When CBS’ courtroom drama, All Rise, premiered in the fall, it felt like a Shonda Rhimes knock-off. I was intrigued to give it a shot regardless as the series starred quite a few sci-fi alums, specifically Wilson Bethel from Daredevil and Simone Missick from Luke Cage, and Jessica Camacho from The Flash, as well as J. Alex Brinson from Travelers. I later discovered that my friend Reggie Lee, from Grimm, was also part of the team.
The pilot set up the basic who, what, and where, and included a Shonda-like lecture about the law, fairness, and justice. Although the circumstances of the speech weren’t memorable, I remember feeling that it was an overreaction the situation at hand and better suited to the other case of the episode. The show had interested me, but I couldn’t be sure I’d stick with it.
Sixteen episodes later and All Rise is one of the top new shows of the 2019-2020 season. In “My Fair Lockdown,” two of our main characters are caught in a hostage situation. Judge Lola (Missick) and Emily Lopez (Camacho) are held at gunpoint when Lola convinces the hostage taker into releasing the jurors, leaving just a Detective, bailiff, and the Head DDA – all of whom are male.
Like most tv shows, the person with the highest authority would take charge: Judge Lola. But in a room with more men than women, there’s almost always a male counterpart who thinks he knows better, goes off script, and tries to handle the situation his own way. In All Rise, the Detective looks to Lola and reveals that he has a gun. She motions for him not to use it and he complies until he sees his opening. Of course, Lola was right and the Detective’s gun ends up in the hands of the bad guy.
Meanwhile, Judge Lola’s best friend and Emily Lopez’ boyfriend are locked down in another room. They discuss relationships and a case they’re working on. They chit chat and wait, oblivious to the drama taking place in another court room. Once informed, they sit and wait nervously. At no point do these two, strong, capable men feel the need to save their women, be knights in shining armor. No, they allow the tactical team do their job and trust that the women in their lives can handle whatever comes their way.
Additionally, Judge Lola’s judicial assistant, Sherri Kansky (Ruthie Ann Miles) is saved from the hostage situation but doesn’t just sit back and worry. She watches the feed, supplies the tactical team intel, and eventually creates a solution – allow his daughter to speak with him and appeal to his emotion rather than permit the tactical team to barge in, guns blazing.
Kansky is another example of All Rise‘s commitment to showcasing diverse female characters. None of the women on the show are the same, their backstories vary, and the only white woman among them is queer.
If the portrayal of women isn’t enough of a reason to watch All Rise, their thoughtful episodes and unique ways of addressing real world social issues will absolutely due the trick.
All Rise airs Mondays on CBS.
— Yael Tygiel