• Alan Dershowitz demanded a public apology and retraction of the statement from ViacomCBS and producers of "The Good Fight"
  • The attorney is preparing to sue for the comments made about him in the Jeffrey Epstein episode 
  • He said that a show that blends fictional and true characters is still subject to the law of defamation

Alan Dershowitz has accused ViacomCBS and the producers of "The Good Fight" of defamation over the comments made about him in the Season 4 finale of the CBS All Access legal drama.

Dershowitz, a legal scholar and Harvard Law School professor emeritus, wasn't happy about the final episode of "The Good Fight" Season 4, which focused on convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The episode, titled "The Gang Discovers Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein," featured Epstein's fictional former attorney, Benjamin Dafoe (played by actor David Alford), referring to Dershowitz as a "shyster."

"Probably about the time he ditched me for Dershowitz. At least I didn't get a massage, like that shyster. And for the purposes of any potential lawsuit, 'shyster' is just my opinion, not a statement of fact," the character said in the episode that originally aired on May 28.

In a letter sent July 17, Dershowitz's lawyer, Imran H. Ansari, demanded a public apology and retraction of the statement from CBS, "Good Fight" co-creators and showrunners Robert King and Michelle King and others connected with the series, Variety reported.

The letter also asked for the removal of the episode from CBS All Access, claiming it constitutes both "defamation per se and defamation by implication."

"The episode in question is centered on the criminal allegations made against Jeffrey Epstein and his ultimate death," the letter said. "Clearly, the dialogue and the context in which it is made, with words loaded with innuendo such as 'massage,' 'Epstein,' the 'Virgin Islands,' in combination with the word 'shyster,' falsely suggests that Professor Dershowitz engaged in sexual conduct, i.e. a 'massage,' with an underage girl associated with Epstein, and is crooked, unscrupulous and lying about it, i.e. a 'shyster.'"

Responding to Dershowitz's allegations, Jonathan Anschell, ViacomCBS Media Networks executive VP and general counsel, insisted in a letter sent July 28 that "The Good Fight's" stories, characters and lines are completely fictional.

“In other words, as one might explain to a small child, the Series, its characters and the things they say are all make-believe. People don’t watch the Series for factual information about Professor Dershowitz or anyone else,” Anschell wrote.

However, Dershowitz stressed that the mixing of real-life public figures and stories with fictional ones means the law of defamation applies to comments made in this scenario.

"The idea that a fictional character can get away with defaming somebody is really a new one," Dershowitz told Variety. "You either have to have an entirely fictional account in which they make up the names of everybody or a truthful account. You can’t mix the genres. When you do mix the genres, the law of defamation applies."

Meanwhile, "The Good Fight" has been renewed for Season 5. The last season was cut short due to the pandemic, but fans can expect more in the upcoming installment, Deadline reported.

"'The Good Fight' remains one of the most beloved and critically acclaimed original series on CBS All Access, and we’ve seen a tremendous response from fans this season,” Julie McNamara, executive vice president and head of programming at CBS All Access, said in May.

The Good Fight
“The Good Fight” premieres on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. EST on CBS and CBS All Access. CBS