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These characters are going to feel familiar
There's a new group of kids in the Shondaland family -- the cast of For the People.
The latest legal drama from mega producer Shonda Rhimes centers on a batch of baby-faced federal lawyers in their first year working for the justice system. Some of them are federal prosecutors and others are public defenders. They'll be pitted against each other and have to scrap their way through complicated cases to make a mark for themselves and properly advocate for their clients. Oh, and there's a bunch of personal drama and hi-jinx that get in the way because that's how Shonda rolls.
For the People Is Exactly What You'd Expect from a Shondaland Show
Honestly, For the People is the closest thing to the first season of Grey's Anatomy that Shondaland has ever produced and some of the characters fit those famous first class of intern archetypes quite well, while others mirror different characters from the Shondaland universe -- Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder. To help you get to know the cast of For the People, TV Guide has paired each of them with their Shondaland counterpart so you feel like you know them even before you tune in for the series premiere on March 13.
Lawyer: Sandra Bell (Britt Robertson)
Shondaland Counterpart: Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes), Scandal
Why: One of the first words used to describe Sandra in the new series is "scrappy." She loves a good fight and she will exhaust herself making sure the underdog gets a win. Scandal's Quinn Perkins is exactly the same way. She's underestimated because people think she's cute and naive, but both of these women pack a powerful bite. Sandra also loves to jump into things head first before she's fully realized what she's getting herself into. It'll be interesting to see if Sandra stumbles down a path of darkness like Quinn did in Scandal Season 3.
Lawyer: Allison Adams (Jasmin Savoy Brown)
Shondaland Counterpart: Abby Whelan (Darby Stanchfield), Scandal
Why: On the surface, both Allison and Abby both seem like sweethearts, and for the most part they are, but underneath is a killer instinct and a desire to be one of the Big Dogs. They love their friends and want to take care of them, but if they see a chance to get ahead they are going to take it -- even at great personal cost to themselves. Can Allison learn from her mistakes as well as Abby has, though?
Lawyer: Jay Simmons (Wesam Keesh)
Shondaland Counterpart: Asher Millstone (Matt McGorry), How to Get Away with Murder
Why: Wes is a great lawyer when he actually applies himself, but he can get distracted by everything going on around him and get out of his A-Game, just like Asher on How to Get Away with Murder. Wes also can get vindictive when someone puts him in his place, but we can only hope he doesn't pull the same level of boneheaded moves Asher has pulled on Murder when he's lashing out.
Lawyer: Kate Littlejohn (Susannah Flood)
Shondaland Counterpart: Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh), Grey's Anatomy
Why: There are perhaps no bigger shoes to fill in the Shondaland universe than Cristina Yang, but For the People has done it with Kate Littlejohn. She's whip smart, dedicated and not here to coddle anyone or hold their hand. She's out to be the best lawyer she can possibly be and no person or their personal issues are going to stop her from achieving it. No one else has come close to having Cristina's intense focus on her career. We are not sure what the For the People equivalent of the Harper Avery award is, but rest assured Kate Littlejohn will be the first to get it.
Lawyer: Leonard Knox (Rege-Jean Page)
Shondaland Counterpart: Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee), How to Get Away with Murder
Why: Leonard is hot, talented and somehow equally arrogant as he is insecure. That type of juxtaposition is also the defining trait of How to Get Away with Murder's Connor Walsh. They're both great at what they do and aren't afraid to use sex to get what they want, but it doesn't take much to crack their confident exteriors and find little boys that are searching for approval.
Laywer: Seth Oliver (Ben Rappaport)
Shondaland Counterpart: George O'Malley (T.R. Knight), Grey's Anatomy
Why: Seth Oliver would probably take being compared to George O'Malley as an insult, but it isn't. They are both earnest men trying to prove themselves in difficult vocations. Seth's open-hearted honesty and somewhat blind loyalty puts him a little behind the pack at the start of For the People, but just like George, he should never be counted out. He stands to be the heart of this show, or at least its moral center and a comfort when placed among his colleagues jockeying for career position rather than trying to solve actual problems. Dear producers, just please don't hit him with a bus.
Lawyer: Jill Carlan (Hope Davis)
Shondaland Counterpart: Post-Derek (Patrick Dempsey) Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), Grey's Anatomy
Why: Jill Carlan is the Federal Public Defender and leader of Sandra and co. She's too experienced to relate to an early Grey's Anatomy Meredith, but Jill and the Meredith we know now, who has seen so much tragedy and experienced so much trauma but lived to tell the tale, are like peas in a pod. They're maternal without being soft. They know how to coach their team without babysitting or holding hands so they get the job done, but just like Meredith, Jill isn't done reaching her own career goals. She can set these rookies straight and still get her own s**t done.
Lawyer: Roger Cunn (Ben Shenkman)
Shondaland Counterpart: Fitzgerald "Fitz" Grant (Tony Goldwyn), Scandal
Why: You can look at these two and tell they could probably be bros. Roger Cunn is the chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney's office, meaning he oversees the prosecution's newbies. Let's just say he's not as nurturing as Jill. He cares about winning and getting things done and doesn't really have time for you if you can't get with the program. He's a bit cocky, just like Fitz, and loves reminding people that he's in charge. You do not want to find out what happens if you try to question that or manipulate him into doing your bidding because he's also as petty as Fitz.
Role: Tina Krissman (Anna Deavere Smith)
Shondaland Counterpart: Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), Grey's Anatomy
Why: As clerk of court, Tina Krissman doesn't have as much of a direct overseeing role to the new lawyers as Bailey had over Grey's Anatomy's first set of interns, but she is still the one most likely to serve them with some life-changing realness. Tina gives the best speeches and has the best facial expressions in all of For the People. She may seem harsh at first, just like Bailey did, but you know that her lectures are turning these runt lawyers into the best versions of themselves that they can be.
Lawyer: Judge Nicholas Byrne (Vondie Curtis Hall)
Shondaland Counterpart: Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.), Grey's Anatomy
Why: It's hard out here for a judge, just like it was hard out here for former Grey's Chief of Surgery, Richard Webber. Both Judge Byrne and the Chief are in charge of keeping everyone under them in line and that can be visibly stressful at times. Yet, both of them manage to dig deep and rise above to give the whippersnappers the wisdom they need to do their jobs well. Neither are here for the nonsense, though.
For the People premieres Tuesday, March 13 at 10/9c on ABC.