Spoilers for the Season 2 premiere. The ominous promotional tagline for The Good Fight Season 2 might be "Kill All Lawyers" — and a few unlucky litigators do meet untimely ends in the surprisingly morbid premiere — but while some lawyers are dropping like flies, more are popping up like weeds to replace them. That includes Audra McDonald, who joins The Good Fight (executive producer: Alison Cross) this year as a new series regular. But who is Liz Reddick-Lawrence, and how does she fit into the tangled web of law firms and their ever-shifting allegiances?
This actually isn't McDonald's first time appearing in the Good Wife universe, although it would perhaps take a viewer with a mind like a steel trap — or a viewer who has re-watched the original series obsessively — to remember her brief appearance on The Good Fight's (executive producer: Liz Glotzer) parent series and the details of her character. The Tony Award-winning actor (who starred as Dr. Naomi Bennett throughout the first four seasons of ABC's medical spinoff Private Practice) previously guest starred in "Runnin' With The Devil," a Season 4 episode of The Good Wife in which Lemond Bishop was put on trial and Alicia Florrick faced off in court against her old law school classmate Liz Lawrence, now a District Attorney.
Back then, McDonald's appearance was just another in a long line of excellent Good Wife guest stars, with no indication that she would become a major presence in a then-undreamt-of spinoff. But now she's back… and her character has been almost entirely reimagined. Previously known only as "Liz Lawrence," McDonald's character has now been ret-conned as "Liz Reddick-Lawrence," the daughter of Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad founding partner Carl Reddick — one of the several lawyers to pass away during the macabre Season 2 premiere. That's not the only update to her character, either; Liz is now also revealed to be the previously unheard-of ex-wife of another of The Good Fight's main characters, Delroy Lindo's Adrian Boseman.
When she first makes her entrance in the Season 2 premiere, Liz is receiving condolences at her father's funeral, whose memorial service provides the three-act structure for the episode. Reddick's death puts the future of Reddick, Boseman & Kolstad in jeopardy for two reasons: Liz wants them to take her father's name off the firm, and their top client — the man in charge of building the Obama Presidential Library, played by McDonald's erstwhile Ragtime co-star and fellow Tony winner Brian Stokes Mitchell — threatens to leave the firm and follow the Reddick name to Liz's new startup. (Liz is inspired by her father's legacy to quit the D.A.'s office and found her own practice.)
A quick-thinking Diane Lockhart realizes how to solve both problems at once: convince Liz to join their firm instead of starting her own. This requires her and Julius Cain going behind Adrian's back, who would understandably balk at the idea of partnering with his ex-wife; they even threaten to out-vote him once he finds out what they're up to. But eventually, Liz agrees, and the day is saved: Reddick, Boseman, and Kolstad has lost one Reddick but gained another (and lost a Kolstad along the way), and is still in charge of the Obama library.
It's a shame that the show had to lose one woman of color as a series regular just as another one was added. (Erica Tazel exited the show ahead of Season 2, with the premiere presumably being her final appearance on the show.) It would have been great to get to see Liz and Barbara interact; but regardless of the circumstances, the addition of Audra McDonald to any show is undoubtedly a victory to be celebrated.