Bluff City Law: The Cast and Creator Share Thoughts on the NBC Legal Drama

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Bluff City Law begins on NBC tonight with an incredibly talented cast and creator.

Over a half dozen of the cast has also been on Broadway, and with that kind of pedigree, you know you're going to get powerhouse performances.

We had a chance to catch up with them at SeriesFest in Denver this summer. Who better to convince you to watch the compelling new drma?

Bluff City Law Cast at SeriesFest

Bluff City Law creator Dean Georgaris shared how the series came to fruition.

"You know, my co-creator, Michael Aguilar and I were sitting around, and we were talking about what kind of show we wanted to see, because that is really a lot of times the best way to figure out what kind of show you want to create, as in success, you end up living with it for five or 10 years.

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"We both wanted to see a show that was inherently optimistic but not too sentimental.

And we both wanted to see a show about the law, frankly, because even though it's imperfect, our legal system is one of the most miraculous things on earth, you know, and we live in a country where even the most disenfranchised of us has a forum to be heard, and that is not true for a lot of people on this planet.

Dean Georgaris at SeriesFest - Bluff City Law

"And that's something to be celebrated, and we wanted to focus on the people who did it for a living. We wanted to use it as a venue to explore issues and debate issues.

"You know, it is, it is funny we live in a time where right now there seems to be a lot of loud talking and not a lot of maybe listening and a lot of forgetting that we actually have a lot in common. Among the things we have in common in general is a common belief in what is just and what isn't.

"We wanted to do a show that sort of, without being saccharine, you know, sort of drawing on inspiration shows like, The West Wing just reminded us that the world is a good place and worth fighting for and that you don't have to be a perfect person to try to do the right thing."

Jimmy Smits plays Elijah Strait, the lead of the series, and he shared his thoughts on the new character and his daughter.

He said that Elijah is introduced in the pilot as "somebody who has devoted his life to these kinds of really substantive civil rights cases."

Jimmy Smits at SeriesFest - Bluff City Law

Smits continued, "At its core, it's a father and daughter relationship that the two major characters -- Caitlin McGee plays my daughter -- she's also an attorney, works in a very corporate type of firm and they've been estranged for quite some time. There's a family tragedy that happens that kind of brings them together in the pilot.

"So you see these two different approaches to the law with the fact that their love for the potential of what the law could be is at its core. The law could be the downline for the pillars of our society could aspire to be.

"So you have that going on in the pilot, and I was just really intrigued by the pilot episode because it was ripe for possibilities in terms of the characters.

"They were complicated, not you know, very flawed. But with this framework of the legal system and what you could do with cases for the David and Goliath aspect of what you can do in defending someone.

Caitlyn McGee at SeriesFest - Bluff City Law

Caitlin McGee shared feelings about her character, Sydney Strait, the other half of the father/daughter team at the heart of Bluff City Law. "I love that Sydney is, frankly, a badass. I love how strong she is. She's very opinionated. She's very good at her job.

"She has moments where those walls have cracks in them, but she keeps them up pretty intensely, which I myself don't do. It's fun to play someone who's so far from myself."

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McGee continued, "It's a real challenge which is super fun to do and all in -- all in court. It's her turf; it's her territory, and she really owns it which is a very very fun thing to play for me.

About filming in Memphis, McGee shared, "We did the pilot in Memphis, and we're going back, and we're very, very excited to go back because Memphis is a very important part of our story as far as us being civil rights lawyers.

Fun at SeriesFest - Bluff City Law

"It's the home of civil rights. I mean, besides Montgomery, Alabama, Memphis is where MLK did his mountaintop speech, and it's where the Civil Rights Museum is. So, it's really significant for us and for our storyline to have Memphis as our city that we're actually filming in and to also bring business and shooting to a city is a really special thing.

"We get to employ people who live there and it's going to be really good experience there."

Series costar MaameYaa Boafo had a very fun story to share about getting her part on Bluff City Law.

"I was back home in Ghana chilling with my parents, and I got an email that had a whole bunch of auditions that came in late. Our wifi was like a little bit off. So I got all these emails all at once and then had to send in a self-tape for a bunch of auditions.

"And I was like, I can only pick one. And I picked Bluff City, and my dad was my reader. And so, that's how I was introduced to it. And then from there, you know, I had to do a callback audition and all of that. But yes, it came to me.

MaameYaa Boafo of Bluff City Law at SeriesFest

"And the reason why I only picked this one was because of what it stood for. So I'm like, if I have a couple minutes to do a self tape and send it in time for it to reach business time here in the states, this is what I'm going to do."

Barry Sloane plays a lawyer named Jake Riley. "I'm at that stage of my career that I'm looking at what I would like to do, and this was a genre that I haven't worked in, procedural shows, which that's end of the states as well.

"The idea of doing that kind of show was appealing to me. Civil rights aspect was incredibly prevalent, and the right timing, and then this amazing cast was the best.

Barry Sloane from Bluff City Law

"The talented cast they put together it was like, I can be a part of that team. Sign me up! Seeing the pilot and seeing what they did with it, and the people behind it. It's been a really, really fantastic job! I think you're going to really enjoy it.

Sloane also shared what he really enjoys about his character. "What I like about him most is that he's unapologetically himself. He's very comfortable in his own skin.

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"He makes no apologies for who he is, and I think people are attracted to him and like him because of that as he's kind of Tom Cruise Risky Business mixed with Cocktail, and he's in on his own joke as well, which is incredibly important.

"You know, I went a little bit off Steve Coogan for some of the stuff in that it was kind of like, it's okay to be the douchey white guy in a show now as long as you're in on the joke.

Goofing Around at SeriesFest - Bluff City Law

"So I was kind of like, I have to push him to the point where he was harmless with it, so it didn't come across as sleazy. So it was kind of a tightrope act, but I think having watched it back we kind of navigated it correctly and it's going to be a lot of fun playing the role."

Now you have to tell us. Will you be tuning in when Bluff City Law premieres on NBC tonight at 10/9c?

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Bluff City Law Quotes

Elijah: She said: "Why measure yourself by money when you have the chance to change the world."

Everyone likes to tell you how this work is noble or rewarding. But what they don't tell you is if you lose, it destroys you.