The first episode of CBS's All Rise introduced you to a new crop of people trying to reform the criminal justice system within fictional TV land. At the center of the new crusade is Simone Missick's Lola Carmichael, a new judge who isn't afraid to try new things in her courtroom in order to see that justice is served for all parties involved.
The premiere episode saw Lola pushing green defense attorney Emily Lopez (Jessica Camacho) to dig deeper to find the truth when her client is accused of robbery. A second investigation revealed that an LAPD detective corrupted evidence to make Emily's client look guilty. Lola had to find a way to ensure that an innocent woman didn't go to jail and correct the detective's behavior, without getting all of the detective's previous cases overturned and turning the police department against Lola right out the gate. Lola didn't sentence the defendant to any time and personally reprimanded the detective for her stunt.
Elsewhere, prosecutor Mark Callan (Wilson Bethel), Lola's best friend and confidant, had to wrestle with unexpected demons when a defendant, who was defending himself, brought Mark's criminal father up in testimony. Viewers got a brief glimpse of just how dysfunctional Mark's family life was when he had Lola drive him to a bar at the end of the episode and ended up in a fist fight with his old man.
Now, Lola must continue her quest to deliver justice in the fairest way she knows how, while she and Mark explore their new dynamic where they can't be seen as too friendly within the courthouse. TV Guide spoke to Missick about Lola's renegade ways and why people shouldn't get their hopes up about a Mark and Lola romance.
We clearly see that Lola is going to bend the rules of the system and do things that buck tradition. How far is she willing to go to seek what she thinks is justice?
Missick: I think that you will see her not really play in a gray area. For Lola, everything is very black and white. It's just [that] she's about finding the black-and-white version that people don't often go to. For her, every single case that comes in front of her is important. It's each individual person's life at stake. You will never see her haphazardly sentence someone or say, "Ah well, this is what I'm technically supposed to do, so I'm going to do it." She's constantly challenging herself and those around her, but it never veers into a space where she's breaking the law, or where she's not acting according to precedent. It's always that she's being creative in a way that you've never seen anyone do.
It's like, "Oh, well technically, Section 7B of this and that says that we can do that. No one's ever done it. Well, I'm going to do it today." That's where we'll see Lola push it, which is great to see, because you hope that what happens on screen will then inspire what happens in the real courtrooms and in the real justice system, for people to not necessarily follow the precedent, but use what they are legally able to do in order to make change and to help people.
Will Mark ever have to present a case in front of Lola?
Missick: I don't know if that will happen because of the bias that they assume she would have for him, because they are such close friends. Their friendship is one that is very well known within the courthouse. So there is the question of, would Lola give Mark a fair trial? Now, she knows that she would and he does, but the outside perspective on that is no. So I don't know if we'll ever see them in court together. They wind up in the same courtroom, but not because he is the prosecutor.
It feels inevitable that viewers will start rooting for Lola and Mark to get together, just because that's the way we've been trained to watch television. What would you like to say to those people who automatically think they should get together?
Missick: I would say that this show has fought so hard to be different on so many levels that I doubt it will fall into that same track. And if I'm wrong, I will pay every person that thinks that they were right a quarter.
What would you say is Lola's primary goal in this first season?
Missick: I think her goal is to be a disruptor and to be a change-maker. She really wants to bring humanity back to a system that she feels has lost it, has lost the feeling of needing to look at the person and not the crime that's before them. Lola wants nothing more than to have that filter through the other judges, the other lawyers, the other prosecutors in the building.
So case-by-case, she's looking to challenge people, to say, "You can do better. You can do more. You can fight harder. You can try harder for your defendant, for the client, for the accused, for the deceased." She's looking to give a voice to the voiceless and the power to the disempowered. It's a really great thing to watch her do that and to navigate a system like that.
One of my favorite relationships on the show is between Lola and Sherri, because it's so tense at the start. Is it going to stay that way, or are we going to see them become a lot more buddy-buddy as we get to know them more?
Missick: I think that their guard definitely gets let down a little bit. Buddy-buddy is a long shot, and that's only because the professional and the very uptight nature that is Sherri wouldn't allow it. But Lola is a people person, and so you'll see her form these deeper bonds with everyone around Sherri. I can't say that that won't then bleed into the relationship. I think that it's totally possible and plausible that, come the end of the season, she'll actually admit that she likes Lola.
What are you most excited for fans to see as they continue to watch the show?
Missick: I am most excited for fans to just really fall in love with all of these characters. I think that we have a really great, strong cast of quirky, somewhat neurotic, a little unhinged people within our cast, who are also very good at their jobs. I think that that's something that I want the fans to want to invite into their home every week. I think that there is a little bit of everyone in each of these characters that people can identify with, and I want them to take this ride with us, to take this kind of emotional roller coaster, where you think it's one thing and you think you're just watching a drama, and then you're literally laughing out loud.
All Rise airs Mondays at 9/8c on CBS.
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