When it comes to television shows about attorneys, art doesn’t imitate life. The mostly reclusive nature of a real-life attorney’s daily grind isn’t exactly the gold Emmys are made of. But that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from selling its own artistic interpretation of the profession: sexy romances, mistaken identities, and firecracker courtroom orations, make attorneys primetime-worthy.
A few new legal shows are hitting the digital airwaves
this 2013–14 television season. Of course, each new show will represent what attorneys actually do only in the faintest way possible, in that sort of squint-your-eyes, sideways-glance kind of representation. But that’s okay: television is our most practiced form of cheap, accessible escapism, so we are permitted to indulge.
(I’m a practicing attorney with no time to actually watch TV, so forgive me when I say that much of the following material is cribbed from each show’s available promotional material.
(ABC, premieres Sunday, Sept. 29, 10 p.m.)
A chance meeting between Sara Hanley (Hannah Ware), a professional photographer, and Jack McAllister (Stuart Townsend), a top attorney, leads to an instant and undeniable attraction. Sara’s husband, Drew Stafford (Chris Johnson), is a successful prosecutor with political aspirations, and the couple have a seven-year-old, Oliver. Unbeknownst to Sara, Jack is in-house counsel to a powerful but somewhat shady entrepreneur, Thatcher Karsten (James Cromwell), and is married to Thatcher’s daughter, Elaine (Wendy Moniz). Elaine, secure in her relationship with Jack, is a smart, determined woman attempting to make her Chicago café a success on her own terms, as well as be a good mother to the couples’ 16-year-old twins, Valerie (Elizabeth McLaughlin) and Victor (Braeden Lemasters). Sara and Jack, however, both realize something is missing in their marriages, and fight against the realization that they’ve met their soul mates in one another. Watch a trailer.
Super Fun Night
(ABC, premieres Wednesday, Oct. 2, 9:30 p.m.)
Junior attorney Kimmie Boubier (Rebel Wilson) and her two best friends Helen-Alice (Liza Lapira) and Marika (Lauren Ash) have had a standing date every Friday night for the last 13 years. They even have a motto for what they call “Friday Night Fun Night”: “Always together! Always inside!” Kimmie’s recent promotion, however, throws a wrench into the tradition. Not only is she now working with her idol, “Lady Lawyer of the Year” Felicity Vanderstone, but she meets a dashingly handsome British attorney, Richard Lovell (Kevin Bishop), who invites her to his party at a trendy club. Determined to spend time with Richard and heed Felicity’s advice to network, Kimmie sets out to convince her friends to take Super Fun Night on the road. See the trailer.
(Fox, mid-season release, date and time TBD)
This legal dramedy stars Greg Kinnear, who is making his broadcast TV debut. Kinnear will play a criminal defense lawyer named Keegan Deane, who is both helped and hindered by a potty mouth and a self-destructive personality. Deane is described as “brilliant and frustratingly charming” whose “chaotic and self-destructive personal life often gets in the way of his professional one.” He takes on the cases that nobody else will touch, ruled by a resolute optimism, belief in justice and dogged determination to defend those who seem beyond redemption – much like himself. Watch the trailer.
(CBS, mid-season release, date and time TBD)
Sparks fly in this legal soap set in sultry Charleston, South Carolina, when a Yankee litigator and a Southern country girl attorney spar in and out of the courtroom. The heat rises as they struggle to hide their attraction, clashing over a police sex scandal that threatens to tear the city apart. Starring Anna Wood and Cam Gigandet.
A young physicist turned night-school law student named Keith Blackstone builds the first-ever lunar-powered rocket (it’s powered by moon rays) and accidentally launches himself into orbit during a test flight gone wrong. Blackstone navigates himself aboard the international space station, where he meets a sexy Russian woman named Vera, with whom Blackstone falls madly in love. During an attempt at interstellar romance, Blackstone spills candle wax on the space station’s mother board and permanently cuts all communications with Earth. Blackstone is then forced to apply his first-year law school education to adjudicate disputes between the Americans, Chinese, Russians, and Canadians who are aboard the ship. The decisions he renders will have tremendous import for international peace. In the first episode’s closing scene, as Blackstone is settling a Tang dispute, Martian lawyers make contact with the ship and Vera learns she is pregnant!
No network has actually picked up that final show… yet. But I have written the first seven episodes, and if any producers are interested, please contact me. Jonah Hill has expressed interest in the role of Keith Blackstone.