Hugh Dancy’s Caleb Garlin is either a terrible spy or a great one. The newest player on the scene in The Good Fight is an associate from STR Laurie, the nosy corporate overlords of Reddick, Boseman, and Lockhart. But Caleb is so honest — even about the fact that he was sent to spy on RBL — that he’s won over everyone he’s worked with at the firm.
No one has been more intrigued than Liz (Audra McDonald). The magnetic attraction between Liz and Caleb, which they gave in to in last week’s episode, took center stage this week in “The Gang Goes to War” as the duo teamed up to defend Caleb’s old Army buddy in military court. Corporal DeMarcus Laney (Stephen Rider), a man Caleb owes his life to, was on trial for sabotaging the sniper rifle of his sadistic sergeant in order to keep him from killing innocent people. The military tried to sweep the sergeant’s war crimes under the rug by blaming Laney, but Liz and Caleb were able to meld her legal expertise with his Army experience and prove Laney had done the right thing. By the end of the episode, fresh off a case that proved some rules are meant to be broken, Liz and Caleb were back in bed together.
As Caleb navigates the drama at Reddick, Boseman, and Lockhart, Dancy is acclimating himself to the heightened world of The Good Fight. The actor told TV Guide that he was new to the series when he joined the cast. “To anybody who’s familiar with the show this is not really news, but it was such a strange brew,” Dancy said. “I hadn’t really seen that before. So I’m a fan.”
TV Guide caught up with Dancy to talk about how trustworthy Caleb really is, what’s next in his dynamic with Liz, and why The Good Fight is the perfect candidate for a Zoom episode.
What drew you to this role?
Hugh Dancy: Primarily, I read the episode [that introduces Caleb], which I pop up in but only very briefly… so it was more the scope of the episode and the scale of it, in which they’re having an interoffice debate between, initially, the African American employees, and then they open it up to everybody, about politics and racial politics. And then that becomes a discussion about the use of the n-word. And I thought all of it was handled so well, and I was kind of blown away that all of it was being done on a show which also has a procedural element and all the rest of it. I just didn’t feel like I’d read or seen anything like that. Plus I wanted to come and play with all of the people that are part of the show, because it’s such a great rolling lineup of people. So I was flattered to be asked.
And now you’re a part of this universe, and it seems like once you’re a part of the universe of The Good Fight you never leave it.
Dancy: I know, it does feel that way. I mean, right now I feel like, who can see more than a week into the future, but that’s a very nice thought.
Gavin (John Larroquette) says in this episode that Caleb is his eyes and ears downstairs. I want to trust Caleb, but what can you say about how much the audience should trust him?
Dancy: He’s working for that other law firm, we haven’t yet gone into exactly how that’s come about, but I think that in his favor he’s completely open about it, right? … What I liked about the character is that as soon as he’s asked if he’s spying, he’s like, “Yeah, yeah, that’s what I’m doing.” And I think the more you’re going to see of the guy, you kind of realize that — well, he’s ex military, I kind of figured he’s seen things a lot more disturbing or worrying than any little office politics. So he’s kind of just kicking back and observing it all. He’s a smart guy. He’s kind of mildly amused by everything, and he’s got nothing to lose. And I thought that was interesting.
He tells Liz that he wants this country to stay the same. What do you think that he means by that?
Dancy: Oh, I think he means the rule of law. He means having a system that anybody can appeal to and that’s going to be fair and serve the powerless as well as the powerful. Is that exactly where we live? That’s up for argument. But I think clearly it’s the ideal… It’s the most idealistic representation of the law, of the laws that we have in the country and of going into law. I think if it was just anybody saying that, you’d go, “OK sure, buddy,” but actually somebody saying that who’s been on tour in countries where there clearly isn’t rule of law, it’s got some context.
You and Audra McDonald have such good chemistry. What’s it like working with her and figuring out the dynamic between your characters?
Dancy: It was great and obviously a big part of the appeal for me. What I liked was that neither of them really want to show their cards. Because he’s a professional, and he’s doing a job and he’s not looking to rock the boat, and likewise with her, right? So it’s fun. And it wasn’t like we had to discuss that for a long time; I think that was pretty clear. I thought the scenes were well written, the comedy was in there, the kind of playfulness and the flirtation was all in there.
What do you think the characters see in each other?
Dancy: What do I think he sees in her — I think she’s really smart, I think she’s strong, and she’s quite funny, and she also has got something in reserve. And then I think for both of them on top of that there’s the taboo. There’s a kind of double taboo of the fact that they certainly shouldn’t be in a relationship because of the fact that she’s his boss, and both of them kind of acknowledged that they’ve never been in any kind of relationship with somebody of the other race. That’s obviously part of it. It’s a kind of heady mix. But I don’t think that’s all of it. I mean, that could be it and they could just jump into bed and then regret it forever, but I think there’s obviously something else going on.
Can you tease anything about what’s next for Caleb and Liz?
Dancy: They’re battling their worst judgment, or their better judgment, and they’re not winning. So they’re both trying to — or maybe her more than him is trying to pretend it’s just a passing thing. It maybe is not so much, and there’ll be more of that down the line.
Since production on the show was halted, do you know what’s in store for your character for the rest of the season, or is that still up in the air for you?
Dancy: No, honestly, I have no idea. There were a couple of times that I’d ask questions like that. I got the impression that [the writers] had a broad sense of trajectory, but a lot of it is being cooked up episode by episode, as it were, as something grabs their attention or their interest. And then beyond that, who the hell knows when any of us will be back, you know? Maybe I’ll be doing an episode with Audra via Zoom.
How would an episode of The Good Fight work over Zoom, do you think?
