“All Rise” has Potential to Give Shondaland Competition

I was skeptical that we needed another legal drama on TV but I decided to give the new CBS series “All Rise” a trial run 🙂 Our main character is Lola Carmichael, a newly appointed LA Superior Court Judge on her first day on the bench. Carmichael is played by Simone Missick who has been recently seen as Misty Knight in several of the Marvel comics Netflix series Iron Fist, The Defenders, and Luke Cage.

In the first couple of scenes I didn’t know whether it was going to be a legal drama or an action show. In the opening scene as Carmichael is getting out of her car in the parking lot, someone tries to steal her laptop. A friend witnesses the theft and stops the guy by hitting him with his car. In the next scene she walks into a courtroom thinking it was hers but it was not. She notices that a woman defendant is standing there in her underwear being arraigned. Outraged, she wraps her coat around the woman and berates the public defender and the prosecutor and the judge for not noticing the woman was standing there half naked. A bailiff is then outraged at the way we kowtow to criminals. He pulls his gun and starts waving it around eventually firing at the judge and missing. Another bailiff shoots the rogue bailiff.

I don’t know why they felt like they had to have 2 big action scenes and what is actually an ordinary courtroom story. The rest of the episode was more along the lines of what you would expect. We fast-forward two weeks to where Carmichael returns to the bench and finds the same female defendant before her for a different offense. Over the objections of her judicial assistant Sherri, she rejects a plea agreement entered on behalf of the young defendant who maintains her innocence of a burglary charge. The assistant sort of plays the role of comic relief in this show… sort of a plucky sidekick to the judge.

Judge Carmichael is a former prosecutor who is young, idealistic, and out to do “real good” in the judicial system. We also have a Carmichael’s boss Judge Lisa Brenner played by former CSI Marg Helgenberger. Other characters include a young public defender and the bailiff who shot the rogue bailiff in the opening scene. He’s going to law school part-time and wants to be a lawyer himself.

The entire thing reminds me of a sort of “Grey’s Anatomy” except in a courtroom instead of a hospital. We’ve got lots of young, idealistic, good-looking people crusading for truth, justice, and the American way. It’s not at all cynical like many legal dramas are these days. It’s sort of a “feel-good” kind of show. Unlike shows like “How to Get Away with Murder” the plots are not so complicated that eventually you give up trying to keep up with all of the twists, conspiracies, and unnecessarily disjointed storytelling methods. My other current favorite legal drama is “The Good Fight” which is only available on CBS All Access. It’s very good but it is also highly political which we don’t get that in this new show.

I don’t really have room in my schedule for another legal show despite the fact that I’m currently watching the series finale of “Suits” as I write this review. If I do pick up another legal show it might be the new Jimmy Smits show “Bluff City Law” on NBC which I have not yet seen.

But if you like stories of people crusading for the underdogs, don’t want the overly complicated stories of HTGAWM, or the political commentary of “The Good Fight” then perhaps this show is for you. If I had room for it on my schedule I would stick with it but I doubt I will watch more than one opening episode. I give it a rating of a strong “Recommended Watchable“. However you might want to wait on my review for “Bluff City Law” if you only have room for one new legal show on your schedule.

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