CBS' 'All Rise' depicts US judicial system through a much-needed women's perspective with formidable yet empathetic characters
CBS's 'All Rise' debuted Monday night and offered a different take on the legal drama proceedings viewers are used to. Created by Greg Spottiswood, the show follows Lola Carmichael, played by Simone Missick ('Luke Cage'), a Deputy District Attorney who has been newly appointed as a judge as she tackles the cases from the other side of the bench. The show also stars Wilson Bethel ('Daredevil'), Jessica Camacho ('The Flash'), Marg Helgenberger ('CSI: Crime Scene Investigation'), Ruthie Ann Miles ('The Americans'), J. Alex Brinson, and Lindsay Mendez.
'All Rise' is one of the shows CBS picked up this year that features diverse leads (the others being 'Bob Hearts Abishola' and 'Evil'). While the diversity in the show is already setting off some naysayers, the drama offers a refreshing take on the proceedings of the judicial system in the United States.
Lola is quite an idealist and empathizes with the accused before she makes her decisions as a judge. She is a formidable woman who is not afraid to trust herself and her views in the courtroom.
Along with Lola, there's also Lisa Benner, played by Helgenberger, who is a senior judge, and while we did not see much of her in the premiere episode, we can expect her to be a mentor to Lola. Then there is the public defender Emily Lopez, played by Camacho, who is still finding her way in the courtroom. This character offers Lola to be her mentor in turn.
There are many legal dramas currently on television (and in the past), but like 'The Good Wife' and 'The Good Fight', 'All Rise' aims to tell the story from the woman's perspective. Bethel's Deputy DA Mark Callan and Brinson's Bailiff Luke are two of the main characters, but we get to see them through a female gaze, giving the writers a different way to approach the men in the courtroom.
We also see the working relationships between women develop and evolve, which is something that needs to be shown more but isn't. In the first episode itself, during a case, Emily, while defending her client, tells Judge Lola, African-Americans have the highest incarceration rate in the nation and this proves the show looks to tackle difficult subjects in its stories.
Certainly, future episodes could deal with this aspect of the American judicial system in detail and seeing these issues from the eyes of Emily and Lola would give viewers the chance to see these stories differently than the usual, low-impact cookie-cutter way they are used to.
'All Rise' airs Monday nights on CBS.