Tuesday, June 26, 2018

TV Tuesday: For the People

One of the new shows that my husband and I enjoyed this spring was For the People, a new legal drama. I was particularly interested to see it since two Hollywood writers I follow, Liz Craft and Sarah Fain, had worked on the show's pilot (I enjoy their podcast Happier in Hollywood). Think of For the People as Grey's Anatomy for the legal profession (with good reason - it's another Shonda Rhimes show) - new lawyers learning how to do their jobs, facing off against each other, and hooking up together outside of court. We enjoyed season 1 and are looking forward to season 2.

The show takes place in the Southern District of New York Federal Court, apparently a big deal known as "The Mother Court." The cast is mostly broken up into two teams. Hope Davis stars as Jill Carlan, head of the Public Defenders' office, with her team of newbie lawyers including Jay, played by Wesam Keesh, and besties Allison and Sandra, played by Jasmine Savoy Brown and Britt Robertson, respectively. On the opposing side is Roger Gunn, played by Ben Shenkman, heading up the Prosecutor's office and overseeing new prosecuting attorneys, including the smart but arrogant Leonard, played by Rege-Jean Page; prickly and brilliant Kate Littejohn, played by Susannah Flood; and Allison's boyfriend Seth, played by Ben Rappaport. It sounds confusing with so many actors, but you quickly get to know them, just like the new raft of interns at the start of a Grey's Anatomy season. Vondis Curtis-Hall is excellent as Judge Byrne, and Rahvaunia also adds a spark as Court Clerk Theresa. Each episode focuses in on one case, from both the perspectives of the defense and the prosecution, plus new insights into the backgrounds and personal lives of the lawyers themselves.

We enjoyed the first season very much. We quickly got to know the characters and soon became invested in them. The acting and writing is all top-notch, and the cases themselves often touch on ripped-from-the-headlines issues, usually showing the shades of gray in what might seem like a straightforward case from the outside, like the kid being tried as a terrorist who basically got caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time by some bad people. The combination of the court cases and the personal lives of the lawyers and others involved in the legal system makes for some compelling TV, as it has in other legal dramas. We'll definitely be watching season 2.

There are 10 episodes in season 1 of For the People. All ten are still available for free On Demand if you subscribe to cable. Oddly, only episodes 1 and 7 - 10 are currently available for free on the ABC website (though you can unlock episode 6 with a cable subscription). You can watch episodes on Amazon streaming starting at $1.99 per episode or $14.99 for the whole season. I think the show might also be available on Hulu streaming (I'm not 100% sure since we don't get Hulu, but it looks like it).

Watch the Trailer:

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