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