Good Fight had to halt production because of the novel coronavirus, but CBS All Access has opted to run the first half of the season now, and will air the second half after production resumes. Prior to the production shutdown, Baranski spoke with Adweek about starring in two TV shows, the brand partnerships she’d be open to and, unexpectedly, tantric sex. 

Many actors who have spent 11 seasons playing the same role talk about getting burned out or that there’s nothing left to explore. That doesn’t seem to be the case with you and Diane.
Baranski: No, it’s amazing. I feel like I’m just such a blessed actress to have connected with the Kings [Robert and Michelle King, who created The Good Wife and co-created The Good Fight] all those years ago and develop this character and developed a relationship with them. It feels like a family that I have in terms of the actors and the guest actors that keep coming back. And so many crew members that I’ve worked with for over a decade.

But in terms of the acting, what’s really wonderful is that especially The Good Fight, even more than The Good Wife, is so much about characters living in the moment in time in which we presently find ourselves. The pilot was Diane watching the inauguration of Donald Trump, which is a ride we’ve all been taking. So to have a character like Diane who’s a liberal feminist, highly accomplished lawyer, head of a law firm, going through that journey of what it’s like to live in this moment, dealing with her anger, her frustration, her deep concerns about where it’s all going … I feel like I’m a question mark that people can relate to. I’m a character that people say, “Yeah, I’m also going through that.”

Two seasons ago, Diane was doing aikido. Last season she took up axe throwing. Is there a new hobby for her this season?
Tantric sex. [laughs loudly] I’m joking. She did the aikido and the axe throwing to vent her anger. The anger is being channeled in a different way. I think there’s going to be some exploration between [husband] Kurt and Diane in their life that will be interesting, let me put it that way. I don’t know if it’s tantric sex. I don’t know how that would play—but it is [streaming] after all!

"For as long as they're willing to write the show, I'm willing to be on it."
Christine Baranski on The Good Fight co-creators Robert and Michelle King

You’re also going to be a series regular on The Gilded Age. How are you able to take on a second TV role, and what kind of red tape did you have to navigate to do that?
Whatever had to be navigated was done very gracefully between CBS and HBO. I was the happy recipient of their agreement that it would be OK. But you have to understand, there’s a lot of time off now that one does only 10 episode [seasons on The Good Fight]. So I had months and months off before I went back to work. [Last] spring I got the call that Julian Fellowes wanted me to play this character. I thought, ‘My God’—for one thing, Julian Fellowes, and then I’ve always wanted to do a period piece on film. I’ve never done that.

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