After a 25-year break, CBC is bringing back the drama Street Legal with original cast member Cynthia Dale once again front and center as Olivia Novak. This time around though, Olivia finds herself working with a trio of young lawyers at the newly created startup firm RDL Legal. Lilly Rue (Cara Ricketts), Adam Darling (Steve Lund) and Mina Lee (Yvonne Chapman) are the named partners who join forces and challenge Olivia as they prepare a massive class-action lawsuit again the manufacturer of a widely-prescribed and ultra-addictive opioid.
Olivia works to find her place among these millennials, who clash with her personality and try to do things in a new and surprising way. She quickly realizes that she’s not on Bay Street anymore. 19-2’s Bruce M. Smith serves as showrunner and Dale also was a producer. After getting a chance to screen the first two of Season 1’s six episodes, we here at The TV Junkies have three main reasons why we’re very much looking forward to this version of Street Legal. Check those out below and don’t forget to tune into the premiere on Monday, March 4 at 9 p.m. ET on CBC.
Powerful women on and off screen
Not only is Dale’s Olivia Novak, a named partner at a major Bay Street law firm, front and center in Street Legal, but she’s joined by Ricketts’ Lilly Rue, a star litigator who is looking to really effect change and Chapman’s Mina Lee who possesses a sharp mind for research and strategy. All three of them “are powerful women making a mark in the world,” Chapman told The TV Junkies. Unfortunately, it’s all too rare still to see the main cast of a series feature more women than men, but we can’t help but love this 3:1 ratio happening on Street Legal. Things extend behind the scenes as well, as Ricketts told how Dale really left an impression on her as a producer helping to mentor the younger actresses. “I really respected the fact that she used her position to empower all of us in the cast,” Ricketts recalled.
It tackles relevant topics
With the class-action lawsuit focusing on the opioid crisis, “it doesn’t get any more relevant to what’s happening in the world,” said Chapman. The war on drugs is something that affects many people in many different cities around the world, and it’s compelling for viewers to watch as this one gets personal for the lawyers at RDL. That’s especially true for Adam, as his mother has become heavily addicted to opioids after being prescribed them by a doctor. The fight is a universal one though, and even “as we were filming and the scripts were already written, what I found so incredibly interesting, was that we were getting headlines in the newspaper that we had just filmed,” Chapman said. She added that “it’s incredibly relevant and I live in Vancouver and see it every day, unfortunately, in the streets.”
There’s a priority on diversity and representation
In addition to making three of the four leads women, Street Legal also clearly puts a priority on diversifying the characters. “I know they weren’t quite sure who they wanted when they did the casting, but saw my tape and really liked it. We started to readjust Lilly Rue then because they weren’t thinking of a black woman playing the part,” Ricketts told us. Because of that fact, Ricketts said she was able to “bring some of myself to the role.” She added that it is “really cool to see the previous cast, who was all one color, and now see the current cast is a black woman, asian woman and a white guy together in a startup business.”
Chapman also added that it’s “refreshing to see a totally platonic friendship,” between Mina and Adam, as Mina is not only another POC lead, but a queer POC lead. Ricketts is already looking forward to a Season 2 where these characters can be further explored. “We have a queer lead character, but we also have a non-binary character. We barely get to touch their storyline and who they are. It’d be great to find out how they became a part of the firm, and I’m wishing for another season to see what they do with all these great characters.” While we definitely agree with Ricketts, the fact that these characters exist and are represented on screen is huge and a great step forward in our eyes.
Are you excited about Street Legal? Sound off below!
Street Legal airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on CBC and is available on CBC Gem.
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.