So what happens when an over-the-top and incredibly sharp series, known for its brilliant satire, decides to flip the tables and satirize itself?
Well, you get an incredibly compelling hour of television.
Yes, the series went full-on meta on The Good Fight Season 4 Episode 4 with a satirized play about the characters, and it was quite a sight to behold.
However, as the title of the episode suggests, the "gang" didn't like it one bit.
Though only mentioned by name on The Good Fight Season 3 as a black attorney who got fired after being arrested for drug use, Alan North, or rather Jumaane Jenkins, made his
theatrical debut on the series as the mastermind behind "C**ksucker in Chains."
And while it was funny for the play's audience and viewers, the outlandish and wholly hyperbolic depictions of the fictional lawyers at Reddick, Boseman, & Lockhart weren't exactly appealing to the "real-life" counterparts.
Liz: You told the audience during a talkback Q&A that you based your characters on real life people.
Jumaane: No, I think you misheard.
Caleb: This play is based on real people, not types, like the divorcing white guy is based on a real client.
Jumaane: What a surprise? Another white attorney here.
Caleb: Another white attorney with a photographic memory.
Obviously, most of their anger got directed at Jumaane, for he betrayed them.
However, part of the problem was that as demeaning as it was for the lawyers to watch, there were small nuggets of truth sprinkled throughout.
Those airs of truth, such as Carl Reddick's multiple sexual assaults and Diane's seeming ability to always get her way, makes it that much harder just to write off the play entirely.
It would have been easier if everything was just lies, but when there's some sliver of truth, it's harder to ignore, as you can't help but question if some of the "lies" we tell ourselves are true.
That realization forced some of the characters to examine themselves and their inner struggles more closely.
Charlotte: So here we are for some culture: C**ksucker in Chains.
Adrian: The asterisk means it’s classy.
Julius, for one, was forced to confront his handling of Tecates v. Rare Orchards, something he has been struggling with since The Good Fight Season 4 Episode 2.
Though he knew it went against his very appointment as a federal judge, Julius still decided to recuse him, as the alternative would have surely meant the end of his judicial career.
Until now, he's been unwilling to do more than point Diane in the right direction, but after a "conversation" with his play counterpart, Julius may be more amiable to helping out.
As his play counterpart pointed out, white judges are a dime a dozen, whereas black conservative judges, like him, are harder to come by.
Certainly, the cabal behind Memo 618 has the power to frame Julius and force him from the bench, but the question now becomes whether it will.
Is someone like Julius worth more to the cabal on the bench -- even if he steps a little out of line -- than off? Or does the cabal not care at all about his race or political preference?
I got into the law because it mattered. In a world where there is so much nihilism and cynicism, the law was a crystal guide, a path forward, but every day the world chips away at this. Lawyers get more cynical. People pay off judges, they threaten them or the judges just give in, and then there’s nothing, emptiness. What is injustice? It’s people giving up.Julian Play Counterpart
Julius has no way of knowing the answers to these questions, but the realization about the type of judge he is might be all the push he needs to step up and do the right thing.
Julius, though, wasn't alone, as Liz also found herself acting on her play counterpart's advice.
And while it seemed like the series was possibly building to a romance between Marissa and Caleb, things took an unexpected turn as it was the name partner, not the investigator, who hooked up with the second-year associate.
However, from their awkward conversation the following morning, the pair seems to have agreed for it to be a one-time thing, though, in TV speak, that means it will happen again.
If you were a better lawyer, you would know right now you are – what’s the Latin term? – fucked.Adrian
If the pair were to pursue a romantic relationship, though, it would only be socially acceptable in today's climate because Liz, a woman, is the boss, and Caleb, a subordinate, is a man.
A male authority figure involved with a female subordinate is no longer viewed as par for the course in the entertainment industry, and any sort of depicted romance could leave a sour taste in viewers' mouths, as they watch the relationship play out.
Regardless of gender dynamics, the pairing is still precarious -- especially given the boss-employee relationship -- but after 'shipping Willicia for almost five seasons on The Good Wife, it'd be hypocritical to judge.
Audra McDonald and Hugh Dancy do have chemistry, but it's more palpable between him and Sarah Steele.
At this point, either direction The Powers That Be chooses would be fine, but the introduction of the dreaded love triangle would be insufferable.
Marissa: I’m bored. I want to be entertained.
Caleb: You want me to sing to you?
Marissa: No, tell me a joke.
Caleb: Man walks into a zoo. The only animal in the entire zoo is a dog. It’s a Shih Tzu. Want me to explain it to you?
Marissa: No, I get it. I’m just not laughing.
