NBC's 'Bluff City Law' explores how an estranged father and daughter manage their testy relationship amid constant courtroom drama
While a Memphis law firm makes a name for itself in fighting the most controversial civil rights, their leader, Elijah, has a more personal battle to fight with his daughter, Sydney.
Jimmy Smits tagline in the upcoming NBC legal dramedy, 'Bluff City Law' might be "once a TV lawyer, always a TV lawyer", but this time with a twist in the tale via a prodigal daughter scorned. That said, while Smit's Elijah Strait on 'Bluff City Law' might lack the eccentricity of his Sifuentes from 'LA Law', what makes up for that sharp bounce is the character of Sydney Strait - Jimmy's estranged daughter, whom he requests to work at his firm in the wake of his wife and her mother's death.
Coming from Dean Georgaris and Michael Aguilar, with Georgaris also serving as the writer, 'Bluff City Law' will be driven by its characters, as it meanders through the lives and cases of an elite team of lawyers and their firm set in Memphis. But while the firm makes a name for itself in the sphere of fighting the most controversial landmark civil rights, their leader, Elijah, has a more personal battle to fight with his daughter, Sydney. The trailer establishes Sydney's brilliance as a lawyer before something went very very wrong in her career. In what looks like flashbacks to a courtroom scene, Sydney can be seen repeatedly questioning the judge in one of her particular cases, how much a law firm is paying her to side with them on the case. This, of course, has drastic and extreme consequences, which leads to Sydney leaving her practice for a drawn-out period of time. Until she is convinced and drawn back in by her father, who, even though a staunch elite, doesn't mind engaging in a pit-fight.
Played by Caitlin McGee who's known for her roles in 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'I'm Dying Up Here', Sydney is brilliant at her game. But she also couldn't be farther from her father. The two are forced to work as a team, despite Sydney being not too keen about it, and what better way to bury the hatchet than to argue your way through complicated cases while reconciling your complicated relationship? As they take on more and more cases, the differences in their very stubborn and headstrong characters begin to show - the kind that viewers of Showtime's 'Shameless' are familiar with. The father-daughter clash between Shameless' Fiona Gallagher (Emmy Rossum) and her despicable degenerate father, Frank(William H. Macy), managed to shock but please viewers because of how the two bonded over the kind of mess they attracted. While Elijah and Sydney are a much-refined version of that, the two manage to see eye to eye with the same fire that burns within them.
McGee revealed in the Television Critics Association this year that Smit's Elijah has a “more conservative” approach to law, as opposed to his daughter, Sydney, who is always ready to “wage war” when it comes to solving cases together. However, for those not big on the family drama, further attraction in the upcoming series comes in the form of the very Memphis centric real-life scenarios that the legal drama will incorporate into its storyline. While focusing on issues plaguing the Tennessee city, burning events affecting the nation will also find its way on the screen through the show, as Greogaris said its first 10 episodes will reflect all the contemporary issues with its own commentary on free speech, wrongful imprisonment, the opioid crisis and immigration.
'Bluff City Law' premieres with its debut season this September 23, only on NBC.