Practicing lawyer shows are
perennially popular, and series featuring trial court judges
come and go, but in ABC's The Court, this year's television
docket brings us a second series specifically devoted to Supreme
Court Justices. The show stars Oscar winner Sally Field as a
nominee to the Court, whose unanimous Senate confirmation comes
during the course of the premiere.
CBS' First Monday (Fridays, 9-10 p.m., ET/PT), The
Court introduces us to a justice who will be a "swing
vote" on the Nation's highest bench. Ohio Governor Kathleen
Nolan (Field) is a practicing Catholic who seems to be both tough
on crime and supportive of women's issues (including abortion)
although she declines to declare herself on either subject. Nominated
by the President to fill an unexpected vacancy when a powerful
woman Justice is killed in a car accident, she represents the
focus for any number of legal, social and political debates that
will play out during the series.
Contrast to the sometimes unreal
activity of the Court and Capitol Hill is provided by her former
law student and current gadfly journalist Harlan Brandt. Also
like First Monday, The Court features a strong
Chief, CJ Townsend (Pat Hingle), active, committed, opinionated
law clerks (Nicole DeHuff, Hill Harper, and Josh Radnor), and
Associate Justices of all persuasions, including an Hispanic
(Miguel Sandoval), a black woman (Diahann Carroll) and a traditional
Kennedy liberal (Chris Sarandon).
En banc review of The Court
begins with the same slate that heard oral argument on First
Monday. As usual we invite reader response about the show,
our reviews, and the course of television justice.
The Court airs on ABC Tuesdays at 10 pm. (ET/PT).
The Court update [May 10, 2002]:
The Court has been placed on "broadcast hiatus."
According to the ABC Entertainment Publicity Department, this
means that the three produced-but-unaired shows will probably
be shown at some time in the future. There was no available
information about when the shows might air or whether any others
will be produced.
Posted March, 2002