No matter how much they try to, Liz (Audra McDonald) and Caleb (Hugh Dancy) can’t stay away from each other on The Good Fight. After hooking up, or experimenting as they call it, in last week’s episode, the duo decided it could never happen again because she’s his superior. Yet, they found themselves working together on a military case in Thursday’s “The Gang Goes to War” and, unsurprisingly, gave in to the sexual tension more than once.
After watching the latest installment, EW hopped on the phone with Hannibal alum Dancy to discuss Liz and Caleb’s surprising connection, what attracted him to the show, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How familiar were you with The Good Wife and The Good Fight?
HUGH DANCY: I have to be honest, I was completely unfamiliar in anything but the most distant fashion. I hadn’t seen them. And it was a last-minute kind of thing. They came along, I don’t know, half a week before they were going to jump into the episode that I would begin on. [Laughs] So, I didn’t think, “Well, I’ll sit down and spend the next 85 hours watching the entire back catalog.” I just read the script that they sent me and kind of loved it — not for myself, just I loved the quality of the writing and the ambition of it. Beyond that, the fact of getting to work particularly with Audra was very appealing.
What specifically about the character of Caleb appealed to you?
The script that I had an opportunity to read was the script that Caleb popped up in and he was only there for a hot second. I liked the way he was very kind of low key. He seemed to have a very low pulse in this high-stakes environment. He seemed to be a person who was saying, “This is not that important,” and had an interesting approach to the fact that he was supposedly a spy, but at the same time was saying, “I don’t care about the office politics of this.” I thought, “Okay, that’s interesting.” He’s playful, flirtatious, and just smart. I also knew some of that was a little bit of a red-herring for where the character was going to go in terms of the relationship with Liz, which I thought was an interesting setup. Obviously, I needed to have a sense of who I was going to be playing, but what really drew me to it was the bigger conversation they seemed to be having in the script.
Do you mean the whole Memo 618 story?
No, I mean actually that within the shape of that episodic thriller legal drama, they were also having a really quite nuanced and still quite funny conversation about race and politics in America. Any time you state it, either you make it sound too silly or you make it sound much too serious, and I think that’s a testament to what they do with the show, which is that they’re really keeping a lot of plates in the air at the same time.
Once you said yes to the project, did you think about going back and catching up, or did you just work with what was on the page?
Yeah, I was just focusing on what I was being given, because I was into it. We started and so I was just waiting for the next script I would get that would actually show me more about who this guy was, and I wasn’t disappointed.
What do you think attracts Liz and Caleb to each other?
First of all, who ever knows? [Laughs] I’ve been married for 10 years and I don’t know if I could easily answer that question. But I think [part of] what’s confusing and maybe appealing to both of them is obviously the taboo thing. It’s an office relationship, they’re working late, they’re dealing with sexual material. Clearly, the table is set. Beyond that, there’s the taboo that she’s his boss, and there’s this conversation about race and their race. So, it’s a heady mix. At the same time, I think there’s something else going on, as well, to be continued.
They hooked up once in last week’s episode, but then in this week’s episode, they keep going even though they say they’ll stop.
You said you were looking forward to working with Audra. What has it been like to explore this material with her?
It’s been great. Honestly what I like is that I think we were both alert to the same kind of pitfalls and hopefully we avoided them — which would be to lean too heavily into the whole “Should we? Shouldn’t we?” thing. You know, to at least try to give it a sense that they’re not just suddenly children again. It’s not something that needs to be discussed, or maybe it would have to be, but I didn’t find that we needed to.
In addition to Caleb’s relationship with Liz, there’s clearly some kind of vibe between him and Marissa, too.
Well, I like the fact that they’re on the same level at work so it’s almost like there’s no reason for them not to be playful together, and it is that. Whether he’s alert to the possibility that there is something more than that going on, I think that’s a grey area. All I can say if and when this thing with Liz, who is obviously her boss as well, becomes public, that might be more complicated for her, but I am literally projecting into a future I have literally no idea about.
Your Hannibal and The Path costar Raul Esparza is also guest-starring this season. Did you share any scenes with him on The Good Fight?
I don’t know. I would love that. No, I have not shot anything with Raul. Filming was still ongoing when everything shut down, so this is probably my golden opportunity to start lobbying for that to happen, and I would love it.
New episodes of The Good Fight — which was just renewed for a fifth season — launch Thursdays on CBS All Access.