Ever wonder what it’s really like in the courthouse of one of the biggest cities in the world? The new drama series All Rise looks to give viewers a sneak peek at the lives of the judges, prosecutors, public defenders, bailiffs, clerks and cops that spend their days at the L.A. County courthouse. At the center of it all is new appointed Judge Lola Carmichael (Simone Missick, Luke Cage), who isn’t content to sit back and enjoy her new gig, but instead wants to immediately challenge the expectations of her new position.
Joining Missick on All Rise is an impressive roster that includes Wilson Bethel (Hart of Dixie) as attorney Mark Callan, best friend to Lola and Marg Helgenberger (CSI). The TV Junkies had the chance to chat briefly with Bethel about his role on All Rise and why the show may be offering a glimpse into a relationship rarely shown on TV. The series premiere of All Rise is Monday, September 23 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS and CTV.
The TV Junkies: You’ve worked on a wide variety of really successful shows, but what was it about All Rise that drew you to it and made you want to be a part of it?
Wilson Bethel: Honestly, this to me, feels like a rare thing in network television — a show that has a ton of heart and a strong conscious about it. On the surface it’s a legal drama, but really it’s a show about this really dynamic, interesting, very diverse group of people working in the L.A. court system. There’s a veneer of a procedural, but it’s a show about these relationships and the way that these people show up every day to face a really challenging legal system.
For me, that was really exciting because the quality of the writing is really high and the tone bounces back and forth between dramatic and emotional to comedic and really fun, plus the quality of the cast really all inspired me about the show.
TTVJ: As you said, there’s a lot of legal dramas on the air, but what it sounds like the focus on characters may set All Rise apart from those?
WB: Totally! It’s a show that takes place in a court, but our characters aren’t just lawyers and that’s often what you see. In our central cast we have a judge, a bailiff, a public defender, a court reporter and a DA. You end up getting this really lovely and varied group of perspectives that make for much richer possibilities in terms of storytelling.
TTVJ: Can you talk a little about the character you’re playing, and what we can expect from him?
WB: I play Mark, a deputy district attorney in L.A., and on the surface he’s got a lot of trappings of cliche district attorneys — drives a nice car, wears nice suits and has some quick quips. Behind that all though, he’s a guy who comes from the wrong side of the tracks, and has a checkered history that is one of the things that made me really excited about the character.
First and foremost, what I love about the character is his relationship with Lola. Their relationship is one of the central relationships of the show and it’s very clear that these people are best friends. I think it’s really rare that you see that on TV, where you have a man and woman around whom the show revolves, but you’re not asking when they are going to hop into bed together. Instead, you get to really appreciate that this is a complicated, interesting, challenging, supportive relationship between two friends who just happen to be a man and a woman.
TTVJ: Between Simone and Marg Helgenberger, you’ve got some pretty powerful ladies on the show. What’s it like working with both of them?
WB: We also have two women that are Tony winners! We have this total estrogen-powered cast on board which is super exciting and inspiring. The roster of talent goes really deep and honestly, it makes my job much easier.
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All Rise premieres Monday, September 23 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS and CTV.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.