Welcome: Cush Jumbo

Cush Jumbo was born in south London to a white English mother from Scunthorpe and a black Nigerian father and attended The Brit School for performing arts. In 2012, she enjoyed a big break on stage when she was cast as Mark Antony in Phyllida Lloyd’s all-female production of Julius Caesar at the Donmar Warehouse and duly received an Olivier nomination. It was this part that took her to the US, when the play transferred to New York.

Then, in 2015, she made another transatlantic crossing with her own play Josephine and I, in which she also starred as jazz singer Josephine Baker and which earned rave reviews off-Broadway after premiering at London’s Bush theatre. It was in this role that she was spotted for the part of Lucca by The Good Wife’s creators.

Jumbo joined the much-acclaimed American legal drama at the start of its seventh & final season in 2015. Now she reprises her role as the smart-mouthed bond lawyer Lucca Quinn on the series spinoff "The Good Fight."

Jumbo was so surprised by the news of the spinoff though,  when The Good Wife ended she had committed to another role in the U.K. “I was meant to go back to London for another job, so I kind of quit that job to do The Good Fight because it seemed too exciting of an idea,” Jumbo confessed, prefacing that she had one wish for creators Robert and Michelle King: “I don’t want to do something that doesn’t do the legacy justice and something that doesn’t reflect well on what you’ve already achieved.”

While Jumbo was one of a handful of new additions inserted into the final run of The Good Wife (she was initially supposed to appear in just three episodes), she graduated to become one of three focal points on The Good Fight -- a task enticing enough for any actor. “I always want to challenge myself and forge forward and be given more meat to make dinner with,” Jumbo said, noting that her arc on the original series came without a preordained plan. “Any actor is going to jump at the opportunity to have larger storylines and explore that character more. The more screen time you get, the more time you get to explore who they are.”

That’s exactly what Jumbo’s gotten to showcase on The Good Fight. With the bulk of the 10-episode season already streaming on CBS All Access, a different side to Lucca -- outside the courtroom and the law office -- has slowly been uncovered. Frankly speaking, there’s much more to the impeccably put-together attorney than her penchant for quippy zingers and GIF-able side-eye.

“Lucca’s so competent and put-together and leading the pack at work, but when it comes to building any kind of friendship or relationship, she’s kind of odd and we’re working out why that is. She’s spent most of Good Wife building a friendship with Alicia and now that Alicia’s gone, she’s back to square one,” Jumbo said, noting that Lucca’s vulnerability, for one, is an added layer she’s been keen on digging into deeper.

Despite having flown the nest and been a success in the US, she has been itching to get back on the British stage, she says. In May, she will return to the National Theatre to star in Common, a play set in the early days of the Industrial Revolution.

“I’m a Londoner through and through and feel that I have a responsibility to my country to keep writing stories that can be played by different types of actors and improve the situation of representation. I’m not going to disappear into America. I can’t wait to get back on stage and run away from the American accent. But you just want to do work that makes you proud. I want to be a Phyllida Lloyd or a Christine Baranski to someone.”

Intelligent, opinionated and with a discriminating eye for projects, Jumbo’s wish will surely come true.