Dancy: Actually, I think it would be awesome. Honestly, I mean, if ever there were a group of people — most of those guys, the cast I’m talking about, they’re all straight out of Broadway. I think they could handle a live performance. Literally as I say that, I think that is a brilliant idea and I think we should do it.
I feel like this is something [co-creators] Robert and Michelle King would thrive writing.
Dancy: I do too, actually… They strike such a good balance of, I don’t know, theatrical and smart, political, all those things. We should make that happen.
New episodes of The Good Fight premiere Thursdays on CBS All Access.
Source: TV Guide
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.
When The Good Fight newbie Hugh Dancy joined season 4, he had never seen an episode of the show or its predecessor, The Good Wife. The hook for Dancy was the evocative writing by creators Robert and Michelle King. Oh, and the fact that he’ll play a character — charming attorney Caleb Garlin — who’s a little bit more decent than Homeland villain John Zabel.
“That was quite appealing, not that I was particularly thinking about the Homeland character that way. But certainly, for a while, almost increasingly the characters I’ve been playing have gone from gray area to gray area with a bit of dark to, like, full dark,” Dancy tells ET. “It was a really nice change to feel like I was going to play someone who still had something not immediately obvious, but seemed like a benevolent figure. The emphasis on ‘probably,’ because that’s what keeps it interesting.”
There’s an air of mystery surrounding Caleb, who is put into the center of the madness of Reddick Boseman & Lockhart by his boss at STR Laurie, the conglomerate that now owns the law firm. But one thing that isn’t complicated is the sexual tension between him and his boss, Liz (Audra McDonald), which, as Thursday’s episode reveals through the military case they’re partnered up on, adds even more fuel to their secret love affair. Dancy talks to ET about joining the Good Fight universe, the “ridiculous” but “sexy” Liz and Caleb scene he can’t quite get out of his head and more.
ET: Before we get into The Good Fight, how is quarantine life treating you?
Hugh Dancy: Quarantine life for us is fine and completely normal and completely weird at the same time. I think, like most people who are not on the front lines, that’s the reality, is the weird mixture of normality and anxiety and boredom and confusion. But we’ve got nothing to complain about, and in terms of keeping busy, nobody’s filming anything right now, but we’ve got a couple of kids, and one of them’s been in school remotely. So just carrying on like that.
You’re coming from Homeland, where you’re playing a pretty despicable character, John Zabel, to The Good Fight, where Caleb Garlin seems to be the complete opposite. What was that transition like?
That was quite appealing, not that I was particularly thinking about the Homeland character that way. But certainly, for a while, almost increasingly the characters I’ve been playing have gone from gray area to gray area with a bit of dark to, like, full dark. I think it was a really nice change to feel like I was going to play someone who still had something not immediately obvious, but seemed like a benevolent figure. The emphasis on “probably,” because that’s what keeps it interesting.
There’s a new spy in the midst at Reddick, Boseman and Lockhart—and he’s not exactly keeping his identity secret.
In the above exclusive sneak peek of The Good Fight’s April 30 episode, “The Gang Gets a Call From HR,” Marissa (Sarah Steele) meets Caleb Garlin, played by new recurring guest star Hugh Dancy. Caleb’s an associate from STR Laurie, the new mega firm that acquired Reddick, Boseman and Lockhart. It’s not a typical introduction, unless you’re talking about The Good Fight.
“Hard at work?” Marissa asks him.
“This may look easy, but it’s not. You try peeling a rutabaga,” Caleb tells her, never straying too long from his computer game.
With rutabaga games out of the way, Marissa gets down to business and calls him out for being there instead of “upstairs.”
“Why are you working here?” she asks him.
“They asked me to,” he tells her.
“Why did they ask you to?” she questions.
“I think to spy on you,” Caleb says.
“That’s not a great way to spy, to say you’re spying,” Marissa says.
“I know! I’m not very good at it,” Caleb admits.
In the episode, DNC head Frank Landau asks the firm to help with a plan to engage African-American voters and the discussions around the task turn personal for one of the partners. Meanwhile Diane (Christine Baranski) is determined to sue Rare Orchard and is shocked to learn all documents are missing, sending her down an unexpected rabbit hole. Davita Scarlett wrote the episode directed by Tess Malone.
The Good Fight drops new episodes on Thursdays on CBS All Access.
Hugh Dancy is lawyering up.
The Hannibal vet is joining The Good Fight‘s upcoming fourth season in a major recurring role. The casting news was announced Sunday by series creators Robert and Michelle King at CBS All Access’ portion of the Television Critics Assoc. winter press tour.
Dancy — who is coming off of a three-season run on Hulu’s The Path — will play Caleb, a former military officer who now works as an associate at the huge multi-national law firm that has acquired Reddick Boseman & Lockhart. However, his wit and decency threaten to make him a better fit with Diane and Co. than the overlords.
Dancy will next be seen acting opposite his real-life wife Claire Danes in a multi-episode arc on Showtime’s Homeland.
As we exclusively revealed last month, Season 4 of the Good Wife spinoff — which is slated to premiere in late winter/early spring — marks the return of franchise vet Zach Grenier in the role of David Lee. Michael J. Fox is also set to reprise his Good Wife role of Louis Canning on a guest star basis.
King recently revealed to TVLine that Season 4 will focus less on President Trump and more on the hell 45 hath wrought, legally speaking. “We’re going to comment more on what the current political situation is doing to the law, and some of that has to do with Trump directly but a lot of it has to do with the collateral damage of the dropping of present-day values and guidelines,” the EP previewed. “There’s a tendency that people have now of thinking subpoenas can be ignored, and we wanted to look at how it played out because so much of courtroom drama requires people following the rules. But what kind of courtroom drama do you have if [suddenly the rules don’t matter]?”