All Rise – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review


Passing Judgment

CBS’ new drama All Rise offers up a fresh behind-the-scenes look at what happens inside a courtroom. While it mainly follows Lawyer Lola Carmichael’s first day as a judge, we’re also introduced to a multiple array of supporting characters ranging from assistants, bailiffs and defence attorneys. All Rise feels very much like a show out of Shondaland so it’ll almost certainly appeal to fans of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. Each episode looks like it’ll have a different court case too while we follow the evolving relationships between all the different characters.

The episode starts with Lola Carmichael on her last day as lawyer before starting her new job as a superior court judge of LA county. Her friend and colleague Mark Callan meets with her and tries to convince her not to take the job. As they head to court for the trial of Daphne Rivas, arrested for multiple parking tickets, Carmichael becomes outraged at the bailiff officer for bringing her to court with no trousers on.

She confronts the man which causes him to angrily snap and pull a gun out. Just as he is about to shoot the judge, Bailiff Officer Luke Watkins shoots him.  Lopez, a defence lawyer present during the incident, later meets with him and thanks him for what he did.

Carmichael’s first day as Judge finally arrives as Judge Benner gets her up to speed with everything, including who she appointed as her judiciary assistant – Sherri Kansky. This doesn’t please Carmichael at all as stern Kansky filed a complaint against her previously.

Carmichael makes her way to the courtroom for the first time but unfortunately trips on the steps leading to her chair. Daphne, the same woman arrested on the day of the shooting, is back but this time for residential burglary and Lopez is her appointed lawyer. However, Daphne claims not to have done it and Lopez also reveals that she’s pregnant. The prosecutor has advised her to take a plea bargain as if she went to trial she could get 4 years. As Daphne is adamant that she wasn’t even there, Carmichael refuses to accept the plea and decides to take the case to trial.

The day of Daphne’s trial arrives as the prosecution questions Detective Leyland about the arrest. Leyland explains that she saw Daphne outside the house and that she ran off when she issued the warning.

During a recess, Officer Luke speaks to Lopez about some inconsistencies on Leyland’s testimony and is concerned that she may be lying. After these revelations, Carmichael decides to adjourn the trial. Mark later takes the stand and Charlie puts him on the spot when asked if his father is involved with organised crime. However, Mark manages to later cleverly destabilize Brooke and he wins the case.

Judge Benner then introduces herself to Chief Of Police Jack Heely who tells her that if she ever encounters any problems with his people, to call him straight away. After he leaves, Judge Benner advises her that Jacqui Leyland is a very important detective in LA and if she gets accused of perjury, this trial will throw every case she ever worked on into doubt and could destroy more than one career.

As the trial resumes, Carmichael decides to go against Benner’s advice and finds Daphne not guilty. After the trial, Detective Leyland comes to confront Carmichael about the case, but the judge stands her ground. Leyland explains that as a woman she is under pressure and scrutiny to make sure she doesn’t make any mistakes, ending the conversation with a stern warning.

As she leaves her office, Carmichael sees Daphne waiting for a bus. She tells her that she found out her mum has a criminal record before the episode ends with Mark visiting his dad and punching him square in the face.

All Rise’s first episode doesn’t waste any time getting straight to the heart of this legal drama. The show quickly introduces us to the main protagonist and tonally sticks close to that over-the-top melodrama that makes shows like Grey’s Anatomy so endearing and unpredictable. While All Rise is quite fast-paced and offers some interesting twists along the way, it doesn’t feel very original and some of the dialogue can feel a little cheesy at times.

Still, Simone Missick does a good job portraying the new-but-fair judge and has good chemistry with the rest of the cast too. Her stern assistant Kansky will be an interesting one to watch and although the show touches on issues of feminism and women working within male-orientated jobs, the message never comes across as too forced. While some of the character relationships look set to be quite predictable, even this early All Rise sets itself up to be an enjoyable guilty pleasure.


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