All Rise: 5 Writers Quit After Clashing With Showrunner Over Legal Drama's Depiction of Race, Gender

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With All Rise Season 2 confirmed, there will be some big changes behind the scenes of the series. 

According to The New York Times, five of the original writers of the CBS legal drama will not be returning for the second season. 

Of the exits, three are the highest-ranking writers of color. 

A Circus-Life Courtroom - All Rise

Seven writers worked in the writers' room on All Rise Season 1, meaning a virtually new writers room will be set up for the second season. 

As for what led to the mass exodus, all five writers are said to have clashed with showrunner Greg Spottiswood over the way the series portrays race and gender. 

Lola Fights for the Truth - All Rise Season 1 Episode 2

One of the departing writers, Shernold Edwards, stepped away from the show in November after realizing “we had to do so much behind the scenes to keep these scripts from being racist and offensive.”

An episode written by Greg Nelson, who is white, is used as an example. 

It was set to include a subplot about a gang of Latin American teenagers in Los Angeles preying on citizens with machetes. 

A Latin American writer on staff did not want to be associated with the storyline because it didn't have any correlation with real life. 

Mark Helps - All Rise Season 1 Episode 2

It wasn't until actress Lindsay Mendez said she would not be appearing in the episode that Spottiswood agreed to take the subplot away from the episode. 

Sunil Nayar, who worked on Revenge, quit working on the show after his efforts to have the series reflect experiences of Black people and other people of color went ignored.

“It became clear to me, when I left the show, that I was only there because I’m the brown guy,” Nayar explained to the Times.

“Greg hired me to be his brown guy.”

Amy Steps Up - All Rise Season 1 Episode 2

Warner Bros. did conduct a workplace review in response to what was going on behind-the-scenes, but he was allowed to keep his job. 

However, he was paired with a corporate coach. 

“As soon as we became aware of concerns in the All Rise writers’ room, we took steps to conduct a review of the work environment,” a Warner Bros. rep revealed in a statement to the Times.

“While the studio identified areas for improvement, the findings did not reveal conduct that would warrant removing series creator Greg Spottiswood from the executive producer role.”

Drama in the Court - All Rise Season 1 Episode 2

“I acknowledge that I can have a rhetorical, professorial tone in the room, and that can be perceived by some as condescending, and that I can be defensive in creative conversations and debates," Spottiswood said in his own statement.

"I remain strongly committed to improving my communication style and skills, and to being a more inclusive leader — ensuring that writers and artists are not just heard, but feel listened to, respected, safe and valued.”

All Rise Season 1 was cut short by the pandemic, but the series has been renewed for a second season. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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