Sunday, May 28, 2006

JUSTICE ON FOX

I have been watching the promos rolled out for some of the new fall TV shows and one of the ones that looks very promising is something called Justice, over on Fox.

Basically the show looks at the criminal-defense side of things. That's a change: usually procedural shows on TV they look at things from the prosecution's point of view, looking at putting the bad guys away. Even David E. Kelley's shows don't usually touch the defense side of things: they concentrate on civil matters. But this show decidedly tilts toward the people defending people charged with crimes. In the promos they were showing these lawyers doing profiles of the jury members, trying to figure out what to do about them, and then arguing cases in court and in the media. It's high-powered defense attorney stuff, exciting stuff. The stuff trial lawyers dream of doing. Looks good.

In the cast they have Victor Garber, better known to TV viewers as that guy from ALIAS. He plays the lead attorney on a dream team of lawyers.

The show is being produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, and Jonathan Shapiro--- the same people, by the way, who were behind Just Legal over on the WB network that starred Don Johnson. That legal show lasted only three episodes before being yanked right off the air. But these three obviously feel that there's potential for a show like this, a legal-based procedural show. Certainly no one else has been doing shows from the defense perspective. (Dick Wolf tried, sort of, with Law and Order: Trial by Jury, but that didn't work out too well.)
Bruckheimer and Littman also do the CSI shows and are heavily into procedural TV shows, so they know what they are doing.. As for Shapiro, he's had plenty of time to think about what he wants to do with this new show, since his last WB effort was cancelled so fast. I read that the reason Just Legal was cancelled was because the WB discovered that the average age of the audience was something like 60 years old, and as you know people over the age of 49 aren't allowed to watch television, or something. Anyway, that show is ancient history.

So we know there's some talent behind this production. The big overriding question is whether Americans are ready for a show from the defense perspective. Conventional wisdom has always been that Americans don't want to see shows about defense attorneys: that they consider all defense attorneys to be slimeballs who allow criminals to beat the system. They'd much rather watch shows where the "bad guys" go to jail. But I think there's definitely room out there for a show that looks at situations from a different perspective, that looks outside the box once in a while. Not all justice is black-and-white, not all accuseds are guilty of crimes. We'll see how this one does.

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