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Exclusive: Zuri Adele details what fans can expect from Good Trouble season five

Good Trouble returns on 16 March

Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca Lewis - Los Angeles
Los Angeles correspondentLos Angeles
16 January 2023
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Good Trouble fans saw season four end on a major cliffhanger - as the below clip shows - as Marianna Adams-Foster (Cierra Ramirez) was seen being shot at as she ran from a cult leader with Joaquin Perez's sister. However season five will open directly where we left off, star Zuri Adele shared with HELLO! taking viewers straight into the action.

Zuri, 32, star as Malika Williams in the hit Freeform series, which follows a group of millennials living in a community living space in Los Angeles. A spin-off from The Fosters, Good Trouble has followed the group as they deal with grief, eating disorders, exploring sexuality, Black Lives Matter, AAPI hate and more. Season five will return on 16 March 2023 and Zuri discussed what we can expect for our 2023 TV and film issue...

Season four of Good Trouble ended with a big cliffhanger, can you tell us where the show will open, and will those events ripple out across everybody in the Coterie?

Zuri: We will jump directly into where we left off. We're going to see each person choosing themselves - and taking the risks that come with that, which I think we started to see at the end of last season.

Our lives will start to intertwine, and we have to show up for each other in ways that feel really nostalgic to season one.

In season four we began to see Malika find a balance between her activism and her role in politics; where will we find her in season five?

I'm really excited about her journey in season five. I'm speaking so vaguely because I'm really trying not to give anything away! But I'm really excited about Malika, and in particular her career because she is holding herself accountable in a new way to make sure that she has a work life balance.

Malika is forever learning how to balance her passion with playing the game so that she can actually get the things done. Last season we did see a lot of her romantic life, but now she's really acknowledging that she needs all of these things in her life and she is moving through the challenges of trying to balance that, and I'm excited to see how that shows up in her work life.

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Have you had any input in her trajectory?

I really trust the writers and what I love is that the writers really trust me so I haven't had an experience where I've read something and said, 'That doesn't feel authentic to Malika,' because the writers and our showrunner, Joanna Johnson, have done a really great job of getting to know me so everything feels really authentic.

But they do come to me and say, 'Hey, I'm thinking about having Malika explore polyamory or dating a woman?' Joanna asks for my thoughts and I appreciate how much she trusts me but everything she's suggested I've been excited about and there hasn't been anything I've had to go back on.

We have such a multicultural group of collaborators on our show and there have been some times where I've given input on things like what movies I grew up watching to have references that feel really authentic, or to some of the flirtatious banter Malika and Isaac were having - that was really fun to help with that. Even the set design of Malika's room was really collaborative.

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goodtrouble malika isaac

Have there ever been any storylines that have really surprised you that the show went there or perhaps the opposite, with a storyline that could have been tackled more deeply?

I think everything has surprised me. I love that we tackled grief like through Dennis's story. I love that we have seen Davia's story going into her eating disorders, and while she's also a teacher and balancing being an ally.

What surprises me the most is how many things people can deal with in their storylines because it's so reflective of real life, like Gael and his bisexuality and also parenthood and being an artist.

We have so many characters and so many lenses to look at life through so there's always somewhere deeper that we could go. But I think that it's more important that we allow more people to be seen than to go too deep into just one story; there have been some really cool conversations about the activism space that I would have loved to keep but for the sake of the episode I totally understood why they got cut.

Malika is partly inspired by Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, who has also appeared on the show. How have you worked with her on crafting Malika?

I have loved working with Patrice. She has given such great insight on what life is like in Los Angeles as an activist because she's actually been there and also in the writers room along with Dr. Melina Abdullah, who is also a leader in the Black Lives Matter Los Angeles movement.

They showed us what it looks like to have a sense of community and joy while dealing with really heavy things, and that was really inspiring. I was able to shadow them and spend time with them in their worlds outside of filming, which was also really helpful.

I don't feel pressure working with them though, as much as the honor - and also relief, because I don't always engage in activism from the front lines so through Malika I got to do that in a way that felt really safe and that helped me get more comfortable going to those protests. I would feel anxiety in those big crowded spaces with a lot of police activity and so they gave me a new angle on approaching activism.

Patrisse Cullors on Good Trouble

Patrisse appeared in the show as well as helping to write the series

Season four gave us some flashbacks to Malika and Alice's early days, how did that feel to finally work on? Are there other scenes you'd be keen for viewers to see?

Sherry [Cola] and I were so excited to have those flashback moments and I want to see more of Isaac's world; I want to know more about what is happening there and his backstory.

I think other flashbacks I'd want to see are like with Davia and Dennis, just some of the people before Callie {Maia Mitchell) and Marianna moved in.

The cast genuinely seem close, was it easy to build this chemistry back in season one?

It was really easy to build it. We were all in this place of thinking, 'This was our big break,' so it felt like we were having this collective celebration. And then also because the crew of The Fosters had been working together for six seasons and were such a family already, they set the tone for what it's like to be a work family and showed us how it was done and we just flowed into it.

We have had moments; we spend so many hours together and see each other through really hard moments in life so we have ups and downs with each other, but love has been at the core of all of it.

What have you learned over the last five years from Malika?

I've learned to follow my curiosity and not need to know the end, to keep following it and continue living a liberated life, authentically showing up for what I really believe in and want to fight for. Malika also inspires me to really cherish chosen family and friendships that become family, and mentors that become family, and to ask for support.

goodtrouble malika callie

Maia (right) left the series in season four

When people leave, like Maia Mitchell leaving in season four, does that shift dynamics on set?

Yes, Maia has such a powerful presence. She makes you want to do well; she's so excellent and so loving and so talented and left big shoes to fill.

When Maia left, it left space to hold us accountable to do right by her. She set the tone in a way that saw us stepping up and being leaders in the spaces where Callie may have taken up space. But also, at the same time, nothing changed because Cierra has also always been such an incredible leader.

What do you see for the future of Good Trouble?

I think we have 20 episodes, a great long season with a part A and part B but we're shooting them all the way through this year and then hopefully a season six as well.

I want us to be like Grey's Anatomy; a generational show would be so cool with new, younger groups coming into the Coterie. I think you can never stop learning about so many different walks of life and it's such a good show that could stay with the time.

Credits: Photographer - Tayo Kuku Jr. Hair - Veda Nelms. Makeup - Eliven Quiros. Styling - Laura Farris Schuffman

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