Welcome to the Mother Court!
On For The People Season 1 Episode 1, six talented lawyers kicked off their careers in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The premiere was a bit of a mixed bag.
It's difficult to establish a world and the characters that swiftly inhabit that world to keep the attention firmly on what is playing out on screen.
Kate: You're not allowed to eat in here. There's a sign out front.
Jay: I didn't see it.
Kate: Ignorance is no excuse.
Jay: You're a prosecutor, aren't you?
Britt Robertson's Sandra was given the most to work with on the first episode, and out of all the characters, she seemed like the most relatable.
Unlike some of her allies and foes, Sandra was determined to do what was right, and that meant doing everything and anything to give Mohammed a fair trial.
Sandra could have easily rolled over and accepted a deal for Mohammed, but that meant a lengthy stint behind bars. Attempting to blow up the statue of liberty is not a crime you would get a slap on the wrist for.
It was horrifying to learn that the kid was being baited by three FBI officers. The moment Sandra rocked up in the courtroom and laid eyes on the increased security, I knew she was in for a tough time of it.
But Jill was right about the whole thing. She knew there was not a chance in hell the case was going to be thrown out. There needed to be a scapegoat, and that person was Mohammed.
The three corrupt agents got away with it, and I couldn't help but think there was a severe lack of justice. Sandra needed this type of case to shape the lawyer she wanted to be.
I've been fighting with people like you my whole life. And I like it.Sandra
She now knows more than anything that the justice system is flawed, and it's down to her to help her clients get fair treatment. Her going up against Leonard showed off just how far she was willing to go.
On the surface, Leonard seemed like a typical dirtbag who wanted to become the best lawyer of the new crop. He had no qualms about cutting people if it advanced his career.
My perception of him completely changed when he realized that his actions had sent Mohammad to jail for a long time. Despite the icy exterior, it proved he had a soft center.
He's probably going to need to get a handle on that because he is the prosecutor and he's going to struggle to win cases if he starts going soft.
Was I the only one not feeling the chemistry between Allison and Seth? I rolled my eyes the moment I knew they were together, but I should have expected it.
They are going to continue to butt heads if they remain an item, so they would be better keeping the pause button firmly pressed on their relationship.
Relationships can make or break a show, and this show runs the risk of being too bogged down by the relationships. The courtroom is where the action should be taking place.
We were promised the Mother Court, and that's what we should be getting on a weekly basis.
That said, I did like the dynamic between Kate and Leonard. They were poised to be fighting with each other for much of the pilot, but they became allies before the hour was over.
Having allies in a court of law is a good thing. Having enemies is a whole 'nother kettle of fish, but we'll not get into that right now.
The other cases fell really flat. There was nothing remotely exciting about them, and that could become problematic. One case out of three cannot carry the show every week.
Would it have hurt to focus on two cases in the name of keeping things more streamlined? Maybe it would have made more sense to have the series premiere span longer than one hour.
As it stands, For The People has a lot going for it. It has a talented cast, a vast world, and some decent writing. With some tweaks, it could be the next big legal drama.
It's difficult to judge a book by its cover, and that's why it's difficult to assess what future installments of the series will look like. When the characters are established, it should flow better between scenes.
Time will tell.
What did you think of the episode? Are you going to be adding the series to your DVR? Who was your favorite character, and why?
Hit the comments below!
Are you ready to get caught up in this new ABC drama?
For The People continues Tuesdays on ABC.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.