Raising the Bar
posted by Frank Pasquale
My colleague David Feige has turned his book Indefensible into a new TV series on TNT called Raising the Bar. If you want TV drama about a public defender, this is a show for you. I really enjoyed a screening of the first episode. Here’s the lowdown from the YouTube page:
[RTB is] new legal drama from Emmy® winning producer Steven Bochco. The gripping series stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar (NYPD Blue), Gloria Reuben (ER) and Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle) and follows the lives of young lawyers who work on opposite sides — the public defender’s office and the district attorney’s office — as well as those who sit in judgment on their cases. The series, which was created by Bochco and lawyer/writer David Feige, is set to premiere Monday, Sept. 1, at 10/9c
Here’s an interview with Bochco. The show even allows viewers to “brush up on their legal lingo” via its website. One reviewer says that “if the potential displayed in the trailers is fulfilled . . . .Raising the Bar . . . may become this century’s equivalent of The Defenders,” a classic 60s show the reviewer calls “[n]etwork television’s first (and greatest) legal drama.” Here’s a bit on The Defenders:
Reginald Rose’s The Defenders co-starred E.G. Marshall and Robert Reed as a father-and-son legal team, the Prestons. . . .[They] specialized in impossible cases, and their clients were usually people society deemed dispensable (at best) or utterly worthless. The show aired on CBS from 1961-1965, and tackled such topics as abortion, civil rights, capital punishment, black listing, political corruption, union busting and assisted suicide. The Defenders was far ahead of its time. The father/son duo frequently lost cases, even those where they actually presented the superior legal argument. Secondly, there was never any attempt to portray life as rosy or upbeat.
That noir sensibility pervades Feige’s Indefensible. I’m looking forward to the show.