Hollywood's Next Big Thing: 'Good Wife' Breakout Cush Jumbo on How Trump's Election Changed the Spinoff's Pilot

THR Cush Jumbo_THR_CushJumbo_23917V2 - THR - H 2017
Guerin Blask

The actress stars alongside Christine Baranski on CBS All Access' 'The Good Fight' as she grapples with a new political climate: "There's a lot of anxiety and confusion in the air, and it's been nice to have an outlet."

The Good Wife long was known for embracing politics, be it with cameos or art-imitates-life stories, but nothing could have prepared the team behind the CBS legal drama's spinoff The Good Fight for the events of Nov. 8.

"We were shooting the pilot next to where [Donald Trump's election night] party was going to be," recalls Cush Jumbo, who reprises her role as lawyer Lucca Quinn in The Good Fight. "It was packed with people and journalists and every TV truck in the world, and then none of us could get home. It was an interesting moment." There would be many more as that premiere episode went through a series of rewrites to open the show with Trump's presidential triumph.

On Feb. 19, The Good Fight — which picks up one year after the events of The Good Wife finale, with former colleagues Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) and Quinn reunited at a top Chicago law firm after Diane has lost all her money in a Ponzi scheme — becomes CBS All Access' first scripted foray as its parent company looks to compete with celebrated streamers Netflix and Amazon. (Star Trek: Discovery follows on the $5.99-a-month service.)

Similarly, the swing is a big one for the married stage actress, who graduates from supporting character to leading lady. Creators Robert and Michelle King discovered Jumbo, one of seven children and the daughter of two nurses, when she was playing civil rights activist Josephine Baker in her one-woman show, Josephine and I, at New York's Public Theater. What was conceived as a three-episode arc became a key role on Good Wife's final season and now a central one on the timely spinoff.

"There's a lot of anxiety and confusion in the air, and it's been nice to have an outlet," says Jumbo. "The Kings were writing it as it was happening, and we're still shooting it as it's happening, so it's all very, very close to life." Maybe even next door.



AGE 31
BORN London
BIG BREAK The Good Wife
REPS ICM Partners, Curtis Brown Group, Wishlab

This story first appeared in the Feb. 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.