The Good Fight’s Cush Jumbo on Exploring a New Side of Lucca

The Good Fight returned earlier this month with its uncanny ability to comment on the state of the world. Chicago’s lawyers are being threatened by disgruntled clients, the firm of Reddick, Boseman & Lockhart is facing some challenges, and Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo) is about to make some discoveries about herself.

I talked with Cush Jumbo about Season 2 of The Good Fight, what’s in store for Lucca, and changing long-held views on pregnancy and motherhood for women in the workplace.

I’ve really enjoyed Lucca and Maia working together in the first couple of episodes this year. Will that continue throughout the season?

We wrap up the Rindell case in the first couple of episodes, which enables Maia to get on with her life without that hanging over her. What’s interesting is that Lucca continues to mentor Maia, and Maia and Lucca get to work professionally together instead of [being] defender/defendee. And Maia begins to develop a friendship with Marissa. You’re really going to get to see how the law firm operates, and what the different kinds of friendships are.

There’s a looming threat where lawyers are being attacked. How directly is Lucca affected by this?

We are still currently shooting, so I can only tell you 50% of the answer. The whole law firm is wrapped up in what is going on with this killing of lawyers, and it’s affecting everybody in different ways. The bigger, overarching story of that is to do with the justice system. Even a law firm such as Reddick, Boseman, & Lockhart that should be priding itself on the correct way of doing things [is raising questions about] using the law in the way that it should be used, or using it for your own gain. Where is the line within that? What is law, and what isn’t law?

In the third episode of this season, there’s a scene where Lucca comes in and takes control during a potentially catastrophic situation.

That’s Lucca!

I love the strength of that character and how she’s always looking at the big picture. I know there are some interesting turns coming up for Lucca. Does that change her fabric in any way, or does she start to learn some new things about herself?

I always like to think of Lucca as being the Angela Lansbury on the team. She tends to pop up and annoy everyone by seeing the bigger picture. Everything’s in a mess. Everyone with all this experience is trying to fix things, but Lucca always sees it from a different angle. That is something that was developed out of her relationship with Alicia Florrick. Lucca observed Alicia having aspects of that in her character, and that rubbed off on her. This season, she also begins to get quite interested in politics, and where law and politics intersect. She begins to represent some of those kinds of people. I’m interested to see where that goes.

But her biggest storyline is that she finds out that she’s pregnant. She’s trying to work out how she continues to be this lawyer who is doing really well, is on the partner track, and is finally getting to the point where she has some traction. She suddenly feels like she may be penalized for deciding to keep the baby, and be pregnant and work. [She questions] how she is viewed by the partners and the firm, and as a woman in this situation.

Men are never asked how they juggle fatherhood and a career whereas that’s one of the first things that mothers are asked. How much does The Good Fight get into those issues this season?

We get quite far into it. Lucca approaches the situation in a way that I think a lot of women subconsciously do. I’m in my early thirties in real life. I’m in a career that I love, and I’ve worked really hard to get to a certain point. Even though I consider myself to be a feminist and a woman who knows my own mind, it was absolutely terrifying to tell my employers, the Kings, that I was pregnant. There’s a little part of you that’s been conditioned from when you were very small that when you are pregnant, you are less than, or you will contribute less than, while pregnant, and that’s not true. But also, a person — any person — can’t do everything all the time. We all need support and help.

Lucca has to learn to make herself vulnerable, but she begins from the standpoint that nothing will change. She’ll be back within 24 hours after pushing this baby out and missing no work. As time goes on, she begins to realize that she has to have some balance, and needs help. That’s a realistic part of her story this season, and I think something that a lot of women of my age group go through. We are on a clock. It can take so long to find the right kind of person to have a baby with, and then when you do, it might not be the right time. And why should it not be the right time? It’s quite a conundrum.

The Good Fight Cush Jumbo Sarah Steele Rose Leslie

You touched on how asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s actually a strength to be able to acknowledge that you need help.

Yes, and that’s very difficult for Lucca. But the more you see her do that, I think the more you see her character open up and you understand her more. You’re absolutely right. I think that a terrifying aspect of being vulnerable is that you believe it makes you weak, especially as a woman. That’s definitely not the case. There is strength in asking for help.

Lucca and Colin Morello continue to have an interesting dynamic this season, and have shared some great scenes already. What are you able to share about what’s in store for that relationship?

The relationship between the two of them is always in flux, and we’re not sure if he’s the father of the baby. He’s going to be getting more into politics this season, and balancing what he truly feels about Lucca and what he wants for the purposes of his campaign. Does he just want to look good with a black girlfriend who is having a baby, or does he actually care for her deeply? She’s confused about how she feels about him, because sometimes he’s the person that she wants him to be and other times, she feels suffocated by him. That’s going to continue all the way through the season.

One thing that I’ve always appreciated about The Good Fight is that no matter how heavy the subject matter can get, it’s always balanced with a layer of humour and feistiness. How important is it to you as a performer to have that balance?

Nobody wants to come to work and be depressed the whole time. We can do that at home. Real life is stressful enough, especially at the moment with everything that’s going on in the world. One of the reasons why I love my job is that it’s quite cathartic to be able to discuss heavy stuff on the one hand, but be able to really laugh on the other. Even when we are doing heavy scenes, we have such a bunch of comedic, hilarious actors on our set. It’s very difficult sometimes to not be in hysterics the whole time.

It’s really important to keep that light in what you do. We’re not trying to make a show that hits people over the head with politics, or drives one point home. We’re trying to make a show that reflects society. The truth is that no matter how bad things are or how dark things get, sometimes you just have to laugh.

Photos Courtesy of CBS

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