One would hope this series is too cognizant of current politics and race and economic inequality to fall prey to this overused trope.
However, viewers have been let down on occasions, though they are far and few between.
The show's track record, though, should be proof enough that viewers' trust in the Kings is not misplaced, so arguably, the series should avoid the typical pitfalls if a love triangle were to persist.
But to be safe, the series should steer clear of complicated, romantic entanglements, though I may make an exception for Diane, who fabulously found her inner dominatrix this episode.
Remember the promo for The Good Fight Season 4, and you were utterly confused why Diane was in a black skin-tight jumpsuit? Well, know you have your answer.
So that’s you? Your work’s more exciting than I thought.Kurt [to Diane]
Seeing Diane that way was quite the shock, but it's not as out there as it would have been on The Good Wife.
Over the past three seasons, Diane has evolved.
Whether it be her experimentation with micro-dosing or increased frequency in swearing, she's not as restrained as viewers once thought.
She's more willing and open to trying new things, and this installment included donning dominatrix clothing while wearing a cowboy hat and carrying a shotgun.
However, she's not just some sexed-up housewife; she's still the Diane we know and love.
Diane: No, you did not?
Brian: No, I requested your ass.
Diane: And what does that mean?
Brian: It means your ass.
Diane: Are you refusing to answer?
Brian: No, I am answering. I have requested your ass. Do you want me to spell it out for you?
Diane: I have asked you whether you cited a legal ruling in requesting this recess.
Brian: Yes, and I have answered.
Diane: Would you like me to call the judge and insist on your compliance?
Brian: I would like you to call your ass.
Diane [to stenographer]: Are you getting this?
Brian: Here, let me help. I have told the plaintiff’s lawyer to call her own ass.
Gabe: And people make fun of the way I practice law.
That means she'll continue to fight against injustice, as she has been doing for over a decade now.
This episode continued the season-long arc about the mystery of Memo 618.
After discovering Brian Nief, the head of litigation at STR Laurie, was the one blocking her internet access, Diane tried a roundabout approach to get more information on the mysterious memorandum.
Just when it seemed Diane was gaining some traction, the rug gets pulled out from under her again.
To her credit, she does keep coming up with creative solutions in the search for answers, but those behind Memo 618 keep finding ways to stall her efforts.
Diane, though, could do this "cat-and-mouse game" for the foreseeable future, which is probably why the men behind the curtain decided a different tactic.
Diane: You’re worried?
Kurt: My only regret from last year was not taking the threat against you more seriously.
Diane: That wouldn’t have made any difference.
Kurt: You could have stopped working with your political nuts.
Diane: This is different. This is… this isn’t about politics.
Kurt: I just don’t…
Kurt: I don’t want to lose you.
Diane: I don’t want to be lost.
Approaching Kurt was a good call on their part, especially if they did their homework and looked into what happened to Diane over the last year.
While Kurt would never undermine Diane, he does a reason to be worried for her, especially in the aftermath of the swatting incident on The Good Fight Season 4 Episode 1.
Kurt's concern and the reminder of how close she came to death just months before were enough to get Diane to promise Kurt to stop looking into Memo 618 for now.
And while Diane meant it when she said it, something big will happen soon that will pull her back in. Like they say, "Just when you think you're out, they pull you back in."
Some stray thoughts:
Is anyone else slightly interested in seeing "C**ksucker in Chains" in its entirety? I know it took an absurdist approach to humor, but some parts were strangely moving, including the monologue delivered by Julian's play counterpart.
Also, don't you want to know for sure why the play got a standing ovation, or is that just me? Either way, the play would at least be good for a few laughs.
How exactly did Gabe Kovac manage to pass the bar? He's a complete idiot. Also, how many times do we think he's gotten sued for insufficient counsel before?
I still can't get a read on Firth. I'm not sure I believe his claim of ignorance around Memo 618, but I do think there's an air of truth when he tells Diane he doesn't know everything that goes on at his firm.
The only moment of substance where I felt like he was sincere and had no hidden agenda was with his conversation with Lucca, maybe simply because he was upfront for once about something, rather than hiding behind ancient philosophical teachings.
If Adrian and Charlotte are trying to keep their relationship on the down-low, how does going to see a play together, one that Adrian has gotten tasked to see for work, fall into the category of discretion?
So what did you think The Good Fight Fanatics?
Which character faced the "harshest" truth, and which one will face the most considerable repercussions?
Do you have a preference for whom Caleb should become involved?
Will Diane truly stop her investigation into Memo 618?
Hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. If you happened to miss the latest episode, remember you can watch The Good Fight online right here at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.