'All Rise' episode 1 review: Simone Missick and Wilson Bethel's courtroom chemistry works wonders for CBS' new legal drama
Starring Marvel alums Simone Missick and Wilson Bethel, the legal drama offers a refreshing take on what happens in a courthouse and behind its closed doors
At the Television Critics Association's summer event this year, Greg Spottiswood, creator of 'All Rise' spoke about how CBS was determined to get the drama on their network. In 2016, CBS came under fire for ordering six shows with all featuring white, male leads. In the past couple of years, the network has aimed to turn that around, and it's clear why they wanted 'All Rise' on their network.
Starring Simone Missick (Misty Knight from 'Luke Cage'), Wilson Bethel (Dex from 'Daredevil', Wade from 'Hart of Dixie'), and Jessica Camacho ('The Flash'), the legal drama focuses on the lives of the people who work in the judicial system and gives the viewers a glimpse at what happens behind the closed doors in a courtroom. Missick plays Lola Carmichael, an ex-Deputy District Attorney who has been recently appointed as a judge in a Los Angeles county. Lola brings her sensibilities as a defender to behind the judge's bench and is almost too idealistic. She aims to keep the defender's voice and freedom as the priority while meting out judgments. On the other hand, her friend and former colleague, Mark Callan (Bethel), currently a Deputy District Attorney is much more realistic, shall we say, when it comes to making sure a criminal serves for his wrongdoings.
On Lola's first day, she walks into the wrong courtroom and sees that the defendant is not wearing any pants. Appalled at this, she approaches the judge to make sure the situation is rectified. A racist bailiff, annoyed by Lola, then takes out his gun and starts shooting. Later, this defendant is assigned to Emily Lopez (Camacho), a public defender who is still finding her bearings in the courtroom, but just as passionate as Lola. When Lola talks to the defendant, much to the chagrin of the opposing counsel, she sees that the girl is innocent and takes the court to trial. Emily and Luke (J. Alex Brinson) later find that some of the evidence has been falsified, and even with the police chief leaning on Lola to look the other way, Lola pronounces the defendant not guilty.
Mark is dealing with a heavily bearded man who is defending himself against charges of robbery. Through this man's hilarious statements, the judge, the jury, and the viewers find that Mark's father is a mob boss. Mark finds that the man might convince the jury to let him go scot-free, but he manages to trick him before the closing statements are given, to shave his beard and thus let the jury see that he is the same as the man on the video submitted to evidence.
'All Rise' is one of the most diverse shows on television right now, featuring African-Americans and Latin-Americans -- this is remarkable because one often gets favored over the other as white television bosses try to implement diversity in their shows. Missick's Lola is an optimist's as against Annalise Keating (Viola Davis from ABC's 'How To Get Away With Murder') and excels in the role. Missick's and Bethel's chemistry is palpable while their banter is fun and viewers even got a reference to Marvel in one of their conversations in the premiere episode. We know Lola is married in the first episode but we never see her husband in this episode, but we are given this fun little tidbit: "Robin's in DC" -- and that seems too on-the-nose to not be a reference to Marvel's rival, DC Comics.
'All Rise' airs on Monday nights on CBS.